Friday, May 27, 2005

¡Puedo Joderte!

Apparently some of you consumers out there think it’s funny to put sweary names in places where they’ll end up on mailing lists. And apparently others of you consumers out there don’t think it’s particularly funny to receive mail in your homes when it’s addressed to (and I’m just making these names up for the sake of examples) Asswipe DeLay, Asswipe Scalia, Asswipe Santorum, Asswipe Coulter, Asswipe Lott or Asswipe Cheney. And especially (and I apologize if I offend anyone with this vulgar word) Dubya.

Furthermore, those of you other consumers who are predisposed to being offended by such things are also predisposed to—and I know this may sound shocking—sue the issuers of such direct mail if it besmirches the sanctity of your homes.

So, naturally, when most mailing lists are scoured to remove duplicate addresses and known dead people and such, they’re also scoured to remove names that may be asswipey and offensive.

But you consumers out there are a clever lot, and you also sometimes manage to get names on mailing lists that may sound like garden-variety foreign names to us Americans, but they’re actually foreign swear words.

Naturally, we at the agency where I work don’t want Juan Q. Sample to sue us for calling him Puedo Joderte instead of applying for a low-interest credit card, which is the reason we’re spending so much postage writing to him in the first place.

So recently, the call went out among all our offices for everyone to send all the naughty foreign words we know to our data center so we could build an additional database of foreign words to flag in the scouring process. And I, being the potty-mouthed suave and sophisticated international traveler, was sure I could give them all the words they’d ever need to build the quintessential Database of Names You Should Never Call the Fuckers You’re Trying to Sell Stuff To.

Unfortunately, the list words I could come up with would barely make a slutty little Mexican schoolgirl blush:

chinga madre

I know. I’d never pass as a Latino street tough. But I can ask someone of he or she speaks Spanish in two different languages, so I’m not all Twinkies and instant pudding.

And I definitely know my culo from my cojones. And I can tell you to go fuck yourself in a way that makes you think I may be just ordering fancy tacos. (Not that I ever would.) I can also blink stupidly helplessly at you if you somehow understand me and respond with an order for a deluxe burrito supreme with extra fuckyouverymuch on the side.

Anyway, the point of this endless post is that for one fun-filled afternoon, I actually got paid to write swear words instead of just acting them out in a complex ballet of mime and semaphore in a company email. And that deserves a big woo-fucking-hoo!

(On a related note, I used to work in an in-house agency for a low-budget software company. One of our products was called (and I am not making this up) Atomic Clock. And this one time at band camp, we had a typo in one of our catalogs. And we mailed an offensive word to millions of people around the country. But it was a total accident. And a HUGE overpromise, but that’s a topic for a different post.)

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

You know you're having a bad client meeting when:

You're dressed in spiffy new flat-front dress pants (subtly pinstriped!) and a faggy-chic, body-conscious, open-collar dress shirt (in the perfect shade of blue to complement your eyes) ... and everyone on the client side shows up in a goddamn suit.

You discover early on that five hours of sleep just isn't going to get you through your meeting. And that nobody speaking at your meeting has the power to keep you awake. And that nobody in the room has the power to fire up the blood-pumping parts of your imagination.

You cross your legs and shift your weight in such a way that your underwear twists funny and somehow your penis ends up wedged in your armpit and your left nut ends up in your right sock. And the meeting still has an hour to go. And there's no way you can put your boys back where they belong without looking like a total pervert.

But at least your hair looks good. You hope.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Cleve Land Rocks!

At least I hope it does. I'll be there all day Wednesday presenting to a client a 45-page blunt object branding document/style guide/integrated marketing primer I've spent the better part of the last two weeks writing.

Many, many trees haven given their lives for this project. And many, many fossils will forfeit what's left of their bodies tomorrow so I can talk about it in person.

Fortunately, I have some kick-ass new pants to wear to the presentation.

Monday, May 23, 2005

I'm back!

The weekend chorus retreat was very nice. I don’t know why I always dread our retreats each year when they rear their ugly heads—probably because I have some weird innate resistance to things that might be fun change in my routine. But we had a great time rehearsing, eating, rehearsing, rehearsing, rehearsing and occasionally lounging around the well-manicured, all-but-antlered Fort Wilderness they call Lake Lawn Resort.

I was supposed to choreograph two songs and teach them over the weekend, but my high-stress workweek prevented me from meeting with the director even to find out what he wanted me to teach until I was already at the retreat. So I threw some stuff together once I got there, and the chorus boys (and girls!) studied it and learned it as though it were High Art (which always amuses me), and it ended up looking pretty good. But WOW—we still have a lot more material to learn. And the show is in five weeks. ACK!

When we weren’t under the whip rehearsing, I got in a four-mile run along the lakefront and ate so many delicious desserts that they’re gonna start calling me Puff the Magic Pastry. And the whole chorus spent the weekend terrifying the Bible study groups and entertaining the bachelorette parties who shared the resort with us.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Another media blackout

I'm taking off momentarily for a weekend in the country—a chorus death camp retreat at a Wisconsin cabin farm, where for 48+ hours we'll rehearse, eat, rehearse, somehow find a handful of our members mired in Big Gay Drama, rehearse some more ... and before the weekend is over, there will no doubt be a Scandalous Sexual Encounter that will keep the chorus gossip circles abuzz for months (or until the Tony Awards, whichever comes first).

In any case, you'll get a full report (assuming there's anything worth reporting) on Monday.

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

New York! New York! Part Two!

(read part one of my fabulous New York adventure here)

I woke up Saturday safely out of the migraine woods, but still in a state of low-grade migrainity (I just made that word up!) that ended up lingering at varying levels of mild annoyance until well into this week. (Those of you who caught early versions of Monday’s post can chalk up all the typos and bad coding you found to my migrainally (I just made that word up!) compromised proofing skills.)

But enough about my graine (ha! a vile pun!)—I have more New York adventures to tell you about:

After a mighty struggle to extract myself from the almost unearthly comforts of my glorious hotel bed Saturday morning, I donned my gay apparel running gear, chugged a ton of water and headed out the door for a fabulous run through Central Park. Now, I’d been in Central Park only once before in my life: 10 years ago when I was visiting my friend Lucy for a week and she hooked me up with her hunky blond friend Bart, who upon meeting me took the rest of the week off to be my personal tour guide/gentleman companion. Bart took me through every fabulous museum in the city, and we’d spent one frisky morning walking through the park on our way to the Met. Anyway, either the park was full of trampled weeds and rusty doublewides back then or I just have a terrible memory, because OH MY GOD was Central Park surprisingly cool when I ran through it on Saturday! The trees were lush, the trails were groomed—and there were castles and rock outcroppings and tranquil bodies of water and charming little bridges everywhere. There were also tons of runners, whom I just followed through all the winding paths. Especially that scruffy muscleblond with the black sleeveless T-shirt and the melon-like runnerbutt. There were, however, NO signs indicating location or distance or anything else that might give a runner a clue how far he’d run. But I put in a full hour, so I figure I pounded out six miles. And they felt GOOD.

After cleaning up at the hotel and scarfing down a spicy breakfast burrito at the nearby Broadway Diner, I cabbed over to the west side to finally meet up with Jessica, a woman I’d gotten to know after her college roommate and my college friend Miriam was murdered in 1988. Now, I would bet money that Jessica and I had met only in letters and emails and phone calls over the years, but she insists we’ve met in person somewhere along the way. In any case, it was spectacular to spend time with her and her husband and her adorable twins (one of whom is named Jake—making this a two-Jake trip (a two-Jakation?) for me). We chatted about anything and everything, I got to hold the kids and watch them smile and clean up their baby drool and give them hugs, and we reveled in the fact that Miriam was still a presence in our lives after all these years. Our visit was a definite high point in a weekend of endless high points.

And all too soon, I had to take off—because I had more Broadway musicals to see. The matinee: Avenue Q, which was just as funny as I’d expected—and a lot more fun than I’d guessed from listening to the cast album. (And it, just like Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, contains a nice little jab at Dubya that sent the audience into spasms of euphoric cheers. There IS hope for America.)

After all those nightstand jokes and acts of puppetfucking and songs about Internet porn, though, I needed some retail therapy, so I headed down to Chelsea for some shopping and light dining among the homos. I didn’t find anything I really wanted to lug home with me on the plane, but I did discover that the fabled Chelsea clone is alive and well and thriving on southern Manhattan. We have cartoonish arrogant muscleboy stereotypes here in Chicago, but not anywhere near the infestation levels they have in New York. All those fake muscles and shaved heads and tribal tattoos and low-ride track pants and conspicuously masculine mannerisms and steely gazes that react to nothing that doesn’t look like a mirror image … WHEW! Remembering names and tricks and finding a top and generally navigating in that world must be exhausting. No wonder the Republicans are in office—the gay men are too busy emulating alienating outsnobbing each other. (I must say they look good doing it, though.)

Thankfully, I had theatrical reasons that kept me from losing too much time in Stepford Chelsea. And those reasons were spelled out for me over and over in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, which was, in a word, u-n-d-e-r-w-h-e-l-m-i-n-g. The show has a pretty clever premise—exploring the quirky personalities and interpersonal dramas and Miss America-level comedic potential behind a county-wide spelling bee—and it delivers entertainment and belly laughs in spades. But the score is largely forgettable and the plot is rather forced—and while the contestants in the spelling bee find interesting ways to avoid being predictable caricatures, the show as a whole does NOT live up to its hype. Frankly, it smells like an off-Broadway musical that got lucky—which is exactly what it is. And even though it got a ton of Tony nominations, I’ll be surprised if it wins anything. (If you do go see it, be sure to get seats in the middle or on your right as an audience member. I was on the left, which gave me a lot of butt shots as the show unfolded on the thrust stage way off to my right. And look for the place in the lobby where you can sign up before the show to be called up as a contestant. If I’d known about that little opportunity, I could be gleefully reporting here that I made my Broadway debut last weekend. But I didn’t, so I can’t.)

After the show, I met up with my disarmingly attractive friend Sonelius, who just so coincidentally lives a couple doors down from the Spelling Bee theater. He ran the marathon with me last October, and we talked endlessly about our training for this year’s run. We also found time to talk about boys, our jobs, Chicago vs. New York, the gay men’s choruses we sing in—and all too soon it was late and I had a big comfy hotel bed calling my name.

I made it to the airport in plenty of time for my noon flight. And I got home safely. On a plane filled with an odd assortment of ducks, including one college dude in front of me who was so drunk he’d missed his 11:00 am flight, another college dude behind me who read boring things out loud to his mother for a good hour and the bling-laden mother herself, who made it clear to the whole plane that not only could her brilliant college-age son READ OUT LOUD! but he could also reach HIGH LEVELS OF ACHIEVEMENT ON DIFFICULT VIDEO GAMES! and he was MATURE ENOUGH TO LIVE IN A CO-ED DORM! And dorkish enough not to threaten the virtue of any person of any gender on his floor.

There was also the guy next to me, who was pretty smokin’ hot—though he never took off his shirt even once during the entire flight. Which makes him selfish, arrogant and rude. Dear Smokin’ Hot Guy: I HEREBY CONDEMN YOU TO BEING CALLED SELFISH, ARROGANT AND RUDE IN MY BLOG, which has a daily readership in the tens.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

My ancestors are spinning in their graves

and posthumously removing me from their wills because I totally forgot that today is Syttende Mai. Uff da!

Go here to read last year's over-researched post on this Norwegian high holiday.

Normally I wear something red on Syttende Mai. Today I'm head-to-toe in fetching shades of gray. But I'm wearing a new shirt with a collar that seems to have been sewn on with sharpened fishing wire, so a big chunk of my neck is turning all red in a scratchy, scabby kind of way. So there's that.

Of course, my true Norwegian nature would have me suffering in stoic silence. But instead I'm whining about it here like Tom DeLay with no homos to shoot.

Anyway, despite my abject failure as a son of Norway, I hope all of you have a lutefisky happy Syttende Mai today. I'll be too busy looking for new ancestors to adopt me. (I've always thought it might be fun to be French. Because I can totally spell fromage without looking it up.)

Monday, May 16, 2005

New York! New York!

First of all, New Yorkers are CUNTS who will steal your taxicabs and then glare at you for not pelting them with offal in retaliation. Cunts, I tell you! Cunts!

Whew! I feel better! Sort of. (Stupid cunts.)

Anyway, I cunt can’t let another moment go by without telling you all about my fabulous New York weekend!

First of all (oops—I guess I'm already at second of all), our client presentation Friday morning (the whole reason I was in New York) went so well, I just may be promoted to President of the Nick Lachey Fan Club World. Our clients were so thrilled with our work, in fact, that the meeting ended a whole hour early—giving me a whole extra hour to start the vacation part of my vacation.

First stop: my ultra-expensive, ultra-foo-foo hotel, which turned out to be quite lovely indeed—and conveniently located within walking distance of almost everything I had on my itinerary. (Special props go to the bed, which was so amazingly comfortable I had to forcibly remove myself from its heavenly folds when it came time to do things like attend $100+ Broadway shows and poop. It even came with a “pillow menu” (I shit you not) that asked me to choose among pillow options like organic-hull-stuffed, hypo-allergenic and Swedish-space-technology. I opted to go with whatever the default pillow was, because after one test head-lay, I didn’t see any need to mess with perfection.)

My first order of actual tourist business was the Guggenheim, which, quite frankly, sucked. First of all, I walked three miles (in dress shoes designed to make my feet look large-penis huge for fashion, not comfort!) up Madison Avenue trying to hail a cab to take me there, and the only three cabs that were unoccupied were brazenly stolen from me by cunts common New York street cunts. I thought things were turning in my favor, though, when my bloody stump-feet and I finally dragged ourselves across the museum’s swirly toilet-bowl-shaped threshold—having just saved a ton of cab fare—and we learned that there was a surprise 20% discount on admission due to construction in “some” of the display areas. Well, that “some” was more like 90% of the whole frickin’ museum—which seems like a pretty self-serving “discount” to me. (Why do I have no problem using cunt here (eight times so far!) but I find fucking to be somehow vulgar and inappropriate?) Granted, my real interest in this visit was to experience Frank Lloyd Wright’s magnificent spiraling architecture, with the not-very-celebrated Guggenheim art collection coming in a distant second. But part of my interest in the architecture was seeing how it was used to display the art—which was pretty hard to do when every display alcove in the spiral was completely empty. And the art that actually was on display in the three tiny display closets? Yawn.

Fortunately, the disappointment portion of my vacation ended permanently the moment I got flushed out of the giant Guggenheim toilet bowl exited the building. First of all, I immediately found a southbound bus heading almost directly to my next destination. And second of all, New York buses don’t take cash (how stupid is that?), so the driver just motioned me to sit down and quietly enjoy my free ride. (Total transportation tally so far: free walk uptown, free fallen arches, free bus ride downtown!)

And my next destination was totally and completely kick-ass: I hit the new Museum of Modern Art just in time for Target Free Friday Night! (I’m not sure whether or not that means it’s sponsored by Target, but I do know it means anyone can see the whole museum completely free on Friday nights from 4 to 8 pm.) And after touring the new building and the exhibits and the collection, I would have gladly paid even $30 for the experience. Since it was a free night, the place was PACKED—but the new building is designed to accommodate big crowds (except around the wee tiny escalators) and everyone there was in a good mood (because Hey! Free museum!) so the three hours I spent there were thoroughly enjoyable and fascinating. And the art! The collection ranges from rock-star stalwarts like Van Gogh’s The Starry Night to the thoroughly avant-garde (like a row of empty silver buckets labeled “spit,” “urine,” “sweat,” etc.) to things you wouldn’t always think you’d see in an “art” museum—like thoughtful displays of architecture and design and foldable paper chairs and even a helicopter. But the crown jewel of the whole collection (to me, at least) is Picasso’s stunningly large, turn-the-art-world-on-its-ear Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, a breathtaking display of shape and form and color and perspective that gave abstraction a radically multifaceted new identity at the dawn of the 20th century. Art rarely gives me literal goosebumps, but Pablo’s (I call him Pablo) slutty, fabulous demoiselles almost took my breath away when I spotted them leering at me (at least I think they were looking in my direction—with Picasso it’s sometimes hard to tell) from their place of honor on the top floor. And after they’d had their way with me, I retired to a charming balcony café overlooking MoMA’s modest sculpture garden, where I capped off my visit with an exceptionally delicious Mediterranean chicken salad and a hypersweet triple-chocolate sorbet concoction. And I was in a very happy place.

But apparently the gods weren’t done doling out the good stuff, for soon afterward I found myself (sitting next to a San Diego college student named Jake, no less) at my first Broadway show of the visit: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which was, in a word, spectacular. I loved the Steve Martin/Michael Caine movie in the ’80s, and this musical retelling of the story only makes it funnier and more spectacular. The leads (John Lithgow! Joanna Gleason! All of them, actually!) were in dazzling form Friday night, and David Yazbek’s music and lyrics are even more cerebral and clever and imagery-laden and pan-genre-ic (I just made that word up!) than they were in The Full Monty. (You have to respect a lyricist who can logically squeeze akimbo into a show before the word count even reaches the double digits.) Best of all, they gave everyone in the audience a FREE cast album on Friday night! Woo-hoo! (Oh, and paging Mr. Sondheim: I have been a loyal fan of your work—particularly Sweeney Todd and A Little Night Music—for most of my life. But Mr. Yazbek is giving you a run for your money. A big, promising, equally-devoted-fan-base-career-trajectory run. I’m just sayin’.)

Unfortunately, the visual excitement of my day had started to work its sinister magic on me, and by intermission I started feeling the delightful early warning signs of a migraine: sharp pain over my left eye, slight nausea, the unsettling feeling that I kinda have to poop but maybe not. And I still had one more adventure on my itinerary: drinks with Jere at a nearby establishment purported to be a hot spot for Broadway royalty. Caffeine sometimes helps my migraines, so I chugged a Coke while Jere entertained me with fascinating theater stories and we both kept our eyes peeled for potential celebrity drop-ins. At one point he thought he’d seen Stockard Channing walk by us, but we decided upon further gawking and staring subtle observation that it probably wasn’t she. Then I decided you people following along at home wouldn’t be any wiser if I just pretended the man sitting next to us was Bea Arthur, so I’m proud to report that Bea, Jere and I shared a round of drinks and a couple rousing choruses of “Bosom Buddies” and now Bea and I are Best Friends Forever. But by the time Bea and I had worked our way through the Johnny Mercer songbook, the migraine had sunk its claws deep into my eye sockets, stomach and lower rectum terminal alimentary canal, and I couldn’t pretend any longer that I wasn’t in pain. So I bid Jere goodbye and headed home (in a cab that nobody stole from me!) to bury my head between my default pillows (to block out light and sound), focus on my breathing (to stave off the urge to hurl) and eventually find a way to drift away from the terror.

WHEW! I think that’s enough of my babbling for one post. Stay tuned for Saturday’s adventures, where I discover that my housekeeper has thrown away (or maybe stolen!) my toothbrush holder (a toothbrush holder is not a cab, you cunt!), I attend a Broadway musical that (gasp!) actually kinda bores me and then I regrettably have a total missed connection with Joe.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

This is one of those posts

where I apologize for not posting anything for a while because I've been too busy at work/I've had nothing interesting to say/my butt caught on fire.

And it's just going to get worse: I leave for NYC at 6 am tomorrow and I won't be back until late on Sunday. And I have NO idea if there will be a computer with an Internet connection at my disposal while I'm there. Actually, I have no plans even to make the time to blog and/or check email. There are too many museums and too many show tunes to experience in the wee tiny amount of time I'll be tonya hearting the Big Apple.

So you'll have to find ways to entertain yourself while I'm gone.

Three suggestions:
1) Yoplait "Lemon Burst" yogurt with dried cherries in it. It's light, delicious, refreshing ... and just tart enough to make your nipples bleed.
2) David's new blog, which offers thoughtful, long-form essays on all kinds of interesting stuff. And which (and I have told him this REPEATEDLY) really should include some gratuitous shots of David with his shirt off. The man is damn hot.
3) The Daily Kitten and/or The Infinite Cat Project. Pussy galore!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


I have a business trip to New York City this week. On a FRIDAY. Which, of course, means one thing: FREE* NEW YORK WEEKEND GETAWAY!

*If by "free" I mean "almost a thousand dollars"

So on Friday morning I'll crumple out of bed when most people are stumbling home, climb on a plane at 6 am with a handful of equally disoriented colleagues, blow our NYC clients away with a kick-ass presentation** and then soak up the local culture until my plane takes me home at noon on Sunday.

**I hope

And while my airfare is completely free (to me, at least), my tastes in local culture aren't so cheap: I managed to snag some staggeringly pricey last-minute tickets to Avenue Q (which mopped up at last year's Tony Awards), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (which is supposed to be a HOOT) and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (a musical version of one of my favorite movies from college—with a score by David Yazbek, whose work on The Full Monty continues to inspire me). (Oh, and while I have the parentheses out, I should also point out that the last two shows in this list got about a billion Tony nominations between them just yesterday, so it's especially rockin' that I was able to snag tickets to them. Go me!)

But since I wasn't able to mooch some free nights at la Casa de the Out-of-Town Hugo, I just coughed up $249 a night for what looks to be a fabulous little three-star boutique hotel at the southeast corner of Central Park. (Which isn't all bad because I kinda want to go running there Saturday morning—just so I can say I trained for the marathon in Central Park this year. I have no idea when I'd ever find it necessary to say such a thing—and I can't think of a single person who would be particularly thrilled to hear it—but it can't hurt to be prepared for just such an occasion/conversation.)

Other (cheaper) things on the docket this weekend: Lunch with Jessica, a woman I've never met but I've gotten to know through repeated phone calls and letters and emails after her college roommate (and my friend) Miriam was murdered over 16 years ago. A visit to the new MoMA or the Guggenheim (or, hell, maybe both). And possible get-togethers with Joe, Jere and any other fabulous bloggers I can fit in my schedule.

WHEW! I'm already exhausted—and I haven't even picked my weekend outfits gotten on the plane yet.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Things I learned in Iowa

• You just can’t beat a sunny afternoon with a three-year-old niece, a six-year-old nephew, a golden Labrador puppy, a couple dog toys, a sturdy swing set, and a bottomless supply of hugs and giggles.

• You especially can’t beat it if the lilacs are in bloom and the lawn is freshly mowed and the trees and bushes are green and lush and everything is so breathtakingly beautiful you sometimes wonder if it’s actually real.

• My folks’ cat is the coolest cat in the history of the universe. She squeezes herself into funny places, she dive-bombs anything that moves and she’s best friends with everyone she meets. Even her goofy little meow makes people smile.

• A three-year-old’s struggles with her r’s and w’s are kinda funny when she sings “I Know the Continents”—especially when she gets to Australia.

• If you share a delightful meal with your nephew in his kindergarten lunchroom—complete with greasy-ass fries, warm canned peaches, a chicken sandwich that barely qualifies as chicken or a sandwich, and an adorable mix of 6-year-old excitement and too-cool-to-get-all-jumpy-in-front-of-his-friends detachment, YOU WILL FORGET TO BRING YOUR CAMERA.

• Grant Wood’s studio apartment is bigger than it looks from the outside. I’ve driven by 5 Turner Alley (an old horse barn behind a funeral home that Grant Wood converted into a modest studio in the 1920s) probably a billion times in the 32 years I lived in Cedar Rapids. And I’ve seen tons of pictures of what it looked like when he lived there. But it wasn’t until it opened as a museum this year that I finally got a look inside. His renovations to the space are as whimsical and practical as his paintings, and it is truly magical to stand in the window alcove where the famous picture I’ve always seen was taken of him with my favorite painting.

• Anton Bruckner was a dork. He was awkward and graceless and completely devoid of self-confidence. Cartoonists made fun of his pants. And yet he composed some of the most glorious music of the romantic period. This I learned on Saturday night at a moving performance of Bruckner’s epic and grandly emotional Symphony No. 7 by the increasingly fabulous Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra. (I learned he was a dork from the wonderfully detailed program notes. I learned how glorious his symphony is from hearing it for the first time that night. Actually, I learned he was a romantic composer that night as well; I’d always thought he was an expressionist, but he died in 1896, which puts him squarely among the high romantics and at least 20 years ahead of the expressionists. Shows how much I know. (Shows how much I’ve never listened to his music, actually.))

• If you wash your car and then park it in your parents’ driveway, it will rain that night. And you will have parked under some kind of yellow-pollen tree that in mixes with rainwater to make an ugly yellow paste that sticks to everything.

• A poorly written, painfully long, grossly oversimplified stand-and-sing kids’ musical about Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego can be quite charming when your six-year-old nephew is in it. Even if he clearly didn’t inherit the shameless performing gene from his attention-whore uncle.

• If you think it’s cheaper to pay $100 every spring to recharge the air conditioner on your 10-year-old car than to get a new car and deal with a monthly car payment, you will suddenly remember that you forgot to do that recharge this year when you’re driving across Iowa and Illinois for five hours in 80-degree May heat.

• But you will look cool because you at least remembered your favorite sunglasses.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Uncle. That's two.

Climbing in my car.
Heading home to Iowa.
Once I write this post.

Stocking up on hugs
from the niece and the nephew.
Sticky kisses too.

There's a new puppy.
My nephew's birthday present.
I'll feign excitement.

Being Uncle Jake
rocks rocks rocks rocks rocks rocks rocks.
Oh, it also rocks.

If I find the time,
I might even say hello
to the whole family.

But first and foremost
are the upside-down tickles
and bedtime stories.

Oh, and while I'm home
I should prolly hug my mom.
Happy Mother's Day.

And somehow, maybe
I'll try to explain this post.
Haiku? What the hell?

Monday, May 02, 2005

My big gay weekend

On Friday night after work I went to a goodbye party for a co-worker. He found a wee tiny dive bar (the Sea of Happiness Lounge, which in name alone could be either the coolest dive bar ever or the gayest dive bar ever) in an obscure little hotel not far from our office—and for a couple smoke-filled hours, I bonded with my colleagues and said my good-byes among model ships made out of beer cans, dishes of stale popcorn and a prominently displayed photocopy of an AIDS joke so staggeringly stupid that I’d bet even Tom DeLay wouldn’t laugh at it. At least not if he were dead.

I got up on Saturday at some ungodly hour to scrub off the stupidity smoke and road-trip south with the chorus to do three shows in Peoria and Bloomington. And the day was a lot more fun than I’d expected. It’s easy for us big-cityfolk to take for granted the fact that we can live our gay lives pretty openly and without much fear of oppression. So it was especially cool to go be openly gay and wildly fabulous in front of smaller-town audiences that feel compelled to hide most of the time in Dockers-filled closets. We got so many warm thank-yous and so much wild, screaming applause for gay things in our shows that we’ve always seen as no big deal (like two guys dancing together) … it almost brought tears to my eyes. And after dancing six big-ass swing numbers in one day, it definitely brought a burning sensation to my calves and tibialis anteriors (tibialises anterior? tibiali anterior?).

I have to say, though—and I mean this in an amusing-observation kind of way—that I have NEVER seen so many women with unflattering haircuts in my life. We shared the program in Bloomington with a lesbian/feminist chorus whose performance attire came right out of the Lesbian/Feminist Chorus Handbook: baggy black (or black and white) clothes, decorative vestments in Aztec or African patterns, and shortish hairdos. Our audience was mostly women who own back copies of the handbook, and they were distinguishable from the women on stage only because they didn’t limit their base wardrobe palette to black and white. These women were clearly happy with who they are and how they look—and they could NOT have been friendlier to us—but I had to laugh at the fact that they follow a small-town lesbian clone aesthetic that is just as obvious and pervasive as our big-city homo clone aesthetic. And for two-plus hours on Saturday, we were one big happy chambray-and-Lycra mixed marriage of gay love.

Sunday was even gayer than Saturday, but solidly on the faggy-clone end of the continuum. I joined Jim and Jeff and Jason (wow—if only MY name started with a J so I could be in their club too!) Sunday morning for a foo-foo fundraiser in the gorgeous Harold Washington Library Winter Garden (aptly named considering how witch’s-tit COLD it’s been here the last few weeks). The event was a spring-y brunch and fashion show with delicious food, a snooty gay crowd in an explosion of stereotypes pastels, and an army of braless models who couldn’t have been more than 12 or 13 years old. Even the hunkiest (and I use that term loosely) of the male models looked too young to have voted against Dubya, which made me extra-thankful I’d used my eye cream that morning.

And now it’s Monday, and my 37-year-old body is wrapped in couture from the House of Gap and stationed behind my office desk from the House of Formica and I’m happy to be living in the glorious melting pot of polite society.