Tuesday, July 31, 2007

RIP Mike

When a friend of my parents' dies, I get an email from my mother with the subject line reading: Sad news. I realize it can't be anything too awful, otherwise Mom would call me instead of emailing me (I mean she's no Candy Spelling). That is, I don't expect to read anything like "your father died last Tuesday when he fell off a ladder while painting the house".

I've joked that my parents belong to the Death-of-the-Month Club because it seems that they're always going to some funeral home. Some people's parents join civic organizations or bridge clubs; my parents go to wakes. About thirty years ago they joined a volunteer organization and were one of the youngest couples. As a result, many of their friends are a little older. And now dying.

Lately Mom's emails seem to be occurring with greater frequency. And it made me a little sad when I talked to her this past week. Their friend Mike passed away at 83. He had a heart attack and didn't want surgery at his age - he just wanted to die at home . . . which he did . . . 2 days later. My parents always liked Mike and his wife Dell. Besides bearing a striking resemblance to Floyd the barber from the old Andy Griffith Show, Mike was a sweet, kind soul who never said a bad thing about anyone. And he ended just about every sentence with 'yyyyessir'.

This particular funeral was tough for my folks and I feel bad that they had to go through it. There's a price to pay for being friendly and outgoing and having so many friends - there's a lot of goodbyes for which you can neither plan nor allow yourself to expect.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Chicago History Museum

This past weekend, The BF and I went to the Chicago History Museum (see us in the "O"?). After getting over the initial euphoria of seeing the actual bed in which Lincoln died (The BF checked my pulse a few times), we meandered through the museum taking all kinds of strange pictures and learning a little more about they city we love and call home.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Steroids vs. Bulimia

With all the doping scandals going on throughout the world of sports and the world at large, there is something we need to remember: this should not be a double standard.

For years, women and girls have been garnering sympathy and pathos for trying to achieve what society has dictated to be the ideal physical form. Women have been starving themselves and suffering from eating disorders (not to mention making endless trips to plastic surgeons) all in pursuit of being built like a doll from the 50's - which, it's been determined, would actually have to be over 8 feet tall if it was an actual woman, based on her measurements.

Women are not alone in this pursuit of "perfection". Ever see the toys little boys play with, or the heroes they want to emulate? Society's male ideal is far more physically destructive than his female counterpart. And while both men and women want to look good, men primarily have to live up to the performance aspect as well - to go further, be stronger, be faster, be better, to prove yourself physically.

I'm by no means condoning the use of steroids. And even though I've been accused of it in the past, I've never taken them. Genetics and Fritos got me where I am today. But I think we need to slow down on thinking that men and boys who use performance and body enhancing drugs should garner any less sympathy than the women and girls who are starving themselves.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

He's The One

A few weeks back at Carrie & Marty's wedding, while sitting in the room waiting for the wedding to begin, I sat listening to a man and woman playing background music on soft guitars and filling the void with melodic and quiet tones. The woman was the main vocalist, and I enjoyed her voice immensely. So much so, I actually ignored The BF and the conversations we were having and started paying attention to the woman's singing. And as I began paying attention, I realized I knew the song she was singing - an acoustic version of Robbie Williams' "She's The One".

I've heard this song about a hundred times off Robbie's The Ego Has Landed CD. Perhaps I never really paid attention to it, perhaps it was the woman's voice, perhaps because I was at a wedding surrounded by love, perhaps it was just having The BF next to me for the first time in three weeks (following his bike tour) . . . perhaps it was all these things. In any event, while sitting listening to the song, I almost totally lost it.

I'm not a crier - that is, it's rare for me to shed a tear. I have to be pretty emotionally tapped out for that to happen. It's not that I don't share my feelings or emotions, I just don't get sad very often. But sitting in that room, next to that person, hearing that song, it was alot for me to handle.

The main refrain is "If there's somebody calling me on, she's the one". It's a song about support and encouragement; about being with the one person who challenges you to challenge yourself to go a little further; about being with that person who inspires and motivates you to be better. And The BF does that for me. I think it was that moment that I realized how nice it was to be with him again. I decided that our relationship can stand the strain of our being separated for several weeks at a time, or possibly longer if necessary - but it's not something I want to do too often. Because I need him there "calling me on". Which he does, with a smile.

And I'm pretty sure he's the one.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Johnny Rockets Ride To Nowhere

Dear Johnny Rockets,

Imagine my friends' and my excitement at taking a much-needed day off from work and spending it at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, IL, during a beautiful day in July. Then imagine a big, scary monster taking that excitement, butt-raping it, stomping it into the ground, then pissing on it. And then imagine that monster is Johnny Rockets. Such was our experience in your restaurant at the park on Monday.

We arrived eager to jump on the rides. But knowing we needed to eat first, we went to your familiar restaurant only to have to endure a 40-minute wait for two simple hamburgers and two orders of fries. Nothing special about them - didn't ask the burgers to be cooked a special way, didn't request a Beefsteak over your Paste brand tomato, didn't want the buns toasted differently.

I realize that everything is cooked-to-order, however regardless of what your manager, Rachel, explained to me, normal waiting time for a burger and fries is NOT 20-30 minutes, especially from a fast-food burger joint. How do I know this? Because two friends who accompanied The BF and me received their burgers and fries within 15 minutes. Still a long time to wait, but in the context of never receiving anything, I'd take the 15 minutes.

I requested a refund, which I was given. However, the refund was not accompanied by an explanation, an apology, or any other attempt to hopefully salvage my business or provide any type of basic customer service. Somehow, I found no comfort in Rachel's explanation of "it takes as long as it takes."

I'm not sure what happened to customer service in this country, but your company reflects its downfall, or complete lack thereof. And you should be ashamed. Tsk Tsk...

And at an amusement park . . .

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Harry Potter Film

So last week, The BF, The Roommate, The Roommate's BF, and I went together to see the new installment of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Let me say at the outset - not my favourite one. Actually, quite possibly, my least favourite one. I won't give away plot lines, but the movie moved very slowly. I'm all for a brooding character now and then, but brooding can only last so long.

There didn't seem to be much character development, and there was very little that actually propelled the story forward. Perhaps all of it was just set-up for the next two, but at 2.5 hours, I expected to learn more about these characters and their situation: Harry still hates Voldemort, Voldemort is still gaining strength, Ron and Hermoine are still by Harry's side, Hagrid still has their backs, Dumbledore still thinks Harry is the next best thing to cheese dip.

And in mentioning the characters, I didn't believe the character of Professor Delores Umbridge. She seemed too mean for no reason. There was no backstory or explained circumstances as to why she was the way she was. I would say that perhaps the book is better, but both The Roommate and The Roommate's BF admitted to not even finishing the book because it was such a downer.

The one thing I have found to be amazing is that they are still using the same kids from the first movie. It's pretty impressive that they have not had to replace any of them (drugs, death, alochol), but then I guess the UK's teen performers are nothing like America's.

So now I sit and wait until 2009 (hopefully) for Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince, hoping it's a better film than its immediate predecessor.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Morning Funnies

Few things look more ridiculous that an adult running to catch a bus. Unless it's an adult in a business suit running to catch a bus (especially during rush hour in the morning where we all know another bus will be there within one minute).

I think the suit makes it funnier because, in my mind, those who wear suits are supposed to be on top of their games, in total control, high powered. The bus seems to be the great equalizer: suits sit next to barristas. Even though the dress differently, neither can exist without the other. But I digress.

Funnier than seeing an adult in a suit running for the bus is seeing an adult in a suit run for the bus and not make it. Through the glass, you can see the adult mouth one of three expressions: "shit", "ah c'mon", or the most popular "fuck". And then I can't help myself, but I giggle silently.

This might be a larger issue about how Americans love to see failure, or how I might feel superior because I have attained something that someone else wants, or how adults are failing at time and/or stress management.

Nah! I just think it's funny.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Cold Homeless

I ask this question not to be a smart-ass but just because I would like to be educated:

Do homeless people acquire lower body temperatures?

The other day, it was 95 muggy degrees in downtown Chicago and I saw a homeless guy at the gas station across from my office, wearing a coat. And this is not the first time I've seen this. I can understand the need or compulsion for someone without a home to have to wear everything he owns, but many times I have seen someone who I define as homeless or vagrant dressing far colder than the actual temperature.

So I'm just curious. Anyone?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

July 18th

To understand what this blog is about, click here.

2006 - Have dinner and pose for publicity photos at
Hamburger Mary's with The BF, Ashley and Jessica S.

2005 - Fly out to Chicago for interviews. Stay at
The Villa Toscana. Spend the day with The BF (back before he was The BF - it was our second date) at Millennium Park, the Field Museum (with Jessica T.), and Buckingham Fountain (where we snap our first photo together).

2004 - Have third session at Fatty's Custom Tattooz in DC. Have dinner at
Local 16 with Ex#4. Go out with Ashley to Lizard Lounge.

2003 - Go to
Remington's with Ashley to sing karaoke.

2001 - See
Legally Blonde with friend George B.

1999 - Visit
Deep Creek Lake with Ex#3. Spend the day jet skiing, climbing Wisp mountain. Dinner at Silver Tree, drinks at the Honi Honi.

1998 - Go to
Rehoboth Beach with Ex#3. Stay at Atlantic Sands, dinner at Summer House, dance at Renegade.

1997 - Mail my phone and VISA payments. Hair appointment (yeah, I used to have those) at Suissa. Out to
Badlands with friend David F.

1995 - Interview with The Gap in Georgetown. Dinner at Chi-Chi's with friend Lance D.

1994 - Spend the night at Ex#1's place in DC on my way back to
Eugene O'Neill Theater Center summer internship (came home for brother's wedding).

1993 - Dinner at Karrow's with Ex#2 and friends Ron M, James C., and Scott S. during
Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre in Winchester, VA.

1992 - See Ex#2 in
Me & My Girl at Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre. Dinner and drinks with gang at Coley Harry's.

1991 - Softball game in Arlington at 7:00, then go to "Ripped Levi Night" at the DC Eagle with friend Matt B.

1990 - Go to
Allegany County Fair and Expo with best friend Jeff in Cumberland.

1989 - Work until 6. Have pizza with friend
Mike P.

1988 - Ex#1 and I have friends Steve & Steve in for dinner. Ex#1's best friend
Ivan stays over.

1987 - Work until 4:00. Go to
Deer Park Lodge with friend Steve P.

1986 - Work at
the hotel from 4-midnight.

1985 - Take car in for tune-up. Work at
McDonald's from 6-9:45. Out drinking with friend Dave S. visiting from the US Naval Academy.

1984 - Dinner at Pizza Hut with Spanish Class students.

1983 - Softball game at 6:30.

1982 - Ride along to take brother Mike to Boy Scout Camp for the week.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I Think I Love It

I can't really tell if this is really cool or really dorky. Nonetheless, I love it anyway. I present to you the Bar Code Chandelier:

Seriously, I want it. For a long time, when I was considering getting my first tattoo - way back when I was 17 - I was planning on getting a tattoo of a bar code between my shoulder blades. Back then, everyone said it was a dumb idea. Since then, however, I've seen bar code tattoos all over the place. Was I ahead of the curve back then - I'd say hell yeah. I'm glad I didn't do it tho.

But at least if I bought this bar code chandelier I could end up tossing it later, not like a tattoo. So is this lamp cool or not?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Open Letter To Cab Drivers

Dear Cab Drivers:

First of all, let me say thank you. Apparently I must look inexperienced, naive, and dewy-fresh to you (tho, I can assure you, it's been ages since I've been a virgin at anything). I say this because you must think I don't know how to hail a cab, even though I am over 40 and have lived in metropolitan areas for the last 20 years. I must make a note to myself to wipe the vague expression off my face while I am minding my own business walking down a sidewalk.

This is the only reason I can think of as to why you feel the need to blow your horn at me for no reason. Trust me when I tell you, I know how to hail a taxi. Unless the process has changed, you simply stand on the street and hold your arm up. Correct? Is there something new? I'm sometimes out of touch, so help me out here. Am I now supposed to just shake my ass in your direction? Maybe that's why you are confusing my simple walking with trying to get your attention for a ride.

May I also remind you that despite the fact that you CONSTANTLY disobey the speed limits, traffic signals, and commit numerous moving violations, you are also violating
Chicago's Noise Pollution Law 11-4-1290, which states:
No person shall sound any horn or audible signal device of any motor vehicle of any kind while not in motion nor shall such horn or signal device be sounded under any circumstances except as required by law nor shall it be sounded for any unnecessary or unreasonable period of time.
So you see, aside from just being annoying, you're also breaking the law. So hear this: if I need you, I know where to find you.

Monday, July 09, 2007

3 Down, 1 To Go

This past weekend, I was reunited with The BF after his amazing accomplishment of a 695-mile solo bike trip that put him in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia (I'm still in awe). Last Friday night, he picked me up from Dulles Airport in VA so that we could attend Carrie and Marty's wedding on Saturday night. Attending the wedding was an important step in our relationship:

1) It marked the first time I was officially invited to a function with The BF. Prior to this, invitations were sent to The BF "+1". This time, my name made it on the invitation, suckas!

2) I got to meet just about all of The BF's college friends, who are very near and dear to his heart. It was a bit daunting, as I would be meeting about a dozen or so people all at once.

I only had two fall-backs for the night - Jessica and Ann, both of whom I already know. But as expected, they are all a great group of people. If you can judge a person by his friends, then The BF is a pretty great guy (but I already knew that).

But, MORE IMPORTANTLY on this weekend trip, I met The BF's sister and brother-in-law. Not just met them, but stayed in their cute little home. And they were as gracious and accepting as I expected them to be. Truth be told, I usually do pretty well with sisters; three of my Ex's have one (#1, #4, & #5). But I was a little nervous about meeting this one, I think because we waited so long to meet. She's been hearing my name for about two years now, and I felt I had either a lot to live up to, or a lot to explain. But she's a lovely woman and it was fun seeing someone with the same mannerisms as The BF . . . only in the form of a perky little redhead.

So despite The BF's myriad of friends, I've now also met
The Mom, The Sis, and The Bro-in-Law. That leaves only The Dad.

3 down, 1 to go.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Damn You, Michael Francis Hartney II

A week or so ago, I was tagged for a meme on 8 Things About Me by someone who used to call himself my friend, Michael over at So I Love Superman. I say "used to" because the last time Michael called me, Seward's Folly was still in escrow. But I will rise to the challenge and somehow come up with 8 things about me that you may or may not already know:

1. I'm currently reading my 8th book about John Wilkes Booth titled,
Right or Wrong, God Judge Me. After reading so much about what others have written about him, it's interesting to read his own thoughts in his own words. Something new I have learned: he was bow-legged (which is probably why he broke his leg after jumping to the stage), and he was a really bad speller. I'd still do him, though.

2. I've managed a reconciliation of sorts with Ex#3 to whom I swore 8 years ago I would never speak again. Time has softened me where he is concerned and I no longer consider him to be a mass of dead plant life. Eventually, I am hoping to feel the same way about Ex#4 - but I doubt it. On a lighter note, Ex#2, my personal favourite, is visiting Chicago in August.

3. The bump in my left calf from my
bicycle accident on April 28th is almost gone. It's now marble sized as opposed to its original tennis ball size. I've never been so happy about something shrinking.

4. I just had my 90-day review at work and my boss basically loves me, which is both good and bad. Good, because it's always good when your boss loves you, and bad because she left on Friday to begin her 12-week maternity leave, which puts me in charge for the next three months. It's a bit daunting - seeing as how I have only been on the job for three months myself - to suddenly be in charge of a company during an office expansion, a satellite office acquisition, an overhaul of the performance review process, and the ending of the fiscal year, among other things (but then think of all the fun blogs I have to write in the future).

5. I have discovered "drop off laundry service". For about $20 a week, I drop my laundry off at the local laundromat in the morning and pick it up in the evening on my way home. Yes, I do refold everything the way I like it, but I am also not wasting two hours or so in the laundromat watching clothes dry. I don't have many extravagances in my life - but this is one of them. Give me this.

6. I went out last Friday night with my roommate and got hit on three times. That, for me, is lately unheard of. I'll accept that I probably get cruised while I am out and about, but I tend to be completely oblivious to it, mostly because I'm not looking for it. The BF does a great job of both flattering and humbling me (he's the only person who can give me a little dig and follow it up with a kiss - which keeps me on a very even keel). So I know I was hit on because these three men were physical in their aggressions, which bothers me because 1) I don't like being touched by people I don't know, and 2) I have long prided myself on being somewhat unapproachable. Apparently, I need to spend more time in the gym.

7. The History Channel is beginning to get on my nerves with all the war documentaries and space programs. For over two years now, I turn on the channel hoping for a biography on a Founding Father or a story about Reconstruction or the plight of the Navaho. Instead, it is yet another documentary about World War II or hunts for lost squadrons or something about star wars. I demand a story on the founding of Idaho!

8. The BF has been gone on his vacation now for two weeks, and I can't remember when I have missed anyone so much. It's like a dull ache. He completed a
695 mile bike trip (which still amazes me, seeing as how I have trouble biking from my house to the pier - 3 miles away). Along the way, he camped outside, fighting thunderstorms and raccoons, and still managed to find the strength everyday to get up and ride 70 or so miles despite sunburn, exhaustion, and unmarked roadways. He's my hero, and I get to see him again tonight!! YAY!

So there are 8 things about me. I won't tag anyone on this. However if any of my friends or blog buddies have an interest in writing 8 things about themselves, I'd love to read it.

And Michael - call me sometime!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Nicole Richie & 50 Cent

Not quite sure what happened, but my blog traffic has kind of exploded.

Just this past April, the traffic doubled from March. In just a month, twice the number of people who were visiting my blog, were . . . well, visiting my blog. And that number has steadily increased over the last two months. My readership for June was 4 times what it was for the same month last year.

I'm not complaining at all (cause I don't complain, I just point things out), but it would be interesting to learn where the sudden burst of interest came from.

I am curious about one thing though. My blog seems to be the host of images of Nicole Richie and 50 Cent. I get a lot of traffic from people who Google those names. So my traffic is not really directed to me as much as its directed at me. And it must be frustrating for those people who are looking for images of Nicole and "Fitty" to suddenly find themselves at my big gay blog. Still, I have to wonder how my blog became the owner of those two images, considering I stole pilfered borrowed those images from someone else, who probably did the same thing.

So for those who are looking for the images, here they are:

Hopefully this will make it easier for those people who just want the images and don't give a rat's ass about what I write about. Or just maybe, they'll become fans.

Monday, July 02, 2007

"W" Does It Again

I'd like to make a prediction at this time - remember, you heard it here first:

In exactly 18 months, this man will get a complete pardon from the White House. The only president to ever serve two terms and not accomplish one single domestic policy will exonerate I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby of all illegal activity.

And I am sure he's not going to be the only one.

Oh, yeah. It's gonna happen!