Friday, March 31, 2006

Smells Like Man Spirit

One thing I take very seriously is my personal hygiene. Don't get me wrong - I don't mind sweating. But I don't want to smell like I've been digging a ditch for 5 days. On others, however, I don't mind a l-i-i-i-ttle sweat smell (I actually think "morning musk" is a hot scent when emanating from the man you love).


Hello hello hello hel-lo.
Hello hello hello hel-lo.
Hello hello hello hel-lo.
Hello hello hello hel-lo.

I say all this because I was reminded of a scenario that took place several years ago. I had recently moved to DC and had been going to the DC Eagle - not because I was into leather or anything, but because that was the place where men talked to me. I wasn't attracted to 98% of the men in that bar, however looking like I did, I was attractive to a large number of them.

A mulatto, an albino
A mosquito, my libido. Yea.

Perhaps I went to feed my ego a little, but mostly I went because I could socialize. At the Eagle, the men only talk to you if they like you. Otherwise, they don't bother with you. There's no gossip, there's no talking behind your back. And if someone IS talking about you - it's in a positive way. Perhaps not the way you would like to know about, but a compliment is by all means still a compliment.

And I forget just what it takes.
And yet I guess it makes me smile.

On one particular Saturday night, I had decided to go to the Eagle, so I cleaned up and headed out. After standing for a while inside the very dark bar, I finally became aware of a man standing to my right, rather close. I could hear him sniffing the air, the way a lioness smells for a possible fresh kill.

With the lights out, it's less dangerous.
Here we are now, entertain us.

Suddenly, he turns to face me and spews out, "sniff, sniff. Is that YOU??" Me, being confident in my clean hygiene, smugly replied, "That's not me, man. I showered!" To which he replied, "That's what I mean, are you wearing ... deodorant?" That last word crawled out of his mouth in slow motion, each syllable hitting a higher note than the one before. "Umm ... yeah" I said, sounding more like a Valley Girl than a butch man, and with that he made a face like I had just farted in his Wheaties and walked away.

I feel stupid and contagious.
Here we are now, entertain us.

I guess that is why I have always looked the part (in leather), but never really fit in. Leather men and boys are supposed to be smelly. The whole connotation for the leather scene is dirt, grunge, filth and grease. And that ain't this kid. I mean it's fun to dip my toe in once in a while, but I wouldn't want to swim in it. Unless, someone has a bar of soap I can take in with me.

I found it hard, it's hard to find.
Oh well, whatever, never mind.

And, yeah . . . that's my armpit.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Mr. Gisby's Totally Gay Pet Shop

A pet shop full of totally queer pets by Australian creator Andrew Georgiou. Andrew has been drawing for Australia's biggest gay magazines until he decided to break out on his own to create what is one of the biggest gay comic strips in print. Mr Gisby' Totally Gay Pet Shop is published throughout Europe in GAYTIMES magazine each month. His inspiration comes from a part of every gay person he knows. So come and meet Drag Poodle, Leather Fetish Gorilla, Lesbian Rabbits obsessed with Glen Close and many more. Below are two personal favorites:



I would loooooove to have these on a tee shirt!

And speaking of gay pets, stop on over to Michael's blog and wish him a happy birthday today!!



UPDATE: Received the following email from Andy Georgiou today:
Hey mate,

I always check my links and just wanted to say thanks for the blurb.
Our merchandise range is out in July, so you will be able to wear those
strips as shirts pretty soon.

Took the time to read over your blog. Bloody brilliant !
Very cool stuff here mate.

anyhow, just a quick Hi to say thanks.

See ya in Chicago !

Cheers
Andy


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

New York Fatty

Being in NYC always makes me a little nervous. Sooner or later, something will get said to me while I am there that makes me want to assume the fetal position and rock back and forth searching for my happy place. Twice, while visiting NYC, I was I am fat. Yes, told. To my face. And while I don't consider myself fat, nor do I think many other people would either, I accept the fact that perhaps in New York, I AM fat - in comparison to the millions of men who look like they just stepped off of magazine covers.

Example #1

I was dancing at Roxy in a group with three old friends and a few new ones. One of the new ones, let's call him "Newbie", and I were having fun, dancing and cutting up, laughing alot and getting along - not in a "I hope this ends up in the bedroom" kind of fun, but more like a buddy type of thing. All of us were dancing shirtless, which for me was a big deal as it was 2001 and I had only been working out for about a year with more progress yet to be made. At one point during the night, on the dancefloor, Newbie looks over his sunglasses at me and says, "You know what? You're really big." Yeah, I reply, I am a big boy.

"No, I mean there," he spits out, pointing to my mid-section. Well, I am working on it, I say apologetically.

"Because the rest of you is going on: big shoulders, great chest, cute face. But that's gotta go." And then he added the clincher, "I'd fuck you if it wasn't for that." I was dazed. In his way, I think, he meant it as a compliment. At least, that is what I choose to tell myself as I refuse to believe that someone could choose to be that mean to someone else.

Example #2

I attended The Black Party in 2002. I was standing on the side of the dancefloor, just people watching, when I caught the eye of a very muscular black man. He was 6'4", 230 or so with shoulders broader than mine and what looked to be a 30 inch waist. He approached me and we started talking. Eventually we got on the subject of builds and I said something about never being built like him. He came back with, "No that's good, I like chubby men." As my jaw dropped lower, my eyes widened. "I'm whaaaaat???" He moves towards me, as if to grab or hug me or something, and I back away. That might be a compliment in Harlem, but it's not where I come from, I bellow, trying very hard not to cross my arms and stamp my foot for emphasis.

Granted it's been awhile since I've been called fat in NYC (last time I was there in September a certain hottie told me I was "built"), but it stays with me. I almost feel inferior there. Might be why I love Chicago so much. Out here, pretty isn't the 'in' thing. A hearty strong man seems to be the poster child for the midwest. And that criteria I definitely fit.


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Loogey Nation

I am not sure why, but I seem to dodge alot more spit on the sidewalk in Chicago than I did in DC. Do people hock it up more in the midwest, I wonder?

Laws, or at least good manners, date back to early last century.
Here is an interesting story about a doctor, so worried about tuberculosis patients expectorating in public places, that he had the words "Don't Spit On The Sidewalk" engraved in bricks that were placed in sidewalks in a town in Kansas.

There is a law on the books in Chicago that prohibits spitting. It is sandwiched between
the law that forbids eating in a place that is on fire and the law that states it is illegal to give a dog whiskey. Some other interesting Chicago laws are:

• Kites may not be flown within the city limits.
• It is illegal to fish in pajamas.
• People who are diseased, maimed, mutilated, or "otherwise an unsightly or disgusting object" are banned from going out in public.
• It is illegal for anyone to give lighted cigars to dogs, cats, and other domesticated animal kept as pets.
• It is illegal to give a dog whiskey.
• It is legal to protest naked in front of city hall as long as you are under seventeen years of age and have legal permits.
• It is unlawful to change clothes in an automobile with the curtains drawn, except in case of fire.
• The English language is not to be spoken.
• You may be arrested for vagrancy if you do not have at least one dollar bill on your person.
• You may be convicted of a Class 4 felony offense, punishable by up to three years in state prison, for the crime of "eavesdropping" on your own conversation.
• You must contact the police before entering the city in an automobile.

And in Champaign, IL,
one may not pee in his neighbor's mouth (does anyone else see the irony in this?)


Friday, March 24, 2006

Pay Dirt

So it's finally paying off.

I was beginning to doubt whether or not my "just use your head" diet, along with running, was doing any good; moreover, was my weight coming down. I've been eating well since the first week of February and running since the first week of March, so I figured by now, some results should be showing.

However, imagine my dismay when every time I stepped on the scale at the gym, my weight stayed exactly the same. Huh??? How could this be?? My pants were getting a little bigger, tight tee shirts weren't so tight anymore.

One friend suggested that perhaps my weight was just shifting. Huh??? What does that mean, exactly? Does it jump from my waistline to my shoulders for a vacation? Or is there a chunk of weight hiding under the bed that tag teams another chunk that will take its place in the middle of the night while I sleep? Ridiculous, right? So is the idea of shifting weight (I mean, I am a human being, not a mudslide).

Another friend suggested to me that "muscle weighs more than fat". Huh??? One pound of muscle or one pound of fat still weigh the same ... one pound. That rationale never made any sense to me.

So at the doctor's office this week, I got on the scale and lo and behold, I had actually lost 7 pounds. It never occured to me that the scale at the gym could be broken! So this gives me new hope. (I say I lost 7 pounds but I am pretty sure I lost alot more. Right now, my weight is at 233, so I am telling myself my weight was at 240, when in actuality I believe it was much higher than that. I would dare say that I was closer to 250 in January. So technically I could have lost 17 pounds, but I don't want to brag or sound like some huge success story. So I will just say 7.)

So I am admitting that they work - cardio (which I have always been loathe to do and which usually only constituted the few hours I'd spent on the dancefloor on Saturday nights) and eating sensibly (as in no chips, candy, breads, McDonald's, etc.) will help you lose weight. And if I keep doing what I am doing, it will never come back. Unless of course I weigh myself at the gym again.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

March 23rd

To understand what this blog is all about, click here :

2005 - Lowkey day. Foul mood. Hit the gym around 8:30.

2004 - Half-price Burger Night at Health Bar with Ashley and Ex#4.

2003 - Go to Alegria from 11PM-8AM.

2001 - Friend Angel visits from NYC. Take him to Nation. Meet Brian from Chicago.

2000 - First (and last) trip to Atlanta. Stay at Days Inn downtown. Go out to The Heretic and Backstreet.

1998 - Pick up Ex#3 at airport from Vegas trip.

1997 - Friend Al visits. Go to Mr. Henry's for dinner, then to Remington's.

1994 - 75 degrees today! Beach Trip meeting in Arlene's dorm room at 10.

1993- Endorse student loan checks to Shenandoah. Watch "Ragtime" in Ex#2's dorm room.

1992 - Rehearsal for "Last of the Red Hot Lovers" with Paige. Hang out with "Marine Matt" until Ex#2 finishes play project.

1991 - Drive cousin Jeff back to naval base at Patuxant, MD.

1990 - Go to Scampy's nightclub with Gail and Angie.

1989 - Friend Tyler visits me in DC. Go dancing at Dakota.

1988 - Get new brakes at Midas. Unusually hot today - 85 degrees.

1986 - Palm Sunday

1984 - See Pirates of Penzance with best friend Dave.

1983 - Term paper due in 11th grade history class.

Nekked Skeeger

About three weeks ago I made arrangements to travel to NYC to see my friends' band nekked perform at CBGB's Gallery tonight. It was going to be a surprise trip where I would just shout out "POODLE!" between songs and wreck my friends on stage for about a minute. I was also going to get to see sexy funnyman Michael (who's comedy troupe, Skeeger, also has a big show on Monday, the 27th).

But my damned work ethic and sense of responsibility have finally won out and I have canceled my trip. After a doctor's appointment yesterday morning, and another one scheduled for next Monday, with another possible doctor's appointment later next week (
and even though my office can completely survive without me), I feel bad being out of it too much at once. Even in a job I don't like very much, I am still dedicated. Damn my middle-class upbringing!

So please do me a favor. Certainly, Poodle & Jeff (nekked) and Michael are worth seeing. All three men are extremely entertaining, sweet, talented, and not too hard on the eyes. Please go out and support one or better yet all of these guys in my absence. You'll have alot of fun (I promise!) and you'll be supporting three dear friends of mine. Info below:

Nekked
-

What:
nekked concert
Where: CBGB Gallery at 315 Bowery

Who: "Michael Flyte & JC Faust"
When: Wednesday, March 22nd
Time: 10:00 PM

Info:
313 Gallery




Skeeger -


What:
Boy, New Sketches Are Hard To Write: The Best of Skeeger
Where: Caroline's on Broadway

Who: Michael "So I Love Superman" Hartney & FriendsWhen: Monday, March 27
Time: 9:30 PM

Info:
Caroline's



And tell them Dop sent you.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Not All Bears Wear Flannel

In case you've ever been curious (admit it, you have been), I can tell you why larger men only wear tee shirts and flannel - our choices are extremely limited. In DC, the number of nice clothing stores for men in general were sparse: Universal Gear for the twink/gym/club set and Rock Creek for the stylish late 30's-50 year olds (we all know that upon turning 55, all 'MOs journey off to the tarpits to die - it's just the polite thing to do).

So I moved to Chicago and I gotta tell ya, my choices here are not much better: Universal Gear here too, Bad Boys, and HIS STUFF. The latter is in my neighborhood and I stopped by the other day on my walk back from the gym. Personally, I think the name of the store should be changed to KIDS STUFF cause there was nothing in there above a Medium. So frustrating!! (And I probably didn't win any friends from the staff when, after a few minutes of looking around, I asked "where's the MEN'S section??")

Thank God for Club Monaco is all I can say (and I have said it more than once). There were a few stores in DC and I have found the one in Chicago on Michigan Avenue. They have stylish clothing that goes up to size XXL. Without them, all my clothes would come from the Gap or, God forbid, Sears. I've heard women bitch about this for years - how designers and clothesmakers don't cater to large people. And I am not traditionally large, moreover I'm not fat. I just have ridiculous shoulders and a wide back thanks to a little thing called weightlifting. What fits me in the shoulders just bags around my waistline. It's a conundrum.

So I have decided that in about two years, I am going to open a store that caters to big guys with lots of athletic cuts and no sizes below a Large. Not sure of the name yet - maybe something like The Real Man or Polos For Blue Collar (nah, that sounds like a profile on Manhunt or something). Anyway, it will be something that will entice men of all sizes, and then unleash vast disappointment on all those shoppers with smaller builds - just so they will understand how it feels.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Stop! Drop! And Don't Roll!

So I went to the gym last night and I have something to get of my chest, or more precisely, my shoulders:

Guys...

Please...

For the luvva Mike...

Stop rolling your shoulders during shrugs. It's pointless. The force is down (hello, gravity?) and lateral motion does not work against the weight, so the presumed targets of this motion (which I am presuming to be the rhomboids) don't get much use. If you are trying to work your 'boids, get on a rowing machine instead. Shrugs are just that - shrugs.

Lift, hold, drop slowly. Lift, hold, drop slowly.

Now - moving your shoulders back at the top of the shrug is ok, because it helps improve scapular stabilization. But it's more like pinching your shoulder blades together at the top of the shrug rather than rolling them.

So no more rolling shrugs. Got it? Cause I will correct you if I see you.


Thursday, March 16, 2006

The ATM Gods Smile At Me

File this under: This Never Happens To Me

I went to the ATM in the lobby of my office building around 10:30 AM or so and there was $40 sitting in the dispenser. I looked at it. And then I looked again. And then I looked around to see who was looking at me. And then I looked at it again.

My first thought was, "Sweet, free money!" And then I thought of some poor yutz who either didn't get all of his money out of the dispenser, or was too busy in conversation or otherwise sidetracked and just forgot to take it. So I did what I think was the right thing.

I went to the security guard in the lobby and gave her my business card and told her I found money in the ATM, and if anyone came to her and reported either being shorted by or not getting money from the machine, to have the person contact me and I would give them the money. She asked me how much it was and I didn't tell her, but I would give it to the person who gave me the correct amount. If I didn't hear from anyone by the end of the day, the money would be mine. I figured it was good karma.

Five o'clock came and no call, so I kept the money. And now when I pass by the ATM, whether I am making a withdrawal or not, I glance over just in case.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Shit n' Git

I think I take issue with co-workers, specifically men, who go through their mailboxes and leaf through the morning newspapers on their way to the restroom. First of all, it merely confirms to me what you are going to be doing in there (no man in the world takes the sports section to a urinal). I don't want to know what you are about to do. I know we all do it, the same way I know to turn left without thinking of making a left turn - it's inherent, I don't need reminding.

As I said, I think I take issue with this because actually thinking about it long enough to be really bothered by it only exacerbates my point. I don't want to think about it, yet I can't help it. Mostly because when I have to work the reception desk (yes, that is still going on for two hours every day!), men have to pass me on their way to do "other" business.

What baffles me further is that the lighting in the men's room is, well, "bar lighting" at best. So unless these guys are taking flashlights with them, I don't see how they are reading anything of great length/importance/interest. Nor do I understand planning on spending that kind of time in the restroom; you go in, you squat, do your business, and leave. There's no reading the stock report, baseball stats, or doing Sudoku. You are at work. Save the crosswords and editorials for home expulsions. If you expect it to take you a lengthy amount of time, they you have more serious problems to solve than 6 Across.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

On A Downtown Train

Perhaps it is time for the CTA (Chicago's public transportation system) to adopt the same policy as most airlines: only two pieces of carry-on per person. The trains and buses are already overcrowded. Add to that the additional bulk of winter coats and there is little room for paraphernalia.

From the "Sometimes You Just Have To Take A Cab" Department: this morning a woman in her early 30's boarded the Brown Line train to The Loop at Fullerton. Fullerton is a huge boarding spot, last chance to change from the red and purple lines when going downtown. Most people on the train in the morning have either a backpack (which should be removed as there is always less space at the feet than at the chest) or a briefcase of somekind. This woman, let's call her Tiffani-with-an-"i" (because I hate that name and I kinda hate this woman a little too), boarded the train wearing her down-filled puffy coat, with a full back pack flung over her shoulders, carrying a gym bag, a huge purse (visible were a pair of pumps and a water bottle), a nylon lunch box, AND she was carrying a coffee.

Tiffani pushed her way onto the train, the way short, blonde, over-achieving women do (you know the type - you see them at 5:30 fastwalking their ponytailed selves to a yoga class in their desperate attempt to do it all). Her iPod was blaring in her ears so she was oblivious to the scowls and snarls directed at her from the other passengers. She was also wearing sunglasses, so it's hard to say if she ever made eye contact with anyone.

When the train reached the Chicago stop and a mass of people tried to disembark around her, she took half a step forward in what she thought was an attempt to move out of the way. People had to hurdle the gym bag, dodge the purse, then try to bypass the backpack which made Tiffani twice as thick as she really was. You had to go through Navy SEAL training to get around her. At least two people could not get off of the train before the doors closed and had to go an extra stop. A chorus of "Great, thanks a LOT!" just rang on deaf ears.

Needless to say, Tiffani-with-an-"i" was not popular this morning.

Just like there is no one really watching or paying much attention to the security of the CTA, there is no one to monitor how much physical baggage someone brings with him/her. A person with a bicycle would not have taken up as much room as Tiffani, however bikes are not allowed during rush hour, and even then only two per car.

No one likes riding the CTA - it's a matter of convenience for some, necessity for others. And in our efforts to try to make our world a better place, the Tiffanies of this world should realize that sometimes, you just have to take a cab.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Be Polite

Last Sunday night, I couldn't sleep. So I rolled over in bed and turned on the TV in order to find something that would bore me enough that I would eventually just pass out. And there it was {insert sound of triumphant trumpets} televangelism. This should do it, or so I thought.

The preacher's name was Joel Osteen. He caught my attention because he was cute. And while I don't agree with his teachings (notable among them is that Christians should have special privileges in the world because we are higher beings: extending to first-class seats on airplanes, special sections in restaurants, and exemption from traffic tickets), I did buy into his message that night - which was "Be Polite".

He was talking about how easy it is to be polite to someone, and how it is the right thing to do - mostly because you don't know what has happened to that person before you encountered him. It is so much easier to be polite to someone, and you will more than likely get exactly what you need, as long as you stay calm, smile, and remember you are talking to a human being with problems, joys, sorrows and worries just like you.

"Be kind. Remember everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."
- T.H. Thompson

So I thought I would give it a shot. Being naturally skeptical and usually walking around with a chip on my shoulder for no good reason, I thought it couldn't hurt. I figured I took up running to improve the outside of me, perhaps I should work on improving the inside as well. I began greeting and thanking bus drivers, holding doors for people, and smiling alot more. And it began to work. I felt better about myself.

Admittedly, there were a few times I slipped, like when the woman at Sweet Factory charged me $27.90 for a 2.5lb. bag of green M&Ms for my office. And when the panhandler approached me and asked me for money while I was talking on my phone. So I guess the message here is that it might be impossible to be polite all the time, but to make a conserted effort to be polite more often.

So that's what I am doing. And perhaps one day, when I don't trip someone who has cut me off while I am running, I will have killed two birds with one stone.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The BF

I don't gush about him much; it's not because I can't. He's been an amazing presence in my life for almost a year now. I met him during an early visit to Chicago, when I was still living in DC and after I had decided to move here. I came to scope out neighborhoods and do some job interviewing. We went to dinner, downed a few margaritas at Cesar's, and I knew we would be friends for a long time.

Over the following weeks, he became the last phone call of my nights and I got to know him little by little from afar. I looked forward to the calls and the time we would eventually get to spend together in person, getting to know each other better.

And then August happened. My whole life changed. Indeed, my whole future seemed in question. I went into the hospital, giving my cell phone to my sister and asking her to keep him updated on my condition. I credit him with having alot to do with my fast recovery - all I could think about was getting better, getting to Chicago, and pursuing things with him. He was my goal, and laying in the hospital bed and thinking of him got me through some very tough moments. He was the first person I called when I returned home.

And then I got better, and 5 weeks later, I moved to Chicago. And since then he has continued to be my strongest supporter. At a time when I felt insecure about the changes in my body, the scars, and my limited abilities, he acted as if nothing had changed at all. He saw me - there was no "old" me or "new" me, there was no then and now. To me, he is my reward for persevering through a difficult situation.

And as loving as he is, he is the best kind of friend to me; he listens, advises, and opines without judgment. I may not speak about him like this again, mostly because that is not really our kind of relationship. But sometimes when life is good to you, you just want to share it.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Super Dop

On Friday night, The BF and I returned to the place of our first date to consume some margaritas and relax after a hectic week. While sitting there, a woman seated behind him started to choke. At first she was coughing and sitting down with her friend patting her on the back. Then the woman stood up, grabbing her throat and the coughing stopped. The restaurant came to a standstill watching this woman suffer.

With no management, waiter, or another diner rushing to her aid, I got up and grabbed her from behind and began the Heimlich maneuver. Two hard thrusts and she seemed to be getting air. Not sure if I had dislodged anything or not, but she was breathing again. I stood there holding her from behind, more supporting her weight than anything, while she held her friend's hand. I told her to take some deep breaths with me, in through the nose and out through the mouth, slowly and methodically. She was trembling all over. I told her we could stand there as long as she wanted.

Once she was on solid footing, I sat her down in her chair and her friend thanked me. The management was now paying attention to her and I passed her along to them to care for. She sat for a bit collecting herself and then seemed to be fine. And I sat back down with The BF. We had dinner and as she was leaving, she thanked me for saving her life.


I think I felt a little embarassed and a bit unsure as to what had just happened. I had always wondered what I would do in that exact situation: if I saw someone choking, would I react? And if I did, would I do it correctly? Did I hurt her? Was she really choking and did I do the right thing?

On the way home, it all began to sink it. I realized I did what no one else in the room seemed willing to do; I jumped into a situation and helped a stranger. Would I jump into a frozen lake to save a drowning person? I don't know. Would I rush into a burning building to save someone from a fire? I don't know. And I hope I never have to find out.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Running

In my quest for personal challenges I began running. I had gotten up to 35 minutes on the elliptical and figured that perhaps it was time to shift to the treadmill.

I have never been a runner. I have never had to run. I was never involved in athletics that involved sustained movement. In school I played baseball and football. In baseball I was first baseman - the most movement you make there is walking 5 steps at a time. You don't even have to throw well, you just have to be able to catch. In football, I played Center. There's no running in that position either - it's all blocking (but it has made me able to navigate through a crowded bar at warp speed). So adding running to my exercise regimen is a big deal for me.

Chicago is a big "running city". Everyone runs here. There's a race, like, every weekend. And there are people running along the lakeshore all year long, more so in the summer. Most of the people I know in Chicago are runners; the BF is a runner. So it's more than just exercise, it's also a social outlet. They all stand around and talk about the "Shamrock Shuffle" or "Hustle Up The Hancock" or the "Turkey Trot". At first I thought these were all dance moves or something. And then I caught on. I'm slow like that sometimes.

I attempted running on a treadmill once about 4 years ago. Not sure if it was the acoustics in the gym, the location of the treadmill, how much I weighed at the time, or a combination thereof. But when I ran, the sound of BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM reverberated through the gym. People actually stopped and turned, thus ending my running career. And I never tried it again. Until last week.


"Can you hear me? Can you hear me running?"
- Mike & The Mechanics

My original goal was to run for 15 minutes. I figured that if I could last 35 minutes on the elliptical, I should be able to last at least half that time on the treadmill. So I gave it a whirl. My iPod was blaring Annie Lennox in my ears and I felt good. Around minute number 11 though I started hitting my wall. I looked at the monitor and I had run 7/10 of a mile at 5 MPH. Suddenly it became more important for me to complete the mile than to last 15 minutes. So I pushed. And I made it. First time in my life, I ran a mile.

This fulfilled many goals and began some new ones. For one thing, knowing I can run a mile without needing to stop means that I am in better shape than I was before my heart surgery in August; and certainly better than the months following it. So the emotional impact of this was huge for me. I actually had to cry a bit on my walk home from the gym. There is nothing like personal fulfillment.


Second, if I can run one mile, then in no time I should be able to run two, then three. My plan is to continue to run one mile every day for a week, then on every Monday to add an additional 1/4 mile. Once I am up to 3 miles, I will then start increasing my pace and speed. My ultimate goal is to run in the
Race to the Taste 5K in July. And then I will be able to stand around with my friends and discuss local races.

And perhaps a few dance moves.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Critical Dining

While visiting DC, my friend Aaron and I had dinner at a new restaurant on the west end of P Street, Mark & Orlando's . Dinner was great. I had the salmon, which I always try to order when dining out because I love it, yet am afraid to make it myself. I just know based on my culinary skills that I will screw it up and get a bad case of salmonella. Aaron ordered the two largest shrimp I have ever seen. But the bang was not necessarily worth the buck, in this case. There wasn't much to eat out of those jaspers and Aaron left feeling unsatisfied.

We sat next to two food critics and I guffawed (love that word) at the amount of schmoozing and toadying (love that word too) that was exchanged. The manager comes out (Mark), the chef comes out (Orlando, both at right) and suddenly everyone in the restaurant is best friends - sycophants one and all. With spectacles resting on the tips of their noses, the critics stretched out and lounged at a table in the center of the room, almost demanding that everyone else notice them: conversations were a little louder than they needed to be, gestures were a little grander than they needed to be. It wasn't enough that the staff had to cowtow to their whim, the other patrons were all basically put on hold as well.
Soundbyte: I hate being put on call-waiting while I am dining out.Why can't everyone be treated this way? You think someone who writes for a magazine or newspaper is more powerful?? There are three major forms of communication in this world: telephone, television, and tell a fag. Nothing spreads faster than a network of queens ripping something to shreds.

We all saw the grand entrance, the reserved table, the notebooks, the sudden hustle of the staff and the "meet n greet" of the owners walking around to each table to welcome the diners (Aaron assured me that this was the first time he had witnessed this in the 5 times he'd eaten here previously). If every diner was treated like a food critic, no restaurant would ever fail.
The place was pretty, the atmosphere was quaint - not too big, not too small. And while I am still baffled by the draw of Pizzeria Paradiso (it's just pizza in a crowded room people), Mark & Orlando's provides a nice dining alternative for those west of Dupont Circle.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Fight Club

Got an email from my friend Brian in DC last week. We were basically just catching up when I read the part where he put a whooping on someone's ass in a bar for making rude comments about Brian's boyfriend.

Now Brian is about the size of my left leg (or maybe my right leg when my ankle isn't swollen). He looks like a good puff of wind would blow him away. But he's a tough little shit. And fiercely loyal. So I imagine he put a wicked hurtin' on the guy. To quote Brian:

So i ended up on top of him punching his face in and everyone was watching. It looked bad but he deserved it. Queens standing at the bar were saying that's the worst beat down i've ever seen then i laughed inside when i heard that. lol.
Personally I wouldn't mess with him. I don't fight the small scrappy types. They scare me. I've been out with Brian and I have seen him sweetly and politely dispel aggressive men. Brian's hot, and he gets more than his share of attention. But I have always seen him be respectful. So if he put a smackdown on a dude, then it must have been warranted.

So I responded to his email by telling him:

So you gave a whomping to some jackass huh? You go girl! I don't think we fags fight enough. I mean like "knock down, drag out, beat him til he bleeds" fight. Gay men cross the line more than any other group of people as far as disrespect, and we have been conditioned to accept it. If I felt up a woman in a straight bar, my ass would be kicked out and I might even get sued. But when someone constantly grabs my chest in a gay bar, no one does anything about it and I am basically told to deal with it. So I am proud of you for standing up for yourself and your man. Excellent job!
And I really feel this way. By nature, I am a pretty easygoing guy. But I have had to get in a fight with someone in the past for something I believed in. No, I don't think violence is the answer. And I know that the ability to reason is one of the things (besides the ability to accessorize) that separates us from animals. But when behavior has gone unchecked and unpunished for so long, sometimes something else needs to happen. Lesbians have been doing it forever, but gay men have been reduced to throwing drinks at each other as a form of protest. Sometimes, that's just not enough.