Friday, June 29, 2007


Mr. Fob: You know, I've been realizing lately how important it is to me to be perceived as the "bad" kid--the one who's cooler than everyone else because he's above their petty rules.

FoxyJ: Huh. Do you think this need to rebel has to do with the fact that you didn't feel like you could be rebellious as a teenager?

Mr. Fob: Oh, I hadn't made that connection, but it makes sense.

FoxyJ: Yeah, it does.

Mr. Fob: Oh. Wow. I didn't realize this until just now, but that's exactly what "Getting Out"* was about--it was my "screw you" to conservative Mormons because as a gay man I'm marginalized and therefore better than them, and my "screw you" to liberal gays** because as a married gay man I was doubly marginalized and therefore better than them. Wow, I'm shallow.

FoxyJ: I don't think that's how people read it.

Mr. Fob: No, but that's how I meant it.

FoxyJ: I think it's valuable for gay Mormons to be aware of the tension that comes from existing in that space between homosexuality and Mormonism, from being both and yet neither.***

Mr. Fob: Yeah, but it's one thing to be aware of that tension and another to be proud of it.

*If it seems like I bring up "Getting Out" a lot, well, look at how many other titles I have listed under "Fobby Publications."
**Conservative Mormons/liberal gays, in case you don't know, is a false dichotomy.
***I don't think Foxy really talks this way, but I'm having a hard time reproducing her dialogue. Oh, for a constantly running tape recorder!

A racoon just walked (limped?) by my kitchen window.

Perhaps this is normal for some people, but it's the first time I've ever seen it.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Seneca Strength

Since I decided to blog about each of my siblings last month I've been thinking of what I would say about each of them, and as I knew SenecaSis's birthday was coming up I was particularly thinking of what I would say about her. And then this morning I looked at the date and realized I've missed her birthday by three days. Sorry, Sis, my mind has been elsewhere the past couple weeks. I hope you had a great day.

SenecaSis is so named because she, like my second-oldest sister, Lika, is secretly my half-sister. Well, actually, the secret is that we're related at all, because most people don't see the resemblance between my white skin, blond hair, and blue eyes and SenecaSis and Lika's brown skin, dark brown hair, and brown eyes. My mom's first husband--my sisters' dad--is a full-blooded Seneca Indian. (And, by the way, has a healthy sense of humor that his daughters have inherited, which is why I don't mind being so politically incorrect in those links. Oh, and for real info on the Seneca Nation, click here.)

When I think of SenecaSis I think of strength. She has been through a lot in her life--some of which I don't even know about--and through it all she has shown how strong she is. I have seen her stand up and defend not only herself, but also the people she loves on many occasions. Like me, SenecaSis seems to experience a sense of indignant rage at the sight of injustice, but unlike me she doesn't let fear of confrontation get in the way of doing something about it. I appreciate my big sister's example of strength in the face of adversity, as that kind of courage is often something I lack.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


After five years of announcements and rumors like these, I know better than to get excited. Still, though, if her own record label is saying that she's in the studio recording for the new album, it has to come out sooner or later, right?

Monday, June 25, 2007


In the mid-90s one of my favorite comics was Impulse by Mark Waid and Humberto Ramos. The series starred a teenaged superhero with superspeed who was known for being impulsive--perhaps not the best character trait for someone who can act in an instant on a whim to buy Chinese food... in China. This is, of course, what drove the humor of the book.

I am generally not a very impulsive person, at least not in my day-to-day life. If it's not in my plan for the day, it's generally too much trouble. Maybe I'll fit that spontaneous trip to the park in next week.

When it comes to major life decisions, though--schooling, career, marriage, children--I can be pretty impulsive. I can honestly say that I don't regret any major life decisions I've made, but I often think back on how quickly I've gone from one plan to another, like when I switched from the English PhD track to the MLIS track. Granted, I had a bit of external motivation for that change in the form of two rejections, but still I made the mental hop from one camp to the other rather quickly, considering that we're talking about what I'll be doing for the rest of my life here. Similarly, both times Foxy and I decided to get pregnant, the decision came in the form of an epiphany of sorts after a period of not wanting to have a(nother) child. Both times we... ahem... acted on the epiphany pretty immediately (though if I recall correctly, with Little Dude it took us a month or two before we succeeded).

Again, I don't regret these impulsive decisions. I don't regret pursuing an MLIS instead of a PhD, and I certainly don't regret either of our children. Nor, for that matter, do I regret the decisions to marry or to separate, though both were made at least a little impulsively. Therapist says that he always knows what the right decision is--the thing is he usually doesn't know until after the fact. The right decision, you see, is always the one you've made. That doesn't mean that the next time you're faced with similar options the right decision will be the same one; it means only that the decisions you've already made are the only ones that could have led to the present reality of your life, and it's fruitless to say that reality is "wrong."

With that in mind--the fact that there's no point in questioning past decisions except in so far as what you learn from the questioning might inform future decisions--yesterday Therapist and I talked a bit about my propensity to make major decisions on impulse. What it comes down to, we concluded, is that I tend to get excited about new ideas and want to test them out NOW. While some people live in the past, I live in the future, always anxious to make whatever new future I've envisioned happen ASAP. This isn't a bad thing, per se, but it's a good idea for me to be aware of it and temper my actions accordingly, particularly when other people are involved.

As it turns out, Impulse eventually learned to temper his impulsiveness, at which point he changed his name to Kid Flash. Then last year he grew up and started calling himself Flash. And then last week he died.

Take from that whatever moral you want.


I am happy to say that my former disclaimer no longer applies; I have tasted of the fruit of the Fobstuff store, and it is good. On the light-colored shirts, magnets, and buttons, at least. I'm still a little worried that there's a halo around the image on the dark-colored shirts, but at least I know it's not pixely. As for the thong, you'll have to try it yourself--I won't be posting photos here anytime soon.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Seattle Parade Deathmatch: Solstice vs. Pride

  • Solstice opened with bodypainted nude cyclists; Pride opened with (and I believe this is the official term) dykes on bikes. Draw.
  • Solstice involved a lot of nonsexual full nudity; Pride involved a lot of very sexual partial nudity. +1 Solstice.
  • Solstice involved a crying baby and a screaming toddler with sunscreen in her eyes; the kids were at church while I was at Pride. +1 Pride.
  • Both Solstice and Pride had belly dancers. Draw.
  • Both parades had a gay marching band. Draw.
  • No corporate sponsorship at Solstice; lots of corporate sponsorship at Pride. +1 Solstice.
  • The only free thing I got at Solstice was a bead necklace for S-Boogie; I got handfuls of free candy, stickers, and condoms at Pride. +1 Pride.
  • I worried with each free piece of candy I received at Pride that the person handing it out was an undercover agent from the God Hates Fags group down the block, out to kill us all with poison candy. -1 Pride.
  • As much as I like to think of myself as an artsy hippy type, I'm not really, so I can't really say I felt much of a sense of solidarity with the people at Solstice; on the other hand, I did identify with many of the groups marching in Pride, particularly the Gay Fathers Association of Seattle and several of the other family- and religious-oriented groups. +1 Pride.
  • I didn't identify so much with the floats that had hot guys in briefs freaking each other to remixed Michael Jackson songs. -1 Pride.
  • Still, they were hot guys in briefs. +1 Pride.
Final Score:
Solstice 2
Pride 2

There you have it, folks. Tune in next year for the rematch.

Scared Faithless

Tonight the Ugly Swan and I caught the bus down to the Seattle Center for a Seattle Men's Chorus concert called "Scared Faithless." It was a beautiful show centered around the theme of (can you guess?) religion and homosexuality. About half the music was psalms, hymns, and gospel music like Randall Thompson's "Alleluia," "God Help the Outcasts" from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Y.M. Barnwell's "Would You Harbor Me?"; while the other half was more political, often satirical songs like "The Fundamental" (in which listeners are encouraged to get up, grab their Bibles, and "do the Fundamental"), "A Hymn to Fred Phelps: God Hates Fags" (in which Mrs. Phelps and a barbershop-style octet ponder whom among fags, dykes, Jews, and Mormons God wants them to hate most), and even a tribute to closeted LDS missionaries called "Sweet Mormon Boy." Woven into the songs were brief narratives from members of the chorus telling of their personal experiences with faith--or lack thereof, as represented by a man who prefers the terms "reasonable" or "rational" to "atheist" or "agnostic" as labels to describe himself. Despite the fun poked at fundamentalism and religion in general, the concert really was not an attack on faith but rather a celebration of faith in all its forms; one of my favorite songs was one in which the lead singer proudly proclaims that he cannot remain in the closet, that God has made him this way and he can no longer deny that he is unchangeably... Catholic.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Hope Returns: A Midweek Fobsvithe

I blogged a couple months ago about the death of my optimism. I should have known myself well enough to recognize that like Jesus, Superman, and most soap opera characters, my optimism would not stay dead for long. It's too intrinsic a part of who I am. Next to me, Little Orphan Annie is jaded.

I've said before that I was unhappy in my marriage, but this is inaccurate. I was happy much of the time; the unease I felt was not a lack of happiness but a lack of peace. I was not at peace with who I was and where I was at in life because I couldn't accept the reality of my life. When we don't accept the present reality we fight it, and it's hard to be at peace when you're fighting reality. (It's also hard to win that particular battle.)

Over the last few months I've gained a sense of peace, not so much because of my change in life circumstances as because of a change in perspective that came through help from Therapist, through some spiritual experiences I've had, and through my mind's natural propensity to find wholeness. Therapist says that it's the nature of the human mind to heal itself if we just let it, and I tend to agree with him. This healthy state of mind and the peace that comes with it are not dependent on any external conditions. Over the past couple weeks I've been struggling with some very difficult questions about who I am and what I want out of life, the kind of questions that not too long ago led me to an anxiety attack, and in the midst of all this I've been calmer and more content with my present life--unanswered questions and all--than I had been in a long time. With this newfound peace has come a renewed sense of optimism, hope, and faith.

In religious contexts hope and faith are often lumped together, and I see why--the two often work together hand in hand. I have hope for FoxyJ's future because I have faith in her ability to do hard things, and finding peace when life throws huge obstacles in your way is one of the hardest things to do. I have hope for our children's future because I have faith in their resilience and in Foxy's and my love for them. I have hope for my future because I have faith in my ability to find peace regardless of my life circumstances. This faith is not based in wishful thinking, but in experience. I know that I and the people I care about (and even the people I don't care about) will be just fine, no matter what happens, because that has been my experience in life thus far.

So if you've come here looking for angst and suffering, I'm afraid you'll be disappointed. It's all flowers and sunshine here, baby. And avocados. Lots of avocados.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Deep Thoughts about Sir Elton

  • Did you know that Elton John used to be a Rolling Stone? He says so in "Philadelphia Freedom."
  • Speaking of "Philadelphia Freedom," I find it a kind of funny thing for him to sing about. Silly Brit, freedom is for Americans!
  • I find it obscenely funny that the chorus of "Island Girl" sounds like "I like girls! I like girls!"
  • Okay, maybe not obscenely funny, but pretty darn funny.
  • Sir Elton does a pretty decent cover of that Ewan McGregor song from Moulin Rouge!, but he's got the tempo all wrong.

Sign of Sanity or Financial Irresponsibility?

Yesterday I did something I've never done before: I turned down a job offered to me. It would have been a cool job and good experience, and it was only ten hours a week, most of which would have been on my own time from my own computer, but I just decided that for once I don't want to work thirty-four hours a week in addition to a full-time course load. Which means I'll go into even more debt than this quarter is already putting me in. But I think that's okay.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Super Reviews

Perhaps because superheroes are sort of my comfort food, I've been ingesting a lot of superhero-themed media lately. Here are some of the recent highlights:

Superfolks, a novel by Robert Mayer, was published in 1977 and I can't believe I'd never heard of it until last month. A good ten years before deconstruction became the vogue in superhero comics, this book deconstructed the superhero concept in a way that showed not only the author's ability to recast a children's genre through adult eyes, but at the same time to retain that childish sense of awe at seeing a man in colorful tights save the universe. Though its importance is often overlooked, without Superfolks there would be no Watchmen, no Dark Knight Returns, no Incredibles. The book is at once hilarious, poignant, vulgar, and inspiring. An excerpt from the first chapter to give you a taste:
There were no more heroes.
Kennedy was dead, shot by an assassin in Dallas.
Batman and Robin were dead, killed when the Batmobile slammed into a bus carrying black children to school in the suburbs.
Superman was missing, and presumed dead, after a Kryptonite meteor fell on Metropolis.
The Marvel family was dead; struck down by lightning.
The Lone Ranger was dead; found with an arrow in his back after Tonto returned from a Red Power conference at Wounded Knee.
Mary Mantra was dead; cut to pieces by an Amtrak locomotive when Dr. Spock tied her to the tracks and she couldn't remove her gag.
Captain Mantra was in a sanitarium near Edgeville; said to be a helpless wretch ever since seeing his twin sister cut to shreds.
Only Wonder Woman was still in the public eye. And she had forsworn forever the use of her superpowers. Using her real name, Diana Prince, she was a leading spokesperson for women's liberation, an associate editor of Ms. magazine, a frequent guest on late-night talk shows. Her message was that the strength of Wonder Woman resides in all women and they must learn to use it. Battling to liberate womankind, she said, was more important than catching petty crooks. She sounded at times like a sinner repentant.
Even Snoopy had bought it; shot down by the Red Baron; missing in action over France.
Enter David Brinkley, once the most powerful hero of all, sole survivor of the planet Cronk, sent to Earth on a rocketship by his parents Archie and Edith, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound and all that, now settled into a suburban life in Middleville with his wife and children. When riots break out in New York City, Brinkley pulls his tights out of storage and sets out to find the source of the problem, despite his failing and unreliable superpowers. (The one thing that does remain reliable about his superpowers, incidentally, is the cosmic punishment he receives--clumsily bumping into a wall or flying into a tree--whenever he uses his X-ray vision for less than altruistic purposes.)

It's a Bird! is a graphic novel by Steven Seagle and Teddy Kristiansen. It tells the story of Steve, a thirty-something comic book writer asked to write the one character he simply can't relate to--Superman. In the process of trying to understand what makes the Man of Steel tick, or even what makes him an interesting character, Steve revisits his grandmother's painful death at the hands of Huntington's disease. The result is a thought-provoking examination of the world's most recognizable superhero and a touching tale of hope.

Gotham Central is an award-winning series of comics by Greg Rucka, Ed Brubaker, and Michael Lark. I checked out the first two collected volumes from the library, wherein the officers of Gotham City's police force attempt to catch a supervillain without Batman's help, solve the mystery of a teenage girl's disappearance and death, and discover who is framing one of their own for murder. Picture NYPD Blue or Law & Order (though more the Order part) set in a world where in addition to the real-life police drama--the second volume centers around one of the main characters coming out to her fellow officers as a lesbian--there's the added tension of police officers getting shown up by costumed vigilantes or killed by a homicidal clown.

A few years back--on November 17th, 2001, actually, which I remember because it was the weekend before our wedding--the creators of Batman: The Animated Series unveiled their latest addition to the world of superhero animation: Justice League. I remember feeling like the ultimate geeked-out fanboy as I watched Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkgirl, and the Martian Manhunter come together on screen. I'd always been a big fan of the Justice League, as it brought together many of my favorite characters in one group, so to see them moving and talking, and done in the beautiful art deco-ish style of Batman, was a dream come true. Sadly, I didn't have cable at the time (or ever, really), so I only caught an episode here and there over the next few years. Lately, though, I've checked out both seasons of Justice League on DVD from the library, and now I've also watched both seasons of the follow-up series, Justice League Unlimited. While the original series does a wonderful job of developing the seven main characters, JLU opens up the membership of the team to include virtually any superhero (of those owned by DC Comics) the creators feel like including in that particular episode--and you can tell the creators had fun with this freedom, pulling in random and obscure characters to make for fun and original stories. Watching the two seasons of JLU in order on DVD is particularly rewarding because, though each episode is self-contained, together they tell a bigger continuing drama building to each season's finale.

African Elephants

A while back, Admissions Coworker submitted an essay to a New York Times contest and ended up being one of the finalists for a trip to Africa with Nick Kristof. Sadly, Nick chose someone else, but Admissions Coworker decided she didn't need Nick to go to Africa, so she bought herself a ticket and signed up to do some volunteer healthcare work (she's a nurse) in Uganda.

Part of the purpose of the Nick Kristof thing is to raise awareness of the health and living conditions in Africa, so Admissions Coworker has decided to contribute to this cause by blogging about her work in Uganda while she's there. And now I'm contributing to the cause by directing you, dear reader, to her blog. Check it out.

And for more on American adventures in African healthcare, also check out SkyeJ's blog about her Peace Corps experiences in Morocco.

Happy Father's Day, Stinkbreath

This morning in Primary S-Boogie made me an airplane out of Doublemint gum and Lifesavers breath mints. I think she's trying to tell me something.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Power of Children

  • They obliterate social boundaries, even when their parents are characteristically antisocial. This morning as S-Boogie, Little Dude and I pushed our way toward the back of the crowded bus on our way to the Fremont Solstice Parade, strangers smiled at us just as strangers always do no matter where we go. I consider going anywhere with my children a public service, as the very sight of us seems to make people happy. A young man stood up to offer S-Boogie his seat while a group of parade-goers complimented the sling I carried LD in. I thanked them and helped S-Boogie into her seat. The people around us laughed at everything S-Boogie said, which of course encouraged her to keep speaking. As the surrounding folks felt no qualms about participating in my conversation with my daughter, I felt comfortable interjecting in their conversations to clarify details of the bus route and parade location I'd looked up earlier, which is something I'd usually never do. Then later, when S-Boogie had first decided that she wanted to stand with me and then decided she didn't like trying to stand in a moving bus, the woman in front of us took S-Boogie onto her lap, a favor another woman repeated later on the bus ride home.
  • They provide instant conversational fodder. Once we arrived at the parade and I found myself in another situation where my social awkwardness usually thrives--meeting new friends for the first time--the kids saved the day again. When you have kids there's always something to talk about: their ages, their latest tricks, your hopes and fears for their future. This works particularly well when the other person also has kids or even hopes to one day have kids, which was the case with our new friends today. Of course, it also helped that not only do MoHoHawaii and I have a lot in common to talk about, but both he and his boyfriend are personable and friendly people.
  • When they are having a good time, they make your good time ten times more enjoyable. S-Boogie thought the body-painted bicycling parade forerunners were pretty cool, but she got really excited when the actual parade started and the drums and belly dancers and floats came out. I would have enjoyed the parade anyway, because it's just that kind of hippie artsy cool that I love about Seattle, but watching S-Boogie dance to the drums while LD clapped made it that much better.
  • When they are having a bad time, they make it impossible for you to have a good time. First LD got tired of being outside and restrained to my arms or the sling, and started screaming to let everyone know how he felt. Then S-Boogie's sunscreen worked its way into her eyes and her complaints quickly evolved from a little whining and eye-rubbing to full-blown sobbing and yelling, "My eyes hurt!" After about ten minutes of listening to both of them scream, knowing I could do nothing to solve the problem, I decided it was time to go home.
  • When they are sleeping in the next room, every noise sounds like a child's waking sobs. I am exhausted now after making the trek to Fremont and back with the two of them, and fear having to get up during the night to deal with any lingering effects of the sickness they are, at least in theory, recovered from. I was lucky enough to have them both sleep through the night last night without a peep, but I'm worried my luck won't last and so I tense up with every sound that might be a baby crying or a toddler puking.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Spare Any Change?
A Linear Collage of Scattered Thoughts

I wrote “Getting Out” as a somewhat naive twenty-four-year-old. Now I return, in theory a wise and mature twenty-five-year-old. Inevitably, I’ll find whatever I write here equally naive a year from now. I don’t know whether this is a function of being young, human, or simply me.

--Ben Christensen, 2005

It's wonderful, Ben, to see you wrestling with these fundamental questions of librarianship, to see you stewing over them in your head. What we're looking for in a supervisor, though, is someone who's already asked the questions and then settled on some answers. We need someone who can say with confidence, "This is what needs to happen!"

--Library Division Manager, 2005

Today my opponent continued his pattern of twisting in the wind. He apparently woke up this morning and has now decided, no, we should not have invaded Iraq, after just last month saying he would have voted for force even knowing everything we know today.

--George W. Bush, 2004

Anything that's not growing is dead, so we better be changing. You know, people say to me, "She's changing. The money's changing her." I say, "The money's not changing me, I'm changing because that's a natural part of life." We're all supposed to change. Who wakes up and is the same way tomorrow, and the day after that? Nobody is!

--Lauryn Hill, 2001

Keep Changing.

--L The Ardent Mormon, 2006

The ability to change our minds is what makes us human.

--Therapist, 2007


And all those reasons apply to me not commenting on your blog posts, too. Except for #s 2 and 3, because comments on your blog are emailed to you, not me, and so of course you see them.

HTML Question

Does anybody know how I can get rid of those strips of background on the very top and very bottom of the page? The problem is that the header and footer aren't all the way up against the top and bottom, respectively, but I can't figure out how to fix that.

Also, does anybody know what possesses me to keep staying up way later than I should?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Reasons I Might Not Respond To Your Comment

  1. I'm lazy.
  2. Commenting on my own blog leads to inevitable letdown, as I will be excited when I see an email in my inbox, only to find out it is just my own comment.
  3. Being inconsistent myself in whether I forget to check back on blogs where I've made comments or obsessively check back every hour for three days (even during the night when I wake up to use the bathroom), I'm never sure if a commenter will read my witty reply. And why waste wit on a void?
  4. I am so dumbfounded by your eloquence and grace that I have no worthy response.
  5. I say, "I'll respond to this later," and then I forget.
  6. I am so offended by your vile attack on my character that I am too busy crying in the bathtub to respond.
  7. I am saving up my response for a later post in which I will elaborate on the thought-provoking and/or offensive points raised by your comment, but then by the time I get around to writing that post it's two months later and nobody cares, so I don't write it. Or I do, and still nobody cares.
  8. Really, it's most likely #1.

Rest assured, though, my Fobs, that I read each and every comment, and if your comment is funny I laugh hysterically and if it's poignant I shed exactly three tears. And, of course, if your comment is parenting advice, you can be sure I've put it into action because, after all, I am the highly suggestible type.


I haven't actually seen any of the products in the Fobstuff store in person, so I don't know how decent they look--whether the logo prints grainy or whatnot. Anybody willing to spend fifteen to twenty bucks and let me know gets a gold star.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Report Card

I worry sometimes about coming across here as the arrogant snob I really am, but then I stop myself and say, "Hey, what's the point of having a blog if you can't brag about your accomplishments?"

Spring quarter grades were posted this morning and I'm happy to say I did well. My grades line up, not surprisingly, in order of how much I enjoyed my classes. I got a 3.9 (UW does not give letter grades) in Cataloging, which was my favorite library/information science class ever, and a 3.8 in Classification Theory, which was almost as cool as Cataloging, and I even managed to get a 3.5 in the Stupid Core Course I Hated And Whose Purpose Remains A Mystery. This averages out to a 3.71 for the quarter and a 3.84 for the year. Which is pretty decent, all things considered. (And you wonder why I have little pity for the transfer applicants who explain that their GPA dropped to a 1.8 last semester because their roommate's cousin's grandmother has cancer. Foxy and I have talked about this before--neither of us is the type to roll up in a ball in a corner and stop functioning when our lives seem to be falling apart (in fact, I think that focus on the day-to-day things is what keeps us sane), which is great for us, but it makes it difficult for us to have empathy for those who are that type, which is not so great.)

Even more gratifying than my grades for the quarter is the feedback my Classification professor gave me on my paper about lesbianism and homosexuality in LCSH and LCC. She gave me a 4.0 on the paper and thinks I should submit it somewhere for publication. Which is cool because it's one of those papers that I got excited about as I did the research and was easy to write because I actually had something to say, so it's nice to know that I'm not the only one who thinks I had a good idea or two.

This is what I love about school--no, not people telling me how wonderful I am (though that is nice), but finding subjects I can feel passionately about, ideas I can wrestle with, and dialogues I can contribute to. It's good to be reminded that school is something I can enjoy now, not just a means to a future end.

Monday, June 11, 2007


Little Dude's pacifier got left at the hotel in Utah yesterday, so Foxy and I have decided that this is a good time for him to give it up, cold turkey. Meanwhile, we're in the process of transitioning him from formula to milk, and from bottles to sippy cups. Throw in the fact that he spent the last several days traveling, then spent the night away from Mommy (with me), and you've got one unhappy camper.

But we love him anyway.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

This is too funny not to mention here

(Thanks, Scot, for pointing this out.)

Apparently, it has come to light that the U.S. military tried to make a "gay bomb" that would use some kind of chemical/pheromone compound to make enemy soldiers irresistibly attracted to each other. The idea being that they'd become ineffective because they'd make love, not war. Apparently some people are offended by this notion. I think they're making a bigger deal than needs to be made, though. If I understand correctly, the idea was not to find some magic gas that will fundamentally change people's sexual orientation; rather they were trying to find an aphrodisiac that would make the soldiers so horny that they'd have sex with whoever happens to be present. Which, sure, raises some ethical questions, but it beats the hell out of killing them.

Gay (and Lesbian and Bisexual and Transgender and So On...) Mormon Terminology

The paper I wrote this past week on gender-inclusive terminology referring to homosexuality in the Library of Congress Subject Headings and Classification schedules has got me thinking about inclusive terminology in other contexts, particularly from where I stand currently as a post-Mormon gay man with one foot still in the gay Mormon blogosphere.

First, let me say that I hate the currently popular term MoHo for several reasons:
  1. It's silly.
  2. It sounds like you are saying that you are more of a whore than I am, which, if that's what you want to say, then fine, but if not, perhaps we should rethink this.
  3. It doesn't do what people think it does. One of the big defenses of the term is that it puts Mormon before homosexual, thus showing that the former is more important to the identity of the user. That's nice, but that logic doesn't reflect the way the English language actually works. If you say that you are a tall man, that doesn't make you more tall than man. In English the adjective comes before the noun. The noun is who you are; the adjective is an attribute that describes you. By calling yourself Mormon homosexuals, then, you are actually making homosexual more important and more intrinsic to your identity than Mormon. Which, again, is fine if that's what you mean, but I don't think it is what those of you who follow Dallin H. Oaks's logic mean.
  4. No self-respecting gay man or lesbian has called him or herself a homosexual (using the noun) in thirty years. The term is sterile, clinical, and inaccurate in its undue emphasis on sex. (Note to the rest of you: Yes, I do find it mildly offensive when you refer to "homosexuals.")
  5. Yes, I know, you think you're being clever by inverting homo, but really, that cleverness doesn't redeem the term. Did I mention that it's silly?
When I wrote "Getting Out" a few years back, I thought I was coining the term gay Mormon. With such an obvious combination of terms, of course, it's hard to say who used it first, but clearly it wasn't a unique invention on my part. My reason for calling myself a gay Mormon was that I hated the clinical sound of the then-popular label SSA ("same-sex attraction," later replaced by SGA for "same-gender attraction") and I hated even more the verbs that generally accompanied it: "I struggle with SSA." "I suffer from SSA." Besides being inaccurate to my experience, these ways of expressing my orientation were too clunky for my tastes. Particularly if you incorporate the Mormon PC term for Mormon, you end up with "Latter-day Saint with Same-gender attraction" or "LDS with SGA," which are both horrible mouthfuls.

That said, I'm no longer convinced that gay Mormon is a good term to apply to the group of Mormons who experience same-gender attraction--it works fine for individuals, but used as a group label it excludes lesbian* Mormons, bisexual Mormons, transgender Mormons, and probably some others I'm not aware of. I've seen that play out in the case of lesbian Mormons here in the gay Mormon blogosphere (often called, more inclusively, the Queerosphere, but I think to be accurately descriptive it would have to be called the Mormon Queerosphere). I know of the following lesbian Mormon bloggers (or "female Latter-day Saints who blog about their same-gender attraction," if you prefer):
If you look at the list of links under "MoHo blogs" on the sidebar of L's blog, you'll realize what a small percentage of the Mormon Queerosphere this is, quite a bit smaller than you would expect from the commonly accepted statistic that there are about half as many self-identified lesbians as gay men in the population at large. I wonder why that is. I have a lot of theories, but one of them is that lesbian Mormons see what is apparently a boys' club and go elsewhere. Samantha, I know, has to constantly remind her fellow bloggers that there are not only men in the room and that the way they talk betrays that underlying assumption. You'll notice that particularly when gay Mormon men are talking about same-sex attraction as a problem to be overcome or about homosexual reparative therapy, their terminology assumes that this is an issue that affects only men.

Solving this problem will involve a lot more than changing the terminology we use--it will involve changing the way people think--but language is quite powerful in affecting the way we think so I'd say it's a good place to start. I'm not a fan of the term LGBT and all its variation, to be honest. Like LDS with SGA, LGBT Mormons is too clunky. Personally, I like Queer as an all-inclusive term, but I'm not sure how active Latter-day Saints might feel about the possible sociopolitical associations of a term like Queer Mormons. So, readers from the Mormon Queerosphere and readers from elsewhere (those of you who've made it this far), what do you think? What's the solution? Or is there a problem that needs to be solved in the first place?

*I am aware that many lesbians, including some of those I've linked to here, use the term gay to describe themselves. I have no problem with that, and even if I did it wouldn't be my place to tell people what they can and can't call themselves. The term is not inherently exclusive, but by default the general connotation is "gay men," so I believe, as do many lesbians, that it is at best ambiguous if not outright exclusive for lack of explicit inclusion.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Summer Breaks

One year from today, speaking of today not necessarily as June 8th but as the day of UW's commencement, I will be graduating with my second master's degree. I will be done with school--possibly for the rest of my life but at least for a while--and I will actually have a useful degree and plenty of practical experience to get me a decent job. A real job. I look forward to a paycheck that stretches farther than the rent for a dinky apartment and other bare necessities and to days when I can come home and leave work at work.

The thing that stresses me most about school is the perpetually looming assignment, the feeling that whatever free time I have is not truly free time because there's always reading or writing or research that I'm putting off. Perhaps this is why most students take a break during the summer. Here is how my summers have played out since starting college:
  • The summer after my freshman year I worked full-time and took a missionary prep class.
  • The next two summers I was a missionary in Madrid; while the locals took month-long vacations in Andalucia and Barcelona, we wandered the streets looking for investigators in 100-degree weather.
  • The next summer I took a full load of classes while working full-time to save up enough money to get married.
  • The summer after that I just worked full-time.
  • The summer after that I had graduated, so again I was just working, so I guess this list isn't going to be as impressively masochistic as I thought it would be.
  • But the summer after that I was back in school, and I did take classes. And worked, of course.
  • And then I graduated again. And that summer, as I recall, I only worked somewhere between half- and three-quarters-time.
  • But the next summer I worked like fifty hours a week between two jobs, so we can count that as a breakless summer too.
Which brings us to this summer. I will be working ten hours a week at the library, doing another ten hours of cataloging internship at the library, possibly picking up another ten-hour job, taking eight credits of distance courses, and spending two days a week with my kids. To be honest, I'm looking forward to it. After the last three quarters of eleven- to thirteen-credit loads and nearly forty-hour work weeks, this will be nice. And most of what I'll be doing--the cataloging internship and the Daddy days particularly--will be fun. And who knows what kind of schedule my post-graduate life will bring?

So I think I'll enjoy my summer while it lasts. The future will come when it comes.


A few days ago, Theric seconded the tag Katria gave me last week.
    The rules: Each person tagged gives 7 random facts about themselves. Those who are tagged need to write on their own blog those 7 facts as well as the rules of the game. You need to tag seven other people and list their names on your blog.
Having been doubly-tagged, I now have no choice but to comply with the demands of the chain blogging gods (despite the fact that "Each person" became plural somewhere in the middle of that first sentence of the rules). I'm going to run out of random facts about myself one of these days, though, so don't be surprised if this starts feeling like a rerun.
  1. The shirt I'm wearing today came from The Gap. When I got a job teaching at UVSC a couple years ago, I decided to pretty myself up and Foxy's sister Skye helped me pick out nice expensive clothes.
  2. The pants I'm wearing today came from Goodwill. They are Levi's low-rise straight-cut jeans and they fit me perfectly, and they cost four dollars. They may be the only pair of Levi's I've ever owned. They feel nice.
  3. Today is another beautiful day in Seattle. This is not technically about me, but when you get tagged twice you get to fudge the rules a little.
  4. I'm finding lately that when I have the time I go to the gym every day. Of my own free will. This is a relatively new phenomenon for me, where I once had to force myself to go two or three times a week and only the promise of Mall Bucks from my job's fitness program motivated me.
  5. The thing that separates me from real reference librarians is not so much knowledge and skills as confidence--when I don't know something I assume that someone else does and gosh, I'm such an idiot, but when they don't know something they assume such knowledge doesn't exist.
  6. Tomorrow I have no plans and no obligations. Not a single one.
  7. I have never ridden nude on a bicycle in a parade while covered in body paint.
Given the double chain blogging powers my double-taggedness gives me, I hereby tag each and every blogger reading this post. If you have already been tagged with this particular chain blog, consider yourself doubly-tagged and thus empowered to change the rules of this chain blog as you wish. If you are one of the people Katria tagged and thus have already been doubly-tagged by Theric, you are now triply-tagged and therefore a Ruler of the Universe. You have all power and may do whatever you darn well please.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The REAL 500th Post

I'm trying to be more assertive, so maybe I should tell you to read your Bible and come to my next blog party. Or maybe I'll write a book review, or here's a brilliant idea--I'll do that chain blogging thing Katria passed on to me. Or, for a change of pace, I could blog about Christmas. You're probably tired of hearing about the Church and my coming out experiences; your computer might explode, though, if I divorce myself from the ER adventures my family has regularly. I haven't posted much fiction here, but I haven't been writing much since Fob has been on hiatus the last couple months. I think I'll keep Fobsvithes on Sundays, as that's a good day for soul food.

I need to make more real-life friends; that's now one of my goals. With that in mind, I'm thinking of joining a group of homosexual fathers in Seattle that I found on the internet. I'm nervous because I'm not comfortable being the new guy in a small, intimate group, but I'm sure I'll be fine as long as I don't forward them all my junk mail or use too much offensive language.

Speaking of language, I've just returned the books the library lent me, which I was using for a paper on library stuff and the life lesson of gender-inclusive language. I made lists of all the terms related to homosexuality I found in the Library of Congress Subject Headings and Classification schedules, and noted where these terms exclude lesbians--like the use of "gay marriage" instead of "same-sex marriage." As any current media source will tell you, most lesbians are not comfortable with the term "gay" as an umbrella-term for gay men and lesbians.

But really, I should get back to metablogging. What's the point of this blog, anyway? It doesn't make me any money, and it doesn't do anything useful like provide compelling movie reviews. The subject of this blog is a moving target, like the music in my MP3 player or my many neuroses. I could show you what a good parent I am by posting more pictures of my children, but that's why they have their own blog. My few attempts to discuss politics have proven how uninformed I am; a poll of my readers would confirm this. The library patrons I try to help through our online Q and A service would likewise attest to my ignorance. Perhaps I should stick to the things I know, like religion, school systems in Seattle, and superheroes. (Okay, I admit, I don't know anything about school systems in Seattle, but pushing this monologue through my alphabetical list of subject headings is proving quite taxing.)

This isn't going anywhere, so I'll give thanks to therapy, to throwaway posts, and to all the girls I've loved and travel to my work office, where I will perhaps try some writing while I wait for chat patrons.

And that, my fobby friends, is five hundred words. Right… now.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Post #499 1/2

This one doesn't count. But then if none of my throwaway posts counted, I'd be at Post #14 or something. But this one still doesn't count. 500 is coming some time after I turn in my last paper tomorrow night at midnight.

I just wanted to say that there are angry men yelling at each other outside my bedroom window. I can't quite follow the conversation, but I think they're arguing about this restaurant chain.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Illusion of Popularity

(Post #499)

It's convenient that my one and only friend has so many online personas: Theric, Tolkien Boy, Samantha Stevens, Ugly Swan, -L-, Melyngoch.... I suppose I ruin the illusion by telling you, though, don't I?

What I Believe (At the Moment)

(Post #498)

The Ugly Swan asked me last week what I believe in. I had a hard time coming up with an answer because I'm in the process of figuring that out and because experience has taught me that what I believe today is not necessarily what I will believe tomorrow, so I'm hesitant to commit myself to any beliefs that can be nailed down with words.

As I listened to some more Eckhart Tolle at the gym today, though, it occurred to me that I should not be so afraid to own whatever beliefs I have right now. I don't identify with these beliefs--they are thoughts I have but they are not who I am--so there's no harm in acknowledging that they might be different tomorrow.

What I believe today, then, is this: God is not something outside of us. God is us. As we discussed the possibilities of God's existence last week, Ugly pointed out that for God to create the world and then sit idly behind the scenes while we thrash around in ignorance and misery, he would have to be a not-very-nice God (and I'm putting words in Ugly's mouth here, because I lack his ability to remember and recite everything I've ever heard). In my mind, at least, the God-is-us theory answers this question. God is not some uncaring being watching our lives as if they were some cosmic soap opera; rather God is life itself, and each of us is a manifestation of that life. The only thing keeping us from recognizing this truth is our own egos--that which convinces us that we are individual beings tied to the individual bodies in which our consciousness manifests itself. There is no all-powerful being who refuses to step in and tell us what's what--the only one refusing to do anything is us. I suppose this same logic can be applied to an external God, but it makes more sense to me this way.

So that's what I believe. Today. Take it for what it's worth.

Sources of Reliable Information

(Post #497)

On the way home from the park yesterday, S-Boogie said that she needed to go potty. This was a concern because we were a good twenty or thirty minutes from home, and because at the moment she was sitting on Tolkien Boy's shoulders. At TB's suggestion, he, his brother Bassercussionist, and I took Little Dude and S-Boogie into the first open bookstore to look for a restroom. We took a lightning quick tour of the store (much to the owner's concern), determined there was no restroom, and left. On the way out, though, the cover of this week's Seattle Weekly caught my eye. There was a man (boy?) with his face obscured, dressed in a white shirt and tie, reading the Book of Mormon--which is the thing that caught my eye, because it has a fairly recognizable cover (at least to those of us who have spent much of our lives reading it, carrying it around, and distributing copies in foreign countries). The headline read: "TEMPLE OF DOOM! One Man's Brutal Encounter With Sexual Abuse In the Mormon Church." My curiosity was piqued--more than anything by the blatant sensationalism--and the newspaper was free (which should tell you something about how credible it is as a source of reliable information [and come to think of it, this blog is also free...]), so I picked up a copy.

The article is... interesting. To be clear, the article is not about ritualistic sexual abuse in Mormon temples or even in Mormon churches, as the grandstanding title might lead you to believe. It's about a man who, as a boy, was repeatedly raped by a (Mormon) scoutmaster and is now suing the LDS Church for the role some local leaders played in protecting the scoutmaster from legal consequences for his actions. The article also mentions a handful of other cases where victims were encouraged by LDS bishops to essentially keep quiet about sexual abuse, rape, or assault--usually with the idea that we should forgive those who offend us or something like that.

I'm not sure I'm convinced this is as widespread a problem as the article claims; four or five cases spread out over many years do not make an epidemic. Four or five cases of a problem as appalling as this, though, are cause for concern in and of themselves, and are likely indicative of a larger problem. That problem, I believe, is that LDS bishops are not trained to deal with all the problems they are called on to deal with. Members expect them to be their personal source of divine communication and therefore experts on anything and everything. I know I did when, as a seventeen-year-old, I told my church leaders I was attracted to men. The first nervously laughed it off and suggested I join the football team because that would help me feel more manly (and then he passed on my confidential information without my knowledge or permission), and the second told me with complete confidence and authority that my same-sex attraction was a direct result of my poor relationship with my father and that it would be cured with counseling and faith. In both cases the leader sincerely wanted to help me and believed he was giving me accurate information, but the fact is that neither of them had the expertise to give me the answers I was looking for. Unfortunately, I was naive enough to believe that whatever my church leaders told me must be true.

I imagine this happens not only in the cases of sexual abuse and homosexuality, but in all sorts of issues. There are probably bishops who tell drug addicts that all they need is faith and willpower or abused wives that they just need to be more patient with their husbands. A friend of mine who was at the time an elders quorum president once asked me why a bishop would ever refer someone to a therapist or marriage counselor. "Isn't the Atonement enough to cure any problem?" His question came from a position of faith, which I respect, and naivety, which I understand, so I don't fault him for it. The problem, though, is that this man is just as likely as any other to be called as a bishop. Yes, I allow for divine inspiration overcoming ignorance in many cases, but the fact is there are still bishops and other church leaders who give stupid and even harmful counsel because they don't know any better.

I'm not sure what the best solution is. Giving leaders better training on how to handle reports of abuse is definitely a priority--and perhaps steps have already been taken in this direction--but that still leaves the 999 other problems they need better training to deal with. Heaven knows people in leadership positions in the LDS church already have more training meetings than they have time for. Perhaps that's the solution--give them more time. As much as I love the idea of the church's unpaid clergy, perhaps what the church really needs is some leaders who don't have to split their time between church callings and a full-time job, so they can receive the training they need to better serve their wards and actually meet the heavy expectations placed on them. I wouldn't attempt to tell the church how to run itself, particularly from my current position outside the church, but I think this is a problem that I hope any current or future LDS leaders who happen to read this blog will work to find solutions for.

My primary concern when it comes to the LDS church lately is my children. It's important to FoxyJ to raise them in the church and I have no intention of interfering with that. I don't want to see them get hurt by well-meaning but under-informed members of the church, though. In this particular case I take comfort in the fact that FoxyJ has never subscribed to the kind of naive faith that led me to put more trust in my leaders than in my own conscience. Hopefully her more level-headed approach to faith will rub off on our children.

Oh, and lest I leave you hanging, rest assured that we made it home, ate dinner, and showed Tolkien Boy and Bassercussionist all our toys and drawings and our sleeping bag before S-Boogie decided that it was time to actually go potty. Her panties--and Tolkien Boy's shoulders--remain dry and clean.

Friday, June 01, 2007


(Post #496)
When S-Boogie saw the SpaghettiOs with Dora the Explorer on the can at Safeway this evening, she had to have them. I would feel guilty about giving into this shameless ploy to get parents to buy food they would otherwise not buy if not for the following facts:
  1. It was on sale.
  2. It succeeded in what few other foods can accomplish--getting both S-Boogie and Little Dude to eat a lot of dinner.
  3. FoxyJ confessed to me this morning that she recently bought a lot of Dora paraphernalia to keep S-Boogie occupied on their upcoming flight to Utah. I may be selling my daughter's soul to Corporate America, but at least I am doing so in solidarity with her mother.