Monday, June 16, 2008

Photic Sneeze Reflex

So Mrs. McFarland, my Advanced Biology teacher in high school was wrong - there actually IS a reason I sneeze whenever I walk from indoors to outdoors and into direct sunlight. Sneezing as the result of being exposed to a bright light—known as the photic sneeze reflex—is a genetic quirk that is still unexplained by science, even though it has intrigued some of history's greatest minds, and affects anywhere from 1/10 to 1/3 of the population.

It happens to me, especially when the sun is very strong and it is warmer than 80F degrees. Mrs. McFarland said there was no such thing. And perhaps back then, nothing had been proven. And even now, it's all really speculation. All I know is, I'm pretty consistent about doing it.

Friday, June 13, 2008

I Saw You

I'm not sure if you saw me because our eyes never connected. But I saw you. And I saw what you were doing. And I am just so disappointed in you.

I can't help it that I feel let down by your behavior. And what pisses me off just as much is that I am choosing this very passive/aggressive way to let you know about it. Even though I rarely shy away from confrontation and have no problem voicing my opinion, I've decided to post my disapproval on this blog which you will probably never read anyway. And if you do read it, you probably won't think it's directed at you - but it is.

Basically, what you do in your relationship is entirely your business, I guess. But when you go around and spout off about how wonderful your partner is and how much you love him and how lucky you are to have found him - and then I see you cheating on him so blatantly, it just angers me. You may argue that you were only kissing someone else. But in my book, kissing - and very deep, passionate kissing like I saw you doing - counts as cheating. Your partner would probably agree with me.

It's been my experience that those people who boast loudly about their monogamy, don't truly practice it. But I thought you might be different. You were sort of a role model - so open and loving, so accepting of his quirks and faults, and so much in love, or so you said.

From here out I will mind my own business and not say anything more about it. But if I saw you, so did other people. And they might not be as quiet about it - this time or the next.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Butch/Femme

I've noticed something about gay couples.

With lesbian couples, there seems to be a high concentration of a butch/femme mix. Many of the lesbian pairings I see are made up of one somewhat feminine woman (layered clothes, cute hairstyle, handbag, talking on the phone) and one rather masculine one (ball cap, wallet in back jeans pocket, no makeup). This isn't true of all lesbian couples, mind you, but these kinds of pairings do seem to be more frequent than with gay men.

I rarely, if ever, see the same kind of contrast with gay male couples; differences in age, perhaps, but not much difference in age and almost never a difference in level of masculinity. Taking The BF and I into exception, gay male couples seem to be almost cookie cutter images of each other. The BF and I are very physically different from each other (he's 4 inches taller, I'm 70 pounds heavier, he's 12 years younger - go me!). I used to know one couple back in DC where one was extremely masculine and the other was just a flamer. But that was back in the 80's just as gay men were making the shift from the 70's bathhouse clones to the health-conscious, gym-crazed bunnies of the 90's.

I can't speak on behalf of women, but there are many gay men who consider their partners to be a reflection of themselves. It's a holdover from the importance of being "straight-acting" - we don't want our partner to "give us away" in public if we can pull off looking straight. I'm actually glad this idea is slowly going out of the window. As men and women begin coming out at earlier ages, and thus become more socially acceptable, the need to fit in with what is considered "the norm" is not so prevalent. And then, hopefully, more men will be willing to allow themselves to really look at another man for who he is and what he stands for, instead of just how he stands.

Anyway, it's just something I noticed.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Water For Elephants

For the last two years or so, I've become a voracious reader - more so now than at any other time in my life. I used to hate to read books, partly because of the time commitment, but also because there are few things that can hold my fascination for any length of time. I tended to read books that were more a collection of essays rather than an actual story with a plot, dénouement, and developed characters.

But as my life seemed to calm down, so did my attention span. So I am now able to commit to reading novels and stories longer than what is considered "bathroom reading". And for the most part, I've found I read more books by male authors than female authors - mostly because I've found that female authors are a bit more descriptive and emotional in their writing. Men tend to deal more with facts (be them fiction or not).

However, I just finished reading a book titled Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen. I originally bought the book for my trip to LA, but I got so engrossed in the characters and development that I was afraid I would finish the book before my trip even started. Told in flashbacks by a nursing home-ridden 90-something year old, it recounts his life following the death of his parents, finding himself virtually homeless, and running off to join a circus as the veterinarian. Every character he meets is so well-defined, and each experience so well-explained, it was like watching a movie in my head. I can easily see this made into a film, and I'd bet money on the fact that it will be. I'm aware that almost every book published is bought by a studio "just in case", but I'm sure this one will be developed.

I originally bought the book because I think elephants are so fascinating. And the story doesn't diminish my interest in them. Some parts of the book reminded me of Mitch Albom's The 5 People You Meet In Heaven, which I also enjoyed. I'm not normally a reader of fiction, preferring biographies and memoirs to anything else, but both of these books were good reads.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Maggie Gyllenhaal

Basically, I can't stand her. And I wonder why and how she continues to get cast in anything. She seems to play the same "I buck the system/I don't care about anything/I don't shave my armpits" kind of character. She's the mouthy sidekick, the flippant server, the sassy secretary. This might have worked for Eve Arden back in the 40's, but it doesn't work for Maggie. I've never cared about nor felt empathy for any character she's played. What's worse, she seems to go largely unbilled on films so she shows up in movies that I would otherwise not watch if I knew she was in them. And she always seems to have a boob popping out.

I'm sure she's a nice person and all, but her body of work kinda sucks. I pretty much feel the same way about her brother - I just don't see what the big deal is. Sure, they're attractive in a "nose too long for your face" kind of way, but those doe eyes only get you so far. Just the thought of you taking it up the butt doesn't attract me to you - or you either, Jake.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Charleston, SC

This past weekend, The BF and I traveled to Charlston for the wedding of one of his high school friends. By now I've met most of his college friends. But this was a step even further back in time to meet a group of people with whom he shared his latter childhood, friends he's had over 10 years. What amazes me is how devoted The BF is to his friendships. He does an amazing job at maintaining his friendships. There's no one from my high school days with whom I keep in touch - now or when I was 30, for that matter.

High school was not a bad experience for me, but I only had a small handful of close friendships. I knew every kid in school, but I didn't belong to a group or clique. So my high school friendships dissipated with high school itself. For a short while, I kept in touch with Dave, Leslie, and Chris. But then life happened - my real life. And somehow high school didn't seem to be a real part of my life anymore. Nor did the people I knew then.

So going into this situation was daunting - I was the first boyfriend The BF would introduce to these people. Of the 7 other couples with whom we shared a beach house for three days, we were the only gay couple. And it was easy to see why The BF has kept these people in his life. All were welcoming an accommodating. They were as interested in me as I was in them, and what I thought would be a painful experience turned out to be friendly and informative.

But back to Charleston - the place was hot!!! Just like during out trip to LA a few weeks ago, we arrived in Charleston at the start of an unprecedented heat wave. The wedding was Friday night and we arrived the day before. Those two days were spent on rehearsals, dinners (we strongly recommend Joseph's Restaurant on Meeting Street) , pool parties and the actual wedding. But on Saturday, as we all said goodbye to each other, The BF and I joined another of his high school/college friends and his partner, and the four of us meandered around Charleston in the 98 degree heat, killing time until our 6:00pm flight back home.

For our flight home, we scored the best seats I've ever had on a plane - two seater exit row with no row of seats in front of us. Somehow, we didn't mind sitting on the plane for 50 minutes between push off and take off. It was nice to finally have The BF all to myself again after sharing him with all these lovely strangers. We've been living together for 6 weeks now, taking two trips, and spending alot of time together. In some ways, it seems like we've been doing this for years, and in other ways, it seems like we've only been living together for a week. If this keeps up, life will be a cake walk.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Toys Make You Gay

Here is a list of the Top 10 toys that made you gay.

(However, if you are over 40 like me, you might not recognize some of these. We'll just have to make due with GI Joe, Slinky and Lincoln Logs.)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Match.Com

A recently aired commercial for match.com requests people to login to the site to chat with its most experienced members. And that confuses me.

Who exactly are the "most experienced members" of match.com? Isn't the very idealistic nature of the website supposed to be for someone to sign on, find someone with the same likes and dislikes, go on a date, and then get married and stay together forever? If that defines success, than how can you be one of THE MOST successful? Are these people who only signed on once and found their ideal person when viewing the first profile? Even if it takes someone several tries to find "the

Match.com has alot of things going for it. For one thing, its not e-harmony. Unlike that site, match.com caters to everyone - straight and gay - and I know a gay couple who met each other on match.com about 4 years ago and are still together. Internet dating has a lot going for it. It used to be almost taboo and people were almost embarrassed to tell anyone they met that way. The internet was mostly for looking up information, viewing porn, and finding sex hookups. While it is still all three of those things for some people, it has grown in validity as an acceptable dating tool as well. And match.com is one of the good sites, which is why it bugs me that they now have this current gimmick to get people to use it.

Really, anyone who finds another person to love is successful, regardless of how they met or how long it took them to get there. I doubt one person is any more successful at it than another. When a couple celebrates their 50th wedding anniversary after meeting on match.com - THAT will be a success story. Otherwise, until then, the "most successful" are just people who have found some form of happiness, however long it lasted.

And besides, like they say, it's okay to look.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

How Much Is That Nudie In The Window?

Every gayborhood has one -- at least one if not more. I'm talking about the guy who is a bit of an exhibitionist and keeps his blinds purposely open so the public can see what he's doing. I've seen one in Chicago so far. This guy lives in a basement apartment up next to the sidewalk, so he's very accessible. He never closes is blinds and we've caught him sitting on his couch (which is under the window) on his laptop looking at porn, which is very visible when passing by. It confuses me what he's trying to gain by doing this.

In DC, the local exhibitionist lived in a row house on P Street, NW between 17th and 18th. He'd stand naked in his window and then when you noticed him, he backed into his otherwise darkened room. The first time I saw it, I wasn't sure I had, until a few steps later I turned to my friend and said, "Did you just see that?" When my friend confirmed, we basically agreed the dude was weird.

We also thought - erroneously - that it was a random sighting. But not so. Almost every Sunday night, on our walk from the Dupont Metro to JR's on 17th, we'd see the guy. After about 4 weeks of this, I'd had enough. So after we passed the guy's house and saw him again, I turned around to go back.

"Where are you going?", my friend asked.

"Well he clearly wants people to notice him, so I'm going to let him know I noticed him."

"Don't do that! Dop, come back here!"

"No, I'm gonna get to the bottom of this."

So I walked up the stoop to the front door and banged on it.

"Hello! Hello in there! OK, yes, we see you. You want people to notice you? OK, we noticed. Happy? Now what? Do you invite me in? Did you want to hook up? What are you trying to gain by standing naked in your window, you pervert? There could be children out here. You want to be noticed so badly? Well, here I am sweetheart!"

No answer.

"You're gonna get yourself shot one of these days," my friend said.

"I just wanted to know what I'm supposed to do. He's putting it out there, hoping to elicit some kind of response, so I gave him one."

Perhaps it was mere coincidence, but we never saw him in the window again.

Friday, May 23, 2008

IML 2008

It's that time of year again - time for thousands of leather-loving men to descend upon the Windy City in all their regalia.

For the leather community, it's life at its most dynamic. And for the rest of it, it's pretty much the best people-watching event of the year: the hunks, the freaks, the clones, the frightening, and all those manimal breeds (bears, wolves, otters, bulls, pups, cubs, etc.) and the disgusting smell that sometimes comes with the whole shebang. In any event, it's a hoot. And like the last two years, we'll be going to the expo one day, and then heading to the hotel lobby to gawk at everyone.

More about our LA trip next week, but for now have a safe and fun weekend!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

We Loved LA, Part III

On Sunday, to escape the heat between The BF's 12-person brunch at The Sportsmen's Lodge and the 14-person dinner at Marix Tex Mex in Hollywood (both incredible), we decided to take in a movie at The Arclight Cinemas Dome on Sunset Boulevard. At first we had trouble trying to find the entrance to the building from the sidewalk, until The BF realized that since this was LA and nobody walks anywhere, the entrance must be closer to the garage. And, badda bing, there it was.

The movie - Iron Man. Had we been in Chicago, I probably would not have gone to see this movie. I'm not one for war movies with planes and missles and all the super hero stuff. But you go Robert Downey Jr. What a comeback. To have such a public downfall, he's made the smartest choice of his career by playing a man who is as flawed as Downey admitted to being in his own life at one point. And by the end of the movie, the character has had no real epiphany or given up all of his vices, but he does come to understand the difference between right and wrong - a lesson we all learn as we get older, just like Downey himself has seemed to. The movie was exciting. And Gwyneth Paltrow didn't even get on my nerves once!

The kicker of the afternoon was that we had one more celebrity sighting in the theatre lobby after the movie: none other than RuPaul sans drag. He's tall, freckled, bald and it looks like he's had something done, and by something I mean ribs removed. Even in a polo shirt, it was obvious that he sinks way in around the waistline.

Still, he counts as a celebrity if not the gayest one possible.


More to come . . .

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

We Loved LA, Part II

Last Saturday was a record hot day in Los Angeles. It ended up being 104 degrees! How did we beat the heat? Our friend Stephanie came through for us in a big way. Well-connected, Steph garnered invitations for 5 of us attend the opening of the new Simpsons' Ride at Universal Studios-Hollywood. We entered the park through a side entrance and after being given our VIP passes, were escorted to a roped off area outside the ride entrance. There were free Krusty Burgers and sandwiches and salads and drinks . . . and celebrities! Here is out celebrity sighting list:


Larry Birkhead and baby Dannielynn

Holly Robinson Peete

Corbin Bernsen

Kelsey Grammer

Melina Kanakaredes

Deidre Hall

Billy Bush

Fred Willard

Matt Groening

James L. Brooks

Antonio Villaraigosa (the mayor of LA)

The event started off with a man being shot out of a cannon. Matt caught the action on his iPhone - and it's pretty impressive quality for a camera phone.


After a few words of welcome, we were among the first to board the new ride. It's a fast, rockety ride that makes you feel like you're in a cartoon. After that we took the backstage tour and rode some rides, and then, of course, I had my photo taken with Shrek.

More to come . . .

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

We Loved LA, Part I

The BF and I returned from a 5-day trip to Los Angeles to visit friends, sightsee, and celebrate The BF's 30th birthday this past Sunday. The entire weekend was a magical blast. Much kudos to Matt, Stephanie, Catherine, and the rest of the gang for making it so memorable.

We arrived Wednesday night and quickly started the weekend by going to Disneyland on Thursday. The weather was warm and sunny, and because we went on a Thursday in late May, the crowd was practically non-existent. Our longest wait in any line was no more than 30 minutes. In some cases there was actually no wait at all. And to those who say you can't possibly "do Disneyland" in a day, I say balderdash. Here's the list of rides we did in one day:

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Indiana Jones Adventure
Peter Pan's Flight
Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
Innoventions
Star Tours
Tower of Terror
California Screamin'
Soarin' Over California
Pirates of the Carribbean
Splash Mountain
Space Mountain

That last one was the the one that finally put me over the edge. The word I used to describe the feeling was "jostled", and I think it was an excellent word for the moment.

So many fun memories were made that day, but the one topping the list was when Catherine - soaking wet from Splash Mountain - absentmindedly grabbed her wrap dress from the back to ring out the water, and mooned everyone standing in line waiting to ride: attendants, children, parents, school kids, teenagers, grandparents. Matt joked that at least 30 boys hit puberty at that very moment.

More to come...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Off To LA

We are off to L.A. to spend the next several days with Matt, Stephanie, Heather, Nikki, Cat, Joby, Mickey Mouse and The Simpsons - among others - to celebrate The BF's 30th Birthday on Sunday.

Be back on Tuesday.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

Like a good son, I sent my mom a Mothers' Day card early enough last week that she received it before Sunday. I love and respect my mom more than any other person that's ever lived. She's loved me during times that were good or bad; during times when I acheived great things; during times when she didn't understand what I was doing; during times when I was weak; during times when I was at my strongest; during times when it might have even been hard for her to love me; during times when I turned out to be someone she didn't expect.

There's no greater devotion in the world than that between a mother and a child. Even at my age, I still need her - mostly as a sounding board than anything else. She doesn't see my day-to-day life like she does with my sister and brothers. And as a byproduct, she probably worries a little bit more about me. Although she has not yet met The BF (due to geography), she knows I am in a happy, committed relationship, and she feels peaceful about that.

She's lived a quiet and somewhat sheltered life - being exposed to the world through the eyes and opinions of her children. She's never traveled extensively and 99% of her life has been lived within a 6-mile radius. But in contrast, she is as open-minded as they come. When I came out to my mom 11 years ago (yeah, late), her response was "so tell me something I don't already know". When I asked her how she knew, she gave me the very motherly response of "I know everything". And I believe her.

I'd certainly never want to test her. Happy Mothers' Day, Mom!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Weekend

My weekend is shaping up to be very relaxing. It is the first weekend in many weeks where I have absolutley nothing planned, nor do I have to be anywhere at a specific time. Not that the last several weekends haven't been fun, but it's nice every now and then to sleep-in (for me that's getting out of bed around 8:30am), lay on the couch and catch up on the Netflix movies that have been gathering dust.

Last weekend was fun though. The BF and I went to CircEsteem, a non-profit on the northside whose mission is to mission is to unite youth from diverse racial, cultural, and economic backgrounds and help them build self-esteem and mutual respect through the practice of circus arts. The talent varied from small kids simply jumping through hoops to a world class teenager from the southside who escaped the life of gangbangers by finding success and a future in circus arts. Very inspiring story.

After the show, we trotted over to Crew and had lunch and drinks with friends Chris and Justin. This is something I truly need to do more of. I forget how much I enjoy just hanging out and throwing back a beer or two now and then. My life seems so hectically scheduled that I rarely allow myself the time to simply chill out with friends. It was fun, and needs repeating.

On the positive side, The BF and I have been living together now for almost two weeks which, for me anyway, have just flown by. We are taking a little vacation together next week, and I'm very much looking forward to that.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Sitting-In For Not Standing Up

Women need to stop complaining about men not giving up their seats for them on public transportation, namely trains and buses.

First of all, it's not a rule. The rule states that able-bodied adults are to give up their seats for the handicapped, the elderly, and expectant mothers. And for the most part, I do see men do just that. However, it is rare when I see a woman give up her seat for a senior citizen. I ride the Trixie Trolley (#156 LaSalle) everyday, and always sit in the back of the bus in the elevated section. There have been puh-lenty of times I have given up my seat in the back of the bus to a senior citizen who has had to make his/her way through the crowd, past all the seated young women in order to get to my location. Not standing for a woman is showing equality; not standing for an elderly person is just shameful and disrespectful.

And since I mentioned it, I guess I don't understand the concept of a woman - especially a young woman - demanding a man give up his seat or hold a door open for her. I don't argue that it is a polite gesture that men need to be taught while still young in order for it to be ingrained into who they are as adults. But I don't think these gestures should be expected or even demanded. I'm happy to give up my seat to a woman who I am certain is in the latter stages of her pregnancy (key words there are "I am certain"; at times, it is difficult to tell). But I'm not about to stand up for a 26-year old woman just so she can sit down to read.

I've heard all the arguments before, the biggest being shoes. Here's a tip: here's what I do when wearing a pair of shoes all day that hurt my feet. I throw them away. Or, I don't wear them. I'm sorry women feel the pressure of society to wear body altering clothing, but it is ultimately a choice they've made. Just as there is no law that says I have to show a woman any courtesy, there is no law that says she has to dress the way she does.

I am 42 years-old. By all accounts, I look perfectly healthy. But no stranger on a bus or train has any idea what my health problems are, just like I have no idea about anyone else. Unless your health situation is obvious (which even mine are not), I'm not going out of my way to make you more comfortable when I have no relationship to you - or worse, just because you are a woman. I would think you would find that more insulting than flattering. And if you don't, you should.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Jai Rodriguez

It's official: Jai Rodriguez has the worst post-Queer Eye career of the group. I mean, have you seen Groomer Has It on Animal Planet yet? It's awful! Even Jai acts like he hates being there. He turns on the cheese while on camera, but I get the feeling that when the director yells "cut!", Jai is storming to his dressing room feverishly trying to get his agent to return his phone calls.

First, a part on Queer Eye no one really understood, then "The Jury", and now this? If every dog has his day, this one is clearly not Jai's.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Suing Southwest

In light of the recent FAA's failed compliance, I will be adding Southwest Airlines to my long list of litigious endeavors.

Since I've flown on Southwest about 10 times in the past two years, I've decided to sue them for attempted murder since they repeatedly, and beyond normal circumstances, took my life in their hands by flying me on planes that were knowingly not passing inspection.

How much you think I could get?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Goodbye And Hello

I've been hinting at this for about a month or so, but yesterday, The BF and I finally moved in together. After two-and-a-half years or traipsing back and forth to each other's apartments (he traipsed more than I, mostly because I was the one with cable), we purged some things and he made room for me in his cute little one-bedroom. The plan is for him to sell his place sometime over the summer, and the two of us get a larger loft where we can both spread out . . . and up (more details on THAT later, too).

All of this has churned up some bittersweet emotions in me. This is the first time since 1988 I have lived with someone who was more than just a roommate. Ex#1 and I moved in together exactly 20 years ago, when I was 22 and he was 23 (coincidentally enough, it was also the end of April). We had been dating for 2.5 months, and living 140 miles apart. Moving in together was more convenience than anything else. Ex#1 and I are still in touch with each other and I get a card or email from him every year around my birthday - mostly because he remembers that I share the same birthday as his mother.

God, I was so young back then! Moving in with someone when you are 22 and 23 is nothing more than just playing house. Not to mention, it was my first gay relationship. I had no idea what I was doing, and within 8 months, we split up. And back in 1989, I swore I would never live with another boyfriend again.

And I haven't . . . until now.

My move-in was pretty simple, with only a few minor adjustments needing to be made. At first I thought I had done so well at purging things I really didn't need. But looking back, it's more to The BF's credit that he made so much room for my stuff. He's sacrificing alot (space, privacy, a bed to himself now and then) just to be around me more often. It's a bit overwhelming. I've never had anyone this "into" me before. But then, I totally deserve it!

As exciting as this new chapter of my life will be, starting a new chapter means ending another one. After 8 years, Ashley and I will no longer be roommates. He's been a constant presence in my life while so many other things have come and gone: he's seen me through Ex#3, 4, 5 and all the men in-between; almost all of my health issues; 3 jobs; 3 apartments and 1 house; 2 remodels; 2 major cities; 2 jeeps (mine and his); countless shopping trips; 3 trips to Provincetown, 1 trip to New Orleans; and nights filled with karaoke, boys, shots, showtunes, dancing, booze, drag shows, dinner parties, and the million talks we've had over the years that were our equivalent to sitting around the kitchen table and eating a cheesecake.

And now we both live in the city we first visited together back in 2001 for Market Days. He's running a successful business and dating a great guy. We probably could have gone on being roommates for life, I guess. But love trumps everything. And I would take one year of living with The BF over a lifetime of living with anyone else.

It's all very exciting . . . and scary . . . and fun . . . and strange . . . and wonderful. I never thought I would get to this point in my life, yet I've arrived, seemingly without even trying. In a way, I feel 22 again - only this time I've got 20 years more experience.

Friday, April 25, 2008

No XXL At Gap

The other night after a long day at work, I walked into my longtime favorite store, Gap, and decided to remedy my solemn mood with some retail therapy. I found some polos in some colors I liked and began rummaging to find my size, XXL. Sadly, I couldn't find it in the blue. So then I looked at the pale blue. Not there either. Charcoal? Not there. Green? Not there.

Not thinking much of it, I walked over to ask an associate to look in the back for me. Some stores, like American Apparel for example, keep their XXL sizes in the back, I guess to save room on the sales floor. All you have to do is ask for an XXL. In a way, it's kinda fun, like a secret no one else knows. So when I asked a Gap Associate for my size, I was told that Gap was no longer carrying XXL in the stores and I would have to order everything online from now on.

I'm not sure what I felt at that moment, but part of it was embarrassment. Regardless of the words the associate used, all I heard was, "we're not serving your kind anymore". I felt discounted and almost ashamed for some reason. Basically, Gap hurt my feelings. But as I turned to leave the store, my feelings of inadequacy quickly turned to anger. On my way out, a different associate approached me with, "find everything ok?" to which I could only muster a boisterous "NO!" and walked out.

How dare they do this to ME? Me, who's been a faithful shopper to that company for the past 20+ years. Me, who worked for the company in both full and part-time positions for a period spanning 8 years. Me, who stuck by Gap even back in the late 90's when they had their identity crisis and then subsequently apologized to an abandoning public. Me, who has mentioned that I love Gap on this blog about a dozen or more times.

Being my size, my choices are already limited. I can't buy stuff at the mens' boutique shops because nothing is above a large. Another favorite store, Club Monaco, usually only stocks one XXL in everything and there seems to be someone beating me to it all the time (and CM doesn't have online shopping). My choices have been pretty much reduced to Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy. And since all of those stores are the same company, it's a pretty good bet that Banana and Old Navy will follow Gap's lead if they haven't already. Which basically reduces me to zero options.

I sent a letter of complaint to Gap and asked for the reasoning behind this situation, but all I got back was a canned apology, thanking me for my correspondence and telling me how important my feedback is.

Eventually, I guess, I'll get used to this. I just won't be able to run in and pick up a new shirt for a party or trip or even just to make myself feel better. I would think that in today's economy, no retail company would want to disclude any type of shopper, let alone make the process more difficult.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The BF's Hidden Talent #2,439,741

In yet another one of his attempts to prove to me that he can do everything, The BF has taken to making cartoons using Photoshop. He admits to it being rudimentary in comparison to what my friend Dave is able to create. But then again, Dave is a graphic artist who has been doing these signature caricatures of people (like my profile picture on the far left) for many years; The BF began last Thursday. As he experiments with shading and layering, I completely expect The BF's artistry to improve in a short time. But the mere fact that he could create this in a first attempt without any previous knowledge is pretty . . . well . . . impressive.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Cell Phone On Planes

I was reading USA Today yesterday and in the Op/Ed page is a letter from Etta Trammell from Cincinnati who believes that since Europe is allowing the use of cell phones on planes in-flight in the next year, America should follow suit. She cites, what she believes are, the many benefits of this program: children flying alone and business travelers making the most of their workdays topping the list.

Clearly, Etta hasn't flown on an airplane or used any form of public transportation in, say, ever. She clearly has no idea what an airplane would sound like if anyone, let alone a gabby 13-year old, could use a cell phone. Has she lost her mind?

I just flew this past weekend - traveled home to see the family. Behind me sat three Asian women speaking in their native language. I'm sure it's a lovely language, but at 30,000 feet and engines blaring in my ear, the sound emanating from these women was pure annoyance. In front of me was an 18-month old crying for her mother during the entire trip. Funny thing was, momma was right next to her, completely oblivious to the child's cries. How does this happen? The mother did nothing. NOTHING! The father walked the child once or twice - when he wasn't on one of his 14 (yes, I counted them) trips to the rest room during the 90-minute flight.

I lost about 2 million brain cells during this flight, and Etta wants to add cellphones to this mess. This policy should never come to fruition. If it does, the car rental industry will be getting a lot more of my business.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Grape Lady

This probably makes me a really bad person, but this makes me laugh every time:



I'm sure it hurt, and I hope she's okay. I can't help myself, but it just makes me laugh. Only this makes me laugh even more:


Thursday, April 17, 2008

The REAL Dream Ticket

I think it's really a shame that Americans have to actually choose between the two best presidential candidates who have come along in the last almost 20 years. Until the primary, I'm personally supporting Hillary Clinton. But if Barack Obama get the democratic nomination, I will vote for him as well. I realize that a dream ticket of either being president/vice president is nothing more than that - a dream. But if there was any possibility of just combining the two so we don't have to choose at all - that would be the ultimate ideal.


You think?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A New Low - "W" At 28%

So "W" has now dropped in his approval rating to 28% - only the second U.S. President in history to drop below 30%. And I predict it will drop even lower considering the economy has tanked and "W", just last week, announced staying the course in Iraq. He's on a mission to be our first three-war president in the event he starts a conflict with Iran.

So was it worth it - all you republicans who voted him back into office in 2004? Here is a list of historically recent presidents and their approval ratings upon leaving office:


In just seven years, Bush turned a record budget surplus into a record deficit.

He took our national reputation from an unprecedented high after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to an unprecedented low, a downward slide that has been mirrored by his approval ratings.

He has repeatedly asserted the authority to operate without oversight and ignore laws and judicial rulings with wild abandon.

He has conducted domestic surveillance of American citizens without warrants, in violation of federal law and the Constitution. He has repeatedly admitted this crime, even bragged about it, on national television.

He facilitated the use of torture in Iraq, Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere, in violation of both American and international law. His administration regards the Geneva Conventions as "quaint."

He has waged a reckless and expensive war in Iraq that has killed hundreds of thousands and breeded a new generation of terrorists on the basis of deliberately misleading and fabricated intelligence.

Perhaps the scariest thing of all is that he still has another 9 months in office. Imagine what else could possibly go wrong.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tudor Hall

Today marks the 143rd anniversary of Lincoln's death. He died at 7:22AM on the morning of April 15, 1865, from a gun shot wound to the head inflicted by John Wilkes Booth. This entire event (the assassination and its 14-day aftermath) fascinates me. True I find Lincoln to be a complex man, but I also find Booth to be much more intriguing. When people ask that question of what person, living or dead, would you invite to dinner, my answer is always John Wilkes Booth.

I've been to Ford's Theatre (the site of the murder) many times; I've biked Booth's escape route out of DC; visited the Surratt Tavern where he picked up supplies and carbines after fleeing DC; visited Samuel Mudd's house where Booth had Dr. Mudd set his broken leg; and even visited Booth's grave in Baltimore and his Gothic revival childhood home, Tudor Hall, in Bel Air, MD.

The latter is dichotomous in American History: on one hand it was the dwelling of man who committed the first Presidential assassination in America and changed the course of history forever. On the other hand, it was also home to the two greatest Shakespearean tragedians of the American stage: Junius Brutus Booth and his even more talented son, Edwin Booth. And while the house was more or less spared demolition because of Edwin, the true source of wonder is Wilkes.

I visited the house (now an office for Harford County's Center of the Arts) one Saturday last June when it was closed, roped off, and generally off limits. I went anyway. And much like the initial feeling I had when I entered Ford's Theatre for the first time, as I walked down the long driveway to the house, I couldn't help but get the feeling I had been here before. As I slowly neared the house, it all seemed familiar -- it could have been the numerous websites I've read about the place and even the details I garnered from the 15 or so books I've read about Wilkes and the Booth Family.

Once I arrived at the porch of the house, I turned around to see the driveway I had just walked. So many pictures are taken of the front of the house, but none are taken from the vantage point of the porch - the same vantage point the Booth's would have had when expecting visitors during the good times, and government soldiers during the bad times. If anything has remained untouched on the property for the last 143 years, it is the road leading to the house. Except for being paved (a few added trees), the path is the same.

The house was closed and no one was around so I had free range of the grounds but couldn't go in. Not sure how many renovations the inside of the house has experienced. I tried to get some pictures of the inside, but the bubbled glass in the windows made it impossible to get a clear shot. The weird thing was that even though I was alone on the 8 acres of land, I still got the feeling I was being watched. So I didn't dare climb too close or be too aggressive near the house.

I walked around the side of the house and spotted the balcony where its been said Wilkes and his sister, Asia, would rehearse scenes from "Romeo & Juliet". It is also suspected that this is the window into which Wilkes carved his initials, JWB (Wilkes apparently loved his initials so much he even had them tattooed in the crux of his right hand between his thumb and forefinger - this tattoo was later used to identify his body after being shot himself on Garrett's Farm near Port Royal, VA on April 26th). But that window has been long removed and it is uncertain where on the house that window originally belonged. Still, there is something a little haunting about the balcony.

I walked around the back of the house and tried to imagine, based on the books I've read, where the barn would have been located. In 1973, Tudor Hall was included in the National Register of Historic Places with a historical boundary of 136.5 acres to maintain the rural surroundings and distant views since Tudor Hall had been a farm during the Booth period. In 1982, the State of Maryland reduced the protective boundaries to the 8.33 acres, despite the oppositional pleas of historical experts.
As I walked around to the other side of the house, I noticed a window - nothing special about it - but there just seemed to be something to it. Could this be where the original JWB window had been cased? Was this the bedroom window young Wilkes would look out of when planning his future of following in his father's and two older brothers' footsteps on the American stage?

Wilkes would leave this place finally in 1857 at the age of 19 to join the Arch Street Theater Company in Philadelphia.
At his request he was billed as "J.B. Wilkes", a pseudonym meant to divert attention away from his famous family. In 1858 he was accepted as a member of the Richmond Theatre, Virginia, stock company, and became increasingly popular, called "the handsomest man in America" by reviewers. He stood 5 feet, 8 inches tall, had jet-black hair, and was lean and athletic. His performances were often characterized by his contemporaries as acrobatic and intensely physical. Eerily prophetic to his "final performance" on the stage at Ford's Theater on April 14, 1865.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Love And Acceptance

Coming off of a pretty great weekend. On Saturday, The BF and I joined his parents who were in town for the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) held at McCormick Place. The BF is listing his place to sell (more info to follow), so it was fun for us to walk around and look at cabinets, whirlpools and bathrooms. There were some pretty interesting things for us to see - among them being a tiny child-sized toilet, which I assume could also be used by some folks at the Roloff Farms. A picture of large me standing beside it may or may not appear on Apartment Therapy-Chicago.

Also impressive are the shows put on by Kohler. Yes, there are actual performances at KBIS. Kohler partnered with MOMIX to put on a show at the top of every hour. The performances were very fluid and water . . . ish - a lot of flowing materials and movements and quite captivating. And the dancers were hot.

Aside from looking at all the chic cabinetry and spying on design diva Candice Olson, The BF and I spent time running around trying to find out which company was giving away all the delicious looking cupcakes. No such luck.

After spending some time at KBIS, The BF and his parents and I had dinner at Rock Bottom Brewery. I've only been around his parents twice (his mom, three times), but it all seemed to be a pretty comfortable situation. I believe I am the first boyfriend they've met, knowing exactly who I was when they met me. There didn't seem to be any tension or ill-ease whatsoever. It all looks pretty good.

Sunday, The BF and I attended a 10th Anniversary Brunch for friends Neil and Bob. It's truly wonderful that two people - gay or not - can commit to each other for 10 years without there being any legal recourse. They made a decision 10 years ago and have honored and respected their decision and each other ever since. So admirable! What made the event even more impressive was that there were two other gay couples who have been together over ten years. In sitting with buddy Jessica for an early dinner after the event, she stated that it's sometimes difficult for her to believe The BF and I have NOT been together for 10 years. I told her that perhaps in another year or so, The BF and I will host a small get-together and call it our "It Just Seems Like Our 10th Anniversary" Party.

In just under three years, he has really become the biggest and best part of my life. It's almost difficult to remember my life before him - it couldn't have been this fulfilling. And it's only going to get more so - again, more on that later.

This was a weekend filled with love and acceptance - neither did I ask for nor expect. But I got it in spades from some very special people.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Autism

It's been all over the news lately; I overheard some Chads on the bus saying it was the "disease du jour". But my family has been dealing with this problem for almost 20 years. My nephew was originally diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder when he was about 7 years old. So for the following 6 or 7 years, he spent his adolescence doped up on Ritalin, which only seemed to make him more reclusive. After years of trying to get a true diagnosis of her son's condition, my sister took him to a specialist in Pittsburgh who diagnosed him with something we had never heard of before - Asperger's Disorder, an Austism variant.

In Asperger's Disorder, affected individuals are characterized by social isolation and eccentric behavior in childhood. There are impairments in two-sided social interaction and non-verbal communication. Though grammatical, their speech may sound peculiar due to abnormalities of inflection and a repetitive pattern. Clumsiness may be prominent both in their articulation and gross motor behavior. They usually have a circumscribed area of interest which usually leaves no space for more age appropriate, common interests. Some examples are cars, trains, French Literature, door knobs, hinges, cappucino, meteorology, astronomy or history. In my nephew's case, it's medieval history.

John is aware of his condition. And he's taken it upon himself to host a group in the AutismSpeaks Walk-A-Thon back home this weekend. His fundraising goal is just $1,000. If he could meet or even surpass the goal, it would give him a sense of accomplishment that he doesn't get a chance to feel very often. If you can donate anything - $20, $25 or more - it would be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Happy Birthday To Me!

Today I turn 42 (one's existence could be questioned when Time Magazine comes out with a cover like this on the same day one is born).

I share my birthday with Patricia Arquette, Julian Lennon, John Schneider, Barbara Kingsolver, Gary Carter, Michael Bennett, Vivienne Westwood, Fred Ebb, Betty Ford (who turns 90 today), and Buddha - with whom lately I seem to share so many physical traits.

But I share the actual birth DATE with sexy British racing driver, Mark Blundell; accomplished Brazilian footballer, Mazinho; mean-looking Nigerian K1 fighter, Bobby Ologun; and beautiful American actress, Robin Wright Penn. Today, we all turn 42.

Aside from my birth, here are some other noteworthy things that happened on April 8th:

1994 - The lead singer of rock band Nirvana, Kurt Cobain, commits suicide by shooting himself.

1990 - AIDS activist Ryan White dies at the age of 19.

1986 - American actor Clint Eastwood is elected Mayor of Carmel in California.

1967 - Bare-foot English singer Sandie Shaw wins the Eurovision Song Contest for the United Kingdom with 'Puppet On A String'.

1953 - Future Kenyan President Jomo Kenyatta is convicted in Kenya of involvement with the terrorist Mau Mau organization.

1940 - World War II: Germany invades Norway.

1925 - The Australian Government and the British Colonial Office offer low-interest loans to encourage Britons borrow the money to emigrate to Australia.

1908 - King Edward VII appoints Liberal politician Herbert Asquith as British Prime Minister following the death of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman.

1907 - Britain and France confirm the independence of Siam (now Thailand).

1904 - Britain and France settle the foreign affairs differences under the auspices of a newly negotiated 'Entente Cordiale'. Britain recognizes the Suez Canal Convention and surrenders its claim to Madagascar.

1838 - Brunel's 236 foot steamship Great Western leaves Bristol for New York on her maiden voyage.

1513 - Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon discovers Florida.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Friday, April 04, 2008

Dirty Names In Sports

I just discovered Flumesday.com's list of the Top 10 Dirtiest Names in Sports:

10. De'Cody Fagg
9. Homer Bush
8. Albert Pujols
7. Irina Slutskaya
6. Ron Tugnutt
5. Assol Slivets
4. Dick Butkus
3. Johnny Dickshot
2. Dick Trickle
1. Chubby Cox

Flumesday followed this list, inevitably, with Top 10 Dirtiest Names in Sports: The Sequel.

10. Gregor Fucka
9. B.J. Johnson
8. Pete LaCock
7. Danny Shittu
6. Harry Colon
5. Lucious Pusey
4. Dick Pole
3. Dean Windass
2. Misty Hyman
1. Rusty Kuntz

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Bus Bitch, Part II

I seriously think I could just host an entire blog on my love/hate relationship with public transportation - specifically, the #156 bus, or as I like to call it, The Trixie Tram or The Chad Express. But more on that later.

The #156 bus route (formally called the LaSalle Bus) is supposed to terminate at Harrison and Des Plaines Streets on the south end, and Belmont and Halsted Streets on the north end. However, for the past several weeks, The Chad Express has only taken me as far north as the intersection of Belmont and Sheridan before kicking all riders off the bus and making a right turn onto Belmont to go - well, I don't know where. Even though the directional sign and the voiced announcement tell me this is the bus to "Belmont and Halsted', the bus still stops 5 busstops short of its announced final destination.

Why is this?

(click image to enlarge)

I'm wondering what powers-that-be make the decision that a bus is not to go to its intended destination. There are no cameras at bus stops, so how would someone at dispatch know there weren't people waiting for the bus? Or how would they know there isn't a busload of people who need to get to that advertised destination? Or how do they know there isn't an elderly or handicapped person who is inconvenienced by this sudden change?

Transfers cost money. My bus ride should cost me $2.00 (which is pretty sad in and of itself). I shouldn't have to pay the extra 25 cents to transfer to another bus. CTA already gets plenty out of me already; I don't need to pay an additional $1.25 a week, or $5.00 a month, or $260.00 a year for no reason.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Nut Bus

It's sometimes difficult to arrive at work in the morning in a good mood. Even if I wake up feeling refreshed and somewhat happy, the trip to work every morning on the #36 Broadway bus runs the risk of being a joysuck. This morning was one of those mornings.

At first I thought my day was starting off well. I walked to the corner bus stop to find the bus actually approaching. This is indeed rare. After boarding the bus, I found it practically empty which meant I would get a single seat instead of having to share a double seat. Being built like I am and having shoulders that are a bit wider than most, sharing a double seat can sometimes get . . . uncomfortable. Especially when my seatmate decides to actually sit on me. But I digress.

So for a few brief seconds, I am sitting in my single seat and thinking that today would actually start out well. And then it all begins:

I hear a woman talking somewhat loudly on her phone. As I turn to give her the "keep your voice down" eye, I realize that she is not on her phone, nor is she talking to another person. I've seen her before on this bus but never this early in the morning. She sounds articulate, and she speaks like she is actually having a conversation. But unless she is speaking to a giant, invisible rabbit named Harvey, she's spouting her theories to no one in particular. Her rants are peppered with terms like "black power", "second class citizens", "african chains", "Jesse Jackson", and "bitch". And she never shuts up. She has every right to ride the bus, I guess. Just not the bus I am on.

As soon as I accept what this ride will be like, the bus pulls over to allow an older woman, walking while pushing an empty wheelchair, onto the bus. This means the extension of the ramp, loading her on, raising seats to accomodate her - which is all fine. But as soon as she boards the bus, she starts commanding the bus driver to not pull out until her wheelchair, which is actually loaded down with bags, is locked in. One warning? Understandable. Two warnings? Maybe. A 4-minute harangue while she shuffles into place all the while yelling at the driver to not pull out until her wheelchair is locked in? Priceless. And unnecessary.

She finally sits. "Black power" is still sputing out her views on what it is to be her. The bus travels a few more stops, then on boards the freshmen Spanish class of Lincoln High School - all 36 of them - and their three advisors. I hated freshmen, even when I was one. It's that awful age between insufferable child and real person (this is where Justin calls me an "anti-juvenite"). So all 36 climb on the bus, each one talking on his/her cell phone to another student who may or may not be in the group (one kid in the back of the group was actually talking on his phone to another kid in the front of the group). Meanwhile, they are sharing their rudimentary bilingual skills as they continue to pack into the bus like "sardinas". One "chica" decided my left shoulder was the perfect place to rest her backpack, until I asked her to move it. I must have forgotten to remove my red clown nose before leaving the house this morning because for some reason she and her "amigas" thought I was hilarious.

Finally, when I figured my blood pressure couldn't take anymore, I opted to get off the bus at West LaSalle and find another way to get to work. Anything - taxi, rikshaw, being dragged by a horse for the 15 blocks - would be better than this. It took me a solid minute to exit the bus because, apparently, bilingual children can't hear. Who knew? After realizing my "pardon me"s were falling on deaf ears, I invoked my unwritten rights and just powered my way through. I think I still have a kid wrapped around my ankle.

Needless to say, the day did not start off well. But it could have been worse. THEY could have been on the bus, too.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Second Time Was Better

The BF ran the Shamrock Shuffle yesterday and it was a great experience for both of us; much better than the last time he ran a race - the Chicago Marathon in October. Yeah, THAT Chicago Marathon, the one where one person died and over 300 were taken to the hospital for heat stroke, exhaustion, and lack of water brought on by a lack of disaster planning by marathon officials.

The BF finished that race though, but at both physical and emotional sacrifice for both him AND me.
This time however, yesterday, everything went very well. The weather was about 40 degrees. And where he and I could not find each other in the marathon crowds, I was pretty much the only person standing at Jackson and LaSalle at 9:50am when The BF strode by at mile 2.5, making this run look effortless.

After he passed, I walked two blocks south to catch him at mile 3.5, where he didn't even look like he was sweating yet.
He finished in his best time:

34:31 minutes (6:56 minutes/mile)
overall: 880 out of 22,588 (top 4%)
men: 769 out of 10,383 (top 7.5%)
division: 212 out of 2,690 (top 8%)
Compared to his stats from when he ran the same race in 2006:
39:56 minutes (8:01 minutes/mile)
overall: 3,535 out of 20,407 (top 17.5%)
men: 2,764 out of 9,707 (top 28%)
division: 710 out of 2,462 (top 29%)

Congratulations, hun! You did very well, and it was a happy day.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Old Stone House

My family lives in a very historic part of the country. Without really knowing it, I grew up along scenic U.S. 40, the first national road that started on one coast and ended on the other – also known as the old National Pike. The road is peppered with mile markers, old toll houses, and inns that have been converted to restaurants and private residences. One of the most striking of these buildings on U.S. 40 is The Old Stone House overlooking Little Meadows, the valley named by George Washington during the 1754 campaign.



The Old Stone House was built as an inn in 1818 by Jesse Tomlinson, who chose Little Meadows not only for its scenic beauty but for its opportune location on the National Pike about a day’s ride from Cumberland (today, it's a 20 minute trip by car.)

Tomlinson’s inn was built to last, of blocks of stone 2 feet and 3 feet square, with chimneys 30 feet wide at the base and 2-foot-deep windowsills. A community center, the inn housed a general store and the county’s first post office. Stagecoach passengers feasted on mutton, venison, turkey, pheasant and brook trout for 50 cents per person; the wagoners, whose trade was essential, got a discount, plus corn whiskey at 3 cents a shot.

According to the historical society, celebrated 19th-century guests at the inn included Henry Clay, Jenny Lind, P.T. Barnum and four U.S. presidents: Jackson, Taylor, Polk and President-elect William Henry Harrison – en route from Ohio to his fatal inauguration, maybe?

Of course, there are ghost stories. One of the bedrooms is said to have a perpetually bloodstained floor. The historical society passes along an even better legend:
The most intriguing story is about a beautiful, heavily veiled woman with quantities of expensive luggage bearing foreign labels, who got off the stage to spend the night at Stone House. She had her supper brought to her room and did not once set foot outside of her door. The next morning one of the little servant boys brought her hot water. But she had disappeared. All of her baggage remained, but there was no trace of her. The woods were searched as thoroughly as possible, but she was never found; and to this day no one knows who she was.
From the outside, the building seems to be in good shape. It’s a private residence now. Here is a postcard by John Kennedy Lacock:



Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring Is Here . . . Sorta

Due to some bizarre time zones, the vernal equinox occured in the Central Standard Time zone last night at 11:47PM (5:05AM UT), technically a day earlier than normal. So basically, Spring came early to Chicago - but not so's you'd notice.

Ending one of the most brutual winters Chicago has seen in decades, the city is still seeing daily temperatures in the low to mid 30's, with the temperature during the next 5 days hovering at 35F. Tomorrow's forecast:
Friday... Snow. Snow may be heavy at times. Snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches. Blustery. Highs in the mid 30s. East winds 15 to 25 mph. Chance of precipitation near 100 percent.

The flu epidemic has been widespread throughout Illinois for the past 5 weeks with no sign of easing up. And despite the fact that the city hasn't had a significant snowfall for the past several weeks, there are still snow mounds in yards and on sidewalks.

But Spring is here. Or so they tell me.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Flo Rida

So there is a rapper who calls himself Flo Rida. On purpose. No matter how you cut the word up, it's still Florida. I'm not sure why anyone would want to name himself after a state that has, over the last 8 years, proven to be politically managed by idiots -- unless this choice of name is perhaps an homage to the mother on Good Times, or if it's a trend where male rappers are giving themselves traditionally female names (if I told people that Flo and Nelly were coming to my house, I think the last thing they would expect to see would be two thugs muscled down with guns and posses).

Flo is from Opa Locka, which is why the choice of name. Otherwise, he could have chosen:
  • Mary Land
  • Al Abama
  • Dela Ware
  • Ari Zona
  • Missi Ssippi
  • Al Aska
  • Cali Fornia
  • Louis I. Ana
  • Col O. Rado
  • Georgi A
  • Minne Sota
I'm surprised some female artist hasn't scarfed up the names Ida Ho or Virgin I.A. yet, depending on the rep she is trying to promote. Although I do doubt anyone chooses the name Massa Chusetts, since that seems to have some racial undertones. I think there should be a county singer who calls himself Tex As or better yet Ken Tucky, or perhaps a reggae singer who calls himself Mon Tana. Think of all the personalized things you could buy with your name on them! And really, why stop there? A performer could also dub himself Philip Pines, Ken Ya, Sam Oa, Al Bania, Tai Wan, or even simply just Chad or Jordan.

At what point does the whole thing just become ridiculous?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Whether your ancestry is German, Spanish, Native American, Russian, African, or Chinese - today we are all Irish.

Éirinn go Brách!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Clydesdale

The CARA (Chicago Area Runners Association) is a non-profit organization devoted to the 5 million runners in the Chicagoland area. Everyone in Chicago runs.

Everyone.

So much so that CARA has adopted a cute little word for runners they consider to be "heavy" or "larger": Clydesdale.
What's a Clydesdale, you ask? Basically it's a big horse, known for pulling heavy things. Isn't that uplifting? CARA calls large runners Clydesdales.

I'm betting none of the people who came up with this moniker weigh over 160lbs.
Are runners weighing under a certain weight given a nickname? Heck, no. They may as well just called us Rhinos. Rhinos run. So do Elephants. And Oxen. Hippos run when they are on land and hear a frightening sound. Is Clydesdale supposed to be more noble? And get this description from CARA: big athletes may never finish first in a race, but they are excellent athletes among their peers and deserve to be recognized for their efforts and accomplishments.

If I want to compete, I want to compete against everyone, not just "heavy" people. If I lose, its because someone was better than me -- just someone, not someone heavy.
I don't need to be given a nickname to make me feel better since "I may never finish first". I mean with a confidence boost like that, why should I even bother?

You want to compete? Come lift with me at the gym sometime. And then let's see what cute little name I can think up for you.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sharpie & David Beckham. Or Is It?

There is a Sharpie commercial on the air these days that shows a pair of hands holding a golfball that, after a few artistic moves with a fine point marker is transformed into a soccer ball. And then the name "David Beckham" is written on the ball. From all this, we - the pitifully stupid viewing public - are to deduce that it's actually David Beckham doodling and autographing the ball.


What the few smart members of our apparently idiotic viewing public will question is - did Sharpie just pay a gazillion dollars for the use of David Beckham's name? I'm sure we can all agree that those are not Beckham's hands, despite the fingernails being smartly and metrosexually manicured.

Question #2 would be why is Sharpie paying a gazillion dollars for the use of a sports star's name when there are already celebrities out there actually using their product free of endorsement? Or isn't Jude Law hot enough anymore? For that matter, does Beckham really use Sharpies when he autographs? And is that even Beck's autograph? Even his own wife doesn't know it.



Which then also makes me wonder: does David Beckham really need another endorsement? In 2006, he brought home a paltry $11.1 million in endorsements alone, which was down 11% from 2005 due to a lost endorsement. I'll be he's glad this Sharpie thing came through for him, otherwise how could he afford to feed his wife and three kids?

Sex Scandal: Democrat vs. Republican

So now I hear that New York Governor Eliot Spitzer is caught up in the latest sex scandal. I immediately went to his page to see which political party he belonged to. He’s a Democratic so I deduced that the sex was with a woman. I was right.

So let’s review our sex scandal formulas when it comes to politicians:

Man-On-Woman Lovin’: Democrat
Man-On-Man Lovin’: Republican

Any politician that falls outside of these proven facts is a freak of nature and shall be shunned, ridiculed, called hypocrite and immediately have the suffix of ‘former’ placed before their current title. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Daylight Saving Time

The official spelling is Daylight Saving Time, not Daylight SavingS Time (if you didn't advance your clock forward yesterday, you are already an hour late - that is unless you're in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, or Arizona).

Saving is used here as a verbal adjective (a participle). It modifies time and tells us more about its nature; namely, that it is characterized by the activity of saving daylight. It is a saving daylight kind of time. Because of this, it would be more accurate to refer to DST as daylight-saving time. Similar examples would be a mind-expanding book or a man-eating tiger. Saving is used in the same way as saving a ball game, rather than as a savings account.

Nevertheless, many people feel the word savings (with an 's') flows more mellifluously off the tongue. Daylight Savings Time is also in common usage, and can be found in dictionaries.

Adding to the confusion is that the phrase Daylight Saving Time is inaccurate, since no daylight is actually saved. Daylight Shifting Time would be better, and Daylight Time Shifting more accurate, but neither are politically desirable.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Joke

Mickey Mouse awoke one winter's morning and stepped out to get the morning paper. When he opened his front door, he noticed that someone had pee-written in the snow "Mickey is a dick!". Mickey called the police who conducted a test on the urine. The detective approached Mickey and said, "Well Mickey, I have bad news and worse news. The bad news is that the pee is Goofy's. The worse news is that the handwriting is Minnie's".

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Softie?

So I am sitting in Caribou doing some work when a guy approaches me and gives me a story about a tire blowing out on his sister's car and how she has AAA and it's going to be towed to a local station which is all well and good but they are still $13 short to purchase an actual tire and is there anything I could do to help.

Anyone who knows me knows my immediate response is to dramatically roll my eyes, heave a sigh, and physically communicate to this person how he has intruded on my space and ruined my life merely by approaching me. But for some reason, I bought it. And gave him $5.

Now, anyone who knows me is wondering, "Who are you and what have you done with Dop?" I know, right?? Like that is so totally not me at all, you know! I've brushed off more panhandlers than I could ever think of counting. But something about this guy seemed genuine to me. Could it be that at some time in my life I had been stranded myself and needed a handout in much the same way? Could it be that it's been so freaking cold in Chicago and the thought of anyone having to spend any amount of time outside seems unnecessary if I can help it? Could it be that although I work for a charity, I rarely find myself in a position to actually help someone out directly?

Probably not. Tonight I was probably just a sucker. But I'm allowing myself to think that I wasn't, just this once. For whatever the reason, this guy needed money. I can overlook what his reasons for needing the money were . . . on another cold night in Chicago.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Showering

I was at my parents' house and wanted to take a shower. I decided not to use the one in my bathroom but to mix it up a bit and try another one in the house. I went to the one upstairs in the attic but found it under construction and disabled, so I found another bathroom in the house and decided to use that one.

As I closed the bathroom door, I noticed something resembling a cat suit hanging on the back of the door. So, being a gay man, I decided to try it on while I waited for the water in the shower to get as hot as I like it. The suit, which looked more Cher-like and less Halle-like, seemed to fit me just fine but it never occurred to me what it was doing there or even who it might belong to.

So then I jump in the shower and as I finish and step out, my brother enters the bathroom with three other people. The first thing I could grab was the bathmat and wrapped that around my midsection. As I stood there naked and dripping, I realized I recognized two of the people with my brother as being Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip of Great Britain - both of whom didn't seem the least bit fazed by my presence.

This dream preceded a really nasty head cold I've been dealing with for the last two days. It only makes sense I guess.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Coffee vs. Tea

Why are coffee drinkers treated better thank tea drinkers in restaurants? Coffee drinkers are given multiple refills. Someone even comes to your table and fills the mug back up before the last mouthful is swallowed. Tea drinkers are lucky to get enough hot water for even one full mug. Some restaurants will even set a carafe of coffee on your table so you can refill at your leisure. But not for tea drinkers: one teabag and one small pitcher of hot water and that's it.

Tea is the simplest thing on the planet: a bag of leaves and some hot water. That's it. There's no foam, there's no double shot, there's no ordering it "skinny" -- it's just a bag. And depending on where you might order your tea, sometimes it's loose leaves filtered through a napkin. What could be more rustic and rudimentary??

So why are tea drinkers treated like red-headed step-children? I am a proud drinker of tea (Earl Grey if you have it). And I demand to be treated just as good as someone who is drinking Maxwell House, Decaf, or even a 13 shot venti soy hazelnut vanilla cinnamon white mocha with extra white mocha and caramel (which, by the way, costs $13.76 at Starbuck's).

Friday, February 29, 2008

February 29th

There haven't been many of these in my life - only 10. My friend Kim was born on February 29, 1976. Technically, she's only 8 years old (that must feel strange). So looking back on my life, I was curious what I did on the years February 29th came around. Admittedly, it's a short list:

2004 - The Oscars were on this night. I returned back to DC from a weekend at my parent's place. Had dinner at Lauriol Plaza with Ex#4, then watched the Academy Awards at home.

2000 - Went to Baltimore to assist on a photo shoot for Guilford Pharmaceuticals's annual report. Came back to DC to attend the local AIGA seminar at the Mayflower Hotel.

1996 - Worked at my Gap store from 12:30-9:30. Vice President Peter Brooks visited the store. Attended friend Monica's Absolutely Fabulous party. My friend Joey called from New Orleans.

1992 - Classmate Mary's One-Person Show at ShenU. Friend Corey had a party at his house. Afterwards, Ex#2, Matt, Joshua and I drove to Deer Park Lodge to hang out with friends Matt, Jeff and Akili.

1988 - Worked from 9:30-5:00 at Peskin's, then drove to Ex#1's house for the night in Sterling, VA (140 miles).

1984 - Play practice at 7:00 for Senior play Harvey.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Five Dollars

I got an expense check from work for $270. With only one day in town before heading back out again for several days, I decided to just cash the check at my company's bank rather than take a cab to my bank to deposit the check.

So I went to Chase Bank to cash the check. The teller asked me if I had an account with them and I said no. Then she said, "You know there's a $5 charge."

"For cashing a check?"

"Yes."

"For cashing a check drawn on YOUR bank where you can look into the account and see that there is a balance?"

"Yes."

"What's the $5 cover?"

"Well, it doesn't cover anything."

"It's a surcharge?"

"Yes."

"For what?"

"To cash the check."

"Because I don't have an account?"

"Yes."

"So where does the $5 go?"

"Go?"

"Yeah, where does it go? How do you account for it?"

"I don't know that?"

"Pizza party, perhaps?"

"No, sir."

"Can you waive the fee?"

"No, sir."

"Would you if you could?"

"Sir..."

"I just think it's ridiculous."

"Yes, sir. Do you want to cash the check?"

"Do I still have to pay $5 to do it?"

"Yes, sir."

"Do I have a choice?"

"You always have a choice."

And with that, I walked out of the bank with my $265.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Splitting Up

The BF and I have reached a new maturity level in our relationship. Tomorrow, we are splitting up. It's been about two months in the making, but the timing just didn't work out for us so we had a conversation and realized that he should go his way and I will go mine. And it was good for us to be able to . . .

. . . wait, what? . . .

No, no. I'm talking about taking separate vacations. You didn't think I meant "breaking up" did you? Silly.

I am going home to visit my family for a few days and The BF is going to visit our friend Matt in Hawaii. I was invited to go to Hawaii too, but I feel like it's time for me to actually spend some quality time with the parental units and the siblings. A lot has happened back home that I feel I need to be home for, and to do this I need to give up a tropical vacation with the man I love. And because he loves me, he understands I need to do this. Like I said - a real maturity in our relationship.

I'll miss him, naturally, and I know I am missing out on a fun experience with him. I am glad he decided to go without me because it would bother me more that he didn't go because of me. Besides, the opportunity will come around again. And really, it doesn't really matter where we go together - he's constant fun.

So for the next few days - aloha!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Old Designers Never Die...

Goil Amornvivat, who introduces himself as “Hi I’m Goil! Like gargoyle!”, was one of my favourite designers on Bravo's lame Top Design (which I hear they are mistakenly bringing back for another series), even if he cracked under pressure. His ideas always struck me as so completely innovative and, for lack of a better term, freakin’ cool.
I’ve also recently spotted Goil on TLC’s Trading Spaces. He really has lasting power in the industry, which I think qualifies him as “fabulous.” I’m not going to lie; if Bravo gave Goil his own show, I would totally watch it.
I'm glad he's landed on television again in a design capacity. As far as I know, he's the only one from the original Top Design that acquired such a deal. And even though this will make me sound like I'm a thug from Jersey, "You go, Goil!"

Friday, February 15, 2008

Project Runway Finalists

So the producers of the show have done it again - rather than narrow the group of 15 or so down to three (as they say they will throughout the run of the show), they've selected 4 finalists. This time, though, Lady Seal says that two of the contenders will have to duke it out before the Big Show at Fashion Week by showing their top three looks to the judges. THEN, the judges will decide who gets to be in the runway show.

Right. Like they would ask someone to put an entire line together and NOT let him show at Fashion Week. Perhaps BRAVO won't air the fourth show on television, but trust - all four will show at Bryant Park.

The contenders: Rami, Christian, Jillian, and Chris.

The three who will be televised: Rami, Christian, and Jillian.

The winner: Rami, third. Christian, second. Jillian, first.

Even though Christian is the most talented, he will get second place, as is the tradition of the show. The most creative people always gets second place: Kara Saun, Daniel and Uli.

Wait two weeks and see if I'm not right. 'Cause I will be. I'm as sure of this as I am sure that Ricky will cry, Jack will camp it up, and Elisa will imbue the upholstery with the energy of the Goddess of Ghindy (God, I can't wait for the reunion show!)

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