Bloede’s Dam

Bloede's Dam pano
Bloede’s Dam on the Patapsco River –  Ilchester, Maryland

This is Bloede’s Dam as it appeared in late Fall of 2003. Just left of center upstream from the dam you can see a thick-ish, overhanging tree at the river’s edge. I would almost drown there in March of the following year only twenty feet from the bank.

The following is from Wikipedia:

Bloede’s Dam was a hydroelectric dam on the Patapsco River in Maryland. It was the first known instance of a submerged hydroelectric plant, where the power plant was actually housed under the spillway. It is also recognized as one of the earliest dams constructed of reinforced concrete. This area is now part of Patapsco Valley State Park Avalon Area.

I haven’t been back to Patapsco Valley State Park since 2004 and this may be the last picture of it I’ll ever get to take. According to the Wikipedia article, it was due to be demolished in 2016-2017.

25 Random Things About Me (updated)

1. My dad kept his pistol in its holster, hanging on a hook in the bedroom closet.  When I was in high school, it accidentally discharged while I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth.  The bullet went through the common closet/bathroom wall and between my legs, missing my cojones by less than an inch.

2. I love science fiction…

3. …chicken fried steak…

4. …”Behind Blue Eyes” by The Who…

5. …and the color orange.

6. If I had to choose between the Bugatti Veyron or the Aston Martin V12 Vantage I think my brain would seize.  It would be like trying to decide which of your two perfect children is your favorite without being able to pick them both.

7. I once dyed my hair black because I was bored with the natural brown color.  (I was told bleaching it white like I wanted would turn it a yellowish straw color instead.)  I looked kinda weird with all black hair, but when the brown had grown out more so it was half brown and half black, it looked awesome.
UPDATE: I have now bleached it snow white and yes, it looks awesome.

8. My favorite number is 8.  It’s like infinity, sideways.

9. Three favorite authors: Isaac Asimov demonstrated how truly epic science fiction could be.  Douglas Adams taught me that it could also be humorous, but Peter F. Hamilton makes it feel real.

10. I like to snow ski slowly, as if taking a stroll, and I like to ski alone.  Speaking of snow…

11. I love the way the ground is brighter than the sky on cloudy days after a snowfall.

12. Once on a car trip around Crete, a friend and I drove north over the Diktean Mountains to reach the Lasithi Plateau.  In doing so we drove up into the clouds to cross over, then down out of them to the plateau.  It felt like an episode of The Twilight Zone.

13. I enjoy the beauty of Arabic script.  It can be simple, as in a newspaper, or woven into a complex pattern like a tapestry.  The most beautifully executed script I have ever seen was by a photographer named Hussain who made his name into a sailboat, waves and a sand dune with birds flying in front of a sun.

14. I must chew gum when I fly.  If I don’t I won’t be able to hear out of my left ear for at least a week.  (The Valsalva Maneuver doesn’t work for me.  Never has.)

15. My earliest memory is of playing next to my younger sister beside a lake.  I was three.

16. I once walked streets paved 4000 years ago while visiting Akrotiri, Santorini (Thera), Greece.

17. With a slight alteration to a statement made by Christopher Hutchens, I believe that which is asserted without proof should be dismissed without proof.

18. I think “reality television” is one of the biggest misnomers in history.  Inserting disparate groups of people into contrived situations isn’t reality.  It’s surreality.  (Okay, this wasn’t really about me, but I don’t like “reality television” so now it is.)

19. I prefer driving a vehicle with a manual transmission.
UPDATE: Now I’m older and prefer automatic transmissions.

20. I like surprising people who underestimate or misjudge me.  I love it if they also happen to be hypocrites.

21. I don’t know if this is uncommon or not, but in this era of the mouse, keyboard, and touch-screen, I have a permanent indentation on the left side of my right middle finger where my pencil rests when I write.
UPDATE: Yep, still there!

22. I can touch type, but when I enter numbers longer than four digits I use the number pad.  (Although, I also used it when I numbered these random facts so, hmmm…)

23. If I could travel anywhere in the world and stay for a couple of months, I would visit Paris. Why Paris? I would literally be following my dreams.  (Technically, it was one dream, but it was a very good dream.)

24. Key Lime Pie and Pecan Pie are my favorite two desserts.

25. Mac or PC?  Mac!

26. Bazinga!

To live and die

I died July 15, 2016.

At least I thought I had when I laid down and
My consciousness floated away.
And who’s to say?
Maybe I died and death spat me out
Like spoiled milk.

Scars from emotions are ghosts,
No one can see them and
Only I can feel them.

Know this:
From your point of view, I tried to commit suicide
And failed.
From my perspective,
I succeeded.
When I closed my eyes,
I was certain I’d never open them again.

The old me did indeed die that day,
And having died was free to live.
It would be almost a month before I realized the
Potential for joy I was given.

My scars represent many things —
Bad choices,
Second chances —
But there is no shame in them.
My physical scars are here for all who care to look.
My emotional scars are here for all who care to listen.

For a while…

…I went to an LGBT support group in Baltimore.
As it turned out, I went more often than the group actually met.
It wasn’t very well run and I wouldn’t know a meeting was canceled
until I read the sign on the door
or the door remained locked after the scheduled start time.

I guess they didn’t believe in phones
or courtesy.

It was after one of these rare meetings
that I first kissed a man, or, rather,
a man first kissed me.
I was caught off guard,
totally unprepared, and
did the only thing I could.
I kissed him back.

Kissing was nothing new to me.
I’d kissed girls
back when I was having straight sex,
back when I didn’t want to believe I was gay.
Turns out it wasn’t the girls.
I really do not like kissing.

If we ever meet and
you feel the urge to kiss me,
give me a hug instead
and I’ll give you one back.

Porn for charity, or not

If I don’t survive the next seven hours I’m donating all my porn to charity.

I chipped a tooth the weekend before last. I found only a part of it and it’s sitting on a small square of dark paper in front of me as I write this. Initially used as a reminder to call the dentist,  now it causes me to ponder the evolution of the tooth in land animals. Has there been any? Don’t dinosaur teeth follow the same blueprint as our teeth?

I think the basic structure of teeth, if not their actual shape and size, remains unchanged since…well, since they evolved millions of years ago. And normally I would be fine with that if I weren’t looking at part of one sitting on a dark square of paper in front of me, where it absolutely should not be.

This tooth I’m staring at… I’m certain it should have progressed beyond the I-can-break-and-cause-you-immense-pain stage by now. Like, way long ago.

But no.

In an amazingly short period, this tooth has gone from something that scratches my tongue when I talk to an evil thing spreading agony from the original break down into my jaw and over to my ear.

It takes no imagination at all to visualize some worm-like creature chewing its way from tooth to ear, much like a scenario in a show I saw a long, long time ago. (Something along the lines of The Outer Limits or The Twilight Zone but, apparently, neither of those.) Said story involved a man who lived in the jungle suffering excruciating pain as a worm worked its way from one ear to the other. When the worm exited his ear and the patient awoke feeling fantastic, it was discovered the worm was female and had laid eggs in his brain.

For those of you thinking “over-the-counter oral anesthetic,” been there, done that, and it worked at first. Few things can resist the numbing relief of 20% Benzocaine in a liquid solution that is Anbesol©. You can now add this particular tooth to that list.

As an aside, the only time you realize how well the “cocktail” of two Excedrin, two Tylenol, two Motrin, and two Aleve worked is when they wear off.

Last night, after my exposed tooth started throbbing in time with my heartbeat, I applied a generous dose of Anbesol. I wasn’t expecting much relief but decided that any relief would be better than none. Wrong move.

No longer a throb, each heartbeat produced such a jolt of searing pain that I literally dropped everything I was holding as tears fell uncontrollably. Each pulse producing involuntary spasms as I lay on the bed, not understanding why this was happening.

I still don’t know why that happened but, as the misery is now more manageable, I’m going to let the proverbial sleeping dog lie. My appointment with the dentist is in six and a half hours. I have never looked forward to being stuck in the mouth with a needle more than I do now. Also, this dentist has nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”) and I’m going to suck that tank dry. While in my N2O disembodied state, I’m going to ask Mother Nature why she did such a bang-up job with genitals but thoroughly screwed up the whole teeth thing.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to finish organizing my porn.  You know, for charity.