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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Gay Pride 2009 (Part 2 of 2)

As I was getting ready to write my next blog post, I noticed that I had this one on hold since last month, before I got ill, so I’ll just post it now, late as it is, because there was a message to go with this photograph, which should probably still be said.

This year, I couldn't help but notice that the Gay Pride Parade of San Francisco had a very strong family theme, probably as a result of the passage of Proposition 8 in California, last November.

Many people showed up with their kids, friends, families.

Don't forget, while there is always a fair amount of exhuberance, flamboyance, conspicuous costumes (always to be expected at that sort of event), the following day, costumes go back in the closet [well, for the most part ;)], and everybody returns to their routine, get up in the morning and go to work, come back tired at the end of the day, same as you and me.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Do you remember?

Photograph Life by permission, for non-commercial / personal use only.

Some things you just don't forget.

Apollo 11's mission was one of them. The Summer of '69 probably means a lot of things to a lot of people, but to the little kid that I was back then, there was nothing more important than Apollo's mission.

Even in France, it was the number 1 topic on the news, every day. We memorized the team's names "Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin Aldrin." You may not think much of that but to a little kid that doesn't speak a word of English, those are difficult names.

At the time, I was out at camp somewhere in the French country side, with a bunch of other kids my age. There was no TV, so we didn't get to watch it live with the rest of the world. But when the radios announced that the team had successfully taken its first steps on the moon, everybody cheered. We were absolutely, positively *extatic.*

Just a couple of months before that, in May 69, we had been graced with the First Supersonic Plane's flight over Paris by special permission (no commercial plane ever flies over the City Paris, ever), and heard the supersonic "boom." And now, Mr. Armstrong had shown the whole world that you could accomplish the seemingly impossible.

That night, after dinner, I went out and looked at the moon for a very long time, hoping to see Mr. Armstrong walk around the spacecraft with his buddies. The adults in the camp tried to get me to understand that it was impossible to see, that I should go to bed, that I was wasting my time, but I stayed outside looking at the moon for the longest time trying.

After all, if a man could walk on the moon, perhaps little kids all over the world could really see them, if they tried hard enough.

Summer of '69 for me was the summer when I believed that dreams could come true.

How do you remember Apollo 11's mission? Or if it was before your time, do you think we should try it again? Go for the stars?

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Additional Resources

National Geographic: Apollo 11 Facts, 40 years later

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

If a cat has 9 lives, how many lives do tomatoes have?

Neighbor's cat having a good life, July 09

I know, the photograph is a bit out-of-focus, but so am I, lately, to be honest. I've been scratching my head wondering what I'd say in my mext blog post. Should I post a random San Francisco shot with a two-line caption and go back to bed?

I've been ill for close to 20 days now, and it ONLY NOW feels like I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, knock on wood!

It started out with flu symptoms, you know, typical irritating cough, aching bones, low grade fever, overall tiredness, sore throat. Nothing out of the ordinary, I thought. Just get some rest, a bit of cough syrup and off it would go. But the symptoms *rapidly* progressed to something I've never experienced before in my life. I just can't describe.

Have you ever seen the Sci-Fi horror movie Aliens with Sigourney Weaver? Well, it's as if something kind of like that had taken residence deep, deep in my lungs and was busy sucking all the energy out of me, and while it was getting stronger within me every day, I grew weaker.

I've had pneumonia once, and this was similar... but worse! I had chest pain. I couldn't catch my breath. Simple tasks like getting dressed, doing a load of laundry, took an inordinate amount of time. Forget walking anywhere, or bringing a bag of groceries up the stairs, or anything like that.

At night, I coughed so violently and so frequently that, after a couple of days, my ribs hurt all the time ... forget sleeping, because every time I tried to fall asleep (upright on the couch, propped-up with pillows), that *thing* would wake me with the most violent cough ever.

To tell you the truth, after a couple of nights without sleep, I was convinced that I was going to die from it, whatever it was. It got that bad. Anxiety always gets stronger at night, and if you can't sleep at all, then it gets the upper hand.

It took another visit the doctor, another round of (stronger) antibiotics, 2 different kinds of inhalers, more stuff with codeine in it that tastes so foul it makes me want to gag, and various over-the-counter stuff, to get me through the last few days. But I can breathe better, now. I can sleep several hours at a time before the cough wakes me, instead of just minutes, so it's a clear improvement. And I can start moving around, making my bed, without going completely out of breath.

I don't think I'm completely out of the woods yet, but I know I'll survive this.

I'll have to, because somebody is gonna have to pay these medical bills now! I do have some vague memory of signing a bunch of forms (one in particular I think I'm going to deeply regret later, if you know what I mean, but oh, well). Get well first, deal with the "forms" later, I guess.

So anyway, that's what I've been up to lately. Hard to talk about anything else at the moment because it was really, really overwhelming.

One of you asked me -as a joke - how it felt to be a statistic. I don't know because they never tested us, but I would be willing to bet that my symptoms "closely ressemble" those of the people who had "The Flu" that was on the news recently, you know the one. Look it up and let me know what you think. ;)

I didn't log in, didn't check blogs or follow much of anything for a few days. But my email continued to trickle in and I got your good wishes. I took these positive, healing thoughts with me to help me fight "that thing." It looks like it's working (well, that and the antibiotics ;)

Seriously, I very much appreciate your thoughts and support. Be well. Local bloggers and friends, BE CAREFUL.

Tomate Farcie on the mend, knock on wood.

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

If you come to San Francisco ...

... please bring some Purell?

I'm still sick with the same nasty "cold/flu" that's been going around the Bay Area for the past few weeks as far as I can tell (NOT the swine flu, since I've seen people recover from it). People in the neighborhood had it, people at work suffered through it, people in the commute ... then eventually I got it, too, and can't get rid of it fast enough.

I'm supposed to go back to work tomorrow, but I don't know, I still feel really under the weather and the fever was pretty high earlier today. We'll see what happens in the morning.

Thank you all for the visits and comments you left under the Michael Jackson's post. I can't think straight enough right now to respond (still feverish) but I will, as soon as I can.

Sick Tomato


Wednesday, July 08, 2009


My apologies for dropping off the face of the Blogsphere, everybody. I'll be out doing the blog rounds shortly!

I did not go out to celebrate the 4th of July, because I was home with the flu, but the local bloggers did (click here for some shots) and, of course, the local paper did as well, and got quite a few good ones (click here).

Yesterday, it seems like the whole country (world?) stopped everything to watch Michael Jackson's final good bye to the world.

Regardless of how you felt about Michael Jackson, I hope you enjoy this wonderful, wonderful interpretation by Jermaine Jackson of a favorite song of mine.

According to Wikipedia, the music was originally composed by Charlie Chaplin in 1936 for the movie Modern Times and the song was later interpreted numerous artists. The best known version was recorded by Nat King Cole in 1954.

Thank you Sir, for this wonderful interpretation, and how appropriate.

Because you never know how long the videos of MJ's memorial will stay on UTube, here it the song again, by Nat King Cole.

Awwww. What a song!

Good bye, Michael! Thanks for all the great hits and excellent entertainment all these years. Thanks for setting the bar so high and for showing your contemporaries and the new generation of pop singers/musicians/dancers/entertainers how it's done.

One thing is for sure, we'll never forget you. RIP.

Additional Resources and Links
* * * * * *

* MSNBC coverage of the entire Michael Jackson Memorial on 7/07/09, online, here (177 minutes)

* The lyrics to the song Smile here.

* 4th of July fireworks Pictures here and here

(Thanks to commenter "From Cali" for providing the link to the Michael Jackson Memorial)

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