Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Hallowe'en

So here we are! The BF did an amazing job, didn't he? Yes - he made both costumes, all from scratch.


We attended the Parade on Halsted, Sidetrack and Roscoe's. And we were clearly the crowd favorites. We must have posed for 40-50 photographs, including some heavy hitter newspaper and websites.

You can see more pics of us at The BF's blog, and our buddy Will - another crowd favorite as the Giant Panda - will have more pics on his Flickr Page. More details to follow. But suffice is to say The BF did an amazing job, we looked awesome, and had a great time.

Now, about next year . . .

Monday, October 30, 2006

My Heart Cries A Little

Sad news on Hallowe'en. Usually, Hollywood breakups don't bother me but this one does. Not sure why. Still I feel sad.

However tonight will change all that. The BF has outdone himself, yet again! Pics to follow this week. Until then, have a safe, fun, and happy All Hallows' Eve!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

October 27

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

2005 - Have a stress test with my new cardiologist. Celebrate Ashley and Brandon's birthday and go out afterwards to Sidetrack with the twins and The BF.

2004 - Drinks at Gazuza in DC with Jon, Eric, Kelly and Kevin.

2003 - Dinner with Ashley for his birthday. Babysit Tucker.

2001 - Take jeep to Jiffy Lube. Friend Geoff W. visits and we go dancing at Colours of Fall at Nation. Still fairly warm in DC.

2000 - Drive to parents place for family Hallowe'en party.

1999 - Movie night with friend Paul E.

1997 - DC's High Heel Race with Ex#3, Scotty, Brett and David.

1995 - Move into first solo apartment on the Hill in DC.

1993 - Go pumpkin shopping with friend Colleen, then dinner at Ground Round with friend Tom.

1992 - Wait tables at Chi-Chi's from 4:15 til Close. Friend Jeff's back surgery following car accident on the 23rd.

1991 - Drive from college to have dinner in DC at Annie's Paramount Steakhouse with frends Jeff, Matt and Ex#2

1990 - Move to Silver Spring, MD after moving back to my folks place following my internship in NYC.

1989 - Hallowe'en party at Deer Park Lodge - voted 2nd place for ugliest costume (although I don't remember what I was)

1988 - Ex#1 returns home from 6 weeks in NYC for work (I'm sure sex was had).

1986 - Dinner at my sister Kim's house.

1985 - Visit Pam and Chris with fiance Crystal. Dinner and board games.

1984 - Early Bird exam at 8:00 AM to pass out of Tudor-Stuart England class.

1983 - Chaperone Sock Hop at Eckhart School 7-9PM.

1982 - Ride in Hallowe'en parade in Cumberland with friend Debbie L. who was running in school board election.
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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Kids 'n Computers

Several years ago, I needed (or rather, wanted) to upgrade my computer. There was nothing wrong with the one I had - it still ran fine, had lots of memory and all the appropriate virus protections. I just wanted a change. So I gave my old desktop computer to my parents. It was their first computer, and I really only gave it to them so they could email me and keep some files. Which is all they would ever really need it for. Within two years of having it, the computer died.

So then I thought that maybe I would graduate to a laptop instead of a desk top. So I bought an HP laptop and gave my parents my desktop to replace the one that seemed to die. Again, within two years, it was destroyed.

I couldn't figure out what was going on until I found out that my nieces and nephews (who are not allowed on the computers at their respective homes) were accessing all kinds of websites and downloading games and God-knows-what-else onto my parents' computer. Every time I went home there was a new icon on the screen, and the pentium III processor seemed to be running on turtle power. My folks took it in for repair several times to have the hard drive wiped clean and reinstalled.

So last year, when a friend of mine was moving in with his new partner and no longer needed his computer, I bought it from him to give to my parents - again. It was a brand new computer that he bought three months before and only turned on once. I gave it to my folks last summer with explicit instructions to not let the kids on it. And then this morning I get an email from my mother saying,

"I am having a problem with my computer, it says I am running out of disc C space and it gives me options to delete files I don't need, but I don't know if I need them or not. How do I tell if I need them? You know how dumb I am about this machine. Maybe I will call you this evening after I get home from work and see if you can tell me anything. "

First of all, there is no way the C drive is full. My mom uses the computer to email me and spreadsheet her and dad's medications. And she might play solitaire now and then, but that's it. Which means that someone has been dicking around on their computer - again! My dad never touches the thing. If he needs anything, he gets Mom to do it.

I am going home this weekend for a wedding so I will have to check out the computer. And if I find out that the kids have been playing on it and downloading stuff again, heads (no matter how old or cute) are gonna roll.
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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Daveland Strikes Again!

About two years ago, I discovered this artist online and asked him if he could recommend anyone who could do a cartoon drawing of me that I could use for my now-defunct website. His response was basically, "duh!" So I sent him a few pics of me and he created the image you see on the left. It's truly the best likeness of me ever made. And along the way, Dave and I became good friends.

He also made this creation for me - sort of an ultimate musclebear cartoon. I love it. Dave is extremely talented. And he now does a fairly good business doing cartoons of people for websites and blogs and such. I like to think I started the whole thing.



I have more projects for Dave in the works, as he is my go-to artist. Visit his site and enjoy his work, and even commission him to immortalize you as a work of Pop Art. Also, explore Dave's "adult" work by going here (hint: type NEWUSER for both user name and password to gain access). You'll also get to see the full version of my cartoon too.
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Monday, October 23, 2006

One Year Together

This past weekend, The BF and I celebrated our official One Year Anniversary.

It was a little tricky trying to determine when this day would take place. We actually met a year ago this past June. And then I moved to Chicago a year ago September 25th and we pretty much began dating from that point on. But we didn't officially consider ourselves boyfriends until October 22nd, which I guess was necessary to do considering a week later, The BF was going to dress me up like this - and I don't get dressed up like this for just anyone (and this year's costume is gonna be outRAGEous!)

I kissed alot of frogs before finally meeting this prince. He's the best boyfriend I've ever had, and it's been a great year!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Honey, They Got Me Riled Up

Boy, I tell you. You criticize Madonna and the 'Mos all come out screaming!

My blog entry this past Wednesday was less about Madonna and more about adoption in general. And it's really easy for me to get passionate about this, seeing as how I was adopted and all. My only real issue with Madonna is that if she wanted to adopt an African child whose life has been victimized by poverty and AIDS, she could have easily gone to South Africa - that place is riddled with children who need parents too. AND, it's LEGAL to adopt children there. She possibly chose Malawi so that she could be the only person in the western world with a Malawian child. I mean, come on - it is, after all, Madonna. And that's my opinion that I am entitled to believe (the same way I believe that Uli should have beaten Jeffrey). Because really, there is no way to prove it one way or another.

My problem with the "Madonna situation", however, centers more around the fact that her potential son, David, already has a father who placed David in an orphanage when David's mother died soon after giving birth to him. Let's be clear here - Madonna is adopting a child from an orphanage, but she's not adopting an orphan. David has a father who has shirked his responsibility.

-- pulling out soapbox --

Let me shout out loud here that first and foremost, it is the responsibility of the parent(s) to raise the(ir) child. That's your job: you get a new title, unconditional love, dependability, and all that goes with the responsibility of being an adult. If God made you physically capable of reproduction, then you are mature enough to handle the responsibility, regardless of your financial situation or your environment.

Let me add that having a child may be the single-most selfish thing a person can do. It has nothing to do with the child and absolutely everything to do with vanity and tradition. People have children for their own reasons, as the child has no reason to be born otherwise. I cannot accept bringing a child into the world when you are already aware that the elements (life, finances, time) are against you. In David's case, his father said "I am the father of David, who has been adopted. I am very very happy because as you can see there is poverty in this village and I know he will be very well looked after in America."

Okay. This might be me at my most ignorant, but when you are aware that your child has little chance of survival, why on earth bring a child into the situation? Some people will argue that these people (Malawians, for example) are undereducated and don't know any better. But if a one year old touches a hot stove and burns himself, he might touch it once more to be certain of what happened, but then that's it - he's done. There's no going back and learning that lesson again and again. If you look around you and children and adults are dying, poverty surrounds you, and life is horrible, what kind of selfish person must you be to bring a child into the situation, and then give it up when you realize its too much to handle??

-- putting soapbox away --

So please spare me the endless harangues about how wonderful Madge is for snapping a child out of an abyssmal situation. She can adopt the whole country for all I care. They can all call themselves "Madonnians" or something. But unless you know what it's like to be given up - not because you don't have parents, but because they just didn't want the responsibility of raising you - as I was, then save your lectures for someone else, please.

On Monday, we will return to our normally boring, yet sometimes interesting blog.
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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Stupid Invention #17538

The Back Pack on Wheels.

Apparently, whoever invented this has never had to navigate pedestrian rush-hour traffic. I have tripped over more than my fair share of these contraptions. In crowded rail stations and sidewalks, no one looks down - everyone is focused and rushing straight ahead to either catch a train before it departs, jump on a bus before the door closes, or to go into the pocket. If I see a space for me to jump into while walking, I don't think to look down to see if someone is dragging a backpack.

How heavy must a backpack be for someone to have to drag it rather than just sling it over a shoulder? Most of the ones I have seen look to be practically empty. If you need to carry your work to and from in a backpack, you apparently have very poor time-management skills. It seems to be mostly older women who use these things, probably spouting off that they have back problems or simply cant lift or carry a bag. However, I am sure these same women have no difficulty carrying shopping bags during a sale at Marshall Field or a 10-pound ball on bowling night.
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Immaculate Misconception

Madonna has a child without being impregnated. No, it's not the story of Jesus's birth, but the latest in Hollywood accessories.

It has been made official (after a few weeks of lies) that Madonna is adopting a child from Africa. I have a few problems about this:

1) While I am well aware that is it easier to adopt a child from a foreign country than it is in the United States, there are still plenty of parentless children right here in our country, some living in as impoverished conditions as those who live overseas. It's not like Madonna NEEDED a child, as some childless couples do. She already had two and it's not like her clock is ticking. She could have waited the appropriate amount of time to adopt an American (or even British) child.

2) The boy she adopted, David, isn't even parentless. He has a father and a grandmother. Sadly, his mother died a month after he was born and he's been raised so far in an orphanage. My question is why isn't the father raising him? As a parent, that's your job - to raise your child. It's your obligation and responsibility, no matter how difficult. The father is 32, so I would guess the grandmother is only in her 50's. Between the two of them, surely they could care for one child who is only a year old.

3) This seemed to be less about adopting a child from an impoverish country and more about Madonna's publicity. Otherwise, she wouldn't have have trekked over to Africa several times to visit several orphanages. If your heart tells you to adopt an impoverished child, then you take the first one you see. You don't go shopping for a child like he's a handbag.

4) Malawian law specifically prohibits non-residents from adopting Malawian children. They feel it is better for a child to stay in his/her own environment, surrounded by his/her own kind. I wonder if Madonna chose this country simply so she could be the only western person in the world to have a Malawian child?
Adoption of any kind is near and dear to my heart. And I do applaud Madonna for reaching out and doing charity work with her megamillions. But I also believe that charity begins at home. In 2002, there were 20,009 foreign children adopted by U.S. families. That's just over 20,000 U.S. children that could be living in loving family settings instead of orphanages and foster homes.

Admittedly, it is sad that these children are born into such horrible conditions. But the thread of our country is unraveling because of a lack or absence of parenting ability and skills. Plucking a child out of his environment in a foreign country, no matter how despicable, might make your soul feel warm, but it's little consolation to the countless number of US children without parents, the 600,000 children in the US foster care program, and the several thousand childless couples who would love to have a child of their own but cannot employ the same means as a pop star.
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Monday, October 16, 2006

Luke Visits

This past weekend, my friend Luke visited me while touring the U.S.

Luke lives in Australia, and we met a little over two years ago in NYC while he was visiting for the U.S. Open and I was just beginning a test phase for a heart treatment at Columbia Hospital (we all know how THAT turned out, don't we?).

When Luke and I met, it was as if we had been friends, or rather mates, for years. We spent two days together in NYC, and then he came to DC for a weekend before traveling back to Australia. For the past two years, we have stayed in constant contact via email and phone. Last year, before my heart surgery, I instructed my sister to call 5 people and give them updates on my condition. Luke was one of the five (my best friend Jeff, roommate Ashley, gal-pal Kelly, and The BF before he was The BF, were the other 4).

When visiting the states this year, Luke put Chicago on his list to spend a few days with me and meet The BF. He arrived on Friday night after spending a week in LA and Miami. And Friday night kicked off a drunkfest the likes of which I have not partaken in ages. I don't go out to bars very much, so going out three nights in a row was a huge deal. And Luke was constantly entertaining.

On Sunday, The BF and I attended a birthday party at Bin Wine for our friend Heather. We invited Luke to come along, but he took the three hours to sit at home alone on the couch and chill. I realized that he probably hadn't had any alone time since his trip started, much less time to just relax and do nothing. We went without him and he met up with us later at Mary's Attic for Gong Show Karaoke.

Luke flew out Monday morning for NYC, where he will stay with his best friend for the next two weeks before returning back to Oz. His three favorite things about Chicago were:

1. The surplus of beefy, older men
2. Quiznos (which they don't have over there), and...
3. The BF

It's a great feeling having friends that you might not see all the time or even talk to much, but when you are together, it's as if no time has passed between visits. I think that is what defines true friendship. We've scolded each other, listened to each other bellyache, praised each other and laughed alot. Perhaps it will be another two years before I see him again, perhaps not. In any case, no matter how long it will be between our visits, it will seem like yesterday.

It was a blast, mate! Bon voyage!
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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Subliminal Advertising

I'm just saying ...


Do you see it? If you are having trouble, just look at the cube and focus on the brown areas.
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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

One-Third

So North Korea has an atomic bomb that they have tested once, or perhaps twice, this week. The leader of the country, Kim Jong-il, is a megalomaniac with a Napoleon complex. Let's see now, where have we heard all this before?

1. Terrorist country
2. Tyrannical leader
3. Posesses weapons of mass destruction

Oh, right! Iraq, of course. Those were the three reasons the USA led a military attack on Iraq, to depose its leader and make the world a safer place, according to the administration at the White House. However, despite these exact same reasons - THESE EXACT SAME REASONS - "W" said that we will not attack North Korea, even though North Korea says it has grounds to attack the US. And going one step further, "W" won't even talk to North Korea, as requested by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

But then, "W" doesn't really listen to Kofi anyhow; he didn't then and he won't now. Iraq did nothing to the US - no WMD's, no ties to Al Qaeda, no threat to the world at large. Meanwhile, Osama Bin Laden roams free because "W" now says Bin Laden is of no concern to America. The man who led the attack on the US which led to the deaths of over 3,000 Americans is of no concern.

Wow.

And as a reward for this, "W"'s approval rating is now at an all-time low of 33%, according to Newsweek. Which means that exactly two-thirds of the country think our president sucks. I not only want to see the republicans lose on November 7th, but I also hope it is an embarassing defeat. A message needs to be sent. And impeachment is not too late.
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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

U.S.A. = United States of Apology

My, but we are a sorry bunch, aren't we?

Every day I open the paper or read online where someone is apologizing for something: Mel Gibson makes anti-semetic remarks, Avril Lavigne spits on paparazzi, Denny Hastert harbors and protects pedophiles (as does the Catholic church too, for that matter). Actors, musicians, politicians (and even popes) are eating crow on a daily basis these days for slips of the tongue or social faux pas.

Janet Jackson went on national television (as her family does) and gave a gut-wrenching mea culpa for something that was termed a "wardrobe malfunction". Kate Moss said she was sorry for disappointing people regarding her cocaine addiction. Ashlee Simpson regretted lipsynching on Saturday Night Live, but blamed her band. Hugh Grant took his show on the talk-show road, apologizing for cheating on his girlfriend and getting a blowjob from a hooker in his car. Before all that, though, who can forget Rev. Jimmy Swaggart's tearful plea for forgiveness for having sex with a hooker in a motel room.

But is it enough for them to simply say "I'm sorry"? Because there seems to be so many of them lately that it almost doesn't seem to mean anything anymore. Back when Jimmy was throwing himself on the altar, that was real news. People weren't going on national television to air their dirty secrets and apologize for their shortcomings. But the days of reality television brought us a constant barrage of nipple-slips and fuck-ups. We see people constantsly saying or doing the wrong thing - in short, being themselves - and I think it has desensitized us to being ... well ... sensitive.

Granted some things, like cheating on a spouse, should remain a private affair. The public doesn't need to know this. However, sexual predators need to register with local police departments - and that is a community affair. And certainly covering for someone who is a sexual predator carries some kind of legal weight. At least I would hope so. Because in a land where the lawmakers are the ones breaking the law, anything is possible.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Rock, Paper, No Scissors

The BF and I were uber-excited about seeing the Scissor Sisters in concert this past Sunday at the Riviera. I have seen the Sisters twice before in DC, and I enjoyed the idea of introducing their live performance to The BF. He has shown me so many new things this past year, that I felt really good about acquainting him with this. We bought their new CD and listened to it constantly for a week, just to be familiar with the new songs.

And then I got an email on the Saturday night before from my friend Matthew telling me that the concert had been cancelled. I immediately went to the Sisters' website for confirmation. And there it was. Paddy, the drummer, was being treated for back pain and three tour dates were postponed until possibly the end of the tour, which will probably be next year sometime.

Admittedly we were pretty disappointed. I got the tickets more than a month ago and was really looking forward to sharing this experience with not only The BF, but also my roommate and a bunch of other friends too. But we ended up at Crew anyway and The BF, Jessica, Neil, Kevin, Will, Chris, Scott, and Chuck all drank ourselves into the night and had a really good time otherwise.

I guess it's more about who you are with, than where you are.

(Today's lesson is brought to you by the letter S, the number 9, and Fat Tire Amber Ale.)

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Girl, You Are Trippin'!

Lately, I have been tripping over nothing while walking. It started a few months back - I notice it mostly while walking in the lobby of my office building. I am not sure if I am shuffling too much, not lifting my feet high enough, or what. But I will just be walking, minding my own business, and then suddenly trip over ... well ... air.

Yesterday I made a conscious effort to not trip while walking through the lobby. And I succeeded. I was so sidetracked for making it all the way that I ended up tripping twice on my way back through. This morning, after my daily misstep, a man following me put his hand on my shoulder and said, "You have to watch out for those jumping floor tiles".

Hardy. har. har.

I don't think it's my shoes, cause I wear these shoes frequently. So I am thinking that it could just be work related. Perhaps I just listlessly drudge along as I "hi-ho, hi-ho". I guess I need to fix that with either new shoes, a spring in my step, or another job.

Please - don't get me started.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Mark Foley Is A Pedophile

In old news this week, U.S. Representative Mark Foley was discovered to have sent lascivious emails to teenage male pages while working at the Capitol in DC (you can read here how it all unfolded). He resigned in shame, as well he should, and has dealt yet another blow to the already deservedly embattled Republican party of ne'er-do-wells.

The NEW news is that Foley blames his troubles on being molested by a priest when he was a teen himself. What a convenient truth that would be. Is this where we shake our heads and replace the blame for his perversity on someone else? Foley won't say which church he belonged to, nor would he provide the name of the clergy who molested him. Which leads me to believe that he is lying, again, and is just hoping for sympathy. Let's face it, he's already proven to be morally corrupt.

Where was Mr. Victim a few years ago when the priest molestation scandal was rocking the country? Why didn't he mention it then when it actually could have helped other men who had gone through the same thing? Why did he wait until it would garner pathos for him to suddenly reveal an allegedly horrible youth? I have no sympathy for Foley (who co-chaired the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus, by the way) because he should know better.

And with typical "it's not us, it's them" fodder, House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (himself in the hotseat for not doing anything about this situation when he first found out) has stated that he blames Democrats for making this public so close to election time. "Democrats have ... put this thing forward to try to block us," Hastert told conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh yesterday. My question is - Shouldn't the public, and the law, have been made aware of this anyway???

Mark Foley is a pedophile (pure and simple), and the republicans knew about it (pure and simple) and did nothing (pure and simple). Election time is here. Vote wisely.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Noah's Arc

Last week while in DC, I managed to catch my first glimpse of LOGO, the all-gay cable TV channel. I was interested in seeing what programs the channel had chosen and what the whole experience was about. And frankly, there was nothing on there I couldn't already watch on BRAVO.

I don't see a need for an all-gay cable TV channel. During the few days I watched it, there was not one informative program or groundbreaking show that I thought justified having a channel devoted to gay themes. And speaking of groundbreaking, I caught a few episodes of Noah's Arc, the series that centers on black gay men and their relationships. Personally, I didn't find this show all that interesting either.

First of all, I didn't get the message from this show. True, it is the first time television has shown sex between two black men, but one of the central characters isn't sure he's gay, even though he is dating Noah, who couldn't be gayer. I was kind of hoping to get an insight into what is it to be black and gay, which I thought was the purpose of the series. But nothing transpired in the 6 episodes I saw that was specialized to being both black AND gay. And even worse, after two seasons, both the writing and the acting were embarassing.

In one episode, Noah gets gay-bashed by three white guys at a gas station. Interestingly enough, there was no race card played here. There was no mention that the three men were white and that it could have been racially motivated. Which seems odd to me because THAT is how it would be played in real life. Also, Noah apparently suffered three cracked ribs from the ordeal. But still with bruises on his face, he sits and stands from the couch as if nothing has happened. Apparently, neither the actor, director, or scenewriter has ever had a cracked rib - it's hard to breathe, let alone move. And with three? Fuggitaboudit.

It was hard not to compare the show to Queer As Folk (which actually had some complex storylines compared to Noah's Arc) and was certainly "better acted". And while QAF was certainly groundbreaking in its portrayal of gays and their relationships, Noah's Arc just seems like an excuse to watch brothas get it on.

Which, I guess, has its place.

Monday, October 02, 2006

A Year In Chicago

Last week, September 25th to be exact, marked one year of my living in Chicago. Admittedly it started out a little rocky here, but everyday since has been one more day of affirmation that moving here was the right thing to do.

Oddly enough, I was back in DC the same day on which I moved a year ago. And I will say that there is something to the phrase, "you can't go home again." While I spent 10 formulative years in the District, I didn't feel like I was home while I was there last week. Yes, it was great to see Aaron, Marc, Keith, Serhiy, Kelly, Eric, Jon, Derrick, Andrew, and even my best buddy Jeff - even if all too briefly. And it was also great to finally meet these guys face to face after a year of emails back and forth. But as much as I cherished being with these people whom I love, I really just couldn't wait to get home. Seven days is a long time to be away from your life.

I had 10 wonderful years in DC. But I expect the next 9 years in Chicago to be as amazing as the first. There is a comfort in knowing where you belong. And just because you may have many friends, or even family, in one location - it doesn't mean that location is supposed to be your home. "Home is where the heart is".

And my heart - my new, rejuvenated, ready for more life heart - is in Chicago.