Ahh… the holidays

I really detest the holidays. I don’t think I’m alone in this; just this morning Frank DeFord led his piece on Morning Edition with the phrase “I just don’t care about Thanksgiving.” Here, here! It’s not that I’m unthankful; I know I have a lot to be thankful about. And it’s not just Thanksgiving; I’d be happy if Christmas were omitted as well (but can I keep the vacation?). I think the issue for me is acceptance. Oh, and hypocrisy.

(warning: bitterness follows) I’m gay. For those of you who didn’t know that may be a shock, but really: would a straight guy talk about a frat party without mentioning titties? I don’t think so. With that in mind, the holidays are a time when I spend a large amount of contiguous time with my family, and when the people who are supposed to love me and care about me feel embolden enough to tell me how offended they are at my “lifestyle.”

Now understand, I love my family. My parents, sisters, and their husbands are incredibly respectful of, if not always in total agreement with my beliefs. I bring my partner to family gatherings, and my family seems genuinely interested in his opinions and what he has to say. It wasn’t always like this, but because they love me they’ve made an effort. My parents and I know exactly where the other stands on the “validity” of homosexuality, but we’re adult enough to realize that our personal relationship is more important. At least that’s how I perceive it.

My extended family is another story. My mother has two sisters, Carla and Fonda. Last year Carla called and invited me to Thankgiving Dinner. I wasn’t completely clear, so I asked her if Garrett was invited as well. I didn’t think it would be polite to simply show up with him in tow. But instead of saying, “no, I’m not comfortable with that” (which would have been disappointing but not mean-spirited), she instead proceeded to explain why. I am a firm believer in plurality. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, and I’ll do my best to respect them. But when my aunt explained “I know you’re this way because you’re mother’s so controlling” and then continued with “I just can’t have that in my house; just like it wouldn’t be right for me to invite an alcoholic and allow him to bring booze,” I snapped. I informed her that while I respected her opinion, she had no right to criticize my mother, and that it was just a shame she held up religion to avoid seeing (and I quote) “just how f***ed up your life really is.” And I hung up.

Some might say that wasn’t the most mature thing to do, and they’d be right. Carla said the same when she called back and left me a message saying “That wasn’t very mature, and I thought you were above cursing, Nathan. I guess I was wrong.” Yes, you were wrong. No, I’m not above it. Bitch.

And so I’ve just made it a policy of not attending events at her home. And that was fine with me; her food is always nearly inedible anyway. She’s hosting Christmas this year, and that’s just another day I have to enjoy my break. This year my other aunt, Fonda, is hosting Thanksgiving. She also left me a message saying “you’re invited to Thanksgiving.” Why can’t people just be direct and say “you’re invited, but your good-for-nothing homo lover isn’t” ? Things would be so much clearer. So again, I called, and this time left a message saying, “Thanks for the invite, Fonda; Garrett and I would love to come. See you Saturday!”

As you might expect, Fonda just called. I don’t think she was expecting anyone to answer, which made the conversation just a little bit gratifying for me. She started with the classic “I think there’s been a misunderstanding.” Yes, she’s right; I understood that her and her family loved me. And I also understood that love should be unconditional. Afterall, that’s what I learned in Sunday School. Fonda was really doing OK with her statement to me when she said, “we have to think of our children.” And I laughed. On the inside, of course. When I asked what she meant by this, she expounded.

“Well Andy and Austin [my two homophobic, red-neck, uneducated sons] about had a fit at grandma’s funeral this summer when they thought they heard you say ‘this is my partner, Garrett.’”.

“Well of course I said that, he is.”

“Well if they hadn’t been there for grandma, they would have left.”

First, some background. My grandmother died this summer. While not unexpected, it’s been very difficult for us all. Garrett is the only reason I’ve worked through it as much as I have. His presence at the funeral wasn’t to offend anyone or shove it in anyone’s face; it was because I was crying too hard to drive myself, and needed something — anything — to lean on. Second, a question: if they were really there for grandma, they should have been focused on their own grief and making peace as opposed to policing my actions, right? Just checking. And this whole “love the sinner, hate the sin” philosophy. Is there some special, conditional “sinner love” they’re using here? It’s funny (uh-oh, not ha-ha) because the people in my life who are the least religious seem to be the best at unconditional, unashamed, unguilted love and respect. I like that in people.

I’ve struggled quite a bit with figuring out just how my family fits into my life, and how to respect their beliefs even when I don’t agree with them. I think I strike a pretty good balance; when I have questions about how to act, I look at my siblings and married cousins and observe their behavior. And then I dial down the public affection and pet names a few notches and try that.

I guess I should be thankful that my family hasn’t figured out unconditional love. If they had they’d be marching with PFLAG, handing out flyers and expecting me to do it with them. And I don’t have that sort of time. As it stands, my holidays breaks suddenly have a lot more free time. I can take a pottery class.

date:2003-11-26 13:39:16
category:my life

I’m too old for this

This weekend my chapter of Delta Lambda Phi held initiation in West Lafayette. Initiation is my favorite ritual we take part in as a brotherhood; it instills in the new brothers a sense of shared experience, and reminds those of us who are, ehm, older why the brotherhood is so important.

This particular weekend was good for many, many reasons. First, a large number of alumni were present, which adds a certain esteem to the event (in my mind at least). I was happy to see Mark, Mike, Jason and the others. Second, we initiated 3 new brothers who promise to be fabulous additions to the chapter.

Finally, we partied like we just turned 21. OK, not exactly like that, but my head feels like it this morning. I think my body’s trying to tell me, “look buddy, you’re 27 now; prepare for old age.” Or maybe not. The party was actually pretty low key compared to some of our past events (let’s see… “a keg and 15 people; sounds about right!” or “really, doing apple pie shots in rapid succession won’t make you that sick” or “do you think a Mardi Gras theme will degenerate too quickly? nah” ). We can thank the fat bitch next door and the two police cruisers she called out for an overall very quiet event. But that was actually nice; I got to talk to the new brothers and some people I don’t usually chat with at parties. And I still got tanked (albeit inadvertantly… OK, I’m lying; I totally planned it).

I blame Patrick and Jeremy, really. The were bartending (maybe that’s too strong a word; all I know is they were pouring from large bottles and seemed to have some clue what they were doing), and even though I only had 3 drinks, when I crashed at 6 this morning I crashed hard. Or maybe it was the Tanqueray; Mark and I decided that, as “elder statesmen” (aka alumni), we needed to raise the booze bar; goodbye McCormick’s, hello Skyy (and Tanqueray #10).

And of course, when you’re walking a block and a half from your car with a 1.75 liter bottle of booze in one hand and a 22 pound bag of ice in the other, you realize that it really is just the simple things.

date:2003-11-23 15:50:10
category:my life

I’m Thankful it’s over

Working at your high school alma mater gives you some unique perspective. I don’t think you realize when you’re a high school student that the faculty are actually real people. They have friends, lives, and probably don’t like all the students as much as they pretend to. You also don’t realize that they probably don’t like some events any more than you do. Today was an example of that: The Thanksgiving Feast.

Thanksgiving Feast is an example of an offhanded comment gone totally wrong. “The Feast” (which is not really a feast at all, just some pumpkin pie and cider) was started just over 10 years ago, and like all things in a small community, was declared tradition after just 1 year. At least that’s how I imagine it, and based on other evidence, it’s probably accurate.

When I was a student, I dreaded The Feast. That’s pretty much the same reaction I have today as a faculty member. It’s an all school event where the student body, K through 12, is divided into Indian and Pilgrim families. I was in the Rogers familiy this year, not that it matters. Each family then has a handful of tasks to complete in 90 minutes: decorate a person as a turkey, elect a “gobbler”, come up with a family cheer, and do some lame craft for charity. Add to the mix lower school students who are enamoured with the high school, high school students being, well, high school students, and teachers who want to be doing anything else on a Friday afternoon, and you understand why it’s not exactly a beloved event.

Of course, the 90 minutes in your family’s classroom is nothing compared to the Thanksgiving Roll Call. The Roll Call involves the entire student body cramming into the Middle School auditorium, where each family’s name is read, they stand, give their cheer (us Rogerses sang the phrase “we’re in the neighborhood!” get it? Mr. Rogers? oh, nevermind). After they give their cheer (which included such broad interpretations as rapping and a WWF parody), their turkey stands on the stage, turns, and then their gobbler proceeds to, well, gobble into the microphone. All in all a good time.

So as we took half a day to consider what we’re thankful for, I’m thankful that I have 365 days until the next Thanksgiving Feast. I can’t wait.

date:2003-11-21 16:45:08
category:my life

The Law of Averages 2.0

After doing the design for the mozCC website, I decided that The Law of Averages needed an overhaul, too. Just in time for my birthday, here it is; at least it’s first iteration. I know there are still some layout bugs when viewed with Safari, but I’ll get those worked out. In the mean time, let me know how you like it (or don’t). But remember, I’m not a designer, and I don’t play on one television.

UPDATE: I think the layout bugs in Safari have been fixed. Damn style sheet.

date:2003-11-21 16:25:34

mozCC CVS moved

I’ve finished moving the CVS repository from my server to mozCC. You can find the details here. You can now do anonymous checkouts, which was something I felt an open source project needed. This completes the resource move to MozDev. I’m sure there’s some content changes that need made, and I’ll get to those as I have time. Remember that while CVS and Bugzilla are hosted at MozDev, the freshest, most up to date information is here, on yergler.net.

date:2003-11-20 17:10:17

Bug tracking and more for mozCC

While I was gone there were a handful of bug reports for mozCC (that I still haven’t gotten to). While not a ton, they were enough to convince me that I needed some way to track bugs, etc, while I worked on them. With that in mind, I’ve made some infrastructure changes.

First and foremost I’ve registered and started a mozCC project on mozDev. While I’m still calling yergler.net the “official” site of mozCC, I’ll be using mozDev to handle the new mailing list, bug tracking and CVS. These are all things that mozDev does better than I can, so it makes sense. I’ll be moving the CVS tree over later today, so that change is not yet in effect.

So what does this mean? You can now directly submit bugs. You can subscribe to the mailing list to receive announcements. You can perform anonymous CVS checkouts (once I move the tree). In short, life should be better for mozCC development.

date:2003-11-19 14:00:57

Back in Indiana

I made it back to Indiana last night after an absolutely hellish day of travel. I’ll write more about it later, but suffice to say Key West was amazing. We went snorkeling in the Atlantic, walked all over the place, and for an entire weekend completely relaxed (well, as completely as I can). We’ll definitly be going back.

I received quite a few bug reports and questions regarding mozCC while I was gone. Yes, I have them, and I’ll try to work through them and get back to each of you as soon as possible. I’ve also applied for a MozDev project in order to provide anonymous CVS checkouts, Bugzilla and mailing lists. Hopefully I’ll have that up and running in the near future.

date:2003-11-18 09:03:55
category:mozCC, my life

Bound for the Keys

I had hoped to fix some bugs relating to the new Mozilla Firebird Pinstripe theme in mozCC tonite, but it was not to be. After some television and packing, it’s late and we have an early flight.

By this time tomorrow I’ll be basking in the ocean breeze in Key West. It’s only a weekend trip, but it’ll be good to get away. Considering that Indiana is currently very, very cold and very, very windy, highs in the mid-80’s sounds like heaven.

So no updates to the blog, the projects or anything for 4 days. I’ll tell you all about it when I return.

date:2003-11-13 22:35:00
category:my life

mozCC for everyone!

Since announcing mozCC on Freshmeat yesterday the response has been amazing. I’ve received some positive feedback (thanks) and some bug reports and suggestions (double thanks). With that in mind, I’ve gone ahead and cut a new release from cvs.

mozCC 0.6.1 is out, with improved support for Mozilla Suite and Netscape, some minor cosmetic fixes and new psuedo-autolinking in the details tree. Things that look like links are now underlined in red; double-clicking them will open a new browser window with the link.

Also, the text-only website is gone. mozCC has a new home, now with fancy CSS and real graphics all around. Of course, this means my website looks even worse when compared to this supposedly side-line project. Oh well. Download the new release and let me know what you think.

date:2003-11-13 17:29:40

mozCC 0.6: The Integration Release

A little gift from me to you, mozCC 0.6 is now available. This release adds support for the Mozilla Suite (version 1.4 and above, although previous releases may work) and Netscape (tested with 7.1, but should work with all Gecko-based releases (>= 6, I believe). You can install it by clicking here.

At this point the only major outstanding issue is making URIs appear as links in the details window. I’ve struggled quite a bit with the tree element and haven’t made any progress. If you have any knowledge of XUL, or the particulars of embedding links inside ‘s, please e-mail me.

As always, the answers to all your burning questions about mozCC are located here. Feedback, suggestions, and gifts (just in time for my birthday, hint, hint) are welcome as well.

date:2003-11-12 09:08:14