Prospects and People and food in SF

Well, talking to the GAO office went okay. I think I came across as a bit strident, but I tend to make that first impression, I think, particularly on work related things. Reviewing their teams and options and stuff, I’m still in favor of returning to the bay but less intently focused on that. Taken together, this means that future life at GAO would likely be in Chicago. And I’m okay with that.

The ERG did not impress me much. Or, at least, not as an option for me. I have several interests, but they apparently don’t do the sort of energy policy I’d like to do for the developed world so much. I was told it would definitely fit, because they have a very broad program, but that they don’t have faculty that really examine that stort of thing. Not terribly surprising. They recommended CMU and Penn State, though the prof I talked to admitted it was not so much his specialty, and I’d be better off talking to professor A (who wasn’t available, and likely won’t be while I’m in town). Enh, oh well. That’s sort of a safety option and there are probably better safety options for me.

Dear Diary…

Nat’s & Krista’s bonds of civil matrimony

So, friday I flew out of Midway to Charlotte (no delays!) to attend ‘s and ‘s (now ) wedding. Nat’s dad picked me up at the airport, and after some initial confusion, I was dropped off at the bachelor party, where I was promptly greeted by such well known figures as , , babailey, Mark Stehlik, and . All with at least one sheet to the wind. I also met new worthies, , , , and . Though I did pour myself generously, I didn’t drink much. Video game and other madness ensued. I largely got my ass kicked as a variety of princesses and puffballs in super smash bros. But in HALO 2, I held my own. Much thanks due to Mitch, my current roommate, and my fellow players’ states of inebriation.

The next day, the big day, , , and I abandoned Ken to sleeping in, hit a nearby mexican fast food joint, then returned to cleanup and go to the wedding. This is when I should have remembered the camera that entrusted me with to take a picture of him as krista entered the place of marriage. I was a dork, and completely forgot it until we were at the wedding site and had no time to turn around & get it. I made enough noise about it, though, that pulled out his camera and did it for me. Not exactly the plan, but so it goes.

The ceremony itself was very tasteful, simple, and well done. Also, pretty god-free as I recall.

Throughout the reception, we were seated next to the buffet, but the last ones given the all clear to make use of this. We made up for this by scamming half the chocolate covered strawberries for our table when dessert came. It was largely the same crowd from the bachelor party, though and Mike Tolan(?) joined us later, having suffered a similar flight experience to what I’d had to sit through earlier in the week.

I was one of the snarky people who didn’t dance and criticized the dj. To be fair, he was pretty crazy. He seemed determined to make a spectacle of the event, and succeeded in being pretty loud, and perhaps rather more attention gathering for himself than is truly appropriate for the dj at a wedding, but enh. A good time was had, regardless.

I stayed til the end of the reception, then it was back to the bat hotel. , babailey and I ended up in babailey’s room playing a card game new to Ken and I. In the end, Bryan beat Ken’s and my combined scores by 1, while Ken beat me by 1 (out of over 100). It’s an interesting 3 player trick taking game. Recommended when only three players are available.

Up in the morning, back to chicago at O’hare. Small delay taking off, but we still landed early. A day with my parents, including the Blind Faith Cafe, a walk along the beach in Evanston, grocery shopping, and a trip out to see my nw suburban aunt, uncle, and cousins (including a hyper little 19 month old, daughter of one of said cousins). Back home and collapse.

movie time with Jhim and Robbie

My 4th of July wasn’t too terribly eventful, but it was pretty fun. Reversing the situation from last week, is in my city of residence for work-related purposes. So, he, and I did something much like what he, , and I did. Hang out, catch a movie (Bewitched, I was rather disappointed, they could have done so much better…) and dinner at the chicago diner. is a great guy, who I would recommend to just about anyone for an evening of around-the-town fun. is also quite cool, and it’s fun (if not difficult) to make him blush, even if it doesn’t show on him.

HIV and AIDS

reposted an article which is highly critical of the current medical practices and beliefs with respect to AIDS and HIV. My reading is that it’s trying to imply HIV probably doesn’t cause AIDS without saying it. She quotes someone who says that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, but also notes that she isn’t sure that these people are correct, but feels that they need to be heard.

The major claims seem to boil down to a few, paraphrased endlessly.
HIV meds are toxic. This is true. The dissidents claim that this does not get acknowledged by the mainstream medical establishment. This is not true to the best of my ability to discern. Everyone I’ve talked to on meds has shared their experience with the side effects. They say that this is something they are told about before they start a regimen. Standard medical practice for a variety of diseases. We don’t tell people about the side effects of drugs they won’t be taking, because that’s time consuming, and useless. HIV meds are hardly unique in having nasty side effects. Perhaps these side effects should be trumpeted loudly, particularly to the bugchasers, but that’s another story.

The denialists talk about alternate treatments, but give no information on long term survival rates for people provided only such treatments, on expense of these treatments, etc. Nor do they talk about late stage AIDS reversal rates for these treatments. Contrast this to HIV where the experiments to determine the efficacy of AZT were cut short because AZT was showing dramatic benefits and it was judged unethical to allow patients to die when treatment was available. This was probably under active pressure from ActUp and similar organizations. I do kinda wonder what the FDA on this was.

Dissidents, or denialists rarely mention the frequency with which AZT and later, cocktails produced dramatic turn-arounds in AIDS-related declines. They acknowledge that it “helps in some cases”, but never get into anything like hard numbers.

I have my own concerns about entrenched pharmaceutical interests, and I believe in the HIV theory. Assume for a second, if you don’t already, that HIV is the cause of AIDS. Pharma makes big money off of treatments for HIV. If a vaccine and a cure were both developed, such that HIV was a thing of the past and AIDS never occurred, and the profit to be made from selling this innovation were trivial, how possible would it be for makers of current HIV meds to buy off, deny or supress the creation of such? That would be difficult to arrange though. But it’s the pharmaceutical industries that run the trials for new drugs. How often will they pony up for trials of anything promising such benefits?

But, in the first several years of AIDS, the disease was treated in a variety of ways without using Protease Inhibitors or Reverse transcriptase inhibitors (AZT is one or the other I think). Do you have any real evidence that they were anywhere near as effective?

You want research done on nutritive therapy, great. Should be comparatively cheap. If there’s such good reason to doubt, why is there difficulty raising the money? Start up a parallel group to do what you believe is real research. Fundraise, prove the world wrong. I certainly won’t stand in your way. I might even donate a dollar or two.

Sorry, this is not the cohesive, point by point post I’d hoped to make, but I’m not inundated with free time. Maybe I’ll revisit the topic later.

Pride summary

Saturday: Gymnastics, Howl’s Moving Castle (good for disney, somewhat disappointing for Miyazaki) with , Mexican also with Robbie, CGMC concert with where I spotted , Seth, and Wayne. (well, Seth spotted me). The concert was somewhere between okay and good. The summer practice period is pretty short, and they usually team up with another concert for it. This year, they did not, and it showed. While the staging, costumes, and coreography were impressive, the music was less so.

Afterwards, and I walked to the pick me up. Much food was had. informed me of a great deal of the inner workings of lj’ers of which I’d previously been unaware. Fascinating.

Home & bed.

Next day, big-ass, nasty tasting, tequila rich margarita in a plastic cup and bad chili with straight coworker to start the pride parade. Watching the parade with the straight coworkers from the neighborhood. Counting the protesters. (there were 7 of them). The marching band played “jesus loves me” for them. Then off to ‘s party. Wildness ensued, though I took little part in it. I had a drink or two. I remember a beer and a fruity malt beverage while surrounded by bears. I met (and may I say, christian, nice catch) and the cute, sweet, self-proclaimed slumlord, from austin. Dinner at mamacita’s where someone who doesn’t speak english so good apparently had a problem understanding both “no cheese” and “sin queso”. *sigh*. Hugs & home.

Sleep.

Up at 3:30am on a monday packing for a trip to DC. Drug Information Association annual meeting. Another waitperson with english troubles, who also understood neither “sin queso” nor “no cheese”. I miss san fran. Or maybe just El Sombrero in Berkeley.

If I do get and take a position with the gao, odds are good I will try to get a rotation through San Fran’s field office, working for the Natural Resources and the Environment team. I’d try to liver in the lower Haight. Mmmm, axum. Mmm, punky lookin’ guys.

I’m now slightly tipsy after having visited Halo (sadly asocially) and taken advantage of their second drink free happy hour special. And chatting with gay men, while in a bed & breakfast in dupont circle. I was also singing a bit of Sarah McLachlan to myself on the way back from the bar. (over and over again). I don’t think it gets much gayer without another guy being involved. *wistful sigh*

“Hey your glass is empty. It’s a hell of a long way home. Why don’t you let me take you? It’s no good to go alone.”

Physical Affection

Back in the old days of my undergraduate career, as some of you know, I was an active brother in Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed, dry, service fraternity, without a house (we drew in a pretty interesting crowd). It provided what was probably my, and many others’, first real sense of belonging. I was told, and shown, regularly, “We like you, we don’t care if you’re gay.” Partially this was through, affectionate, but decidedly unromantic touch.

My active status in APhiO didn’t even last for a full semester after I initiated, but I still count some of the people I met through it as very dear friends. And I often miss that contact, the touch that doesn’t demand or request, that isn’t sexual, the touch that simply offers affection. It’s a need that I’ve tried to fill through my love/sex life, but it’s not the same. It’s unfortunately rare in my life.

transcontinental bike plans

Originally, I thought this was a really out-there plan, and it sounded like alot of fun. Now it seems alot less out there, and even more like something I want to do. It would be late june – late august 2003. I’d be doing it by myself (though tardis has offered to semi-accompany: he’d be touring via motorcycle, and leap-frogging me the whole way.)

I’m thinking I’ll most likely do a fairly circuitous route (provincetown – boston – burlington vt – ithaca ny – cleveland – chicago – madison wi – minneapolis – denver co – santa fe – phoenix – san diego – san francisco.) over roughly 2 months (possibly a couple of extra days).

Continue reading “transcontinental bike plans”

Need for Affirmation

I just got back from San Francisco. I had a great time with some friends out there.

During the trip, I was hanging out with a friend of mine at his place. We were gossipping about what a friend said about a friend, and I brought up a concept bandied about among the local set of friends. This group calls it the matrix (I’ve heard other terms for the same thing from different social circles. I’ve heard it called “the web of shame”, “the snowflake” , and even “the organic molecule”.)

Basically, it’s a way of showing who has slept with whom, blah, blah, blah. On the merest mention of it, my friend, whom I admire greatly, made a noise of disgust. I asked him why, and he said something to the effect of “I’m sure [redacted] is a great guy, but the way some people use this sort of thing to feel better about themselves…” and I can’t remember anything else he said, because that spun my brain off along a totally different avenue.

It’s something I have done, generally decreasingly over the last few years, but it dominated my social interaction with at least three people in the bay area, and influenced several others. It wasn’t about an insatiable sex drive (mine’s actually pretty tame). It’s not about social status, I will talk about it with my friends, but I tell them everything, especially the embarrassing stuff.

I suppose it could be Mark’s boredom theory, but making an ass out myself isn’t terribly entertaining. Especially when it generates all this conflict: I blew a night of sleep, later I all but ran back to the place I was staying where I sat on the floor with my back against the door, in the dark, wracking my brain to figure out what I was doing wrong, where I screwed up, why I am losing a game I care about, a game I’ve been working at and care about, something so many people seem to have working with no such internal conflict.

I feel like most of my life is really pulling together. I’m into my classes. I like my work (not love, but that’s more than I could have said a year ago.) I think public policy is a direction that’ll work for me. I’m healthy. I have great friends. I have a boyfriend, or at least a decent approximation of such, and he’s a great guy, intelligent, attractive, athletic, sweet, and patient. And yet, I’m not really happy. Am I chasing unicorns?

When I was asked by this cute little film student what I needed for a happy life, my answer came with no hesitation. All I needed then, and all I need now is “purpose”. I need something to do. Something with meaning. Something that matters.