Pimp your big gay blog! (And discover some other great gay blogs)

Chris over at Left Center Left is compiling a list of gay boston bloggers. It doesn't matter if your blog is specifically about queer issues -- he wants them all! So, mosey on over and add your favorite gay blogs and explore some new ones.

If you die, love continues

Dear Eterm:

That slogan is really perverted. Enough said.


Oh no she di-int!

Last night at a little before 8:00, the young woman on WHRB clearly announced that she had just played "Beethoven's Erotica Variations."

I'm not sure exactly how this fits in with WHRB referring to blocks of several hours worth of music by one composer as "orgies," apparently thinking that its listeners are all so elite as to view that word as only having the meaning of "unrestrained indulgence."

OK, so the station started using the term in 1943, but keep in mind that in 1943, one could also refer to Haydn as "a particularly gay composer" and most listeners would think this referred simply to his use of major tonality and upbeat tempos.

Shouldn't human services organizations have a basic understanding of the ADA?

I just read a brochure for a program in Boston providing supported employment services and structured day programming for people with psychiatric disabilities. I won't mention the specific name of the program, but the brochure mentions that the building has an elevator, "making the building fully ADA accessible."

What? Do they really think that all the Americans with Disabilities Act requires is that buildings have an elevator?

First of all, in many cases, a business can actually be ADA compliant without an elevator. For instance, the small restaurants and boutiques on Newbury Street in tiny hundred-year-old basements down narrow flights of stairs are not violating any law, provided that they are willing to bring purchases up the stairs to meet patrons, given sufficient notice. While these buildings are not fully accessible, they are ADA compliant since there is no way to install a lift and they're (hopefully) willing to try their best to accomodate people.

The above-mentioned social services program may in fact also be fully ADA compliant. It is quite likely that given the age of their building and their limited operating costs that they were not required by law to make additional modifications to the building. And it is thoughtful of them to include in the brochure that the building has an elevator.

However, said building is far from fully accessible. From my observations the one time I've been in that building, it meets the minimum requirements for compliance, such as having grab bars in the restrooms, the elevator, and wide-enough pathways throughout the building for someone using a wheelchair or an ambulatory person with a wide gait.

Um, but do these people have any clue what is required to be fully accessible as they claim? Sure, full compliance is only legally required in certain buildings -- namely things like large schools and hospitals built more than 30 months after the ADA was adopted on 01/23/00. But still, in order for a building to actually be fully accessible, it needs to meet specifications given in Title III of the ADA, which is over 100,000 words long.

For instance, elevator controls are required to have braille and raised letters, positioned to the left of each button. Stairways with open risers are not permitted. Letters and numbers on signs shall have a width-to-height ratio between 3:5 and 1:1 and a stroke-width-to-height ratio between 1:5 and 1:10. The cord from the telephone to the handset shall be at least 29 in (735 mm) long. This progam would also need to have assistive listening devices readily available since they offer seminars and things that are open to the public and don't require preregistration.

In short, this program isn't breaking any law, but it's a really bad business move for them to demonstrate blatant ignorance of the ADA when they're a freakin program for people with disabilities.

Panera is an agent of The Man

I'm at Panera, using the free wireless. I just tried to read a blog on livejournal and found that their firewall blocks it. I poked around, and I found they block the whole domain:

The SonicWALL Content Filter Has Blocked this site.
If you feel this site has been blocked in error,
Please submit a URL Rating Review at:
URL: http://www.livejournal.com/
Reason for restriction: Forbidden Category "Adult/Mature Content"

Mature content? OK, that's not completely off-base, as livejournal in fact allows people to post journals with mature content. However, the site certainly isn't geared toward mature content, and this firewall isn't blocking blogspot or typepad

I just tried manhunt.com (a dating service geared toward gay males, which has a clear reputation for where men look for hookups rather than actual dating relationships) and I got a restriction message saying simply "forbidden category." Match.com and OKcupid aren't blocked, so it isn't dating sites they're blocking. Craigslist isn't blocked, so it can't be that they're blocking sites that feature rampant advertising for sex. My e-mail account isn't blocked, so it can't be that they're filtering out discussions about sex.

Out of curiosity I googled "horny young sluts" and found several sites that were blocked for reason of "pornography" and others that let me right in. So I can see the horny young sluts, but I can't see livejournal. Oh, and Scarleteen is blocked due to being in the forbidden category of "sex education." I wish I were kidding. Planned Parenthood's sex education information section isn't blocked.

Off to SonicWall to er, submit a URL rating review.

Edited to add: I poked around on SonicWall, and the site allows the network adminstrator (in other words, Panera) to choose what categories are and are not blocked. For instance, they can choose to block internet auctions, chat/IM, job search, shopping, intimate apparel/swimsuit, gay/lesbian issues (we seem to be the only specific demographic group available for blocking) and so forth.

So I went on the SonicWall site and submitted a comment that livejournal is not primarily an "adult content" site, and also mentioned that most blog servers allow mature content and are not blocked.

I'm also going to e-mail Panera and tell them that I'm a mental health clinician who does work-related surfing here and doesn't appreciate the blocking of "sex education."

EDITED TO ADD: They wrote back. They said they've chosen to block "sex education" because they wish to create an environment that's friendly to all patrons. They didn't comment on my explanation that it's very easy to pull up blatant pornography (yet I can't pull up medical information I need to do my work).

Not free burritos this time, but Boloco continues to do awesome things

Next Monday, President’s Day, Boloco restaurants in Boston will donate $1 from every burrito sold to Community Servings, a Boston-based non-profit organization dedicated to providing free home-delivered meals throughout eastern Massachusetts to people homebound with HIV/AIDS and other acute life- threatening illnesses, who are unable to shop or cook for themselves.

Please tell your friends and be sure to stop into Boloco Monday, February 20th to enjoy an inspired burrito and, in doing so, bring some inspiration to your neighbors who rely on Community Servings each day.

Found on my car this evening

Except for how there are three to four spaces in front of our house, two of which I shoveled out. There isn't a shortage of places to park.

It was nice of O Assertive One to offer the shovel though.

Neighborhood Association meeting tonight

Highland Park Neighborhood Association

February 14, 2006

6:30 p.m.

E. L. Cooper Community Center at the corner of Linwood Street and Linwood Square

Please feel free to e-mail me if you need better directions, want more info, or just haven't gone before and need a couple of wacky neighbors to walk you over. Everyone who lives in the Fort Hill/Highland Park section of Roxbury is welcome to attend.

Jo mama, er, I mean, Johari

I haven't posted much lately, due to various personal stuff that's been taking up a lot of my time. Don't worry, none of it is anything terribly bad or that can't be fixed, and most of it's actually really great. Also, in case it wasn't blatantly obvious, I've recently found myself inundated with a lot of annoying companies and policies and so forth. As much as it's fun to write about the things that are at least annoying in an amusing sort of way, I really don't want this to become a predominantly negative space.

One thing that's been amusing me lately is the Interactive Johari window. Some people might be familiar with this exercise in which people in a group pick personality attributes to describe themselves and others, then make a visual representation of how a person is viewed by self and by others.

I've created a window. I'd like to ask that, for the sake of accuracy, please only contribute if you know me. You don't need to be a close personal friend, but I'd like to limit this to people who at least have a sense of me beyond having read my blog.

People who do not know me are of course invited to view my window and to create windows for themselves.

(There is also a Nohari window for "describing your failings." It was created solely by using opposite attributes from the Johari window, so it contains mostly truly negative terms, such as foolish, insensitive, stupid, violent, unethical, and irresponsible. I don't really see this as having value beyond being kind of humorous. I can't imagine there are many healthy people for whom it's helpful feedback to have their overall person labeled as stupid or unethical.)

When the left hand doesn't know what, uh, the left hand is doing


Me: *presses voicemail button*

Voicemail: Please call us for an important message at 1-800-850-4622 between 8am and 4pm Eastern Standard Time.

Me: *throws phone at wall, retrieves it, calls number to see if it's somewhere I actually have a relationship with*

Phone: Hi, you've reached GMAC* Mortgage Company...

My brain: ...oh, yeah I have a mortgage with them...

Phone: ...collections department...

Me: WHAT?!

Phone: Please choose from the following options. For an account that--

Me: *presses 0*

Phone: Please choose from the following--

Me: *0*

Phone: Please choose--

Me: *0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 000000000*

Phone: Your call may be monitored or recorded for security purposes.

Me: *sigh*

Person: Hiyou'vereacheddpeartatcanaanedverfaccountnumber?

Me: I don't have it handy. You called me.

Person: Certainly ma'am, I can look it up ma'am. Ma'am, what's your social security number?

Me: *says social security number*

Person: All right ma'am, thank you ma'am, ma'am, for verification purposes can I have your name?

Me: *says name*

Person: All right ma'am, thank you ma'am, ma'am, for verification purposes can I have your
property address?

Me: ...

Person: All right ma'am, thank you ma'am, ma'am, for verification purposes can I have your mailing address? All right ma'am, thank you ma'am, ma'am, for verification purposes can I have your phone number? All right ma'am, thank you ma'am, ma'am, for verification purposes is there an alternate phone number?

Me: ...zzzz...

Person: All right ma'am, thank you ma'am. I have been able to verify your account ma'am. Ma'am, we're calling to remind you that there is a payment due, and that to avoid collections activity ma'am, we're going to need to ask you to make a payment by the 15th ma'am.

Me: I have autopay. It comes out every month on the 15th, and it's been doing so.

Person: Ma'am that should be fine ma'am, it just needs to be paid by the 15th in order to avoid collections ma'am.

Me: Can you stop calling me ma'am?

Person: Certainly ma--uh--er... Uh.

Me: Thank you. OK, why are you people calling me? My account is not overdue, and I have autopay set up, which pays my account on time every month.

Person: Yes ma'am, I see here that you have autopay set up for your bank account ending in 0875 ma'am, and we've been receiving the payments ma'am, but it wasn't in our system that you have autopay, which is why you were called ma'am.

Me: That doesn't make any sense. It's in your system, except for how it's not in your system. Um, why did collections call me if I'm not past due?

Person: Ma'am, you have a payment that needs to be made by the 15th of this month...

Me: Yes, clearly. And autopay is going to make it, on the 15th, yes?

Person: Uh, yes ma'am, I see that ma'am, so I just needed to make sure that you had planned to make a payment by the 15th of this month, because--

Me: Yeah, OK, sure, thanks, bye. *click*

*Yes, my mortgage has been sold YET AGAIN.

Tuba or not tuba

I just received an e-mail from my friend Peter (who has no web presence of any sort, so I can't even link to him, the bastard):

From: Peter
To: eeka
Date: Feb 8, 2006 1:35 PM
Subject: bald guy

The last two mornings, there has been a bald guy playing the tuba at the Park Street T!

My camera and I may have to take a detour tomorrow morning.

OK, so, what do you get if you cut a tuba in half? A oneba.
What do you use to fix a broken tuba? A tuba glue.
What's a tuba for? One-and-a-half by three-and-a-half unless you ask for it full cut.

I'm stopping now. I promise.

Prevention of microwave-borne reekage

This is a public service to all people who work in offices or other spaces in which other people with noses are ever present.

Due to recent actions on the part of some of my coworkers, I feel it necessary to provide the microwave users of the world with some guidelines.

In order to reduce the risk of serious damage to others and/or self, the following items should not be microwaved in the workplace:
  • scrambled eggs
  • fish
  • popcorn
  • fish
  • turpentine-noodle soup
  • bacon
  • an entire chicken
  • asparagus
  • something I can only presume was canned dog food
  • fish

Any violations may result in beverages being accidentally spilled on said food products.

Fuck off and die, Bright Eyes

Molly and I have had Total Eclipse of the Heart stuck in our heads for about a week now. We can't seem to find a way to get it to leave. Adapting it into a soundtrack of whatever we're doing at the time isn't helping (Turn around/Every now and then I stick some bread in the toaster, and I reach in the fridge and get the jam; And I need to do laundry tonight/And my clothes reek more than ever...).

Neither is singing it at the top of our lungs while using the nearest prop for a microphone. Incidentally, dancing with a screwdriver (the tool) pointed at one's face is not advisable.

This article talks about how songs get stuck in people's heads, the most commonly stuck songs, and even cites medical research on the topic. It gives some suggestions for getting the songs to leave, none of which seem to be too effective. It doesn't, however, give any tips for explaining to one's boss why every sentence in an assessment starts with "every now and then."