Wednesday, May 31, 2006

June 1st

To understand what this blog entry is about, click here.

2005 - Babysit Tucker (neighbor's 5 year old Golden Retriever)

2004 - Seth's (nephew) graduation (high school)

2003 - Ashley and I shop around Georgetown in DC.

2002 - John's (another nephew) graduation (high school)

2001 - Clean apartment and go to JR's and Badlands (now Apex) with Ashley

1999 - Rehoboth Beach with Ex#3, dinner at Yum Yum

1998 - Finish moving into Georgetown apartment.

1997 - Dinner at Mr. Henry's, then bar hop to Remington's, Ziegfeld's and the Eagle with friend David.

1996 - Shop for futons with friend Scott

1995 - Graduation (college) party for Ray (cousin)

1993 - Rent "Lost in Yonkers" with Kathy and Jelita

1992 - Move into apartment on Washington Street for summer break. Kim (sister) and Lance (friend) visit.

1991 - Haircut at 11; eye appointment at 2:30; go to Deer Park Lodge (DPL) with Jeff, Matt, David, Joe, Tomas, Dave, Matt G., and Steve.

1990 - Go to DPL with Jeff and Matt

1988 - Mike's (brother) graduation (high school)

1987 - Visit friend Todd; dinner & movie.

1986 - Second paper due in Advanced Composition Class (summer schedule)

Friday, May 26, 2006

IML

This Memorial Day weekend brings the annual "International Mr. Leather" contest (or IML as it is more affectionately known) back to Chicago.

For several days, the gay scene in Chicago becomes bears, muscles, and leather. This will be my first time attending. Happy IML Weekend to everyone in Chicago, and a happy and safe Memorial Day Weekend to the rest of you.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

"W" 's Fish Story

Recently, our ever truthful and wise Commander In Chief (and I don't mean Geena Davis) was asked by a German newspaper what were his worst moment in office and his best moment in office. His worst moment, he said, was 9/11. And understandably so, seeing as how he just had to sit in that school room all that time waiting for someone to come tell him what to do. That must have been very trying Junior.

But pertaining to his best moment in office, "W" said, "I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7.5-pound perch in my lake." Sweet isn't it?

Nevermind the fact that the world record for a yellow perch is only 4 pounds, 3 ounces. And nevermind the fact that the world record for a white perch (which technically isn't really a perch, but I am adding it here for the sake of argument) is 4 pounds, 12 ounces.

Now, I ask you - if this man is willing to lie about the size of a fish he allegedly caught, can you just imagine how many other lies he has told to the American people, let alone the rest of the world, over the last 6 years??

Boggles the mind, doesn't it?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Nassau

Having never been to The Bahamas, I can admit now that it was exactly what I expected: bright blue sky, green clear ocean, pastel-coloured houses, and everyone sounding stoned. What I didn't know, until I arrived, was that the Bahamas, Nassau, and Paradise Island are all three separate places (I guess I just never had to think about it before). The Commonwealth of The Bahamas is an archipelago of about 700 islands in the Caribbean; Nassau is the capital of The Bahamas located on New Providence Island (for some reason I used to think Nassau was in Florida); Paradise Island is a small island adjacent to New Providence Island. In summation, we went to Paradise Island - so I went on vacation and had a geography lesson.

Now where was I? Oh yeah - the colours of Nassau. On our first full day, we took a boat from Paradise Island to Nassau to walk around. The boat was "hosted" by a local man who, as he claimed, was "not employed by the boat company" and relied on tips for his helpful information from friendly folk such as ourselves. His information consisted of pointing out all the huge houses on Paradise Island, all of which seemed to have something to do with "the actor, Nicolas Cage" (hence Monday's Eye Candy). He seems to own a big chunk of Paradise Island. The tour hosts seem to really have to stretch for things to say on the 10-minute boat ride, because they also needed to point out the houses that were owned by the late actor, Richard Harris, and the even later actor, Charlie Chaplin. Not sure why either of those is relevant, but two separate "tour guides" pointed them out both to and from Nassau.

Nassau looks like it has been beaten up a few times, but that is also the beauty in it. It's something like a battered woman, with bright paint on the buildings chipping away to show the worn suffering underneath. Our first stop was the Straw Market (pictured at left). Rows and rows of individual vendors line the inside of what is basically a huge tent. There might be 100 vendors located here, but each one is selling the same thing, so some try to get your attention more than others. Walking through, we heard, "Hey big guy, hey big guy!" Naturally, I thought it was me, so I just ignored it. And then we heard, "Hey big guy, Tom Cruise!" I guess to the locals, that was a nickname for anyone who was fair-skinned, dark-haired, and adorable-faced, like The BF. Four steps later, we heard, "And how about you, Triple X, Vin Diesel!" (That one, I knew, was for me.)

We walked through the narrow streets and climbed up to the highest point of the island so that we could see Fort Fincastle, a fort that was built for a battle that never happened. We meandered through and caught the first cool breeze of the day after hiking up the Monte Carlo-esque streets. The Fort was small, still with cannons that were unfired lining its walls, and very dark recesses that required the flash on the camera in order to see anything. The view from the top was worth the hike, offering a view for miles across New Providence.

The picture on the far left was taken on top of the fort and behind us you can see the Water Tower, the highest structure on the island. After making our way through yet more vendors (who were admittedly having a rather slow day atop the hill), we went into the tower only to discover that it was closed for repairs, but the view inside, looking up, was just amazing, with light pouring in every window. Still, it would have been fun to climb the steps and take in the view.

Next we walked down a small roadway on our way to see the Queen's 65 Steps. I was struck by a group of houses that were located near the tower. On an island that does not look like its cramped for space, I thought it odd that there would be this row of houses sitting so close to the fort and the tower. Perhaps they were in habited by caretakers at some point, but they didn't seem occupied now. Or perhaps they were. That's what I meant by the weathered look of the city; you can't tell the old from the new. The houses seemed almost forgotten and lonely. But there was still beauty there, and I am glad I stopped to take a picture of it.

The last site we visited was the location of the Queen's 68 Steps, built by slaves during the reign of Queen Victoria to be a passage way from the west and east sides of the island. Try as we might, we could never seem to get a really great explanation of its history. Sure it was an impressive sight, but The BF believes that it looks as though it began as a passage way dug through the rocks that eventually was just given up on and had steps built instead. And that's a pretty good explanation of what it looks like.

We stopped for lunch in town before heading back, by boat, to Paradise Island, having to hear the "tour" again about the big homes and who owns them. The rest of the day was spent laying on the white sands and swimming in the green ocean. And the evening was spent in the Casino. I won a little, but then just gambled it all away. But it was apparently enough for The BF to decide that our next vacation will be a July trip to Vegas.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Paradise Island

The BF and I didn't mind getting up at 5AM in order to get to O'Hare and be on a 7:30AM flight. Leaving Chicago on the 7th straight day of rain was just what we were looking forward to. We completely lucked out on our flights. The first leg was flying from Chicago to Dallas-Ft. Worth, where we sat next to each other in a two-person row. After arriving at DFW, we only had about an hour before our flight to Nassau. After talking with the man at check-in, we managed to score the exit row for just the two of us. Plenty of leg room and space for the three+ hour flight.

We arrived in Nassau just after 3:00PM and had to go through a fairly simple customs process. The airport in Nassau was about the same as the one in Cancun, which I passed through back in 1998. The airports in the Caribbean are stark, lacking the decor and comforts of most American airports. Every room we entered was either very large and empty, or low-ceilinged and dismal. But then again, people are there to tour the islands, not the airports. Still, there was a band in the corner playing a calypso version of "Fools Rush In". The BF dubbed them the "Airport House Band" and we wondered how a group got a gig like that. Was it a real score or considered the bottom of the barrel??

A $30 taxi ride brought us to our condo on Paradise Island, right on the marina. We stayed at Club Land'or, which at first seemed like a strange name until we were told that it translates to "Land of Gold". (Okay, it's still a little strange but at least we got an explanation.) The condo was the perfect place for a beach vacation - not too old as to be outdated, but not too new that you were afraid to get sand on everything. The place offered a great location and easy access to the beach and shopping and restaurants.

And we were just across the marina from The Atlantis Resort, the ultimate Bahamanian destination. Spend a few minutes on their website and you will see what I mean. The place is magnificient. We were lucky to be so close to it, without having to pay for it. Club Land'or seems to be "Cinderella" to the Atlantis's "Wicked Stepmother and Stepsisters". Atlantis tolerates Club Land'or and might even be a bit jealous that it's not really part of the family, but still allows it to exist in its inobtrusive and oblivious way. We were able to access all almost all of Atlantis' ammenities. Especially the casino!

Almost immediately after checking in, we headed to the beach and caught the last rays of the day. The water was crystal clear. Just standing in the ocean we could see fish swimming around our feet. The waves were gentle, not like crashing surfs I am so accustomed to from the east coast U.S. beaches.

One of the first things we realized was that being on an island, just about everything is imported. Along with that comes the costs of such. It's so easy to get lost in the beauty of the island and forget that you are actually paying 75% more for something here than you do in the states. A regular sized smoothie from Jamba Juice costs me $4.50 in Chicago, but cost $8.00 in The Bahamas. Just about everything was marked up like crazy. Two Miller Lites from the bar in the Casino cost $13.70. We quickly adapted to Kalik Beer, which is brewed only in The Bahamas and was not bad, all things considered.

Let me add, however, that The Bahamas is not Mo-friendly. There are no gay bars or clubs to speak of, and acts of violence perpetrated against suspected gay people are not immediately punishable - as recently heard about in current events. And it doesn't help when local Nassau reporters write columns like this. Even the gay travel guide said to "think twice" before going to The Bahamas. But I never felt unsafe where we were, and The BF and I had some fun trying to pick out the other partnered Mo's.

More images tomorrow ...

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The Bahamas, Baby!

The BF and I are off to The Bahamas for several days, so I am taking the week off from blogging. I'll return with my usual cranky, whining stories (and hopefully some great Caribbean tales) on Monday, May 22.

Have a great week!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Mothers' Day

There might be an entire week or more that passes when you don't think of her - or she might just not pop into your head or your thoughts, depending on how busy you are. But in contrast, not a single day goes by that she is not thinking of you. Such is the way of a parent, especially a mother. She thinks of you every day, at least once. She can't help it. And for that she deserves a day of honour, and so much more. So this weekend, whether you talk to her or not, remember your mother.

SPAM

With the exception of my friend Jeff, and my dearly departed Jeep, my email address is the longest, voluntary relationship of my adult life (I've known Jeff since 1989 and I had my Jeep for 11 years).

My first email address was with bellatlantic.net, back in 1996 (which eventually became verizon.net). After a year or so of asking myself "why am I paying for this?", I created my YAHOO! email account nine years ago, in 1997.

Having moved 4 times since 1997, and had as many if not just a few more telephone numbers as well, my email address has remained one of the few constants in my life. A veritable pillar of stability. The really cool thing about having the same email account all these years is that every now and then I will get a random "voice from your past" email from someone I might have known several years ago, in the last century even.

Of course, the really not-so-cool thing about having the same email account all these years is that I am the recipient of more than my fair share of spam. A great feature that YAHOO! has is the Bulk Folder, that automatically filters spam (not sure how it does this) and then deletes it so I don't even have to be bothered with it. Especially those emails that try to pass themselves off as my friends, like:

Sender: Leonard Cross
Subject: unbelievable tranny gangbang (I know, its tempting. If they were also midgets, I'd probably look)

Sender: Allen Boudreaux
Subject: I met this chick online last night (like I care. And who is Allen?)

Sender: Mark Ruffin
Subject: he likes to watch me take it from other men. (the mind boggles at what "it" could be)

Sender: Rosalyn
Subject: Bonny sch001girl$ in the net (perhaps this is code, but I d0n'+ 6et 1+)

Sender: Christian Mortgage
Subject: lift the burden and save on your monthly payments (um... I rent, ok?)

Sender: George Jaramillo
Subject: meet eligable women now (hello, have you met me?)

Sender: The Little Blue Pill
Subject: Is this your love life? (thankfully, no)

Sender: philluminous
Subject: Spermamax will make her drown in your sperm (it's nice that he wants to help my sex life, but ew, ew, ew!)

Sender: Its a patch
Subject: Your 14-day sample is ready (of what, I wonder?)

Sender: flavio.59
Subject: Teen finger digging her pussy outdoors (I don't know flavio.59 or his other 58 incarnatons, nor do I care to see a teen finger digging anything, be it her kitten or her nose)

And the list goes on. This morning I awoke to 96 emails in my Bulk Folder. When I went to bed last night at 11, there was zero. Times have changed, as have I (I now actually pay YAHOO! for my email just cause I think it's the grown-up thing to do), but the spam just keeps on a-coming.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Not Enough

As if just being me everyday is not reminder enough that I am not considered "the norm", I am reminded in other various ways, throughout my day, that I am just a bit too greedy, or take a bit too much from the rest of the world in comparison to the average man.

I have previously discussed that I sometimes buy my shirts in XXL, and have to shop in stores where the largest size is a medium. But then I find out that I apparently wash my hands a little too long as evidenced in the restroom at work where I have to depress the faucet at least four times before my hands are washed, rinsed and clean. Likewise with the hand dryer that needs to be engaged at least twice before my hands are remotely dry. The weird thing is - I don't have big hands. I rub them gently together, as the directions indicate, but I must be doing something wrong if I have to go through the steps 2 times instead of the calibrated 1. So not only do I use more water, I seemingly use more air, too. My hands might dry faster if I could just have an old man blow on them through a straw.

And while we are in the restroom, who decided where to perforate toilet paper? No one - NO ONE - uses just one sheet of t.p. What is one sheet used for? You can't even blow your nose with it. Toilet paper should come off the roll in 12" perforations. By the time you roll it, fold it, ball it up, or whatever you do with it, you're using a foot at a time anyway.

And why are ketchup packets so small? I have to open at least six of them at a time. Who rationed a small packet of ketchup to go with an order of fries? Who opens just one ketchup packet??

And one Healthy Choice Meal would never fill me up, let alone satisfy me. I need to eat two in order to feel like I've even eaten anything. I know they are portioned out to make for healthy dining, lower calories, blah blah blah. But c'mon! Who can really exist on that?

So apparently, my entire life exists in XXL, not just my closet. What is considered a normal or average amount of anything is just not enough for me. I need more. Not because I am greedy, but just because normal isn't satisfying. I think the difference is that I don't take or use more than I need. I think that is the definition of greed. I have and use enough. But sometimes, enough is just, well... not.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Or Would I?

All who really know me are aware that my physical appearance completely belies my true personality. Well sort of. I only look like I could rip your head off, but I probably wouldn't. Probably.

Or would I?

I realize I sometimes have a slight intimidation factor, which is half the fun of being me. It's nice having a mouth that I don't have to back up with anything more than a raised eyebrow and a curled lip. And I kinda like that. I mean, what's the good of having arms my size if I don't look like I can dent your car with them. I'm friendly. You just have to know me.

I sometimes realize that even my closest friends are never really 100% sure if I would mix it up. Last Saturday night, The BF and I were standing in a coat check line getting ready to leave a club when someone cut in front of us. I tapped the intruder on the shoulder and motioned to the back of the line. He ended up giving his claim ticket to someone else in line ahead of me (touche, I thought). And then as he got his coat and walked by me, he poked me with his finger and began saying something to me, to which I quickly responded, "Don't touch me you little prick". His friend moved him along, apologizing profusely to me. I rolled my eyes. As I do. The BF seemed unsure about what would happen. I wondered if he really thought I would shove, or even hit, this person. It surprised me a little.

My friend Todd described me years ago as being a "Jack Russell Terrier in a Rottweiler's body". Cute huh? There is some truth in there, as I am not entirely unlike a dog: kick me and I will come back a few minutes later completely forgetting that the kicking took place, or even ignoring that it happened altogether. But kick a person who loves me and I will attack you. Simple.

Back in the bar, the "little prick" could have stood there and poked me with his twinkie finger and it would have only annoyed me. But had he confronted The BF, or any other friend of mine for that matter, he would have faced me - all of me. Would I want to get into a fight? No. Would I do it anyway? No.

Or would I?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Notorious/Little People

Two of my new favorite television shows right now are So NoTORIous and Little People, Big World.

So NoTORIous is the scripted comedy series on VH-1 based on the life of Tori Spelling. Her self-deprecating humour is refreshing. When I first saw Tori act in Trick, another favorite, I was blown away. I remembered wishing that she would do more work like that. Her comedic timing was perfect. And I kept thinking that she was actually playing someone close to who she really is. Her new series proves that to me, as her character is friendly and loving, albeit insecure and a bit out of touch. The show is funny and I will actually laugh out loud. I am glad she has left behind her Beverly Hills 90210 days (even though I would love to have a "Donna Martin Graduated" tee shirt) and has moved on to fun stuff like this.

The other show I am hooked on right now is Little People, Big World - an in-depth series on TLC Channel that looks at the everyday lives of lan extraordinary family made up of both little and average-sized people. The shows follows Matt and Amy Roloff, two little people, born to average-sized parents, who are themselves married with 4 kids - 15-year old twins, Jeremy and Zach, 12-year old Molly, and 8-year old Jacob. Together, they also operate Roloff Farms, a sprawling farm in Oregon. The show follows them as they navigate a world that is not accomodating. It's refreshing.

I like both of these shows because they offer me, as a viewer, an inside look into lives that I would otherwise know nothing about. None of my friends are rich and famous, or physically challenged. This isn't by choice, at least consciously. Perhaps I don't go to places where I would meet these people and learn about them. But cable TV takes me there. It invites me to their worlds on their terms. Both shows seem honest, yet playful. Definitely recommended viewing.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Scarlet O'Hara

Most of the time, when I go out drinking with friends or to a house party, I drink beer. More specifically, light beer. More specifically-er, Bud Light. I love Bud Light. Adore it to pieces. I'd marry it if I could (I think it's legal to wed hops in Germany).

But on those nights when beer just won't cut the mustard, my libation of choice is a Scarlet O'Hara, consisting of Southern Comfort (SoCo) and cranberry juice with a lime. The drink is so named because it is red, a little sweet, southern, and sassy - pretty much just like me.

When I started drinking Scarlets back in the late 80's, I didn't even know it had a name. And to this day, many bartenders I have met have never heard of it. Admittedly, even I thought I had created the drink back in the day. I was in my early 20's, busy being young and fabulous, and wanted to have a signature drink, one that no one else had. Not sure how it happened, but I started ordering SoCo/crans.

It wasn't until I was in my 30's that I met a bartender who had not only heard of the combo, but knew the actual name for the drink. Only trouble is, those drinks go down like Kool-Aid.

And while I have recently been introduced to the Sidecar (and have adopted it into my cocktail rotation), Scarlet O'Hara will remain my signature drink as I continue through the social milieu. Unless of course there is Bud Light around.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Remember When A Word Made Sense?

Wh3n d1d w3 st4rt putt1n6 numb3r5 1n w0rd5??

I noticed this week that two of the top 20 shows on television right now are Unan1mous and Numb3rs. The former is a contest based on greed brought to you by the FOX network, and the latter is a CBS series about an FBI agent who uses his brothers mathematical genius to help solve caseloads - an kind of hip Rain Man.

I just hate this bastardization of the english language. It was bad enough when online chat rooms coerced people to phonetically misspell and abbreviate words in order to type faster. "Cool" became "kewl", "your" became "ur", "are" became "r", "too" and "to" became "2". I don't LOL or ROFL or even LMAO. It is completely possible to write a entire sentence and it not make grammatical sense - looking more like a math equation than a sentence.

What is this all about? What, now words aren't cool enough anymore - we gotta punch them up somehow? Are people going to start naming their kids "R1v3r" or "1-nita"? I would say that this is a pattern of laziness except it actually takes some brainpower in order to write and decipher this drivel.

Being the wordsmith that I am, and a lover of words at that, I find these trends a bit insulting. They're not cool, they're not interesting. It's trying to make something out of nothing. It does not "up" your hip-quotient. Perhaps it's acceptable for your online screen name in order to conserve space, but that's about it. Literacy and intelligence are sexy.

Aiiight?

Monday, May 01, 2006

Only The iPod Knows

Can't remember where I saw this, but the latest use of an iPod is the equivalent to the old 8 Ball - put your iPod on shuffle and get the answer to life's questions.

I asked mine 20 questions and here are the honest responses (I did this with my roommate so there was no cheating):


1. What is my day going to be like? "Ironic" Alanis Morissette
2. How does the world see you? "Everything's Not Lost" Coldplay
3. Will I have a happy life? "Tuesday Heartbreak" Michael McDonald
4. What do my friends really think of me? "Born To Run" Bruce Springsteen
5. Do people secretly lust after me? "Two Doors Down" Dolly Parton
6. How can I make myself happy? "The Rockafeller Skank" Fatboy Slim
7. What should I do with my life? "Photograph" Jamie Cullum
8. What am I afraid of? "Ave Maria"
9. What is my biggest regret? "Theme from the Valley of the Dolls" Dionne Warwick
10. What is my biggest extravagance? "Making Memories of Us" Keith Urban
11. What is some good advice for me? "Singing for the Lonely" Robbie Williams
12. How will I be remembered? "Simple Life" Elton John
13. What should my theme song be? "What a Funny Boy He Is" Nancy Lamott
14. What song will play at my funeral? "Wake Me Up When September Ends" Green Day
15. How is my lovelife? "There Must Be An Angel" Eurythmics
16. Should I seek a new job? "Anthem" Moby
17. How should I describe myself? "I Heard Someone Crying" The Secret Garden
18. What's been my greatest obstacle? "Standing" Patty Griffin
19. If I could change one thing about my life, what would it be? "Easy" Nik Kershaw
20. What is my greatest dream? "Alive Again" Ty Taylor