Thursday, November 28, 2013


I often wonder, my mind being what it is, how we ever manage to function, either as individuals or as a society. There is, granted, considerable evidence to support the premise that we don’t, and that the world is a huge house of cards forever in the process of crumbling.

How can we adjust to waking up one day to find those things which are so integral to our lives--the people we love so very much and who form the very foundations of our being, or the places to which we have such strong attachments--gone forever? Memories are precious and I cannot imagine life without them, but comforting and satisfying as they may be, they can also be cruel. They present themselves to us as a huge, impenetrable glass wall between the now and then. The objects of memory may be so very real you can see them, hear them, feel their presence--you can literally ache for them--but you cannot reach out and touch them.

How is it that we expect so much, yet are willing to give so little?

How can we expect to be treated fairly and with courtesy when we put our own interests above everyone else's?

How can we so easily ignore that which we don't want to see/acknowledge?

How is it that we can so clearly see the faults of others, yet not recognize our own? 

How can we so easily give excellent advice, yet never take it ourselves? 

How can so many people suffer from such severe moral dyslexia, blithely going through life spouting phrases from the bible while condemning anyone who does not think exactly what they do? How can they be so thoroughly convinced that that the Golden Rule says “Do unto others as you would have done unto them.”

How can people possibly justify deliberate rudeness to those who have done nothing to deserve it?

How can we blindly tolerate rudeness and bad service from those we pay to provide those services without voicing our displeasure to someone in a position do something about it?

How can people simply throw their garbage out the car window, or drop it within six feet of a garbage can?

How can so many so readily accept the most blatantly egregious falsehoods without question, and why is it that the more lacking in logic the falsehood is, the more readily it is accepted?

How is it so much easier to hate than to love?

How can we be so smug in the assumption of our moral superiority that we cannot even entertain the thought that there might be even a shred of truth in opinions other than our own?

How can we cling to hope when every shred of existing evidence clearly says there is none?

And for all the negatives in all the questions posed above, it is only that last one that matters, for it is what makes us truly human.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Dictionary Schizophrenic

schizophrenia |ˌskitsəˈfrēnēə, -ˈfrenēə|, noun: a long-term mental disorder of a type involving a breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion, and behavior, leading to faulty perception, inappropriate actions and feelings, withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into fantasy and delusion, and a sense of mental fragmentation.
• (in general use) a mentality or approach characterized by inconsistent or contradictory elements.

I don’t mean to make light of the very real and often devastating condition of schizophrenia, but if I go by my computer’s dictionary definition of the word, I find I can readily identify with a lot of it.

Schizophrenia is often thought of as one’s having a split personality, and I happily admit to the charge. I truly consider myself, for all practical purposes, as being two separate people: Roger and Dorien, though it is more a matter of a division of responsibilities—Roger’s those duties grounded by the laws of time and physics, Dorien’s the writing of books and blogs, and entertaining Roger—than any clash or conflict of separate personalities.

“Faulty perception,” definitely. I see the world one way when most people obviously see it quite differently. They seem to accept its complexities and contradictions far more readily and casually than I. In my lifelong effort to try to understand the world, I am constantly fine-tuning my perceptions and understandings, much like fiddling with an old-time radio to get rid of static. I’ve always felt myself to be, largely by choice, an outsider, which doesn’t do much to improve the sharpness of my focus.

“Inappropriate actions and feelings,” probably more often than I would like; I seldom respond to things the way society obviously wants and expects me to. 

“Withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into fantasy and delusion.” Well most definitely the first part. Reality and I have never gotten along. I find it much too restrictive and, often, capriciously cruel. 

Being gay, I automatically if wrongly assume that everyone else is gay until and unless proven otherwise. I see no harm in it and, gays being outnumbered by straights 9-1, I find it oddly comforting. I know it’s totally unrealistic, but why should I care? When I pass an attractive man on the street, I naturally assume he’s gay. Whether he is in his own life or not is of no matter. If I don’t know for a fact that he’s straight, and I assume he’s gay, he’s gay. There is no harm done to anyone, and it pleases me.

“Withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into fantasy and delusion.” A definite yes on the “withdrawal from reality.” As mentioned above I choose to create my own reality to whatever degree possible. Being a writer helps make this easier, since when I’m in the process of writing a book, I can pretty much step away from the world that physically surrounds me and retreat into the world of my characters. The withdrawal from “personal relationships” is a toss up. Partly because of my physical difficulty in speaking, my verbal interchanges with others are limited. I have never been the “hale fellows well met” type, even when my speech was totally understandable and I was more active in the gay community. Other than my friend Gary, I really have very little face-to-face interaction with other people. I am extremely outgoing on social media sites like Facebook where my age and my speech impediments are not a problem, yet find myself saying less and less on those rare occasions when I am with other people.

“A sense of mental fragmentation.” Oh, my, yes. So many thoughts and ideas and impressions and memories swirl around in my head that I often have a difficult time in grabbing any one of them or, having caught one, holding onto it long enough to do anything with it. I am very easily distracted from whatever I…oh, look: there’s a bird…am trying to do.

My love of books and musicals and movies and flash mobs and all things romantic and fanciful are clearly rooted in my disassociation from reality. They may not be the world’s reality, but they are mine, and I delight in them. I write because I am far more comfortable creating worlds over
which I have some control and influence than coping with the real world around me.

So, am I schizophrenic? From a psychology textbook definition, no. Computer dictionary definition? More than a little. Does it bother me? Not in the least.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Reluctant Cynic

For someone who really considers himself an optimist and as such strongly decries cynicism, I fear I give in to cynicism far more often than I care to admit. Of course, I prefer to think of myself as being more jaded than cynical, but realize the line between the two is often so thin as to be non-existent. Be that as it may, no matter how hard I try, I can’t escape the fact that I truly despair by what I see as the state of the world. We seem to constantly be presented with views of the underbelly of humanity.

You’ve undoubtedly noticed that one of the strongest recurring themes in these blogs is my utter inability to understand either the world, or, far too often, other assumed members the species to which I belong. How can anyone with an iota of awareness possibly understand, let alone justify, what lies behind and beneath the incomprehensible stupidity, cruelty, bigotry, hypocricy, and ignorance that constantly assail us—and that we ourselves too often display?

How can any intelligent person cling to hope for the future of mankind when nearly every TV commercial seems very deliberately designed to mislead us; when every computer’s “In” box is awash daily in dangling bait so egregiously insulting to the most basic concept of intelligence? How can anyone capable of communicating thought not only produce such utter garbage but expect anyone capable of reading to respond to it? What motivates them to do so is simple: 99.5 percent of all the steaming elephant dung plopped into our computers' Spam folder—into which I regularly dumpster-dive for blog material—has one reason for being there: greed. Those who respond to it are complicit by eagerly seeking something for nothing (a Ph.D. in brain surgery by mail? Earn $10,000 a day at home typing envelopes? It is to weep!). Our politics is an open sewer of self-serving lies and hypocrisy and misrepresentation.

Our media is increasingly being taken over by talking-head pundits and predatory political sociopaths without conscience, compassion, remorse, or regret (Fox News, anyone?). Their claim to being human is largely genetic, and they apparently derive a sense of superiority in pouring gasoline on any potentially volatile issue.

Of course, the saddest, most discouraging and "abandon-all-hope-ye-who-enter-here" aspect of the internet is that it is, indeed, a net cast into a rich feeding ground for predators. If there weren't huge numbers of people unwilling to use, or incapable of using, common logic, the predators would starve. And while that prospect is unlikely in the extreme, there is some small comfort to be taken from the fact that from what I can gather—the exact same message being received from several different spammers, for example—that major spammers franchise out their crud to lesser spammers. It appears to be some sort of a pyramid scheme and a perfect example of a snake swallowing its own tail. Secondary spammers are conned by the primaries into thinking they're going to get rich. All of which proves that those who send out spam are just as prone to being suckered as the people to whom the messages are sent.

That after several thousand years of struggle and sacrifice to establish a civilization we, as a race, have produced a society which seems to thrive on taking advantage of others, and we are back at the first sentence of this blog.

Gloom and despair descend upon the land, and the dark closes in.

Quick! Someone bring me a basket of kittens!

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (

Monday, November 18, 2013


Life is a lot like a teeter-totter, in that balance is always strived for and seldom if ever achieved. We are all constantly going through the ups and downs of happiness and misery, success and failure, and too often having our rear-ends slammed jarringly on the ground. Getting both ends of the board level is one of those forever-elusive goals of which life is, in fact, made. And once balance is achieved, either in life or on the teeter totter, it never lasts long.

All my life I have sought—largely unsuccessfully, of course—to find a balance between my totally unrealistic egoism and my excessive and unhealthy self-loathing. It's a theme touched on constantly in these blogs. (I am not content to merely beat a dead horse; I insist on pureeing it.) My egoism makes me demand far more of myself than I or any human being could ever possibly deliver, but that doesn't stop me from demanding it. And it is my inability to meet those demands—or even come within walking distance of them—which fuels the self-loathing which truly frightens me at times.

I think, yet again, that I am so utterly fascinated with life that my frustration often stems from weighing everything there is to see and learn and do against what I have seen, or learned, or done or will be likely to live long enough to do. I see life as a vast candy store, and myself a little kid shoveling candy into my mouth with both fists until I look like a chipmunk with both cheeks bulging. And then I get angry because I want it ALL and my mouth simply cannot hold any more.

I've often noted that every toddler thinks of himself as being the center of the universe. Life soon dissuades most of that notion, but I fear it has never totally succeeded with me. Even today, battered and shop-worn and often thinking of myself as being in the "Free! Help Yourself" bin at a rummage sale, I am consumed with the wonder of life. I am quintessentially aware that since the instant time began, through all the time involved in the birth and life and death of stars and galaxies, and onward through the rest of eternity, I am the only "me" there ever has been or ever will be. (Of course, so are you: but it's still a mind-boggling thought.) How could I not think I am special? How could you not think you are?

And since I am so very special in my keen awareness, why shouldn't I be equally special when it comes to everything/anything else? But I am not, and I cannot—-well, let's make that absolutely refuse to—accept that fact. (We won't go anywhere near the subject of my tenuous relationship with reality here.) 

Balance is often achieved through accommodation, through a system somewhat similar to the way submarines and lighter than air craft use ballast; getting rid of some excess weight here, or moving/adding it there. I fear I'm not all that good at accommodations. I want what I want without having to give up any of what I already have. Hardly practical or logical, but fully realizing that fact does not materially change things.

But on thinking it over (as writing these blogs often makes me do), I realized I actually have found something of a tenuous balance on life's teeter-totter despite myself. Every teeter-totter has two seats, one at each end, and in effectively dividing myself into Dorien and Roger, my life has two parts. The real-world Roger, who must deal as best he can with the infinite frustrations and anger of daily life, and Dorien, who is largely able to ignore the wars Roger fights every day, and simply gets on with writing of worlds in which evil and cruelty exist only, as the scripts of plays often call it, as "voices off." Dorien's life is far less stressful, and while Roger must still constantly struggle for balance, it gives him comfort to know that he can use Dorien as emotional ballast to keep the teeter-totter a little more level.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (

Thursday, November 14, 2013

In, but not Of

When I was very young, having one day seen God looking down at me while I was watching clouds, I was utterly convinced that I was very, very special and that I would one day do great and marvelous things. To some degree, I still cling to that belief after all these years. (It is sometimes a blessing to be unfettered by reality.)

My sense of being in but not of the world is a common theme for these blogs, mainly because I still retain the concept of "me" and "everybody else" being mutually exclusive. I have always lived in a state of extreme envy for what others can do with such grace and ease that I cannot. I watch clips of rock concerts where what I assume everyone else thinks is music causes everyone to rock and sway and thrust their arms over their heads, obviously having an absolutely wonderful time. Were I there, I would stand like Lot's wife, totally immobile and excruciatingly embarrassed and furious with myself for not being able to "let go."

I hate doing things which I feel call attention to myself, which is why I don't dance. My assumption that anyone other than myself would notice me at all is an example of my perverse form of narcissism. And of course by not dancing while everyone else does, attention to myself. I just can't seem to win.

I’m sure the fact that I knew from age 5 that I was homosexual is perhaps the major factor in these feelings of not belonging. Well, they aren't just feelings. I don't belong. Surrounded by a world of people to whom I could never really relate, never understanding what all these male-female interactions/courtships/rituals were all about...or caring...shaped my character and my life. Being gay may not be all I am, but it is the foundation upon which everything that makes me  “me” is built.

I've never wanted to be normal, and have succeeded beyond my wildest dreams on that one. I suppose a case may be made that normalcy, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder, and for as deeply as I hate and fear mirrors, I am constantly figuratively holding a mirror up to myself and never, never liking what I see.

Thank God that as a balance all those things I want so desperately but do not have, I do have an exquisite sense of irony and the ability to keep my tongue planted firmly in my cheek. I almost never, even when I am ranting and raving and beating myself mercilessly about the head and shoulders with my perceived flaws, allow myself to take myself too seriously. It's almost as if I were my own walking "in" joke. I have, and take full advantage of, the right to criticize myself mercilessly. But no one else has the right to do so. This has, throughout my life, caused innumerable problems. 

I began, also as a child, to belittle myself simply as a means of beating others to say "I know my flaws; I don't need you to point them out to me." And it got out of hand. As I have reported a couple of times in previous blogs, my best friend in college once said, "Roger keeps telling people how terrible he is until they begin to believe him."

And all this is compounded by the fact that there is so very, very much that I want to do, so very many things I want to be, so much I want to know, to see, to experience. One one level I know full well that no single individual could possibly do all these things in a lifetime. But Tony travels the world, and Wayne has a vast knowledge of literature, and Travis is physically beautiful, and Gary is unflaggingly kind and wise, Bil knows opera, and Franklin flits back and forth between his condos in Chicago and Ft. Lauderdale, and....And we are again back to the world's unequal division between "me" and "them." "Me" is singular, "them" is collective, and I am hopelessly, hopelessly overwhelmed. On one level, I understand and accept all this, but down deep, where my timid soul peeks out from under the thick comforter of my memories, it is all utterly incomprehensible, and I totally overlook the good things in myself to ache for what I do not and never can have.

Accepting myself for who and what I am and for what I have always been and always will be is an ongoing struggle. And despite concentrating far more heavily on my flaws than my gifts, I stumble on, so overwhelmed with the wonder of life that I can truly not see my own position in it. Though, catching a glimpse of myself while passing a shop window, I can sometimes convince myself for a brief moment that we are two separate beings, and that perhaps the reflection I see is really one of "them."

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (

Monday, November 11, 2013

I, Philistine

philistine: a person who is hostile or indifferent to culture and the arts, or who has no understanding of them

It is not that I am either hostile or indifferent to culture and the arts, but I do tend to have far less understanding of them than I should. I have always had the ability to stand apart from myself and   study what I see with, I hope, objectivity. I have found that, overall, my knowledge is like a very large but very shallow lake. To paraphrase an old song lyric, I know a little bit about a lot of things, but I don’t know enough about much about almost anything.

Last night I went with my friend Gary to a performance of the really fine DePaul University orchestra. I always enjoy hearing them play. The program consisted of  William Walton's Capriccio Burlesco  and Sergei Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5 in B-flat Major, neither of which I was familiar with. Unfortunately, when it comes to classical music, I have a requirement that one instrument must be played in order for me to appreciate it: my heartstrings. If my heart is not somehow involved in the performance, I am unmoved, and if I am unmoved, I am unable to appreciate it to the degree I know I should and probably would if I knew more about musical composition. My simple criterion for enjoying any piece of music is whether I can, after hearing it, remember and hum all or even parts of it?

I can with Tchaikovsky (I can hum pretty much his entire repertoire, and he is the ultimate virtuoso of the heartstrings), and Wagner, and a number of other composers. I expect flow and logical-to-me progression, and while the vast majority of major musical works obviously have them, the more technically constructed/musically complex the work, the less my ability to appreciate it fully tends to be.

Being a philistine encompasses much more than culture and the arts. I am a philistine in expecting everyone to like or dislike the things I like or dislike to the degree that I like or dislike them, and in being automatically and unfairly dismissive of those who do not see things in the same way I do.

My attitudes toward organized sports is an excellent example of my personal philistinism. I simply do not understand organized sports and people’s to-me-totally-mystifying addiction to them, and I suspect that I resent those who do understand and appreciate them simply because I don’t. I never have, despite any number of half-hearted attempts, managed either to figure out what the hell was going on, or to care when it is explained to me.

Perhaps my most shameful form of philistinism can be found in my attitudes toward heterosexuality, though I must hasten to  point out that my antipathy to the state of heterosexuality does not extend to the nine out of ten individuals who are, through no fault of their own, heterosexual. My prejudice is based equally upon my sincere inability to understand what makes heterosexuals “tick” and my anger and resentment at having lived my life being considered, in the eyes of the heterosexual majority, as something of a lesser species.

I should also point out that there is also a considerable difference between being an internalized philistine, which I consider myself to be, and an externalized philistine, whose actions can directly and all too often negatively impact the lives of others.

However, not wanting to be a philistine and not being one are two different things and, in my case at least, rooted in my admitted unwillingness to exert the time and effort necessary to change.

As that wise philosopher Popeye so sagely put it, “I yam what I yam.”

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Political Correctness

I’ve never opened a blog with a caveat/disclaimer before, but when I wrote and sent this one to my friend/webmaster Gary, he wisely pointed out the following: 

I think, by the way, that you miss the whole point of political correctness.  You focus on your past and the fact that you weren't bigoted; but these terms, like "Sambo," have come to mean bigotry and hate, not perhaps to you, but certainly to many whites who use them and the African-Americans who hear them--and I have heard the "Sambo" used disparagingly in Texas and Oklahoma.  "People are people, candy is candy," you say, forgetting the hurtful connections to those words and how they have so often been used deliberately to cause hurt and pain.  And so they are not acceptable.  Your use of them may not be harmful in intent; but many who do use them do intend harm, and so we must try carefully not to cause hurt through the use of these politically incorrect terms.  Some people get carried away with political correctness (me included), but it's a step in the right direction.

I'm sorry, but I've more than had it with "Political Correctness." Our society has become one gigantic exposed nerve end. It wasn't bad enough that we Americans are among the most anal-retentive nations on earth and a classic example of "the double-edged sword" in almost every aspect of our national life and attitudes, but now we dare say nothing that might possibly be construed as being an insult to one group or another. Enough, already!

There are two quotes I dearly love and have repeated over and over, one Alexander King's observation that "there are those who find obscenity in the crotch of every tree," and the classic definition of puritanism as being "the deep, abiding fear that someone, somewhere, might be having fun."

When I was a kid, licorice was available in small pieces shaped like a child. They were called "nigger babies" because they were black. I loved them. Did that make me a racist? Was I in some way asserting my superiority over Negroes/Blacks/Persons of color/African Americans? No, damn it, I was eating licorice! Did I call or think of black people as “niggers”? No. People are people; candy is candy.

Brazil nuts were called "nigger toes." Good lord!! Where that came from, I have no idea. But that's what they were called, and when I ate them, was I making a symbolic statement of one race's superiority over another? Please!

A popular laundry detergent, The Gold Dust Twins, featured the faces of two Negro/Black/Persons of Color/African American children on the box. The little girl had her hair in small ribboned knots. A blatant, inexcusable racial slur and insult, since it implied yet another terrible epithet: "Pickaninny." The fact that many small Negro/Black/Persons of Color/African American children wore their hair that way was simply a fact.

Many traditional American folk songs which were part of our national history and heritage―most specifically many by Stephen Foster―are never, ever heard or played today. "Old Black Joe"? Horrors! How dare Foster have done such a reprehensible thing?

A favorite children's story was "Little Black Sambo" about a small boy and a tiger. But the little boy was Negro/Black/Person of Color/African American and today's children are therefore forbidden to even read let alone enjoy what is simply a charming story. Do you suppose if they changed it to "Little Absolutely-No-Discernible-Racial-Or-Ethnic-Background Fill-In-An-Acceptable-Name" it might be allowed back on the shelf? I doubt it.

I'm using examples of Negro/Black/Persons of Color/African American only because they are the focal point of Political Correctness. I can site lesser but equal examples where we never ever joke about the Polish or the Irish, or Jews, or allow any sort of dialect used in telling jokes. Any joke featuring anyone of an ethnic or racial minority is considered shockingly bad taste.

As a member of a minority myself...I'm a homosexual, just in case someone might not have already known...I find references to "Queers," "Fruits," "Pansies," and "Fags" deeply offensive if they are used or intended in a derogatory way. But I've noticed that members of many minorities use among themselves exactly the same words they would not tolerate from others.

We don't even call policemen "policemen" any more...they are "law enforcement officers;" the heads of committees are "Chairpersons." Oh, come on!

Political correctness has its roots in good intentions but too much of a good thing is a bad thing. As with all things, some degree of moderation is indicated. Common sense, already in such scarce supply as to be an endangered concept, really should prevail. We have, in our zealousness not to offend anyone under any circumstances, in effect robbed our culture and our heritage of the flavor and spice which made this gigantic melting pot of a nation of ours palatable. It is rapidly turning from a mulligan stew ("Mulligan...that's Irish, isn't it? Are you insulting the Irish? Shame on you! Shame!") into a weak and tasteless gruel.  

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Guest Blogger: Robett Kingett

I've never hosted a guest blog before but decided to make an exception when I met, while trying to find a way to promote my audiobooks to the blind, an exceptional young man named Robert Kingett, a blind journalist specializing in audio description, adaptive sports, and disability news. He's a motivational speaker as well, and a campaigner for the Accessible Netflix project. His essays have been widely published in magazines, blogs, in several anthologies, and read on radio srations across the country and abroad. He's he chief writer consultant for America's Comedy as wellas a columnist for Truth is Cool. His most populara column has been Kingett Reads Fifty Shades of Grey. He holds several editing jobs and is a strong supporter and advocate for LGBTQ rights, and has raised funds for HIV and AIDS research. To read more about Robert, visit his website at

So, without further ado, I give you Robert Kingett.

My fingers hover over the keyboard, spread as if they are spiders who are confused on how to make a

I’m resting at the forefront of my dating regime, at a desk in my apartment trying to think of something
about me that the members of this gay dating site need to know. Ironically this part of the initiation is
the hardest.

The signup was easy for my adaptive computer technology that robotically tells me everyone’s
messages, height, and weight. There weren't any words I had to type to verify my identity, there weren't any advertisements sprinkled into a profile detailing a guy who likes to pretend to fly with toy airplanes.  

Everything is smooth like melted butter until this part in the acquaintance, the about me.

My thought process seems to have a planned detour; as if my brain schemed how it was going to depart at the exact moment I need it to work its magic. First, dictation, then there's deliberation, then debating,
then dumbstruck diatribe. My fingers don't move but deductions springs into my mind like a sweptback

People will marvel at my eloquence for words upon first glance so this will whisk me up to an 80% on
the attraction slider. When they talk with me verbally however, I'm sure the stammer will jab me down
to 45%.

When people read that I have a white cane my dating chances will shoot down to 30%. I know this
figure based on experience. To boost my score perhaps I should entice them first with facts about
my journalism work where I detail LGBT news and issues, and couple that with my obsessive love for
mint chocolate chip ice cream and pony rides. If I do that my percentage will shoot up to 45% because
everybody loves chocolate ice cream way before mint.

If I say I passionately read books I believe that will drop my percentage to 40% because that's a boring
passion and I will be metaphorically studying every thought and action people have so I think I will leave that out.

If I say that I enjoy long walks on the beach I'll have scored a whammy without even needing to mention that I can't walk that far before my muscles complain because they have exercised past their patience level, gaging the percentage between 75% and 65%. no one wants to carry a blind wordsmith through the sand but it would definitely make a nice Christmas card.

My hobbies will definitely bring my dating percentage up but transportation will nudge it back down
again like tight jeans. Scheduling rides 24 hours in advance to everything from plays, to restaurants, to
sports games, to theme parks, and movies makes the percentage quiver at 85%.

Surely the understanding that I sustain my own life and apartment would pivot me above 90%. It’d lift
me up to 98% because men like other men who have it together but the supportive living label will make me drop again. People always get skittish when they hear that the clothes I bought with money I've earned from work are washed by a certified nurse’s assistant in an apartment complex that houses 87 blind adults. This scares them a lot so I'm dropped to 90%.

With all of these factors deciding how attractive I am, I try to determine the best way for me to
outweigh all those scary stamps attached to my many good traits. The wonderment doesn't last long as
my fingers soon dance over the keys with precise confidence. I explain a factor that will rocket me up on the attractive meter. I'm lovingly assertive and love talking cats. Without a doubt the talking cats halts me at 100%.

Please feel free to leave a comment for Robert, and to let me know if you'd like to see more of these guest blogs.

Monday, November 04, 2013

The Haunted Mouse

I do not wear a tinfoil hat, nor do I see conspirators in every passing stranger. And just as I am an agnostic because logic will not allow me to be positive that there is a God, I also cannot believe without a doubt that the paranormal exists, though I admit to lean toward the belief that it does. There are just too many things we do not and cannot know to say “No, it does not exist.” There is, however, considerable evidence of it in my own life experience.

The most current example of this is in the fact that I seem to have a haunted mouse (computer variety). It is a wireless mouse, which necessitates turning it on and off via a switch on the underside. It operates like a light switch; physically move it up to turn it on, physically move it down to turn it off. Turning it off produces an audible click. The switch probably moves about an eighth of an inch.

Each night, when I turn the computer off, I also turn off the mouse. I physically move the switch down and hear the click as the blue laser light goes off. I set the mouse down and go to bed. But three or four times out of five, when I get up in the morning and pick up the mouse to turn it on, I see it is already on, and the switch has moved from the “Off” position to the “On” position. Since I know…know…I physically moved the switch from “On” to “Off,” how did it/how could the switch possibly have physically moved from “Off” to “On”? I am truly and sincerely puzzled.

Over the years, I’ve written a number of blogs outlining my experiences with what might be considered the paranormal, from my first at the age of about 7. A brief recap is probably necessary to prevent your automatically hearing the “Twilight Zone” theme.

While lying on my back in my parents’ lawn, alone, watching clouds and looking for warships and cars and all sorts of wondrous things children so readily see in them, one large cloud split in two, and a man’s face appeared; a real face with ruddy cheeks and a full black beard. He was smiling and looking to my left. (I can see it vividly to this minute.) His gaze moved in my direction and when he saw me, he  stopped smiling. The cloud came back together, and he was gone. I immediately ran in to tell my mother who smiled and said “That’s nice, dear.”

Some time after this incident, I awoke in the night hearing footsteps in the kitchen. Thinking it was my parents, I called out to them. There was no response, and the sound of footsteps continued, approaching my door. I was for some reason terrified and called again for my parents, who came running. There was of course nothing there, and it was clearly and logically chalked up to being a nightmare, which it well may have been. But….

As a teenager, I sometimes baby-sat for my two young cousins. One evening, after they were sound asleep, I became aware that I could hear someone breathing. It wasn’t me, and I held my breath to be sure. My cousins were asleep in another room with the door closed. The sound continued and grew louder, and again I was terrified. I was not asleep, nor had I been. I finally awoke my cousins and took them to the apartment downstairs where their maternal grandparents lived. They thought my story was my imagination, and I could hardly blame them.

And then there is Robert, who first came to me when I lived in L.A. and of whom I have written frequently. I really like Robert. He likes bedrooms and classical music. He also hides things, and I actually saw him once, reflected in a window. I don’t think Robert is associated with whatever is going on with the mouse. It’s more his style to take it and hide it somewhere, and I hope I’m not giving him ideas.

I certainly don’t expect these apocryphal stories to convince you…or even me…that the paranormal exists. Just sayin’ that Hamlet was right when he said “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamed of in your philosophy.”

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (