Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Expectation Gap

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me... underwear.


I think this is JB's not-so-subtle way of telling me to get a job.

At first I thought I saw an Apple Store gift card tucked inside. Sadly it was just the tag. A giant underpants tag. A giant, four-page underpants tag.


I'm sure these undies will come in handy if I ever need to surrender. Or shart.

I think the fourth page is intentionally left blank for me to write my name.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Go Pack Go

Who needs hand-warmers when deep-fried
cheese curds do the job just as well?
These past few weeks have been a whirlwind of holiday travel. We visited the JB's family in Chicago and mine in Green Bay. My sister's gift this Christmas was Packers tickets. The Monday Night Football match against the Falcons. Although I now live in Atlanta, my allegiance will always be to my first home team.

My mom was the biggest Packers fan ever. I think her pet name for me as a toddler was "Packer" because she dreamed of me one day playing on Lambeau Field. That, or she already sensed I was gay and my childhood nickname was actually a homophobic slur.

The game was so much fun. I had a blast watching JB's first Lambeau experience. Out of the 75,000 people at the game, I'm pretty sure there was only one Mexican wearing a cheesehead.

I called JB "Nacho". Just once.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Nocturnal Python

What does it mean when Jesus appears to you in a dream? It happened to me early this morning. In my dream a "nazarene" was also the name for a type of lounge chair. This created endless opportunity for comical confusion.

You know it's going to be a good day when you wake up laughing.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

On My Toes

It's official. Not even Google can find
anything cuter than a kitten.
Kittens: Natures most adorable terrorists. (Unless you've got a fetish for greasy shawarma beards.)

A couple weeks ago, smug in the superiority of man over feline, I posted about how I prevented little Kamikaze (Kitty #1, aka Cosmo) from fitting between the bars of my balcony railing. Then I saw Kamikaze sitting on top of the balcony railing. I'd obviously merely provided him an easy means of reaching this higher, more precarious perch.

So I used the remaining chicken wire cable ties to make little plastic spikes along the rail. This succeeded in keeping Kamikaze off the railing. Which is why he now sits on the peak of the center railing post.

Yesterday I found Pussy Monster (Kitty #2, aka Rusty) chewing on a Q-tip. "Bad kitty! That's gross!" I told him as I pried it from his strong tiny jaws and threw it away. This morning I found a hundred Q-tips strewn around the house.

I've written before how JB likes to stash cash around the house before instantly forgetting where he hid it, right? The other day I found Pussy Monster chewing up a twenty dollar bill. We still don't know where he found it, and Pussy Monster isn't talking. Then today the kitties were playing "cat and mouse" with a condom. Don't worry, it was still in the wrapper. But still, I probably shouldn't use it.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Pac'n Sausage

It's a well-established scientific fact that carbohydrate cravings intensify this time of year. There are several theories for this, many having to do with serotonin levels. Luckily, I'm one of those rare individuals immune to this syndrome, having been born without a serotonin gland. (I'm an all-dopamine guy.)

Despite yet another congenital defect, I do find myself presently focusing on food more than usual. Preparing it and, of course, eating it. But most of all I find myself studying food. I think this is due to a combination of several factors: the approaching holidays, the extra time on my hands and my latent maternal instincts triggered by raising two baby kitties.

Mmmm, dirty Levis...
So while my Tivo simultaneously records the Food Network and the Cooking Channel, I'm on my googler looking up recipes. I admit to being partial to The Pioneer Woman. Not just because she's my role model for parlaying a blog into a lucrative multimedia empire, but also to catch every possible glimpse of Cowboy Josh's intriguing package. -->

But most of my focus lately has been on recreating flavors from my youth. This means quintessential Yooper food. Things like pasties, pickled eggs and cudighi. While pasty pies and pickled eggs have always been staples at my house, this was the first time attempting my own cudighi sausage.

Growing up, a "cudighi" was a sandwich. A pork sausage patty slathered in pizza sauce, topped with melted mozzarella cheese and tucked inside a hogie roll. But now I realize this tasty sausage was used in all sorts of yoo-talian dishes, including my favorite pizza.

Cudighi sausage was never something we made at home. Not even my grandmother, who made everything from scratch, attempted this to my knowledge. It was always something we'd get at a restaurant or sub shop. Now I know why. Making sausage from scratch is kind of gross.

Not planning to blog my sausage-making adventure, I didn't take any photos. I'll do that next time. And based on the results, there will be a next time. Even the Jumping Bean was raving about my sausage. This made me feel good, considering the last time he was on a nostalgic cooking kick, he tried recreating his mom's eggs & cactus.

Cactus.




Thursday, October 30, 2014

Containment Arrangement

It's been three and a half weeks since we adopted our new kittens, Cosmo and Rusty. While Aggie and Emil can never be "replaced", the quiet emptiness that has descended upon our home since their passing has been completely filled by these two little ones.

At first I had a difficult time telling them apart. They're both black, and while Cosmo has a small blaze of white on his chest, it's mostly obscured by his collar. Of course JB picked out collars with absolutely no consideration as to how they might look to someone with red-green colorblindness.

But it didn't take long for their distinct personalities to emerge. Rusty is definitely more outgoing. His affectionate kisses quickly turn into playful nips which become less cute and more painful with each passing day. We were warned by the shelter about his tendency to bite. Fortunately, he seems to be gradually exiting this phase as he learns how quickly the fun can stop.

Cosmo, on the other hand, never bites or scratches. But he's less affectionate and hates to be held. But if I patiently let him come to my on his own terms, he'll snuggle like the dickens. He was a rebound child, having already been adopted and returned to the shelter. Poor baby.

Rusty is quickly becoming the more physically imposing of the two. At his first-week checkup he'd already gained 2.5 pounds! And it feels like all muscle. While Cosmo is more demure at meal time, play time is a different story. He's usually the chaser, keeping Rusty on his toes.

For his part, Cosmo is the more adventurous of the two. There seems to be no place in the condo which is inaccessible to this little climber. This tendency is keeping his daddies on their toes. Especially the other day when we found Cozzie walking the one-inch ledge on the outside of our balcony railing.

While I'm not so worried about him hurting himself (it's only a ten foot drop) I am worried about him getting lost. But making the balcony off-limits seems like a draconian measure considering this is the only fresh air they get. It just feels wrong to make even a small part of our condo inaccessible to the kitties, considering it's now their place as much as it is ours. More than ours when you consider we're free to come and go as we please while they're consigned to spend every hour of every day here.

So after a trip to Home Depot I kitty-safed the balcony railing. I know at first blush it sounds trashy, but I assure you this is not your father's chicken wire. It's color-coordinated polyurethane poultry containment hex-netting. Still, I wasn't sure this important distinction would be fully appreciated by the HOA. So as a pre-emptive measure, I made an arrangement with an influential board member.

Quid pro quo.

The things we do for our pets.







Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Gravely Entertaining

So I watched "Dracula Has Risen From The Grave" even though the ending was utterly spoiled by the TV Guide.


It was awesome!

True enough, Drac met his demise by falling on something sharp. He fell backward onto a large crucifix... the short, top part of the cross (where Jesus' head goes) so that most of it was sticking out his back. And try as he might, he couldn't reach it. OMG it was hilarious watching him flailing around like an albatross in a BP oil slick. I almost died laughing.

Interestingly, a stake through the heart – let alone a crucifix – wasn't enough to dust this Dracula. To be fully effective, the impaling had to be accompanied by a reciting of the Lord's Prayer. The twist here was that our hero was an avowed atheist. I'm not sure if that makes him incapable of saying the words, or if his prayers don't count. Ha! Stop, I can't breathe!

So the hero and his rescued bride could only watch Drac cuss in Romanian as he struggled vainly to reach behind for the four-foot crucifix poking out his back. At one point Drac tried to push the short part (where Jesus' head goes) back through his chest wound, only to yelp in pain and soothe his sizzle-burned fingers in his mouth. Which probably should have made him glad he couldn't reach the back part. Because crucifix blisters are the worst. Hee hee!

I could have watched this go on for another fifteen minutes if the evil priest hadn't decided to turn good and put poor Drac out of his misery with a hearty latin Pater Noster. LOL!

At the end of the evil priest's prayer, the squealing vamp goes poof and the blonde bimbo falls into the hero's arms. It's at this point our atheist hero does a strange thing: he says "amen" and makes the sign of the cross. While I was a bit disappointed by our hero's apparent foxhole conversion, I admit to having done the exact same thing last Thanksgiving dinner at JB's sister's house.

According to IMDB, this 1969 movie has the distinction of being the
first move to receive a rating from the MPAA. Oddly, rated "G".




Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Spoiler Alert?

I love the old scary movies they show on TV leading up to Halloween. I'm tempted to watch this one just to see if it lives up to its brief — yet surprisingly thorough —  synopsis.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Crowning Achievements

I've had my hands full these past several weeks. Beside the full time job search, I took it upon myself to use some of my "down time" to tackle some home improvement tasks around the house. JB still won't let me do the kitchen. (For some reason he hid the sledge hammer.) So I'm having to prove my handy-manliness by installing crown molding. Crown molding. It might sound like the minor leagues of home improvement, but there's evidently trigonometry involved. I've added this skill to my resume, hoping no one asks for references.

I've also been teaching myself to write iOS apps. I find a great deal of satisfaction in seeing my practice apps work in the simulator, however I'm having trouble coming up with an original, practical app idea. The best I've come up with so far is a hook-up app for guys who talk a big game but have no actual intention of ever following through with meeting one another. But I'm afraid I'll get a cease-and-desist from Scruff.

If this weren't enough, two weeks ago JB and I adopted two baby kitties. Since then most of my time has been subsumed by these little monsters. Even when I try to work on something else, I find myself mothering the babies. Their little paws on my keyboard wreak havoc on my non-hook-up-app class methods. I have to wait until they're both napping before using the circular saw or taking the safety off the nail gun. And last week I was reduced to staking out the litter box all afternoon to make sure I put the correct cat shit into the correspondingly labeled specimen cups.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Buckles

I'm going to blame my lack of posts on my recent iPad upgrade to iOS 8. Since then I can't switch away from my Blogger app without losing all my work. This is the 2014 equivalent to "the dog ate my homework". I know that.

Until this problem gets fixed, I'll keep my posts short and sweet with minimal spelling and grammar checking. And I'll have to ask y'all to refrain from distracting me with texts, tweets, instagrams and tumblrs. My attention span has only gotten shorter since my kindergarten teacher, Ms. Cordish, told my mom I'd never make it to high school.

Last weekend I attended an Oktoberfest bear party in the north Georgia mountains. This gave me one last opportunity to wear my lederhosen before returning them to storage until next September. By "bear" party, I mean a party hosted by bears. And by "bears" I mean hefty, hairy gay men. Although I did spot one literal bear. In the bathroom.


This party also gave me the opportunity to learn not to wear my lederhosen-- or any clothing with chest buckles -- in temperatures below 70°. My nipples are still killing me.



Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Pilgrim's Progress

While StevieB made a pilgrimage to his holy land, so I made my way to mine. There's something about leaving Atlanta's still-oppressive heat for a completely different climate; one which more accurately represents the calendar. Last Thursday morning I once again found myself in Munich, Germany for the opening day of Oktoberfest. Yet my passage was far from complete.

Like StevieB's spiritual journey, mine required donning traditional vestments of leather. I'm not sure if his mission included sacramental drink. If it did, knowing Stevie, it was probably coffee.

My pilgrimage may have begun with planes and trains, but the final leg of my journey could only be completed by imbibing the ancient, mystical nectar of the gods. There are only five consecrated Oktoberfest brews, all strictly adhering to the Gospel of Reinheitsgebot. Served by the liter and consumed in song and fellowship to the sound of deep brass horns and cracking whips.

It took nearly two gallons of sacred brew (and at least half a dozen offertories to the urinal trough) but I finally achieved spiritual enlightenment. I touched the face of God. Well, I belched in the face of God. The rest is kind of fuzzy.

Pac enjoying mass. (Here they call it "Eine Maß".)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Departures

Sometimes the stars align and something for which you've given up hope becomes possible. And sometimes those alignments aren't always positive.

I'd written off the idea of going to Oktoberfest this year, mostly because of the expense, especially in light of the employment situation. But also because I couldn't consider leaving my old cat with a sitter for more than a day or two. He'd been going downhill since he lost his brother in February.

Even when JB picked up a Munich trip for opening weekend, it didn't make sense for me to tag along just to spend a single day on the Theresienwiese and come right home. Since there's a huge obnoxious music festival in the park by my house this weekend, I planed to stock up on food and beer and spend the weekend hunkered down with Emil. (The cat.)

But last week it became obvious Emil's old cat body was shutting down. On Saturday, after seventeen years together, we made the hard decision to euthanize him.

With Emil gone, I couldn't bear the idea of hunkering home alone all weekend. That's when my ex, Joe, suggested I come with him to Munich on Wednesday and fly back next week on JB's return flight. He even kindly offered to let me stay in his hotel room until JB gets there.

Which explains why I'm now sitting at an airport bar with an RSVP cruise gym bag stuffed with lederhosen.

Auf Wiedersehen.



Sunday, September 7, 2014

Den

This weekend I was convinced to tackle a chore that's been on my honey-do list since we had the ceilings redone five months ago: clean out the spare room.

I never know what to call this room. On the original floor plan it's labeled "Den". That would be appropriate if there were bears frolicking within. (Sadly there isn't.) I could only call it a den if it had a comfy leather chair in which I could drink brandy from a snifter while admiring my taxidermia.

I was once invited into a straight man's den.
It could rightly be called a "Guest Room", but it's almost never in a condition for company. Lately, in fact, I've been making sure the door is tightly closed whenever anyone knocks. Or Skypes.

I sometimes call it the "Computer Room". There is a computer in it. That I almost never use since getting my MacBook. It would make more sense to call it "Printer Room" than computer room. It's across the hall from the "Toilet Room".

I suppose I could call it a "Home Office". But I can never work from home without JB giving me stink-eye for "playing" on the computer whilst he folds laundry. Once while attempting to work from home, he sent the not-so-subtle message I wasn't performing anything he would consider "work" by repeatedly ramming the vacuum cleaner into the back of my chair. That made for an awkward conference call.

I have to give JB credit for making rush-hour commuting pleasurable.

For now I'm just calling it the "Spare Room". And since I'm between jobs (my euphemism for "unemployed") I have no excuse for not cleaning it. No, really, just ask JB.

Thus I began cleaning the spare room like any normal person who forgot to take his Adderall would: by thumbing through my high school freshman yearbook. Aren't we all glad I grew out of that awkward phase? Evidently I could only convince one 9th grade classmate to sign my yearbook.


Proof that cheaters never prosper. I bet her algebra sucks too.

Its tone has the finality of Senior year. Of course I had to go through the other three books to see if Wendy ever got to know me better. Apparently she didn't.

I'd barely moved on to my college yearbooks when JB came in to inspect my progress. And I thought getting hit with a vacuum cleaner was bad.




Friday, September 5, 2014

Seashell Network

Looking back a year, it's clear how much I was focused on the upcoming big gay cruise. Nearly every post expressed the anticipation of a well-earned vacation. While I expected a good time, I never imagined I'd be sitting here seven months afterward still writing about the experience.

The cruise itself was just a vacation. A very, very enjoyable vacation which I plan to repeat as often as practically possible. But still just a vacation that ended back home with the first load of laundry.

It's the people with whom I shared that ship that still impact my life every single day. Those I knew well, barely or not at all before the cruise, all imprinted themselves on me with equal regard. It's these relationships that come to mind when I remember that week at sea.

When the email came for next year's cruise, I knew it wasn't going to happen. Part of me sensed the job situation was going to be an issue. But another part of me worried I could never recreate the experience without all the same people there.

But lately my attitude has changed. I might miss this cruise but I'm definitely not going to miss the next one. Not when the worst that can happen is the possibility of adding more amazing friends to my social network.



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Standing By

One of the perks of being married to a fight attendant is the flight pass. One of the drawbacks to working all the time is that I don't often get to take maximum advantage of this perk.

So I guess one of the advantages of being between jobs is being able to travel on a whim.

For better or worse, when it comes to using my pass, my whims are subject to JB's approval.

For example, fly to Green Bay to spend quality time with my nephew? Approved! Fly to Boston to go bar hopping with a disconcertingly handsome blog buddy? Denied! Fly to Dallas to attend my brother's intervention? Approved! Fly to Denver to hang out with StevieB and the rest of the Denver Bear bunch? Denied!

Sheesh. I's not like there isn't plenty of mischief to be made at home. But I understand. Flight passes are a perk best enjoyed together. That's why I'm waiting for a precious seat on the flight JB is working today to Juneau, Alaska.

It may not be Denver, but there are bound to be bears.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Always Punctual

My first week of unemployment has been surprisingly busy. I really expected I'd feel useless and unfulfilled. On the contrary, I'm getting fulfilled daily.

One trick I found is to each morning set one small goal for myself to accomplish that day. Today's goal was to use a semicolon in a text message.


I can tell from the response that I used it correctly.




Friday, August 8, 2014

The Enterprise Edition

I apologize for my recent dearth of updates. On the positive side, I've been doing lots of bloggin' in my noggin. On the neutral side, today is my last day at my current job. On the negative side, I have yet to find my next adventure. (On the double-plus side, I promise never to use "bloggin' in my noggin" again. Or "dearth".)

Three weeks ago today the acquisition of the company for which I've labored for the past 5 years and 10 months was approved by our shareholders. From the time of the announcement three months ago up until that approval, our modus operandi was "apprehensively stay the course". I, being the non-felonious Martha Stewart of any room I happen to be in, thought the impending change could be a good thing. I, for one, welcomed our mysterious private Macon-based overlords.

I was wrong. The following Monday I came into the office to find my team's beloved scrum whiteboard missing. (Yes, scrum. We were Agile with a capital "A" and three syllables.)

Is that an oxymoron? To find something missing? Anyway, when I finally found it found, it was crammed into the main conference room with a ton of other office furnishings. A literal ton. That should have been my first clue.

My second clue was learning we had an arbitrarily-decreed 60 days to decommission our existing CRM system and replace it with their existing Microsoft SQL Server. My third clue was being constantly corrected when I used the third-person pronoun, "they". As in, "Are they fucking nuts?"

To be fair, I was assured "we" would soon be upgrading "our" SQL Server to the "Enterprise" edition. In hindsight, I probably shouldn't have asked if that would require another trip to Office Depot. (Evidently it's some sort of in-app purchase.)

Two weeks ago I was told my services would no longer be required. As it was now painfully obvious that business continuity isn't "their" thing, I didn't take it personally. I was given two weeks to pack my personal effects and finish 160 hours of work. I finished that work yesterday afternoon before getting drunk. Today I'm going in to fetch my MacBook charger, bluetooth keyboard and Magic Mouse.

Before getting drunk.



Friday, August 1, 2014

Discount

I guess when you buy only chocolate, wine and cat food, the senior discount is automatic. That's what I'm hoping anyway.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Emojination

What would I do without my emoji? I'd probably still be using ascii emoticons like some sort of steam punk. I mean no disrespect to those nerds, of course. ;^)

I don't know if Android phones do his, but my iPhone keeps track of my recently used emoji (Emojis? Emojii?) in order of frequency of use. This keeps the little guys I rely upon the most right at my thumb tips.

I began wondering what my frequently used emoji say about me. Any ideas?




Overall I'd say my "positive" emoji outnumber my negative emoji two-to-one. If it helps, the "Anticlockwise Downwards And Upwards" character is my shorthand for "backflip". As in, "Let me express my excitement with virtual acrobatics that would put a person half my age in traction IRL." It's positive, but I wish there were a better character I could use to express this. It kind of defeats the purpose when you have to explain your emoji.

And FYI, the turd is positive. You know that because it's smiling.

I'd love to see what other people's "Recently Used" emoji look like, and what that collection might say about them.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Mirror Universe

Of course there was some culture shock moving from Upper Michigan to the Deep South. The blue laws down here were a wake-up call. I went from a keg of beer being a gas station impulse purchase to having to plan ahead just to buy a six-pack.

Even more alarming was discovering my contact lens prescription in the State of Georgia was valid for a mere twelve months. After that I need another eye exam to buy more contacts. Seriously? Don't even try telling me this is for my own protection. If Georgia's laws reflected actual concern for the well-being of its citizens as individuals, it wouldn't be such a bass-ackward red mess of a state.

And it can't be a "bible-belt" thing. While the Good Book has plenty to say about foreskins, there's not a single verse concerning vision correction. Unless you count the totally blind. And the motes and planks. And the dead. (I wonder if after waking up, Lazarus was disappointed to find he still needed glasses. And if being astigmatic is really something you want to complain to Jesus about.)

No, I find it much more likely that in Georgia's recent past, an ambitious, greedy optometrist decided to run for state legislature.

This is why I've gotten into the habit of stocking up before my prescription expires. If some sort of disaster were to strike this second, I'd be prepared with one week's worth of beans and tuna, however long the water in the toilet tank lasts, no clean underpants and a two year supply of disposable, oxygen-permeable contact lenses.

I'm getting to the age, however, were my vision seems to change on a daily basis. So when I recently went for an eye exam I was surprised to learn that over the last three years my lens prescription hadn't changed a fraction of a diopter. How can that be? I feel as though I'm going blind. "You just need reading glasses," the optometrist replied as she handed me one prescription for contacts and another for bifocals.

Of course, I only need reading glasses when I'm wearing my contacts. With my contacts out my focus at seven inches is laser sharp. No closer, no further. That's my focal plane. Seven inches in front of me. If it doesn't ever-so-lightly brush the tip of my erect penis, I can't see it.

Since I rarely take my contacts out, I'm used to pausing at the mirror to admire my clear, radiant complexion before skipping out of the house without a care in the world. But when take my contacts out I can clearly see how gross I am. I have wrinkles and spots and terminal rosacea. I realize all my best facial hair comes from the cat. I see whiteheads and blackheads coexisting in harmony and whisper apologies to Martin Luther King, Jr. as I squeeze.

Even though I'm aware I'm only fooling myself, I feel relief when I put my contacts back in. I'm me again.

I've been thinking lately that maybe this is nature's way of helping us cope with age. Just as our looks begin to fade, our vision compensates by blurring our deepening wrinkles, our darkening age spots and my mutating ear-bristle follicles. So when we look at ourselves in the mirror, we see ourselves with the beautiful soft-focus glow of Gloria Swanson with a double layer of Vaseline on the lens.

But taking my contacts out allows me to look in the mirror and see myself as I really am. And I'm never ready for that close-up.

How I see myself with my contact lenses in...



... and with my contacts out.


Rounding up of course, as per customary penis measuring practice. The trigonometric and geometric calculations required to account for hangle and curvature are left as an exercise for the reader.


Monday, July 7, 2014

The Happy Birthday

I apologize for the radio silence, it's been a crazy few weeks. For me gay pride month didn't exist. The summer solstice blew right by without notice. I couldn't have cared less about the three-day Independence Day holiday. For the past few months my focus has been on July 3rd. My partner's birthday. And this year JB turned fifty.

I easily forget that JB is two years older than me. I always think of him as the younger of us. I think that's because he doesn't have cynical or sarcastic bone in his body. He wears his heart on his sleeve with no guile or duplicity. Even when he tries to hide his feelings, I can instantly tell with something is bothering him. His genuine and caring nature imbues his personality with a childlike innocence.

No, JB's not like me at all. He's better.

That's why I had to make sure this special birthday was properly observed. My greatest fear was somehow disappointing JB. That this milestone in his life would come and go and he'd be left asking himself, "Is this it?"

This was also my greatest motivator.

Thursday evening when we walked into the venue I'd reserved and he saw a room full of friends waiting for him, the tears in his eyes told me I could relax. JB was happy.



Thursday, June 19, 2014

ASCII Pr0n

What Scruff would look like now if Steve Jobs had never been born...


                                                                                                              .  .......
                                                                                                                        
                      ...'''';::clooc;..                                                                                
                   .':oododdxkkkO0KKK00kdl:.                                                                            
                .:lddxdoxxkkkO0O00KKKKKKKK00d;.                                                                         
             .;oxdddddxkkkO00K0K00Ok00KKKKXXXKKk:.                                                                      
           ,ldxddxxkkkkkkkO0OkdodkdodOO0KKKXXXXXKKx:                                                                    
         'dkOOOOOOkkkxxxxkkxolclll;,;ldxO00KKKXXKKKKo.                                                                  
       .lk0KKKX0OOkOOO0Oko:,,',,'....;oxxkO0000KOOO0K0c                                                                 
      .d0KXXNNNK00Okkkdl:,...........':oxxxkOkxxxxxxkkkd'                                                               
      oXXNNNWWNXK0kdol:;,.............,:loodxxdodxkkxddol                                                               
     .KNNNWWWNNK0kkolc;,'............';:coolodooooxxddoll;                                                              
     dXWNNNWNNX0kxxl::;''............';cloolclllclloddxdloc                                                             
    dNNWNNWWNXKOxdoc:;,''...............',,;:::::clllodl;,c'                                                            
   .KNNNWNWNNX0Oxol:;;;,'....................';;;::cll;.,coc,.                                                          
   .lXWWWWWWXKOxdlc:::;;,,,;:lodlc:;,'.........,;;:c:,..'..;c'                                                          
    .:KWWWWWXOxdllccclccldkKXK0kdc;,''...........,:cc,..'....'.                                                         
      .dXNNWXkdddooolcoxOKK00OOO00OOdc:,..........';c;..lxl,...                                                         
        ,o0XNkdxxkkkko:coxxO0KXXXKxc,..............,:::,.';;...                                                         
          .,lxkOKXNXKO:...'cdkOOkd:,'..............;:c:;.......                                                         
             .0NXKKKKO;.......',,;;;,'............';cll:'....':                                                         
              ;xkOKNN0;............''.............;:loocc;'..c:                                                         
               .;ONXX0;.........''''.............':ooolllllldd.                                                         
                 ,kkOk;.........':c:;''.........,;lxkxxdxdoodd.                                                         
                  codd:;,'.;dOko:',;c:,''.....',:cdkkOkkkkkdlo,                                                         
                  'lddddddoxdool:,'',,;,,''''',:coxOOOOOOkkxodo.                                                        
                   cddxkO0XXXXK0Ododxkxxd:,',;cloxO000000Okdoc::.                                                       
                   .ldxkO0NNNNK0OOxO00KKK0xc:lxxkO0K000000Okxl,,:.                                                      
............       .,odxOKNNK0O000kddl::lddddxk00KKXKKXXXKKOkl'.............. ........                                  
.....''.:xc,'.      .oxxkKNKKKK0xlc:;;;;;:clxkO0KKXXXXXNXNXKO:.............         .......                             
...'....'c,''.     ..cO0kONXXK0OOkxkkxdollldO00KKXKXXXNNNX0dc,............                .......                       
''','......',.     .'lxOXKXNX000KKKK0Odlc:lkO000KKKXNXKKK0d:,''...............           .....   .....                  
'''',,,,'''',.      .;lOXXXNNKKKKKK00Oxddxk0000O0KKKK000ko;,''......................    ......       .........          
',',''''''',,.      .;dO0KXNWWNXKKK0000000000000K0000Okkc;,,''................................       . .........        
....'',,,,,,,'      .;:okKXNNWWNNNXKKXXKK000K0KNNXKKKOd:;;,'''..................................  .................     
......,,,,,,,'       .'co0XNNNNNNXXXNNNNKX0O0K0KXXK0Ooc:;;;,'''.........    ........................................    
....'',,,,,,,'       ..';d0XNNNNXXNNNNNNNNX0O0OkO00Odc::;;;;,,'.''........ ....... ...................................  
',;::,,,,,,,,,        ..,o0KXXXKKKXXXXNNNNNXK0000Okdolc:::::;,'''''.................................................''. 
cll:;,,,,,,,,,..     .':ldkOOKKKKKXXNXXXNNXXXX0OOkkxxdolllcc:;,'''''..................................''''','''......',.
lc;;,,,,,,,,,,......':loddxkO0000KXXXXXKKKK00000Okxxxdolloolc;,'..................................'''''',,;;;;,,'''''',,
:;;;;;;;;,'........:loodxxxkkOOO00KKKKK00000000OOkdolllcccll:;'...................................''',',,,,;;;;,,,,''',,
::::::;'...........loodxxxxxkkkkOO00000000000OOOkxol:;,,,,,;;,'....................................''''''',,,,,;;,,,,,,,
cc:,............',;lodxxxxxxkkkkOOO00000000OOOkxdolc:;,'...''''......................................'''''',,,,,;;,,,,,;
'..........',;:clllloddxkkxxxxxkkkkOOOOOkxxddollcc::;;,''...''...''''.................................''',,,;;;;,;;;;;;;
.........';ldd;,'':loddxxxxkxxxxxxxkkxxddolcc:;;;;;,,,,,''''''..''''''''...............................'',;;;;;;;;;;;;;;
;'...'';lxOOxc'...'loodddddxdddxxxxxdddoolc:;;;;,,,'''''''.............................................'',;;;;;;;;::::;;
ll:;;cdkOko;......'cllllllllooooodddoollc:::;;;;,,''...................................................'',;cc::::::::::;
ccloxOOd;........,:cccccccccllllooolllcc::;;;;;,,,''....................................................'',lxoc:::::::;;
cdO0Od:'.......,:::::::::::cccclllllcc:::;;;;,,,,,''....................................................'',:kxlc::;;;;;;
xkkd:,,,,''.',c;,;::::::::::::::ccccc::;;;;;,,,,''''...............''''.................................'',;kxlc::;;;;;;
doc:;,;;::::od;...,:::::::::::::::::::;;;;,,,,,,,'''''............'''',''.............................'''',;kxocc::::;;;
c::;::::::ldc'....,:::::::::;;;;;;;;;;;;;;,,,,,'''''''............'''',,'.............................'''',;dxollccc::::
:cccccccooc,''...'::::::::::;;;;;;;;;;;,;;,,,,','''....'..........',''''''............................''',,;xkxdoolccc::
clllloddc;,,,,;;;::cc::::::;;;;;;,;,,,,,,,,,''''''''''''..''......',;,;;,'''..........................''',,:OOOkxdollccc
lllooo:;,;;:::c::::cccccc:::;;;;,,,,,,,,,,,'''''''''''......'...'',,;:;;;,,,''''......................''',;l000Okxddollc
c::;;;;;::ccc:::::clodollcc::;;;,,,,,,,,,,,,,''''''''''.''''...'',,,;;;:;;;,,''''....................''',,;xKKK00Okxdool
:;;;;::ccclc:;::::clx0kdolc:::;;,,,,,,,,,,,'''''''''..''''''''.',;;,;;;:;::;,,'''''.................'''',;cKKKKK00Okxddo
ol:::clllc::::::::clk00kxolc::;;;;;,,,,,,,',''''','''''....''''',,;;,;:::::;;;,,,,,'''''''''''''''''''',,;xXXKKKK00Okxxx
kxooooll:::;;;;;;::ld0X0Oxolcc::;;;;;,,,,,,,'''','''''....''''''',,;,;ccccc:::;;;;,,,,,,;,,,,,''','',,,,;;ONXXKKKKK00Okk
Okkxdol:;;,,,,,,,,;;lkXK0kdollcc::;;;;,,,,,,,,,,,''''''''''''''''',,,;clollcclc:c:::;;;;;;;;;,,,,,,,,,,;;;oXNXXKKKKK000O
OOkxolc;,,,'''''''',;ckNKOkdoollcc:::;;;;;;;;;,,,,,,,,,'''''''''.'',,;:ldoooooolodoc::::::::;;:;;;;;;;;::::kNXXXKKKKKKKK
0Oxdlc,,'''''''''''',,:kX0Okxdoollcc::::::;;;,,,,,,,,,,,,,'',''''',;;:clodxxxdxddxxdlcccccccccc::::::cclcl;lXNNXXXXXXXKK
0kdo:,,,''''''''''''',,:OX00Okxddollcccc::::;;;;;;;;;;;,,,,,,,',,,;:::coddkkkkkxxxxxxdooooololllclccoookkl;;ONNNNNNNNXXK
OkOc;;,'''''''''''''',,;c0X00OOkxxdooollcc:c::::::;;;;:;;:;;,,,;:::;:ccldkkOOOOOkOkkOkxxxxxxkxdddooodx0Ko:::xNNNNNNNXX0k
ONWd:;,,,''''''''''',,,;:dNX000OOkxxoooolcclccllc:::::::;;;:::;;:::ccllloxxOO0O000000kkkkOOkkkkxxxxkOOdlc:::xNNNNNNXK0Ok
WMWd:;;,,,,'''''',,,,,;;:oKNKK000Okxdddoooooolllccccc::c::::cc:ccllloloooodkkOO000KK000000OOO0O0000Ok:::::::xNNNXXXKK00O
WWxc:;;;,;,,,,,,,,,,,;;;:l0NNXK000OkxxxddddddoooolllllllllllcllllooddooolloxxxkOOO00KKKKKKKXXKKK0Oxxd:::c:ccxNNXXXKKK000
Xkcc::;;;;;;,,,,,,,,,;;::oKNNNXKK00OOOkkkkOkxxddddoodooooolloddxxxkxdolllloddddddxxkOOOOOOO00OOkxxdddc::ccccxNNXXXKKK000
Xxccc:::;;;;;;;;;;;;;;::cdKXXXXKKK000000OOOOkkOxxxxxddxddxddxkOO0Okdllccloolooooodddddxxxxxxxxxdoooddl::ccccdXNXXXXKKK00
xdolcc:::::;;;;;;;;;;::cldlxKXXKKKKKK000000OOkOkkkxxxxxxkkkO0000OxolccccclolloollolllllllloooolllloooocccclldKNXXXXKKK00
oddollccc:::::::::;:::cldo::OKXXXKKKKKKKKKK00OOOOkkkkkOkO00KKK0Oxollccccclllooooollllccccccccccccllooolclclld0NNNXXXKKK0
doxddollccc:::::::::cclodc::xKXXXXXXXXXNNNXXK0OOOO0O00KKKKKKK0kxdolllllllllodddddoollcccc:::::::cllooooclllldOXNNXXXXKKK
ddxxxddoollcc::::::cclldllddxKXXXXXXXXXNKXXXXKKKXXXXXXXKKKK0OkxddollllllloooddddddoooolllcccccccclooooolllllxO0NNNXXXXKK
kxdxxdddolllcccccccccldoclllkKXXNNNXXXXXXXXNNXXXXXXXXXXKK00kxxdddolllllolooodddddxddddooolllcccclldooodlolooxOOXNNNXXXKK
kxdoloooolllllcccccllodccllx0KXXNNNNNNXXXXXXXXXXXXXXKKKK0OkxxxxdddololoooooodxddxdddxddddolllllllooooodoooooxOO0WNNXXKKK
kxdolllllllllllllllooxlllodOKXXXXNNNNNNNXXXXXXXXXXKKKK00Okkxxxxdddooooolooooddddxxxxxxxxxddoollloooooodooooox0OOXNNXXKKK
kxolllllllllllllloodxollloO0KXXXXXNNNNNNNXXXXXXXXKKKKK00OOkkkxxxddooooooooooodddddxxxxxddddoolloooolodxddoddx000KWNXXKKK
xxolllooollllloooodxxllllx0KKXXXXNNNNNNNNNNXXXXXXXKKKK00OOkkkxxdddooooooooooodddddxxxxdddoooolllllllodxdddddk000KNNNXKKK
xdoolllloooooloooddxoloooOKKXXXXNNNNNNNNNNNXXXXXXXXKKK00OOkkxxxdddddooooooooodddxddxdddddooollllccllodxdddddk0000XWNXKKK
xdooolllooooooooddxdooood0KKXXXXXXNNNNNNNXXXXXXXXXXKKK00OOkkkkxxdddddooooooooodxdddddddoooolllcccclloxxxxdddkKK00KWNXKKK


I'm quite relieved, actually. I wasn't sure I could still pleasure myself to completion without a broadband connection and functioning graphics card.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Fanning The Flaming

A while back I mentioned how my oh so gay gym was closed a week for "renovation". During that time I visited other LA Fitness locations which provided a preview of the state-of-the-art technology incorporating the latest breakthroughs in exercise kinesiology, biophysiometry and iPhone connectivity that I was soon to enjoy when my own gym re-opened.

Futuristic wonders like treadmills with touch-sensitive HD displays which allowed me to catch up on Judge Judy or – better yet – simulate the experience of running along a winding trail beside a forest stream, complete with simulated butterflies fluttering on a refreshing breeze. Only the breeze wasn't simulated. Each treadmill had its own ventilation system. Built in.

When my long wait was over and my gay LA Fitness reopened, I have to admit to being a little underwhelmed. All they did was move stuff around. And yes, we did get new treadmills. Well, we got different treadmills. But the "new" treadmills are even more basic than the ones we had before.

I feel like I'm running backwards.
No HD display. No television tuner. No built-in fan. Not even so much as an iOS/Android companion app. Where the old treadmill at least had an oval of red blinking lights to show my position on a virtual quarter-mile track while text prompts berated me like my high school gym teacher, this electro-mechanical relic has a quaint row of seven-segment LEDs. Numbers. Like I'm some kind of mathematician or accountant.

I used to challenge myself to working out at an incline until I reached my virtual elevation goal of 1000 feet. But I no longer have access to that sort of information. Speed, time, distance and incline. That's it. That's all they think I need to know. It was good enough for gramps so suck it up crybaby.

Why wouldn't the gayest gym in the chain get the latest equipment available rather than what appears to be hand-me-downs from a senior center fire sale? I'm surprised they didn't pick up a few of those old jiggly belt machines while they were at it.

Perhaps a better question is: why do so many of us still put up with this place? I know the answer for me is location. It's the closest gym to my house that doesn't have a boxing ring or make me flip tractor tires in public. And it doesn't hurt that the boys are, for the most part, pretty. But recent events have me reconsidering my slavish devotion to convenience and eye-candy. Especially since the so-called renovation didn't even touch the locker room.

When they announced the impending renovation, my first thought was: Finally! They're going to replace that worn-out, dirty, smelly industrial wall-to-wall carpeting in the locker room with tile! Or linoleum. Or some other suitable material that can be sanitized without a flame-thrower. I pictured travertine. I can't even say for sure what travertine is, it just sounds like something a gay gym locker room deserves.

Imagine my disappointment upon reentering the gayest non-bathhouse-sorta locker room in Midtown to find the same soggy, musty grey carpeting. Ugh. There's not enough Tinactin in the universe to convince me to go barefoot in there.

And that fan. While it's 2014 and my treadmill remains embarrassingly fanless, that same old 32-inch portable industrial fan continues its futile mission of keeping carpet moisture, bacteria and toenail fungus at bay.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure the locker room situation would be much worse without the fan. It's just that the air stream generated by this industrial-sized blower invites an unsavory element to what by all rights should otherwise be a pleasant naked space. I call them "the ball dryers".

There's nothing quite as unsettling as turning the corner to confront the spectacle of an old scrotum flapping like a windsock.

Yes, I think I'm ready to try another gym.


Dramatic reenactment of a recent locker room visual.
It has been edited for the benefit of those who are reading this at work.
Or have a weak constitution.








Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Bear Deli

My infatuation with Scruff seems to go through phases. Like the Moon and my weight. I can easily go six months without launching it. Other times I'm glued to my pocket woof-o-meter. I believe this has to reflect some sort of previously unrecognized hormone cycle. (Hey, I read somewhere men have them too.)

About a month ago I saw my neighbor, Jeff, on Scruff. Jeff is the guy who lives in my building although we only met last February on the big gay cruise. When we're both at home, Scruff says Jeff lives 700 feet away, although my FitBit says it's not even half that. Seriously, I could throw a rock from my balcony and break his window. Probably not the first try though, I throw like a girl.

What I find odd is that Scruff consistently shows at least 30 guys between myself and Jeff. If that were true, that would account for every unit in my building. And I know that can't be right. Not that we don't have our fair share of bears at Colony Square. But of all the residents I know, Jeff is the only one I've seen on Scruff.

There's a hot bear upstairs that I always see around the building. Monday though Friday he gets in his Mercedes wearing a suit and tie. This always makes me think of StevieB's office porn fetish. (Is that still a thing?) On the weekend Hot CEO Bear is tanning at the pool, his furry pecs glistening with a sheen of oil and sweat. This isn't really relevant to my story, but humor me.

The other day my Hot CEO Bear stepped on the elevator with me and, despite the butterflies in my throat, I worked up the nerve to strike up a conversation. I kind of regret that now. In the time it took the lift to go from "P" to "L", my image of Hot CEO Bear went from "Grrrrr" to "Grrrrrl".

Le sigh.

Anyway, Scruff... I don't think it's bear positioning algorithms are entirely accurate. My working theory is that this has to do with the several high-rise condo towers surrounding our squat, three-story community. I suspect the stacks of "looking" horndogs to my immediate North, South, East and West are somehow confusing Scruff into assuming there's a constant man sandwich happening at my house.

Bear orgy at my place! BYOLP.
I can assure you this isn't the case. Not that I'm opposed to a big ol' bear Dagwood, per se. It's just that I have enough trouble keeping the bathtub drain flowing with only one bear in the house. And he's barely cub-sized.

Sunday I got woofed by a guy that Scruff told me was 350 feet away. We started chatting and I, being the curious Pac I am, asked him which building he was in. My suspicions were confirmed when he said he was in a penthouse at Park View. So the woofs weren't coming from inside the building. First relief, then surprise. Glancing up then back to my phone I typed, "Wave your right arm." Hmm, that could be a coincidence. "Now your left." Really? "Now both arms." Yup. I could actually see the guy I was scruffing.

It may be time for another Scruff break.

I could see him but, thanks to my trees, he won't see me until November.
Then my bedroom pretty much becomes a Macy's window.
In an attempt to help him see me in my bright shirt,  I typed,
"I'm the guy with the yellow thirst."

That was a most unfortunate auto-corrrect.



Thursday, May 29, 2014

Pac's Next Vacation?

Hard to believe it's almost June. It was around this time last year that I committed to getting in shape for my first big gay cruise that was still nine months out. I was pleased with what I accomplished, but disappointed in myself for not keeping up the intensity these three months since.

Have I gained weight? I'm guessing about five pounds, I haven't really stepped on the scale since then. But if I know anything about myself, it's that unmeasured numbers tend to drift. And usually not in a good way.

A month ago I got an e-mail from RSVP offering advanced booking for the next big gay cruise in February 2015. I seriously considered it, if only because it seems to be an excellent motivator for me. But there are other reasons beside that. It was one of the best vacations I ever had. So good in fact, that I'm afraid the quality of the experience would be hard to repeat.

A big part of what made the cruise so fun was the people we traveled with. Will I have as good of a time with a different mix? I know it wouldn't be the same without StevieB. But looking at it realistically, I considered myself lucky if I got to spend an average of 20 minutes a day with him between breakfast and that evening's festivities. Fortunately, every minute with Stevie is quality time.

It was almost like we were on different cruises. While I was at the aft pool, Stevie was wrapped in seaweed. While I was tea dancing, Stevie was taking in a drag show. While I was at the wine bar, Stevie was in the cigar bar. While I was at bingo, I have no idea what Stevie was doing but I saw the steward outside his cabin futilely febreezing bear musk.

Would I still enjoy going on a cruise without my best friend? Maybe, but why on earth would I want to? Plus I don't think I can swing a cruise in February and still hit Oktoberfest in Munich this year. Not with the kitchen remodel, career uncertainty and a whole other family wildcard I can't get into right now.

It would pretty much have to be one or the other. Cruise or Oktoberfest? They're both so fun. And so very, very gay.

Hmm... Hey Stevie, möchten Sie Bär Moschus in München sprühen?



Tuesday, May 27, 2014

One Magical Summer

When I was eleven, I asked my parents for some money to buy a mail-order book of magic tricks. Despite mental images of their son attempting to saw his siblings in half, they gave me an advance on my allowance. I suppose they thought I could use a hobby to keep me occupied over the summer. One can only imagine their dismay when a few weeks later they found me deeply engrossed in what was essentially Witchcraft for Dummies, Volume One.

A few days after trying out my first spell – for fortune – the credit union accidentally deposited sixteen thousand dollars into my Christmas Club. Recognizing an entirely unexpected talent in their second born, my folks shipped me off to spend the rest of my summer vacation with Crazy Jesus Aunt. Hogwarts this was not.

As gullible as I was at that age, Auntie's version of Christianity seemed a bit far-fetched and illogical to me. One part that sticks in my mind was her campfire story about the kids who, frightened by their first brief dalliance with the occult, tried to burn their Ouija board and perished in the flames. I'd earlier suspected the campfire was intended for my magic book, so at that point I was fairly certain the bitch was out to kill me. I think about it every time I taste a s'more.

But what I remember most about that summer was all the time I got to spend with my cousin, Dave. He had an amazing amount of body hair for a young man of fifteen. And something changed when I saw him naked. Forget about occult books and demon-possessed board games. That summer I caught my first glimpse a power growing inside me that was going to haunt my days and nights with fear and angst and longing and excitement for years, no, decades to come. It was the Best. Summer. Ever. Coincidentally, Dave is a fireman now. I often pray to Jesus for the safety of his fur.

I'm sure my muggle parents would have preferred if my magical experimentation had turned out more like this...

Ooof! Right in the IKEA.

This animated gif had me laughing harder and harder each time it looped. And thank goodness it loops. Like my twelfth summer, there are way too many layers of hilarious to appreciate the first time through.

Maybe it's all the home renovation projects, but the funniest part for me is the wallpaper.

And the duck painting. I'd sell my soul for that duck painting.



Saturday, May 24, 2014

Varmint Liberation Front

I had to repost this year-old entry after reading Stevie B's recent rabbit exploits.

It seems my suspicions regarding the motives of "cute" bunny rabbits have finally been confirmed, as news from Denver indicates the cuddly critters have taken to vandalizing automobiles parked at the airport.

In what is obviously a gang-related attack – perhaps even the first wave of a coordinated strike against our traditional human values and way of life – rabbits have been climbing into engine compartments and chewing through cables, belts and hoses. One can only presume their goal is to trap unwary red-eye travelers in the parking lot, where they are hunted for sport, robbed of their iPhones and slowly nipped to shreds.

The report further relates how panicky Denver residents have resorted to protecting themselves against the ferociously adorable rodents by dousing their rides and even their children in coyote urine. As a result, the price of coyote piss (known on the street as "C-Pee" and "Wile-E-Gold") has skyrocketed, creating concerns of price-gouging, a growing black market and rampant consumer fraud in this largely unregulated product sector.

I attempted to verify this alarming story through my Denver contact, StevieB...


There has been no further word from Stevie. All we can do now is pray.

In other health news, there is a nation-wide shortage of rabies vaccine. Officials point to Colorado, where hospitals report a spike in emergency room admissions due to coyote bites and scratches.



Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Groom And Gloom

I think I've reached a crossroads in my beard experiment. Now that some of my whiskers are nearing two inches, I'm feeling pressure to either trim it back drastically or shave it off completely. Pressure from JB, that is. And those guys from Duck Dynasty.

But I've also received encouragement to keep it growing, some of it from unlikely sources. There's a woman at work that keeps touching it. I'd take it up with HR if I wasn't so starved for validation at home.

I've also discovered that maintenance increases proportionally with length. Beard trimming, conditioning and fluffing now dominates my morning grooming ritual. I've had to cut back on flossing and ear-hair patrol to make it to work on time.

I now have to make a conscious effort to nap on my back to avoid "bed beard". And try as I might, I can't seem to stop disheveling myself with absent-minded stroking. This prompted me last week to buy an office comb on my lunch hour. A comb. I haven't spent money on my own comb since my hair grew back from the Flat Rock Elementary Picture Day Louse Pandemic of 1980.

And the other day I actually caught myself saying, "Not in the beard! Not in the beard!"

Yes, it might be time for a clean shave.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Squatch Free

I was going to do that pic-a-day in May thing, but I may have to postpone that until June. Between work and home renovation projects, I've had time for little else.

A few weeks ago the publicly traded company I work for was acquired by a mysterious private concern with deep pockets. Since the announcement I've been shoring up my indispensability whilst secretly updating my resume. And secretly updating one's resume is easier said than done after your boss befriends you on LinkedIn.

Meanwhile the bear we hired to scrape the nasty 1980’s texture off our ceilings has finally finished and moved on to greener pastures. Of all the contractors we met with, Jimmie seemed the most qualified at 6'6". (Please don't get me wrong. Anyone who's met my partner knows that I obviously don't discriminate based on height. And when it comes time to bid the flooring, the nuggets are going to the front of the line.) Although hairiness wasn't a factor, that would have won Jimmie the contract as well.

Efficient and conscientious, Jimmie used acres of plastic sheeting to seal off room sections as he destroyed them. It was like living in a maze that changed daily. This provided me several opportunities to make E.T. jokes that no one got. ("What's wrong with your voice? And who's Elliot?")

Over two tumultuous weeks, Jimmie's presence was absorbed into the fabric of our daily family life. (Along with 50 pounds of dust.) It was like adopting a stray sasquatch which, while turning your house upside down, endears himself nonetheless. Hey, that might make a good movie premise.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Stormy Morning

Getting up early for a 7:30am dental checkup with the power flickering. Another hour of sleep would be nice. I had to crop the bags under my eyes.


Friday, April 25, 2014

It Burns

Reaching under the sink this morning for my pore refining skin toner, I pulled this out instead...

I'm tempted to try it. This face
could probably use a spiritual peel.

It doesn't surprise me to find a bottle of holy water in our bathroom. I'm married to a Mexican.

What does make me wonder though is for what purpose three-quarters of it has been used. Have we had toilet vampires I was never told about?



Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Snap Out Of It

The closest my partner and I ever got to anything that could be considered "domestic violence" was about seven years ago. In a fit of anger he belly-bumped me. Immediately struck by the juxtaposition of pissed-off rage the and gentle sploshing of our subcutaneous abdominal fat, all I could do was laugh. We both laughed until we cried. I love that even if it crossed his mind for a second, he could never bring himself to hurt me. That's the kind of person I hope I can be too.

Yesterday I came quite close to slapping JB across the face. Not Joan and Christina style. More like Cher and Nicholas Cage. I just wanted to snap him out of his panic attack and focus on the fact that the situation we currently find ourselves in is temporary.

It's just some light remodeling.

Like the first sneeze of cold & flu season or the first Dove bar of PMS, I've learned to recognize the initial warning symptoms of JB's anxiety arcs. And I fear we're in for a heavy-flow cycle. I may need to pay the contractor a bonus. Why on earth didn't I budget for that?

This morning JB woke me up to inform me he had a nightmare. "Did I survive?" I asked.

"I don't think you were in it."

"Then why are you waking me up?" I know, but sympathy is hard to muster when it's 4am and I'm sleeping in the kitchen.



Monday, April 21, 2014

Servo Sunday

Another Easter come and gone. My post-holiday depression is exacerbated by symptoms of Reese's Peanut Butter Egg pre-diabetes and the fact that I'm still decorating my Easter eggs by dipping them in colored vinegar water.

Seriously. It's twenty-fucking-fourteen and I'm using the same technology popularized by Pontius Pilate, who felt throwing plain white eggs at crucifixions just wasn't festive enough. (Let's keep a lid on Pilate's flamboyant homosexuality. The Family Research Council would have a field day with that.)

Except for the occasional curve PAAS likes to throw at complacent dopes who think that after forty-plus years they have the instructions committed to memory. Yesterday morning I took the three dozen eggs that I hard-boiled on Saturday night out of the fridge and sat down to work, only to find I was supposed to grind the enclosed wax coloring crayons onto still boiling-hot eggs. Don't even get me started about how I spend my Saturday nights.

Well no more. As Jesus is my witness, I will no longer celebrate his undeath like a stone-age gentile. By this time next year I'm going to be the proud owner of one of these bad boys...



That's right. Why stain my fingers when I can express my passion for Christ with three-hundred bucks worth of servo controllers and ten thousand lines of code? The future of pseudo-pagan religious tradition is robotic, my friends.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Pogonophilia

One of the great memories I have from the Big Gay Cruise is getting to know all the Denver Bears I met by way of StevieB, who obviously has impeccable taste in friends.

Someone once told me his impression of Denver is that all the straight guys are primpy, exfoliated metrosexuals while all the gay guys are beary, butchy men's men. That may well be true; I don't think I met any straight guys in Denver. To be fair, I've only been there once, with Stevie as my tour guide.

The whole week at sea in the company of so many follicularly gifted men, I never once felt self-conscious about my naked face. Not until my former boss commented on a Facebook photo I was tagged in. "You should grow a beard."


I knew he was making a witty allusion to Sesame Street's "One of These Things..." game. But instead of shapes and numbers, the objects in this game were stereotypical gay sub-types.

As I was still in post-cruise vacation mode and had five days' worth of nearly-visible stubble, I decided to take his unserious suggestion seriously. I'd grow a beard. I've attempted this before but always aborted the first time someone told me I have spiders making love on my lip.

Those who have read my Twitter profile know I describe myself as a "bear wannabe". Not only because I'm attracted to bears, also because I so admire bear culture that I wish I could belong to it.

All the way back to my preadolescence, long before I would even dare to admit to myself the possibility I was gay, I dreamed of the bear-like qualities I'd attain once my pituitary began spurting androgens like a summer lawn sprinkler.

It wasn't to be. In his infinite wisdom, God saw fit to grant me only enough secondary sex characteristics to pass as male while keeping open the option to transition without depilatories, should I ever so desire.

I find this highly unfair and hypocritical. Everyone who's seen Michelangelo's work knows that God is the Beariest. There are cherubim and seraphim riding his back fur, for heaven's sake.


Now Jesus on the other hand... From the neck down I can totally relate to the body of Christ (minus the abs) in that I too appear fully Nair-anointed. But that beard is perfection. Depending on the artist of course.


To me this begs the question: Is facial hair supposed to be a symbol of manliness, or of godliness? Or is the beard supposed to represent man's connection to God?

Any answer to that will depress me. As a man born without sideburn follicles, I find myself alienated from the divine. Along with all women. So I'm in good company anyway.



Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Mal De Wank

Man, I've been a slug this past month. This wasn't supposed to happen. My intention was to maintain the healthy momentum I established preparing for the Big Gay Cruise to launch me straight into pool season. I even took the extraordinary relationship step of mixing my socks with JB's in order to dedicate an entire drawer to my low-mileage swimwear collection.

The alternative was to smoosh all my cruise stuff in a Space Bag to stash in an IKEA storage bin. But then I daydreamed about unsealing my Parke & Ronen time capsule in the Spring of 2016. Overcome with nostalgia, I try on my skimpy, so-three-seasons-ago swimsuits and stand in the mirror. And I ask myself, "Was I really thin enough to wear this? What happened to me? How could I let myself go like this?"

Nope, I thought, snapping back to the present. Not gonna happen. I'm keeping these boys front and center next to my underpants.

But only days after returning from vacation I came down with bronchitis and a head cold. Then one morning a few weeks ago I got out of my spinning bed and fell over. Google suggested I had a rare neurological condition caused by spending too much time at sea. But when I further read that 97% of those suffering of Mal de Débarquement Syndrome are female, I knew I had to keep looking. (Me and my Münchausen's ain't got no time for a chick disease.)

StevieB said I probably acquired a parasite. Or a brain tumor. JB's diagnosis was "hangover". But my doctor said "upper respiratory infection". When I asked him about the dizziness, he said it was most likely my cold virus caused a minor inner ear infection. "Nothing to worry about, you'll live."

"You sure about that? Because Stevie and WebMD told me differently."

I felt better learning the medical term for my condition was "labyrinthitis". It sounded every bit as exotic as Mal de Débarquement Syndrome, but so much manlier. Like a Minotaur with jock-mange.

While my illnesses might explain my slug-like qualities of late, I'd be hard-pressed say it justifies the half-dozen boxes of Girl Scout cookies. Or the pint of Ben & Jerry's. Or coming straight home from work to lie on the sofa in front of the television until bedtime. Or the uptick in masturbation frequency.

And even that has been lazy and sluggish. I normally dedicate substantial amounts of planning, technique, paraphernalia and network bandwidth to my auto-erotic endeavors. But lately I can barely bother myself to lift the laptop lid. It's gotten so bad that these past few times I've just jerked off to the guy on the paper towel package.

In my defense though, he is pretty hot.






Thursday, March 27, 2014

Lessons From A Gay Cruise

I learned to never judge a book by its cover.

I learned that, statistically, my husband gets hit on approximately 2.5 times more than I do.

I learned that if the norovirus is even half as contagious as body glitter, the only way to avoid it would be to spend the entire cruise barricaded inside your cabin with wet towels stuffed under the door.

I learned that on a gay cruise, the distinction between swimwear and underwear is fluid and subjective.

I learned that in photos posted to Facebook, the distinction between swimwear and underwear is actually quite obvious.

I learned that glass elevators are a magnet for ass prints.

I learned that, while bears are generally low-
maintenance, they do seem to be responsible
for a disproportionate share of pipe clogs.
I learned that if one gets up at the crack of dawn and puts towels on the best deck chairs at the pool, he retains ownership of said deck chairs should he and his buddies decide to make an appearance later.

I learned I can sleep in and still get a great deck chair – and make friends in the process – by being social and giving instead.

I learned more than I ever wanted to know about the various gauges of genital piercings. I did not, however, learn how those guys got their junk through the metal detectors.

I learned that at sea, just as on land, lesbians gravitate to bowling alleys.

I learned I should never stand between my husband and Carl whenever a talented pianist plays any selection from the Beaches soundtrack.

I learned that if you have a balcony stateroom, it's a good idea to wear pajamas. Just because there's nothing but open ocean as far as the eye can see when you go to bed doesn't mean you won't wake up at port to find a Disney ship docked thirty feet away.

I learned that working on a cruise ship is probably not as glamorous as The Love Boat made it seem. Especially on a gay cruise, there are some chores you couldn't pay me enough to do. I kept picturing some poor soul laundering our sheets and towels and dreaming of a promotion to glass elevator squeegee-er.


I learned that if you're looking for Stevie,
check the buffet, the spa, then the European
sunbathing deck, in that order.




Monday, March 17, 2014

No Such Thing As Life-Proof

A year ago I wrote how my partner, JB, broke his iPhone. (The Stages of Upgrading) And how I got the blame because I pushed him out of a moving vehicle, causing his phone to smash to the ground, shattering the screen. Or so he claims.

My side of the story is a little different and, dare I say, not insane. He just couldn't accept the fact that his own carelessness caused him to break his Precious. But I long ago learned that being a scapegoat is just part of the job description as JB's life partner. It falls right after ghostwriting all his formal correspondence. And just above never, ever again comparing him to Meg Ryan's character in "When Harry Met Sally".

Fortunately his old iPhone 4 was due for an upgrade, and life soon returned to normal. In order to insure I would never have to take the fall for breaking his new iPhone 5, I splurged on an pricy LifeProof case for it. This thing not only guaranteed protection from drops, it was waterproof.

JB used this case for the better part of a year before losing the arm-band accessory and then the headphone pig-tail plugs, rendering it no longer waterproof. After this he decided he'd like something with a little less bulk. It was while trying out new phone cases that he discovered his iPhone 5 had suffered some serious damage within the LifeProof case.

He insists he has no idea what happened to his phone. So of course he's blaming the LifeProof case for the damage. I can see a tiny dent on the back of the case right where the iPhone is bent which tells me the phone suffered some sort of trauma which bent it in spite of being inside the protective case. In any case, JB demands satisfaction. Which means I'll probably be ghostwriting a letter to the LifeProof company soon.

In the mean time, JB doesn't dare remove his iPhone from the LifeProof case lest it fall to pieces. Kind of like how M. Night Shyamalan's pickup truck was the only thing keeping the top half of Mel Gibson's wife alive in the movie "Signs".





Monday, March 10, 2014

Fill-Flash

Great. Carpal tunnel
and mercury poisoning.
Man, I've sucked at blogging lately. Life has been a blur since returning from the big gay cruise. It started with my first day back at work to find, with the exception of my cube, the entire floor of the office had been cleared out. Welcome back, right?

I finally tracked down my team in another building. It seems that while I was gone we'd been re-org'd into a different department. I moved my belongings into what I assumed was my new cubicle. I made this assumption based on the fact it was the only only vacant cube near my team, occupied by only a large building support column and a stash of florescent tubes.

Saturday JB uploaded a bunch of vacation pictures to Facebook. It was fun to relive all the good times and to know it all really happened, and that it wasn't just a dream. Then I made him take them off. Unfortunately not before my sister saw a photo of me in my underwear.

I've used my $2000 gym bag only once
so far. To move a Dell workstation.
I'd managed to successfully steer clear of Facebook for the better part of two years. I have a much easier time relating separately to my various groups of friends, family and acquaintances on more targeted social media outlets. Twitter is for my blog friends. LinkedIn is for my college friends, previous co-workers and business contacts. Yammer is for my work colleagues. Instagram is mostly family and my in-real-life friends. I even dabbled in Google Plus but haven't fully committed yet.

But since meeting so many great new friends on the cruise, I've been getting a lot of friend requests which has compelled me to reengage with Facebook and my tangled ball of "Facebook Friends". This mass includes all the above groups all mixed together with absolutely no context whatsoever.

And that's my problem with Facebook.

You can fill-flash my ass, Al.
As our big gay ship was docking in Saint Maarten, JB and I looked over our balcony and saw a beautiful, super-gay rainbow. I snapped a quick photo with my iPhone just before it vanished. I ran it though my Dynamic Light app to draw out the colors and brighten JB's face. After buying some internet time ashore, I thought my photo worthy of sharing on Facebook. My first post in over two years and the first comment was from a college roommate I haven't seen in twenty years.

"Pat, turn on the fill-flash next time. It'll help with the shadows."

Sigh.

I need to start a book club
for the humor challenged.
Later I made a post asking why, under Facebook's "book suggestions" for me, the first two recommendations were "The Bible". I mean, just because Facebook thinks it knows more about me than anybody else does, now I'm a heathen?

Again, another college acquaintance felt the need to chime in. "I recommend Plato's Republic, or Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky."

God, I hate Facebook.