Friday, October 31, 2008
To be honest, I hate that I'm still dependent on them; I'm going to see if I can finally ween myself from needing them.
Anyway, last night was kind of rough; I kept waking up panicky and feeling like someone was in my room wanting to kill me.
It doesn't help that life has thrown me another stressful patch, what with having to cut my hours at work in half for a while to rest my eyes and see if I can exercise them into cooperation.
I'm a little panicky that I'm not going to be able to sustain myself financially -- though, I should be able to if I'm smart... which I haven't been in the past, financially speaking.
I'm a little panicky that I may not have a choice in my career, that it's already been decided by my eyes that I shouldn't be a [full-time] computer programmer.
I'm a little panicky that I may not be able to make it in the acting world.
I do think I've found a talent agency where I may apply. But, as I'm considering, all this doubt is flooding in: You're not good enough ... you're not attractive enough ... etc. ... etc. ... etc.
You know, the basic trepidations before jumping into a whole new world. Bah!
... I guess I'm going to just have to plug my nose and jump... I mean, do I really have a choice?
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
But in my 'unsleeping' I had a thought:
The time just before I came out of the closet, I was extremely harsh towards homosexuality. I was scared I was losing my faith. I was angry my faith was being challenged. My homosexuality was threatening what I held dear and believed was true, and not only was I unkind to such my homosexuality, I was blowing everything out of proportion: "Accepting my homosexuality would denounce Christianity. Accepting my homosexuality will strip me of my eternal potential. Accepting homosexuality will darken my soul. Etc."
But, mostly, I was simply scared.
I wonder if such is what is happening collectively with the LDS Church and society.
'What is the point of this post?' you may ask.
To be honest, I don't know. Just like I don't know what "greenly chalked" means.
I just feel like typoing -- hehe, yes, typoing. Although that was an accident, I do enjoy verbing nouns. That reminds me of a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon... grr, U2 again -- I should take that album off my playlist.
I'm kind of lazy when it comes to organizing my music. I'm kind of lazy when it comes to organizing my living area.
But I'm also rather OCD when it comes to some other things... like checking my fly. It saved me the other day. I was at Pizza Hut, my OCD urge to check my fly kicked in, I checked it and it was undone. Not that I was embarrassed about it or anything, I quite publickly (I don't know if I like spelling it with a 'k' but I thought I'd give it a try out right now... damn it, U2 AGAIN... I don't like iTune's "random" track delivery (is there a way to play with the generator's seed?))
... where was I...
Oh yeah, fly open in Pizza Hut. I reached down without shame (oh, this sounds like it could be call-the-cops dirty right now) and zipped up my pants.
I just bought some new underware -- Hanes briefs. I like them better than my Fruit-of-the-Looms boxer briefs.
Ah, much better, The Scarlet Pimpernel... and now Brak... I love Brak.
(What's round on the ends and hi in the middle?)
But I don't love Brak more than I love Kristin Chenoweth. I want to be her BFF. Not just because she's über fabulous, but because I think she and I would get along swimmingly.
Right now my dream role would be to play a character related to/associate with Olive on Pushing Daisies. My life would be complete. Com-plete.
Ahrens & Flaherty. I want to be in a premier of one of their musicals. They are fabulous.
It's only 9:30, but I think I'm going to get ready for bed right now. I've been quite tired lately.
I still don't know how to swim. I don't know if I care about it too much, but I do wonder why that just popped in my head. I was thinking about Ballroom.
How Ballroom and going to be at 9:30 have anything to do with each other is beyond me... but, hey, oh... a track from the CD that I listened to when I was the most suicidal just started to play... this brings back some painful memories... NEXT!
As I was leaving work today, my co-worker said that I was the quietest guy he'd ever met -- and that he found it odd that, unlike the other quiet people he knows, I was seemingly confident and had a sense of humor.
I think I'm so quiet in person because I... well, you've been reading this post! And, no, I'm not on any drugs of any kind, including alcohol... this is sober me. I think that's perhaps my greatest reservation about getting drunk -- I would be... unpredictable (and probably a complete blast to be around, to be honest).
I would probably lose my reservations about keeping my insanity confined.
Dark Wizard -- now that is one of my favorite games.
I need Bollywood movies... seriously. The Bollywood Chicken at Bombay House... gets my recommendation.
My thoughts aren't so non-sequitur as they may appear. Albeit, I absolutely love non-sequiturism.
I'm going to go take a bath.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical: moral attitudes.dignity:
elevated rank, office, station, etc.
According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
Proponents of homosexual marriage are demanding that homosexuals be treated equally in dignity as heterosexuals.
ARTICLE 1... All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Opponents of homosexual marriage are demanding that the dignity of heterosexuals be elevated higher than the dignity of homosexuals.
ARTICLE 2... Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.Proponents of homosexual marriage are demanding that one's rights, freedoms, and potentials not be based on the distinction of any kind, specifically the distinction of one's physiology.
Opponents of homosexual marriage are demanding that one's rights, freedoms, and potentials are necessarily tied to the distinction of one's physiology.
ARTICLE 3... Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.Proponents of homosexual marriage are demanding the maximum security of the homosexual person.
Opponents of homosexual marriage are reluctantly allowing the minimum security of the homosexual person.
Proponents of homosexual marriage see persons.
ARTICLE 6... Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
Opponents of homosexual marriage see orientations.
ARTICLE 7... All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.Proponents of homosexual marriage demand equal legal protection for homosexuals as for heterosexuals.
Opponents of homosexual marriage demand greater legal protection for heterosexuals than for homosexuals.
ARTICLE 12... No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.Proponents of homosexual marriage demand that the interference with a homosexual's "privacy, family, home or correspondence, [and] attacks upon his honour and reputation" stop immediately.
Proponents of homosexual marriage demand that the law protect the homosexual from this interference.
Opponents of homosexual marriage are in constant interference with a homosexual's "privacy, family, home or correspondence."
Opponents of homosexual marriage are constantly attacking the honour and reputation of homosexually-headed families.
Opponents of homosexual marriage demand that it is such their attacks that should not receive interference with the law (i.e. "You have no right to teach society's children about gay marriage in a non-negative light!")
ARTICLE 16... (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.Proponents of homosexual marriage demand this right for homosexuals -- including being a part of "the natural and fundamental group unit of society."
(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses. (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
Opponents of homosexual marriage demand that this right is not a right of a homosexual -- proclaiming a family is distinctly based on physiology. (See Article 2.)
ARTICLE 22... Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.Proponents of homosexual marriage demand the national effort, social and cultural rights, etc. allow a homosexual the free development of his personality -- with dignity.
Opponents of homosexual marriage demand national effort detriment a homosexual's ability to freely develop his personality -- especially with dignity.
ARTICLE 28... Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.Proponents of homosexual marriage are demanding this social and international order.
Opponents of homosexual marriage are demanding that the rights set forth in this Declaration should not be fully realized by the homosexual.
ARTICLE 29... (1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.Proponents of homosexual marriage are demanding that the homosexual be allowed the possibility to freely and fully develop his personality.
Opponents of homosexual marriage are demanding that the homosexual be denied the free and full development of his personality.
ARTICLE 29... (2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.Proponents of homosexual marriage are demanding that "the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society" -- specifically that which is deemed wrong -- be indistinct of anything save that which is proven to detriment society and infringe upon any of these Universal Rights.
Opponents of homosexual marriage are demanding that "the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society" -- specifically that which is deemed wrong -- be distinctly based upon their religious beliefs. (See Article 2.)
According to the American Psychological Association:
Not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents. Indeed, the evidence to date suggests that home environments provided by lesbian and gay parents are as likely as those provided by heterosexual parents to support and enable children's psychosocial growth.Proponents of homosexual marriage are actively looking at the actual effects of homosexual couples raising children.
Opponents of homosexual marriage refuse to acknowledge the actual effects of homosexual couples raising children, not only dismissing research but also (more starkly and importantly) defaming and profaning the honour and reputation of these actual families performing as equally as the families raised by heterosexual couples. (See Article 12.)
Conclusively: Opposing homosexual marriage legally is a gross infringement upon the Unversal Rights of the homosexual whose personality, dignity, honour, etc. includes marriage to one of the same sex.
Conclusively: Equating homosexual marriage to heterosexual marriage in no way infringes upon anyone's Universal Rights.
Homosexual marriage does not degrade heterosexual marriage in any way.
Indeed, homosexual marriage would give homosexual persons (again, specifically the homosexual whose free and full development of personality includes partnering with someone of the same sex in order to form a family) the same dignity, respect, honour, rights, etc. as the heterosexual counterpart.
And that is precisely the point -- and why you should support the legal equality of homosexual marriage.
You may believe whatever you will concerning what is right and wrong in the eyes of God.
You may not, however, deny anyone of any Universal Rights based on these beliefs. Such is unjust. Such is immoral. Such is ungodly -- even according to the religious beliefs of those who oppose homosexual marriage.
Wednesday, October 29th, 2008 is Write to Marry Day. To participate, post on your own blog against Prop 8 on or before October 29, 2008, then submit the link to your post by completing the form here.
In related news, I may have figured out what is causing my constant pain: my eyes. Apparently, the same reason my eyes have never been magic and why I needed to have a lazy eye repaired when I was 14 may be causing my pain of not-so-fun-proportions, staring at a computer screen for 40 hours a week... well, at least according to my Optometrist.
I did just take a four-day weekend... and my pain was starting to ease up quite a bit yesterday. The two main differences were: 1) I slept a lot; and 2) I avoided prolonged periods of computer usage.
The pain started to build back up midday today... So, I'm thinking maybe 40 hours a week of computer use isn't in my best interest... acting it is?
Monday, October 27, 2008
I am so excited, I'm crying... okay, so I'm not really crying, but I'm quite excited; I hope it lives up to (even surpasses) the brilliance that was the 90's series.
The X-Men spoke to me even before I really knew that I was [a mutant], a deviant, a threat to society, one whose [powers] are unnatural and must be suppressed by law.
One thing that I've always especially loved about the X-Men: they don't wear disguises, just uniforms to show their united cause.
If only they were real and I, indeed, had mutant powers; I'd totally join the X-Men...
Saturday, October 25, 2008
... Broadway is calling my name... it really is...
To be honest, it has been calling my name ever since I was ten and saw Into the Woods on PBS. But theatre was too gay, so I downplayed my love for it, my passion for it. My parents are wary of the atmosphere in "showbiz" so I downplayed my love for it, my passion for it. I am wary of the atmosphere in "showbiz" so I downlplayed my love for it, my passion for it.
And as much as I hated my last gigue in theatre, I recognize that it was the musical and the role, itself, that I hated. The only reason I got the role I did was because I was the only one who had experience in Tap. Otherwise, it really wasn't the role for me. I'm simply not the Jester-playing type. I much prefer the dramatic roles (or the dryly humorous roles... not the "I'm funny, look at me!" roles... blech!).
However, I owe a great deal to that role. It was my début truly singing a solo in front of an audience... and I didn't suck! I mean, I wasn't fantastic, but I wasn't terrible; I think I did a pretty good job, and it really boosted my confidence and ability to sing in front of people.
But the "DAMN IT" part comes in as I consider what this call from Broadway means... I mean, I finally have a career in computer science starting, and I do love it. The company I work for is fantastically amazing and has been working so incredibly with me as I'm trying to figure out these headaches.
Do I just ignore the call to act and stay on this road of stability? Stability has been great! Or do I break the stability and take yet another chance in life? (I mean, I'm not going to just up and quit my job, pack, and head to New York (or L.A. ... I may possibly be interested in screen acting)... I'd ease into things; get an agent here while I work where I'm working, see what kind of gigues I could secure and work my way into greater things).
I'm also not thinking, "Gee, I'm going to be the next big star!" I have no aspirations to "make it big" but to go out and act, be on stage [and/or screen], and make at least enough to pay for housing, food, and clothes. Honestly, I do think I have talent and could even make it into a Broadway show... I've been told I have talent and that I could make it into a Broadway show (and not by people I even know... that's a good sign, right?)... but it's still pretty dang iffy...
... what to do...
Such is difficult enough were it to stop there; however (and I'm speaking from personal experience), in the deficit of an unfulfilled, basic human need, there is no support but an atmosphere of shame, silence, fear, and abandonment.
Still, it goes even further in that the detrimental behavior in which many gays participate in order to heal the pain caused by both an unfulfilled need and an absent healthy atmosphere is not only being blamed on homosexuality, itself, but used to "prove" that homosexuals are unfit, ungodly humans and parents. (The latter being a population of gays who have either broken away from or have never participated in detrimental behavior.)
If I were to print out and take a yellow highlighter to the what is presented at http://www.eqi.org/eabuse1.htm and http://www.eqi.org/invalid.htm, highlighting phrases and actions taken by the Church – including statements made within the most recent pamphlet, God Loveth His Children – during my years seeking help from the Church, there would be some very yellow pages, to say the least.
Again, I don't say this to disparage the LDS Church or any of its members -- or to challenge any belief -- but to simply question, “Is this truly love? Is this truly compassion?”
I mean $8,000,000+ and who knows how many hours of time and other resources have been spent by members of the LDS Church to make sure their stance on marriage is legally validated... not one dime -- not a single penny -- was spent to validate my decision as a celibate gay Mormon as I did everything I could to uphold and respect the Church's definition of marriage. Not a single cent was spent to help me sustain a life I was barely able to live as I struggled -- on my own -- to find a purpose in life.
Well, there was some money spent to send me to see a counselor and what-not, but such was in the spirit of getting me to “deal with it.”
Indeed, the largest portion of time and attention given was not to validate my life or to help me find purpose in life but to say that I was “too sensitive and overreacting, that I should just suck it up and ‘have faith.’“
To put it bluntly, no support was given me within the Church; I was on my own, and I was dying -- literally. I could find, see, and feel no purpose in life.
So I left the counsels of the Church and sought refuge in one of the most basic human needs and rights: seeking out a lifelong partner with whom to raise a family... in such I have never felt healthier, more secure, more self-assure, and even closer to God.
And the LDS Church is trying to not just legally handicap but also socially disparage that which has been bringing me comfort, support, validation, and purpose in life (when they, themselves, could not provide such for me).
Is this truly love and compassion? Abandoning me and then trying to burn down the shelter (which shelter has created nothing but goodness and healing in my life) I have run to? To create an atmosphere where I was never good enough for them and then villanizing me for leaving?
Is it truly love and compassion to tell children their families are invalid, immoral, detrimental to not just their lives but society in general; that they should not talk about their families in school, should be silent about, even fear their families... just because their parents are gay?
Love and compassion would be raising $8,000,000+ and serving thousands of hours to create a healthy, feasible, and productive atmosphere for those who cannot meet those expectations of marriage – if marriage, indeed, should only be between a man and a woman.
Love and compassion would be raising another $8,000,000+ and serving thousands of hours to create healthy, feasible, and productive lives for the millions of adopted and foster children currently being raised by the careful, loving hands of homosexual parents – if children, indeed, should be raised by a male and a female.
In other words, where I am standing now, there is this strong message being thrown at me by the Church, “We care more about making sure our beliefs are validated by society than we care about any part of you.”
I have been cast aside; I have been trampled on; I have been dehumanized; I have been left behind to struggle for life all on my own.
Then a Good Samaritan came and lifted me up and put me upon a path where I could be healed and live... and as I walk on this path, I am being trampled on; I am being spit at; I am being mocked; I am being dehumanized; the sacredness of my path is being profaned by those who profess moral supremacy. My motives and my life are being allowed to be defined by them and not by me, not by my actual life, not by my actual motives.
And I can do nothing to protect myself from this... all I can do is pause, take a deep breath, and keep going – hoping that one day people won’t expect me to ride in the back of the bus.
Friday, October 24, 2008
ARTICLE 16... (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses. (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
So, not only is marriage a right... so is founding a family.
ARTICLE 30... Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.It is not, however, anyone's right "to engage in any activity... aimed at the destruction of [the right to marry and found a family]."
Proposition 8 reads:
ELIMINATES RIGHT OF SAME-SEX COUPLES TO MARRY. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. Changes the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California. Provides that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. Fiscal Impact: Over next few years, potential revenue loss, mainly sales taxes, totaling in the several tens of millions of dollars, to state and local governments. In the long run, likely little fiscal impact on state and local governments.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
In other news, I've been kind of grumpy today, and when I went to get A&W (fast food on an upset stomach, I know...) this evening, I almost snapped at the drive-thru guy. It went something like this:
Drive-Thru Guy: How are you today?
Drive-Thru Guy: What can I get for you?
Me: I'll have the corn dog nugget combo, please.
Drive-Thru Guy: Ten piece or five piece?
Drive-Thru Guy: What to drink?
Drive-Thru Guy: Sierra Mist okay?
Drive-Thru Guy: What else can I get for you?
Me: That should do it.
Drive-Thru Guy: That's all?!
Me: [eyes rolling] Yup.
Drive-Thru Guy: Are you sure you don't want a cookie?
Drive-Thru Guy: Are you SURE you don't want a **COOKIE** ??!
Me (in a "this better be the last time" kind of tone] : YUP!
Drive-Thru Guy: Okay... your total is...
This is how it almost went:
Drive-Thru Guy: That's all?!
Me: [eyes rolling] Yup.
Drive-Thru Guy: Are you sure you don't want a cookie?
Drive-Thru Guy: Are you SURE you don't want a **COOKIE** ??!
Me: I'm not sure I want to get anything here, actually! [car screeches racket-ly away]
I'm glad I held my composure (mostly); the kid was just trying to do his job well. In fact, if I weren't feeling so crummy, I probably would have bantered with him for a little bit; there was nobody waiting behind me... I could have maybe even gotten a free cookie out of it.
I remember a couple years ago when I used to get free dessert quite often at restaurants... I don't know why... I was kind of going through a flirty stage. But still, I've never considered myself particularly attractive -- although, I was rather adorable then... flirty and adorable... a good combination for free chocolate, apparently.
As I think about it, I would rather be adorable than hot/attractive... or is that just what people who aren't hot/attractive say to make themselves feel better?
Actually, in a way, I sort of wish I were hot/attractive -- I don't know if I'm still a part of the 'moho' crowd, but if so, a "mohotty" as the Original Mohomie would say (that is the term you [or your roommate] coined, n'est-ce pas ?)... anyway, I would be a model -- to get paid to eat healthily and sculpt my body to the state of a greek god would be... acceptable.
I'm hoping Annaleigh wins this cycle of America's Next Top Model. I would totally marry her; in fact, if I do ever marry a girl, she'll be just like Annaleigh... maybe a little shorter.
Anyway, I think I have a fever... and that's kind of rare for me. My average body temperature is 97.2 degrees Fahrenheit. I really like that about myself, for some reason.
My clavicle started to pop just the other month. I was quite excited. A few years ago, my sister told me that hers popped -- as did some [if not all] of my other siblings. I was feeling... well, like a sixteen year-old girl who has yet to have her first period may feel. Although, I can't say what that would feel like. Granted, my armpits were hairless all throughout highschool. If you ever meet me in person, ask to see my driver's license picture (me at 16)... I think it's pretty funny (I'll just say that I'm barely starting to look like I'm at least 16).
You know, I kind of don't like that about me, how young I look. It's been bothering me lately. Do they have age-adding cream? You know, stuff that wrinkles you up to make you look older... wait, doesn't tanning do that? I should tan. I am rather white.
I'm frankly not worried about the whole cancer thing... so I won't live to my hundreds when I'll need to be diapered and wheelchaired around... big whoop... in fact, GOOD RIDDANCE!
I have instructed my family that, if I ever need to be diapered, they should simply shoot me. I have also told them that they should howl like sad wolves as my casket is lowered into the ground.
I don't quite understand that desire... I hate dogs. I hate animals. Well, I don't hate them, I just don't love them. It still hurts me to see animals suffer. Like, once, I saw a family of ducks crossing the freeway. I stopped to let them cross, but a big ol' pickup truck zoomed right by be and hit the parents and some of the children, their bodies flinging helplessly askew... I gasped and even cried a little...
Then there was this one time time that I saw a half-smooshed cat on the road, twitching and fighting for life... it was extremely heart-wrenching: the middle was smashed, so only its back legs, head, and one of its front legs were whole... the front leg batting the air as if to say, "Ooooouch... heeeelp!"
And although I felt an immense amount of sympathy for this animal (again, I don't even like animals), my compassion was dead... because I couldn't do anything about it -- OOOh, see how I brought it back to the original point of the post... that's talent, I tell you what!
I'm ready to curl up in a ball and never wake up... that will teach me...
I need to eat something, but I don't know what; my stomach is threatening to expel anything that I put in it.
I don't think I'm going to take these meds again; I guess it's time to try the other ones (my doc gave me two options to try).
Ugly Betty better be super fabulous today, I tell you what.
In other news, I just read this quote by a woman who was raised by two gay men:
The struggles that typically come from having a LGBT parent are not because the parent(s) are LGBT, but because the children hear messages everyday that remind them that plenty of people question the validity of their families. This is understandably wearing and frustrating, but it is not the result of parents being LGBT. It is the result of living in a homophobic society.
If only those proclaiming, "Their families are not real families!" knew the damage they were causing to the hearts, minds, and souls of so many children.
If only those proclaiming, "Do not dare to teach my children that such families are valid!" knew the tent of unnecessary shame they are forcing upon so many children.
And then they proclaim the damage done is done by the hands of the parents who are doing everything in their power to lift, heal, and comfort (and doing a damn fine job of it, too).
... it is sad to say the very, very, very, very least...
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
24 And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come;
25 And whatsoever is more or less than this is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning.
30 All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence.
31 Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light.
I cannot claim to know the complete truth about myself as I do not know who I was before I came to Earth (I have a strong belief, but I do not know), nor do I know who I will be (again, I have strong beliefs, but I do not know).
The only thing I can know is who I am. Such is the only portion of truth I can rightfully claim. It is the only portion of truth anyone can rightfully claim. Everything else is hope and faith -- belief.
Pertaining to this portion of truth I claim, knowing who I am, such is independent within my sphere of creation -- which is somewhat circular to say, I know (i.e. "The truth of who I am is dependent on who I am"), but then it's somewhat not (i.e. "The truth of who I am is independent of who anyone else is.")
Or, as I once wrote:
My path is mine, so need I mimic the bitter tenet: I am; therefore, you will be the ‘I’ I am, for I am he who is the ‘you’ you are to be for I am you and you are I. As each is you and each is I; therefore, as I am, you will be too – not two, for one is you and I, for I am you and you are I. Should I be, then should you. My north is still as yours is still as yours is mine and mine is yours, for I am you... and you are I.I am often told that I am not who I am because of who I will be. And I must ask, "Why would you have me ignore the only portion of truth to which I am privy in order to take hold of a belief that claims I am not who I am?"
That is to say, the belief I am so desperately wanted to take upon myself claims that I cannot be as motherly as I am. But I am as motherly as I am, and I continue to grow in being motherly -- as equally as I continue to grow in being fatherly.
The belief I am so desperately wanted to take upon myself claims that I cannot love whom I love. But I do love whom I love, and I continue to grow in loving whom I love.
The belief I am so desperately wanted to take upon myself would have me refute the truth of who I am.
I do not understand this notion. I understand faith. I understand hope. I understand belief. Such things are necessary... but only when there can no truth be claimed.
It is to me backwards to try to refute the truth (which is quite impossible, to refute truth) of who I am based on a belief of who I will be. It is like telling a strongly mathematically-inclined child, "You are destined to become a ballet dancer [your parents are both ballet dancers]."
The future of this child cannot be proven one way or another; it will be revealed one day, when that child has grown... however, it is most viable and accurate to base the belief of this child's future on the child's strongly mathematical mind.
It is especially futile to base beliefs of that child's truth on the truth of the child's parents -- as "[a]ll truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence." (i.e. Truth is not universal, but independent within each individual*.)
So why am I being asked to deny the truth of who I am (I am referring specifically to my ability to act as both a motherly and fatherly figure and to my greatest spousal compatibility being a male -- and not to my sexual attractions to males) based on not just a belief of who I will be, but a belief that falsely identifies who I am as I am now?
Is it truly I who am denying God's light as I cling to what I can claim as truth? Is it truly they who are shining with God's light as they deny the truth about who I am?
I have always thought Light = Truth = God.
I have always, indeed, believed that light and truth are plainly manifested... and that which is plainly manifested to me (in regards to my homosexuality) is that I am capable of both mothering and fathering; I fall in love with men, not women; the best spousal match for me is a male.
Why should I take upon myself a belief that would not only befuddle that which is plain and simple but -- more importantly -- would also damn something that would bring a lot of goodness to not just my life but also to the lives of my future spouse, children, and those who are influenced positively by all the above?
I cannot see who this proposed belief can be true... it simply cannot be... 1) It denies who I am now -- again, referring mostly to my motherly traits and to whom I truly love; 2) It is not individually independent but completely dependent on who others are; 3) It ignores that which is plainly manifested**.
*If truth is a knowledge of something as it is, was, and will be, then the truth about one thing will never be the same as the truth about another thing -- in this regard, truth is not universal. However, the truth about one thing is the same here as it is there as it is anywhere -- in this regard, truth is universal.
For example, the truth about who God is is universal; however, God's truth is not my truth -- simply because I am not God.
** The word, manifest, has a visual implication, not an audible implication. Ergo, "that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them" to me does not imply anything about testimonies and words of prophets but testimonies of what is (and can be seen without the help of any third party).
Monday, October 20, 2008
What is it then, this horrible, horrible pain that so resembles an out-of-control sinus infection?
Here's what I came up with as I rummaged through the possibilities (I'll be seeing my regular doctor again on Wednesday to discuss):
- Migraine/Cluster Headache
- Eye Strain
- Some/Most/All of the Above
... the question is...
Can I afford orthodontic correction?
I've been needing to buy a different car -- anyone who has ridden in my current car the past couple months knows why, but probably won't remember too well... that is to say, it smells majorly of gas... I suspect it will blow up soon... which I wouldn't mind; that could be extremely entertaining. Honestly, I would laugh.
Man, life is expensive! And speaking of expensive, I need to go get food; I'm starving.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
And I do.
And then the words of one I hold in great respect resonated within me: We need to live how we believe it should be (I'm paraphrasing here).
I need to have faith in my beliefs. I need to back my faith up with actions. I need to attend Church, despite current persecution, and say, "I am here; my choices have not quenched my faith, my belief, my testimony... rather, my choices have strengthened such. I am here to worship; I am here to learn... I am hear in the hopes that my covenants with God can be made through the Holy Priesthood."
In sum, I have been feeling a strong spiritual push to attend church... and not just any church, but the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- even despite my strong feelings of disappointment and anger that have bubbled up these past weeks because of the Church's behavior concerning Proposition 8.
Rather specifically, I feel strongly that my future children need to be brought up within the walls of the LDS Church. To be honest, frank, and blunt, this notion terrifies me seemingly to no end, but it's a notion that weighs powerfully on my entire soul... perhaps, even, more powerfully than I've ever felt before...
Saturday, October 18, 2008
But I am so happy for my friend who got married. She is an amazing girl, and to see her so happy and in love made me happy.
As I was getting her wedding present, I remembered that people have sex. It's weird, I know, but I had rather forgotten about the concept of sex lately. It kind of made me laugh -- I mean some of the accusations made against gay people leaving the counsels of the Church are, "You just want to fulfill carnal desires..." (I was told such by several people, family included).
Truth is, I simply want to build up a solid, strong, happy, loving family. I want to take hold of that which is most precious here in this life. Sex, I'm sure, is a nice little perk... but definitely not a goal.
And although it's painful to think that many people don't think that's for me, that God wants that for me, I am very calm in my heart in feeling otherwise. I feel guided by Him. I feel respected by Him. In fact, I have never felt Him near me so strongly as I do now.
Lately, whenever I worry about things pertaining to my future family, I simply get a soft, gentle, "calm down" hand on my shoulder and then an overwhelming feeling of hope, peace, and comfort.
I trust Him, and I trust myself to hear Him and be led by Him.
I know I'm sounding a lot like a "Jesus Freak" right now, but I do believe in God, Jesus Christ. I hope to emulate Him, His mercy, His kindness, but most of all His charity. I hope I can one day be an example of His goodness that many might believe in His name, which name is Love.
I kind of have a different definition of believing in and taking upon ourselves the name of Christ than most mainstream Christian organizations. That is, I believe if someone is modeling one's life out of compassion, mercy, tenderness, kindness, and charity, then one has taken upon oneself the name of Christ.
I believe Christ is less worried that people accept Him as God and more worried that people live according to who He is as God.
Some may argue that such could not be true according to Christ's teachings concerning covenants (such as baptism)... but that's a topic for another post.
For now, though, I need to get ready for bed; I have to wake up earlier than my usual Sunday wake-up as one of my friends just got back from a mission and is speaking in Sacrament meeting tomorrow morning.
Having been a teacher myself -- I taught as a full-time substitute teacher as well as a 2nd Grade teacher -- I know that if anyone sees the true nature of parents and the effectiveness of their parenting, it's teachers and those involved with the education of children.
I also know that the most memorable students are those who excel brilliantly (in any way, academics, behavior, etc.) or those who struggle greatly (in any way, academics, behavior, etc.).
If gay couples raised memorable students of the latter kind, CTA would be supporting Proposition 8 and would be wanting to keep children out of the homes of gay couples.
However, seeing as CTA -- the largest association of educators in California -- is against Proposition 8, I am lead to believe that children raised by gay couples are generally memorable for excelling brilliantly.
And if any teaching within the classroom is going to happen, it's to protect these students from learning in a hostile environment where their families are seen as evil entities to be shunned, swept under the rug, ignored, demeaned, dehumanized, etc.
More and more I look forward to the day when I will be a father. To be honest, I did once hold that fear and belief that heterosexuals are the ideal parents... but then I opened my eyes and simply looked for myself -- not just at families headed by gay couples, but within myself -- and I saw that which is true, the amazing, incredible, exemplary, and simply good value of homosexual couples as parents.
Friday, October 17, 2008
[trying not to mention anything about gay marriage]
I think a lot of people use this "I need my mommy; I'm sick" kind of feeling to support the belief that two men are less ideal than a man and a woman in raising children.
For me, though, this feeling is not associated with my mom's physical attributes but her caring nature... which nature I hope to be able to one day truly take upon myself, especially when I am a parent -- and to which nature I am attracted in a potential spouse.
So, when my kids are grown, on their own, and sick, they will hopefully whimper, "I need my daddies."
... that's assuming I ever get married...
I still really don't know where to even start looking to find a guy who values the same things as I.
I'm not in any hurry, but I'm definitely ready to start heading toward that next phase in life.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Having tolerance without condoning: We can love someone while still maintaining and advocating our standards and beliefs.Actually, I'm not going to respond to this one save to say that the LDS Church's definition of the word "tolerance" is a definition I will not be teaching to my children.
Unless Proposition 8 passes, California society will soon undergo a profound change in its basic understanding of marriage and family life: That will affect everyone in numerous ways. Over time, greater acceptance of nontraditional marriage will be demanded of all people. This could impact the ability of any religion to teach and practice its beliefs.Society, in general, is undergoing profound changes "in its basic understanding of marriage and family life." This is why support of gay marriage is growing. It is not the law that is instigating the change, but society seeing the actual equality of families headed by gay couples and families headed by straight couples. And this change is going to take place whether gay marriage is legal or not.
So, really, this is not a consequence of gay marriage, but the reason why gay marriage is becoming more and more accepted.
The last two sentences of the quoted statement are... well, for lack of a kinder word... hypocritical. That is to say, this 'demand of acceptance' is precisely what Proposition 8 is doing: demanding that society accept traditional marriage as the only kind of marriage. As far as impacting the practicing of beliefs, Proposition 8 is the greatest offender -- and, to be frank, gay marriage's 'guilt' in this offense is quite debatable.
Proposition 8 will not hurt gays and lesbians: In California, the law provides for marriage-related benefits to be given to civil unions and domestic partnerships. Proposition 8 does not diminish these benefits.I think the wording of their explanation is quite misleading. That is, it gives the impression that Proposition 8 will not take anything away from gay couples. I do not know the differences between civil unions/domestic partnerships and marriage -- I am assuming there are some, besides title, but I don't know -- however, there is at very least a removal of status.
I would assume that, if you were to ask those who have been forcefully deranked [sic], most would say they were affected negatively (i.e. hurt) by their demotion.
However, title holding is mostly superficial. The underlying harm is that harm instigated whenever one group claims superiority over another group (now, I'm no Historian, but from what I have studied in History -- which, granted, isn't all too impressive -- that which has caused societies to fail has most often, if not always, been one group of people claiming superiority over another group -- I know, a little off topic, but such is my response to: "[Insert perceived evil here] caused the fall of [insert well known mighty society that fell here].")
Failure to pass Proposition 8 will hurt children: If same-sex marriage remains legal, public schools will put it on equal footing with traditional marriage. Children will likely receive “age appropriate” information about sexual relations within heterosexual and homosexual marriages.Frankly, this is going to happen whether gay marriage is legal or not. It's happening in states where gay marriage is illegal.
And the question on my mind is: How will learning about homosexually headed families hurt children? Simply put: It will make it more difficult for them to believe what their parents are preaching.
Failure to pass Proposition 8 will hurt churches: The court’s decision will inevitably lead to conflicts with religious liberty and free speech rights. Society will become more and more hostile to traditional beliefs about marriage and family.Firstly, religions will always have their liberties and free speech rights -- sure, there will be conflicts (but no conflicts not already existing with religious liberty and free speech in regards to other legal matters -- for example, the conflict concerning smoking, drinking, etc. that came up when the LDS Church opened the walkway in downtown Salt Lake City).
The last fear, "Society will become more and more hostile to traditional beliefs about marriage and family," is perhaps the most valid of all consequences.
However and again, this is going to happen whether laws are passed or not. Again, this is for one simple reason: Society is finally beginning to see the goodness of gay couples raising families.
Children are going to see this goodness, whether or not taught specifically in their school classes, and such will make believing in their parents' claims that homosexual couples are inferior parents extremely difficult.
I have found that children, especially and in general, don't like being lied to. So when they start seeing these good, amazing families -- and not seeing the abominations preached to them by their parents -- they are going to start questioning... and not just the beliefs of homosexuality, but pretty much everything told them by their Church and parents.
Again (and again), this is going to happen, no matter how any state constitution defines marriage. Passing Proposition 8 may grant some more time to shield children from what's actually out there, but gay parents are going to become more common. The days of homosexuals living in the closet are coming to an end (well, I'm sure there will always be closeted homosexuals, but it's becoming more and more rare)... to quote a show I wasn't expecting to love as much as I did:
You can't stop
The motion of the ocean
Or the rain from above
You can try to stop the paradise
We're dreamin' of
But you cannot stop the rhythm
Of two hearts in love to stay
Cause you cant stop the beat!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
To be honest, the pain gets up in the 9.579 range on a scale from 1-10, 10 being the worst. This past week, it has especially been affecting my sleep, so on top of my sinus pain and pressure, I am tired and on edge.
I'm ready for this to be over.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
But that's besides the point. I should allow others to voice their opinions without me feeling offended. How arrogant of me to have felt otherwise.
Monday, October 13, 2008
He fills me up when hungry. He lifts my head in sorrow. He directs my path, and I will follow Him.
And I hold no fear of judgment day... no, I am but a giddy child, eager to present to my Father the present of my life, the good works I hope to fulfill, the lives I hope to touch, the spouse I hope to love, and the children I hope to raise to hold the same joy in Christ.
Sure, there will be dinks and tears and stains on my gift -- just as most homemade gifts from a child. Sure, it will not be greater than any other gift; in fact, it will perhaps be meager compared to most... but it is unique, it is simple, it is my contribution to Him.
And I will have made it out of love and hope and charity. And I make it not in anticipation of the reward I will receive, but in anticipation of sincerely showing God the goodness my heart can bring forth.
Okay, so such a question is rather erroneous as I am gay, and there's absolutely no way of knowing how things would be if I weren't.
So, I guess the question is: Why am I on the side I am on? Why did I ditch the belief that celibacy or straight marriage is the only option? Why have I come to believe that gay couples can make exemplary parents and should be treated equal to all other parents?
Well, it's because I turned on the lights, looked under the bed, and didn't find any monsters -- just dirty laundry in desperate need of washing... soiled clothes that I had shoved under there.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
7. Now there was no law against a man's belief; for it was strictly contrary to the commands of God that there should be a law which should bring men on to unequal grounds.
8. For thus saith the scripture: Choose ye this day, whom ye will serve.
9. Now if a man desired to serve God, it was his privilege to serve him; but if he did not believe in him there was no law to punish him.
11. For there was a law that men should be judged according to their crimes. Nevertheless, there was no law against a man's belief; therefore, a man was punished only for the crimes which he had done; therefore all men were on equal grounds.
California's Proposition 8's punishment is based on religious belief which would put heterosexuals and homosexuals on unequal ground.
California's Proposition 8's justification for the punishment is not based on any crimes that have been committed.
According to the Book of Mormon, this is "contrary to the commands of God."
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Of course, I have to be completely honest: in a comic book world, I think I would be a villain (one of those almost-a-good-guy villains, but a villain none-the-less).
In this world, where I have no super powers, I can keep my evil urges to burn stuff down in vengeance under check.
... actually, I just reminded myself of an Evil-Andrew moment... way back in First Grade. It was St. Patrick's day. Our class made St. Patrick's day shades out of green construction and transparency papers. I was standing behind a classmate who was getting a drink out of the drinking fountain.
It was just he and I in the hallway. I noticed his St. Patrick's day shades were rather loose. Evil-Andrew whispered, "If you push on the stem, right behind his ear, just the tiniest of bits, his shades will fall onto the drinking fountain and get all wet! Wouldn't that be funny?"
Good-Andrew didn't even have a chance to say anything... the glasses were wet, my classmate crying... and my teacher coming down the hall.
In fact, I don't think Good-Andrew was even around as there was no hesitation when Evil-Andrew explained to my teacher what 'happened' : "I saw his glasses slipping... I was just trying to save them from getting wet..."
(Evil-Andrew even managed to muster up some tears in my eyes, implying, "I can't believe you would think that sweet little Andrew Pankratz is capable of doing such a mean thing!")
Of course my teacher believed Evil-Andrew completely, and I remained the sweet, little, Andrew Pankratz in her eyes...
I took four Russian words I had never before encountered and took just a few minutes (equal amounts of time for each) to learn two of the words with my experimental method and two of the words with the most popular non-classroom method. Then I waited a month -- during which time I did not review any of the words. After a month's time had passed (and then some), I tried to recall the four Russian words.
It turned out even better than I expected. I was able to recall one of the words I learned with my method and came EXTREMELY close to the other word learned by said method. I couldn't recall even the first sounds of the other two. To be honest, I was expecting the latter with all four words.
It's looking very promising, and I think it's time for a larger scale test.
Is there anyone interested in learning French? (If yes, please email me: email@example.com .)
Thursday, October 9, 2008
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
This is the first scripture that came to my mind when I heard about the LDS Church's new, official website about Proposition 8.
It is so easy to curse and despise and persecute back... but we must remember to act according to the aforequoted [sic] admonition of God.
I want to applaud the campaign against Proposition 8 for doing just that:
Monday, October 6, 2008
I plan on listening to other conference talks, but I wanted to hear what the Church felt necessary to emphasize in regards to marriage. Appropriately, the emphasis was: Heterosexual marriage through the New and Everlasting Covenant is each individual to gain the greatest eternal salvation.
As I ponder this, I am reminded of my many years as a babysitter -- I've babysat ever since I was twelve years old... possibly eleven. As I started out, I used rewards basically as bribes (if you do [x], then you'll get [y]!). Such a tactic works, and most kids will do [x] in order to get [y].
However, there are a couple of snags: 1) There is a problem when a child has no desire for [y] -- a major problem when all one has is [y]; and 2) It's not the most effective means to motivate children to do [x].
I think it's rather obvious how this bribing method doesn't work too well when a child has no desire for [x]. This is perhaps one of the greatest reasons, in my opinion, why many homosexuals don't stick around with the Church: a life of eternal heterosexual-ism simply isn't appealing/desirable -- unless, perhaps, you're out just to get the gold. To many homosexuals, the definition of "the greatest joy" simply does not equate with being married to someone of the opposite sex... ever... especially if that marriage is forever and ever... and ever.
Oftentimes, the threat, "You won't gain eternal salvation if you act on your homosexuality!" only creates an "Oh no... I won't get what I don't want... how will I ever live..." response.
Simply put, bribing doesn't always work.
Of course, as a babysitter, I could custom tailor my rewards. For those who love to watch movies, the reward would be a movie. For those who love kicking the ball around, the reward would be kicking the ball around. Etc.
But then I started to notice something that motivated the kids to actually want to do what was needed (instead of wanting the reward): they loved me. They were loved by me. They felt safe around me. I attended to their needs. They trusted me. I trusted them. They were happy around me -- and when they were sad, they knew I was sad with them; we were sad together. And so on.
And simply because it was I who was asking, they did it -- because they knew I could be trusted to guide them to happiness and safety. Bribes became unneeded -- in fact, I never use bribes anymore, especially when babysitting children (granted, I never get asked anymore... but that's beside the point) -- instead, I build up relationships of trust, love, and compassion.
Of course, that's not to say there aren't any sort of rewards... it's just that the rewards are more of a consequence of the loving, trusting, compassionate atmosphere instead of being any sort of focus. That is, I watch movies with those who enjoy watching movies because I know they enjoy it (doubly so if it's with Uncle Andrew) not because they promised to go to bed on time. And they go to bed on time because they love me, and I have asked (and explained that it's the healthiest choice).
Such I believe is the case with God and eternal salvation. Eternal heterosexual unions are made eternal, not because it is the focus of life, but because God loves His heterosexual children and blesses them with an eternal tie. I believe it will one day be revealed to be the same with God's homosexual children.
True children of God obey His commandments because they love Him, and He has asked (and explained that it's the healthiest choice). Pertaining specifically to the homosexual child of God, the commandments may not be the same as prescribed by other children of God, but the commandments prescribed through a personal relationship with God (such is the case of many children of God... the LDS story of Nephi killing Laban is an example of such).
Anyway, the moral of this post is that true obedience is a consequence of love, compassion, and trust. True rewards are consequences of love, compassion, and trust.
Therefore, I say we shed this insistent, "You must obey [x] in order to get reward [y]" and take upon ourselves, "We must create an atmosphere of love, compassion, and trust." The former holds within itself nothing but selfishness -- "I want [x], so I'll give you something you want, [y], to get what I want..." "I want [y], so I'll do what you want [x], so I can get what I want..." The latter holds within itself nothing but selflessness -- "You are precious to me, you are dear to me, I love you... here, let me give you this so that you might be happy..." "You are precious to me, you are dear to me, I love you... here, let me do this for you so that you might be happy..."
If Christ is the Christ I have read about in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, then I believe this, the latter, is how He operates. And when it comes to eternal joy and salvation, I can imagine no other statement coming from Christ's lips to a homosexual couple than "You are precious to me, you are dear to me, I love you... I have seen what great joy your union has brought not just to you but to your children and to your children's children and to all those who are a part of their lives... here, let me bless you that you may retain this joy for ever..."
And from the homosexual couple's lips to Christ: "You are precious to us, you are dear to us, we love you... here, let us raise our children to love Thee as we love Thee... let us raise our children to love all Thy children... let us, ourselves, love all Thy children and hold no animosity, anger, hatred, prejudice, malice towards anyone... let us be yet another physical personification of Thy love here on Earth..."
This is my testimony of the heart and motivations of Christ.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
So, I guess the question is: am I ready? To be honest, I don't think so... but, it usually doesn't matter.
To be honest, I've been wanting to start attending church again, and I was fully expecting a strong prompting to do so as I listened to the leaders of the LDS Church.
But, I didn't. Overall, I felt let down. I was thirsty to be spiritually uplifted. I was expecting to be spiritually uplifted... but I wasn't.
It seemed to me that the great majority, at least 80%, of the messages were focused on such concepts as "a worthy priesthood holder has well coiffed hair" -- that is, it was rather rare to hear a message that focused on the internal, the heart, the desire to do good and serve mankind, on love, on compassion... and the bulk was focused on the external, the outwardly measurable, etc.
I didn't see the message of Jesus Christ... instead it seemed I got a heavy dose of the Mosaic Law. Has Conference always been like this and I've never noticed? I don't remember this. I mean, I remember a small dose of such, but not the majority...
Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to critique or speak ill... I merely am addressing my disappointment.
I guess my beliefs in God and His Gospel have drifted even further away from Mormonism than I had thought.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
I also love this clip... I love the message, the spirit, the tone. It grieves me deeply that opponents of gay marriage are afraid of this.
However, I didn't post this clip just because I love it or to express my sorrow about the previous mentioned fear. I posted this clip to address another fear opponents of gay marriage hold: "Gay marriage will destroy [traditional] gender roles."
If one is attentive, one can see something very interesting about gender roles, even traditional gender roles -- not in the song but in the responses to the very first two questions the host asks.
The majority of the children were attending with their mothers.
Even in such a secular country as Holland (I believe such is where this was filmed), it is primarily the mothers who are schlepping their kids around.
Neither did the children appear confused when the terms "mother" and "father" were used.
Hell, just the fact that the terms "mother" and "father" were used in their gendered classes is a testament that the fear that gay marriage will muddle the concept gender is unfounded.
And of course, within the song itself, there's still a distinction between what is considered motherly and what is considered fatherly.
Gender is not fading. Traditional gender roles are not fading.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
I love this clip... I love the message, the spirit, the tone. It is precisely what I would have done had I the resources -- well, actually, I would have included a gay couple with their children.
I think the contrast between this clip and the clip found at ProtectMarriage.com speaks volumes about the hearts and attitudes behind the movement to either support or deny homosexual equality.
I hope to always side with the attitude found in this video clip. Even if God spoke to me face to face and said that such leads to eternal damnation, I would look squarely in God's eyes and firmly declare, "Then I will be damned."
Last night was especially fitful. I kept slipping in and out of bizarre dreams, some of them lingering whilst I was awake.
... if I'm lucky, this will engulf me and I will become insane (the "I think we better institutionalize him" kind of insane)...
cross your fingers