July 5, 2003- the morning after.

I woke up this morning to startling news. Chris is now deaf.

Last night, amongst the commotion of independence day, he was at a party where they began to light off fireworks. This was a rather small backyard, and so the guests were pretty close to the launch pad. Apparently, Chris was right near the pile of unlit ones when one of them blew. When one ignited, they all snowballed and set each other off. He didn’t hear anything, just was blown backwards.

He woke up this morning in the hospital with both ears bleeding.

And now I find out that my girlfriend was "at a fireworks show, and really close to them.(25ft) It was so loud, I think might have hurt my ears". I flipped. Not her, too? Later, I find out that she is ok, but just has a nasty headache. In the 30 seconds before she clarified that, I had 3 heart attacks, 2 coronaries, and an aneurysm.

This has taught me a lot, that I hope to pass on to some of the younger and more carefree noders out there...

BE CAREFUL, DAMMIT!

Fireworks are illegal to begin with here in NY, and for a good reason- all of the fools that go out and blow hands off or kill themselves (no joke) with these things every year. If you want to see fireworks, go to the nearest major city, and they will have some sort of professional presentation, guaranteed.

Another bit of advice- if you go to see fireworks, do not sit within 100-150 feet of the launch pad. Disastrous results WILL occur. Some people out there may be thinking "well, I’ve done this in the past, and never had a problem!" YOU'RE DAMN LUCKY! The launch is the period where the firework has the greatest chance of screwing up; either launching in the wrong direction, or exploding on the pad. He who lights that firework will loose fingers or their whole hand.

Let my friend's wounds be a ward to you all.

FIREWORKS ARE FUN, BUT DEADLY.

He's only 16. He will never hear again. That could be you.


When done by a professional, they are most likely much safer and higher quality than an ameteur production. And a lot cooler.
One year ago today, I stopped and stood before two paths. One was inviting; clear of obstacles, downhill, sunlit as if Nature herself smiled upon it, and the reasonable direction to take. But I knew it would grow steeper and darker as I went further. It would lead to a place where I could no longer move forward nor turn around. I would become lost, whither, and die there alone.

The other was unpleasant; gnarly, uphill, shaded beneath reproachful trees, hardly even a path at all. And I couldn't be sure what was at the end of it. Perhaps it was merely an alternate route to the same forsaken conclusion. But it might go somewhere else.

I didn't want either of these choices. I hadn't asked for them. I hadn't sought them. But I had to keep walking, to keep going somewhere, and here was the fork.

I took a breath, heard a cacophony of half-formed voices, and listened to the one that spoke softest but surest.

I haven't looked back.

A year ago I said two words; two simple, unimportant, stupid words that have yet been made into an oath of allegiance, a dire prophecy, a confession to crime, and a keystone to identity. I'm gay. Were this world a perfect place, saying these words would have been no more difficult than saying, "I have brown hair," "I wear glasses," "I like to read," or "I'm a human being." But this world is not a perfect place. It's a place where people love each other, hate each other, fuck each other, kill each other, and most of all misunderstand each other. We make do with what's given.

I rendered myself vulnerable all over again to my parents, gave them all the tools they needed to beat me to the ground or lift me up. They chose the latter. They've stuck by that choice. I am desperately grateful to them for their support, understanding, kindness, and love. I know they will be there for me as long as they can, that I can trust them to push aside every idiotic instruction society yells in their faces for one overriding duty, I will love my child.

The next steps have been more difficult to take. With one friend, coming out was an uneventful passing word in conversation. With another, it was a joke. With another, an argument. The sphere of people who know I'm one of the 'abominables' is steadily growing, in sudden bursts. Some voluntary, some not. It won't take much longer before the dam breaks in a rush of gossip and rumor. I'm not sure what will happen then. The school I attend is of the regal, Catholic sort. The kids there are good underneath. I don't hold any animosity towards them. But they have some basic assumptions which will conflict with experience. I don't how they'll handle the cognitive dissonance. But I'm not going to be one of those people returning to the high school reunion to sheepishly introduce my partner. Or not introduce him at all. Goddamnit, I'm not. So it will happen sometime soon. After a year, I'm ready.

This year has been an eventful one for the broader community as well. A war took everyone's eyes off the simmering conflict for some time, but now that dead Iraqis and Americans are no longer primetime newsworthy, things have gone swinging back into action. A respected Senator declared we were not people, somewhat more like animals that need to be regulated and controlled. The Supreme Court decided otherwise. One nation gave men and women permission to fall in love and commit themselves to one another. Another vows it will never do the same. My mother often regaled me with a Chinese blessing/curse, "May you live in interesting times." I swear mothers are clairvoyant.

Amongst all this bustle I've been gifted with the best base of support for which any confused teenager could ask. Outies has been a wonderful group, embodying the precept of 'family' in every sense of the word. We've cracked jokes, laughed, argued, got angry with each other, supported each other, circled the wagons, and opened them again to admit new friends. From their ranks I've made some of my truest friends in this quirky, epic little community. You guys have saved my life. I do not hyperbolize. Queer teens are twenty to 35% more likely to attempt suicide than their peers. Persons diagnosed with bipolar disorder are 20% more likely. I've gotten pretty damn close. The care and support from many noders, gay and straight, has been a strong force for holding me back long enough to come to my senses. To everyone who's ever shown me kindness, whether it was a long fascinating conversation, a quick concerned message, or just a passing compliment, thank you. I am in your debt.

So, to another year of being queer, of cheerfully working my way up this path with people I love towards a better future. Cheers.

I haven't noded in a while. Being an unrepentant homework-noder, summer doesn't do all that much for me. I'm more of a seasonal kind of guy. I love my work, and I work from home. It's not just for the marks. I'm finally in the mood to write something, though - if only to flex my atrophied fingers a little bit. The most exercise they've gotten in the last couple of weeks is from the TV remote!

Honestly, though, I'm pretty tired after spending the last two years in school without a semester off, so I may perhaps be excused for getting lazy. Actually, I'm just telling myself that, because I'm the only who notices. I'm starting school again soon, although it'll now be at a different locale. I've been accepted into Concordia University in Montreal to do my M.A. in Philosophy. Man, never mind that, I'm going to Montreal! I haven't been this psyched since I decided I was going to move there. Well, I am actually excited to try my hand as a T.A. (even if I will be an academic dogsbody), almost as much as I'm excited to take the Master's classes. I'm leaving Halifax on Monday for Montreal to find an apartment. Their system up there is a bit different; they have a number code which signifies what sort of apartment you're looking at. a "1.5" is a bachelor apartment ( I think), and a "2.5" is a one bedroom. ".5" is a bathroom, and everything before the decimal signifies a bedroom/livingroom. It's kind of weird, because some of the codes mean two different things sometimes. Oh well, I'm sure I'll figure it out - I'm not going to let myself accidentally move into a five bedroom place or something else ridiculous like that. I may purchase cheap swampland if you catch me at the right time, though.

It feels good to write a little bit again. My meagre HTML skills have gone to pot, though! It's time to get back on the horse. If I write anything else about Michel Foucault, I may develop a gag reflex to his name. I guess it's time to become a best-selling novelist.

R.I.P. Barry White.

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