Monday, June 29, 2009

And For My 200th Blog Post:

More pictures, what else would I be posting?

I recently took my parents canoeing on Long Pond in Lempster, NH. I bought the canoe last year almost brand new, very cheap. It is quite stable and tracks nicely.

The Lempster Wind Farm as seen from on the water (click the picture for more detail on the turbines). This is something of a pilot project which many other areas in the state are watching to gauge the success. I hope it catches on!

Wild blueberry blossom

Mountain Laurel Bloom

A rather odd-looking fungus growing on a tree on one of the islands in the middle of Long Pond

Out on a hike on the country roads in my neighborhood: my friend Matt on the right, his youngest son in the red jacket, my youngest child in the black fur coat

A lovely cow-meadow right above my house

The road above my house (where I had the night-time moose encounter in the previous post).

One of the ecological treasures in my area is the presence of some old-growth trees which are well beyond a century old, probably saplings when the area was first cleared for farm land. This sugar maple is one of them. We have dubbed it the "Whomping Willow" because of the resemblance to the tree in the Harry Potter movie.

A porcupine den in an old-growth poplar tree down in a ravine in the middle of the woods.

Eastern Phoebe (probably female) sitting on a clutch of eggs

Possibly a timely picture considering recent events, I took this a week before he died. It was in a free book pile that someone brought in at my workplace. I thought it made for an unusual children's book.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sacred Sisterhood of Sacrosanct Cisterns

...dare ya to say that ten times fast.

The area where I live was primarily farmland a century ago and most of the open fields have since been reclaimed by the trees again. Vestiges of the farms still remain, such as these four cisterns I found hidden away in the woods.

This one has obviously seen better days. I imagine the crack was from years of freeze/thaw cycles, now there is a constant flow of water coming out of the crack, thus a convenient watering hole for the dog.

The fresh-cut boards on this almost-finished cistern enclosure would indicate it to be a new construction, I'm guessing that it gravity-feeds the farm house and barn located about a tenth of a mile down the hill from it. For those who are unfamiliar with cisterns, if they are for human use and drinking water, they need to have enclosures like this to keep bugs, animals, leaves and other potential contaminants out of them.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Rant on Stereotyping

While perusing Digg today, I happened to follow a link to this video.

While it was campy and I found it mildly amusing, it was also offensive in it's stereotyping. I realize that in a broader social context, things like this may ultimately help the LGBTQ community in much the same way that inroads in the entertainment industry (despite some of the shameful exploitation and stereotyping) gave the black community more public exposure and helped to start a long-running dialogue with the rest of what was (and in some ways still is) a very privilege-based, racist society.

What bothered me most about this video I think is that I and many others are the target of this sort of stereotyping and misunderstanding. It brought back an incident which happened last year where I was introduced to a woman via a friend and the first thing which came out of her mouth was "Oh, so **** mentioned that you are gay, this is awesome, I love gay friends!" I shrugged this off at first because I have encountered it many times before and despite the fact that I know it is based on a stereotype, it is at least well-intentioned. Soon after that awkward introduction she proposed the idea of going out shopping, with me as her fashion critique and then hitting the clubs. This was a bit too much to take and I explained to her in an indelicate manner that I was not a walking stereotype.... I generally dislike the world of fashion, am not interested in pop-culture, don't like clubs and I am not terribly good at dancing. Further, I explained to her that, "I am nobody's TOKEN GAY FRIEND!"

Just because someone wants a guy in their life who has the potential to give them support & social interaction without the possibility for sexual entreaties complicating things, does not mean that anybody who happens to be gay will be a good fit. I for one am a direct, plain-spoken, grumpy bastard much of the time and I generally have no taste for partaking in most of the things which gay stereotypes represent. Stereotypes of most forms do exist, but they are only a small, prominent social bookmark within a much wider community which is far more reserved and eclectic. Further, I wholly support their right to be as they are and live as they see fit but for Heaven's sake, don't assume that just because I have an innate attraction to the same gender that I enjoy shopping for $900 clothing ensembles, have an inborn talent for applying makeup, and spend my free time drinking cocktails and popping pills to remove myself from reality while bringing my body to a state of near-collapse in a large, dark, people-filled room pulsing with laser lights and pounding house music. Does this sound like I am stereotyping my own sisters & brothers within the LBGTQ community? Hey, I've observed that the typification exists. I tried the clubbing/partying scene for a short time, seen what people turned into when they got caught in it for a long time and discovered that it wasn't conducive to a fulfilling, meaningful life.

If people like me, I want it to be because I am good with my hands and can build cool stuff out of discarded junk. I want it to be because I am filled with good advice and maintain a belief in the power of being truthful, because I can coax landscapes, broken lives and broken objects back into productivity; this coupled with an encyclopedic knowledge of nature and how things work. If people dislike me, I want it to be because I am eccentric, socially awkward and have a short fuse sometimes, because I am unfriendly and vicious when life gets to be too much to handle. I just want to be regarded as a person who has all the same strengths and flaws as anybody else in my particular situation. I detest the idea of somebody liking or disliking me just because I am gay.

Yeah, I feel badly for not being more sensitive and patient with that woman who assumed a connection/relationship where there wasn't one, but at least now she probably dislikes me for the right reasons.