Sunday, February 29, 2004

I'm 2/3 cool!

My cold is still here -- though it's getting much better, thanks for asking -- so I'd planned to stay in last night and read and watch a little TV before crashing with my bottle of NyQuil and a dollop of Vicks VapoRub under my nose.

But then Matt called and invited me over to watch movies at his house. And he let me pick among his vast library of DVDs when I got there. I'd never seen any of the American Pie movies, and he had all three -- and now I'm 2/3 caught up on what everyone else is talking about.

My verdicts: "Don't forget your penis cream" ranks among the funniest lines in cinema. Sean William Scott ranks among the hottest men on the planet. Um ... and I guess that's about it. The movies are very funny and just dopey enough for a cold-medicine-addled brain to keep up. And they were the perfect way to spend a Saturday evening.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

To celebrate surviving another hell week at work, I met Richard and Bob last night for dinner and Thoroughly Modern Millie, which -- though neither thoroughly entertaining nor thoroughly good -- was a lot of fun and JUST what I needed to take my mind off direct mail and credit cards and insurance and endless, endless deadlines. I was surprised to discover I actually (very distantly) know a guy in the cast, but he wasn't in the performance last night.

I stopped at my friendly neighborhood Jewel on the way home for a fresh bottle of NyQuil and then climbed into bed to sleep the sleep of a happily drugged cold sufferer.

This morning I got caught up on old Tribunes and did my taxes (I owe the state $72 and I'm getting $24 back from the feds, so I count it as a pretty good break-even), and now I'm heading out to lube up the car so I don't have any engine-related mishaps on next weekend's jaunt home for my nephew's 5th birthday.

Friday, February 27, 2004

I have no intention to see the movie. But I'd read the review over and over again.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

"The indignity of being singled out for special burdens on the basis of one's calling is so profound that the concrete harm produced can never be dismissed as insubstantial."

Who said this? The Massachusetts Supreme Court acknowledging the unjust discrimination gay people suffer when they are not allowed to marry?

Nope. It was our very own Antonin "Scabby Little Butthole" Scalia in his dissenting arguments to the SCOTUS decision letting states withhold scholarships from students studying theology.

Scalia didn't seem so concerned about "the indignity of being singled out for special burdens" on the basis of homosexuality -- which is far more innate and fundamental than what he passively refers to as a religious "calling" -- when he voted so angrily and vociferously to uphold sodomy laws last year.

It scares me that a man so obviously unbalanced and so blatantly in the throes of religious hatred is in a position to influence jurisprudence and genuinely threaten the lives of millions of people across the US.

Why doesn't Bush attack him as an "activist judge"? Scalia clearly has a fuck-the-law agenda to foist his repellent, irrational, misanthropic opinions on the country -- and he is in a unique position of power that lets him further his hate-filled agenda with a disconcerting level of influence.
Ugh. I seem to have caught another cold. Which is making my hellish work week sooooo much more enjoyable.

But I managed to sneak out last night and meet Bob for some homemade pizza and Tea, a fascinating play examining the lives, deaths, customs and unique hybrid culture of Japanese war brides. Of course, when we bought the tickets, I totally didn't realize it would make me miss the bodice-ripping finale of The Bachelorette. (And while Meredith had whittled her suitors down to my two favorite blonds, I would have gone with the other one.)

Note to the Web editor: Get a friggin' proofreader (or at least a semi-competent writer). Your episode guide for last night's show looks like it was written by a mildly retarded third-grader.

Monday, February 23, 2004

So the chorus has this annual just-for-fun dinner every March, and part of the fun is an awards ceremony with all kinds of awards ranging from the silly (most Ethel Merman-like) to the prurient (best buns) to the heartfelt (new chorus member who has made the biggest impression).

At last week's rehearsal we all submitted our nominations, and at last night's rehearsal we voted on the top three nominees in each category. And I got nominated twice.

I forget the title of the first award -- it's something about the chorus member who is (or who thinks he is) the biggest star. And I'm (ahem) bursting with pride to be nominated for the second one: The Jack in the Box Award, which goes to the chorus member who gives the impression he has the biggest ... well, let's just say it's the kind of reputation that every man is glad to have.

And if I win, I'm going to wow everyone with my huge, long acceptance speech.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Yesterday afternoon was the second recording session for the chorus' upcoming CD. We got only four songs recorded in three hours, but they sounded pretty spectacular. The final session is in two weeks, and we'll have a lot to cover. But the whole thing will sound so cool when it's done!

After the session was over, Sharleen and the girls and I had a Mexican fiesta dinner -- and after ingesting a whole bag of those fabulous guacamole-flavored Doritos and three cans of soda (urp) I waddled over to Sidetrack and spent the rest of the night holding in my bloated gut in a desperate attempt to look hot for what turned out to be a not-very-attractive crowd.

Now it's a beautiful Sunday afternoon and I'm inside doing laundry and catching up on a week's worth of Tribs.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

I'm interested! I'm interested!

Hi Jake,

My name is R. and I'm the editor in charge of compiling Chicago's top 20 singles for Chicago magazine's July issue. I received your bio from K. and think you'd be a spectacular nominee. Would you be interested?

The process is quite simple. If you're selected, you'll be interviewed for a brief article, photographed by a top fashion photographer (italics added for emphasis) and expected to attend a party in June. It's remarkably easy and, according to past singles, great fun.

Let me know if you're interested.



Friday, February 20, 2004

I can start rubbing my eyes today.

It's been four weeks since my LASIK surgery, and I've been struggling every waking moment since then to keep my damn fingers out of my eyes. But apparently now my eyes are healed enough that I can resume rubbing.

Just thought you'd want to know.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

I wrote to Time magazine today

RE: The Battle Over Gay Marriage
February 16, 2004, page 56

Dear Editor:

Despite conservatives' endless anti-gay-marriage rhetoric, the fact remains that nobody has coughed up a single compelling reason for denying same-sex couples the right to get married.

The oft-cited "threat to the institution of marriage" just isn't there. The real threats to the institution come only from the heterosexuals currently allowed to marry, and they are legion: soaring divorce rates, adultery, annulments, prenuptial agreements, and quickie weddings founded on pregnancy or mere impulse.

The best opinion Bush can muster on the subject is the meaningless "marriage is the foundation of society." While more hollow rhetoric than empirical truth, it’s still no reason to deny homosexual couples the right to help contribute to a stable society.

And Matt Daniels, founder of the misguided Alliance for Marriage, cites "the unique combination of gifts that the two genders bring to the raising of children." But marriage -- heterosexual or homosexual -- is not about children. If it were, marriage licenses would mandate procreation and would be denied to the infertile.

If social conservatives were legitimately concerned about the so-called sacred institution of marriage, they would create more stringent requirements for everyone to marry -- ensuring that new marriages endure and restoring much-needed credibility to their claims.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

A man takes his beagle to the vet ...

He says, "My dog's cross-eyed -- is there anything you can do for him?"

"Well," says the vet, "let's have a look." So he picks the dog up and examines his eyes, then checks his teeth. Finally, he says "I'm going to have to put him down."

"What? Because he's cross-eyed?"

"No, because he's really heavy."

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Either I've developed some newfound confidence that comes from not wearing glasses anymore or else I'm suddenly, randomly, the hottest man on the planet -- but I've gotten more attention in the three weeks since my LASIK than I've gotten in the three years I've lived here. Woo-hoo!

For example: Sunday night I went to Sidetrack after rehearsal and left with TWO phone numbers from two very hot men -- both of whom approached me! And then I had an awesome date with one of them Monday night. We chatted about everything and nothing for three hours in his funky loft condo and then went for a trashy dinner at Red Lobster. (And then I woke up this morning all bloated and garlic-y, but I guess it's better than waking up all pregnant and bleeding.)

I get the feeling he likes me a lot more than I like him, though. And over the course of our five hours together, he all but dropped the J-bomb on me three or four times. And in my superficial overview of his place, I didn't see one magazine or newspaper or any related periodical indicating a love of reading or following the news. But he's kind and decent and successful and intelligent and he has a strong sense of family, and our evening just flew by. Too bad I'm just getting started being the new and improved confident (read: two-eyed) Jake ...

Sunday, February 15, 2004

I made $7 in drag money!

So the Valentine's Day cabaret was a smashing success. Tons of people came, we raised tons of money and everyone had ... um ... tons of fun. And my solo drag debut seemed to be a huge hit. It went so well, in fact, that people came up and started handing me money -- as fans of real drag performers are wont to do. Unfortunately, I wasn't expecting to be handed money, and the process of accepting it graciously and incorporating it seamlessly into my number didn't go so well. I got so befuddled that I actually forgot my words and stood like a big dumb linebacker in a dress in front of the microphone for a few moments. But I recovered and everyone cheered so I guess everything went just fine.

And while nobody seems afraid to flirt with a man in drag, I did NOT want to meet a guy while I was looking all quasi-womanly -- it's a dangerous precedent to set, especially on Valentine's Day -- so after I was done I quickly removed my costume and what I thought was all my makeup and I spent the rest of the night as a guy with a serious case of wig hair.

Later that evening, I met a distractingly hot man (whom we'll call Mr. Abs) at Sidetrack and spent a good two hours chatting and flirting and accidentally brushing up against (and even necking a little bit with) him. And it wasn't until I was home brushing my teeth in front of the mirror after the bar closed that I noticed just how much clumpy mascara I still had on. So Mr. Abs had spent the evening either being blinded by my bubbly personality, exercising an extreme level of politeness or just delightedly living out his guy-with-clumpy-mascara fetish.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Mark and Rich got married!

I'd been reading about the San Francisco mayor choosing to honor California's constitutional amendment banning discrimination instead of its discriminatory marriage laws, but somehow I was processing the exciting news in the abstract instead of in the real world. So when Mark emailed me that they'd taken the mayor up on his delightful fuck-the-conservative-hatemongers equal-opportunity-for-gays-to-marry decree, I suddenly realized that this exciting news had real consequences for my friends in San Francisco. And when I saw the wedding photos Mark posted on his Web site, I got all teary-eyed to boot.

I'm so excited for Mark and Rich, for all the gay people of San Francisco (and those who've flocked there to get married the moment they found out they could) and for our future rights as equal citizens.

Of course, there are always assholes who aren't happy unless they're making life miserable for others, and the bible-thumpers are already gearing up with their hateful counter-attacks. I will never understand -- in the face of real problems like poverty and illiteracy and all the troubles that heterosexuality causes (like abortion and divorce and child abuse) -- why the scabby little buttholes in the "social conservative" demographic work so damn hard to make a problem out of a non-problem and to hurt people they don't know and in whose lives they have no earthly reason for interfering.

But like most horrible diseases, these people and their hateful opinions will die off in a generation (or much sooner, if we're all lucky) and the rest of us can live happy, prosperous lives without them.

In the mean time, congratulations to Mark and Rich and the rest of the gay-marriage vanguard this Valentine's Day weekend!

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Elephants, Yeah!

I talked to my sister last night

And apparently while I was sitting in a potential-juror holding tank yesterday with the cast of Norma Rae, she was sitting in the audience at an Oprah taping that featured the hunky Jason Sehorn, Blair Underwood and -- could you just die? -- Nick Lachey.

Speaking of hot men with whom I'll never share a toothbrush, our new office has this giant two-story wall of TV screens showing endless loops of ads we've created, interesting video clips and random movies. And for the last few weeks, a couple of the screens have been showing Flash Gordon -- which has awakened a long-dormant adolescent crush I had on that dreamy, fluffy-blond Sam Jones.


Tuesday, February 10, 2004

My day of civic fun

6:00 am The alarm goes off. My sister and her friend Jane Ann are visiting so they can see an Oprah taping today, and the three of us jockey for time in the bathroom and counter space in front of the mirror.

7:15 am The girls have been gone a half hour, and I leave for my 8:30 jury call in Maywood, which is a bit of a hike from home. Two people and MapQuest have told me the trip will take only 45 minutes, so I tack on an extra half hour to ensure I won't be late.

8:00 am I'm two exits away from the courthouse. The moment I begin wondering what I'm going to do to fill my time when I get there so early, traffic on the Eisenhower STOPS. For TWENTY MINUTES.

8:35 am I get to the courthouse and encounter a mammoth line waiting to go through security. The security guards are confiscating all cell phones, pagers, gameboys and related electronic devices. Thankfully, I read my summons and knew enough to leave my cell phone and iPod in my car.

8:45 am I'm finally in the jury room. And all my hopes for finding romance splashing around in the jury pool are dashed. Now I know where all the makeover shows get their "before" models.

9:00 am They show us a video about jury duty and what's expected of us as potential jurors. All the people in the video are modeling the latest in 1980s fashions: baggy sweaters in neon colors, poofy poodle hair, stonewashed jeans that sit high on the waist and grip tight at the ankles, etc. I make a mental note to clean out my closet this weekend.

9:15 am We're told there are three trials that need juries today, so we'll all probably be picked to serve. They direct us to the "cafeteria" down the hall if we need food. I head down to find six vending machines and many long lines of large-butted people loading up on Snickers and Pepsi. I notice two dimes in a change return as I walk by one machine. I'm already up 20¢ and the day has hardly begun.

9:20 am Back in the jury room. Oprah is on the TVs where they showed us our video. While I'm trying to remember whether or not Jenny and Jane Ann said their taping would be broadcast live, I realize the guests for the day are the ladies on "What Not to Wear." In between makeovers, they offer their list of absolute wardrobe no-nos: baggy sweaters in neon colors, poofy poodle hair, and stonewashed jeans that sit high on the waist and grip tight at the ankles. Nobody in the room seems to notice the irony. Then again, nobody in the room can be described as not wearing baggy sweaters in neon colors, poofy poodle hair, and stonewashed jeans that sit high on the waist and grip tight at the ankles.

10:00 am We were supposed to be called into separate jury rooms by now to begin the interview process. No word. But "The View" comes on. I am shocked that four people can be so whiny, loud and shrewish -- and get paid to host a national TV show. I quickly get a headache as I try to focus on my Newsweek. The "before" models chuckle at the antics of the whiny, loud, shrewish hosts.

10:10 am The guy sitting next to me pulls out his cell phone and starts to play some game on it. The guy in front of me suddenly produces a gameboy. So why the hell did the metal detector stop me for having foil-wrapped gum in my pocket?

11:00 am Still no word. The View shrews are mercifully gone. The local news comes on. Apparently there's some sort of election coming up.

11:30 am I finally break down and use the private juror bathroom. BIG mistake. The automatically flushing toilet won't flush. There are three soap dispensers, but only one has soap in it. I leave with an empty bladder and a creepy dirty feeling on my hands.

11:45 am They finally turn off the damn TVs and make an announcement: All three trials were settled out of court, and we're free to go. We gather up our $17.20 stipend checks and stumble out into the sun.

noon I'm zipping toward Chicago on the Eisenhower, belting out "You Can't Stop the Beat" from Hairspray and basking in the glow of civic duty.

12:15 pm Back at the office. Nobody is around. I sneak away for a quick cardio workout so I can face the rest of the day. Jury duty can be so taxing, you know.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

The Facts

You take the good
You take the bad
You take them both
And there you have
My blog and hers

I finally got my first haircut of 2004

And I think Tim hacked off a good 10 pounds of the stuff. It's amazing how fluffy I can get when I'm too lazy to get my hair cut for eight whole weeks.

Newly shorn, I headed to Sidetrack for a big-screen video showing of the chorus' holiday show. Then a late lunch with Ricardo and the boys and then a bunch of snowy Boystown errands -- including getting my first pair of earrings so I'll be all glammed up for my solo drag debut next Saturday at Truly Scrumptious' spectacular Valentine's Day cabaret. (Doors open at 7, show starts at 8.)

See you there!

Clint Eastwood strikes again -- and he hits like a girl

Richard and I had made plans to get caught up in Oscar fever tonight and see a nominated movie together. As you're probably (painfully) aware, I was stuck at work for another 11-hour day, and Richard -- bless his heart -- patiently waited until 8:00 to meet me for dinner and a late showing of Mystic River.

And I can't remember hating a movie this much since True Crime, which was also directed by Clint Eastwood -- who is lucky to be working, judging by his manifest lack of talent.

While I don't think the movie deserves even this little nod of respect, I begrudgingly warn you that the following rant will contain MANY SPOILERS:

Let's see ... where to start?

The direction and cinematography. They are so ham-handed they'd garner any film student a failing grade and the enduring ridicule of sentient filmgoers around the world. The child actors all sound like they're reading their lines, especially in that painful scene where they tell their equally inexpressive dads that their friend has just been abducted. The cuts -- especially in and out of Tim Robbins' flashbacks -- are so cliche-ridden they made me want to slap the camera out of Clint Eastwood's arrogant hands. And what's with that pointless shot scooting along the water at the end? Was it tacked on to make the movie's title somehow relevant?

Speaking of cliches ... Mystic River is rotten with them: Pedophile rape as the unspeakable crime driving the plot. The true killers hiding in plain sight, flitting innocently in and out of the movie until they're revealed at the last minute. Ex-cons discussing their time "in the big house." The misguided sense of duty and family that unites blue-collar Catholic career criminals with Brooklyn accents.

The character development. Laura Linney goes from destroyed stepmother of a murdered teen to hungry-twatted Lady Macbeth rather suddenly. Kevin Bacon goes from good cop to winking, finger-gun-shooting family man once he uncovers a murder he apparently has no intention of prosecuting. Tim Robbins just mutters about vampires and looks like he can't remember where he left his dignity most of the time.

The dialogue. It was either poorly written or poorly ad-libbed or both -- but it definitely insults the intelligence of every reasonably sober third-grader in the audience. How many times does Sean Penn have to yell "That's my daughter!" when they find the body? I lost count when he reached the triple digits. How many times does he have to say "Admit what you did!" before he offs his old buddy? A good actor would need to say it maybe two or three times. And a good director would edit out any more than that to save them both a lot of embarrassment.

The absolute randomness of plot points that are all over the importance continuum. Tim Robbins' deathbed confession that the bloody secret he'd been keeping was that he randomly stumbled on a child molester randomly getting head from some random boy in some random car in a parking lot and beat him to death. One of the early child abductors takes great pains to show his future victim -- and the camera -- that he's wearing a ring with a cross on it. Why? And what's with Kevin Bacon's missing wife who calls him but doesn't say anything and then when she finally speaks up Kevin smiles and accepts her back with no questions asked and no plot relevance explained?

There are a few things I liked about the movie, though: The trashy dresses and wigs worn by Laura Linney and Marcia Gay Harden are fabulous. The boys' enduring signatures in the sidewalk -- especially the unfinished work of Tim Robbins' character, who remains unfinished in life -- are a nice touch. Tim Robbins' table-turning during his police interrogation is sharply written. And the guy playing Sean Penn's assistant at the store is hot. Sean himself looks pretty good -- especially with all his tattoos and muscles peeking out of his T-shirts.

But hot men and Tammy Wynette wigs do not make a good movie. And neither, apparently, does Clint Eastwood.

Friday, February 06, 2004

After yet another in a long string of 10-plus-billable-hour days, I headed out into a beautiful snowstorm last night and walked a full mile (I'm guessing here -- it was at least two Red Line stops) to burn off some frustration and get some fresh air.

And I had someplace great to go: Matthew's fabulous Gold Coast condo, where he was waiting for me with a delicious spread of spinach/bleu cheese/pear salad, homemade lasagna and those molten chocolate souffles that are always so good they make you want to mmmmmmmm with happiness for days after eating them. We devoured our dinner over gossip and The Apprentice (which I liked more than I expected -- especially whenever they showed Troy's handsome mug) and ER, and then I headed home, my tummy happily full of chocolate and candied ginger and toasted pine nuts and pomegranate juice.


Thursday, February 05, 2004

Str8 to hell

I'm sorry, but if you have ever been emotionally or physically intimate with another man, you are NOT "straight acting" -- a term I find both ignorant and repellent on so many levels (and don't even get me started on the bizarre "str8" spelling).

Straight men, by definition, simply do not engage in gay behavior. Call yourself masculine if you find you need to define yourself in that way ... but you're not fooling anyone when the words "straight acting" come out of your mouth -- especially if it's ever had a penis in it.
Important cows with hairpieces news.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Yay! Meredith kept my favorite blond -- though the guy with the bad haircut who cooked her dinner sure looked hot in his tight little brown sweater. Thank goodness she finally wised up and ditched the blathering black hole of emotional need.

And when the hell did I get hooked on a trashy heterosexual dating show? (Oh, yeah -- the day I discovered it was filled with hot guys who weren't all queer-ass and weird like the guys on the other shows.)

I think my chest cold has become more than just a little whispered promise of misery. My voice has dropped a good octave, and my coughs ring with the resonance of a drum sloshing full of phlegm. (Wow -- the natural poetry in my writing sometimes even surprises me.)

And my week of 11+ hour workdays hasn't helped much either. But being sick does bring with it a few perks -- like topping off dinner with a huge bowl of ice cream and not a shred of guilt.


I woke up today with a rattle in my chest and a vague sense of malaise. Either Bush got elected president or I'm coming down with something.

And I start jury duty on Tuesday. I sent an email to all the ACDs and creative directors on Monday to let them know, but have they stopped assigning me to projects? I'll give you one guess.

Good thing I have no life.

Monday, February 02, 2004


She cut one of the blonds. But at least she kept the second-hottest one.

I'm not surprised she also cut the hunky one who cried like a girl, but I'm appalled she kept the cocky, smart-ass guy with the creepy teeth.

Overheard last night

the setting: the sidewalk in front of the North End, a gay bar packed with people watching the last few innings of the Splendid Bowl (or whatever it's called)

dramatis personæ: a cluster of Chicago Gay Men's Chorus members accustomed to unwinding after rehearsal in the usually empty bar -- but unwilling to enter last night given the size of the crowd and the subject matter on the TV screens

A car pulls up. Someone shouts, "Who's winning?"

The chorus members look at each other with marked incredulity. Someone shouts back, "Who's playing?"

Sunday, February 01, 2004

The recording session yesterday went well

We found this mammoth church with amazing acoustics and no ambient traffic noise (who knew such a thing existed?). This being Chicago, though, we still had to stop a couple of times when airplanes and a helicopter flew overhead.

Then Richard and I spent last night gossiping about men and shows and the new CDs we've discovered (including this amazing one) over pasta and ice cream and brownies. I got home and collapsed into bed for my first post-LASIK sleep without my stupid goggles. My eyes are getting better every day -- and I've noticed I have shocking clarity in full sunlight. Woo-hoo!

Now it's 2:15 in the afternoon, and I'm still lounging around the house in my underwear. I love Sundays.