Thursday, May 30, 2013

Shopaphobic

Last December when JB asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I said all I wanted was a shopping trip to buy new clothes. It wasn't the clothes that were to be my gift. All of our holiday shopping gets charged to our joint account anyway. (The spirit of giving takes a back seat to the accumulation of miles and double miles. We're kind of of sky-mile whores that way.) It was shopping for clothes with JB that was my Christmas present.

I didn't always see being born gay as a blessing, not like I do now. I love my gay life and wouldn't trade it for anything. But in an ironic twist of fate, God also gifted my lonely X chromosome with red-green color-blindness. I've always considered this a cruel double-whammy, since my color-blindness cancels out some of the culturally stereotypical "benefits" of homosexuality (e.g., fashion sense and interior design skills) while doing nothing to abate any of the culturally stereotypical disadvantages (e.g., lisping and throwing like a girl).

In other words, asking me to differentiate "mauve" from "magenta" will elicit the same blank stare as asking me to explain how "earned run average" differs from "runs batted in". See what I mean? Thank goodness my unbridled promiscuity is intact.

Long story short: shopping for my own clothes would end in disaster without help. Lots of patient help.

One of the cool speckled tee-shirts JB picked out for me.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Nice To See You Stevie B

"Dammit, you weren't supposed to be taller than me," I disappointedly told Stevie B a week ago last Friday.

In a text conversation maybe two years ago, I told Stevie I probably shouldn't make short jokes because, for all I know, he could be a "little person". When he never disputed my half-joking assertion, I mentally prepared myself for the possibility our Stevie might be an adorable nugget.

Adorable, yes. But bite-sized? Sadly not. It turns out we're exactly the same height. But while I was wearing flat-soled shoes, Stevie had on the snazziest pair of hiking boots I ever saw. The boots, of course, came with a story that made me laugh. Not to mention being a much more suitable choice of footwear than my Puma driving shoes for our hike in the Rockies.

The foundation of our friendship has always been humor. Stevie can make me laugh so easily that I'm laughing as I type this. In our text conversations I'll typically express my amusement with a generous sprinkling of LOLs and emoji. But I noticed a long time ago that Stevie doesn't rely on such affectations in his casual writing. Even when we started conversing on the phone by voice, I could tell Stevie wasn't nearly as much of a chuckler, giggler, guffawer or belly-laugher as I am. Not even nervous laughter, something I try (and invariably fail) to suppress.

So I was happily surprised upon meeting him in person to see how much Stevie really does laugh. His laughter is expressed mostly through his eyes and with his smile. I have a theory about people with this quiet type of laughter; that their humor often tends to be droll and observational. They find the humor in a situation without necessarily feeling the need to interject themselves into it. They're far more interested in maintaining the purity of the satire intrinsic to the situation as it naturally reveals itself. Sort of like the Heisenberg uncertainty principle of comedy. Or Jane Goodall observing chimps.

This, of course, will make perfect sense to those who follow his blog. To enjoy Stevie's humor, all one must do is read or listen. While not absolutely necessary, an intermediate-to-advanced grasp of American, British and Japanese pop-culture is highly recommended. And for best results, binge-watch every season of Dynasty on Netflix, even if you saw it in the 80's.

Stevie's laughter, on the other hand, is best enjoyed face to face. Which, if you're close to 5'11", shouldn't require one of you to stand on a phone book, box, chair or table.

This is Stevie B laughing. Which – considering I was purposely
posing him by that sign on a busy pedestrian bridge in dangerous
proximity to high voltage – might have been nervous laughter.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Rocky Mountain Guy, Colorado

Meeting StevieB, Part I

For the past couple years, my partner has been keenly aware of the telltale signs I was carrying on an online relationship. "Your boyfriend's sexting you again," JB would meow whenever Stevie's name popped up on my phone.

For the sake of those who haven't had the pleasure, there's something about the hispanic boyfriend temperament that makes them acutely vigilant for the slightest hint of disloyalty or disrespect, no matter how small or imaginary. This trait can express itself in all manner of fascinating, entertaining and mostly non-lethal ways.

On one occasion JB snuck up behind me as I was giddily thumbing my iPhone and snatched it out of my hands to confront me with the proof of my dalliance. After flicking through four screens of esoteric satire, Merovingian genealogy and shoe-shopping pics, he handed my phone back to me with a puzzled, sheepish expression and apologized.

Damn right, I thought, hoping my demeanor of vindication and sullen indignation at the flagrant and unwarranted violation of my privacy would hide my relief that he got bored before page five.

Then there was that time at a restaurant I had to ask a complete stranger to call me just to prove to JB that Stevie was indeed getting my standard, generic ringtone.

So when JB asked what I wanted to do for my birthday this year and I casually yet apprehensively suggested, "How about Denver?", I was taken a little off-guard when he immediately said, "I'll start making the arrangements."

"Now what's he up to?", I wondered. Maybe JB was simply as curious to finally meet this Stevie guy in person as I was. Or maybe he was planning to take this opportunity to size up his cyber-competition, Real Housewives of Atlanta style. I struggled to suppress an involuntary shiver.

"One last time before we land,
there will be no weave snatching
on this trip. Understood?"
But knowing my Jumping Bean as well as I do, I suspected another motive at play, devilishly genius in its design and execution.

After all, having your partner back out of accompanying you to your family reunion after you've taken him halfway across the country to meet his online crush would be a divorcable offense, now wouldn't it.

Isn't it funny how relationships work?








Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Whine Cooler

I'm having a run of bad home maintenance luck these past few weeks. I know, it could be worse, especially considering the original HVAC system is nearly my age. And now I fear I've jinxed it.

A while back my dishwasher broke. While at Home Depot shopping for a replacement, I fell in love with a beautiful wine chiller. Stainless steel and tinted black glass with electronic touch controls, I justified it as the design centerpiece around which my kitchen would be remodeled.

Five years later and the appliances are still beige and I'm still hand-washing the dishes. And now, the bottom half of my beautiful chiller ain't chillin.

But unlike my dishwasher, it's considerate enough to give me an error message.

"E4" is appliance for "cough, cough, croak".
Looks like I'll hafta put my tool belt on.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Great Eggo Crisis

It's another soggy morning in Atlanta. No shock there, it seems like it's been raining every day for weeks. Still, it's better than the drought we had a few years ago. My PTSD still flares up when I flush.

I was reading an article yesterday on Weather Underground. It seems we have a "cut off low" hanging over us. Neat.

A cut-off low is the meteorological equivalent of that guy at work who, when he hears two or more people enjoying a spirited conversation, drifts over to dominate the discourse with a barely related personal anecdote about once being part of the Jet Stream which he thinks makes himself appear cool but really just bores the hell out of everyone. Unable to read the social cues, he drones on until all you can do is wait for a two second gap to say, "Well, I better get back to work." At which point everyone scatters back to their desks leaving the cut-off low drifting in search of the next ray of sunshine he can precipitate the fun out of.

Yes, it's just like that.

The article mentions that while this weekend's weather system raised area rivers to flood stage, it isn't as bad as the "Great Atlanta Flood of 2009".

What?? I missed a Great Flood?  Following the link to Wikipedia, I was curious to read about the disaster I can't remember effortlessly surviving.

Okay, I think it's coming back to me now. I recall clips on the news of some of the roller coasters at Six Flags getting swamped. Ten people died. No, not at Six Flags. (Although that place is deadly.) Most of the victims perished in their cars on flooded streets. I imagine their last words being, "That puddle looks deep. Finally, an opportunity to justify my purchase of a 4x4 SUV even though I never leave the city."

Then I came to this factoid...
"Located along the Chattahoochee River in west Atlanta, the R.M. Clayton sewage treatment plant, the largest in the Southeastern U.S., was swamped with four feet of water as the river rose by twelve additional feet. Millions of gallons of untreated sewage were released into the rising waters."
That's gross. But it was the rest of that paragraph that seemed oddly non sequiter...
"Also located near the Chattahoochee, a Kellogg Company food plant was flooded, resulting in the closure of the plant and a subsequent national shortage of waffles."
Now I'm afraid. Not only do I not remember the Great Flood of 2009, I have absolutely no recollection of soggy, sewage-tainted breakfast pastries precipitating a nation-wide waffle shortage? Not one memory of the ensuing hoarding, looting and government-imposed waffle rationing? Really? You'd think I'd remember something like that.

Note to self: make an appointment to get checked for Alzheimer's. I should probably write that down somewhere.


"You were warned."

Where were you during the Great Eggo Shortage of '09?



Thursday, May 2, 2013

Life Of A Torpid Sloth

Even if my FitBit doesn't motivate me to actually burn more calories, it definitely elucidates exactly what kind of torpid sloth I am. This isn't cool, but I'm showing you anyway. In my defense, I occasionally get bogged down in work and this week is one of those occasions.

For those who might not know what a FitBit is, it's basically a tiny electronic pedometer which monitors every movement you make and automagically uploads the results to the Internet. The idea is that, if you know your friends are watching your every move, you'll be motivated to move more. But really it just gives my sister one more thing to taunt me about.

Designed to wear 24 hours a day, the FitBit is tiny enough that you can keep it in your watch pocket and forget it's even there, usually until the 2nd rinse cycle.

That's how my first FitBit died. Washing machine. And that's the insidious part about wearing a FitBit. You get so used to being able to quantify your daily activity that when you're not wearing it, you feel like any uncredited twitch is a waste of time and energy. Well, that's how I feel.

In response to my still, motionless grief, JB replaced my dead little buddy with the latest model, the FitBit One. Which I promptly proceeded to launder. Not only does this version seem more resilient to such treatment, I earned thousands of steps in the spin cycle.

Another feature about the new FitBit I really like is the vibrating alarm. JB hates when my alarm clock wakes him five hours early, all because I have to go to work. Wearing the FitBit on my wrist not only tracks my sleep quality, it wakes me up a minute before my alarm goes off.

Anyway, let's have a look at my day yesterday:


2am: Having gone to bed early after a long, exhausting day at work, I get up to pee. Return to bed.

6am: Turn off alarm clock. Pee. Return to bed.

7am: Get up, feed the cats, make coffee, make oatmeal, sit down at the computer.

8am: Get another cup of coffee, comment on StevieB's blog posts, forget I made oatmeal.

9am: I notice the time. I shave, pee, shower, dress, pack oatmeal in tupperware and drive to work. (I left out a step and I might have efficiently combined two of those other steps into one.)

9:30am: Walk from the parking lot into the office, wave to the guy living in his Toyota, sit at my desk.

10:00am: Walk to the break room to get a spork for my oatmeal. Eat oatmeal at my desk while frantically writing code for a project known internally as BAMBI.

1pm: Quietly wonder what BAMBI stands for. Catch myself crying. Not sure if I was remembering Bambi's mom getting shot or wondering what happened to my life. Wipe away tears and daydream about upcoming vacation. All without moving, evidently.

4pm: Pee. Walk to the break room for a cup of coffee to discover the coffee machine is mysteriously gone. Walk to the next building over to find coffee. Reach my activity peak for the day. Go back to my desk to check in my code.

7:30pm: After building and testing my code changes, I walk to my car. I wonder where Toyota guy goes at night. Drive home, walk into my house and eat the plate of dinner JB saved for me. Fish.

9pm: Go to bed early after a long, exhausting day at work. After peeing.


2212 steps total. I know. Pathetic.