The Logical Philosopher

Friday, June 30, 2006

True Colors - An Unexpected Part 2

I thought it was over. I'd blogged and moved on. I was wrong.
Damn internet searches... they suck me back in every time.
I recently wrote a post entitled True Colors of the Rainbow, where I hit the highlights of the Gay community's hanky code. It was discovered by a serendipitous encounter - the story related to me by someone else of course. But just when you thought it was time to put your mind back into the closet - wham! - blindsided by internet search results again! Oh the vanity of Statcounter...

You know what search engine result popped up no less than 3 times in the past week: handkerchief colors meanings on msn - One should note I come up as result #9.

That tells me three distinct things:
  1. If I blog about gay lifestyle more often, my hits will increase. I'm sitting here thinking Is this what they mean by "good" publicity or "bad" publicity? I'm sure my wife has some commentary on which side it falls to.
  2. Handkerchief symbolism is still vibrantly alive - which is at glaring odds to Grey Guy's comment on my post, which said "Take it from a gay guy, that hankie code thing is so 1991!".
  3. I've moved along from Ikea Cinnamon bun searches, as I wrote about last time. Again I ponder the phrase "Have I gone far, or am I just now far gone?"

Truth be known I was really more concerned by the fact that I was blogging about something so 1991. Whew. Crisis averted - and a colored handkerchief search. Who would have thought.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Nice Lawn

I'm not really fond of my neighbors anymore. This week confirmed these thoughts even more.

Act 1:

The other day I was digging a hole in the front yard for a fence post that needs replaced. Construction supplies surrounded me - a hammer, nails, wood braces, levels and a shovel. Anyone with intelligence could see I was actually working. But what do my neighbors do? Open their door and push out their 2 year old to play - then close the door leaving her outside with just me. No supervision needed, they must have thought, because LP is out there.

So there I stand - holding up an 8 foot 4x4 post with one hand while trying to hammer in a support post that will keep it level while the concrete sets. Before I know it the neighbor's kid is grabbing my nails and trying to eat them, then using my level as a sword against the post I'm trying to put up.

After a few minutes of trying to get the kid to fetch the rocks I keep throwing into the other neighbor's yard - the one with the dog - I finally got the post up. After cleaning up, with her following me into my house, I politely went next door and knocked on their door. When somebody finally opened it (after 4 rings) I motioned to my work area and say I'm done so I'm going inside now. The mom gave me a dirty look like I interrupted her nap to bring her kid back. I glared back with the I'm not a frickin' babysitter look.

Solution to Act 1: Maybe I should put a row of fence posts up with a good 10 foot fence.

Act 2:

My neighbors lawn looks like somebody threw up weeds all over it. For color there is a mix of tiny yellow buttercups, white clover and burnt greenish crabgrass. I would be excited if I were a bee keeper, having all that pollen nearby, but that is not the case here. Since my children like playing outside I am trying to get our lawn to that lush, weed free sod you see at old, retired people's houses. This means I need to cut the lawn every 5 days or so. Through trial and error I have determined that they only cut their lawn AFTER I cut mine. I guess I shame them into trying to keep the weeds under 2" high.

Today I heard my neighbor getting ready to go to work so I decided to startup my lawn mower and do some cutting. As he pulled out of the driveway I saw him hesitate slightly and give me a dirty look because he knew he'd have to cut when he got home.

I felt much better after that.

Solution to Act 2: After putting up the 10 foot fence, I will make sure the bottom 3 feet has lattice so they can see my lawn and be shamed into mowing it.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Money Changes Everything

"It wasn't about the money," she said. "The money made me realize she had different social ambitions."

Money Changes Everything, NY Times, May 2006.

I'm sure we all agree on this: Money makes things go round. I never understood the social norms of Keeping up with the Jones' mentality. For the most part I would like to think I primarily purchase because I actually need something. Some people may find that lacking competition with my neighbor, but I see it as fiscally responsible. Of course there are some notable exceptions, such as cool bike stuff.

I read an article entitled Money Changes Everything in the NY Times last month. It was one of those "keep this in the back of my mind" articles. Let it bubble. Let it simmer. And then do the writing. Today is the day where it seemed to want to flow.

I have friends in all walks of life: lawyers, teachers, dentists, students, carpenters, engineers, small business owners, artists, sales reps and even one semi-unemployed (a.k.a. "part-time"). I make more money than some, and less than others. But the one consistent thing is that none of us seem to let that get in the way of our friendship - we all seem to silently, and unconsciously, adapt to the social situation we are in. Dining out, short vacations, birthday presents... all based on our relationship with each other, not our social status.

I had a few friends that their whole being seemed to focus around money and their success. How much they made, were going to make and how much I was wasting my time by not following the same lifestyle and business direction. At some point it became arduous and exhausting to even get through a conversation - each one filled with insipid facts of their most recent purchases and travel destinations.

Over time we drifted apart. I never really clearly understood why until I sat and thought about the NY Times article - it wasn't about the money, it was their social ambitions. I suppose they felt it was hard to "one-up" me when I didn't rise to the challenge. Or perhaps I didn't like being used as a stepping stone to make them feel better about themselves. We all started in the same spot, all sharing the same life goals. Only over time we each evolved employing different social ambitions on how to attain our relative riches. Unfortunate for all of us I suppose, depending on which side of the social ambition you fell.

So yes, money makes things go round, but it's the social ambitions that wield a greater influence, or destruction, of what you have. Postulating that I will finish with two points.

Point #1: I'm sure we still all agree on this:
Money makes things go round.

Point #2: A corollary we should add is this:
Social ambitions influence who you hit when you go round with your money.

And on that note, you should be careful how you hit because as the old saying goes:

RAGS make paper,
Paper makes money,
Money makes banks,
Banks make loans,
Loans make beggars,
Beggars make rags

Suddenly a life of simplicy seems to be calling...

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The How to Of Guest Posting

“It’s more complex than it looks.... It’s not just all thrusting and plunging you know. It takes technique.”
I sat there watching him, wondering if he was talking about accessing our favourite guilty treat (cactus cut dip) with the cactus cut fry or the art of blogging. For a long time I have had a standing invitation from the Logical Philosopher himself, a.k.a. "LP", to give blogging a try via a guest post. I never really had the wherewithal to take him up on it before as I was still quite fragile from my last serious encounter with his blog but he told me he would give me some tips during dinner out one night and tip he did. He tipped me at least but our server not so much… here’s how our tip session went:

LP: First, you need a good starting line. Reel ‘em in.

Server: Can I get you something to drink?

LP: Coke please

Server: Pepsi OK? ….

I’ve known LP a long time. Like since the days when he had to beat them off with a duotang when all the swooners came hunting for a grad date. Oh there were swooners. In all that time, Pepsi has never been OK. I look at him, I look at our poor server and think – she has no idea what’s coming.

LP: Pepsi’s got no bite.

Server: Sure Pepsi’s got bite.

LP: Pepsi’s bite is like a chiouah lounging on a beach. Fine bring me a Pepsi – but for the love of Paris Hilton please bring a wedge of lime. And if I don’t like it, can I send it back? [then to me] Be yourself. Tell your stories.

Our dinner came along with the offending Pepsi and wedge of lime. We talked about being real. Carrying a theme. Taking liberties with the facts for the sake of a good story. LP was having a beef dip, me the standard stromboli sandwich. LP looks at his beef dip.

LP: This beef dip. It’s a lot of beef.

One of the things I love about LP is his uncanny willingness to say out loud the thoughts that most of us keep to ourselves. No sensor there. No vetting. You get what you get. And via his blog – we all get a bit of that refreshing honesty. Meanwhile, I think to myself “didn’t he say he had a smokie for lunch?

Server: How is everything. Can I get you a refill of Pepsi?

LP: [He looks at his glass which is still 2/3 full] It lacks bite.

Server: Would you prefer root beer?

LP: [shaking his head as she walks away] She’s missing the point.

I couldn’t write notes in my little book fast enough. I had picked up my pen when I heard the word “refill”. Our dinner continued. Me gleaning what wisdom I could from LP though I was getting the idea that a good blog was as much about good writing as it was about a good personality. Unshaken, our server approached the table with the bill in hand. She looks LP squarely in the eye and delivers the final pre-tip blow.

Server: I actually can’t stand Coke myself. Have a nice night!

Indeed! I hope there’s a tip pool.

*Editors note: I remember Sandritia writing things down that evening during dinner, giggling to herself everytime I seemed to speak. Or maybe I did speak, turing my "inside voice" to the usual "outside voice". Note to self: Learn to mutter quietly to myself instead. All I can say is Thank God she didn't talk about the bike store incident that preceded dinner...

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

True colours of the rainbow

Out for dinner with a friend who told me a story from a night out on the town. For blogging purposes I will now infringe wildly and make this story my own, throwing caution to the wind because I know you all will enjoy it...

Brightly color coded with subtle sophistication down to the detail of the particular hue. While you may think the Gay community’s lock on color symbolism is restricted to the rainbow … you ain’t seen nothing yet!

While she was enjoying drinks with some friends, some straight and some not so straight, one of her male (straight) companions was being hit on by another man at the bar – for the entire evening. I put myself in his shoes and I wonder to myself – if I were the target of such attention – would I find it humorous or would I be overwhelming flattered that I could still pick up at the bar, albeit someone from the other team. But I digress... to somewhere I probably shouldn't go.

As soon as they all got up to leave one of the not-so-straight friends laughed out loud and revealed why straight guy was being hit on by another man. Apparently he unknowingly had a red handkerchief hanging out of his back pocket, which in hanky code means he's into anal fisting. Ouch! Now I know why they chose red for that one. After a brief flurry of fingers on her Blackberry it was confirmed to the rest of the group. I kid you not. Look it up here.

Yes – brace yourselves - there exists a complex code for every color and pattern of handkerchief. All this time while us boring straight folks have been blindly scouting for fresh meat using the simple binary sort of wedding ring or no wedding ring… we’ve been oblivious to so many possibilities! Think of all the time saved at the bars by knowing if the cute blond at the bar beckoning you over is into tattoos and piercing before spending all night on drinks and talking. Man, cut to the chase with the right hue of blue cloth on your body and pffft! You will know if the bar scene is hot or not in seconds.

I think we can take a cue from our not-so-straight friends on this one…. we just need to figure out what colors are not in use and start to infiltrate the clubs. Ellie may have some guidance on this one but until then, you may want to think twice before using your hanky for anything but blowing your nose…

Friday, June 09, 2006


Arriving a few minutes early gave me time to sit and read. An empty waiting room – literary peace on earth! I have been wading through Jean-Jacques Rosseau's The Social Contract, which is proving much harder than I thought.

Social contracts and the rise of man. Acting as one will get us there, but rowing on your own will disband us. Every man for himself, yet under dictatorship. We are born free, but everywhere in chains - thus the necessity of the social contract between each other.
He rushed in, breathless and agitated. Tall Starbucks in one had, car keys in the other like he had to be somewhere else instead of here.

“Nobody here yet?” he said to the room – just me really as I was the only one present. I slowly glanced up from my book to see him pacing back and forth. The receptionist had not arrived yet, and he was obviously disturbed by his lack of attention. A few minutes later the receptionist arrived from her break. I knew because I heard his pacing quicken as he marched over to her desk.

“I’m Charles Winston, here for my appointment.” he stated, as if he was the first in line. I looked up and let out a sigh. Yes, I was the first but Mr. Winston the line buster obviously wanted in first. And they say our generation has the air of entitlement. If so, I can see where we learned it from.

The receptionist shuffled some papers and looked towards me. “Well, I need some information and we can get you right in.” A few moments later I heard an exasperated Ahhhhhh! “I’m sorry Mr. Winston but the computer froze during your data entry and there is nothing I can do. I need to call the computer tech to unlock it because you are partly into the system by now. Just have a seat and wait.” Her tone was fairly unapologetic, which I thinly smiled at.

He started to protest, waving his hands like that would magically fix the computer. “Can’t we just get started and do this after!”

“Sorry sir, it’s all computerized. We can’t start anything until you are fully in the system.” She looked around him and then I heard her direct a question at me, “Are you Mr. Philosopher?”

“Yes.” I answered politely, looking up with a smile. Always keep the gatekeepers happy by being polite! One of my mottos that has gotten me far.

“I can get you signed in on the spare computer over here, then you can go right in.”

I rose, headed around the now reddening Mr. Winston, and gave the necessary information to get my appointment going. As she ushered me into the next room we both heard Mr. Winston start to sputter “But, but… I was here first!”

“Thanks” I whispered to the receptionist.

“No problem. Besides behind the window in the break room we all say you come in first and wait patiently. Karma can be a bitch sometimes, especially when you’re rude to the people who manage the waitlist.”

Karma. The Social Contract. No, Rosseau, there cannot be a legitimate political authority when it is really secretly ruled by the working class receptionists of the world. I wonder how that statement in his writings would have influenced the French Revolution...

Saturday, June 03, 2006

déjà vu

Dearest regular readers:

I had 2 postings written out this week, but yet have to find time to type them in. The nice weather has drawn me outside more, and has also given me reason to walk more places instead of take the bus. Most of you regulars will recognize the bus as a great source of my posting material. Mind you the crazy homeless guy on the path yelling at me to "duck and cover" did give me some inspiration, but I digress from today's topic...

So where does that leave me today: déjà vu.

Every so often I find myself stopping dead in my path, taking a snapshot of exactly where I am and what I am doing. It is all familiar - the sights, the smells, the emotions and, most interestingly, where I am in my life. It is almost as if time stops for a brief moment for me to uncover and compare it to some deep, repressed dream I had many years ago. I don't experience it often, but when I do that makes it more of a vivid and noteworthy occurrence for me.

Déjà vu happened to me again today, and it gave me the chills. Warm chills. Content chills. Sweet chills. It was surreal, and I was digging it.
I'm sure psychologists could give me indepth meanings to these experiences but I am sure knowing the neurological basis of déjà vu would ruin it for me. For me it gives some sort of validation that where I am in my life - my surroundings and the choices that have lead me to them - have been the right ones. In some strange way it makes me content, hence all the chills.

Now you know I déjà vu. Do vu?