Saturday, December 31, 2005

You say you want a resolution

I guess one of the benefits (?) of writing a blog is the accountability it gives you when you posted your new year’s resolutions a year earlier for everyone to see and keep track. How did I do? Let’s all find out together:

Repair the giant gap where the outside wall of my condo is ripping away from the inside wall. Done. And I even went one better: I repaired the over-expanded expansion joint at that same intersection. It had become an actual hole that made it unavoidable for me to smell my neighbor’s cooking and smoking; see her lights at night; and hear her phone ringing, her conversations with her hard-of-hearing sister, and her revolting screaming orgasms. And I took pictures (of the repair work—not the orgasms):
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I filled the crack (crack!) with two kinds of expanding foam, which does not sand well, but it seemed to stop the orgasms. (I also got rid of that poor sun-faded, rippled bas relief world map, which I thought was the coolest thing in the … well … world when I got it for Christmas more than 10 years ago.)
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Notice how nice and orgasm-free the wall looks when everything is sanded and painted. Notice how it doesn’t catch on the cheap plastic blinds. Notice the spiffy new valances my mom and dad helped me make last month to hide the cheap plastic tops of the cheap plastic blinds.

Change the HVAC filters. Since I don’t actually have central heat or central air in my condo, this was kind of a stupid resolution to make. My building has heating and air conditioning units (I said units!) built into the outside walls, though. I do know the difference, but blogger must have rewritten my post to make me look gay. In any case, I did take apart the units (I said units!) and wash the filters this summer. So we can consider this resolution achieved as well.

Learn to use a punching bag. There were times this year when I felt like I was a punching bag. Does that count?

Heal from lipo and never do it again. “Healing” is relative, I guess. I have no more pain. I have the remnants of two tiny scars on my hips. But the goo never totally went away, so I don’t count the operation as a complete success—which may or may not be considered “healing.” The never-do-it-again part of the resolution is gonna be pretty easy to keep, though.

Get rid of at least 100 things that are cluttering up my house. I’d estimate I got rid of three or four hundred things this year. And, again, I took pictures:
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above: The top caption is supposed to give you a space-saving double read: Invisible jet phone! and Invisible jet clock! I was going for a really clever Wonder Woman reference, but since I had to explain it to you, the joke is lost. So never mind.
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above: Shiny coats! Which I bought on purpose within the last five years!
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above: Vinyl jeans! Which I bought on purpose within the last three years! (But I never wore two pair of the jeans, so I should get some credit for self-restraint.)
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above: I haven’t had to play dress-up with any regularity since the early ’90s. But I obviously didn’t have to tell you that.
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above: I really have nothing to say here.
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above: De-crapping your life can be so cleansing.
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above: Nothing says I kiss my sister. On the mouth. With tongue. faster than a string tank top. Thankfully, I had the presence of mind never to wear it.
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above: Yes, that is The Sock you see in the upper right. And those are shorty-short short shorts you see in the upper left. And yes, they would have made a lovely ensemble with the string tank top. And no, I am not still in love with Richard Marx.

Run a 5K in under 8-minute miles. I don’t think I officially ran a 5K this year, but I did do an 8K in 8.5-minute miles. And I did some three-mile (which is about a 5K) sprints this year that I never timed. Chalk this resolution up as a kind-of.

Run the Chicago Marathon in under four hours. I shaved 16 minutes off last year’s time, but I was still 20 minutes short of my completely arbitrary four-hour goal. And I’m gonna keep trying.

Learn enough Web design that I can make a Web site of my own. I taught myself a ton of Photoshop. Does that count?

Get my long-dormant book published and/or my old newspaper column revived and syndicated. Oh, my goodness. Look at the time …

Continue in my personal quest to demonstrate to the world that gay people aren't abstract “threats” to the common good. We haven’t completely succeeded in destroying marriage, defiling the innocents, and filling the world with disgust and despair, but Secret Operative Dubya and Secret Operative Pope are still working on it.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Note to self:

Some things you should never try to get at a discount: Lunch meat. Surgery. Hiking boots. Back waxings.

And you should ESPECIALLY avoid back waxings at cosmetology colleges.

First of all, there's none of that zen atmosphere to give you the illusion that the experence is one of calm and tranquility. No dim lights. No soothing music. No sheets on the bed. In fact, there's really no bed; it's just a padded vinyl chaise that wobbles so much they'll ask you just to sit on the end of it to avoid potential collapse.

Then there's the whole amateur-with-a-pot-of-wax factor. Amateurs are clumsy. They slop wax on your jeans. They miss enough wax that you find yourself surgically attached to your coat when you get home. They miss enough hair that you wonder why you drove clear across town to save a buck when you could have done a more thorough job on your own with nothing more than a can of paint thinner and a match.

And speaking of saving a buck, that whole cosmetology college = deep discounts thing is a myth. They may cut your hair for only five bucks, but they'll end up charging you a dollar more than you'd pay at Nordstrom Spa for a more thorough waxing procedure. And Nordstrom Spa offers all that zen crap you thought you could live without. Hell, Nordstrom Spa even gives you complimentary bottled water.

On the flip side, though, Nordstrom Spa also gives you an immediate case of post-waxing pimples. And so far, the cosmetology college route has given you nothing but (mostly) hairless skin. But maybe the pimples are part of the post-graduate work.

To recap:
Wobbly vinyl chaise + Shania Twain + Clumsy McWaxSlopper = bad
Indirect lighting + fresh sheets + fake bamboo in the lobby = good

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Reindeer Games

Canasta. It's a family tradition stretching back almost 10 years. We play it every time we get together. And I still hate to lose.

Deluxe Scrabble. After shamelessly coveting my friends' Deluxe Scrabble games--with their built-in turntables and their little ridges so the tiles don't slide around--for years, I finally got a Deluxe Scrabble of my very own for Christmas. And now I need a new commandment to break I've already gotten my mom and sister hooked. We played for four hours on Monday night, and I even took a picture of our best board to post here, but my folks are on dial-up and I frankly don't have the patience to crop and upload an image on a computer I have to pedal. If I had posted the picture, though, the caption would go something like this: See queen in the top right? I did that. My sister made it queeny (even though that's usually my job) and racked up a ton of points. And see fag down there on the left? That was my mom's handiwork. She got a double-word score for it.

Post-Holiday Sales. The crowds! The gridlock! The tempers! I used to avoid the Iowa post-holiday rush at all costs. But now that I live in Chicago, I think it's kind of cute. People bitch because they have to park ten spots away from the door and because there are six people in line ahead of them and what's wrong with this country if they have to wait more than five minutes to purchase a ceramic teddy bear, damnit?

Wireless Provider Smackdown! My first cell phone service provider (name forgotten) was spotty and unreliable and generally worthless, but that's what cell phones did, and we didn't complain. Then it got bought by Cingular, who made all kinds of promises that just called attention to its shortcomings: I still couldn't use my phone in my home or office, and I dropped more calls than I actually completed on purpose. And Cingular had corporate ties to SBC Ameritech, who treated me so hatefully when I moved to Chicago that I will never do business with them again (and I hate orange anyway). So I switched to T-Mobile, who offered a definite improvement, but I still couldn't use my phone in my home, and there were huge stretches of western Illinois and eastern Iowa that gave me no service when I was driving back and forth to visit my family. So now I'm on Chapter Four: Verizon. And I switched here in Iowa, where I don't have to plan my day around the process. And the verdict: So far, so good--except the phone they sold me has nothing but piercing, irritating ringtones to choose among. I did succomb to the camera-phone craze that all the kids are talking about, though. I'll let you know what develops.

Keeping up with the friendses. So far I've squeezed in holiday reunions with my ex, the girl my sister and I went to Norwegian camp with in junior high, a friend who is fighting admirably to recover from stage 4 ovarian cancer and a high-school friend who was a diver in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics (and who was practically bursting with the news that these hunky twins from our alma mater are doing porn in LA, though he couldn't clarify what kind of porn). Next on the docket: a reunion lunch with the fun people I used to work with.

Back, crack and sack. Well, actually just back, but I like saying "back, crack and sack." Back, crack and sack! I'm getting my wisps of old-man back hair ripped from my body this afternoon at the local cosmetology college. Which should cost about a million dollars less than it does at Nordstrom Spa. Same pain, less money!

Child manipulation. And by "child manipulation" I mean "being manipulated by a child." Example! "Uncle Jake, can I have some candy?" No. "Then can I have a Junior Mint?" Example! "Grandpa, do you want a Hershey's Kiss?" Yes, that sounds good. "Then I think I'll have one with you." Example! "Hey, that's MY toy! You don't get to play with it." "I was just getting it out for YOU to play with."

Eat-like-a-pig rationalization. An entire pizza. 20 cookies. Two cans of Coke. 20 more cookies. I'll ... um ... eat nothing but toothpicks and water when I get back to Chicago.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Sithmas!

So the presents are opened, the food is inhaled responsibly consumed, the Santa myth tradition is preserved for yet another year ... and, once again, my family kept its promise not to get too vulgar with the Christmas consumerism.

I got some socks, a few extra pieces for my new dish set (in case a Clumsy McDishDropper comes for a visit), a deluxe Scrabble game (to replace the ghetto Scrabble I've been so embarrassed to use when my cruelly judgmental friends come over for an evening of Vocabulary Smackdown!), and a nice quilted flannel shirt to match the ones my dad and brother-in-law also got (1, 2, 3: awww!).

The kids, as should be expected, got the best haul again this year, racking up a (modest) pile of toys, books, more toys and even a bunch of mouse crap Disney consumer products to gear them up for the family's upcoming WDW vacation at the end of January.

Most painful toy: My niece's American Idol! karaoke machine. At 4, my niece has yet to master the art of matching tones--and the poor thing has NO grasp of reading lyrics off a TV monitor--so as the rest of us listen to endless loops of "This Old Man" and "I Been Workin' on the Railroad (Dancefloor Mix)," she just kind of moans incoherently into her microphone and creates A Very Yoko Ono Christmas atmosphere for everyone within earshot.

Most retro toy: My nephew's Battleship game. He's 6, and while he can figure out coordinates on the battleship grid (because he's our little genius), he's not so big on things like strategy or accurate peg placement. Which makes the game VERY long.

Least Christmas-like activity: My sister's family got the entire Star Wars DVD set, and we watched Revenge of the Sith this afternoon. All 843 poorly acted hours of it. I'm no science fiction/mythology/religion fan, and I think the last Star Wars movie I saw was the one where Harrison Ford got frozen in a block of stone. And I saw it when it was still in the theaters. Back when Parker Stevenson was steaming up my TV (and my hormone-addled adolescent brain) each shirtless week on The Hardy Boys.

Um ... where was I? Oh, yes: a galaxy far, far away from interesting. A galaxy where people and little puppets say things like "You fool! I have been trained in your Jedi Arts ... by Count Dooku!" and "Hold me, like you did by the lake on Naboo!" and "Into exile I must go. Failed I have." without once looking straight at the camera and mouthing the words "Sorry to have to put you through this, Folks. I took this job just to pay for the implants." A galaxy where the shag haircut never seems to go out of style. A galaxy where nobody has figured out that long opera capes are about as useful as oversized sombreros when you're jumping in and out of tiny space ships and engaging in heated swordplay. A galaxy that has mastered the science of holographic conference calls but seems to have lost the prenatal technology that would alert the wife of a fancy-highrise-dwelling military superstar that the baby she's carrying is actually twins. (If only they'd had the budget to hire Dr. Tom Cruise as her ob/gyn. If only.)

Unbearable Lightness of Being a Sith Lord notwithstanding, it's been a pretty spectacular Christmas. The family's all here, we're all healthy, and we're lucky enough to be able to buy each other's love nice gifts and stuff our tummies with Norwegian recipes that have been made in my family every Christmas for generations.

Plus, I got new socks!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Do I look dry to you? Do I smell?

It’s been A Foo-Foo Skincare Christmas Non-Specific Winter Holiday for me so far this year. To wit:

Bliss lemon + sage products from the guy I dogsit for
Bliss lemon + sage products (with bonus vanilla + bergamot products) from a co-worker (with no dogsitter overlap—which means I’m collecting the whole set!)
• Imported! Avène crème pour peaux intolerants products from a French co-worker

Best of all? I LOVE Bliss lemon + sage products! They’re (relatively) manly, they smell awesome and they don’t trigger my skin’s hypersensitive perfume issues. The Avène products are also (relatively) manly, also of the citrus family, and also magically engineered not to make me red, bumpy and itchy.

But … um … when you look at this fruity embarrassment of riches through cynical eyes, you have to wonder if there’s a subtext:

Jake! I got you some of your favorite soaps because your butt stinks when you walk.

You poor thing! You must be so uncomfortable with that dry skin and I swear I will push you down the stairs into the waiting arms of a very lonely sewer worker if a single flake of you drifts off and lands in my salad.

I choose to think, though, the gifts were given in the spirit of Jake Likes Lemon Things.

* * * * *

Speaking of dry, flaky skin, I’m finally back in the gym after two full months of Way Too Busy To Work Out. All the just-for-show muscles I’d been so carefully cultivating over the last few decades didn’t shrink as much as I’d feared during my hiatus, and they’ve actually bounced back pretty well over the last two weeks. But boy howdy (that’s cowboy talk) does my skin feel like it’s cracking and ripping every time I get a good pump going. And all the (relatively) manly lemon + sage essential oils in the world don’t seem to help. But if the Hulk had to rip through his clothes to get jacked, I guess I have to be willing to rip through my own skin.

* * * * *

I’m heading home to do laundry (so I don’t have to schlep it to my folks’ house like some poverty-stricken college student) and then I’m driving off for a week of Christmas Non-Specific Winter Holiday R&R with my family. Be good while I’m gone.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The darkest day

It’s the winter solstice—the day with the least scheduled sunlight all year (though it’s pretty bright and sunny today in Chicago). From this point forward, the sun will start sticking around a little bit more each afternoon, the days will seem longer and longer (in a good way), and eventually spring will save us from all this brutal coldness and dry skin and evening commutes through the inky blackness.

It was just as bright and sunny 17 years ago today in Iowa when my dad came to pick me up from college for the holiday break. I had finished all my tests, bought myself a fancy new Madras plaid watchband as a reward for surviving another semester (hey—it was the ’80s) and enjoyed a nice catch-up in the car on the way home.

And then my world came crashing down.

Mom met us in the driveway when we got home. She was sobbing. Hysterical. Without her coat. She had just undergone a radical mastectomy, and our first instinct was that she’d gotten some bad news from her oncologist.

But the bad news was something entirely different: Miriam’s plane had gone down.

Miriam was a friend of mine who had spent the semester in London studying under the auspices of Syracuse University. I’d been to visit her over the Thanksgiving break, and we’d had a great time seeing the sights, exploring the museums and taking in all the shows we could afford on our college-student budgets.

I’d been so caught up in my own finals and holiday preparations that I’d had no idea Miriam was flying home that day—much less what flight she was on. Neither had my mom. But my friend Jody in Ohio did. And when the initial reports that Pan Am flight 103 had disappeared out of the sky over Lockerbie, Scotland, started washing over the newswires, Jody had called everyone she could think of.

Mom and Dad and I raced to the family room and crowded around the TV that crisp, sunny Iowa afternoon to see what we could find out about Miriam’s plane. It was the early days of CNN and 24-hour news, so we were able to get (spotty) information right away about the mysterious crash, along with grainy images of the wreckage shining dimly in the emergency lights that were working so hard to pierce the solstice blackness six time zones away.

Over time, of course, the world came to learn about the bomb, the Libyans, the embargoes, the bankruptcies. We cautiously wrapped our brains around the unthinkable efficiencies of global terrorism at the dawn of the Information Age. We started budgeting time for intrusive security searches at airports. We stopped packing forbidden objects in our carry-ons.

Seventeen years ago today, the world learned what a volatile mix misanthropy and religion and blind nationalism can become in a global melting pot.

Seventeen years ago today, Miriam and her fellow passengers and their families and friends learned violently and unwillingly about harsh brutalalities that the rest of the world got the relative luxury of absorbing over time.

Seventeen years ago today, I realized that the distant tragedies that so often happen to “other people” should never be observed as abstractions. I discovered that unspeakable horrors played out on the world stage can be both vulgar and comforting. I learned that life is precious, that there are no guarantees, that people who waste your time are just robbing you, that small gestures can make heroic impressions, that your pain and suffering and anguish and heartbreak do not make you special, that no matter how bad it gets you should find solace in the fact that it will probably get better, or at least easier.

Seventeen years ago today, I became a man.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Big Gay Movie Weekend!

Work and the chorus show and general holiday cheer obligations have taken their toll on my movie-attending social budget, but this weekend I suddenly had some Jake time, where I: 1) finished my damn Christmas letter, 2) bought myself a little something-something (a vase and a tealight holder from the handsome Nate Berkus collection at Linens-n-Things) and 3) actually went to two movies. Two VERY gay movies.

Movie #1: I’ve never been a HUGE fan of Rent. I liked it enough, but it somehow never captured my soul the way other musicals have. (And though I loved “Seasons of Love” the first 525,600 times I heard it, the song has grown more than tiresome.) But I’ll watch almost any movie musical and find something to love in it. And I really liked the movie—waaaay more than I liked the stage version. (Maybe because I saw it on stage from the back row of the top balcony, which was so far away that it looked like the whole show was being acted and sung by trained fleas.)

My favorite part of Rent (the movie): The “Tango Maureen” dream sequence. (Who knew Idina Menzel sould dance so sexy?) My second favorite part: the opening scenes with all the burning paper falling to the street. Pretty! And the fact that they cast the guy from Xanadu to play Roger.

My least favorite part: All that fake steam coming out of people’s mouths to show that it was cold outside. I noticed it right away and then couldn’t tear my eyes away from its fakeness every time they digitally added it to a scene. Which is ALL THE TIME. My second least favorite part: Maureen’s protest. Yawn.

Movie #2: Brokeback Mountain is everything I’d hoped for … and everything I knew was coming, thanks to the endless coverage it’s gotten in the press and the blogosphere. I’d read enough about it that I’d kinda figured out what happens at the end, though the way it all happens was still a surprise to me. Still, the movie is beautifully told and intelligently written, with dialogue as achingly sparse and as rich with beauty as its settings.

There’s really nothing I can say about it that hasn’t already been said, but of course I have a few observations:
• A love story between two men should involve less boobie and more manbutt.
• I’d never seen Jake Gyllenhaal in a movie before. Now I understand what all the fuss is about. (He’s cute enough in still photos, but his charms are exponentially more obvious on the silver screen.)
• Anne Hathaway is hot. I’d do her. But just to get to her husband.
• Um … I guess all my observations are sexually motivated. Except this one: I was expecting it to be earth-shattering cinema, with high-octane emotional jolts and audible sobs. So I wasn’t prepared for its subtlety. For its just-like-real-life untidiness. For the way it stuck with me for hours after we left the theater. It’s a powerful story, but it’s told in whispers and mumbles. And that’s the way it should be told. Go see it.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Got your tickets yet?

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There are only two more days until the cows come home ... and by "cows" I mean "fake cowboys" and by "come home" I mean "sing and dance like big gay homos."

A Cowboy Christmas is going to be a hoot, so click on the pretty picture above to order your tickets -- and you'll be able to see people like me and this guy and this guy singing and dancing and acting goofy and generally behaving like little girls do when they're pretending to be princesses (except we're big girls and we're pretending to be cowboys).

Friday, December 9, 8:00 pm
Saturday, December 10, 5:00 pm
Saturday, December 10, 8:30 pm

The Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport

More Info:
Our endlessly clever web site

More gay cowboys

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

SOBA Alert

I'm back from London. Sorry for the stretch of quiet since my last post; I was exposed to Sudden Onset British Accent while I was there and I've been in quarantine since I got back.

A little-understood—but heartbreakingly familiar—affliction, SOBA can strike at any moment, leaving its victims and their traveling companions trapped in a nightmare of incorrectly lengthened vowels and revoltingly fey articulated consonants.

Even worse, it can transform an ordinary (in the most pejorative sense of the word) American into an insufferable boob.

Fortunately, there IS a cure. But if you get caught punching the living shit out of a freaky little queen just because he started talking extra-funny, you might end up in the hoosegow. Which can totally ruin your vacation.

Anyway, I survived quarantine, and they didn’t find any SOBA antibodies in my system, so I guess I’m clean. Now I’m going to grab my bumbershoot and catch the lift down to the Tube.


Sunday, November 27, 2005

My final London memories

Straight people here must feel some constitutional obligation to make out in the most public -- and the most vulgar -- ways possible. Especially if they aren't especially porntastic. (We saw one particularely egregious display tonight on a park bench. The man was sitting facing the river, like most people do. But the woman -- I kid you not -- was straddling his lap with her skirt hiked up and her lady business blowing in the breeze. The FREEZING breeze.)

Speaking of hiked-up skirts, there are two unfortunate fashion trends sweeping London at the moment. One is shorty-short skirts and towering heels. Which would be fine in, say, August -- but it's FREEZING here. Put on something warm already, ladies -- you're making my balls shrink up. The other is what can only be desribed as toreador chic: bolero jackets, knee leggings and ballet slippers. Again: not weather-appropriate. And also: rarely flattering.

One more self-righteous, Ameri-centric piece of judgment: "Shag" is never appropriate. Not on your floors (hard to vacuum), not in your sexual overtures (sounds REALLY gay) and ESPECIALLY not on your heads (looks like hell). Trust me on this.


I spent the day with my high-school friend Lucy, whom I haven't seen in over 10 years. She lives here now, and amid shopping and National Gallerying and eating and more eating, we got all caught up on long-lost friends and long-overdue gossip. Unfortunately, neither of us had anything particularly juicy to share about anyone.

We saw Mary Poppins (the new musical, not the mythical nanny) last night in what must have been just-returned seats in the front center of the dress circle. The seats could NOT have been better, and we got them just a few hours before curtain. Yay us! The show is delightful, packed to the brim with fabulous costumes and endless special effects and clever, tightly rehearsed choreography and a soaring, animated set that deserves a Pulitzer Prize. The old songs from the movie are almost all there, but they're dragged down by new material that's dark and kind of uninspired and clearly the product of a different (and slightly lesser) creative mind. One observation: There's a point near the end of the show that's nothing short of a technical landmark that's suddenly, conspicuously followed by no more special effects. From that point forward, the cast sings the last few songs on a bare stage with ultra-basic lighting effects, as though the technical budget took the directors only so far and all they had left for the ending were a few gobos left over from a high-school production of Man of La Mancha. The show is still a delight, but after all that buildup you're kind of expecting something a little bigger. I'm just sayin'.

Before the show, our friend Jim from Chicago, who was in town for business, met us for cocoa and then joined us for dinner afterward at the fabulous (and fabulously staffed) Balans. Come for the food, but stay for the waiters. And the other patrons. Woof.

Now it's off to bed and a long flight home tomorrow. Cheerio!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Today's London adventures

Pizza Hut! Which—I know —is tacky and American and grosser than gross, but we thought we should eat something vaguely representative of our culture over Thanksgiving weekend. (Besides, the place was packed.)

Pay toilets! Which—though I didn't personally use them—I was surprised to learn charge 50p for one pee. Which sounds like a pretty bad exchange rate.

Blogger delays! Apparently there's some weird European delay thing with blogger, and my earlier post appeared twice because I posted it again when it didn't appear the first time. The same thing happened in March when I was in Madrid and Paris. And, obviously, I didn't learn.

High tea at Harrods! Where I 1) discovered that scones and clotted cream are MUCH better than I remember and 2) reinforced my opinion that I am NOT a tea person.

Tube riding! Which is fast and efficient and comfortable and convenient no matter where you are or where you're going. Exactly like public transportation is NOT in Chicago.

High Society! Which is at times hard to believe is a professional theatre production. The costumes and wigs are lavish (though a bit threadbare), the voices are pretty darn good, this guy easily steals every scene he's in (once just by taking off his shirt), and the megawatt star power is supplied by ... Jerry Hall's understudy (at least tonight, by a woman who was quite good). But the book is laughable, the staging is worse, the orchestra is grossly electronic, and the choreography is insulting and unrehearsed (except where it's fabulous and over the top (again: this guy) and altogether inappropriate for the characters and time period). We got our tickets half-price at TKTS, though, and the show is playing at the same theatre where I saw Follies 17 years ago with my friend Miriam. So that was a blast from the past.

Tomorrow's adventures: Um ... we don't know yet. Probably more touristy things. And more shopping. Stay tuned ...

Snapshots from London

We made it here safely and without incident. Except when I got £200 out of the ATM at the airport, I promptly dropped all my bills on the ground like a tacky tourist.

Some natives called us "mates" on our elevator lift last night.

The term water closet isn't just an adorable English euphemism. The room with the toilet -- at least in our hotel -- is barely large enough for me and my feet when I try to close the door. My shoes back in Chicago enjoy more closet. (And, presumably, less water.)

Speaking of water, the toilet in our water closet is designed for maximum splashage -- sort of a poor man's bidet. Now with a resonant kerplunking sound!

"Our" water closet is actually a misnomer here; we're staying in a hotel with sinks in the rooms and private toilets/showers in public bathrooms scattered randomly down the halls. You have to call the front desk for a towel and someone to unlock the showers, but the beds are cozy, the room is warm and you can hear construction (or maybe banging pipes) all night long.

Then again, we're paying £56 each—TOTAL—for four nights in a hotel that's mere steps from a Tube stop right in the heart of the theatre district ... which, for those of us still mastering the exchange rate, is roughly 100 dollars. (For some reason, this keyboard doesn't have a dollar sign. Someone notify the queen.)

Only a moron would forget to pack shampoo and deodorant when he went on vacation. Only a moron.

We went to G-A-Y last night, the famed nightclub where Madonna gave a doubtfully live performance off her new album last week. The place is big and smoky (actually, EVERYTHING in London is smoky), and if you look around carefully you can see telltale signs of its former life, which I assume was a lavish, Egyptian-themed theatre.

Either the gay boys in London are frightfully skinny or Americans are big fat louts. Or some combination of the two. Or I'm just making sweeping judgments based on one unrepresentative experience. Which NEVER happens.

On the plus side, the gay aesthetic in London isn't the hyper-worked-out, eating-disorder-inducing look that can ruin any given night out in the States. I feel pretty here!

I love the sexual freedom in the London—there are "licensed sex shops" (which I assume are houses of prostitution) in neon-splashed clusters around the neighborhood, and the gay rags feature endlessly clever (and memorably explicit) ads filled with information and warnings about STIs (which I assume are sexually transmittd infections). And—as far as I can tell—there is none of the retardedly panicked sexual repression the religious wrong spreads like self-righteous butter on the croissants of American discourse. (Pardon the forced metaphor—it's almost noon here and I haven't eaten yet. Blogging is THAT important to me.)

I really hate my leather jacket. It's shapeless and only mildly warm. And it bunches up in the most uncomfortable places. I bought it six years ago for a couple hundred bucks, and now I think I'm ready to sink another hundred bucks into a casual-dressy coat that actually fits. And actually keeps me warm.

I've been to London twice—both over Thanksgiving—so my perceptions may be a bit skewed (see: unrepresentative experience above), but to me this place is nothing but cold and overcast. Which makes all the "fully air-conditioned" restaurant-window signs a little alarming. (What does it say about the food if that's the most important marketing angle a restaurant can find?)

Snarky comments aside, we ate our traditional Thanksgiving dinner last night at a Thai place that was quite delicious. And so were the waiters.

On the docket today: Shopping! And finding theatre tickets! And breakfast!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Away up until now
The new job has been a MASSIVE drain on my free time for the last month—I've billed 75-hour weeks three weeks in a row (except for two vacation days I somehow managed to score), and there doesn't seem to be much letup on the horizon. So that's my excuse for not blogging so much lately.

My other excuse is the obvious corollary: If all I do is work, all I really have to write about is work. And, as glamtastic as advertising can be (see: Bewitched, Melrose Place, Desperate Housewives), I sincerely doubt you want to read about my endless adventures in office scandals, pen-stealing and corporate bloodlust scheduling, proofreading and filing expense reports.


I did have one newsworthy work-related adventure last week. See, I'd been rescheduling this dentist appointment over and over because of VITAL client meetings, and I finally found a date and time with no conflicts. So of course the company scheduled a mandatory staff meeting at the same time. I decided my teeth took priority, though, and I traipsed off to the land of tartar scrapers and those sharp-pointed X-ray shields that dig into your soft spots while your're being shot full of radiation—all while the rest of my company assembled on furniture without spit sinks for updates and announcements.

I survived the visit, and—ecstatic over the news that I have no new cavities (though I have three fillings scheduled for replacement in early January)—my mind barely registered the thumbs-up that a colleague gave me through the revolving-door glass as I headed back to the office and he headed out into the night. And I was starting to think my dentist was awfully unprofessional for sharing my dental report with the whole office when three people shouted Congratulations! at me as I got off the elevator.

And then, when I got to my office, there it was: The trophy. The traveling trophy that said I had just won the Buzzie Award.*

*Named after a landmark employee who just retired, the Buzzie is akin to employee of the month. Only it's more like employee of the quarter because it's awarded only 4-6 times a year. And it's peer-generated; you are nominated by a certain number of your colleagues and approved by a peer review board whose recommendations are finalized by the company president. So it's actually pretty cool—the president reads your nominations in front of the whole office and hands you a sizeable little check (which totally paid for my new dishes!) while you get to choke out an unprepared speech about how you couldn't possibly do your job without all the cool people you work with (which is the complete, heartfelt truth). Then again, the award is called a Buzzie and the trophy is this hideous three-foot monstrosity festooned with equally hideous knickknacks and doodads from previous winners. So it totally helps keep everything real, yo.

Away even more
This paucity of posts will extend into the near future as well, only this time it's for a more exciting reason: I leave for a five-day trip to London tomorrow with some friends from the chorus! I'm sure I'll find an Internets cafe or two as I explore the City of Dentists (I think that's what people call it), but I could find myself too busy munching crumpets with the queen to even be bothered. (And that's not a metaphor for anything.)

So be good while I'm gone, always remember to brush and please don't stop visiting here just because I'm not making any damn posts. I'll find more blogging time once this pre-holiday rush is behind me. Promise.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Keeping up appearances

"And the suggestion that’s been made by some U.S. senators that the President of the United States or any member of this Administration purposely misled the American people on pre-war intelligence is one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city."
— Vice President Dick Cheney

"It is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began. … These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will."
— "President" George W. Bush

Dear Dick and Dubya,
Considering the context, I don't think that putting the words "dishonest," "reprehensible" and "irresponsible" in the public's mind is a very good idea. At least not for you.

Dear America,
See what happens when you think the "threat" of gay marriage and the "science" of a mythology that's had to be repositioned as "intelligent design" so it doesn't alienate every clear-headed thinker in America are legitimate factors in deciding a presidential election? Happy now?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Homos on the range!

The holidays are all about traditions: food, presents, family … and sweaty cowboys.

And the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus holiday show is all about cowboys. Sweaty, singing cowboys. And we’re cleverly calling it A Cowboy Christmas.

Our holiday show has become a required first stop for everyone who wants to get into the holiday spirit, and this year promises to be extra fun because we’ll be yodeling. And wearing hats. And singing songs about elves.

In addition to our general goofiness, we’ll also be singing some powerhouse arrangements of Christmas favorites, including a mighty gospel medley and Dolly Parton’s joyous “With Bells On.”

I’m choreographing and dancing in the opening number (so the painful part will be over before you know it) and, as the new marketing director for the chorus, I’ve also managed all the advertising—from the posters to the programs. And I’m exhausted.

Tickets went on sale this week, so click on the pretty picture below to order yours and make sure you get the best seats.

Hope to see your blog-reading faces in the audience!

Friday, December 9, 8:00 pm
Saturday, December 10, 5:00 pm
Saturday, December 10, 8:30 pm
The Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport
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Saturday, November 12, 2005

Snapshots from Iowa

Getting Wood
My folks and I spent a glorious couple hours exploring Grant Wood at 5 Turner Alley at the always impressive Cedar Rapids Museum of Art on Thursday. This retrospective of works by American Gothic painter and Cedar Rapids native son Grant Wood is (I believe) the first ever collection of so much of his oeuvre in one place at one time. A Cedar Rapids native son myself, I grew up steeped in knowledge and lore about Grant Wood, I attended the grade school named after him and the junior high school where he taught art, I met his sister (who is immortalized in American Gothic (she's the one on the left)) before she died, and I've even been collecting prints of my favorite Grant Wood paintings over the years. And I added to my collection this weekend -- to the tune of almost $200 (including SWEET custom framing).

Not getting wood
My sister and her husband still don't have a headboard on their bed, so we all stopped by a furniture shop this afternoon to browse through some options. My sister found a nice wooden one she really liked, but my brother-in-law told her he "did not want to get wood in (our) bedroom."

Finishing my Christmas shopping
(At least for my parents.) I bought my mom a Grant Wood print and paid to have it framed this weekend. I was still behind on what to get my dad for his October birthday -- much less Christmas -- when their 20+-year-old garbage disposal crashed last night. So I bought them a new one and helped install it today. Which earned me tons of cash back on my credit card, tons of macho points on my gay card and a bad case of frightfully slimy dishpan hands.

The Princess Party
Hot on the heels of being más macho que su mama, I attended my niece's princess party at a local gymnastics emporium. (You know: because princesses use balance beams. And stuff.) The best part: Lots of cake and ice cream. The worst part: LOTS of pink. And screaming children (albeit screaming-because-of-exuberant-happiness children, but screaming children nonetheless).

Pretty, Pretty Princess
This is the name of a game. A game my niece got for her birthday. A game we all played when we got home from the princess party. A game that involves moving a little jewel-toned game piece around a board and slowly donning a matching necklace, bracelet, earrings, ring and even a tiara. A game my niece miraculously won! On her birthday! Leaving her hapless uncle wearing only one earring and his necklace.

What a pretty, pretty loser.

Friday, November 11, 2005

How to entertain yourself in Iowa

I'm home with the family in Iowa for a well-deserved four-day vacation. And I've already packed a lifetime of adventure in the last 48 hours. Here's some of what I've done:

Play with the kids
Yesterday I had lunch with my nephew at his kindergarten, which is in my old grade school. As we walked the halls from his classroom to his cafeteria, I had more flashbacks than Rush Limbaugh discovering a box of OxiClean under his sink. After that I was a mommy helper (OK, assistant mommy helper) with my sister at my niece's preschool. It, too, was in the same building where I had gone to preschool many, many facelifts ago. But the building had undergone so many renovations since then (and I was only four at the time, so what the hell do you people want from me?) that I really had no recollection of being there.

Laugh at the kids
Example! My niece is turning four on Saturday (which is the reason I'm here) and there's a princess party in the works for her and a bunch of her friends. And her gay uncle. But my niece is in a mood. A mood that sometimes prompts her to discipline the adults around her with grave threats of retribution. Today, for instance, she was so upset that she didn't get any candy at the drug store that she declared she was canceling her party. Never one to deny my niece the right to make important decisions, my sister calmly reached for her cell phone and started calling all the guests to tell them not to come. And the frantic panic in my niece's voice -- "I changed my mind! I changed my mind!" -- as the enormity of her hasty threat started to dawn on her would have been funny if it hadn't been so damn hilarious. The more my niece pleaded for her very princess-themed life, the more my sister and I laughed and shook and could NOT look at each other. (The party, you'll be pleased to know, did not get canceled. Fortunately, nobody my sister called was home.)

Example! The day I arrived, my niece and a friend were playing superheroes. My niece had a towel wrapped around her neck and a vast array of superpowers at her fingertips, and she was enjoying to the fullest all the exciting corporate benefits of being Woman Woman! (I have no idea what the Woman Woman! costume looked like in my niece's fertile imagination, but I would hazard a guess it involved something with ruffles, a Bob the Builder hat and perhaps a set of Barbie earrings. And definitely some sparkly lip gloss.)

Notice the gays
The gays, they're a-teachin' our kids, they are. I counted at least one gay at each school I visited yesterday. Unfortunately, neither had much of a sense of style, so my niece and nephew are being deprived of a positive sartorial influence at their respective places of education. Which is both a damn shame and a national tragedy. Why hasn't Pat Robertson spoken out about this? Oh, yeah. Maybe he's too busy kickin' godless, monkey-shaped Pennsylvania butt.

Two words: Ample parking! Two more words: Manageable crowds!

We hit the pre-holiday sales with a bunch of storewide coupons in hand, and I must say we've made a killing. In addition to getting a bunch of holiday shopping crossed off my list, I've also bought myself an entire new set of Big Boy Dishes at almost 75% off (I'll post before-and-after pix when I get home so you can see how profoundly sad juvenile my old dishes looked), a ton of foo-foo gay knickknacks to replace the ghetto gay knickknacks that are currently taking up valuable display space at Shoebox Manor (also at 75% off), some of my favorite Old Navy ringer tees on sale for 50% off and a warm, delicious dinner at Taco Bell. God BLESS Taco Bell. (Just don't stand behind me for a couple more weeks. I haven't eaten at Taco Bell in at least a couple years, and my plumbing is still getting used to its beany goodness.)

And more!
I have much more to tell you, but I have to go throw some children in the air. Stay tuned ...

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

My weird little obsession

There's this thing I do. Almost compulsively. Fortunately, it costs nothing (well, there are no incremental costs over my initial investment) and the mess it makes is no bigger than a few square inches. It doesn't hurt anybody except all those hookers I've killed in the basement and it's actually proven to be pretty educational.

But it's hard to describe in one sentence. Here goes, though: I visit my four favorite cartoon web sites every day (see sidebar to your right) and save my favorite cartoons in a folder on my computer. If a cartoon isn't funny all the way through but one of the little panels (or even a part of one of the little panels) is, I chop it up in my Photoshop and save the good parts in a separate sub-folder. (Two sentences. See?)

And do I ever look at these little cartoonlets again once I've filed them away? Yes, but only if I get a little browsy when I'm adding new clippings to the folder. Do I have a purpose for them? Theoretically, I plan to use them as clever little sign-offs to my clever little emails. Theoretically.

But there really is an educational part: It's helped me become quite the little Photoshop autodidact—especially when the tiny little funny part of a cartoon needs to be surgically removed from its non-funny surroundings and I have to fill in the resulting holes so as not to confuse the women and children.

And since my fabulous new job (technically, it's the same job I already had but now with an awesome new team and a cool new client base and exciting new challenges) has sucked away all my blogging time over the last few weeks (I billed 72 hours last week!) I'll just leave you with some of the disjointed evidence of my goofy little obsession:
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Thursday, November 03, 2005

Look what I did!

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It's true. Jake + rudimentary Photoshop skills = very plain-looking banner ads on the chorus web site.

But I'm learning a ton as I go. And I designed the Lipstick & Lyrics logo ALL. BY. MYSELF.

And now it's your turn to have some fun. Click on the banner ads above and you'll open up a world of magical surprises. (Please have your credit cards handy.)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I’m having trouble peeing.

It’s only Tuesday, and there have already been four times this week that I’ve had a hard time taking a simple leak.

I’m drinking plenty of fluids. I’m trying to get up from my desk to slosh my innards around at least once an hour. I know where the bathrooms are. So the problem can’t be with my plumbing.

But it might stem from this video game I’m living in. Every time I get up to head to the bathroom, people come careening down the hallways and darting out from between the cubes at me with papers they want me to look at. Or they stand three deep outside my door with endless rounds of questions.

If I weren’t at work with a very clear list of job responsibilities hanging over my head, I might look at all this attention as proof that I’m wildly popular.

If I were a conspiracy theorist, I might interpret all this as a guerilla marketing tactic staged by the Buy New Underwear Foundation.

And if I could just squeeze through the throngs and be able to take a freakin’ piss once in a while, I might be able to focus long enough to write a blog post that was perhaps a wee (HA! WEE!) bit more clever.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

What do you get

when you dress up in an adorable macho cowboy outfit for a Halloween party but nobody there has a camera?

No pictures. That's what you get.

But the morning hat hair? It was TOTALLY worth it.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

You never get a second chance to blow a first impression

What's worse than waking up at 5:00 am to catch a 7:00 am flight?

Right. Waking up at 6:30 am and realizing you just royally fucked up an important business meeting with a new client.

Fortunately, my presence at this meeting wasn't of the be-there-or-we-lose-the-business variety. And a lifetime legacy of punctuality and reliability made the fact that I sent my colleagues off without me this morning more amusing than irritating. At least that's what they told me.

And I was able to fly standby at 9:00 (saving the company a whopping $900 in change fees) and get to NYC in time for the post-meeting lunch at the fabulous (and very gay-waitered Abboccato Ristorante (which should be called A Visit From The Carb Fairy)) with the client. And I was all charming and shit, so there was no real harm done. And we all got back to Chicago in one piece. Together.

Which means, of course, that I flew to New York today just to have lunch. Which means that Sondheim is probably going to write a satiric paean to me and my people. And I hope Patti LuPone doesn't sing it because she chews on her vowels.

Unknown benefit to flying standby: Even though I had to sit in a middle seat, I at least got a middle seat in an exit row. Probably because I flirted* with the gay guy behind the ticket counter.

*And by "flirted" I mean "whored myself so I could get on a flight" and not "made sexual advances that I had any actual interest in following through on."**

**Does that make me a bad guy? An evil queen? A dedicated corporate drone? A shameless Dubya-type who will stop at nothing to cover my own culpable and not very shapely ass? Story at eleven.

Confidential note to the cunt princess next to me on the flight home: Just because you have a cell phone doesn't mean the whole plane wants to hear you tell Bambi or Candi or Amber or whatever the fuck your stupid friend's name is how you threw a fit because they made you check your oversize carry-on and now you're going to be late for the wedding AND all stressed out about it when you get there. Shut the fuck up. And sit the fuck still when you're in your seat. You had NO idea how your constant fidgeting and your digging through your THREE bags and your endless bumping into me made you THIS CLOSE to having your poorly streaked head and your bejeweled sweater stuffed up your stinky little cooter.***

***HA! I said cooter!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Why I'm not in New York right now:

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It doesn't look like much from the heavens, but apparently there's a massive nor'easter crippling New England AND giving the whole country an opportunity to talk like salty old fishermen tonight.

I was supposed to take off at a civilized 8:00 pm today and sleep in a civilized cushy-bed hotel tonight and be all refreshed for a business meeting tomorrow, but my flight was canceled early this morning -- and I couldn't be rebooked until Thursday. So now I'm flying out at a decidedly uncivilized 7:00 am on Thursday. Which means waking up when the crack whores are stumbling home and spending the day trying not to get too wrinkly in front of our totally cool new client.

On the flip side, I get two more days to contemplate my new-client wardrobe. And change my mind about a billion times. And then probably fly out in the outfit I packed last night anyway.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Ready for my closeup

I've spent my weekend acting in an independent film that's being entered in a 48-hour film contest. And it's been fun!

The filmmaking teams—as I've been told—are given a few required elements (character, location, plot twist, etc.) on a Friday night and 48 hours to write, cast, shoot, edit and submit a completed film. A guy in my office is one of the producers, so I got sweet-talked into auditioning—and, 48 hours later, I've memorized lines and blocking and delivered consistently nuanced performances take after take after take. (Are you listening, Hollywood? I'm that good.)

Little-known fact: The secret to good film acting is junk food. I've eaten nothing but junk food while I've been on the set, and I've given my most wooden award-worthy performance to date. Coincidence?

Anywho, it's a national competition, so I have no idea if I'll ever get a chance to see myself on a local silver screen—not that I think I could sit through even a few seconds of my face blown up bigger than Tom DeLay's arrogance—but it's been a hoot being fussed over and lighted and catered to and closeupped and coached. And everyone on the set has been incredibly professional, learning lines and moving set pieces and swinging each other's booms (that's not a metaphor for anything) and doing whatever it takes to get done in the alloted time.

And—unless I end up coming off as wooden as I felt—I promise to somehow show you-all the final product here when it's done.

Start practicing your applause for my acceptance speech.

Friday, October 21, 2005

It looks like SOMEONE learned the Internets.

After all my kvetching yesterday about the dog’s crusade to make me feel like the Most Unpopular Human Ever every time he's alone at my house, he was actually quite … well … doglike last night. He bounded up to see me when I got home, he stayed happily at my feet while I went through some paperwork and slurped down some soup and TiVoed my way through three episodes of CSI, and he contentedly snuggled up against me all night.

The only logical explanation? He read my blog. Which makes him the Smartest. Dog. Ever.

Except he farted in the elevator last night when we were heading out for a poop. And—trust me on this—you do NOT want to be trapped in an elevator for fifteen floors with a creeping dog fart.

In other news, I did my first leg workout yesterday since I started marathon training last spring. I figured it would be less boring smarter for me not to risk injury in the gym when I was running so much, so I gladly stopped doing all those squats and leg curls and extensions and calf raises and focused on my endurance and distance for the last six-plus months.

And as my thighs and calves grew meatier and stronger this summer, I figured all that running was the perfect alternative to all that lifting. I also figured that when I finally started hitting the weights again I’d have great workouts and easy recoveries.

I figured wrong. When I woke up this morning, I felt as though giant blond bodybuilders with smooth, tan skin and thick, rubbery lips all the demons in hell had spent the night pounding railroad spikes into my calves and pouring liquid tar all over my thighs and hamstrings. And every time I’ve tried to get up and walk after spending more than 30 minutes at my desk today, I’ve had to be retrained in the finer points of balance and locomotion.

Needless to say, my walks to meetings and other meetings and even more meetings have not been runway-fabulous.

And one more thing: My hunky friend Scott has his own marketing and design firm, and he has a little survey he’s designed for a client. So click here if you want to participate. It won’t take five minutes of your time, and it might make Scott so rich he buys me some new legs.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Hell hath no fury like a lonely dog.

I'm dog-sitting this week.

The dog hates this.

This morning, the dog and I left his real house in the car! And we were excited! Because we were going for a ride! In the car!

But when we pulled in to Jake’s Garage of Abandonment, the dog suddenly remembered: Garage of Abandonment = Endlessly Excruciating Days With The Stranger.

So before we even got out of the car this morning, the whimpering commenced. And the listlessness. And the sulking.

Thankfully, the dog’s drama-queen histrionics never involve things like biting and growling and indoor pooping. At least so far.

But there are endless hours of long, sullen stares. And conspicuous snubbing where the dog will acknowledge me with his eyes but will not exert the energy necessary to lift his head to look at me. And let’s not forget the pathetic, audible sighs.

Don't get me wrong—I love this dog. (And I'm not even technically a dog person.) He's well-behaved, extremely friendly, accident-free and able to make me laugh just by doing his everyday dog things in his cute little dog way.

But caring for this dog alone is not unlike talking to a social climber in a crowded bar: He’s constantly surveying the landscape beyond you, and every noise, every door and every opportunity to go outside to pee is a potential sign that this cruel incarceration in Loserville is almost over. (Oh, if ONLY we required that shameless social climbers had to go outside to pee…)

But the joke’s on you, my canine friend! Aside from two visits with your dog walker, I’m your only source of lovin’ until Saturday night. You can enjoy the same lovin’ you get at home (only with more room on the bed!) or you can choose to sulk in the corner by the bookshelf.

And—despite all your audible sighs and your moping and your refusal to wag your tail unless I have a treat in my hand—I’m still gonna love you and I’m still gonna invite you up on the couch with me and I’m still gonna make room for you on the bed.

And I’m still gonna pick up your damn poop.

And I promise not to use you as bait for picking up hot men in the elevators.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

A whole year of queer!

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I'm the new marketing director for the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus, and it would be a travesty of biblical proportions if every single one of my readers didn't order season tickets to our shows this year. And nobody wants biblical proportions.

Order before October 30 and you'll save 10% on all this:

A Cowboy Christmas
December 9-10, 2005
Slip on your boots and jump on your horse ’cause you’re about to enjoy a rootin’, tootin’ holiday hoe-down just like the cowboys had in the Old West. (The gay ones, at least.) When you’re with CGMC, there really is no place like home (on the range) for the holidays.

The Ten Commandments: The Musical
April 21-22, 2006
Relive the ten plagues of Egypt! Watch the Red Sea part like an expertly styled coiffure! Discover just how flaming the burning bush can be! Cecil B. DeMille captured it on film, and now CGMC is bringing the Ten Commandments to life on stage. Except we’re doing it with better shoes. (You are totally going to covet them!)

Midwest Pride 2
June 23-24, 2006
CGMC continues our longstanding tradition of celebrating Pride with a guest chorus. This year the Indianapolis Men’s Chorus joins us in a joint concert of stirring anthems, sequined show tunes and all the joyous irreverence you’ve come to expect from CGMC.

Remember, order your season tickets before October 30 and you’ll save 10%—plus you’ll pay no taxes, surcharges or fees!

Plus, if we sell out all our shows, I get a 10-minute sloppy kiss with Nick Lachey. DO NOT DENY ME MY NICK LACHEY.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Dear Emily Etiquette,

When I stepped on the train tonight after work, I found myself face-to-face with a totally hunky, totally straight guy, who looked up at me for a half a second and then disinterestedly went back to examining his manly fingernails.

Fortunately, the only available seat on the train offered me an unobstructed view of him, which I took advantage of every time I got to a boring part in the Newsweek I had with me.

At the next stop, though, the train started filling with people: a Russian family with two sullen children and a dad whose left eye was so bloody and sunken I assume he’d been in a bar fight that afternoon; a man dressed as Jesus, complete with a flowing robe, a scraggly wig, a five-foot cross over one shoulder and a man-purse decorated in a sequined Virgin Mary motif over the other; an overgrown frat boy whose cotton pleated pants only accentuated the girth around his middle; a mousy girl in a big floppy garden hat; and another hunky straight guy in a muscle-hugging brown sweater who promptly stood next to the original hunky straight guy, significantly raising the property values in their section of the train car.

So my question is this: Is there a polite way to tell Jesus to move His faggy man-pursed self the hell out of my way so I can scope hunky straight guys? Or is there some sort of Commandment forbidding that sort of thing?

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Wanna hear something weird?

I ran a marathon on Sunday. I never stopped running (save for a handful of 15-second walks so I could gulp down some water) for four hours and twenty minutes. And aside from some minor stiffness in my quads, the only real pain I developed was in my knees—and they flared up only when I was trying to go down stairs.

In contrast, I got a tetanus shot yesterday morning in my left shoulder. It lasted maybe two seconds. And now every time I turn my head, use either arm, try to type, stand up, sit down, grab the phone, scratch my butt or reach up to make sure my hair is pretty for the cameras, I feel like a trailer home after a tornado.

In short:
Marathon = minor discomfort
Tetanus shot = KICKED MY ASS

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Pictures! I have pictures!

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The marathon photo people are slowly sifting through the brazilians of pictures they took on Sunday, retouching unsightly wrinkles and matching bib numbers to runner email addresses—and the early returns (the picture matching is only 5% complete, according to the web site) show that:
1) I actually did run in the marathon, and these damn sore knees aren't just a sign that I'm getting closer and closer to death.
2) This year's shorts look better than last year's shorts* but they appear to ride up in the middle when I run, as though they were concealing a ravenous vagina.

The marathon photo people are a clever bunch, though, and their web site shows only tiny thumbnails of the lush, colorful photos they want to sell you. But for those of us with Photoshop and a rudimentary proficiency at using layers, a rudimentary montage of thumbnails can be produced in under five minutes.

*Last year’s shorts were far baggier, and their unattractiveness was further compounded by a sandwich bag full of Gummi Bears that bounced around like a vulgar appendage in one of the pockets. I forget which “friend” recommended that I carry Gummi Bears with me in the marathon, but Gummi Bears are a shitty idea because:
1) They’re heavy and they bounce around and slap against your leg when you run, and not in the junior-high-boner kind of way.
2) They require water, and when you’re running and parched and you decide to eat them you kind of choke because you’re nowhere near a water station.
3) They really don’t offer much of a sugar-carb pick-me-up.
4) All that heaviness and bouncing make half of your marathon photos unusable because the damn Gummi Bears end up looking like two birds are fighting to get out of your shorts because you farted or something. And nobody wants to see pictures of that.

Monday, October 10, 2005


So marathon #2 is over, and it was just as spectacular as I'd hoped. I didn't quite reach my goal of beating four hours ... but I did beat last year's time by 16 minutes, sparing me the endless humiliation of having to admit I got even slower to friends, family members and blog readers across the galaxy. And I finished 15,710 out of 33,012 runners, so those 16 minutes moved me into the top half this year. Woo-hoo!

I knew I had to maintain about a 9-minute-mile pace to hit the 4:00 mark, and I did almost exactly that until mile 15, when suddenly my knees started feeling as though they would seriously buckle backward if I landed on them wrong. So I slowed down, stopped to stretch a couple times and made damn sure I landed every stride with my knees pre-bent in the proper direction.

I had to pee about half an hour before the race started, but I knew if I left the starting gate and got in one of the endless lines at the porta potties, I could damn well miss the entire marathon. And I didn't dare stop DURING the marathon for fear of losing precious time. (I did, however, see a lot of runners peeing in alleys, behind bushes and on the outsides of busy porta-potties along the route. Runners are weird people.)

My mom and sister came in this weekend to help me carbo-graze all day Saturday (Mmm ... Chipotle! Mmm ... garlic cheese bread!) and to navigate the crowds and the El to cheer me on in four spots along the marathon route, starting at the endless Boystown party at mile 8. I swear, there is a special place in your chosen heaven for all of you who come out to cheer on friends, family members and even perfect strangers in races. Your woo-woos and whoops and noisemakers make all the difference between excruciating pain and excruciating pain with a huge rush of adrenaline. Bless you, every one.

My GO JAKE GO shirt proved once again to be the best $10 I've ever spent—being cheered on by name when you're seriously worried your knees are gonna do something gross and embarrassing is priceless. Some nice lady at about mile 19 (you know who you are) even yelled NoFo at me when she saw my shirt. (At least I hope that's what she yelled.) How cool is THAT to be recognized as one of America's premier blogging talents for my blog even in the middle of a sweaty, Gatorade-soaked knee crisis?

So I'm all done running for the year. The running togs are scheduled for a thorough washing today, and then they're going in a drawer for a good long time (and away from the shower rod, where they've spent the entire summer drip-drying). The knees and thighs and feet are scheduled for some serious stretching and maybe a nice massage this week. And the pictures, as long as they're flattering once they become available, will appear on a blog near you.

Thanks again for all your good-luck wishes!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

The final countdown

The training is over, the family is here to cheer me on, the kitchen is filled with bananas and pears and kiwis and Gatorade, the medicine cabinet is stocked with Ibuprofen, the running clothes (marathonsemble?) are (is?) laid out, the goals are set, the fingernails and toenails are clipped, the race packet will be picked up this afternoon ...

The marathon is tomorrow!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Noble Experiment Ends

Fifteen years ago, a young citizen emerged, bright-eyed and optimistic, from the ivory towers of higher academia and wandered out into the world to seek his fortune. Thanks to scholarships, miserly careful spending and sometimes up to three concurrent part-time jobs, he’d managed to make it through four years of college (and a misguided semester of grad school) with no loans and a small pile of money in the bank.

It was the dawn of the first Bush presidency, though, and eight years of Reaganomics had left no suitable jobs that were worthy of our hero’s august credentials. Indeed, our hero’s local paper, which usually featured a good 10 or 15 pages of job openings, offered only one page of jobs for most of the first year of his bachelor’s-degreed existence. Our hero had to fight to land a job as a waiter that first summer … and he had to live his first few years out of college with his parents. But that’s not really the point of our story.

The point is this: Our hero was going to be RICH and HAPPY and have a fulfilling career and a fabulous boyfriend and maybe write a semi-popular blog just as soon as blogs got invented.

But it takes money to make money, and our hero was determined to start early with his investing. So, acting on a hot tip from a rich friend with a distractingly round butt, our intrepid hero bought $377.31 worth of stock (including a $43.93 commission) in an up-and-coming company that developed disposable surgical supplies. The wave of the future!

But disposable surgical supplies never managed to capture medical consumers’ imagination, and the up-and-coming company spent the next decade bouncing around from merger to buyout, devolving from promising superpower to parts-is-parts corporate jetsam.

And one day, our hero woke up to news about a company called Tyco whose corrupt CEO and CFO had been shamelessly and quite conspicuously robbing the company and its investors blind … and our hero suddenly realized that—thanks to all those corporate buyouts—he was now one of those bilked investors.

And thanks to his minuscule initial investment, our hero owned a mere six shares of Tyco, which over the years earned him quarterly dividends that ranged anywhere from 8¢ to 60¢. And—thinking back to that original $43.93 commission (in 1992 dollars)—our hero believed that selling off his meager holdings would involve modern commissions completely eclipsing whatever value remained in his initial investment.


Until last week, when our hero casually mentioned his predicament to his investment advisor, who casually mentioned that the current investment company would probably buy back his meager holdings with only minimal feeage.

And when our hero called the 800 number and navigated clumsily through the frustrating voice-activation menu, he learned his investment advisor had been right! For a mere $15 selling fee (plus a bonus commission of 10¢ a share plus certified postage of $8.37), he could cut his losses, be free of the embarrassing stocks and laughable dividend checks, and probably see about $150 in cash within a few weeks.

Which is still a net loss of $225 (before inflation), but our hero trusts that the loss will also include some modest benefit on his tax return, which is always better than a kick in the pants and a case of the clap.

And thus our hero’s noble experiment ends. His lesson? Rich friends with cute butts do not investment advisors make. Plus: Well-managed mutual funds, diversified IRAs and licensed investment advisors can help you grow your wealth steadily and reliably. And jettison bad investments with minimal financial impact.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Ready as I’ll ever be

I ran my last marathon training run on Saturday: eight beautiful, sunny miles up and down the lakefront. My legs were feeling a bit sluggish after last week’s sprints (and a yoga class I probably threw myself into a bit too vigorously), so I decided to do no more below-the-waist activities (please keep your giggles to yourselves) this week so I can be completely healed and fresh for the marathon on Sunday.

The last run is always kind of hard in a weird, sentimental kind of way. I’ve developed little emotional attachments to certain landmarks and stretches along the trail, and I’m seeing them for probably the last time until spring:
• The Land o’ Shirtless Gay Muscleboys between Irving Park and Belmont
• The Gateway to Bigger Accomplishments between Belmont and Diversey (if I cross Belmont, that means I’m doing something more epic than a basic 5-mile run)
• The majestic Native American statue perfectly framed in a grove of trees near Diversey
• The drinking fountain at Diversey (BLESS YOU, city planners!)
• The Art Deco bridge and the gorgeous lake views between Diversey and Fullerton
• The four-headed drinking fountain at Fullerton
• The Land o’ Shirtless Straight Muscleboys between Fullerton and North (hot musclebodies + acres of beach volleyball courts = lots of welcome distraction)
• The outdoor chess pavilion and the concrete jungle south of North (you’re running right along Lake Shore Drive here, which generates a sense of urban street cred … but you have to hold your tummy in so people driving by just inches away from you can’t see how gooey you are)
• The Gateway to Supernova Coolness between Oak Street Beach and Navy Pier (if I’m running down there, I’m doing at least 15 miles, which makes me the prettiest little pony in the UNIVERSE)

Notice I didn’t mention anything north of Irving Park. It’s pretty enough, but there’s almost NOBODY running up there, so the whole area is a Land o’ Boredom that’s just something to endure at the beginning and end of each run. I won’t miss it one bit this winter.

While I’m not running this week—and since my four-month work glut has come to a welcome pause at the moment—I’ve been getting in some seriously hardcore upper-body workouts over the last few days. I’m in no danger of becoming a International Male physique model in the near future, but it’s been awesome feeling a serious pump in my muscles again … not to mention that achy burn feeling when I pee the day after a good workout.

And now, all that’s left to do is wait. And carbo-load. And pick up my race packet on Saturday. And not oversleep on Sunday.

And then beat 4:36:31 … which I think I could easily do, if only because I’m not running injured this year. My goal is to beat 4:00, but that involves shaving more than a minute per mile off last year’s run. (Again: I’m counting on that not-injured-this-year thing to help.)

And on Monday? Perhaps a nice massage. And a good shaving of my tummy, which I’ve been leaving un-manscaped so it won’t rub or itch or chafe during the marathon. And then, perhaps, a long and rambling blog post. Or two.

Or maybe just a nap.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Two observations

Dan Savage rocks. He’s articulate, entertaining, intelligent and pretty adorable. And he’s not afraid to say fuck in front of his mom (which, depending on your motherhood status and the cringe factor you find in that word, may or may not figure into the equation as to whether or not he really, truly rocks).

Bob and I heard him read from his new book last night at the Borders on Michigan Avenue, and Dan (I call him Dan) had the audience in the palm of his hand from the moment he got on stage. While his book is plenty funny and he tended to crack himself up just by reading it, he really shone at the Q&A portion of the evening … which he clearly relished. The man has a lot of opinions on a lot of topics, and he’s most definitely done his homework on all of it. And he’s not afraid to say things that might be unpopular, but he backs up all his opinions with logical, well-thought-out arguments.

And did I mention he’s adorable?

Peeing when you’re wearing your new cowboy boots (notice I didn't say "peeing in your new cowboy boots") is a little harder than peeing when you’re wearing your regular shoes. The urinal is just a bit lower, see, and it requires just a bit more aim.

In case you were wondering.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Tuesday night adventures

While I’ve been diligent in keeping up my distance training for the Chicago Marathon (12 days away!), I haven’t done any sprinting this summer. And now that I’m tapering down from my 20-mile run a week ago, I decided to do some sprints last night and see how they felt.

So for three miles I alternated between As Fast As Humanly Possible and Pretty Damn Fast. The results? 1) It KICKED MY ASS—I felt even worse when I finished than I did after my 20-mile run. Who knew? 2) It was weird to dress and eat and stretch for a training run … and then be done in just 24 minutes. I broke a helluva sweat, but it all seemed hardly worth dirtying a pair of socks.

Unless, of course, it helps shave 36 minutes and 31 seconds off last year’s time. Then I’ll be a huge fan.

The dog has developed a dark spot on the end of his red rocket. It doesn’t seem to be bothering him, and we haven’t seen any blood in his urine, but we decided last night at 8:00 that we should probably take him to a 24-hour vet just to make sure everything was OK.

And after a not-too-long wait, we learned that everything was indeed OK—the vet dismissed the spot as a bit of pigmentation, but not before doing a few things involving his fingers and the dog that would probably be considered illegal if they were videotaped and sold for $23.95 on the Internets.

While we were waiting, we also witnessed the heartbreaking aftermath of a two-dog attack on a cocker spaniel and his slightly bloodied owner. The poor little dog survived, but it looked completely shell-shocked—not to mention shaved and bandaged and pink-tinged from all the blood—when we saw it in the waiting room.

Thinking our evening adventures were over, we crashed when we got home and quickly drifted off to sleep.

But we were slightly awakened by what sounded like a timid little knock on our door and a muffled “Hello?” at 1:30 in the morning. We figured it must be the neighbor’s door—or a dream—but it happened a second time. Then a third. Then our door OPENED—and our penis-pigmented guard dog BOLTED toward the door with barks a-blazing. It wasn’t until the door slammed shut that we were fully awake and aware that something was seriously up.

My guest found his clothes first and headed out to the hallway … where he was met by A WOMAN WITH A GUN. Unable to locate my own clothes—which were RIGHT BY THE BED—I cowered nakedly behind the half-open door while he figured out what was going on.

And that half-opened door was the key to the story. It seems that we never closed our door completely last night. And when my neighbor came home from her night shift as a police offer, she found her own door vandalized with ice cream (I think I’m not making that up, but I was still a little groggy when the story was being explained). She went exploring around our floor to see if there was anything else suspicious going on, found our door half-open, knocked … and the rest is history (herstory? our story?).

All of which cost us a bunch of sleep and actually made me late for work today because I couldn’t get my sprinted, vet-visited, neighbor-interrupted ass out of bed this morning.

But, thankfully, it made for a heck of a blog post.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Financial alchemy! Just like Dubya!

As you might recall, I recently bought a Big Boy Car, which came all tricked out with a Big Boy Loan.

Now, conventional wisdom (it would seem) would dictate that I should now curb my frivolous spending and maybe make some other financial sacrifices to accommodate this new pile of debt.

But conventional wisdom is (it would seem) a load of Limbaugh. Just axe President Dubya and his faithful Progress Congress, who take on debt faster than our unprotected port cities take on water in a hurricane.

Inspired by such leadership, I’ve been waving my credit cards around this last month like they were American flags and I was a Republican at a prayer breakfast fund-raiser.

Fortunately, I still have my ability to stick to a budget, and my booty (HA! BOOTY!)—though as pointless as a Pope—falls within the parameters of that dying art known as responsible financial management.

Plus, I took a picture!
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Clockwise, from the top left:
New boots!
ON SALE. The upcoming chorus show is called A Cowboy Christmas. And what do gay singing cowboys wear? You might think it’s concealer with a high SPF, but you’d be only half right. Cowboys also wear fashionable boots, and the cowboy boots I broke in so perfectly by singing and dancing in amusement-park cowboy shows all through college herding cattle on the dusty range seem to have gotten smaller over the years. Or else I’ve developed a bad case of duck feet.

In any case, I received a postcard last week informing me that fabulous Chicago cowboy store Alcala’s Western Wear is having a boot sale through October 10 (up to 50% off!), so this weekend I went in and got me some black pointy-toed boot-scooters that fit like a glove (except they go on my feet). And as I was walking to the checkout, I noticed some brown square toes looking up at me all sad and lonely with their big dead-cow eyes (well, they would have done that if they’d been made with the face part of the cow). And before I could stumble haltingly through a chorus of Friends in Low Places, I found myself stumbling out into the daylight with two new pair of boots in my possession. Yee-ha!

New books!
ONE ON SALE. ONE FULL PRICE. No use boring you with this story again—but if you’re that hard up for entertainment you can read all about it somewhere deep in this long and rambling post.

Used CDs!
ON SALE. I got an inkling a couple weeks ago to buy Billy Joel’s Greatest Hits Volumes 1 & 2 on CD, but I didn’t have an inkling to pay full price. So I headed to my friendly neighborhood used CD emporium, where I found exactly what I was looking for AND two Frank Sinatra collections AND Free to Be You and Me, Marlo Thomas’ 1972 TV cast album of feel-good songs and stories and poems for lonely, anti-social losers who cry a lot kids of all ages who need pre-disco show tunes to help them become good citizens and friends and neighbors … and who aren’t afraid to cry once in a while.

I probably haven’t listened to the album since I was seven or eight, but when I popped the CD into my car stereo last week and all those songs and stories and poems came streaming out of my speakers—even though it had been 30 years since I last sat Indian-style in a circle with my classmates for a listen—I still knew every word. I hadn’t realized it at the time, but the damn thing is a veritable who’s-whom of ’70s celebrities, including Harry Belafonte, Diana Ross, Tom Smothers, Carol Channing, Dick Cavett, Jack Cassidy, Shirley Jones, and singers (!) Rosey Grier (who’s not so good on the pitch thing) and Alan Alda (whose soaring baritone freakin’ ROCKS).

New shirt!
ON SALE. The danger of wandering unfocused into a Gap is that there will be cool shirts on sale and you will be tempted to buy them. Fortunately, I already have at least one of every kind and color of shirt imaginable, so I’m usually able to be strong and resist the urge to splurge. Unfortunately, I don’t have anything in a shade of orange that doesn’t make me look like Trent Lott at a gay wedding. At least I didn’t.

New centerpiece!
FULL PRICE. Friday night I happend to wander by (OK, into) a cheesy suburb chain retail establishment … and I wandered out with a lovely new tealight holder and a big bag of “Asian pear” scented tealight candles.

And now my Big Boy Table (which is all paid for) is complete.

Monday, September 26, 2005

A run, a reading and a rock

Note: All this stuff happened two weeks ago, but work and life and the flu got in the way of timely posting. It was half-written all this time, though, and I’ve finally cleaned it up and I’m posting it now. Which saves me from having to do anything interesting this week. So everybody wins.

The second annual Run Hit Wonder was Tuesday night, which I ran with a handful of work people, a friend from the chorus and about 15,000 other hip ’n’ trendy kids.

And once again, it was a clusterfuck—but just a partial clusterfuck, not a total clusterfuck like last year’s run.

Aside from the sweltering heat (which I blame on the Republicans), the Dri-Fit shirts that were itchy and warm and barely breatheable and exactly what you would NOT look for in a running shirt, and the running path that at times was no more than two people wide (I remind you: 15,000 runners), the bands were fun, the runners were pumped up and the guys were HOT.*

*I’ve decided hot straight guys are way hotter than hot gay guys. Hot gay guys wear their bodies like suits of armor and use them to induce eating disorders in other gay guys. Hot straight guys just live in their bodies. And we’re all a bit richer for it.

I finished the 10K in 57:09, but I always run slower in uncomfortable heat. I also run slower when I’m trapped in a cloud of 15,000 runners all vying for space on a wee tiny path.

Speaking of wee tiny, this year’s race organizers put our bib numbers on our sleeves in mightyfine type—instead of on our chests in hella-huge type the way REAL race organizers do it—so the Joe Photo people who took all our pictures had no way to match up photos with runners so we could order copies online (see clusterfuck, paragraph 2). But I did find one photo of (most of) me sprinting clumsily across the finish line on the Joe Photo web site:
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And remember how I called the other runners hip ’n’ trendy (see hip ’n’ trendy, paragraph 1)? I apparently am not hip ’n’ trendy, because of all the bands playing along the race course, I recognized only one: headliner Joan Jett and The Blackhearts.

As for Chingy, Nina Sky, DJ Z-Trip, The Aquabats, Fountains of Wayne and The Donnas, I had at least heard the names of the last two groups (WARNING! COOL POINTS DANGEROUSLY LOW!), and when the race DJ played that your-momma’s-hot song by the Wayne boys before the race, I realized that was one song I had heard (accidentally) this one time when I was changing show tune CDs in my car. (BEIGE ALERT! BEIGE ALERT! TOTAL COOLNESS MELTDOWN!)

My poor friend Bob has been extremely patient with me and my work schedule these last few months. We used to regularly hit off-beat lectures, exhibits, plays and concerts all across the city, but I’ve had to turn down his last billion or so invitations to do these things because I’ve been so damn busy.

But when my Wednesday night magically cleared up like a zit the day after prom, I was able to join him for a (WARNING! FOO-FOO PSEUDO-INTELLECTUAL POSTURING AHEAD!) free poetry reading that was pretty spectacular.

For an enjoyable, thoroughly reinvigorating hour, Garrison Keillor, host of Minnesota Public Radio’s inimitable A Prairie Home Companion, read from and provided fascinating commentary on Good Poems for Hard Times, an anthology he just published.

And Garrison (I call him Garrison) doesn’t just read a poem. He climbs into it. He wears it like a tailored coat. He conspires in it like a trusted friend. He devours it like a peach, working his way ravenously to the core, leaving nothing unsavored, unselfconsciously letting juice and seeds run down his chin and hands and arms.

And when he’s not reading, he tells stories. Stories about the poets he’s selected. Stories about how poems can periodically fall out of fashion. Stories about the stories behind the poems. And he does it all in such a mellifluous, languid baritone, you just want to climb into his lap and hold on tight so you don’t miss a word.

I ate at Hard Rock Café on Thursday at a good-bye lunch for a colleague I’m really going to miss. I’ve never been to Hard Rock Café, and I have to say it was just as I’d expected: a little on the loud side, with decent-but-overpriced pub grub and a clientele that spoke volumes about how unhip the place has become.

And that’s saying a lot, considering what little clientele there was. The place was about 10% full … and even then we had to wait 20 minutes for a table.

But now I can add it to my list of touristy places I probably don’t need to visit again: Ed Debevic’s, Hooters, Planet Hollywood, etc.

Don’t think I’m getting all food-snobby on you, though; I’m always gonna love my Cajun chicken pasta at Chili’s and my Cheddar Bay biscuits at Red Lobster and my Victoria’s Filet at Outback and especially my barbacoa burrito at Chipotle.

Just because they’re low doesn’t mean they’re still not standards.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Know what I like about working until 12:30 am?

1. You get a little loopy, and you joke about the most inappropriate things with your co-workers.

2. You all swear a lot.

3. While you're waiting for something to print so you can proofread it, you discover the scanning station down the hall. You suddenly remember you've been wanting to scan your driver's license photo to post on your blog because, in your humble opinion, it's a rare and valuable example of relatively flattering DMV portraiture. And the scanning station is usually backed up with hours of work, but at 12:30 am it's deserted. And there are instructions.

4. And even though you don't have a CLUE what you're doing, you actually make the damn thing work:
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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Know what I like about being sick?

You're practically required to lie around and watch TV all day in your underwear. (It's in the job description. Look it up.)

And when you have a backlog of CSI reruns and that silly Dancing with the Stars: The Dance-Off waiting patiently in your TiVo cache, your job is even easier.

Except for all that button-pushing. Using a remote can freakin' wear a guy OUT. TiVo clearly has no respect for the frail.

My day of leisure (and coughing) yesterday was rudely interrupted a couple times by my insatiable thirst and my eventual need to stand in a freezing shower to try to bring my temperature down. It seemed to work, though.

In any case, I'm back among the living (and working) today, with only a slight cough, aching joints and a monster headache to remind me of my halcyon day of leisure.

Ah, memories.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Hit. By. A. TRUCK.

Have you ever been so sick you quietly hoped you'd die in your sleep and make the misery go away? I was ALMOST there last night, with fever, chills, a monster headache, and profound pain in my joints and neck and spine. And a slight cough that made my whole lower torso feel like it was filled with shrapnel. (But, thankfully, no bodily substances fighting to get out for some air. So far.)

I woke up yesterday at 5:30 feeling kind of iffy, but I had to get to the airport for an 8:00 flight and I didn't think I was that ill. By the time I landed in NYC at 9:30 local time, I knew things were just gonna get worse, but I really couldn't turn back then, so I spent the day pretending to be perky and engaged at three client meetings.

And when I finally tumbled painfully into bed last night at 10, the ugly thoughts had started creeping into my head.

I slept 11 hours, though, with the phones turned off and a cold compress on my forehead that got immediately hot and steamy and completely unhelpful. And the fever and chills seemed to be gone when I woke up. But I'm not out of the woods yet, and I actually called in sick today for about the 7th time in my entire professional life. (Which is gonna turn out to be a good decision, because I could really use this day to get caught up on my TiVo rest up and get better.)

Wow. This post is really on the boring side. I'd apologize, but I'm SICK, people! I can't be entertaining you with stories about poop and hookers 365 days a year. Show some respect.

And bring me some TheraFlu.