July 2003 - Live From The Oceania Gulag
RayzRealm (c) July, 2003

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Tuesday July 1

On Friday, July 4th, I will be 14 years old in Bill W. years. I'm making this Dr. StrangeLove very limited entry from a remote location since my brand new PC is as dead as Jimmy Hoffa. Last week, it began making strange clicking noises, and on Friday refused to boot up at all. When I tried powering up on Saturday morning, all I got was a blank screen with some cryptic geek talk hex dump info telling me I didn't have a hard drive. This put a damper on opening the July Flight Recorder. I lost the already 500 lines or so I had begun, plus over a dozen almost completed journals that were to be uploaded this Summer, and as an added bonus, over 100 new, subversive, thought provoking and just plain off the wall links to sites scouted by the Area51 abduction squad for inclusion among the various Area51 pages.

On Sunday I carried my new PC into Micro Center to have the tech folks look at it, alas they confirmed my fears, the hard drive is toast and will need to be replaced. At least it's under warranty, but of course I had not backed up almost a GIG worth of stuff I have either been working on or downloaded, so everything I had done since April is history. I figured wrong, that a new PC should not develop fatal problems so soon. Oh well, live and learn. This means that "when" I get the box back, I will be back at square 1, getting Windoze XP customized to my liking (defaults, etc), partitioning the disk all over again, installing all the applications, printer/scanner, then restoring the backup data CD from my old PC from April and "hopefully" moving forward.

On a more bright and cheery note, my friend and almost sole remaining partner in thought crime, Doug, is back from Thailand for a while. I did get to talk with him for a short time, but since I didn't make the call from home, kept it as short as possible. I'm hoping he can make it out here for a visit before returning to the Far East.

I'm not sure how long it will take to get my PC back, configured and online. This is just a heads up for the 2.7 people who visit this site. Have a pleasant and safe 4th of July holy-day weekend, stay out of the Bush-es and beware of strange men wearing dark glasses and riding on flying carpets.

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Friday July 11

Shortly after I got home from work yesterday Micro Center called to let me know that my PC was all fixed and ready to go, no charge. I hope this is the last time I ever get to experience a fatal hard drive crash. I spent last night getting Windoze XP configured all homey again, then reinstalled all the essential software.

The July 4th weekend here was like a blast furnace with temperatures of 102-104 adjusted for the heat index, plus high humidity. I didn't perform my patriotic duty of attending any of the July 4th celebrations (you've heard one concert and seen one fire works display, you've seen them all). So wrap a towel around my head and call me Abdul el Jihad, but it was too damn hot to be squeezed in with over 500,000 day trippers to Boston's Esplanade. There was a pile of little plastic American flags on a table at work for us to take home, bearing the stamp "Made in China." There's something ironically funny about waving a little plastic American flag that was made in China, probably by slave labor. At least our flags could be made here.

I did manage to visit Noel and Ellen for a while on the 4th, then stopped by to visit Paul's folks, who invited me to a cookout. I was in bed by 9PM, so missed out on all the festivities.

Saturday I headed into Boston early in the morning, spending most of my time in Copley Place and the Pru Plaza. I walked through the Fenway area, watching the bush bunnies in their mating dance, then had lunch and returned home.

I caught an early bus into Harvard Square on Sunday morning to book browse. I managed to get hold of Doug in Chicago on my cell phone (first time I've used it in months) and chatted with him for well over an hour, sitting on a park bench under a tree, away from the procession of pod people. I do hope he can make it here before Summer is over.

One thing I have to say for being computerless for a couple of weeks, I caught up on a lot of reading, finishing Pigs At the Trough, Brain Droppings, Abuse Your Illusions and Living Faith.

There's a lot that I wanted to say in this and other journals, but the Muse came and went during the past couple of weeks

I'll end today with links to a bunch of articles I found during the past couple of weeks.

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Sunday July 13

The weather couldn't have been better this weekend, temps in the low to mid 80's, with low humidity and an almost cloudless blue sky. I only wish I had some local friends to share this sort of weekend with, but like the cat, I pretty much have been amusing myself.

Yesterday morning I drove into Boston to have my usual early morning bucket of iced coffee on the patio at Au Bon Pain, followed by a 2 hour book browse at Barnes and Noble. Here's an interesting observation, a lot of the books in the Hot Summer read section, as well as titles prominently displayed by at the front of the store deal with war, terrorism, dark humor, plus a number of old classic favorites such as George Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm, Huxley's Brave New World and Brave New World Revisited. plus a lot of left leaning authors. I could hardly believe my eyes, right up front was Abbie Hoffman's, Steal This Book, which I read back in the 60's.

There were the usual coffee table picture books of classic combat aircraft, pictorial histories of WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War I, and a new crop of King George's "Gulf War II, The Sequel" books. What was also interesting were the "how to" books on surviving war and/or total breakdown of services. I found one title almost funny. The title was something like "The Complete Guide to War" which was a questions and answers for dummies guide with questions like...

"If I'm shot will it hurt?"

"How will I know if I've been shot?"

"What are biological and chemical weapons?"

"What are nuclear weapons?"

"If a bomb goes off will I be killed?"

"What does a bomb sound like when it goes off?"

"If enemy troops invade will I be tortured?"

"If I'm a woman will I be raped?"

Arrgh! I can't believe how dumb some of these questions were. Considering half of the young today can't fins their own state on ;a map of the USA or know where our nation's capital is. I suppose you could ask a 20 something who the first president of the United States was and perhaps get "Ronald Reagan?" for an answer. A generation or more of systematic dumbing down is paying off big time for the masses, a nice dumb compliant flock of sheep.

After leaving Barnes and Noble and having lunch I walked over to the Fenway to sit under a tree on a park bench. I ran into two acquaintances (guys I used to socialize with on a fairly regular basis 20 years ago), which helped pass the afternoon. I probably won't hear from them now for another 5 to 10 years. Every time we run into one another, they always say the same thing, "oh my God, I was just thinking about you. God it's good to see you" (yadda yadda, etc for a couple of hours) then "We MUST get together for coffee or dinner real soon" followed by the exchange of phone numbers and email addresses, then a hug and handshake good bye.

Every time this has occurred in the past, I would call or send email, saying it was really nice to see them again, and that we should plan on dinner or a movie soon. In all cases the messages were never returned. Whenever I cross paths with them again it's always, "I was going to call you but I lost your phone number and mail address, but I won't this time." Well, this time the ball is in their court or I'll pin a card with my number and mail address to their shirts next time we meet.

It was too nice to return home, despite the neuropathy pain in my feet and legs, so took a leisurely stroll back via the South End, observing the thorazine eye'd pansy patrol, taking their nipples and abs out for an airing, noses high in the air.

After I got back home, I gave Doug in Chicago a call and talked for a while.We were talking about the invasion of the homogenized Pod People, which seems to have also begun invading Thailand. He was telling me about the factory districts (slave labor) and when I mentioned 2(x)Ist underwear, he said they cost about 35 cents to produce. I knew 2(x)Ist is made in Thailand, it says so right on the tag. Hmmm, I should have wired him some money to send me a steamer trunk full of 2(x)Ist underthings. I could sell them in the South End and retire on the profits. Doug's hoping to have some issues ironed out so he can come for a visit. I'm getting so used to spending my weekends alone, I just settled down in my easy chair to read, then watched "The 12 Monkey's" and a couple of old episodes of the X-Files before turning in.

Early this morning I took the bus into Harvard Square, another splendid day, had coffee, sat down by the river and book browsed at Harvard Book Store. I don't know what possessed me (boredom maybe) but I stopped into the Harvard Square Radio Shack "You've got questions" I see they haven't changed much since I worked at the Shack some 30 years ago. As soon as you get one foot in the door, a half dozen sales people are hanging on you like leeches, "I'm just browsing, thank you." One of the journals that got lost in the great disk crash of 2003 contained some of my finer memories from my Radio Shack daze. I mostly did repairs in the back room, but when things got busy the manager would call me to the front of the store to help tame the mob of shoppers. If I ever get motivated I'll try to rewrite the "Show Til You Drop - II" article again.

After I had lunch at one of the national chain restaurants, which will remain unnamed to avoid embarrassment or a possible lawsuit, I found myself a bench and listened to some of the street musicians perform. The Square used to have a large number of very good low priced ethnic eateries,` but now it's either the $17.95 just to read the menu yuppie places or the big chains, that serve the same mediocre food, no matter where you you dine. I had what was supposed to be chicken parmesan. The pasta was like rubber and the sauce honestly tasted like it came straight from a can of Campbell condensed tomato soup. Of course the menus at some of the up scale yuppie places don't sound too appetizing either, "Medley of baby weasel testicles and possum gizzards saute's in Andean yak sweat $47.95" When I walk by a restaurant I usually look at the menu, starting with appetizers, checking the prices. In one snooty bistro window I saw "delicate salad of baby greens in Balsamic vinaigrette, $17.95" At this price they must fly the greens in fresh daily on hate Roswell shuttle from Zeta Reticuli.

Another Monday approacheth...

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Sunday July 20

The weather this weekend was absolutely superb, but I hardly did a thing. The feeling of social isolation has really gotten to me this year, plus I have a medical cancer screening test this Friday that I'm not looking forward to at all.

Yesterday I headed into Boston early in the morning, doing the usual coffee and book browsing. I noticed quite a few titles prominently displayed that labeled liberals and moderates as treasonous commie pinko, terrorist butt kissers; scary stuff indeed. I guess we can all rest easier when the updated and improved versions of the Hitler Youth and brown shirts are seen loitering on every street corner, and throw in a bunch of guys who look like the Blues Brothers, following us all around as they talk into hidden microphones in their lapels.

I had lunch at The Living Center. I wasn't going to go, as the place usually depresses me, but got to chat over lunch with a couple of 12 steppers I've seen around on the streets of Boston for the past 20 plus years, but never talked to before.

After lunch I decided to take a new route during my afternoon stroll. The fruit loop from the South End, up through the Fenway was getting old, so thought walking around on Beacon Hill, through Government Center, Quincey Market, through the shopping district, over to Park Square and the theater district, then back to the South End would make a refreshing change. I hadn't walked around on the Hill for years, ever since my friend Paul left Boston for Southern California 10 years ago.

Almost all of the great, inexpensive Mom'n'Pop greasy spoons, delis and store front restaurants are "gone", replaced by foofy, chi-chi eateries containing "Bistro" in their names. I took a mental count of all the Starbucks and cell phone stores as I crossed town on foot, "Starbucks, phone store, Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, phone store, phone store, phone store, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, phone store, phone store, phone store, Starbucks, Starbucks, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, etc, etc.

I won't go into a lot of detail about the listings I browsed in the various realtor's windows during my afternoon stroll, "Cute, cozy, charming 1 bedroom Beacon Hill doll house of a condo, 300 square feet, $495,000" or the "Envy of all your friends, desirable Louisburg Square address in the hill, townhouse, $7,500,000." I kept looking for something that was remotely in my price range, but to no avail, "Cute, clean, studio ready dumpster behind the Park Square Dunkin Donuts. Emptied every Monday and Friday morning, Shared bath facilities with the Greyhound Bus Station, free donuts! $175,000."

I miss the funky, gritty, old hill, Romanos the tiny basement coffee shop where I passed many a pleasant afternoon and evening hobnobbing with the local literati, radical fairies and old money Brahmins. I also miss the old Charles Street Meeting House, a nice place to grab a nice lunch and maybe pasty inside, or on the sidewalk patio, that was a popular gathering place for faeries, literati, students and other assorted riff raff.

Then there was Esplanade Paperback books, a bookstore and smoke shop that was a popular gather place to browse and loiter that had bottles of poppers displayed by the register. Of course this was during the early to mid 70's. Charles street was also peppered with a few bars, pizza joints, package stores, diners, antique shops and DeLuca's Market, which is still there. DeLuca's was the one up scale neighborhood grocery store that was also an impromptu social gathering place, long before the term yuppie was ever uttered. Beacon Hill used to be Boston's gay ghetto before the yet uncharted South End became the crown jewel of homo social zip codes.

Cambridge Street used to have a few really good New York deli's that were also great places to eat and make conversation. One is a cell phone store today and the other a Thai restaurant. There was also Sporters, a dark, smoky low ceiling'd sleazy neighborhood gay bar that had been around since the original Boston Tea party. It's now an up scale yuppie bistro.

Today Quincey Market (Fanuel Hall Marketplace) is basically a Disneyland for up scale yuppie shopping, a tourist trap that probably sees almost as much foot traffic in a given year as Disney World. Before the Quincey Market revitalization during the 70's the area was a dark smelly district of warehouses and the Haymarket, "hey get yer cukes here, 10 cucumbers for a dallah", "hey get you canoli here, a dozen big fat canoli for a dollah." The centerpiece was Durgin Park, a noisy, dirty feed bag with rude, big haired waitresses having pencils stuck into their beehives, "hey honey, what can I getcha, c'com, c'mon I ain't got all day ya know!" Durgin Park was a show in itself, a slop trough, featuring tons of good food, really cheap. It's much more genteel and civilized these days, which is too bad.

I headed across to Tremont Street, where I also noticed many familiar places are now gone and as I cut through Bay Village (affectionately referred to as Gay Village in the 70's), it's all yuppified now. My neuropathy began yelling at me to begin heading back and as I walked by the Castle in Park Square, I noticed a lot of people in full leather, dominatrix outfits and such entering and leaving the building. Since it's not October, I knew it was too early for Halloween parties. I walked over to the door, "duh! of course! it's the Fetish Fair" Warren had dragged me along to the fair a few years ago, so not wanting to return home quite year, I paid my 5 bucks to wander the isles filled with vendors selling mink whips, trained talking pre greased gerbils, cattle prods, chain saws, nuclear powered dildos, leather everything, slings and arrows. I sat in one of the slings and thought, 'hmmm, this would make a very comfortable reclining reading chair.' but uhhhhh, that's not what slings are meant for.' I spent around an hour just taking in the sights, then it was time to walk back to my car to return to Chez Bigboote. I look at it this way, whatever floats your boat, to each his or her own, but the sex involving small animals, explosives, chain saws, bull dozers, republicans, televangelists and pain is not my cup'o tea. Before I left the castle I was looking at the wares on display in a booth on my way out. There was this very ominous look sex toy made of leather and spikes. The only thing I could think of are those spike strips that cops lay in the road to stop getaway cars.

I talked with Doug in Chicago for a couple of hours. He and I always seem to be on the same page. He was sharing his observations since he returned to the Fatherland, regarding the growing number (now the majority) of "Pod People". Instead of staring into the all seeing eye of the Illuminati (glass teat) last night, I read for a couple of hours, nodding out at 10PM.

The sky this morning was a splendid shade of clear deep blue. I should have done something self indulgent, but decided to make a short visit to mama (to get it out of the way), then stopped to see Noel and Ellen for a few hours (well Doug, the three of us talked at length about the pod people).

I took the back roads back home, stopping to genuflect before the Minuteman's butt in Lexington. I could envision Ashcroft screaming "call out the Marines to pull down the Minutemen statue, he's treasonous traitor, he's an un American icon."

That's it for now, as usual, another meandering, meaningless, long winded entry in the flight recorder. I dread this week, the two doctor visits, plus a few things that I'd rather not mention. Hopefully all (or some) of my concerns will be put to rest by week's end.

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Monday July 21

Last night I watched Futurama, The Simpsons, then read for a couple of hours before turning out the lights. It never fails to amaze me how Matt Groening and company keep coming up with funny and fresh material. Last night Bender had the professor perform a sex change operation for that he could win the fembot bending competition in the olympics. Although the Simpsons was a repeat, I can watch the episodes over and over, which I cannot say for many shows.

I made my way through the first 75 pages of "Reefer Madness" by Eric Schlosser, and am finding it a captivating read. The book chronicles the history of Sex, Drugs, cheap labor and the general American black market (underground) economy. I personally don't do drugs and have no use for pot smoking, but cannot see why there is such a strict ban on medical use under a doctor's supervision. I've known a number of AIDS and cancer patients in the past, who's doctors were able to get them medicinal marijuana, and all claimed that it was the only thing that held back the nausea and vomiting associated with the medications as well as the disease itself. When they got past the crisis stage, the people I spoke with said they didn't use the pot any more. Why doesn't the gummint ban the use of any and all pain killers used for cancer, AIDS, injuries and after major surgery; let the patient suffer, that's what the angry warrior Jehovah God wants isn't it?

Some of the facts regarding federal, state and county laws stated in the book are downright scary, serial rapists, murderers and terrorists get off with more lenient sentences in many cases. I read that in Kentucky it's a felony to wear clothing made from hemp fibers. What are they afraid of, that someone will roll up a pair of underwear and try to smoke it, or plant a tee shirt in their back yard, hoping to grow pot. I used to have a beautifully hand painted tee shirt that I bought in a shopping mall at an African crafts and art store. The tag stated that it was made from hemp fibers. Until I looked closely at the tag, I thought it was cotton, "excuse me sir, we need to check the tags on your tee shirt and underwear, up against the wall and spread'em!"

I wonder how many people along the corridors of power have used marijuana or other drugs. I'll bet a lot of the same ones who scream the loudest for severe sentencing of some zit faced kid who smoked 1 joint, are closeted Grateful Dead fan pot heads. Maybe there's a classified gummint study proving pot smoking causes people to vote Democrat, or worse, Independent. I'll have to dig around on the net and do some more cross correlating research after I finish reading Reefer Madness.

I'll end today's thought with a reposted extract from a bunch of jokes someone sent me for the June journal

In the 60's people took acid to make the world weird.
Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal

Here are a handful of articles I didn't have the motivation to add on Friday, enjoy!

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Sunday July 27

So they killed the Hussein brothers, Odai and Qusai again, which drove the greedy Wall Street pit bulls into an optimistic buying and selling frenzy, plus it helped boost Dubya's popularity rating. The American sheeple have the attention span of crack babies. The press never mentions Saddam's lesser known son, the horse trader and salesman, Ebay.

Thursday after work I drove into Lowell to visit my mother in the hospital. I got a call from a relative earlier in the week that she fell and broke her hip this time and it doesn't look good at all. I sat there holding her hand, feeling sort of helpless. I've watched too many people suffer and die, put in an extended state of limbo by the Western medical cartel. After my close friend and partner in crime Paul dyed, I told my doctor that when the day comes I'm in that position, take me out behind the building and shoot me like an old lame horse.

This week has been on big disaster after another, after going into the hospital for a test on Friday I got some very bad news and have to consult with a surgeon as soon as possible. Of course nothing in my life is even clean cut. The doctor told me after taking a biopsy that the surgery will be very risky and I could bleed to death, since the tumor or whatever it is sits on a large blood vessel. On the way home from the hospital my car broken down on Storrow Drive (I was in a super mood already after getting the swell news from the doc). I opened the hood to see if there was anything obvious and when I tried to close the hood, the latch broke. I was able to limp home at 10MPH, stopping at a couple of garages who told me they do not have the equipment to diagnose the nebulous "Check engine light" error. I called 3 Toyota dealers who all said the earliest they could even think about looking at it is 3 weeks from now.

I sent an email to my boss telling him I'll take a vacation day tomorrow (I'm already over my accrued limit anyway). I have a lot of running around to do tomorrow. Today I hate cars, hate the whole convoluted, bureaucratic system.

The Lambda Nebula section of Area51 is no more. I'de been meaning to 86 it for a long time, and the mind numbing events of this week gave me just the excuse to kill something, so the Nebula has been sent off to the ghostly limbo or 404 land. Some of it's links have been scattered around on the various pages of Area51. Someone asked why I did away with the Nebula page. My reply is that Area51 is, and has never been a gay web site, and it seems that 75% of all search engine results I find point to gay search engines and lists. Lambda Nebula was added about 6 years ago to add a bit of diversity to an already of the wall collection of cyber space junk.

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Monday July 28

A lot has happened over the past week, none of it good. Due to everything, medical and otherwise being in a total state of ice cold fear inducing chaos (I won't go into any detail for now), this will be the last entry until (when/if) things return to a state of normalcy. Right now I'm hurting a lot, physically, mentally and spiritually and can't see my way out of a lot of  crises that have taken over my life. If anyone who reads this believes in God and prayer, I (along with the vast underclass) could use it now.

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Shalom, Ray