Lots of Work to Do

June 27th, 2012

June is, according to gay rights organizers and Barack Obama himself, “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.” It’s marked with numerous infamous celebrations, of course, featuring half-naked men, half-naked women, dancing, rainbow flags, glitter, and other shows of inappropriate behavior that I don’t particularly involve myself in while I’m in the public eye. That being said, however, this month is not all about parades, glitter, and free appletinis at Tavern on Camac.

The month is also about the ongoing struggle for equal rights in the United States and elsewhere in the world. Indeed, June’s designation as Pride Month is directly related to the Stonewall riots in June, 1969, in Manhattan. Those riots are generally believed to be the beginning of the modern movement for recognition and equality, so it’s a natural fit.

I live in a state where civil unions have been legalized; Delaware also borders Maryland, where gay marriage is legal, and New Jersey, where civil unions are also recognized. It’s legal in several other states, too, but not nearly enough. For a bigger picture of the current state of LGBT equality, see this Wikipedia map. It’s easy to get comfortable, especially when you live in a state that plays host to the top-ranked “gay beach” in the entire world, but there is really no time for comfort. There is a lot of work to be done.

Gay marriage is banned by statute, at the very least, in 42 states at the present time, and several more states are looking to ban it constitutionally in the upcoming electoral cycle. Similar legislation passed, banning all civil unions or domestic partnerships, in North Carolina last month. The federal Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal benefits to gay couples who are married in states where it is legal, remains on the books. Even as the Obama administration has stopped defending this bigoted law, Republicans in the House of Representatives have stepped in to defend it in U.S. courts where it is currently being challenged.

People still protest in the streets about the “sanctity” of marriage, and how gay marriage is counter to it. They still bully, beat up, and even kill people who are homosexual. People still conceive of the larger LGBT population as one of skewed values, where committed relationships are disfavored and a more salacious lifestyle is encouraged. They still say “that’s so gay” when they disapprove of something.

To get comfortable is to surrender to these realities. This is a human rights issue, not a state legislation issue. No matter how cushy it is to enjoy civil unions, anti-hate crime legislation, and employment equality laws here in Delaware and the surrounding states of the northeast, there are places where people are miserable, unequal, or dead, simply based on their sexual orientation.

Until that stops being the case, every parade during the month of June should be a momentary reminder that such obnoxious celebrations of sexuality are still permissible only among an exceedingly small majority of Americans. Outside of the northeast corridor, and east of California and the Pacific Northwest, such celebrations are egregious offenses attended by third-class citizens who risk their lives every time they show an ounce of pride in who they are.

June 23rd, 2012

It's a lovely day to tan!

It's a lovely day to tan!

June 21st, 2012

Buffy is ready for dinner.

Buffy is ready for dinner.
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Ladies and Gentlemen: iDennis III

June 18th, 2012

It was a chilly February day in 2008 when I purchased my last MacBook Pro. I logged onto the online Apple Store, loaded up the customization screen for the model I wanted, and made sure that it was as loaded as my budget would allow. It arrived with the following “amazing” specs, as the late Steve Jobs would’ve said (and did say, when he announced this model):

  • 2.4GHz Core2Duo processor (two cores)
  • 2GB 667MHz DDR2 RAM
  • 250GB hard disk drive (5400 RPM)
  • nVidia GeForce 8600M GT with 256MB of VRAM
  • Battery life of 4 hours
  • Mac OS X 10.4 “Tiger”

And The Years, They Wore On…

I assure you, when I first got this thing, all of my friends thought that it was the most beautiful and speedy laptop they’d ever feasted their eyes on. It was a conversation piece. A coffee table ornament. A source of breezes when I loaded applications with barely even TWO dock bounces! It was, quite simply, wonderfulmazingtastic. Then, of course, it got old. Old, old, old.

I tried to stave off the entry of my MacBook Pro into the realm of disregarded Macs (which also contains my white 14″ iBook from pre-historic times) with a 6GB RAM upgrade and a new 750GB hard disk drive running at 7200 RPM. I was successful for a while, but then the video card started to melt. This is a well-known defect for my model, and I am outside the free replacement / repair window. The time, sadly enough, had come. It was time to send iDennis Jr. into that good night on my Closet Shelf of Dust-Collecting Doom.

Introducing iDennis III, the 2012 MacBook Pro

As my Mac slowed down and struggled to run Adobe Photoshop CS6, and as the video card began to get super-hot and make my fan go crazy, I began stockpiling my cash as a replacement seemed inevitable. With great fanfare (I danced with the cats), my bank account today got the final direct deposit enabling an all-cash purchase of this beauty. No credit required! Because I’m rich. And now I’m not only filthy rich, but I have (another) fantastically amazing MacBook Pro. Let’s look at how this puppy stacks up against its predecessor.

  • 2.6GHz Intel Core i7 processor (four cores)
  • TurboBoost to 3.6GHz
  • 16GB 1600MHz DDR3 RAM
  • 512GB olid state drive
  • Intel Graphics HD 4000
  • nVidia GeForce GT 650M with 1GB of GDDR5 memory
  • Battery life of 7.5 hours
  • Mac OS X 10.7 “Lion” (free upgrade to OS X 10.8 “Mountain Lion” next month)

While my previous (and first) MacBook Pro was the traditional “PowerBook” design carried over from an earlier era in Apple history, my new model is the excellent “unibody” design with the stunning black keys, glossy high-resolution display, and battery indicator LED lights. It is SO beautiful. If I weren’t dating Special K, I’d seriously consider taking this thing fine dining.

At the very least, I’m going to buy it a case. So, welcome to the family, iDennis III. You have big shoes to fill, having replaced my first MacBook Pro ever, which in turn replaced my first Mac ever (the iBook). They grow up so fast!

June 17th, 2012

Blanche loves when Korey's not home because she gets to sleep in his spot...and stare.

Blanche loves when Korey’s not home because she gets to sleep in his spot…and stare.

On the Power of Persistence

June 16th, 2012

So, I hate to knock on wood and everything, but I think I’ve reached one of those running-downhill kind of moments in my life. This comes after several years of wanting to kill bitches or punch holes into walls, though, and I think that’s why it’s notable. I have spent the last two years (and change) building my own business from nothing, and it has been extremely stressful and taxing and OMFG-why-am-I-alive-ing. But I recently realized that, like, much to my surprise, everything is alright.

And it’s more than just “alright.” It’s lucrative. Somehow, over the past two years, I have turned my enterprise from a disorganized freelance mess into a $50k annual salary juggernaut. This year, I landed a single client that asked me to overhaul the brands of 700 individual companies, effectively giving me in one job what my entire 2011 salary was. That’s in addition to all the other work I had lined up. And it’s all because I freelanced, stuck it out, took my time, and did a really good job on everything I pursued.

I have been known to really bitch about this setup, and I do still view it as a compromise. I severely want a top-floor job in an executive or legal office in Philadelphia or Manhattan. I won’t stop wanting that. But the important part is that I am systematically laying the foundation for a brighter future, a higher salary, and a longer list of satisfied clients. Despite the stress.

Sometimes, when things are really freaking terrible, you’ve just gotta chug a beer, grit your teeth, and DEAL. Sooner or later, you’re bound to make it through and chuckle at how damn good you are. And oh, I am so, so good. Good, good, good.

That is all.