Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jason Ridge and others (Kirk Ziegler, et al.)

My first post about porn (there has to be a first)! How it started: was checking Roids and Rants out several days ago, from a link on Tom in Paris (i.e., the coolest gay site of all). Roids and Rants is wicked. From there I checked out unzipped.net, titanmen.com, hothouse.com, josmanart.com, etc., and decided that Jason is the hottest cumshot boy outside of the pool, so here's a snapshot of him before I head for Cesky Krumlov and Roland Garros.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Keep a good thought

Keep a good thought.

Like a dream

Like a dream.

My mom said good things.

I'll let it go.

It's been a year since my posts from May 2006.

This blog's different than it was back then.

This is like a dream.

I don't write much here nowadays. I post a lot, but I write little. Don't tell anyone much, but told my mom and wrote my friend yesterday. This is like a dream. When will I wake up? It's true, really it is, I heard what was said, all those good things were said and I believed in good things. I believed in good things, and I really did. I wrote an email about good things, but maybe it wasn't right.

So I'll stop myself from writing good emails or making good phone calls. I'll send a postcard from Paris! I'll send a card at Christmas: "How are you? Haven't heard from you for some time. I'm doing fine here. Hope you are well."

Hope you are well. Maybe I'll let it go. Maybe I'll let it fly. Maybe it'll fly and soar. When do you think it'll fly high into the sky? See, I'll let it go, maybe we'll fly.

On this day, the thirteenth of May in the year two-thousand-and-seven, this is like a dream.

Here, take my hand.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

My Life

My phoning danny didn't go well today.

Wished my mom a happy mothers' day, told her some of what happened.

Emailed a friend of mine. Wrote down all my thoughts! Was kinda crazy.


Friday, May 11, 2007

Gratitude is not a substitute for passion

The coolest blog, Tom in Paris.

Funny is not a substitute for interesting.

I like this one

Very funny post: from Shades of Gray

"Good morning," he says.

"What time is it?"

"Almost 11:00"

"Shit. I have plans to meet someone for brunch at noon," I lie. That line flies out of my mouth almost too quickly. It's convincing. I remind myself to call my therapist the moment I make more money.

"Sorry, I gotta run."

"Do I get your number?"

"Sure," I say as I fish my clothes up from his floor. "Got a pen?"

He pulls out a color Blackberry, new, shiny, bells, whistles. It's the Cadillac of hand-held devices.

"They give that to all soldiers?" I joke. "I'm in the wrong business."

"I'm a doctor. Do you have to go so soon?"

"Yes," I say. "Before I find out you're Jewish and single."

Thursday, May 10, 2007

So much to see so much to do

Just left a comment, you know sometimes some things and some people just inspire you, without their knowing or doing anything much really, to explore some of the dreams one put away, like Lucas and being a chef, Dan and languages, now gasquet, blogging and writing. But there's much to do, I got interests and many things I could be good in, that I haven't told you about. I'm really thinking some hardcore shit with my life now.

Going to, going to

Calling Danny in two days. Invented a horrifying scenario in the shower just now, of Danny and me. Cried.

So silly! I try, and I'm much better these days. Being brave, doing my best, discovering life and learning.

Traveling soon! To Roland Garros, to all the places.

Haitian survivors accuse Turks and Caicos officials of leaving them for dead

CAP-HAITIEN, Haiti: Survivors of a capsizing that killed at least 61 Haitian migrants said a Turks and Caicos patrol boat rammed them, towed them into deeper water and abandoned their overturned vessel.

"Our boat flipped over and they just left us out there," said Dona Daniel, 23, one of a half-dozen survivors interviewed by The Associated Press on Thursday after they were repatriated to Haiti from the nearby British territory.

The survivors said some migrants tried desperately to pull themselves aboard the patrol boat but were beaten back with wooden batons.

Others were run over by the patrol boat after they were flung into the shark-filled waters as their boat capsized, said Lovderson Nacon, 19.

Many of the migrants did not know how to swim and were screaming "God help me!" in the darkness, Nacon said.

The Haitians said their sailboat, loaded with an estimated 160 people, was minutes away from the shore of Providenciales, one of the Turks and Caicos Islands, on May 4 when the patrol boat rammed them before dawn.

"When they hit us the first time, water rushed into the boat and everybody screamed," Daniel said. The patrol boat crew ordered the migrants to lower their sails, threw them a line and began towing them into deeper water. The boat then capsized, he said.

"We thought they were bringing us to shore but they took us further out to sea," said Daniel, whose two brothers drowned.

Minutes after towing began, the migrants' boat jerked violently and tipped over, flinging everyone into the water, several survivors said.

"They were towing us but they pulled too hard and the boat flipped over," said another migrant, Marcelin Charles, 37. "We fell into the water and many people drowned. I was swimming past dead bodies left and right."

The Turks and Caicos government has said it will not comment until two investigations are completed. Britain's Foreign Office also declined to comment on the capsizing in its island territory. One probe is being conducted by the local government, and three government experts from Britain are carrying out an independent investigation.

The Turks and Caicos government has criticized Haiti for not doing enough to stem illegal migration. Some 400 Haitians arrive monthly in the British territory of 20,000, many having been duped by migrant smugglers into thinking they were being taken to the United States, officials say.

After being flown back to Cap-Haitien, Haiti's second-largest city, the migrants, wearing maroon T-shirts and athletic pants, were driven on a school bus to a gymnasium where about 100 relatives, many weeping, greeted them.

The relatives called out their loved ones' names, not sure if they had survived the worst disaster to hit Haitian migrants in years. More than a dozen are still missing and presumed dead.

Nacon said he was in the water for more than 15 minutes before a smaller Turks and Caicos patrol boat came out to pull survivors from the water. Other migrants said they were in the water for more than 40 minutes as they waited for the rescue boat to make a return trip.

"They heard us screaming so much, they finally came and helped us," Nacon said. "The people who knew how to swim lived. The people who didn't drowned."

At United Nations headquarters in New York, spokeswoman Michele Montas earlier Thursday described the capsizing as "a tragedy" and said "it could have been avoided." However Montas, a Haitian, said the U.N. had no further comment and that the issue was between the Turks and Caicos Islands and Haiti.

Jeanne Bernard Pierre, director-general of Haiti's National Migration Office, said Tuesday that the Haitian government would consider the ramming of a migrant boat to be a "criminal" act.

Iraq, Tony Blair

New take on the Iraq war: Read Wikipedia articles, beginning with this.

Three experts on Tony Blair

"Measured against the peace-time record of British prime ministers since the end of the First World War, few of whom achieved much, Mr Blair's premiership compares favourably."

"Before 11 September 2001, Tony Blair was set to go down in history as a second-division prime minister, one of those who stayed in power for a long time but without having any appreciable effect on the story of his times."

"The verdict of history on all Prime Ministers as they leave office is hotly disputed, but few in modern British history have been subject to so much departing hostility as Tony Blair."

Rambutans and food

Your hairy red balls, courtesy bally.

Carrot cake


Found a cool blog on Richard.

Gasquetaire's tennis universe.

The Swimmer Salute

The cute, blond lifeguard at the pool likes Matt! Looks at Matt, talks to him. I think it's part of the swimmer salute. By the way, Matt is one hell of a crazy guy. Signed up for five triathlons.

I know what to do!

I know what to do!

Deciding against it for now

So I thought a little bit about starting a new blog, and I think I'm going to keep it all together in one place. After all, that's me.

I also decided that I don't like my job after all. I hesitate to say this because it's good to me. I've decided that it is the case that I don't like it. I'm staying because it's not time to leave yet. Also, this is the way I can stay here in this country. I want to stay here because I love Dan. Silly, isn't it? I don't even know if it's good for me to stay here.

I smile because I don't know what's going on

Recently I bought a funny shirt that read "I smile because I don't know what's going on." I thought it was wickedly hilarious when I saw it. It makes me chuckle when I think about it. But it's so true for me.

Sometimes I get lost in group conversations, I end up listening and not talking. Sometimes I don't know what's going on. Maybe I just don't understand what people say here in this country. Is it the culture that's different, the minds, the thought processes, the kinds of things that the people I happen to be around with talk about? Went out for lunch with my colleagues, bunch of engineers. I don't recall most of the conversation, but it went from money-making to New Orleans, frat parties, cats, kids, engineering, technology, American sports, American pastimes, American games, etc. and I found myself withdrawing further and further from the conversation. It happens a lot, I don't connect with the conversation, I just listen, there's nothing it seems for me to say. I probably don't fit in here, in this place. I think I know the reason for all this, what's wrong, what can be done.

I like writing these things out on my blog. It helps me understand what's going on.

I'm also thinking about starting a new blog to put thoughts like these down, so that the mawkish stuff will not be found here.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Beautiful Spring

Got out of the pool early today. The bubble's been taken down, so Hood has an outdoor pool now. I like some of the lifeguards there because they're good-looking and friendly. One of them's a nice guy whose name I probably wouldn't ever know who says HEY and today under the perfect evening sky he waved at me with both his arms as he was working around the pool and we exchanged some cheerful words. On the way back, I swung my Jeep by the tennis courts and watched some guys play for a minute or two and I felt so terribly tempted to play too.

Frederick's a nice town, very nice weather too, so far. Winters can get cold for some days but not too bad really. Warm weather comes pretty early, but early Spring is really erratic. April and May are perfect. I suppose July and August are really muggy, as they say, but I don't mind that if it's only two months in a year. Of course autumn I imagine can only be better than Spring! Of course, winters could be like San Francisco's - I like the rain, and summers could be like Hawaii's.

It's kind of small here though, so for someone like me coming from elsewhere and not knowing anyone, it's tough. So I've plans for the future. I want to move up to live close to Danny. Go back to school. I feel like after this job, which treats my well, I'll bid a fond farewell to the wonderful world of engineering and all its marvels. I think I want to learn more things, different things. I hope when the time comes, Danny will be there and he wouldn't mind that I'm getting too close to him. I don't know, I haven't talked to him in a while, I have no clue as to his thoughts, his plans, if he likes me still, if he's ready to forget that I'm here. I like to remain naive and hopeful a lot, and I still have Vancouver, Canada or Seattle, Washington waiting for me, and home... yes, home! That's where the heart is.

I have a little more than half an hour to watch television every night, when I have my dinner. So I often narrow down what I want to watch to two or three different programs, and sometimes in that thirty minute span, I switch between three channels. Today I was switching between the History Channel, where they were exploring underground ancient Rome, Public Television, where they had an exciting program about Zheng He, and Worldview, where they were showing guys with huge biceps playing fast-paced football Aussie Rules.

It's Mother's Day. Watching the program on the sailor from the land of the dragon, I remember visiting this heavenly paradise palace garden with my mom some years ago. Here's a thought: European palaces beat Chinese ones hands down when it comes to comfort and plushness, but Chinese palaces trump European ones in the beauty of their gardens.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Gasquet and Racquet

Since I found this guy's blog about tennis, I've been reading it often. Today he has a post on the match between Richard and Novak, and also the game between the Rangers and the Sabres. I wanted to leave a comment, but if he clicks on my link, comes here and sees a blog as gay as mine, there's a chance the outcome may not be pleasant. Let me explain what I mean.

A while back, I put up a link on the sidebar to some guy's blog in England about his skateboarding life. I only linked it because I found his posts interesting. Sometime later, he emailed me to ask if I could remove the link because he wasn't into guys. I understood his reasons and removed the link. Now I'm linking my blog to Gasquet and Racquet because I'm into tennis, and I connect with the blog. By rights, commenting about tennis wouldn't be a problem, right? (Sorry I used "right" twice.) I think it probably wouldn't be. But imagine that he comes here and sees all the good-looking men, and goes, "So this guy's a cocksucker." It wouldn't be just about tennis anymore, would it? I mean, most likely it wouldn't turn out to be as extreme as I described it, but there'd be a connection at the back of his mind that I'm gay, and that might just overshadow the tennis.

I think I'm reading and imagining too much, as usual. So it's likely sometime I won't be able to resist the urge and comment. After all, I like tennis and Richard's my favorite player. I'm also headed to Roland Garros in a few weeks. I'm sure he'll be envious. Then again, I've been reading many tennis forums and all this tennis stuff is commonplace.

Hell, I don't even know why this is a deal all of a sudden. I'll probably leave a comment sometime, maybe after Roland Garros, that's it.

It's just me to think, to analyze, to feel things. And lately, all this stuff gets published here because nowadays my life's spent rather by myself, and my mind always thinks things. That's the spiral one gets into when one is by himself. So here I am, typing all this, for no good reason.

I'll probably leave a good comment sometime, that's it.

Allez Richard, one bright sunny Spring Sunday

Allez Richard!

Sunny picture at top of post -- today at noon, bright day, overlooking Ballenger Creek from my apartment.

Went out just now for a spin around the hood, perfect sunshine. Roads were marked off for a run. Merryland state sheriffs got the sexiest uniforms. Runners looked shaggy, troopers sexy candy.

Richard's playing Novak in Estoril in the championship match. Two finest young men in tennis. Novak edged Richard in a tense first set tiebreak, but Richard hit back and pummeled Novak to nothing in the second. Richard, like countless times before, deflated at the start of the final. Score right now at 1300 EDT (1800 Portugal): Novak leads Richard, 7-6 (9-7), 0-6, 3-1. Allez Richard.

Wrote down a bunch of things that I wanted to do last night, but slept in this morning. So wonder of wonders, I'm forsaking swimming today! The Hood's taking down the bubble, so the pool's closed for the day. Germantown Indoor is far away and I journeyed there yesterday. I'm deciding to do all the other things, lots of good stuff.

I'm gonna be calling Danny soon. Hope we'd be able to talk. Do you know my distant dream? I should say it's not really that far away. Thought about writing it down here just now, but once again, I stop myself because it's not fun. I know it here in my heart.

I'm trying to take things slowly. Two weeks, on May 18, I'm flying off to Europe! Meeting up with a good friend to have the time of our lives.

There's some things I wanted to say, my thoughts, but I'll leave them. I think it's getting harder to write them as the days go by. Don't know if I ever will write them down, you know. I keep thinking about them and when I do, I feel like I want to write them down so I can put them away. But when I sit down here, I find I don't really want to. So I'll leave them. Maybe they'll come out when they want to. They're probably all here anyway, somewhere on men behaving badly.

The beautiful day is beckoning me away. So I'll really leave them, now.

Btw, Richard lost the match. It's 7-6, 0-6, 6-1 to Novak. Score's similar to the last meeting they had, which Novak won 7-6, 1-6, 6-1, if I rightly recall. Richard implodes on himself. It's disappointing because his tennis captivates like a magical fire dance. I've seen Novak play, and you have to like the guy, he'll surely be number one but for R Fed and R Nad.

Going out for a short while soon, to take my Jeep for a wash, and to rub off some light. Then I got travel plans to make, emails to pen, goals to write down, reading to do... heading out to enjoy my Sunday!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Only in India

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

From the BBC

Climate change lessons in Indonesia
By Lucy Williamson
BBC News, Jakarta

Every morning, at first light, Java's rice fields come alive. One by one, farmers appear among the bright green plants, their wide-brimmed hats dotted across the fields.

This is the way Indonesia's rice has been farmed for generations; the basic rhythms of its paddies undisturbed by war or economic crisis.

But now, something strange is happening.

Parto is one of the first in the rice fields every morning. Carrying a can of pesticide, he swings the spray backwards and forwards over the crop.

"The harvests have become irregular," he said. "Normally we harvest two to three times a year, but it depends on the weather. We need to wait for the right conditions, but now that's become unpredictable."

Many small-scale farmers still plant and harvest their crops according to the stars, or the first few drops of rain.

But this year's heavy rains washed away many crops and caused major flooding.

Scientists cannot agree how much of this is down to climate change.

But then that debate means nothing to many of those affected - they do not even know what climate change is.

"We weren't told about climate change," one man told me, "and the only news we received from local officials is that a flood like this will happen every five years. I don't understand climate change, but I do know that a big flood will come every five years."

"Climate change is caused by global warming," said his neighbour, "and the thinning of the ozone layer. I think that caused the shift of weather patterns on earth."

A local woman joined in: "People here don't talk about climate change. I have read it somewhere in a book or in a newspaper, but I don't really know what it means."

With 17,000 islands and a biodiversity second only to Brazil, Indonesia stands to lose a great deal from rising sea levels and changing climate.

So why don't more people here understand it?

Educational opportunity

At a popular seaside resort outside the capital, Agus Purnomo, senior adviser to the Indonesian environment minister, looks out across the Java sea and the unseen changes happening in the vast waters that surround his country.

He told me the government here has some catching up to do.

"The climate change issue is more perceived as an international issue rather than a domestic issue," he explained.

"We need to start with the decision makers, the planners and also those who can approve the budgets - including the parliament - because we need to address this awareness campaign big time. And that will require substantial allocations of the national budget."

It is already clear that the effects of climate change in Indonesia could be devastating.

Many communities in Jakarta were hit by the floods earlier this year.

Even now, walking around the areas that were affected, many houses have been completely destroyed or still carry high water marks on the upper floors.

But some environmentalists, like Kuki Soejachmoen, head of the think-tank Pelangi, see disasters like this as a strange kind of opportunity - to educate people about climate change.

"Since this happened, people have started to realise that this is not only the product of the local environmental impact, but it's something that's happening over the long term," she told me.

And that is quite a change for Indonesia's poor majority.

"Most of the people here - and in other developing countries I should say - are forced to live on a day-to-day basis so [have] a very short term perspective," she said.

Floods might engage the victims of climate change, but what about those who cause it?

Indonesia straddles both ends of the global warming debate.

Forest fires have made it one of the world's worst polluters. Many fires are started by poor, remote communities, either as a way of clearing their own land for planting or on behalf of big companies.

In order to stop these blazes, communities will have to be convinced to think beyond their daily lives.

Changing Indonesia's attitudes and behaviour might start with the politicians, but they cannot do much without the co-operation of the country's vast population.

Gladiators' graveyard discovered
By Monika Kupper and Huw Jones
BBC Timewatch

Scientists believe they have for the first time identified an ancient graveyard for gladiators.
Analysis of their bones and injuries has given new insight into how they lived, fought and died.

The remains were found at Ephesus in Turkey, a major city of the Roman world, BBC Timewatch reports.

Gladiators were the sporting heroes of the ancient world. Archaeological records show them celebrated in everything from mosaics to graffiti.

Motifs of gladiators are found on nearly a third of all oil lamps from Roman archaeological digs throughout the Empire.

But how much did they risk every time they stepped into the arena? Did they have much chance of getting out alive?

The discovery of what is claimed to be the first scientifically authenticated gladiator graveyard has given researchers the opportunity to find out.

'Strict rules'

The Ephesus graves containing thousands of bones were found along with three gravestones, clearly depicting gladiators.

Two pathologists at the Medical University of Vienna - Professor Karl Grossschmidt and Professor Fabian Kanz - have spent much of the past five years painstakingly cataloguing and forensically analysing every single bone for age, injury and cause of death.

They found at least 67 individuals, nearly all aged 20 to 30. One striking bit of evidence is that many have healed wounds.

To Kanz and Grossschmidt, this suggests they were prized individuals getting good and expensive medical treatment. One body even shows signs of a surgical amputation.

And the lack of multiple wounds found on the bones, according to the pathologists, suggests that they had not been involved in chaotic mass brawls. Instead, it points to organised duels under strict rules of combat, probably with referees monitoring the bouts.

But there was also evidence of mortal wounds. Written records tell us that if the defeated gladiator had not shown enough skill or even cowardice, the cry of "iugula" (lance him through) would be heard throughout the arena, demanding he be killed.

Final blow

The condemned gladiator would be expected to die "like a man" remaining motionless to receive the mortal blow.

The pathologists discovered various unhealed wounds on bones that showed how these executions could have taken place. And these are consistent with depictions on reliefs from the time showing a kneeling man having a sword rammed through down his throat into the heart. A very quick way to die.

Tell-tale nicks in the vertebrae or other bones suggest at least some of the bodies suffered this fate.

A number of skulls were also found to have sets of up to three holes at odd intervals, consistent with a blow from a three-pronged weapon such as a trident.

"The bone injuries - those on the skulls for example - are not everyday ones, they are very, very unusual, and particularly the injuries inflicted by a trident, are a particular indication that a typical gladiator's weapon was used," says pathologist Professor Karl Grossschmidt.

But not all head injuries found were trident wounds. A number of the skulls showed rectangular holes that could not have been made by any of the known gladiator weapons. Instead, they suggest the use of a heavy hammer.

"One possible explanation, which is supported by a number of archaeologists, is that there must have been an assistant in the arena who basically gave the gladiator the coup de grace," says Professor Kanz.

"I assume that they must have been very severely injured gladiators, ones who had fought outstandingly and so had not been condemned to death by the public or by the organiser of the match, but who had no chance of surviving because of their injuries. It was basically the final blow, in order to release them."

'Comfortable' retirement

The work of the Viennese pathologists has been independently reviewed for the BBC's Timewatch programme by Dr Charlotte Roberts of Durham University, a leading physical anthropologist.

"I've looked at quite a few hundred Roman skeletons. I've seen examples of head injuries, healed and unhealed. I've seen evidence of decapitations," she says.

"But this (new find) is extremely significant; there's nothing been found in the world at all like it. They've really dispelled quite a lot of myths about gladiators and how they fought."

If a gladiator survived three years of fighting in the arena, he would win his freedom. Those who did often became teachers in the gladiator school; and one of the skeletons found at Ephesus appears to be that of a retired fighter.

He was of mature age and the scientists were able to reconstruct nearly his entire body. His head showed apparent signs of healed wounds from previous fights but, clearly, none of them would have proved fatal.

"He lived quite a normal Roman lifespan," says Professor Kanz. "And I think, most probably, he died of natural causes."

Historical records suggest a gladiator's chance of survival was slim, with some estimates as low as a one in three chance of dying each time he fought. But it appears one of the Ephesus gladiators at least survived the odds and had a chance to enjoy his retirement from the arena.

Foster's hops on green bandwagon

Australian brewer Foster's has teamed up with scientists to create the world's first "beer battery".

The technology - using bacteria which consume sugar to generate power from brewery waste water - was unveiled at the University of Queensland.

The university was awarded a state grant of 140,000 Australian dollars ($115,000; £58,000) to help fund the microbial fuel cell project.

The battery will be installed at Foster's brewery near Brisbane.

As bacteria consume water-soluble waste from the plant such as starch, alcohol and sugar, the battery will produce clean water and electricity.

"Brewery waste water is a particularly good source because it is very biodegradable... and is highly concentrated, which does help in improving the performance of the cell," said the university's waste water expert, Professor Jorg Keller.

According to estimates, the brewery battery should produce two kilowatts of power - enough to power a household.

"It's not going to make an enormous amount of power - it's primarily a waste water treatment that has the added benefit of creating electricity," Prof Keller added.

A patent is pending for the technology, which could be used across a number of food, beverage and manufacturing industries.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Something about...

Spotted some kids playing basketball under the darkening sky this Spring evening at the Maryland School for the Deaf.

Found a nice tennis blog called Gasquet and Racquet, named after my favorite tennis guy.

Watched a documentary tonight on the History Channel on feats of ancient engineering. Roman siphons, Greek mirrors, ancient bathhouses. Last night, too, there was another on the Berlin underground flak tower.

I love learning! Tom-in-paris is a log-cabin Republican (teehee), dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopaedia, I love you.

Hopefully I can wake up early to swim tomorrow morning.

I miss you, Danny. I miss you!

P.S. Was reading Gasquet and Racquet just now, I like it! I think the guy plays tennis well and writes for Utica's paper. (Now that is something I'd like to do!) Found another cool site: www.myspace.com/r_gasquet.