Friday, December 29, 2006

I got shushed!

I’ve been getting up at some godawful hour every morning to trudge to the gym before work. Because with the new job and the awesome boyfriend, it’s the only time I can guarantee myself a workout. And if I don’t get my regular workouts in, I feel both fat and skinny. Which makes me irritable. And nobody likes to be around a fat, skinny irritable guy. Least of all me.

I have a bit of a head cold, so I wasn’t in the mood for anything super exertiony this morning. So I worked my core: abs, obliques and lower back. Lower-back exercises are pretty much limited to hyperextensions, where you balance the front of your hips on a little ledge and raise and lower your torso with a weight hugged to your chest. Someone from a smarter sexual orientation might think ahead and realize that repeatedly swinging your head above and below your heart when it’s full of snot would be perhaps a really stupid thing to do, but some of us gay types place tight little waists (or at least the pursuit of tight little waists) over sinus comfort on any hierarchy of importance.

I have no idea why I just gave you a belabored explanation of hyperextensions, but meandering off topic seems to be a hobby of mine. In any case, I was at the hyperextension bench this morning when a woman came up to me and started talking to me as though she knew me. And I had no clue who she was—most likely because she had on a baseball cap and no makeup and it was morning and I was bleary-eyed and snot-headed and I’d just done 20 hyperextensions. And I was a gay and she was a girl and all girls pretty much look the same to me. But we started talking and—like anyone who has a conversation at Crunch—we had to kind of yell over the loud thump-thump music Crunch seems to view as a basic fitness requirement.

So as we were chatting, some woman with her back to us on a stair-stepper at least 10 yards away started yelling something shush-y over her shoulder in the general direction of us and/or the entire western half of the gym. The woman was one of those working-out-is-an-event types: coordinated outfits instead of workout gear, an obvious application of hair and skin products even for a pre-dawn workout, and stacks of fashion magazines as standard-issue cardio tools. She had a bank of TVs in her face, a thump-thump speaker right over her head, a whirring stair-stepper under her feet and a Cosmo spread out on the reading stand in front of her. And yet our very top-line conversation (remember, I had no clue who my conversation companion was, so it’s not like the stuff we were talking about was interesting enough even to distract Dubya from his animal flash cards) was distracting her to the point of shushing faraway strangers speaking at a volume not unlike any other she’d hear in a loud gym.

On the other hand, my conversation companion was so engrossed in our non-conversation that she didn’t even notice the shush fascist. And, apparently happy with the interaction we’d just shared, she eventually said her good-byes and sauntered off to the rest of her workout. I tried to shoot the shush fascist a look that said both holy shit are you in need of a good slapping and your shoes SO don’t match your headband, but she had gotten herself caught up in one of those 20 Insignificant-To-The-Rest-Of-The-World Things He Does That Are Nevertheless Grounds For Divorce Cosmo articles, so she didn’t notice.

And I made a point to grunt through my last 10 hyperextensions. Which is surprisingly hard to do with a head full of snot.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

All you have to do is dream

The boyfriend and I first met on a Saturday morning, at a brunch. We spent the rest of the morning and afternoon together and parted ways only when … um … I had to leave for … um … another date. Which says either that I’m too stupid to recognize The Rest Of My Life when it’s grinning adorably in my face or that I’m conscientious enough that I honor my prior commitments, even if it means waiting another day for the rest of my life to kick in.

In any case, the boyfriend and I had our second meeting—which one would probably consider to be our first official date—the next afternoon. We met for a late lunch at a downtown restaurant and then saw The Devil Wears Prada and then headed to Sidetrack for show tunes. Which is probably not as gay as a pedicures-and-opera date, but it comes awfully close.

So there we were, smiling coyly at each other and making calculated small talk and singing along with our favorite show tunes, when one of the Dreamgirls clips came on. And the future boyfriend, in a fit of prescience and romantic foreshadowing, turned to me and invited me to see the Dreamgirls movie with him when it came out. In December.

Which was pretty huge; he’s a big Dreamgirls fan (I hesitate to use the word freak) who’s been waiting a long, giddy time for the movie to come out, and I know now he wouldn’t invite just anyone to share it with him.

I told him that making a five-months-out date was projecting an awful lot on our first 24 hours together, jumpy heart things and blinding fireworks notwithstanding. But I said yes anyway.

And last night, we fulfilled that date. The boyfriend got us our tickets yesterday morning and got to the theater an hour early to stake out prime seating for us. By the time I got to the theater—45 minutes before the movie started—they were making us latecomers wait in a roped-off area to the side of the lobby. Which kind of sucked because I wanted to share my pre-movie excitement with the boyfriend, but I knew that no matter how much they made us wait I’d still have a great spot saved for me next to the most wonderful guy in the theater. AND I got to see Roger Ebert himself saunter through the lobby while I waited in the cattle chute. Roger Ebert! At the movies! Who knew?

I also spent my half hour in that line standing in front of a poster for the movie version of my favorite childhood book. At the risk of sounding like a complete exaggeration junkie, I can honestly say that Bridge to Terabithia changed my life. The story is pretty fantastic, and the book was the first to show me the awesome powers of the written word. While my own writing powers waited until I was in college before they emerged, I can still draw a pretty straight line between that book and my present career. And I am SO taking the boyfriend to see the movie when it comes out in February.

But back to Dreamgirls. It’s everything we’d hoped for, and it’s generally outstanding, despite the homophobic blemishes of Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Hudson in the cast. (Not that their homophobia has anything to do with the characters they play, but they chose to be in a gay-man-created show with a massive gay following, and their performances, though both good, will always be tainted by the things we know they’ve said about us.) The movie stays extremely faithful to the original Broadway material, cutting only a few songs and adding new ones the boyfriend and I really like. The costumes and wigs and makeup are over-the-top spectacular and must have been a hoot to design. I loved Fatima Robinson’s choreography, even though numbers like “Steppin’ to the Bad Side” and “One Night Only” looked heavily influenced by 21st century music videos and gay circuit parties. I’m pretty amazed in this age of hyper-realistic animation and perfectly synched music videos, though, that we’ve somehow lost the ability to make movie musicals where singers’ lips and voices match up realistically. We could do it in the 1940s. We could do it in the 1950s. We could do it in the 1960s. We had some obvious hiccups with 1985’s A Chorus Line, but they were the least of that movie’s problems. And 20 years later, we still have huge chunks of distractingly unsynched music in Dreamgirls—most lamentably in “And I am Telling You (I’m Not Going).”

The movie was good enough that I’d totally see it again in the theater. And before I could even suggest it, the boyfriend informed me we’d be coming back for a second showing. Which is, of course, why he’s the boyfriend.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Our first Christmas apart

Or, to punctuate that more specifically:

Our first Christmas. Apart.

I'm in Iowa with my family for the holiday weekend. The boyfriend has to work. So we're celebrating together in different cities. Which is actually fine. Christmas is really just another day, and (Warning! Noxious sentiment ahead!) every moment with the boyfriend is like a major holiday to me. We celebrated five lovely years months together yesterday doing what most couples do to mark special milestones: making an offer on a condo.

Peggy Sawyer Gardens, the condo we made the offer on on Tuesday, fell through. The developer, whose Realtor repeatedly described as "willing to negotiate," bottomed out a whopping 1.0137% below its list price. Assuming my math is correct. So we're moving on to a cheaper place with smaller bedrooms ... and more charm, better views, a rooftop deck, a fireplace and gated parking. And two-year-old bathrooms I hate as though they were the pope.

My drive to Iowa this morning was uneventful, but challenging on two fronts: First of all, we got up at 4:00 so I could take the boyfriend to the airport on my way out of town. I am a morning person in the same way Dubya is a good president, so I had serious sleepy issues on what was an otherwise painles, traffic-free four-and-a-half-hour drive. The second front is something I'm thrilled about even less. I've always been Cap'n Camelpee, the guy who could pee once in the morning and once before bed and be pretty much unencumbered by a need to find a bathroom the rest of the day. But as I'm inching toward my 40s, I'm finding I need to pee more often. Like every three or four hours. And when I'm trapped alone in a car with nothing to think about except how much I have to pee, I make a lousy travel companion. Which is why it's probably a good thing I'm alone when I'm alone.

But I'm here, and I accomplished an entire season's Christmas shopping in one afternoon today -- finding everything that is sold out in Chicago abundantly stocked on the store shelves in Iowa. I even ran into my fifth-grade teacher, who seemed genuinely impresed to find out I grew up to be a big Broadway star with seven patents and an eponymous line of grooming products for incredibly handsome men. But she was probably impressed mostly because I knew the word eponymous.

Enough about me. I have to get back to my uncommonly photogenic niece and nephew.

Happy holidays!

LATE-BREAKING NEWS! As of 10:00 tonight, the boyfriend and I became the proud owners of Our Very First Condo! Well, the proud owners of a piece of paper stating that we're going to buy Our Very First Condo for $25,000 less than we would have spent on Peggy Sawyer Gardens. The closing date is January 19. We'll let you know when to show up and help us move.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

18 years

It’s been almost two decades since Miriam was murdered.

That’s enough time for someone to raise a child and send him or her off into the world. Enough time for four presidential elections and three new Sondheim musicals. (Five, if you count Saturday Night and The Frogs.)

It’s enough time for a gangly, unsure college boy to cycle through three cars and four houses and five jobs and three cities on his way to becoming successful, confident (more or less) man.

It’s enough time for him to realize that the world is not fair. That bad things happen to good people. That the bad people who did them don’t always get punished. That horrible tragedy gets easier to accept over time, though it remains impossible to forget.

I often wonder what Miriam would be if she were alive today. Famous actress? Influential journalist? Stay-at-home mom? She was among those people you just knew were going somewhere big with their lives. I’m sure that wherever the fates would have taken her, she’d be someone people knew about.

I also wonder if we would still be friends. Our friendship lasted only seven months until her murder. I’m only barely in touch with the other friends I made at the theme park where we all worked during the summer of 1988. I haven’t talked to her family in years. Would she and I have drifted apart as well?

Since at this point I’m pretty much in control of our story, I choose to believe that by now I’d have sung in her wedding and taken her kids to Disney World and given her a prominent link on my blogroll and kept her on my speed dial from the moment I got my first cell phone.

And I’m pretty sure she’d have written the same story for me if our fates had been reversed.

I miss you, Miriam. The world you never knew misses you. But I'm keeping track of everything you miss while you're gone: The musicals. The world events. The job changes. The bad haircuts.

And I'll get you caught up the moment our paths cross again.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Squeaky wheel. Grease.

Sometimes being a bitch is all a woman has to hold onto.

And sometimes it pays off. I've devoted every available hour since Friday morning to irritating the living hell out of every heel-dragging, buck-passing, dead-ending, half-truthing person on the shady developer's side of this three-month runaround hell I've been stuck in. Fortunately, some key people on their end were frighteningly easy to intimidate some useful information out of. You should have heard the surprise and irritation in the developer's attorney's voice when he realized I'd tracked him down today.

And an hour after that call, I was suddenly, magically free from my Two-Bathroomed Barbie Dream Condo That Wasn't Meant To Be. The contract release was signed, the earnest money release papers were faxed, and by 4:00 the boyfriend and I had an offer on the table for an even better condo—a Three-Bedroomed Barbie And Midge Dream Condo With A Wine Refrigerator—that we had waiting patiently in the wings for its big chance to go on. We shall christen it Peggy Sawyer Gardens.

Assuming we didn't insult the developer into never working with us; we made a freakishly lowball offer. On new construction. But we are unrestrained by bogus condo contracts and real-estate-selling contingencies and bad credit, and we can get it off the developer's hands by the end of the fiscal year. Let's hear it for good things coming out of bad situations.

But don't cheer too loudly; this day has aged me in dog years, and I'm going to bed.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Dear Guys We Met At Sidetrack Last Night,

The boyfriend and I love show tunes. We love show tunes in the way hipsters love trendy clothes and children love puppies and Paris Hilton loves attention.

And we love going to Sidetrack to bask in the warm show-tune glow together as often as we can. Even though they have played that insufferable “Nothin’ Dirty Goin’ On” to the point that the footage is starting to degrade and I’ve started to hate Dolly Parton just a little in the back of my throat. Even though it’s totally not her fault they keep playing that goddamn clip.

So it was great to find another couple last night who shares our weird-obsessive little passion. And when you started comparing notes on the Barbra Streisand concerts you’ve seen all over the country … well, let’s just say the boyfriend needed a cigarette and a cold shower when you were done.

But we have a little confession to make.

You see, we kind of lied to you about something. Something we lie about to a lot of strangers. Something that totally doesn’t matter, but you guys kept going back to it and then we started feeling really bad.

So …

Remember how you walked up to us and asked us how long we’d been together because people who’ve been together for a long time never hold hands and act all lovey-dovey in public the way we were? And remember how we told you we’d been together for five years?

Well, we kind of rounded up a bit. By … um … four years and seven months. (And five days, if we’re clearing the air here completely and starting again on a foundation of absolute truth.)

You see, we’re so sure of our future that we’re moving in together. Very soon. Once we survive the nightmare we’re mired in with an ugly consortium of incompetent developers and their Realtors we’re filing ethics charges against, that is.

I’ve never even considered moving in with a boyfriend before. He’s never introduced a boyfriend to his family—and I’m already in his family photos albums and email address books. We’re that kind of serious.

So we’ve started to resent the looks we get when we tell people how long we’ve been together. I’m sure you got them too when you started dating: the looks that say Five months? It’s obviously all about sex. You two will never last. I’ll give you my I-told-you-sos now so I won’t have to make the effort when you break up next week.

So we decided around our two-month mark to translate every month we’ve been together into years. But only with strangers who ask—and only with strangers who ask in casual, there’s-probably-a-really-good-chance-we’ll-never-see-you-again settings.

And until last night, it’s worked quite well—inquiring strangers get answers to their questions and we get to enjoy our young love free from the doubtful glares of people we just met. We even pulled it off on the bus on the way to see Barbra—and we figure if our dirty little lie was good enough for a busful of rabid Barbra fans, it was certainly good enough for consumers of the more general-interest show-tune selections they play at Sidetrack.

But you guys kept coming back to it. Five years! you’d say. Wow—you two grope each other like priests at a Cub Scout rally. Then a few songs would go by. Then Do you know [name of person who knows darn well that Jake's longest Chicago relationship has been only nine months]? He’s my best friend in the whole world. In fact, he just gave me his kidney. And all the while, the boyfriend and I kept muttering We are SO busted to each other. In between verses of “I’m Still Here,” that is. And when Shirley started pounding on the piano with her bare hand in that last verse, each beat was like a smack on the back of our heads—like in “The Tell-Tale Heart,” except to tell us we were liars instead of murderers. And that our hair looked fabulous.

But no one mourns the wicked, so we hereby apologize for misleading you.

On the plus side, you two totally nailed our young love when you saw us. We have no intention of ever losing our pathological need to cling to each other in public, though, so we promise to be just as nauseatingly in love on our real five-year anniversary. Maybe we’ll invite you to the party.

Hope to see you guys again soon. And this time we promise to lie only about things you’ll never be able to fact-check. Like what we do for a living.

We’re Broadway stars, in case you were wondering. HUGE Broadway stars. Just don't ask which shows we've headlined in.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Storming the Bastille

So my fabled Two-Bathroom Barbie Dream Condo has become a bit of a nightmare. After endless delays and a wall of silence from the developer whenever my Realtor or my attorney or I pose questions, my attorney found a clause in my contract that said I could demand to close in 14 days or the contract would be void and I could move on to something even more Barbielicious.

Well, that 14-day deadline came and went almost four weeks ago. And all we need is a signature of release from the developer and I get my down payment back and I can move on to another Two-Bathroomed Barbie Dream Condo.

Of course, there’s been no word at all from the developer.

So I took time off from work today to storm the developer’s office in person and demand a signature. I put on my most intimidating power suit and I wore my I’m-rich-and-important-so-you’d-better-do-what-I-say top coat and I marched in with release forms and pens in hand, ready for Contract Smackdown 2006.

And I left half an hour later even more frustrated than before. Because there was nobody there to sign it. But at least I got some answers:

• The developer essentially shut down in May after a personal tragedy. The office laid off its entire staff and halted construction (except for a few essential projects) on my building. Yet they still decided to sell me a unit (and they had no trouble finding someone to sign my contract) with the verbal promise that it would be done in September.

• The only person currently on the office staff is a receptionist. She claimed to have no clue about who could sign my contract release, but she promised she’d “get on it” and told me to call her on Monday if I haven’t heard anything.

• She said that a number of other potential tenants are working to get out of their contracts as well, and that she was afraid to come to the receptionist desk every time someone came in the door. Apparently lots of people got my idea to storm the Bastille. And apparently repeated demands for signatures haven’t inspired her to get very far “on it” and find a goddamn fucking person authorized to sign our goddamned fucking contract release forms.

• She also said there’s a title company in California who has the power to get the project going again, but the company isn’t returning calls. Yet she told me repeatedly the project would be up and running again next week. Because when a title company won’t return your calls or give you money, of course you’ll call in all your angry contractors the week before Christmas and have them start hanging drywall again.

• And she told me that filing a lawsuit or a lien is useless because every unpaid contractor on the project is already in line ahead of me. And while I find it hard to believe most of everything else she told me, this seems like it might be true.

In the mean time, my life is kind of hijacked: I can’t make an offer on a different Two-Bathroomed Barbie Dream Condo (my favorite place got bought out from under me last week). I can’t access any of my winter clothes or the clothes I’ll need for my January cruise, all of which are stored in a POD 50 miles away. I really don’t want to lock myself into a new gym membership (I’m currently going to my old gym by my old job, which isn’t very convenient) until I know where my new place will be. I don’t want to mail my epic four-page Christmas letters until I have a permanent return address. And while I love the friends I’m staying with and I love their beautiful home, I feel like I’m always in the way. They’d bargained for a month at the most when they agreed to let me live with them last fall. And now they’re forced to look at me AND the boyfriend day after day, month after month. And with only a few changes of clothes at my disposal, I’m probably getting pretty boring to look at.

But! Tonight is our company holiday party. And the boyfriend is coming with me. And while the above long, boring, whiny drama is unpleasant and unfair and at its core probably illegal, I have a lot to be happy about: I really love my new job. I’m living in a beautiful home with people who don’t wear Capri pants or stab me in my sleep. And I somehow landed me a boyfriend who is kind and decent and attentive and loving (and hot!) and brimming with more show-tune trivia than your average encyclopedia. I love him and he loves me back. And no unscrupulous developer can take that away. No matter how many Two-Bathroomed Barbie Dream Condos they steal out from under me.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dirty little secret

So the new job is making it impossible to work out over lunch—and almost impossible to work out after work. But that’s not my dirty little secret.

Since the boyfriend often has to leave for his job at ungodly morning hours, I’ve been getting up with him and working out before work this week. Which hasn’t been as hateful as I’d expected; I always get a seat on the train, there is almost no competition for gym equipment, I’m surprisingly energetic enough to get in a decent workout, and so far I’m 3 for 3 for getting to watch a muscular little cowboy go through his morning ablutions at the locker room sink. But that’s not my dirty little secret either.

I’ve been chugging a protein shake before I leave the house each morning, and I have an Odwalla smoothie after my workout—followed by grazing on oatmeal and cereal and bananas and whatever else I’ve stashed in my desk for the rest of the morning.

Which is where the dirty little secret comes in. You see, toothpaste doesn’t go well with protein shakes. And it’s positively revolting with fruit smoothies. And I get so busy between meetings and food grazings all morning that I often don’t do my first tooth-brushing until later in the day. Like when I leave the office. At … um … 8 pm. (Does anyone want to kiss me right now?)

But! In my defense, I have four toothbrushes (at home, at work, in my gym bag and in my travel bag) so I could brush my teeth any time I want. So I at least get credit for good intentions.

And if anyone does want to kiss me right now, my teeth feel as smooth as angora sweaters. Mmmmmmmm.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Weekend adventures

Standing ovations
The chorus show was a smashing success, undermined only by tiny technical glitches and the occasional misguided usher trying to seat latecomers during a tender ballad. My parents had to cancel their trip to see the show at the very last minute as my mom got violently ill on Friday morning. And her illness was not, as early reports had indicated, induced by the fact I wore a discount-brand shirt on stage. But some family friends from Iowa and Tennessee—all women of a certain age who come to Chicago every December for a girls’ shopping spree and a group mothering of yours truly—came to see the show without my folks. And the boyfriend met them sight-unseen for dinner beforehand while I was getting ready backstage, and then he very graciously sat with them during the show. Then he came to all the rest of the shows. And he didn’t once embarrass me by doing a monkey dance. Which makes him the best boyfriend ever. I shall buy him socks for Christmas.

Vacation plans
The boyfriend and I are making a show-tune pilgrimage to New York the first weekend in February. We’ve been talking about it literally since the hour we met last July, and we finally booked our tickets this weekend. So our first vacation together is set in stone—or, more accurately, floating somewhere in the ether. And if that weren’t enough to induce heart-fluttering excitement, we got the tickets for a whopping ninety-five dollars. Round-trip. No stops. Major airline. Holy shit.

Parking tickets
I got my first parking ticket in Chicago a month ago. Well, the first one that I will accept as my fault. The first one I received happened soon after I moved here in 2000. The ticket was for parking too close to a fire hydrant, and it cost $100. Having just moved here, I had just read the book and taken the Illinois driver’s license test, so I knew quite well that cars should be parked nine feet from any hydrant in Chicago. The hydrant in question, though, had no paint on the curb, so my eyeballed nine feet didn’t match the goddamn fucking meter maid’s eyeballed nine feet. And even when I submitted photographic proof that no paint = an obvious money-making trap, the city denied my appeal. Stupid fucking city. The second ticket I got was for a surprise street cleaning not in synch with the once-a-month street cleaning that had happened two weeks earlier, which was also a goddamn fucking money-making trap. And the third and fourth tickets were earned by people who had borrowed my car. Totally. Not. My. Fault.

The ticket I paid this weekend was also for a street cleaning—on a street where I’d left my car for a whole week without bothering to check the cleaning signs. So I will accept responsibility for it, and I paid my ticket this weekend without using a single goddamn or fucking in the process. Not even under my breath.

Uncle Boyfriend
The boyfriend’s niece’s birthday was yesterday, and we had an extended-family-including-the-uncle’s-gay-boyfriend celebration last night that was quite lovely. First of all, I got to hold the baby. I haven’t held a baby in a long time, and there’s something about holding a baby (at least a happy, cooing baby) that makes me feel so nurturing and valid that I almost produce milk. (Come to think of it, though, the baby should have been listed as second of all; the first-of-all part was where the boyfriend’s brother made me my very first (light-on-the-vodka) vodka tonic, which I actually liked. So I hereby revise the order of this paragraph to: 1. Drink vodka. 2. Hold baby.)

My first boyfriend’s parents didn’t know he was gay. And the parents of the other two guys I’ve dated either met me once or never met me at all. So I’m incredibly new with the “Hi! I’m now a part of your family. Can I eat your food and hold your baby?” stuff. I’ve long entertained a delightful-inlaws domestic fantasy, and the boyfriend's family delivers everything I’d hoped for in spades. Though I have met his nieces a total of three times now, their parents are already calling me Uncle Jake—which we could call a premature unclejakeulation if we were inclined to make a vulgar pun, but we aren’t so we won’t. Besides, words can hardly describe my delight over being considered such an integral part of the boyfriend’s family that his niece’s parents are already committing me to honorary uncle status. I wear the title with pride, and I’ve gotten tears in my eyes twice just by writing this paragraph about it.

In discussing the party last night, I would be remiss in not mentioning 1) the free legal advice I got from the boyfriend’s brother to help me combat the negligence of the developer of the Two-Bathroomed Barbie Dream Condo I am now not buying, 2) the boyfriend’s brother’s mother-in-law’s Jell-O® salad that was so good it caused me to disrespect my own mother’s delicious Jell-O® salads in comparison, 3) the fact that the birthday niece loves horses and I had the presence of mind not to buy her glue and 4) the fact that there were TWO desserts: a giant delicious fruit tart and a giant cupcake cake with those soft-crunchy candy sprinkles that are so delicious they make you blurt out inadvertent yummy sounds even as they pack doughy poundage on your hips.

The fire
The boys I’m staying with until the Great Condo Fiasco gets resolved have a fireplace. The boyfriend and I snuggled and talked in front of it last night when we got home. It was perfect.

Friday, December 08, 2006

The lazy blogger

Instead of real content, today I give you a bunch of links. Cat links. Which are like sausage links but not as quiet when they want you to pet them.

Cats that Look Like Hitler
The Infinite Cat Project
Stuff on my Cat

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Farts on a Plane

I’m a pretty polite farter. I may let the tiny ones slip out in my cube* or other settings where I think they’ll have no impact on innocent passers-by, but if I feel I have something brewing that might register on the Richter scale, I’ll head to the bathroom or even outside, where I have a more direct chance of making my way into an Al Gore PowerPoint presentation.

*The moment I fart in my cube is usually the moment that every co-worker in the office finds the need to drop by and have me proof something. I usually tell them to come back later when they don’t smell like they just farted.

Of course, all bets are off around my posse. We’re the kinds of rebels who drink beer, wear flannel, play loud music, laugh at children who can’t compute logarithms and fart proudly in front of each other.*

*I don’t have a posse, so none of that stuff is really true. But I do fart in front of the boyfriend. And, for some reason, my brother-in-law and I share a kind of fart-positive symbiosis. We really have a gas together.

I’ve never had a fart so caustic, though, where I felt the need to light a match to burn off its lingering toxicity. In fact, I’d never even heard of the idea until a guy I used to work with (hi, Marc!) came up with the idea of marketing BathrooMatches™ for just such occasions. Marc is still toiling away in the same line of work, though, so I’m assuming BathrooMatches™ never really burned up the fart-masking market. So to speak.

Politeness notwithstanding, there are a few places where even the most epic of farts can rush an entire room without even being noticed: Smoky bars. Funeral homes. Foo-foo stores that sell scented soaps and candles. Long car trips with a dog you can blame. Dance floors where the music is so loud it overwhelms all your other senses. Airplanes with all their whirring engines and fast-circulating dry air and lingering scents of spilled diesel fuel.

And on an airplane—where they specifically tell you that smoking is banned and they remind you that there are smoke detectors in the bathrooms, which they always call “lavatories” because “bathroom” probably offends the delicate sensibilities of people who honestly think that letting gays get married will somehow cause straight people to get divorced even faster—only a complete moron would light a match for any reason.

Which is what makes this story so funny.

You have to admire the woman on that plane for her misguided sense of politeness. She was probably horrified beyond belief that her attempts to hide a fart grounded an entire airplane. But every person she delayed on that flight—and on all subsequent flights domino-delayed by her actions—deserves to give her a blue-water swirly.

I just wouldn’t bend her forward over the toilet to do it.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I park like an idiot

Well, actually, I don't*. But these are so funny I almost wish I did.

*It's true! If I park in a spot that's a car and a half long, I'll get out and decide which end of the spot I should move my car to so I'll inconvenience the fewest possible people once the cars around me move. I'll also do the same if I squeeze into a really tight spot -- I'll get out and decide which car I should park closest to so everyone can get out easily. If the rest of the world did this, I wouldn't have to buy these stickers. And I wouldn't have to be so goddamned smug about it.

Monday, December 04, 2006

That’s gonna leave a mark

There’s no better way to look confident and sexy and unrepentantly macho in front of your boyfriend than to slip on the ice and collapse at his feet. And then whimper in pain.

We were walking along a little alley-driveway yesterday where car tires had created deep ruts and sharp peaks in the snow, all of which had hardened into a rock-hard grooves of ice as cold and black as Dick Cheney’s heart.

As careful as we were, I managed to put my foot on the slipperiest part of the steepest groove and suddenly found myself tumbling to the ground with all the grace and masculinity of a drunken showgirl. As I landed, the side of my right shin slammed into one of those rock-hard ice grooves. And then the I’m-in-pain noises came out of my mouth.

As I lay there watching my leg-model dreams skate away to the theme from Ice Castles, I suddenly realized this was the first time the boyfriend and I had ever seen each other in any context other than happiness and ice cream. Which is kind of redundant. Fortunately, I was able to get up and limp inside and preserve some shred of my fading dignity. And save our relationship. And the pain that felt like it could easily be a break or a sprain or at the very least a loss of blood turned out to be just a really bad owie.

And though it hasn’t bruised yet, the thing hurts worse than a Republican Senator in December. There’s no way I’m escaping this little incident without a visual souvenir, so I hope the bruise ends up being one of those horrifying greenish-black things that will give me tons of street cred in the gym.

And then I hope it clears up by the end of January. I want to be perfectly healthy when I cruise the good ship Freedom of the Seas .

Friday, December 01, 2006

Favorite Things!

The Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus holiday show is December 8 and 9, and if you’ve ever wanted to see me sing a solo in a blue-and-white striped 1890s bathing suit, this is probably going to be your only chance.

It’s our 25th season, and our show, Favorite Things, celebrates a quarter century of the best of our holiday performances—including dancing rolls of wrapping paper, a drag-queen menorah, Franz Biebel’s stunning two-chorus “Ave Maria” and a big-band version of “Jingle Bells.”

I’m one of the show’s three choreographers. And as a Norwegian-American who grew up in the Lutheran church, I’m naturally singing a solo in the Jewish section of our program.

Our shows are usually irreverent and slightly naughty, but this show is nothing but great music and boisterous fun. I’d even call it kid-friendly. Unless you have a strict policy against letting your kids see an awesome show.

You can get tickets here, but if you want to avoid evil Ticketmaster charges, head to the Athenaeum Theatre box office (2936 N. Southport) and get them in person.

And remember: It’s never Christmas until the homosexuals say it’s Christmas.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Happiness is …

Working late, calling your boyfriend to have him meet you at a nearby restaurant, and—when you finally leave the office—finding him waiting outside to walk you there.

I don’t know what I did in my youth or childhood to deserve this, but I’ve snagged myself the most kind, considerate, loving man. And though both our work schedules are sucking at the moment, we’re spending every possible minute together—usually in a nauseating state of happiness.

Then again, he didn’t wear a pageboy wig and bring a backlit gazebo when he waited for me outside my office, so he didn’t exactly create a Sound of Music moment for us. Of course, I’ve never let him think that the crazy old beggar woman down the street is not, in fact, the wife he thought was long-dead just to try to win him for myself, so it’s not like we’re sharing the beautiful kind of love you find in Broadway musicals.

Speaking of things that aren’t exactly Broadway musicals, tonight I’m introducing the boyfriend to Chanticleer, my favorite choral group in the entire known universe. I’ve seen them in concert about ten times, which makes me a bit of a groupie. And since I moved to Chicago in 2000, I’ve never missed their holiday concert at the gloriously acoustic Fourth Presbyterian Church. I’ve already gotten the boyfriend successfully hooked on CSI, too, so it’s probably just a matter of time before we sell all our possessions and follow Chanticleer around the country in our turquoise VW bus.

But first, I just heard that Chicago is about to be buried under ten miles of snow tonight. And I’m parked on a snow route. So I need to figure out how to get home, move my car to a seldom-shoveled street and be back downtown in time for the concert—all without missing any work.

And if I successfully pull it off, you know DAMN well that the snow will bypass us and the snow gods will laugh self-indulgently at my $40 in wasted cab fare. But $40 in lost cab fare is probably good insurance against a $200 all-day adventure retrieving my car from a tow lot.

Even if the boyfriend meets me there to make sure the adventure is romantic.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A late night at work.

A cab ride home.

A cab driver wearing more cologne than an entire eighth-grade class at its first school dance.

A throbbing headache.

Friday, November 24, 2006

One year ago today

I was celebrating Thanksgiving weekend in London (Fun fact! Londoners don't celebrate Thanksgiving. They're un-American.) with my friends Matt and Rich. Here's a picture to prove it:
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Pay no attention to the ... um ... Leaning Tower of London in the background. They make it that shiny and sparkly to distract you, dear readers, from the real point of this blog post: my leather coat, which I wore on trips to London, Paris and Madrid last year, but the only real clear picture I have of me wearing it is the one above, which I think was taken in Albuquerque. Which is fun to spell.

In any case, I've always regretted buying that coat. First of all, the whole point of a leather coat -- especially one with a zip-in lining that offers an extra layer of insulation -- is to keep you warm. And for some reason this coat keeps me about as warm as a hug from Ann Coulter. Also, the damn thing doesn't fit very well -- it bunches up under my arms and it makes it challenging to gesture dramatically while I'm speaking. And it's too short to wear over a sportcoat, so it looks ridiculous when I try to wear it someplace semi-dressy. Like Tom and Katie's fake wedding.

So I bought a new coat on Wednesday. I had a massive client presentation at 1:30, see, and then I was going to work out and then meet the boyfriend downtown when he got back from a trip. But then I remembered flabby little muscles were the in thing this Thanksgiving season, so instead of working out I headed to Filene's Basement, where the first coat I saw was pretty much exactly what I was looking for: a cashmere topcoat-type thing that was short enough to wear with jeans, long enough to cover a sportcoat and casual-dressy enough to go from a Dick Cheney hunting date to a Mel Gibson movie premiere. Of course, you can't buy the first coat you try on -- which would be positively heterosexual -- so I tried on about 20 other coats, all the while keeping an eye on the first one so nobody would take it.

And then I realized I should try it on over a sportcoat -- you know: just to make sure it was roomy and long enough to cover my flabby body AND all that extra fabric. So I grabbed a particularly fancy midnight-blue velvet sportcoat (something I would normally never even consider wearing) off the nearest rack, and I'll be damned if the thing didn't look fabulous on me. And even though I'm contemplating buying a condo that's a third more expensive than the one I just sold, I threw it on my credit card and headed out the door to meet the boyfriend. All hail the power of irresponsible consumerism!

Wednesday was the four monthiversary of meeting the boyfriend, and we celebrated in high style: dinner in a diner (nothing could be finer) followed by snuggling up at his place with two pints of gourmet ice cream and a TiVo full of "Family Guy" (the Peterotica episode! with Betty White!) and "Desperate Housewives" and, lamentably, "Judge Judy." We did NOT watch any "Judge Judy" episodes, for the record. But I will happily mock him for years to come just for having it on his TiVo.

Now I'm in Iowa, and I may head out soon with my mom and sister to brave the Cedar Rapids "crowds" for some post-Thanksgiving retail therapy. And to model my new coat.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Dear Internet,

I’m not ignoring you. Honest. In fact, I’ve done so many interesting things these last few weeks that as I’ve been doing them I’ve been thinking Wow. The Internet would love to hear all about THIS. Unfortunately, the doing of these things has taken up so much time that I find I have no time for the telling.

For instance! We had an AIDS Marathon reunion party Friday night at Fearless Leader Matthew’s house. Fearless Leader Matthew is such a pull-out-all-the-stops host, he makes Sue Ann Nivens look like a grade-school lunch lady. Her Baked Pears Alicia have nothing on his perfectly roasted turkey and riced potatoes. And guess what I did at the party! Matthew asked me to carve the turkey—something I’d never done (or even watched) before in my life—and I didn’t ruin it. Better yet, I had a glass of port after dinner! Me! Drinking alcohol! Just like the big kids! (Oh yeah. It was nice to have our marathon training group back together again. We had a great time catching up and seeing each other for the very first time in real clothes. Did I mention I drank alcohol?)

Second example! The developers of my Two-Bathroomed Barbie Dream Condo have been so slow to build the damn building and so unresponsive when I ask them basic questions like how much are the upgrades you have on display in your showroom? and when you said you’d be done building the building by September 1, should I have been more proactive in getting you to specify a year? that I turned them over to my attorney, who is working to get me out of my contract so I can actually buy a condo I can actually live in. So on Saturday my trusty Realtor and I started the whole looking-for-a-condo process again. Only this time I brought along my uncommonly handsome boyfriend as well! And out of seven condos we looked at, I found two I absolutely love! On the first day of looking! And you know what? Since the last time I went condo hunting (in July) the housing bubble has burst, developers are desperate to unload their properties (especially around the holidays), I’m making more money in a fabulous new job, and I can suddenly get a whole lot more condo for my money! So once I pick the condo I like best, do my negotiating and get all moved in, you’re all invited to the housewarming. The condo I’m leaning toward is wired to hang a flat-screen TV, so please buy me one.

Speaking of my fabulous new job! The hours are kicking my ass, but I’m really, really loving it. My client base is interesting and delightfully varied (a wine club! a retail giant! a CD/MP3 juggernaut!), my staff is a bunch of advertising rock stars, and we have a kitchen with real dishes. I still hate our tiny little bathroom with the broken soap dispensers, but as a wise and beautiful-on-the-inside woman once said, a day without pee on your hands is a day without sunshine.

Other things I’ve done! The boyfriend and I saw Into the Woods and Happy Feet in the same day this weekend. Both were delightful, but the Into the Woods production we saw cut some of my favorite material (including “you may know what you need but to get what you want better see that you keep what you have”) and Happy Feet contains the clumsiest metaphor for religious intolerance since Anita Bryant.

Whew! That’s enough catching up for one day! I need to get back to work … and I want to spend some more time daydreaming about the fabulous bathroom tile in the condo I think I’m going to buy. Seriously.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

It’s finally happened

I reached to get my wallet this morning, and as my finger slid past the top of my jeans pocket, the denim ripped my cuticle away from my nail and I bled like a televangelist on a meth binge. (I don’t know first-hand that televangelists bleed when they smoke their man-hookers’ crack, but I wanted to work in a Ted Haggard joke while it was still somewhat timely.)

In any case, my first ripped cuticle heralds the end of moist summer air and signals the beginning of the winter bleeding season. Break out the Band-Aids and put away the white pants.

So much has happened in the last week that I don’t know where to begin. First of all, the new job is keeping me so busy I can barely squeeze in a workout and a dinner before I tumble into bed each night. It’s a good, productive kind of busy, but it’s drastically cutting into my blogging and snuggling-with-the-boyfriend time. So bear with me, dear blog readers (and dear boyfriend), while I find the equilibrium between my new job and my regularly scheduled life.

I went home to Iowa last weekend for my uncommonly photogenic niece’s fifth birthday. She’s in her Disney princess phase (which makes me so proud I could grow a tail) and she received enough Disney princess-themed presents that she could open her own Disney princess outlet mall. Not that any self-respecting Disney princess would be caught dead in an outlet mall, but scores of Disney princess wannabes need a place to find marabou-covered plastic shoes and breakable tiaras, so I think my niece could make some serious coin off such a venture should she choose to pursue it. In any case, my sister found her a gorgeous champagne-colored ball gown (on sale!) patterned after Belle’s final Beauty and the Beast ensemble, only this gown has a red velvet-like overlay that ups the glamour quotient exponentially. You’d think that wearing such a gown would infuse my niece with an air of patrician noblesse, but she still crawled around like a tomboy Saturday night when she put it on. Which totally slowed her down in her pursuit of fun, but she was NOT about to take it off. As a princess, she has people who need to adore her, so she was kind of obligated to keep the thing on all night.

While I was home, I also got to take my seven-year-old nephew to his tae kwon do class, where he impressed me with his mastery of the poomse sequences, but the poor little guy has miles to go mastering other body-awareness-requiring skills like staying on his little black X during warm-ups and not falling over doing his kicks. He’s already a yellow belt, though, and he has a hard time disguising his pride when he carries around his bag of “gear.” Which makes him so cute I could hug him, but I don’t know what he’s been learning in that class and he could probably kill me with his bare hands. So I keep a respectable distance.

The other notable weekend event in Iowa was Shadow’s funeral. After my nephew’s dog was killed by a hit-and-run driver last week, his folks had Shadow cremated, and my nephew and my dad built her a little cremation urn in my dad’s basement workshop. They fashioned a sturdy wooden cube out of scrap wood, and they labeled it with a jigsawed bone shape that my nephew wrote “Shadow” on in his shaky little handwriting. We had a simple burial (just close family) in my folks’ back yard on Saturday afternoon, where my nephew declared Shadow “a good dog” in his eulogy. I guess it’s never too soon to learn about the randomness of death and life—although the kids lost their aunt earlier this year, so I think the dog was taking it a bit too far—but I’m having a hard time shaking my anger at the truck driver who killed a pretty big dog and was either too stupid or too cowardly to stop and acknowledge what he did.

But I’m able to channel my anger at the developers of my Two-Bathroomed Barbie Dream Condo, who this week finally admitted that their ongoing construction delays will probably take them to March before people can start moving in. So my Realtor and my attorney and I are busy trying to get out of my contract and find me a new place I can move into before bleeding season is over—or at least before the Republicans officially (finally!) lose the House and Senate. Fortunately, the housing bubble has burst, people are looking to unload a glut of properties in Chicago, and I’m able to move immediately (during holiday season, no less)—assuming I get out of my contract and get my deposit back—so I should be able to get a pretty sweet deal on an even better Two-Bathroomed Barbie Dream Condo. The hunt starts again this Saturday.

I’ll definitely keep you posted—in another month when I find a moment to make my next blog post.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Ticketmaster lies.

The boyfriend had gotten exclusive early access to seats for last night’s Barbra concert through his AMEX, and the Ticketmaster operator told him our seats were in the “front row”—and given the price he paid for the damn things, he could have reasonably expected they might actually be in Barbra’s lap. Being a Disciple Of Barbra, he was positively giddy with excitement over the promise of at-her-feet proximity. But when we got in the United Center last night and the usher pointed us toward the end of the arena farthest from the stage, we quickly discovered we were merely in the front row of the built-in ring of seats along the arena floor—but thousands of people away from the actual stage. I could almost hear his hopes fall. And it broke my heart. Fuck you, Ticketmaster.

But the concert was fabulous and her voice sounded great and the orchestra was big and impressive and wonderful and Il Divo, who sang with her and on their own, was spectacular. Except for their español version of “Unbreak My Heart,” which has to be one of the most godawful pop songs ever written. Barbra’s costumes were a little iffy—she managed to channel both Liza with a Z and Cleopatra before the evening was over—and the roses all over her stage looked like they had been arranged by a frat boy. But otherwise, I have to say my first diva concert ever—unless you count not-quite-famous Whitney Houston circa 1987 in Iowa City—was thoroughly delightful.

My favorite moments were her powerful “Somewhere” from The Broadway Album and “Music of the Night” (which I’ve always secretly liked even though it’s by Andrew Lloyd Webber) from Back to Broadway—both backed up in wall-of-sound glory by Il Divo—and her more poignant “Children Will Listen” and “Smile (though your Heart is Aching),” which was her final encore.

And even though we sat in front of an ear-splitting whistler, our seats gave us a clear view of the stage—and of a guy a few seats down who jumped up and down like a schoolgirl with a spider in her panties when Barbra launched into what was obviously his favorite song in the entire known universe. And the boyfriend is going to divorce me when he reads this because even though I quizzed him on the name of the song this morning as we walked to the train, I’ve already forgotten what it’s called. It’s something about a rock. Or maybe Iraq.

Our transportation to and from the concert was equally memorable. We took a bus there, and as soon as we sat down, two warm, cuddly grandma-types sitting across from us saw our tickets and asked us where we were sitting in the concert. They swooned repeatedly and loudly when we told them we were in the front row. (Remember: Ticketmaster LIES, and at that point we still thought we were on our way to enjoy the concert in the actual front row.) Then they kept talking to us. One was a retired teacher from Arkansas. The other was one of her former students from Missouri. At one point our conversation turned to the other events that go on in the United Center, and the boyfriend and I found ourselves discussing sports on a bus with people from two different red states. Then they started swooning over how Barbra had stayed at Rosie’s house and how Rosie had reported she’d slept on Kelly’s side of the bed, so we figured our grandma-types weren’t red-state homo-haters after all. Then they swooned over Hillary and Bill and I started wondering if maybe they were red-state lesbians—which could be a pretty cool ornithological term, when you think about it—but then one mentioned her son and once again my gaydar had completely failed me.

After the concert, as we looked for the end of the mega-huge line to get on a bus back to the Loop, we ran into two women I’d done theater with in Iowa for the decade I lived there after college. So we rode in with them and met up with some other Iowa friends who’d come to Chicago with them but didn’t see the concert, and the boyfriend and I took them to the only 24-hour diner we know of in downtown Chicago, where we gorged ourselves on midnight goodness and high-fived over the sweeping defeat of the Republican House.

Note to Bush, Rove, Santorum, et al.: Now you know what a real moral referendum from voters feels like. And at this writing it looks like the Democrats are going to take the Senate as well, albeit by the slimmest of majorities—what you people have historically interpreted as a sweeping statement from the populace, even when you've reached your tipping point via the Supreme Court. But I’m hoping your long, dark, corrupt, self-serving, hateful reign is over. And when you go to sell tickets to your next blame-the-gays fundraiser, I’m hoping you use Ticketmaster.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I’m not voting today

And it’s not because I’m totally repulsed (once again) by this season’s bumper crop of grossly oversimplified, intellectually insulting political ads designed to appeal to the stupidest and most easily manipulated among us—although I have to admit that the ads from the Rob Blagojevich camp that use all the nodding-monkey footage of Judy Baar Topinka are a bit of a guilty pleasure.

My reason for not voting is a whole lot less politically motivated: Amid all my homelessness and temporary housing and layoffs and job hunts, it never occurred to me to change my voter registration. And now it’s too late.

Or not, according to a small handful of friends who assure me I can still vote in my old precinct, as long as I haven’t changed my driver’s license. But that sounds kind of shady and I don’t want to be an Ann Coulter, so for the first time since I turned 18, I’m missing an election.

But I’m kind-of voting tonight, because the boyfriend got us FRONT-ROW SEATS to Barbra “I’m so Jewish I recorded a Christmas album” Streisand, whose concert includes a Dubya impersonator. Her banter with him has kept this tour and her potty mouth and her audience’s thrown drinks in the news since it launched in New York a month ago, and our presence at her feet this evening is nothing short of a vote for economic collapse, anything-goes family values and a complete lack of respect for our troops abroad. Which, when you think about it, just as efficiently describes a vote for the Dubya administration.

As a card-carrying member of the velvet mafia (the ruthless gay cabal responsible, according to our esteemed Republican congress and its theocratic PAC, of destroying traditional marriage and keeping Mark Foley in office), I of course know the relevant songs from Yentl and 99% of the lyrics on The Broadway Album. But my familiarity with the Barbra oeuvre is monumentally eclipsed by the boyfriend’s encyclopedic knowledge of Barbra libretti and composers and films and concert recordings. So as we sit hand-in-hand in our seats of privilege this evening, he will be a true disciple and I will be a mere interloper barely worthy of the fact that Barbra and I could very well make frequent, prolonged, meaningful eye contact for hours on end. And she could easily call me up to join her for a duet of "Enough is Enough." And I could maybe look up her dress if she gets too close to the edge of the stage.

Until we launch into our Barbra reverie, though, I’m still aglow from last night’s mountaintop experience: Sibelius’ lush, full-bodied, triumphant Symphony No. 2 at the CSO.

The Sibelius Second is my favorite symphony of all time, and I’ve practically memorized Mariss Jansons’ definitive recording with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. Imagine my schoolgirl giddiness, then, when I discovered a few months ago that Jansons was conducting the Sibelius live at the CSO this season. Now multiply that by about a billion and try to imagine my giddiness last night as the boyfriend and I ate a fabulous dinner (and shared three desserts!) and then strolled to Orchestra Hall where I could share with him a work of music that has changed me on a cellular level as conducted by the man who introduced me to it in the first place.

And sitting there in the half-dark last night, holding hands with the boyfriend, awash in Sibelius’ sweeping, heroic, mighty lyricism … well, it was almost too much for my little heart to bear.

And now I face today with a cleansed soul. And the earnest hope that by the time the polls close tonight, last night’s beauty and purity will translate to sweeping, heroic, mighty changes in America. Even though I was too absent-minded to make sure I could help make it all happen.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Life's but a walking shadow

He’d wanted a dog. A yellow lab. And he was so sure he was going to get his dog that he picked out a name—Addison, after a girl he liked on his bus—and started telling stories to anyone who’d listen about all the fun he and his dog were going to have.

His parents resisted at first. His dad traveled and his mom, who wasn’t much of a dog person anyway but was home raising two kids, knew the training and the care and the feeding would fall completely on her.

But they talked it over, and they looked around at dogs, and when they found one they both loved they decided to surprise him on his fifth birthday.

And when he finally met his new dog—after a scavenger hunt that took him to his favorite places all over the city—he threw his arms around her neck and reveled in her kisses … and right there on the spot decided to name his new yellow lab Shadow.

Shadow was a lot of puppy, full of energy and constantly on the prowl for attention and love and a lap she could sit on during her brief—very brief—moments of rest. But the boy loved her and played with her and she loved him back, and even though she whined when she wasn’t getting attention and she left hair everywhere in the house, she became an important part of his family. The boy’s grandfather was especially fond of Shadow, and he found every excuse he could think of to come over and play with his granddog.

But Shadow was still a puppy who chased after squirrels and ran into the street and took off on adventures to explore the neighborhood. The boy and his little sister were too distracted by swings and bugs and Jedi knights and Disney princesses to keep much of an eye on her, and their mom was too distracted by laundry and dinner and driving and paying the bills to give her the constant supervision she needed.

So the summer he turned seven, the boy watched his father dig a trench around the yard and install an invisible fence. And overnight Shadow went from the dog everyone worried about to the dog everyone could finally enjoy. Even the boy’s mom and grandmother—who had never been big fans of dogs—grew to love her.

That fall, the day after Halloween, the boy's mom let Shadow out to play in the yard while she worked in the house. Just like she had done a thousand times.

When the phone rang 15 minutes later and she saw her neighbor’s name on her caller ID, she debated for a moment whether to pick up or to finish the projects she was working on.

But she answered the phone. A moment later she was bolting out the door to find a group of people hovering over Shadow in the street.

And then she remembered she’d forgotten to put on Shadow’s invisible-fence collar.

Shadow had quickly discovered that the end of the yard wasn’t the end of her world anymore, and she’d darted into the street—right into the path of a red pickup truck, who hit her and drove away. Two high-school girls who had been behind the truck stopped and cared for Shadow, and the neighbor had come out to see what had happened.

Among the three of them, they’d had the presence of mind to call the number on Shadow’s collar, and when the boy’s mother got to them, she found Shadow lying near death—in shock and hopefully not in pain—with one leg tucked awkwardly under her broken body.

The boy’s grandmother soon arrived, and the group carefully brought Shadow to the side of the street, where she quietly died under the watch of an impromptu mix of family, friends and strangers.

While the boy’s grandparents grimly took Shadow to the veterinarian to be cremated, the boy’s mother went to his school to bring him home and explain what had happened. The boy’s beloved aunt had died last February after struggling for a lifetime with a debilitating illness, so for the second time in less than a year, the boy found himself sobbing over the complete randomness of death and loss and anguish. He was only seven.

His sister, who will turn five in a week, still hasn’t wrapped her little brain around the concept, but both kids seem to appreciate the idea that Shadow is now able to run with Aunt Dana along some bucolic beach in some undefined location.

And when the kids’ uncle comes to visit next weekend for his niece's birthday, he is going to give them big hugs and lots of love and he’s going to tell them jokes and throw them in the air and make them giggle.

And I am going to try very hard not to think about the fact that it could just as easily have been one of them who ran in front of that truck.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Stock up on dollar bills ...

I'm dancing in another drag show this weekend.

It’s been two years since I’ve been in a drag show, so I guess that sentence is a little misleading. Just like Tony Snow! And I won’t actually be in drag this time, so the sentence is misleading and potentially inflammatory. Just like Rush Limbaugh!

In any case, I’m still technically in the show, though I’ll be a backup dancer in a tight little tank top this time. There will be two of us shaking our honey-baked hams behind a Madonna impersonator singing a Peggy Lee cover. And our number is gonna be HOT. So hot it gives you fever. In the morning. And fever all through the night.

The show is this Saturday, November 4. at Hydrate, 3458 N. Halsted. Fifteen bucks gets you an hour and a half of open bar (assuming you get there at 8:00) and then a fabulous show (starting at 9:30, for those of you struggling with the math) featuring drag queens singing live (none of this lip-synching crap that the lesser drag queens try to get away with).

The show is called Lipstick & Lyrics, and it’s the third annual live-drag fundraiser for the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus, so you can count on it being pretty fabulous. And if the thought of watching me dancing around on stage, caught up in the delusion that a 38-year-old man can pass for ham-shaking beefcake isn’t enough to get you to there, then you just don’t have a sense of humor.

[I wanted to upload our logo here to lend legitimacy to this little advertisement, but blogger is being a stubborn, ineffective pain in the ass right now. Just like Dubya!]

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Dear Jake,

I am Dan W., an English language editor working on a book to be published in Japan for students of contemporary English and American culture. I have found your writing on the web to be very interesting and would like your permission to include portions of it in a book on which we are presently working.

I am to contemporary English and American culture what Dubya is to coherent English and American thinking. But this sounds like fun. So OK.

The working title of the book is “Journals of Thirty Americans Volume 2,” and the anticipated publication date is March 2007. The book will contain several blog entries from 30 writers from various locations and demographics. We hope to show the Japanese reader a view of ordinary life in English-speaking countries and the use of English in everyday circumstances.

My incoherent ramblings rendered in Japanese as some sort of primer on American English and culture? Wow. This could take us back to 1941.

I’ll check with you to see if what I have chosen is acceptable to you. A Japanese translation of your writing will be included in the book along with the original English.

Seriously. I joke about killing hookers in the basement and I openly mock wingnuts like Mel Gibson and Rush Limbaugh at every available opportunity. Do sarcasm and loathing even translate in Japanese? And is it true that the Japanese character for Coulter is the same one they use for people who leave pee on the toilet seat?

You can view a sample of our first book, “Journals of Thirty Americans,” here or see us on Amazon Japan here.

I suddenly feel like Paul Lynde, looking vaguely heterosexual and singing “Ed Sullivan!” incredulously into the Fresnels. (Is it OK if I make an “Ed Surrivan” joke here? Because an Asian friend of mine dressed as a leprechaun for Halloween, and he thought it was pretty funny when I told him he was actually a reprechaun.)

If the attached terms and conditions for the use of parts of your blog are acceptable to you, please reply to me by the end of October with your personal information and the words “I accept” at the end of the message.

My name is Jake, and I approve this request.

(Please accept our apologies in advance if we are unable to include parts of your blog in the book even if you accept, which may happen for editorial reasons.)

Nobody puts Baby in a corner. But since no money is changing hands here, I see no reason to get upset if I end up on the cutting-room floor.

Thank you,

Dan W., English editor
Kosaido Publishing Co.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Update!

The Job
It’s nice to have structure again. Sleeping late and lounging in sunspots and watching CSI reruns while the rest of the world was in meetings was nice, but I don’t do well when I’m not overscheduled.

The company I’m working for specializes in the flavor of direct marketing I’ve always been extremely good at, so I was able to breeze in on the first day and start being productive right away. My first project is with an interesting client, and my team is both talented and enthusiastic, so I have to say I’m pretty happy where I landed.

As an added bonus, the companies I’d interviewed with who dragged their heels have started calling me to schedule followup interviews and to actually make offers, and I get to 1) gently (ever so gently) scold them for being slow and inefficient and 2) bask in the glow of being in demand. I’m happy enough where I am that it would take an awfully compelling compensation package and/or client base to make me uproot for an 11th-hour offer—but I might change jobs if I got an offer from someone with bigger bathrooms. Seriously: Our bathroom is no bigger than what you’d find in a nice private home, except we’ve packed ours with two toilet stalls and a urinal. I dread the day I share that room when I’m feeling a little noisy. The embarrassment will haunt me for decades.

The Condo
The developer of my new place finally got its act together, signed my contract and hooked me up with its designer, with whom the boyfriend and I spent two very gay hours last weekend picking cabinets and countertops and tiles and carpets. First revelation: I have very expensive tastes. Second revelation: Marble countertops in both bathrooms equals five weeks of welfare checks. Third revelation: I deserve marble countertops in my bathrooms.

Picking all that stuff can be a little overwhelming, though, and when it was all done, I’d discovered I’d ended up decorating the whole place in basically the same colors, textures and materials. Which isn’t such a bad thing, I guess. And I can always use paint and knickknacks to give each room its own personality. Thank goodness I’ve invested heavily in knickknacks.

The down side: My September 1 delivery is now somewhere in the nebulous world of December. The boyfriend thinks it might even be in January, but I don’t want to think about that. The friends I’m staying with are gracious and welcoming and their house is beyond lovely (and cozy on cold mornings) and it’s actually been really fun living with roommates for the first time since college. But I miss walking around naked and leaving cereal bowls in the living room and peeing with the door open. And I miss my own knickknacks.

The Marathon
Well, at least it didn’t rain. Last Sunday was cold—not kill-me-now cold, but extremely, uncomfortably cold—and the temperature set the tone for my worst marathon ever. In a nutshell: I finished in 4:53:40, over half an hour slower than last year. I hit my wall around mile 18, instead of mile 22, where I usually start to feel like crap. My knees also blew out around mile 18, and for eight excruciating miles, they hurt worse than Rush Limbaugh’s conscience on Don’t Be A Drug-Addled Divorce Junkie Who Makes Fun Of People With Crippling Diseases Day. But Fearless Leader Matthew was also hurting on the same mileage schedule, and one way or another we spurred each other on and crossed the finish line together. And I technically beat him by one second, which makes me the victorious winner and him a big girlie-man loser.

On the plus side, I ended up really liking the cheap headband, gloves and sweatshirt I bought with the intention of throwing them away once my body warmed up. So I got to keep them—though they’re gonna cut a good $20 out of my marble-countertops-in-the-bathroom budget.

But I have pictures!

Here is most of my team before the race, our knees and dignity still intact and our bodies reasonably warm in the AIDS Marathon tent:

The crowd before the marathon starts is DENSE. Thankfully I was able to bring a photographer and enough hair and makeup people into the throng to take a picture that makes me look both small-nosed and non-chipmunk-cheeked:

Fearless Leader Matthew and I were the picture of happiness and enthusiasm as we crossed the LaSalle bridge somewhere around mile 4. Notice how my spiffy new sweatshirt allowed me to stay warm and yet be unzipped enough to display my marathon bib and number. These are the same useful features I’ll probably look for when I’m shopping for garments to wear when the boyfriend finally puts me in the Home For Aged Bloggers With Shattered Marathon Dreams:

I think this is mile 15. Or maybe it’s mile 17. In any case, I’m showing it here because it makes my quads look really pumped:

Here I am blurrily approaching my mom at mile 16. I do not look even remotely gay:

Just across the finish line. NOT doing well:

Notice how my spiffy new sweatshirt can be zipped AND hooded. I can’t imagine what these fashion designers will think of next:

Fearless Leader Matthew probably would want me to point out that he was wearing some kind of tummy pack filled with drugs and marathon snacks under his running togs. Please do not think he has problems with portion control:

Back in the AIDS Marathon tent. Those medals may be shiny, but they don’t provide a lick of warmth:

I had foolishly agreed to run a tap audition at 4:00 after the marathon. Here I am at 2:00 forced by mutinous knees to descend a staircase backward on my way home to clean up before the audition. Which is further proof that people who run marathons don’t have an ounce of common sense:

Friday, October 27, 2006

New job. First typo.

It's only $19.95—and whipping is free if you order before January 1, 2007!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Not dead.

Just very, very busy. The new job is requiring lots of my time and attention, and I haven't yet determined whether or not it's cool to do things like blog and shop for mail-order brides on my work computer. So I have to do those things when I'm at home. Which hasn't been starting until after 9 pm, when I'd rather be eating or snuggling on the couch with the boyfriend.

But the job is great, the people are nice and talented and extremely passionate about their work, and even though I'm in a cube, I have a nice view of the bathroom.

My joints are mostly recovered from the marathon, but the extremely cold weather and any other factors I can pin blame on made me run 30 minutes slower than last year's time—which, though not the end of the world, was nevertheless frustrating and slightly wounding to my machismo. The official photos aren't yet ready for purchase, but I'll post a full report complete with visual aids and whimpering self-pity in the near future.

In the mean time: SLEEP.

Monday, October 23, 2006

A marathon arrived

and a marathon dispatched.

It's over. It did NOT go well. But I finished, with my knees and my dignity barely intact.

Details and photos to come. Just as soon as I get through my first day at my fabulous new job!

Which means I guess I'll be having lots and lots of details to cough up this week ...

Saturday, October 21, 2006

It’s time …

Time to run my third Chicago Marathon! I’ll be up at 5:30ish tomorrow for my final round of carbo-loading, stretching, carbo-loading some more and heading out into the cold to be miserable for a good four-plus hours.

And it’s really supposed to be miserable tomorrow: rainy (80% chance) and cold (high of 44°) and whiny (Jake). I was planning on being all moved into my new place by now, but the developers are taking their sweet, sweet time, so all my cold-weather running gear is still packed away in storage. And so are all my junky old clothes I could wear for the first bit of the marathon and throw away without missing them when I get warm. So I just stopped by my friendly organized clean neighborhood TJ Maxx to buy some cheap sweatpants ($7.99) and a hooded sweatshirt ($12.99) I can wear as long as I need and then throw them away the moment I reach equilibrium. Or the moment they get so drenched they start dragging me down.

Before I head out, I owe many of you a HUGE thanks for your donations to my AIDS Marathon fundraising. My goal was $1,400, but I just checked the numbers, and they top out at $2,740. Some of that money is from family and friends and coworkers who are morally obligated to quantify their love for me monetarily, but a giant part of it is from the complete strangers who read my blog. You people and your generosity truly rock, and I’ll keep your names and stories with me for the whole run tomorrow. Your donations make such a difference in the lives of people living with HIV and AIDS, and I am proud to run and earn the donations you have made on my behalf.

Before I head to bed with my belly full of carbs, I leave you with a look at our final training run last Saturday, where we got PLENTY of practice running in the bitter cold. I hope you enjoy them as much as I didn’t:

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Jake Regrets: The ugly truth

I was a homely child. I was a homely child until I was about 23, when I joined my first gym—and even then it took a long-ass time for my body to fill out. And for the chicks to start noticing me. Or at least noticing me noticing other guys, who took their own sweet time noticing me back.

I have bravely posted photographic proof of my young homeliness on this site, only to be met with mockery and derision from certain readers who accused me of trying to pass off cuteish pictures of myself as proof that it was sometimes challenging even for my own mother to hug me.

Well now the gloves are off. Or at least the dignity is. Whatever was left of it. Because I dug around in the darkest corners of my old photo albums and found some of the last remaining Photos of Shame that hadn’t been destroyed by me or self-exterminated in a heroic act of community service.

I scanned six pictures before I put all my albums in storage, and I’m presenting three of them to you here (in chronological order so you can more easily chart my descent into unsightliness). The other three have a theatrical theme (go figure) and qualify for their own special category of horror. Which means I have a Halloween post all ready to go. Less work for me!

In the mean time, grab your stomachs and avert your eyes, because you’re about to see some pictures of me that, when you consider the fact that I’ve never been placed in a home for frightening children, qualify my parents for sainthood.

You’ve been warned.

The summer of 1984:

Things I had discovered in 1984: Canvas shoes from Target. The gender-bending subversiveness of wearing an ankle bracelet. White fake Ray-Bans with little black music notes all over them. Gravity-defying hair. Things I had not yet discovered in 1984: Going to a gym. Having the good sense not to wear tank tops in public. Having the good sense not to wear white fake Ray-Bans with little black music notes all over them.

My 21st birthday:

I’m not sure what’s most disturbing about this picture: the bar mitzvah clown smile, the Disney villain eyes, the dinner-plate glasses, the scarecrow neck, the weird-ass way I wore my watch on the inside of my wrist or the pink-on-white shirt that hung on me with all the sex appeal of a party dress on a toddler. The girls on my floor (Loser alert! I was living in a co-ed dorm!) had decorated my door with pink 21s. Probably to match the shirt. Or the homosexuality. I’m not sure where I got the wine, but I am sure I had only a sip of it to celebrate reaching such a milestone age. Because actually drinking a whole glass of alcohol on my 21st birthday would have been something the cool kids would do.

College graduation:

First of all, I guess I had a cute little habit of saying Yay! about situations that met my approval when I was in college. Unfortunately, Mom (who correctly thought Yay! would be fitting sentiment to express over a college graduation) and the cake decorator (who probably didn’t have an advanced degree in spelling) ended up producing a graduation cake that said yeah in my honor. Which only underscores what the rest of this picture is saying about me. For instance: The glasses. Bigger than my face. Lower than my eyebrows. I’m just a home perm and a cameo brooch away from being Sophia Petrillo. And don’t get me started on the shirt. I’d thought it was one of the coolest shirts ever when I first found it wadded up on the tumble table at the local County Seat. It was red and white, see, but it had blue stuff sewn in to the collar and sleeves (and, inexplicably, that saggy pocket) to make it look like it was layered. It was also probably a small, yet it hung on me like a Mayan burial gown on an immolated corpse. And in any case, the whole look was in direct violation of the contract I signed when they gave me my English degree: no bright colors, no perky smiles, no Sally Jesse Raphaël glasses. And no misspelled pastries.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Our time

They say some of the hardest things to go through in life include losing a job, looking for a job, moving, being homeless, and losing your nice belt but finding it again a few days later. I don’t know who the hell “they” are or how they knew about the belt—which is actually pretty creepy when you think about it—but they missed something. Something that can be very difficult to survive when you don’t see it coming.

I’m actually surprised how well I’ve managed this period of epic transition in my life. I owe a lot of it to the boyfriend, who has brought me such unexpected joy and unrelenting optimism (not to mention a delightful mix of giddiness, serenity, support, smiles that melt me in my tracks, text messages that make me laugh out loud and obscure Sondheim trivia that—quite frankly—gives him more sex appeal than he could achieve with a spray-on tan, a giant bowl of ice cream and two spoons) that for the first time in my life I see my future as more of an exhilarating journey than just an inevitable destination.

I also owe a lot to my friends Jim and Jeff, who welcomed me into their home when my house and my job suddenly disappeared beneath my feet. (Before you take up a collection on behalf of my poor downtroddenness, I should clarify that my house disappeared because my old place sold sooner than I expected and my new place is STILL not ready for me to move in. So I am not homeless out of destitution. But I did lose my job in a round of layoffs. And I am not too proud to accept donations of large bills.) Aside from giving me a lovely place to survive the stresses of moving and job hunting, they’ve also insisted on making me (and the boyfriend) actually live in their home with them—having dinner, relaxing in front of the fireplace, making conversation … the things I’d otherwise completely overlook in my concentrated mission to find a job and become a productive citizen again.

Wow. Somehow I blathered myself off on a tangent. Embarrassments of riches can have that effect on a guy.

In any case, I have honestly viewed this whole period of transition as more of an adventure than a burden. Aside from some basic frustrations, I have felt no emotional collapse. I have cursed no gods. I have shed no tears.

Until last night, where I found something unexpected that was actually quite hard to get through. And it wasn’t any of the abovementioned traumas; it was the lyrics to a song and the love of two parents.

I sing in the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus, and in addition to our three-show subscription season, we perform around town for things like mayoral events and Cubs games and conferences and private parties.

Last night was a private party. But it wasn’t the kind of party whose hosts you’d expect would bring in a group of gay men for musical entertainment. It was a birthday party. For a gay 18-year-old. And the hosts were his parents, who hired us to surprise him.

The party—in a private dining room at a restaurant—was in full swing when we arrived, and we marched in with the cake, singing in 12-part harmony as our surprise entrance. The birthday boy, who was a fan of ours, recognized us immediately. The look on his face was priceless.

He sat there as we sang, lost in his own reverie, his eyes closed and a half smile on his face, basking in the music and the obvious love of friends and family members who had spent the evening helping him celebrate.

And as I stood there, a gay man among a choir of gay men, hired by the parents of an out and proud gay teen to help him celebrate his birthday, I marveled at how far we’ve come in my lifetime alone. I watched his parents, who were obviously pleased with the love they had created in their family and had spread among their friends and community. I watched his friends, who were enthralled by our music instead of cracking jokes at our expense. I watched the wait staff, who stealthily delivered slices of cake between songs so as not to interrupt our performance. I watched the world changing. For the better.

And when we got to “Our Time,” a song of promise and hope and great optimism for the future—a song the boyfriend and I intend to have sung at our wedding, with the hope that by the time we get married our relationship will enjoy the same legal and social standing of heterosexual relationships—I couldn’t make any sound.

I had found the one thing among everything that’s happened over the last few months that could break my composure. It wasn’t being fired. It wasn’t staying relentlessly upbeat through endless interviews and waiting games and thank-you-but-we-aren’t-hiring-right-nows. It wasn’t living in temporary housing and wondering if I’d held onto enough winter clothing when I put everything I own in the world in storage.

It was love. Love that transcends a hostile zeitgeist. Love that eclipses legal and judicial discrimination. Love that outmoralizes a nation’s self-appointed morality police.

It IS our time.

Something is stirring,
Shifting ground … 

It’s just begun. 

Edges are blurring 

All around,
And yesterday is done. 

Feel the flow, 

Hear what’s happening: 

We’re what’s happening. 

Don’t you know? 

We’re the movers and we’re the shapers. 

We’re the names in tomorrow’s papers. 

Up to us, man, to show ’em … 

It’s our time, breathe it in: 

Worlds to change and worlds to win. 

Our turn coming through,
Me and you, man,
Me and you!

Feel how it quivers, 

On the brink …

Gives you the shivers,
Makes you think 

There’s so much stuff to sing! 

And you and me,
We’ll be singing it like the birds,
Me with music and you the words, 

Tell ’em things they don’t know! 

Up to us, pal, to show ’em …

It’s our time, breathe it in: 

Worlds to change and worlds to win. 

Our turn, we’re what’s new,
Me and you, pal, 

Me and you! 

Feel the flow, 

Hear what’s happening: 

We’re what’s happening! 

Long ago 

All we had was that funny feeling, 

Saying someday we’d send ’em reeling, 

Now it looks like we can!
Someday just began …

It’s our heads on the block. 

Give us room and start the clock. 

Our time coming through, 

Me and you, pal, 

Me and you!
Me and you!
Me and you!
Me and you!
Me and you!
Me and you!

Friday, October 13, 2006


Five weeks.
100+ emails.
50+ phone calls.
40+ hours creating a web site of work samples.
$250+ in cab fares and dry cleaning and a new portfolio book.
Two welfare checks.
Constant, shameless networking.
14 interviews.

I had an 11:00 interview this morning. At 12:30 they decided they wanted me to meet with the president, but he was gone for lunch. I said I could be back at 2:30 (after my workout—a guy's gotta have some priorities). By 4:30 I had an offer.

I'm going to spend the weekend mulling. And relaxing. And celebrating.

And exhaling.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

You’re never fully prepared

My gym has a long history of broken equipment, surly staff members and a habit of losing perfectly valid memberships in its computer system. So when it gave me a coupon for a free smoothie WITH NO FINE PRINT, I should have been suspicious nonetheless. I’ve carried it around in my gym bag for months, deciding it wasn’t worth the inevitable hassle of trying to cash it in, but today I was especially hungry after my workout—and I’m still unemployed so I have a moral mandate to be scrimping and pinching—so I walked up to the smoothie counter fully expecting to get some excuse about how the coupon’s not good on days that end in Y or the gym only makes snoothies now and I’m sorry but that coupon is for a smoothie. But even my cynical mind wasn’t prepared for the excuse I got: stunned silence, followed by “I don’t know how to make smoothies.” When I pressed the issue with a helpful question suggesting that there was maybe someone else in the building who knew how to operate a scoop and a blender, I was told there was nobody in the entire gym certified in the smoothie sciences. Which leads me to believe that my gym installed a smoothie center complete with freezers and blenders and ingredients AND made a big sign about delicious smoothie flavors AND printed coupons it distributed to its members ALL AS A COMPLETE RUSE.

Microsoft Word thinks it knows what you want and it routinely modifies your documents accordingly—capitalizing words you don’t want capitalized, adding hotlinks where you just want text, making indented bullets where you just wanted plain-old asterisks and ignoring the editing preferences you very clearly give it. We’ve all learned to work around its many flaws, but there’s no way I could have been prepared for the way it sabotaged my job search this weekend. I bought these business-card forms, see, that you feed through your printer in one big page and then tear apart into standard business-card size business cards. I coaxed and cajoled some rudimentary design out of Word’s rudimentary formatting tools and printed a page of what turned out to be a rather handsome way to hand out my phone number, email address, and a URL with samples of my work and a downloadable PDF of my résumé to anyone I encountered who seemed to be a good job lead. Imagine my horror, though, when I discovered—after passing out a good half of the cards I printed, no less—that Word had decided my phone number was some sort of serial number that had to be automatically increased by one digit on each card. So I’ve now distributed business cards with sequential phone numbers—collect the whole set!—in a job search where I tout myself as a talented writer and proofreader. I hate you, Microsoft Worp!

My life has been kept interesting over the last month thanks to company layoffs on 9/11 and an extended holding pattern from my condo selling sooner than I expected and my new place not being ready until later than the developer had advertised. This week’s new wrinkle: a coughy, wheezy, grovely cold. So let’s add up the things that are making me currently sexy: unemployment, homelessness, sickness. And this picture, taken on Saturday after I ran 14 miles with Fearless Leader Matthew:

I wanted to show how I’d had my AIDS Marathon shirt customized so the race-day multitudes could cheer me on by name. But instead I just made a permanent record of my bedhead and my pasty white skin. So very sexy!

Thankfully, there’s the boyfriend, who continues to be … well, everything I could possibly hope for in a man. Even though he was a little freaked out when I told him I’d always thought there was something cute about Bob Saget—and then he was thoroughly freaked out when I told him he kind of had Bob Saget’s smile. Thankfully, that all happened after he bought me these little guys, which I’ve revoltingly cutely named after the two of us:

And because they’re so adorable, Mr. Boyfriend, I’m upgrading you from Bob Saget to Bob Hoskins. You can thank me later.