Thursday, March 29, 2007

Holy units!

The simple folks at the American "Family" Association are still working tirelessly to combat the homosexual agenda. (Who says "homosexual agenda" anymore? Doesn't the AFA know that that empty bit of propaganda died out with the dinosaurs? Oh, wait. I guess I just answered my own question.)

Check out today's breathless AFA Action Alert, which will no doubt produce a fair and balanced (hey, I voted!) and totally useful representation of America's collective opinion. Then check out the randomly generated (or is it?) security code at the bottom:

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I am the almighty consumer

Behold my opinions on your products and services!

American Laser Centers
I had my I-just-won-$300-worth-of-services-in-a-drawing-even-though-I’m-not-very-hairy consultation last night. Call me picky, but a high-end spa should be in a building with a fancy—or at the very least consumer-friendly—lobby. American Laser Centers told me over the phone they were in the 900 N. Michigan building (which they were sure to remind me was the Bloomingdale’s building) but I should use their entrance around the corner at 60 E. Delaware. Guess what? 60 E. Delaware is a fricking parking garage across a fricking alley behind the Bloomingdale’s building. Lying laser losers! The laser center offices are on the top floor of the parking garage, but to get there you have to wade through a rubber-clad lobby (for easy hosing down, I assume) past the machines where the teeming masses pay before they return to their cars, and you have to ride in what is basically a freight elevator to get there. Not the best way to make first impression. And you really have to dig to get the perky consultationist to cough up the fact that there’s no zero-sum procedure you can get on a $300 gift certificate. In fact, the minimum I’d have to pay for anything is a whopping $800—to kill about 50 stray hairs on my back. Bring on the tried-and-true boyfriend with the clippers! Total time finding the office: 15 minutes, once I realized the utilitarian parking elevators offered the only access to the high-end laser center. Total time before I abandoned my consultation: two minutes.

Minwax® Wood Finish™ Stain Marker
We spent the weekend finishing up the guest bedroom, which included taping off and painting all the baseboards and windowsills. But while we used the very same brands of tape and paint doing the very same work in the master bedroom—which turned out fabulous—when we peeled up the tape from the guest-room baseboards, we discovered to our horror that the paint had seeped under the tape both up the walls and onto the floors, which I remind you we just spent $2,000 refinishing. We can obviously retape and repaint the walls (another weekend shot in the ass) but we weren’t sure what to do about the floors … until I remembered that Minwax makes little stain-filled magic markers that have worked wonders on dinged-up furniture in my not-so-distant past. So after last night’s aborted adventure in laser hair removal, the boyfriend picked me up and we headed to Home Depot to buy this week’s collection of necessities: a stain pen, a 1/4” ceramic-tile drill bit for installing a curved shower rod, and custom-cut blinds for both freshly painted bedrooms so we can finally start walking around naked again. And the moment we got home—before we were even out of our coats—I was on my hands and knees, scribbling wood stain onto paint ooze and watching it magically look as though nothing had happened. Minwax saved my floors and my marriage!

The boyfriend’s ex bought us a his-and-his Sonicare electric toothbrush kit as a housewarming gift, a gesture that could be subject to a wide range of interpretations but we choose to believe it was meant in a here’s-to-a-lifetime-of-healthy-gums kind of way. My last three dentists have implored me to get a Sonicare, but I always balked at their freakishly high price. And now that I have one and use it religiously and spend my days in a reverie of pearly smooth teeth and cherub-pink gums, I vow that from this day forward I will always date men with wealthy ex-boyfriends travel the world preaching the miracle of sonic tooth polishing. Not only does Sonicare give you a two-minute gum massage (which is strangely invigorating) but it keeps your teeth in such a state of smooth shininess that you wonder how non-Sonicare users ever get kissed. I mean seriously: non-Sonicared teeth are like angora sweaters after a windy day at the beach. Sonicared teeth are like dry-erase boards fresh out of the box: You can’t help but run your tongue over them all day. Get a Sonicare and get a little tongue!™*

*Proposed product tagline. Subject to copyright approval. All rights reserved.

Monday, March 26, 2007


Hi, Jake. This is Becky with American Laser Centers. I’m calling about our drawing you entered online a month ago. I’m pleased to tell you that you’ve won third place, worth $300 in laser hair removal and skin-care services. Please call us at 1-800-000-0000 today to schedule your preliminary evaluation. Congratulations—we look forward to hearing from you.


I vaguely remember entering this drawing through some banner ad on some web site. And I’m going in tomorrow for my consultation. I imagine with my relative hairlessness (a few wisps on my back and some old-man growth on my shoulders that is seriously creeping me out) I’m gonna be able to get a lot done with $300. My appointment’s tomorrow!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Chicagoans on their cell phones

Girl standing on the bus a few people away from me:
“I have a modeling job tonight, and as soon as I’m done modeling I’m gonna have to walk home from my modeling job in the clothes I modeled in. DID EVERYONE HEAR THAT? I’M A MODEL.” (Words in caps may or may not be my own sarcastic addition.)

Salesperson of some sort at the bus stop:
“Yes, this one is 20 miles, which is a lot shorter than the other ones because the other ones are so long.”

Woman on the train:
“Donchoo GET in my face when I’m talking to you. Donchooo GET in my face!”

Stoner crammed on a train during evening rush hour:
“I gotta stop at my dealer’s and get a sack of herb before I come over. You need some too?” Then, looking around and realizing about 30 people just heard that: “No, I’m not buying you DRUGS, Dude. I stopped doing that shit. So STOP ASKING.”

Kid on a skateboard scraping along next to me as I run:
“Dude, I can’t hear you ’cause I’m on my skateboard. Dude. I’m skateboarding so I can’t hear you. Talk louder, Dude. I’m. On. My. Skateboard.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Hate Crimes Prevention Act

The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act is back on the docket in the U.S. House of Representatives, with language expanding the definition of hate crimes to protect the GLBT community. The Human Rights Campaign and the American “Family” Association both distributed emails this week urging people to contact their representatives about the bill. Here is a side-by-side comparison of the copy points in each side’s emails, in their own, unedited words. I’ve added my comments and clarifications in brackets, and I’ve highlighted the language that is sensationalistic, misleading or simply not true.

HRC: What’s at stake
This week the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act will be re-introduced in the House of Representatives. This crucial legislation seeks to give local law enforcement agencies extra tools and resources they need to prevent and combat hate violence.

AFA: What’s at stake
A new “hate crimes” bill further protecting homosexual activity [“homosexual activity” is irrelevant here; the proposed protections are against violent crimes] has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act would increase protection for the kind of activity [there's that word again] shown on [a link to a YouTube video—since made private by its owner]. The video was shot during an actual homosexual pride parade in Dallas. [Donald E. Wildmon, founder and chairman
 of the American “Family” Association, seems to be implying here that people engaging in the “homosexual activity” of marching in a parade should not be protected from physical violence.]

HRC: Why we should combat hate crimes
We’ve waited too long for comprehensive hate crimes legislation. It has been almost a decade since Matthew Shepard was brutally attacked and killed in Laramie, Wyoming for being gay.

Just weeks ago, Andrew Athos, a 72-year old Detroit resident, was riding home on a city bus when another male passenger asked him if he was gay. The man subsequently followed Andrew to his apartment, attacked him and beat him with a pipe so severely that his injuries left him paralyzed from the neck down and unable to speak above a whisper. Anthony ultimately passed away on February 25 as the result of this attack.

In New York City, a few months before Anthos’s murder, 29-year old Michael Sandy was also killed in an antigay assault where he was beaten, chased into traffic on a busy highway, hit by a car, and then dragged off the road and attacked a second time by his assailants.

AFA: Why we should not combat hate crimes
[The] video shows activity [again with the activity!] that would receive even more protection under new “hate crimes” law. The bill is the first step toward silencing any opposition to the homosexual lifestyle. If you protest the kind of public activity shown on this video, the proposed federal “hate crimes” law may be the first step toward limiting your freedom to speak out against open homosexual activity.

HRC: Emotional hook
Despite the progress that our community has made in combating anti-gay bigotry and discrimination, today one in six reported hate crimes are motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation. It’s even more startling to realize that today’s federal laws don’t include any protections for people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

AFA: Emotional hook
Warning! The video is highly offensive, but it is real footage from the actual parade. [While “offensive” is relative, the video shows standard stuff you’d see in any pride parade in any city.]

HRC: How it affects you
After more than a decade of having updated hate crimes legislation derailed by the anti-gay leaders in Congress, we now have an unprecedented opportunity to put in place this and other key federal protections and rights for our community. Let’s work together to make this happen.

AFA: How it affects you
If this “hate crimes” bill is passed, and you publicly protest, complain or oppose the type of activity [activity!] in this video, your action could be eventually construed to be subject to prosecution for a criminal act. [The proposed legislation includes no restriction on protesting or complaining. If “opposing” involves physical violence, though, then prosecution would ensue. Donald E. Wildmon seems to be implying here that he opposes restrictions against physically violent opposition to pride parades.]

I’m in a show!

Broadway show tunes. Hollywood musicals. Chicago homosexuals.

It’s all about to converge on one stage in Sidetrack V: Sidetrack With a Twist.

For those of you not familiar with this Boystown institution, Sidetrack is a giant video bar that plays clips from movie musicals, Tony Awards broadcasts and every other possible source of high-kicking show tunes every Sunday and Monday night. The show tunes have a MASSIVE following—people even bring props and shout things together at the screens (“Oh my god! She’s wearing my hat!” “No Rep!” “She’s a lesbian!” I guess you have to be there to find these funny) … when they’re not singing along in 10-part harmony, that is.

Sidetrack V: Sidetrack With a Twist is the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus’ fifth tribute to the Sidetrack show-tune experience. We re-create the most popular videos live on stage as closely as possible—unless we totally rip the videos apart and interpret them our own twisted way.

Some of the numbers we’ll be tackling this year:
“And I am Telling You” from Dreamgirls
“Favorite Son” from The Will Rogers Follies
“My Body” from The Life
“Defying Gravity” from Wicked
“Brotherhood of Man” from How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

And the two I’m kind of featured in:
“Forget About the Boy” from Thoroughly Modern Millie (I’m a background tapper)
“Cell Block Tango” from Chicago (I’m Velma Kelly, resplendent in black heels and bustier)

Though the show will be packed with inside jokes for people who have seen the original clips, it’s still great entertainment for everyone. Even if you’ve never seen a show tune in your life (a thought I find relatively disturbing), you’ll have a blast at our show. I promise.

Tickets are already on sale, so order yours now to make sure you get the best view of me in my angry-prison-chick drag.

Friday, April 20, 8:00 pm
Saturday, April 21, 5:00 pm
Saturday, April 21, 8:30 pm
The Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport

My birthday:
Wednesday, April 18, all day

Tickets are available here:
The Athenaeum Theater Box Office (call 773-935-6860 for hours)

Other headlines I wanted to use in this email:
Gay men. Show tunes. Repeat.
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred show tunes

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Would you get a blood transfusion from a monkey?

The boyfriend recently found himself in a conversation with a woman who told him she’s home-schooling her daughter. He wasn’t sure how to respond to her announcement, so he asked her what subjects she was teaching. She told him she was covering the basics: math, language arts, science and history … a subject on which she announced that she and her daughter were “up to Deuteronomy.”

While the boyfriend and I hold the Bible-as-the-primary-source-of-education set in the same regard we hold people who hear voices coming from their toasters, we don’t intentionally engage them in verbal combat until they trot out their factory-issue homophobic platitudes. And since this woman hadn’t flinched at the fact that the boyfriend has a boyfriend, he took the opportunity to ask her about her beliefs in a genuine spirit of trying to understand what she thinks, how she justifies it and how she lives in a world so at odds with her chosen mindset.

And it seems she’s put herself on the religious-conservative cafeteria plan:
• Gay people obviously don’t violate her moral code—not even gay people in relationships.
• She holds the Bible’s seven-day creation story as literal truth, though when the boyfriend asked her about it she couldn’t remember the order in which stuff was supposedly created … though she taught the subject to her daughter only four books ago.
• Her daughter loves dinosaurs, and the woman is so OK with this that she asked the boyfriend if he knew of any museums in Chicago with dinosaur bones.
• She absolutely doesn’t believe in evolution. When pressed, her only argument against it was the question in the title of this post. Seriously. And because apparently nobody has ever answered her question with a yes, she feels justified in maintaining her beliefs.

While this woman clearly doesn't represent the lockstep majority of the religious right, her justification for her evolutionary beliefs sums up pretty clearly the mindset we’re up against as we fight to give gay people equal rights and equal protections under the law. People with extreme religious convictions need no further justification and accept no challenges to their beliefs, and when backed logically into a corner, they lash out with insults, absurdisms and ridiculous generalizations: gay marriage would destroy straight marriage, homosexuality is a choice, homosexuality is a disease that can be cured, homosexuality is immoral, gay activists want to teach schoolchildren about buttsex, "faggot" is a harmless little schoolyard taunt, the things you see in gay pride parades represent the universal behaviors of the world’s gay population, if you work to deny gay people equal rights you are unfairly labeled a bigot … and if you believe in evolution you should stock up on monkey blood before your next surgery.

Larry Kramer has an op-ed piece in today’s LA Times that addresses this and a world of related issues in an eloquent mix of fact, interpretation and a justifiable amount of anger. Read it here.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Flying off the handle

As the boyfriend and I have been decorating and painting and upgrading some of the crappy-ass materials the developer used when our condo was rehabbed a couple years ago, I’ve discovered something weird: I have opinions about stuff I had barely even realized existed.

For instance, our condo is filled with totally cheap door hardware, probably procured at bulk discount because nobody else would buy it and the manufacturer needed the tax writeoff. It’s gold, which I’ve never been a fan of anyway, and it looks like it’s laminated to delay the gold finish’s inevitable tarnishing or flaking, because we can put a man on the moon but we still haven’t found an effective way to keep our fake gold from tarnishing or flaking back here on earth.

Where was I? Oh yes: I wonder why Newt Gingrich’s marriages keep failing. Is it because he’s morally and physically repulsive, or do you think once the sedatives wear off, his wives realize to their horror that they’ve been sleeping with Newt Gingrich and the evenings in the old Gingrich household become as awkward as the playgrounds where Ann Coulter keeps screaming “faggot” at the other 6-year-olds?

Oh, dear. I seem to have wandered again. Give me a second so I can backtrack: faggot, harpy, playground, divorce junkie, flake, tacky, cheap, knobs, stupid opinions … oh, yes! Door handles!

So the boyfriend and I have been discussing what we can do to upgrade our condo, and we’re both in agreement on replacing the door hardware. And we both like silvery finishes like burnished stainless steel. But I like simple round knobs and he likes those door handles that look like toilet flushers. Now, I’ve seen those toilet-flusher door handles in stores and in other people’s houses and I guess I’ve always just subconsciously preferred regular handles. I’ve never said to myself—on any level—Holy crap! Those door handles look like toilet flushers! Who would ever put such a silly thing on their doors? But when the boyfriend suggested we replace our door handles with toilet-flusher handles, my immediate thought was I’m not living in a house where you have to flush every door you open … unless we could somehow make the handle trigger flushing sounds every time you flushed it because that would be cool. It would also be Water Music, but that’s a joke for a different blog post.

In the real world, it doesn’t make a bit of difference what kind of handles we have on our doors. And once the handles are in place I bet I’d never notice them again. (Unless I tried to hang a coat on one and it kept falling to the floor amid mysterious flushing sounds.) I don’t think I can describe the door handles in any of the houses I’ve lived in … except now that I think about it, I believe the handles in my childhood home were glass-knobbed, and the plates behind the handles in my first home had a funky-cool Art Deco motif, but that could just be the paint fumes talking because I spent the weekend finishing our first bedroom (dark green trim) and starting our second bedroom (gray-purple walls) and I’m still a little woozy.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Ooh. Shiny things.

So I had to work late last night and the boyfriend picked me up from work ’cause he’s nice like that, and we decided to use the waning hours of the evening to buy a brushed stainless steel garbage receptacle to match the brushed stainless steel appliances in the kitchen ’cause our life is rich and full of purpose like that.

I had a gift card in my wallet from the inappropriately punctuated Linens ’n Things, though I had no recollection of where I got it. Some theories involve holiday and/or housewarming gifts. Some theories involve leftover store credit. Some theories involve rifling through an unattended purse on the train. In any case, I was tired of carrying that bulky gift card around like some sleek plastic albatross in my back pocket, and I wanted to exchange it for something useful, like a brushed stainless steel garbage receptacle where I could throw the card away if I didn’t have to cough it up to buy the brushed stainless steel garbage receptacle in the first place. Which is a conundrum I still struggle to wrap my brain around.

In any case, late on a Thursday night is the ideal (read: not crowded with consumers who have interesting things to do on a Thursday night in Chicago) time to shop at inappropriately punctuated retail outlets, and our quest for a brushed stainless steel garbage receptacle quickly became a mission to fill our entire kitchen with brushed stainless steel. By the time we staggered to the register, we were lugging enough metal to build a ship … or at least to melt into a weighty cudgel we could use to beat any divorced and/or philandering politician who doesn’t think we’re good enough for marriage. And I just went on a cruise, so what the hell do I need a ship for?

Here is a list of our final purchases, in order of size:

Paper towel dispenser. The plastic one that came attached to the kitchen cupboard was beneath our dignity, so we replaced it with one so sleek and smart it actually holds the stray end of the towels up against the roll so as not to make our kitchen look like a tenement.

Banana hanger. We’ve always been amused by these things, though they're not as fun as their trashy cousin the banana hammock, which looks tackier but has better iambic rhythm, internal alliteration and … um … other imagery. And though neither of us lets bananas sit around long enough that their mere weight against the countertop causes unappetizing bruises, we wanted a banana hanger of our very own. Besides, it’s a great way to showcase our exotic tastes in produce and thereby clarify for our neighbors which household is in fact the most culturally superior.

Plastic bag holder. After spending a lifetime storing plastic grocery bags inside each other, rendering their retrieval an exercise in frustration and a diminished quality of life, we decided it’s time to elevate our consumer status to the point where we can retrieve plastic bags with the effortless simplicity heretofore known only by the wealthy and the socially important. Like Paris Hilton.

Soap dispenser. There’s actually a perfectly good soap dispenser already built into the sink. But we like clutter on our countertop, and we wanted to reinforce the fact that brushed stainless steel is indisputably the dominant quasi-reflective accent theme in our kitchen. So now we can use one dispenser for dish detergent and one for hand soap. And our lives will be richer and more meaningful for it.

Garbage receptacle. It’s big. It’s round. It has one of those foot pedals to raise the lid and improve our quality of life. And its unmissable presence in our kitchen gives our garbage an air of authority and gravitas.

Two curved shower rods. Technically, these are for the bathrooms, but they’re still stainless steel, they’re still from Missing Apostrophes ’n Things, and they’re exactly what our elfin showers need to give the illusion of space. And they were on sale. ’Nuff said.

And the gift card? I’d clung to the theory it was a gift of some sort, and since our friends are as generous as they are wealthy, I’d clung to the subtheory that it was loaded with money. Like probably $25. Or maybe $28. And when it was swiped against our $210 merchandise total, we discovered that it had saved us a whopping … ten dollars.

Stupid theory. I banish you to our brushed stainless steel garbage receptacle.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Public Service Announcement

You work in a small office. It has a small bathroom featuring two tiny stalls situated freakishly close to each other.

You head to the bathroom to visit one of the stalls. You find there’s already someone occupying the other stall.

Q: What do you do?

A: You LEAVE. You go sit uncomfortably at your desk for 10 minutes so the first guy can do his business in peace. Once he’s gone and the air has cleared, you head back to do your business. And should a third guy enter the bathroom while you’re in the stall, he should leave you alone and wait his turn as well.

I’m glad we had this little talk.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Negotiations and love songs

It’s been almost a month since the boyfriend and I have actually been living together. It’s my first experience living in immorality and his second, and as we periodically glimpse each other across a room, through a maze of boxes or cowering in emotional apoplexy under any number of sinks in our vast, multi-bathroomed mansion, we often have the same internal response:

Holy shit. I live with that guy.

But it’s a good kind of holy shit. And while I always expected to experience endless giddiness when I finally moved in with The Rest Of My Life, the dominant emotion I feel now that I’m here is just calm. Simple, things-are-as-they-should-be calm.

That’s not to say it’s all peaches and beans in our vast, multi-bathroomed household. Far from it, in fact.

For instance, he put those spongy shelf liners in the kitchen cupboard where we store the cereal. I say it makes it harder to slide the cereal in and out, the way coated paperstock and veneered particleboard were meant to slide against each other. He says he likes it that way. I say he’s being grotesquely unreasonable.

And we’re still doing the what-color-should-we-paint-everything dance. We both love the green-on-green effect we achieved in the master bedroom, and we’ve agreed the adjoining bathroom will be a lighter shade of the same green with a darker shade as the unifying trim.

But every other room has been the subject of endless debate.

For instance: the guest bathroom, which is as small as Newt Gingrich’s integrity. I’ve always looked at wee tiny rooms as an opportunity to do big theatrical themes. Since the tile and the sink and the vanity in this bathroom are blinding white, I thought it would be fun to paint the walls an intense Mediterranean blue and maybe stencil the Latin conjugations of to wash around the tub as though they were carved in Greek letters. But the boyfriend likes every room in the house to flow together in one huggy-squeezy holistic whole. And the bright blue paint chips I taped next to the door frame gave him a visible rash every time he brushes his teeth.

So after a good hour of back-and-forth last night with about every paint strip from the Sherwin-Williams store, we’ve settled on what we both think will be lovely colors that all go:

Living room/sunroom/hallway (all essentially one room): three shades of a milky hot-cocoa brown
Guest bedroom: a purple-y gray with some kind or stencil (fleur-de-lis? something gayer?) along the ceiling in creams and dark violets
Guest bathroom: a light gray base coat covered by a dark khaki painted so you can see the gray peeking through vertical brush strokes (I’m hoping this bamboo/grasscloth effect will give the room a Zen/spa feel, and we can charge people $80 an hour to use it)
Yet to be even discussed: the dining room and the kitchen, though I’m sure we both have polar-opposite ideas for them as well

Our first houseguests come the weekend of April 20 to see me in my upcoming chorus show, and I’ve set that weekend as a soft deadline to at least have both bedrooms painted.

I wonder what color they’ll be by then.

Monday, March 12, 2007


Some people have cringed over my use of the word “cunt” to describe philandering divorce junkie Newt Gingrich in the post below.

Let me provide a brief definition of the word “cunt” to clarify its appropriateness in this context: It’s a schoolyard word meaning “arrogant, solipsistic whore with the impulse control of a pubescent boy and the moral repugnance of a man who places more value in his cock than in his wives, mistresses and the people he was elected to serve.”

Now that that’s out of the way, let me tell you what I got crossed off my to-do list over the last few days:

I updated my address on my driver’s license. When rendered in seven words short enough that even Newt Gingrich could understand them, it doesn’t sound like much of an accomplishment. But since I live in Chicago, it involved Internet searches for locations (two near my office) and what kind of documentation I need to bring to change my address on a government-issued ID (no information found) and trips to both locations because the first one had a 45-minute wait behind the entire cast of Deliverance. The second location bills itself as “express,” though I got through half a New Yorker article on spiders before I got to the front of the line. And though I brought my checkbook, my first mortgage statement and a letter from my insurance company as proof of my new address, the woman behind the counter just typed in the address I said out loud to her: 1234 Nick Lachey Street

I finished painting the bedroom. And by “finished painting” I mean “got the worst of the project out of the way.” We painted the walls a rich, mossy gray-green and then measured and taped off foot-wide (more or less) vertical stripes that I (because by this time the boyfriend was on a four-day trip for work) painted a pearlescent version of that rich, mossy gray-green. The finished effect is quite stunning, and the pearlescence shifts from greens to golds to deep browns depending on the angle and the light. But with the dark walnut floors and the rich greens and browns on the walls, the white baseboards, trim and doors look like gym socks under a tuxedo. So now we have to decide if we want to find a neutral cream color for the trim or dive in and paint it all a darker version of the wall color. Decorating is hard.

I can’t find my camera (or my stash of New Yorker back issues to read on the train, but we still have about five unopened boxes to dig through), but I did snap some pictures with my low-quality camera phone so I could send them to the boyfriend in his non-stripe-taping-or-painting “work” reverie. But since you’re here, I’ll share them with you as well.

Taping stripes is a huge, ugly job involving measuring, math, plumb bobs, swearing, the dawning realization that no corners in your house are anywhere near 90 degrees, and a time commitment roughly equal to one of Newt Gingrich’s marriages:

Once all the tape is up, though, painting is a relative breeze. (The white rectangles on the wall are the post-it notes where we did our math. And our swearing.) I find that since each stripe is framed in its own little finite universe of low-tack blueness, my painting progress is more readily measurable than when I just slap paint willy-nilly on a huge wall:

Since my camera phone has a grasp on reality rivaling that of Newt Gingrich, the colors in these pictures seem more in the baby-poop family than their true olive-and-moss nature, but here’s a shot of the final product:

Here are the stripes in daylight. You can readily see what I mean about the sweat socks:

Friday, March 09, 2007

The extremely angry blogger

Newt Gingrich is a cunt.

The latest corroboration of his inextinguishable assholism involves the fact that this divorce-junkie champion of family values was cheating on his wife while he was wasting millions of taxpayer dollars trying to nail (ahem) Clinton to the wall over the Lewinsky scandal.

And what makes him a total and complete goat-fucker is his who-gives-a-goddamn-shit-about-the-wife rationale for his hypocrisy: “Even though I run the risk of being deeply embarrassed (no mention of the pain or embarrassment he caused the woman he pledged fidelity to), and even though at a purely personal level I am not (not!) rendering judgment on another human being, as a leader of the government trying to uphold the rule of law (with the explicit exception of moral law, though he does barely acknowledge responsibility for his actions by framing his cheating as “fall[ing] short of God’s standards”), I have no choice except to move forward and say that you cannot accept ... perjury (with the exception of any promises legally or morally made or implied with the pledge of “I do”) in your highest officials.”

Note to Newt and the legions of other cheating, divorcing family-values hypocrites working irrationally to “protect” marriage from the non-existent “threat” of homosexuality: Your actions are not victimless. Every appendage or hole you ride that is not biologically attached to your spouse and every “til death do us part” you pledge that you circumvent through divorce court or the mind-bogglingly imbecilic concept of annulment is a violent punch in the gut to every gay couple who wants their committed relationship recognized, respected and legally equal to the relationships you so casually discard.

If you don’t have the intelligence, impulse control and basic respect required to honor the fidelity you pledge in a contract that is both morally and legally binding, don’t get married. If you choose to hold America to a standard you’re not emotionally capable of meeting, don’t get married. If you’re an asshole (and Newt, you’re an asshole), don’t get married.

And don’t—under any circumstances—try to prevent the marriages of those of us who are capable of making its basic promises and actually keeping them. We are better people than you, and you have no moral standing to keep stealing from us.

(Instead of your criminally hateful campaign to vilify gay people and demean our relationships, maybe you and your right-wing ilk should do something to make sure other countries don’t feel the need to purify land that you violate just by walking on it. You’re seen internationally as a virus. And you’re the only ones who refuse to acknowledge it.)

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


I know I’m a day late and a dollar short by posting on this topic now, but the post I started writing about the boyfriend’s and my new get-up-at-freakin’-6:00 workout schedule wasn’t really crystallizing into anything interesting.

But Jake! you might say. Nothing you write ever crystallizes into anything interesting!

You MIGHT say that, but I’m going to pretend you never would. Besides, you’re in the third paragraph of this post, so you must think I’m going to get interesting eventually.

And now you’re in the fourth paragraph—the one where I finally get to my potentially interesting point: Ann Coulter, the vituperative bad-girl talking head of the Republicans’ well-oiled ugly machine.

For those of you not inclined to surf the gay blogosphere on a regular basis, Coulter referred to Democratic candidate John Edwards as a “faggot” on Friday in a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference. Her choice of language in that context reveals everything we need to know about her thoughtfulness, intelligence and maturity. And the fact that her words were met with cheering and applause uncovers a lot of ugly truth about the Republican party and the effect its theocratic rhetoric has had on its followers.

Coulter has since dismissed her choice of language as a “schoolyard word,” insisting she didn’t mean to offend anyone. Coulter’s oeuvre proves, however, that offending people is the driving force behind her writing and speaking. It’s no stretch to say she’s made a career of it. And while “faggot” is very much a schoolyard word, it is also the very word people use when they attack and beat and kill gay people from the schoolyard to the sidewalk in front of the gay bar. It carries the same weight as “nigger,” and her use of it—especially in a context tied to the political management of this country—is inexcusable.

Fortunately, the Conservative Political Action Conference incident has prompted a growing number of papers to drop her syndicated column, and her web site has lost a number of advertisers as well.

The HRC has also launched a letter-writing campaign to persuade Universal Press Syndicate to drop Coulter as one of its writers.

I have sent various permutations of the following words to the papers who have dropped her and to Universal Press Syndicate. Feel free to do the same, in your own words or in blatant plagiarism of mine:

I’m all for the discussion of ideas and the respectful clash of ideologies, but Ann Coulter has proven time and time again that she’s incapable of high-minded discourse.

She’s constantly exposed for not doing her homework before she writes, she treats gross oversimplification as thoughtful interpretation, and she thinks words like “faggot” are acceptable to everyone and—apparently—unharmful to anyone.

In short, she’s a professional adolescent. She’s not only an embarrassment to any paper who carries her invectives, but her vapid writing gives a misguided sense of validation to anyone who equates meaningless sound bytes and faggot-bashing with intelligence.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Why my boyfriend rocks:

He indulged me in one of my OCD projects without laughing. The first thing we did when we bought our new condo was rip out the closets. Then we patched the holes and painted everything white before we installed our Elfa closet systems. But we didn't paint the baseboards because we still had to get the floors refinished. Now that the floors are refinished and the Elfa systems are installed (and most of the clothes are stuffed in, awaiting organization), it still bothered me that we hadn't covered the OLD white paint on the baseboards with our NEW white paint. So Friday night instead of doing something productive, the boyfriend helped me pull out all the stuff along the floors of the closets, tape off the baseboards, scrub away any dust and finally get the closets COMPLETELY painted. And now I can sleep all the way through the night.

Obviously I didn't go home to Iowa this weekend for my nephew's birthday. The weather was iffy enough that I decided to wait until Saturday morning to make a decision, but that would have left me with only about 20 hours to visit the family, so I just didn't go. My sister reported that my nephew seemed OK with the idea of Uncle Jake and his mysterious new roommate coming some other weekend (when he learned I was moving in with someone, my nephew's immediate response was: "He's moving in with a BOY?") so I stayed in Chicago and did something even more exciting than getting hugs and eating cake: The boyfriend and I painted our first room—the master bedroom—together. And we didn't get divorced.

I splurged and got the top-line paint from Sherwin-Williams—the stuff that comes in the fabulous square cans—and I was all set to report that there is indeed—finally!—a paint that gives complete coverage in one coat, but when the stuff dried, it dried in about three shades of shiny. And not shiny shiny (we're not circus people) ... it just dried in a way that lots of roller strokes were extremely visible based on the way they reflected light. So yeah, I guess we're now circus people.

So today we'll do a second coat and hope for the best. Then we have to tape off and paint stripes in a subtly contrasting color. And then—of course—redo the baseboards. So we still have miles to go before we sleep … at least in that bedroom.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Important account updates

My teeth. I got them cleaned and X-rayed yesterday. No cavities. No gum disease. No need for expensive orthodontia requiring headgear. My new job comes with a new dental insurance network that—hooray!—includes a dentist friend of mine I’d been hoping to switch to for a long time. His office is like a posh spa, albeit a posh spa where they stick sharp things in your gums. And in addition to my bag of toothbrushes, floss and Listerine samples, he also gave me a hug when I left.

Our kitchen floor. The second and final phase of our reflooring project began this morning. While we were in New York a couple weeks ago, we had our orange-juice-colored floors sanded and stained a gorgeous dark walnut color. But the kitchen floor had so much damage that the contractor recommended we rip it out and start over. He also gave us a respectable estimate for installing tile while we were gone as well, but we didn’t have time to pick out new tile before we left. Now our new tile is picked and purchased and sitting in boxes on our back porch, and at this writing our ugly old floor is gone, the subflooring is laid … and tomorrow morning our sexy black marble kitchen floor will become a reality. Our new condo is looking less and less like a tenement each day!

Our bathroom door. The guest bedroom has a door leading directly into the guest bathroom. Which sounds like it could provide a nice little private passageway for friends, family members and visiting dignitaries, but it was installed so it bangs directly into the hallway door leading into the guest bathroom. And since the bathroom is as tiny as the probability that Michael Savage is heterosexual, the bedroom-to-bathroom door occupies the only wall where you could put something useful. Like a place to hang towels. So the contractor ripped it out today, and he’ll commence making a nice flat wall in its place tomorrow. All for less than the cost of Ted Haggard’s weekly male-hooker-and-meth budget.

The weather. Apparently my hometown is getting buried under ice and snow and the debris of shattered telephone poles. I’m supposed to drive there tomorrow for my nephew’s eighth birthday. But I have a huge aversion to driving in bad weather. And a long history of skidding into things in bad weather. So I have to decide just how much I don’t want to disappoint him. Of course, if I do go, I’ll get to eat cake. So you can see my dilemma. Which is nowhere near as troublesome as this awkward little conundrum.