Monday, January 31, 2011

Who Needs Groundhogs?

I grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I don't think I even crossed the Mackinac Bridge into Lower Michigan until my teens, and until my twenties the furthest south I ever traveled was Chicago. My university was on the Keeweenaw peninsula which juts out into Lake Superior far enough to ensure you know the meaning of "lake effect."

You can always tell people from Michigan, when you ask them where they're from they show you on their hand. And if they're from the Upper Peninsula they'll use both hands. I lived on the left thumb.

Trust me when I say, I know winter. Which may explain why I now live in Georgia. After living here 17 years, I've become acclimated. I no longer complain about the heat, but if the temperature dips in the 50s... well, now I have a blog for that.

But I sure can't complain about our weather this weekend. With bright sunshine and temperatures flirting with 70ºF, we got a taste of Spring. There's a switch that flips the first time the winter weather gives way. At school in the U.P. this would happen when the temperature hit 40º. People would start wearing shorts and laying in the sun between melting snow banks. In the south the choice between shorts and long pants seems mostly driven by seasonal fashion. But this weekend I wore shorts.

The unseasonably warm weather drew everyone outside which contributed to the feeling that something surreal was going on. It was a communal acknowledgement that, while Winter isn't over by any means -- the forecast for next weekend calls for snow -- Spring can't be far away.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Bad Friend. Bad!

Have you ever had a perfectly harmless practical joke go horribly, horribly wrong? It happened to me today, but I need to rewind a few days to tell the story right.

It was a typical Sunday afternoon. I had just finished a half-marathon and was volunteering my time reading to a group of deaf orphans at a local soup kitchen. Okay, I was Scruffing.

Scrolling through the bears I was surprised to see a familiar face from my past.

I learned Zane was gay about a year ago when we reconnected on Facebook. But let's face it, it was obvious in high school and it didn't exactly come as a shock. I'll be damned, I thought. Zane's on Scruff. Nice Speedo.

I realized the fact my name and face don't show in my profile gave me an opportunity to have a little fun with my old friend. I woofed him.

When I didn't get an immediate response I decided to play things cool. The next day, I woofed him again. Nothing. Every day this week I woofed Zane. According to my "Viewers" list, not so much as a curious peek. I figured I'd keep woofing the bitch 'til he either acknowledged me or blocked me.

I was working kind of late for a Friday. Around six I saw I had a Scruff message. It was Zane.

"How goes it? Love the pic! Zane here."

Hee hee! Welcome to my web little fly.

"About time! I've been woofing you all week."

"Sorry, saw the woofs pop up but didn't see them when I went in until today."

"How ya doing Zane? :)"

I was trying to think of a cryptic high school reference when I got an awful feeling in the pit of my stomach. A feeling which was to turn eerily prescient. I started typing furiously...

"Don't send any..."

Too late.

The pics came. And they came. And they didn't stop. Alone. With someone. With groups. I'm not sure, but I think I saw an actual bear. Then the pics of Zane cumming came. I slammed the cover of my iPad closed in case some innocent victim, also working late, happened past my cube and caught the nasty, perverted stream of ceaseless filth. I actually held the cover down, as if the smut could force its way out.

I'd never seen or even thought about Zane naked before. And now I can't get the image of his hairy behind under various angles of assault out of my head.

Now what do you do? Think Pac, think! You got yourself into this, how are you going to get out? You've always excelled under pressure, right? THINK DAMMIT!

I opened the cover of my iPad, typed "Wow dude, so hot!", closed my iPad and decided it was time for happy hour.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Throwback Friday

That was me in college. Had to have been
twenty years ago. It was one of the last times I
donated blood. Yup, I was still a man-virgin.
Who am I kidding... I was a *-virgin.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? So I'm ripping off Randy's idea and posting a throwback pic. Mostly because I'm running late and my morning is packed with meetings. It's at the point where I hate that sound my iPhone makes when I get a meeting invitation. Its nerve-shattering. I really wish I could make my own ringtone for those, something soothing. I get them all hours of the day and night. I even got an invitation for a meeting scheduled for yesterday.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ojo Rosado

Who gave you pink eye??
Last night I noticed I was having a problem with my contact lens. This morning it's a full blown case of conjunctivitis. "What's conjuva-cactus?" asks JB, standing on his toes to get a closer look.

"Pink eye."

"Unclean! Uncleeeeean! Stop looking at me!"

There are a lot of great things about having a Mexican husband. The food comes to mind. And the excitement inherent in never quite knowing when I'm about to cross the fine, invisible line between World's Best Boyfriend and Estupido Puta.

One thing that's not so cool is the superstitious ritualism that takes the place of reason in matters such as science, medicine and network printing. The man can be bottomed in every conceivable position in bed, but merely stepping over him when he's on the floor, that's a violation? WTF?

JB actually believes I can give him my pink eye by looking at him. Seriously? Infectious germs can travel on beams of light? Since he also thinks he can get it by watching an animal poop, I guess so.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

More Than A Feeling

I grew up in a rural area which had an elementary school nearby. Starting with grade 8, I'd take the bus into town for the next five years to attend middle school then high school. During that time I had the same bus driver. I realize now she was family. Not old, certainly younger than I am now, Barb was considered cool. Once a year before Christmas break, she'd let us have a snowball fight on the bus.

My brothers and I would start driving to school when we got old enough, but sharing a Volkswagon Beatle with our various extracurricular activities meant having to still take the bus a lot. For the entire five years (and presumably longer) Barb always wore the same orange down vest. And she only played one 8-track tape. Over and over and over. Every day. For five years.

I'm sure kids today would be amused by the concept of a song track fading out mid-song, hearing the player click to the next track, and the song fading back on. To this day I can't listen to Boston without smiling when the track doesn't flip where it's supposed to.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Morning Workout

Woke up at 5:15am with no alarm this morning and went into the gym. Morning workouts used to be a habit for me, but since I switched gyms and got a workout partner I've been going in the evenings. I'd forgotten how nice this feels. There's something about knocking it out first thing and starting the day with easy win.

It would be nice to have a job that I could count on being able to make it reliably to the gym at 6pm, but it almost never fails that some "emergency" pops up around 5pm that demands immediate attention. Then there's traffic. Then there's the fact that every other queen likes to go to the gym at 6pm.

I've tried to talk Gil into a once-a-week morning session, but he refuses. Says he's not a "morning person". The fact of the matter is, to him, the gym is a social experience. A gym without men is like a gym without plates. Ironically, he's the one to start cursing when he has to wait for a station or a bar.

So we compromised. We'll coordinate so that when we do get together once or twice a week, we can work the same sets. I've gotten used to working out with a partner, but it's nice to focus on work without having to stress out about making it to the gym on time.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Full Moon Dream

I had a sex dream yesterday morning that I just can't stop thinking about. Seems like I haven't had a good sex dream since they went dry in my teens. Not that I don't still have sex dreams, they just aren't usually good sex dreams.

My typical sex dream always starts out promising enough. A connection, arousal and a plan to consummate. Then, almost invariably, the next several hours approximate the dramatic arc of Adventures in Babysitting. Not only am I frustrated when I wake up, I'm exhausted.

But not this time. This one was so good, I started to wonder if maybe I wasn't dreaming. I pinched myself. Ow... Still there. Then I actually asked out loud, "Is this real or am I dreaming?" They assured me it was real.

Who am I to argue with eight hot guys?

I know I haven't said this in a very long time, but I love you subconscious brain. You were paying attention to my porn!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Recent Erection

Our condo is on the inside corner of the building facing the "courtyard". While only the corner units have balconies, we have precious little exterior exposure. Only enough for one window and the two glass doors which slide open to the balcony. But with a south and west exposure, these windows do a remarkable job of bringing light in, even with trees in front of them. In fact in the summer, the trees help moderate the solar heating and throw peaceful dappled light indoors.

But this time of year the leaves are gone and the late afternoon sun streams directly in, creating sharp shadows and blinding reflections. Sometimes it ignites the carpeting and drapes, but that's a story for another time.

Working from home most of last week due to the "Great Four-Inch Blizzard" of 2011, I noticed a change. In the afternoon the sun would stream in, but a short time later dim again. It seems we're now in the shadow of the recently erected 1075 Peachtree building. Damn. May as well turn our pool into a duck pond. Ducks hate the sun, no? Bats then. Turn it into a bat pond.

Our new neighbors. Still mostly empty.
Where did our sun go?
Figures there'd be an app for that.

Monday, January 17, 2011


I hate when I realize way after everyone else that I've had a bad attitude. I can blame last weeks weather which kept me inside eating, wiping out any progress I've made since New Years. Or when I did go out, slipping on the ice which left me walking like I've been violated. Or not really getting violated.

But I'm not going to assign blame. Instead I'm going to try to turn my head around and make this week make me forget the bad parts of last week. Part of this plan involves getting back in the gym and in the park running as the ice melts and my tail bone improves.

Another part is to do something nice for all the people I may have been short with or didn't pay attention to while I was focussed on my own problems. Including my upstairs neighbor who likes to rev the engine on his Corvette after midnight. I think standing on my balcony last night bitching at him was my turning point. Really? I'm that guy? No, I'm not.

So here's my attempt to make it up to StevieB for belittling his excitement for the impending opening of the Denver IKEA. I'm sorry guy. I understand, I really do. Look what I did when our IKEA opened. Behold the Joan Crawford Memorial Closet...

See? I have a walk-in I can actually walk into, but I have no room to poke fun. I have a cock ring drawer for crying out loud. I hope you accept my apology.

Now I need to figure out how to make it up to Jersey Shore on the third floor.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Whining

Sorry I haven't posted sooner. I have no excuse really since I've been stuck in the house three days due to a winter storm. (Who knew it only takes four inches to traumatize Atlanta?) I've tried to blog, but all I've come up with so far is "All work and no play makes Pac a dull boy." And JB is starting to look like Shelly Duvall. If that bitch asks me one more time if I'm sure I paid this month's association dues, I swear...

Go ahead, axe me one more time.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Cher, Bear and Pork

This week I've been coming home from work exhausted. I'm just not used to these grueling five-day work weeks, with nothing to look forward to but MLK and Groundhog days. Last night, for the first time in a long time, I actually got eight hours of sleep. (Without the help of alcohol, prescription drugs or CSPAN.)

Let's take a look at this morning's output of my Sleep Cycle app...

Went to bed / woke up: 9:43 / 5:43
Total time: 7h 59m

Dream Key
A: I was Cher's personal assistant and couldn't get her Starbuck's order right. And the barista kept putting the cardboard sleeve inside the cup.
B: Attacked by bears... and you were there!* Grrrr.
C: Barbecue pork sandwich.

Not you, Julie. Maybe tomorrow night.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pac Fat

Withings WiFi Scale
After paying the American Express bill for our high-retail holiday, the last thing I need to do is to keep buying more gadgets. But this I just couldn't resist. I'm using the three pounds I gained over the holidays to justify the purchase to JB.

But my real motive is to help support JB in losing weight. My poor Jumping Bean is feeling miserable. I always say he looks great, and he does. But the fact of the matter is he's gained forty pounds since we first met.

The wakeup call came last week when I went to see my doctor. (Stevie B picks up plates in the gym, I pick up staph infections.) While I was there he told me how concerned he was with JB's weight gain and asked me to do what I can to help him. He understands it's difficult to help a loved one lose weight, especially if they're not motivated to do it for themselves. He said he's dealing with the same issue with his partner.

So, being the geek I am, I bought a connected scale. After setting it up last night, I have to say it's pretty darn cool. All we need to do is step on. Based on previous readings, the scale recognizes who's on it and wirelessly uploads his weight and body fat measurements. We can access our current and historical stats online or with an iPhone app.

While by default this information is secure and private, it's also possible to have the scale instantly tweet your weight to the world. I know, just because I can doesn't mean I should. But I am. Behold the new "Pac Fat" widget to the right.

I'm still deciding what my goal weight should be. I've been holding fairly steady at 200 for the past few years, but at that weight my BMI is considered "obese". I know that's bullshit, but it definitely won't hurt me to lose a few pounds while JB is working on getting his weight down.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hot Cross Abs

I mentioned before I was raised Catholic. My parents made sure I hit the major sacramental milestones on schedule, although I got the impression this was more for my grandmother's benefit than my own. As it was explained upon Confirmation, we'd reached the age of reason. I celebrated by exercising my reason and setting upon my own spiritual path.

But I'm grateful for my Catholic upbringing, if only because it gives me one religion beside Scientology I feel I have the legitimate right to ridicule.

I remember spending what seemed like years of my childhood kneeling next to my grandmother as she repeatedly hailed Mary, wondering what in the hell she did that made her feel the need to confess almost every single day. Whatever it was, it must have been really bad. I made a mental note to ask Mom later how grandpa died.

Grandma taught me there were many, many more holy days than just the Easter and Christmas my parents celebrated. That sounded wonderful until I realized the Feast of Saint Blaise involved neither candy nor presents. I pondered this while standing in line to have a priest whack my neck with long candles.

"Why do we need our throat blessed?" I'd ask.

"To protect us from diseases of the throat."

That sounded reasonable enough, I guess. At least I didn't have to worry about brain cancer metastasizing too far. I figured I must be missing the days the other parts of the body got blessed. And do they bless wieners? That made me giggle.


I remember Grandma shushing me a lot in church. Another thing I remember was staring over the alter at that twelve foot crucifix with Jesus nailed to it. There was so much about that morbid exhibition that didn't make sense to me. I thought that, if I were Jesus, it would kind of bother me that the worst moment of my life would just happen to be the one the church would choose to immortalize as it's symbolic centerpiece. If any scene from my life is going to be frozen for eternity, I'd much rather remember turning water into wine or running my toes through a hooker's hair. You know, the good times. But no, you have to constantly trigger my PTSD with that gothic monstrosity.

But I had to admit, being stretched out naked like that really accentuated the abs. Say what you will about the big J, the dude had a six-pack.

I have no idea what triggered this memory from my childhood.

In other news, the "Bobby Flay's Best Burgers" edition of Men's Fitness is out!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Brisk Rub-Down Leaves The Body Aglow

The holidays are officially over. Well, not yet, we still need to return the tree and decorations to storage. But I did just pay the American Express bill.

The big present for us this year was our new iMac. I bought JB yet another camera. But his gift to me was the best.

Several years ago I participated in my first and only eBay auction. I bought a single page from a 1917 National Geographic magazine. An advertisement for Ivory Soap by illustrator J.C. Lyendecker.

Many biographers have speculated on J. C. Leyendecker's sexuality, often attributing the apparent homoerotic aesthetic of his work to a homosexual identity. Without question, Leyendecker excelled at depicting male homosocial spaces (locker rooms, clubhouses, tailoring shops) and extraordinarily handsome young men in curious poses or exchanging inexplicable glances.

I'd read about this particular work on The Commercial Closet and when I saw the ad for sale on eBay, I couldn't resist. I was concerned it might be a reproduction, but it was obviously an original magazine page.

For almost ten years it sat in my filing cabinet. Imagine my surprise when I opened my present to find my ad beautifully framed. What a wonderful and thoughtful gift, which now hangs proudly in my bathroom.

Monday, January 3, 2011

First Impressions

I'm at the center top. And that's Roger,
front and center. Just the guys in this
photo are good for hundreds of stories.
This weekend a college friend started posting on Facebook a bunch of old photos he scanned. Man, those were some crazy days. As I helped him tag the faces, I was embarrassed to admit I'd forgotten some of the names. But even at the time I was never good with names.

I was active in my fraternity, but also worked alternate semesters as an engineering co-op to pay for school. Not only did this delay my graduation, it kept me hundreds of miles away from "home" half the year. Every time I came back to school there'd be a bunch of new active brothers and pledges I'd never met. Even after getting all the names down, it would take me a while to really get to know them. Some were easier to like than others.

After a while I realized that some of the best friends in my life were people I didn't necessarily like or would have chosen to befriend based upon my first impression of them. Some of these guys existed in the periphery of my busy life for years before something happened to bring us together and spark a deeper friendship.

It was that way with Roger. Roger was a man's man. He chewed tobacco and collected guns. We had nothing in common and never really warmed up to each other. Then one summer I was working on a project in Alabama, a long, long way from Michigan Tech. I remember Roger telling me he would be spending the summer doing ROTC training at Fort Benning, but didn't realize until I'd started working that this Army base was just a few miles from me. I had to contact his family to reach him.

We hung out and had a lot of fun that summer. Back at school we had even more crazy adventures. He even took me bear hunting. I invited him to my home for holidays and my family adopted him. He met his future wife in my home town. Eventually we both graduated and moved on with our lives, getting together occasionally at weddings, reunions or college hockey tournaments.

A couple years ago I was shocked to hear Roger had been killed. At first I assumed he'd been called to active duty, but no. It was an industrial accident. Something about unloading chemicals from a tanker. I didn't even find out until after the funeral when my mom read about it in the local newspaper. I wrote his wife, but never heard anything back.

Looking at these photos reminded me of Roger. And it also reminded me not to take any of these old friendships for granted. There are a hundred other guys in these photos who are still very much alive. And, finally, it reminded me to never write anyone off based on shallow first impressions. You never know where your next new friendship will come from.