Well, I threatened some time ago that I may make some religions posts. That time has come. This first post is a hodge-podge mixture of my feelings about my own faith. When my friend and colleague Brendon found out I was a Christian, he was fascinated and wanted to hear my views on creationism. I guess it’s kind of like a freak show: “What? You believe in that?” Ok, so let’s talk creationism, I’m game!
Here’s an interesting thing that happened to me while I was in Austin. It’s a short story but it bears repeating. I was on my way from the governor’s mansion, back to my car. Sadly the mansion was closed but I did get some nice pictures. Anyway, I was walking past a bus stop in front of the capitol building. I stopped to take a photo then carried on walking, as I did, someone walking in the opposite direction shouted: “You know what? You’re now on what’s known as 24 hour TV!”
I raised an eyebrow and carried on walking a few paces, then turned around and lifted my sunglasses inquisitively. The man who had said this was now on the other side of the bus stop, pacing in an irritably. Some young guys near me were chuckling nervously behind their hands.
I turned to go then turned around again. I was curious, I wanted to know what he had meant by that and if he was talking to me, he seemed to be in a great deal of distress and I wondered if I could help. Besides which, the place was littered with police and it was the middle of the day, what could he do? Yell some more?
Well, as you may have remembered me mentioning about 100 times, Rockwall county is a dry county. This means that technically, one cannot purchase alchohol anywhere in the county. Guns yes, beer, no. Of course, in reality people find ways to get around these strange laws.
Welcome to Mobile City! Population: 196. That’s right, you heard me: 196 people. What does this have to do with alchohol you ask? Well, as it turns out: everything. Aren’t you just dying to know? Click “more” to find out!
Firstly, the way that bars get around this problem is they call themselves “clubs”. In that way, they are “private houses” (not “public houses” or “pubs”). They serve drinks to their “members”. To become a member, you give them your driver’s license. Often if a group of you are drinking, they only require one of you to be a “member” and technically, they consider you to be the one consuming the alchohol of everyone there.
Continue reading Mobile City
I spent last weekend in Portland, Oregon. For those of you who don’t know, Portland is on the North-West coast of the US, just about as far away from Texas as you can get. People have asked me many times: “why Portland, of all places?” Well, firstly, I wanted to see as many different places in the US as possible, hopefully one a month, so anywhere is good. Secondly, believe it or not, I have a friend (Daniel) who lives in Portland.
He’s a kiwi and is about to return home, so I thought I had better visit him quickly before he disappears and there would be no one to show me around that part of the country. You probably know him as the enigmatic “Kyhwana” who is an unashamedly confirmed atheist (don’t worry. I made a point of hitting him with my Bible). It’s a good thing I had a friend with me too, I don’t think I would have as much of Portland if I didn’t have the advice of a local to go by. More pictures are published in flickr.
While in Austin I also got an opportunity to spend time at the President Lyndon B Johnson library. All past presidents have libraries in their honour. The LBJ library is the only one with no entry fee (at LBJ’s request). That should tell immediately you something about this man.
Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ for short) was America’s 36th President. He started off working as a teacher in a rural school in Texas, pretty soon though he was propelled into politics. After a long and successful career in US politics, as a congressman, senator and vice president, he had the difficult and unenviable task of picking up the pieces after JFK was assassinated in 1963.
In many ways he is similar to the incumbent president, George Bush. After all, he was born, raised, died and is buried in Texas. His entire two terms in office were dogged by a very unpopular war he had inherited and didn’t shy away from: the Vietnam War. He will always be remembered for the part he played in that unfortunate time in America’s history.
While here in Texas I have been collecting pictures of sunsets. It’s easy to see why so many people in the South believe in God. The landscape here is vast and flat. This makes for a a great deal of sky, stretching over you in all directions. When looking at that great expanse of Texas sky, it’s hard not to be in awe of creation and to wonder if there is some design behind it all, all this beauty.
Move your mouse over the thumbnails below to see the larger version!
Well, last weekend (September 1-4) was a long weekend because Monday was Labor day (yes, American spelling on purpose). So I very carefully planned a trip away from Dallas to spend some time in Austin, the capital city of Texas. Austin is named after a man called Stephen F. Austin. He led a very interesting life and played a pivotal role in the development of Texas as its own country and ultimately as a part of the United States. I didn’t know this before, but Texas is the only state that can claim to have been a country once in its own right.
You see, Texas has been a part of 6 countries in its time. These are known as the six flags over Texas. In the state Capitol (pictured above) which I was lucky enough to visit, they have a large star on the floor in the centre of the building which depicts the emblems of those 6 countries.
Last weekend (September 1 – 4) I went down to Austin for a bit of a holiday. It turned out to be a very memorable trip, not the least because my timing was serendipitous. This post is a long one about how I discovered that Austin is, in fact, quite gay. The image on the right is of Stephen F Austin. The father of Texas and the man after whom the state capital was named.
I had just had a long day, a very long day. For reasons I may elaborate on elsewhere, I had been driving for 8 hours non-stop. About 4 of those hours had been spent getting from Dallas to Austin, in itself a 192 mile trek.
My eyes were starting to close involuntarily as I took the turnoff to my hotel. Thank goodness it was easy to find. The Holiday Inn is a place that I trust implicitly since I have been to their branches in other parts of the world. After parking in the temporary parking space I walked up to the counter and “bing!” the gaydar goes off.
Ok, so after all that excitement, this is a boring work post. My company (Beca Applied Technologies) is looking to hire intermediate to senior software developers (that’s you, Doug). There is a CV submission thingy but the user interface is horrible.
Let me know if you are interested and I can write a recommendation for you, my recommendation will help a fair bit I am sure. I will also get a finders fee or something I think.
The last step in the process is complete! This post represents the day when I came out to my father. He was the last person who I desperately needed to tell that I am gay. Some of you I haven’t told. Please don’t be offended, I only told people when the timing seemed right and when I could cause the least offense. Now that all my parents and my immediate family know, there is no one in the world I care to hide this information from.
I sent him an email, and I sent it from the US. I did this because I was afraid of his reaction and afraid of possible rejection and/or losing his love. I am grateful, surprised and overjoyed that my father replied back almost immediately to tell me that he loves me no matter what. Sure we will probably have our disagreements, but he hasn’t disowned me, he hasn’t demanded I do anything. He’s probably going to have to take some time to digest this information and do his best to understand. I am just grateful that he is willing to try.
I may post some things that relate to my sexuality here. When I do so, I will often tag them as “gay” and emails won’t be sent out so as not to offend anyone.
The image on the right is of the back of my car. Yes, that is the bumper sticker that I drive around with in the middle of Texas. No, I am not mad. Believe it or not, the most common reaction I get is people laughing or chuckling softly to themselves as they drive behind me. One gay couple stopped next to me on the road to tell me they loved my bumper sticker. I do too.