Today's Mighty Oak

Note: Yesterday I wrote up a recap for one of my DnD games, so while I wrote, it’s not here on the blog, I’m still on track to write everyday in July!

Today marks what would have been Nelson Mandel’a 100th birthday.  I remember where I was on the day he died: I was on a treadmill at the Penn Hills Y watching the news coverage, saddened and tearing up.

His story shows both some of the worst and best that humanity is capable of, and I think that’s why I’m drawn to it so much.  I’ve listened to Archbishop Tutu speak of his close friend, and read many of his speeches, but what I know Mandela barely scratches the surface of what he did and who he was.

Still though, his dedication to democracy, and his example of the spirit of reconciliation are admirable and at least in myself, I feel unattainable.  But much like other shining examples, I hope I can strive to be the man he knew that I was.

On the news of his death, President Obama said this:

The day he was released from prison gave me sense of what human beings can do when they’re guided by their hopes and not by their fears.

And maybe it was because 2013 was such a different time, but I can remember how much his death affected me that day and those following.  Mandela’s work continues on through his foundation and The Elders, and I hope that we can all continue to live up to his giant legacy.

This is a shorter bit of writing tonight, but actually still quite productive.  I tend to e-mail myself lots of links and things, that inevitably pile up and I never look at.  So I’ve been making more of an effort to go through those as well.  I cleared out quite a bit tonight, some were work-related, others were notes for myself (many are also copies of all the e-mails I produce for work), but I found two things to share today.

First up, the cast of “Hello from the Magic Tavern” play Gauntlet!

And second, since I’m going to see The Hunchback of Notre Dame this weekend in York, here is a metal cover of “Hellfire.”  It’s already one of the darkest (if not the darkest) Disney animated movie, thanks to this song, but this is a neat take on it:


Currently, it’s storming, and I’m doing what I can to ignore the thunder and lightning.  This was one of those days where I didn’t have anything planned and so it became just a super busy day running all over the place.  Had the weather cooperated, I had hoped to spend an evening on the deck, and while the storm system should pass, it’s ridiculously hot today, so I’ll most likely be staying inside.

However, I will make mention of one of the stops today, on my way to a friend’s, I swung by my local bar since they opened early for the World Cup final!

The outside patio was packed as well.  For how early in the day it was, it was great to see such a big turnout of people into the game.  The crowd seemed split between France and Croatia (I was rooting for France since a friend moved to Paris and they have better LGBT rights than Croatia), but all in all, just a neat way to spend some time, especially with how small soccer’s fandom is here in the states as compared to the big four.

A few more things here, then back to the grind for the week.  Hoping to try out some new gyms since mine will be closing, so hopefully I can find a new home!

Yesterday’s writing was the podcast page, if you haven’t noticed, I finally go that up and running!

So, reading through all the news that came across my feed today, the world is a mess.  More than normal.  That probably won’t change in the near future.  So instead today, I’m just going to leave you with something to make you happy.  A youtuber who I love put together this amazing medley of music from Super Mario.  This is also a great reminder how astonishingly beautiful the music from Super Mario Galaxy is:


We’re a third of the way through the month already!  I’ve been enjoying writing every day, and really enjoyed the more free-form blogging over the weekend (as well as the time to work on the site a bit), so I’m certainly glad I’m doing this.  However, if other NaNoWriMo projects are any indication, this is where it starts to get hard!

Anyway, first up today, it’s illegal for the Pride flag to be displayed in Russia.  But these World Cup fans have found a way around that!

The Governor of Maine has vetoed a ban on gay ‘conversion therapy torture.’  No word on if the state legislature will overrule him.

Various LGBT groups have come together to help stop the SCOTUS pick.  If he’s confirmed, we will most likely lose any kind of discrimination protection and will probably lose marriage equality as well (in addition to legal and safe abortion, contraception, voting rights and the list goes on and on).

The trailer for OITNB has arrived:


Let’s take a moment and talk local politics.

Last month, an East Pittsburgh police officer shot and killed (and thankfully is being charged, although we’ll see what comes of that) an unarmed 17 year old boy.  Since then, protests have rocked the area (I’ve been detoured many times due to said protests, and honestly, that minor inconvenience is nothing compared to a parent waking up without their son, so I’ll deal).

In the wake of this, a challenger decided to run against the sitting District Attorney.  This is great news, our current DA has a less than stellar record with charging police for crimes.  But as it turns out, the person running thinks that being queer is a sin.  His half-hearted apology does nothing to change the fact that if he were to be the DA, he would be viewing a large class of citizens as ‘sinful’ and would treat us differently.

DA’s are really important (and as a quick side note, I like to think that since the Batman Begins trilogy, we understand the role of a DA better.  Or maybe the over abundance of Law and Order’s.  Either way, I’m glad that we as a society at least better understand what kind of a role the DA plays and how important they are), and we need to make sure that who we elect treats everyone equally under the law.

While we’re talking about politics: are you registered to vote?  Seriously, you have to vote.

When women, queers, POC, immigrants, religious and economic minorities urged you to vote for Hillary because our lives depended on it, you could hide behind your privilege. Are you listening to us now?

Click here to register to vote, and do it now!

I’ll do another ‘blog’ type of writing today, perhaps that is what my weekend writing will become (this month is all about getting in the writing habit and see what I like and what I don’t, so why not experiment a bit).

This morning got up and ran a beautiful (although maybe slightly pollen filled) run through Schenley Park before heading to yoga at Phipps.  After that, four of us went to the Pirates pride game!

Two of us hit up the tailgate party beforehand, which included a donation drive for a new homeless shelter for queer youth.  While we only make up about 4-10 percent of the population (numbers vary), queer youth are 40% of homeless youth on the street, because they are thrown out of their homes simply for how they were born.  I was hoping to see the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence there, as they’re doing a ton of work for Proud Haven, but I’m sure they need a break, so I hope they could enjoy the game outside of face!

The game was fun (I got wings, saw the pierogie race), and we even won!  Headed to Local afterwards to grab a drink and let the traffic die down…and then we got lost in the parking garage, so that was a fun adventure!  Check out the photos from the day here.

Back to the grind tomorrow, and it’s shaping up to be a very busy week!

My goal for Camp NaNoWriMo has been to get back into the habit of writing each day.  I’m sure it won’t be something I will keep up in August and September, as I’ll be putting in more miles to train for the GAP Trail Relay, but not only do I love NaNoWriMo, I also love the people I’m sharing a virtual cabin with for camp.

So far this month, I’ve been able to get just about caught up on my RSS feeds, have done some neglected work on my website (although still have lots to go, but the month is young!) and generally enjoyed getting back into this habit.

Today, while I had plans to wake up early and go running, my body had other ideas.  And that’s okay, when I did wake up, even though the temperature was great, I had no desire to drive to the park to go run long. So hopefully tomorrow I’ll go early to yoga and get a loop or two in before stretching (and then going to the Pittsburgh Pirates Pride game).

So instead, I was super productive around the house today.  Lots of laundry, brewing beer, some baking, weeding and some great self care: right now I’m sitting on my deck, enjoying the beautiful weather and clear blue sky, sitting under my new deck umbrella with an iced coffee and listening to some podcasts on a little bluetooth speaker.  Really, just a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

And writing this has been fun, a ltitle different than my normal writing: an actual blog!  I’ll be walking down the street to a friend’s for game night later, but for now, enjoying this space is exactly want I want to be doing.

Edit: Still working on a good way to add posts from my phone (with pictures), but I’ll keep working on that this month!  Hopefully you enjoy the view from my deck though!

A short one today, dare I say that I’m just about caught up (on one source of blogging)!

First up, some karma: three lions killed rhino poachers.

New York has unveiled the first of a series of LGBT monuments that will be going up around the city.  I’m hoping to see some of them when I’m there in December if I have time!

Currently the only gay male athlete in the five major sports, Collin Martin, got a standing ovation for his entrance into his first game since coming out publicly.

And finally, this amazing quote from one of the survivors of the shooting at the Capital Gazette:

I don’t know what I want right now but I’m gonna need more than a couple days of news coverage and thoughts and prayers. Thanks for your prayers but I couldn’t give a f*ck about them if there’s nothing else,” she told the unfazed CNN host.

Today I took some time and did a little bit of writing and a lot of cleanup on my portfolio here on the site.  I still need to go through and add quite a bit, but at least what I had (months ago) migrated over from my old Joomla site, are now in working order.

The catalyst for finally doing some work on this is that I’d like to do some volunteer work with an amazing organization called Get Her Elected.  They team up with progressive, female candidates around the country and help find pro bono work for them: everything from simple data entry and using online text banking tools, to policy analysis, graphic and web design and coaching on fundraising and volunteer recruitment.

I figured I’d like to throw my hat in the ring in the future, so I better get my online presence a little bit beefed up, plus, it’s something I’ve been neglecting for a while, so this is a great excuse to get things where I’d rather they be.

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