Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I am one man!

Remember the letters to the editor I wrote last week to Newsweek and Time magazines? Remember? Or were you too busy doing something interesting or productive? Well let me catch you up: I may have been a little late to get published in Time, but NOT NEWSWEEK, BITCHES! Start tuning your harps, because you're about to be singing paeans to the literary famousity of Jake.

Of course, there's always a hitch. While historically Time, US News, the Advocate, the Des Moines Register, the Cedar Rapids Gazette and even NPR have published/read my letters to the editor and given me full, sweet credit, Newsweek truncated my brilliant writing—every word a gem, I tell you!—and put it in its little reductionist "Mail Call" section.

But beggars can't be choosers, and if I'm going to claw my way to stardom like my idol Paris Hilton, I guess I'll take what I can get. FOR NOW. In the mean time, here's what's left of my brilliant writing. At least they gave me the prestigious signoff position, where Paris—assuming she gets Newsweek in the hoosegow—can get the message LOUD AND CLEAR that I'm well on my way to taking her place:

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The more you say it, the dumber you sound

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Thursday that his opposition to same-sex marriage should not be interpreted as intolerance of gays, who served in his administration when he was Massachusetts governor.
See? Some of his best friends are gays.

Romney’s record on gay rights has drawn scrutiny — and criticism that he changes with the political winds. In a 1994 bid against Sen. Edward Kennedy, Romney argued that he would be a better champion of gay rights than the Democrat. In 2003, after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that same-sex couples could wed in the state, Romney pushed for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.
The Bush camp has a puerile, overly simplistic word for Massachusetts politicians who change their minds on key election issues. I wonder why they haven’t yet voiced their shock and indignance over Mitt’s character-destroying flip-floppery.

On Thursday, after talking to about 400 people at a downtown library, he said that doesn’t mean he is intolerant.
Because changing the Constitution to prevent certain classes of citizens from securing rights that include health coverage, financial security and household stability is not intolerant. The correct word is hateful.

“What you look for in a leader is someone who will welcome and treat with respect people who made different choices and have different beliefs in their lives and have differences. I have nothing but respect and feelings of tolerance for people with differences from myself and feel that way with regards to those who are gay,” he said.

He noted that one of his Cabinet members was gay and that he appointed gays to positions of responsibility in his administration.
“Positions of responsibility.” That means he put them at the big kids’ table. How very Cheney of him.

“I oppose discrimination against gay people,” Romney said. “I am not anti-gay. I know there are some Republicans, or some people in the country who are looking for someone who is anti-gay and that’s not me.”
Wait for it … wait for it …

He said he is opposed to gay marriage because it’s not in the best interest of children.
Because marriage is only about children. That’s why there’s a childbearing requirement attached to all marriage contracts. That’s why my boyfriend and I—who have no children, want no children and aren’t biologically designed to accidentally produce children—can’t get married. Because Mitt Romney thinks our marriage would not be in the best interest of children.

I don’t think Mitt Romney is in the best interest of children—especially the adult children who keep perpetuating the myth of his thoughtfulness, his ability to lead the diverse populations of this country or even his relevance. Why can’t we put their marriages up for a vote? Why can’t we ban them with a Constitutional amendment? Why can’t we barter their lives for votes?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Scofflaw Smackdown 2007!

First of all, I never should have worn brand-new underpants to court. I bought new underpants this weekend and I hadn’t tried them on, see. They’re that foo-foo Go Softwear brand, and since I paid nearly $20 for a basic pair of briefs (in a masculine shade of Beaujolais), I naively assumed it was cut to conform to the topography of the male anatomy. Silly me. “Go Softwear” is clearly Dutch (or something) for “adult doll panties,” and the damn things have spent the day creeping so far up my butt that all that Beaujolais is making me kind of tipsy. Which totally took the fun out of traffic court today.

And while we’re on the topic of dressing for court, let me say that I spent a considerable amount of time this morning (and last night as well) deciding what to wear. I didn’t want to be all schlubby and disrespectful (especially because my lack of respect for Coppy McGoatfucker and his fundraising committee was probably going to show pretty clearly on my face) but I didn’t want to appear so rich and fashionable that the judge would decide I could totally afford to pay some massive traffic fine for something I totally didn’t do. So I wore black dress pants I got from a clearance rack at the Gap about seven years ago and a dark thistle-colored dress shirt I got from a clearance rack at Target at least 10 years ago. And you know what? I was still the most expensively dressed scofflaw in the courtroom. The vast majority of my fellow scofflaws showed up in what could only be described as “make this fast because I’m only halfway through cleaning the garage.” The rest were in the “I lost my iron in the earthquake” camp. And one hoochie mama looked like she definitely needed to appear in court, but a traffic citation was probably the least of her legal problems.

Coppy McGoatfucker was there, just as I figured he’d be. But traffic court to him is obviously more than just a change of venue from sitting in his car all day; it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make dramatic costume changes. When the announcement was made that the front row of the courtroom needed to be cleared for police officers, he slouched his way up in a grungy shirt and floppy hat … which he dramatically removed to reveal his underlying uniform the moment the judge entered. He even stood up taller when he did it, as though to clearly define the two characters he was playing so the audience wouldn’t get confused. For real! I don’t know if he was wearing his undercover ensemble today so he could infiltrate the mob or just to throw the aliens off his trail, but the fact remains that while the other cops showed up in plain old cop uniforms, he made an entrance in court today that involved a dramatic rags-to-riches costume change. Oh my goodness! That poor downtrodden pauper is really an officer of the law! Unfortunately, he was a week too late to qualify for his Tony nomination.

The rest of my court appearance was relatively mundane. The judge called me to the bench, mispronouncing my name sloppily. I got the driving-without-proof-of-insurance charge thrown out when I showed my insurance card. I pleaded guilty with supervision on the bullshit rolling-through-a-stop-sign charge on the recommendation of an attorney and two fellow scofflaws who said that since my record was spotless I could just pay a fine and have everything disappear—guaranteed—if I don’t get pulled over for four months. If there was good news, my $80 fine somehow got reduced to $55 by the time I walked down the hall to the cashier, who was forced to interrupt her chatty phone conversation with her friend to go double-check that there hadn’t been some kind of error.

All told, this little fundraising scam would have been a lot more efficient if Coppy McGoatfucker had simply held a gun to my head and forced me to empty my wallet when he pulled me over last April. But he had visions of costume changes and sparkle fingers and kick-ball-changes, so who am I to deny him his dreams? And for $55—the cost of three hookers and a fifth of Mad Dog to swig while I’m driving down the highway without my seatbelt—I got some great blog fodder.

And now I have my license back, so I can stop carrying my passport around and worrying that it might fall out of my back pocket. And Coppy McGoatfucker can get a gold star on his fundraising chart and maybe qualify for the monthly Applebee's drawing. But before I let this story die (and I offer no guarantees because I’m still not done being pissed about it), I have two messages I need to deliver on behalf of all citizens everywhere:

Dear court bailiff or cruise director or whatever your title is: You mumble. It’s your job to give people instructions they can understand. When person after person after person in your courtroom asks you to repeat yourself, the problem lies with you. Don’t get all snippy with us.

Dear court cashier: Your job is to process payments. Processing payments more often than not involves a pen. Therefore, your job requires that you have a pen. The cashiers at TJ Maxx always have a pen. They also have to remove little electronic tags, fold stuff and put things in bags. Which means your job asks a whole lot less of you. And yet you still didn’t have a pen. Why?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Letters I have sent to editors

Dear Editor,
I love being a guy, and I have never had questions or confusion about my guyness. So I can barely imagine what it’s like to realize something is wrong with your gender and to make the decision to change it. The theocratic vitriol hurled at Largo, Florida, city manager Steve Stanton alone shows what transgendered people must face at work, with their families and just walking down the street. I may not understand it, but I salute the bravery and fortitude transgendered people show just by getting out of bed and facing the world on their own terms every day.

Dear Editor,
Mitt Romney will say anything to appeal to his political base, no matter how ridiculous it sounds. He’ll barter away the rights of citizens—be they pregnant women, gay people or average taxpayers—for votes. And he’ll make decisions that affect real people based on his belief in the supernatural. Sure, he looks like a president. Unfortunately, he looks just like the president we’re trying to replace.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Six miles!

Sigh. Another weekend has raced by, and what do I have to show for it?

A lot, actually: Indirect lighting above and below the kitchen cabinets—on separate switches, no less—thanks to the combined handyman powers of my boyfriend and my ex-boyfriend. Also: two fancy new ceiling fans that provide gradient light and cooling breezes, three pair of foo-foo underpants, three new T-shirts, some cargo shorts, and a massive pile of birthday presents I need to either hide or wrap before the boyfriend comes home from his trip tomorrow.

And a new yellow AIDS Marathon hat that carries the same meaning and prestige of the yellow jersey from the Tour de France … assuming the jersey is given to everyone who reaches the $500 fundraising mark before the end of May. As of this writing, I'm at $695, which is nowhere near my $3,000 fundraising goal. But if you click on that big red icon to your right (ahem) I may get the matching handbag and shoes to complete my yellow-hat fundraising ensemble. In the mean time, you can see how distinguished the hat makes me look all by itself:

Here's my pace group before our run Saturday morning. Don't we look positively dewy and fresh at 6:30 am?

It was cold enough Saturday morning that we remained dewy and fresh through all six miles. At least as far as you can tell from a photo. I felt a little ripe by the time I got home to my artfully lit kitchen. But that's probably too much information, so I'll just leave you with the impression that we always look as wholesome and scrubbed as JC Penney athleticwear models even after running for an hour and a half on a dusty trail:

Friday, May 18, 2007

Family values

As I sit at work today (working! not blogging!), my ex-boyfriend from Iowa is at my house on the first day of a three-day weekend visit. My now boyfriend is also at the house, seeing as it is also his house and he’s too tall to sleep in the car. This visit was planned so recently that I couldn’t get today off from work (where I spend my time working!). So the two men I’ve had the longest relationships with in my life are currently hanging out in my house without me, unsupervised for the day. (Well, they’re not totally unsupervised; the ex brought a friend of ours with him.) Oh, and they met for the very first time last night when the boys arrived and we all headed out to a nice Boystown dinner at Nookie’s.

People who’ve heard about this little setup find it pretty shocking. Which I find pretty sad. I wouldn’t date someone I couldn’t always be friends with. And I would never do anything to someone I dated that would cause us to hate each other. So it’s perfectly natural to me that the boyfriend and the ex-boyfriend would eventually meet and—because they’re both nice, friendly guys who will always be important to me—be extremely friendly. If not outright friends. If they know what’s good for them.

I’m not threatened or disturbed or even remotely bothered by the unavoidable boyfriend’s-ex-boyfriends network. At least not the boyfriend’s ex-boyfriends who were kind and decent. Asshole ex-boyfriends don’t get the privilege of meeting me. Unless we can use the meeting to rub our happiness in their faces.

I’m 39 years old. I have a job and friends and hobbies and conscientious dental hygiene habits and four men I’ve called boyfriends ... which is a much smaller number than you'll find with most gay men my age who still have all their teeth. My first three relationships didn’t last for various reasons, but we broke up like adults (or eventually like adults). The men were all important parts of my life, and my relationships with them made me the unstable, twitching shrew who I am today. My now boyfriend also has ex-boyfriends and the stories that go with them. And it would be pretty dumb—arrogant, actually—for either of us to demand that we completely shut out the boyfriend histories that got us where we are today—namely, in each other’s arms and wearing each other’s underwear because it seems silly to have two separate underwear drawers when we're both the same size anyway.

So the boyfriend and the ex-boyfriend and the friend are spending the day together without me. No doubt laughing at something weird I do or comparing notes on the way I make toast. They’re also installing some cabinet lighting and some ceiling fans because the ex is handy with a wire stripper and he loves a project. So I’ll come home tonight to a shrine of indirect lighting and cooling bedroom breezes. All without lifting a screwdriver. I ask you: What is not to love about this setup?

I wonder how many of Newt Gingrich’s ex-wives and former mistresses laugh about his preferences for oral sex and having affairs with alarmingly younger women as they get together to make “defend marriage” posters with glue guns and leftover cancer medications.

I wonder of John McCain’s ex-wife—the one who raised his children while he was in Vietnam—shares a hotel room with the mistress he eventually replaced her with when they go to marriage amendment rallies with him.

I wonder what Rudy Giulini’s ex-wives and assorted mistresses talk about when they rinse out his pantyhose and reset his wigs for his next appearance promoting marriage as between one man and one woman.

I wonder who among us has the most credible family values.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Happy Syttende Mai!

[break it down: sytten = seventeen, de = of, Mai = May]

As I’m sure the endless media coverage has made you thoroughly aware, today is Norwegian Independence Day—celebrating the 1814 Constituent Assembly at Eidsvold where we signed our new Constitution and began our quest for independence after 400 years under the oppressive reign of the (not so great, it would seem) Danes. (We joined into an unholy union on this day with Sweden and didn’t gain our full independence until 1905, but that’s a topic for a different post.)

First of all, I thank all of you for wearing red and blue today to help me honor my heritage. Even though I totally forgot myself and I’m wearing black dress pants and a dress shirt in stripes of blues and whites and teals. Which looks kind of red if you have blue-teal-red colorblindness.

Our office had a small Cuatro de Mayo celebration on May 4 (for those of you struggling with the translation), because the cincoth of Mayo was a Saturday and while I love free fajitas I’m not coming into work on a Saturday to eat them. I wanted to stage a similar Norwegian celebration today at work, but I ran out of time this week so I didn’t get any lefse or lutefisk or rommegrot made to bring in and share. And—as you can imagine—all the local Norwegian shouting choruses had been (regrettably but understandably) booked months in advance, so I couldn't even provide some basic background Norwegianness to put people in the mood. I’m sure we have some leftover piñatas lying around the office somewhere, though, and we could probably get a mariachi band here muy pronto, but I don’t think Great-Great Grandfather Gustav—who came to America on a boat with a fjord motor—would approve.

So I will just leave you with some Norwegian good cheer (which is easily confused with Norwegian bad cheer because we’re a stoic people) and sincere wishes for a very happy Syttende Mai.

I also leave you with last week’s marathon training photo, which only yesterday was made available to me so it’s totally not my fault you didn’t get to see what we looked like after running five miles until five days after the fact. And for the record, I look much younger today than I did last Saturday because I’ve been exfoliating.

Gø Nørsk!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Wingnut Smackdown 2007!

Fred “I’m Extremely, Compulsively, All-Encompassingly Obsessed With Hot Man-On-Man Gay Buttex To The Point I’ve Made A Lifelong Career Of Talking About It But I’m NOT Gay” Phelps and the educated heterosexuals at his Westboro Baptist Church have announced they’re going to “preach at the memorial service of the corpulent false prophet Jerry Falwell, who spent his entire life prophesying lies and false doctrines like ‘God loves everyone.’”

Now Falwell and his followers, for all their goat-fucking retardedness, were at least focused enough to pick one doctrine and stick with it. And whether they were attacking blacks or women or gays or atheists or people living with HIV, they were most certainly NOT preaching “God loves everyone.”

So when Phelps shows up at the memorial service armed for a heady debate over biblical doctrine and the finer points of its exegesis, the resulting clash of knowledge and ideas and sheer, God-given brainpower will result in an epic explosion of … well, proof that intelligent design is as grounded in reality as a Mitt Romney campaign statement.

Delicious emotional trainwreckery aside, this little wingut smackdown may finally give the Falwell sheep a taste of how much it sucks to be so vocally hated and vilified by people who wrap their seething irrationality in a cloak of moral imperative.

Of course, being on the receiving end of such hatred and vitriol historically seems to bolster the Christian Hate Industry’s sense of self-worth. So Wingnut Smackdown 2007! may amount to nothing more than the we’re-finally-making-social-progress equivalent of Paris Hilton’s jail sentence.

In any case, Falwell’s dead, and he died alone and in pain, hopefully pooping himself in the process. It’s a fitting ending to the pain and crap he willingly inflicted on generations of blacks, women, gay people, people infected with HIV, and their families and loved ones. That he will suffer the added indignity of a Phelps protest at his memorial service is just icing on the cake.

Mmmmm … cake …

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

NOW who's gonna blame the homosexuals?

LYNCHBURG, Va. - The Rev. Jerry Falwell — founder of the Moral Majority and the face of the religious right in the 1980s — was in “gravely serious” condition Tuesday after being found unconscious in his office, a Liberty University executive said.

Ron Godwin, Liberty's executive vice president, said Falwell was found unresponsive around 10:45 a.m. and taken to Lynchburg General Hospital. Godwin said he was not sure what caused the collapse, but “he has a history of heart challenges.”

“I had breakfast with him, and he was fine at breakfast,” Godwin said. “He went to his office, I went to mine and they found him unresponsive.”

A hospital spokeswoman said she had “no information to release at this time” on Falwell.

Falwell, a television evangelist who founded the Moral Majority in 1979, became the face of the religious right in the 1980s. He later founded the conservative Liberty University and serves as its chancellor.

In the 1980s, Falwell saw his political lobbying organization grow to 6.5 million members, raising millions for conservative politicians.

Falwell survived two serious health scares in early 2005. He was hospitalized for two weeks with what was described as a viral infection, then hospitalized again a few weeks later with congestive heart failure after being found unconscious. At that time he had to be resuscitated by EMTs at the hospital emergency room.

"Heart challenges" is a beautiful example of misleading religious euphemism. A brief history of the world according to Jerry Falwell:
“AIDS is not just God’s punishment for homosexuals; it is God’s punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals.”

“I do not believe the homosexual community deserves minority status. One’s misbehavior does not qualify him or her for minority status. Blacks, Hispanics, women, etc., are God-ordained minorities who do indeed deserve minority status.”

“AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals. To oppose it would be like an Israelite jumping in the Red Sea to save one of Pharoah’s chariotters.”

“I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way — all of them who have tried to secularize America — I point the finger in their face and say, ‘You helped this happen.’”
— Falwell assigning blame for the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001

UPDATE: God's Little Goatfucker is dead. And his lack of common decency extended all the way to the bitter end; he didn't even suffer a long, slow, painful death.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Birthdays and Broadway

First of all, happy birthday to Mark, whose blog—which at the time featured a daily photo of what he was wearing—was the first I ever read. Way back in the 1990s. He was so ahead of the curve, in fact, that his blog probably predated the word blog. My then-boss in Iowa found Mark's site somehow and sent the link to me because I was gay and this Mark person was gay and therefore we should become instant best friends. And while my boss—for the record—was joking, Mark and I did become friends. I’ve been out to San Francisco to visit him and his husband Rich and their furry little ward Trixie, and various combinations of their family have come to Chicago to visit me and/or do business-type things to justify the fact that their employers paid for their plane tickets, hotels and meals. Employers can be so demanding that way.

Speaking of cities on the coast or homosexuals or things I’m writing about in this blog post or any number of equally threadbare options for transitioning between two completely unrelated topics, the boyfriend and I joined a handful of friends to see a touring company of Forbidden Broadway on Saturday. Forbidden Broadway, for my heterosexual readers (both of you), is an ongoing cabaret act that usually cleverly satirizes performers, shows, directors, producers and anything else related to Broadway. I listened to many Forbidden Broadway albums I checked out from the library when I was a kid, but I’d never seen one of the shows live. And while some of the material in this show was pretty dated (do we really need a 2004 Tony Awards spoof in an age where Phil Collins just celebrated a year-long Broadway run of Tarzan?), most of it was laugh-out-loud clever. I was thoroughly impressed by the cast members, whose endless versatility as actors was trumped only by their powerhouse singing voices. (I am a sucker for big Broadway belters, and these four threw me against the back of my chair so often I may qualify for applauders’ compensation.) The best part, though, was when we got to meet them. In the middle of the show. In the middle of the Les Miz segment, in fact. Valjean was just starting to milk the laughs from “God, it’s High” when the stage manager turned on the house lights and stopped the show with words to the effect of: “There’s a fire in the building. Everyone please leave.” So we all ran screaming traipsed leisurely out to the street for about half an hour to chat with the performers and watch a bunch of firemen climb huge ladders and put out what we can only assume was an imaginary fire because we never saw any smoke or smelled any burning corpses. Then we traipsed back in, the show picked up where it had left off, and then one of the actors who looked like he might have a rockin’ body appeared half-naked in a Lion King outfit … and I basically can’t remember anything else from that point on.

Sigh. If only the fire drill had happened after we knew what his abs looked like. Then we wouldn’t have wasted so much time talking to the other cast members on the street. I blame it on the 2004 Tony Awards segment. Stupid timing. Stupid fire. Stupid abs.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

My name is Jake

But my real name is not Jake. Though it’s damn close. And it’s been that way since the LBJ administration.

Since the moment I first step-touch-kick-ball-change-turn-turn-turned my way into this world (jazz hands!), both names have co-existed peacefully on a wide array of legal documents, financial accounts, ID cards and M4M4Découpage online club rosters. And it’s never caused a lick of confusion. In fact, it’s even proven itself to be pretty helpful in weeding out telemarketers who try to act like we’re old friends who don’t know each other’s names and gold diggers who are just after me for my Social Security benefits.

But twice now the whole Jake-not-Jake thing has caused people with inordinate amounts of day-ruining power to ruin my day.

The first time happened about three years ago when I tried to go through security at O'Hare. My ticket said Jake and my driver’s license had my real name. And a power-hungry security person detained me in a private room because of it. Even though I showed her the mix of names on ID cards, credit cards, business cards and everything else in my wallet—and even though her co-workers told her repeatedly she was being a bit of a crazy bitch—she insisted with a straight face that I had no doubt found Jake’s airline ticket on the ground in the airport and decided right then and there to take his flight for him. Because how often do you find yourself wandering aimlessly through an airport with a packed suitcase already checked through to Dulles when you suddenly stumble on a ticket with almost-but-not-quite your exact name on it for the exact same flight you’d already planned to take and you decide well, here’s an opportunity I can’t afford to pass up? Thankfully, her reason-to-detain-me logic was a sound as her reason-to-eventually-let-me-through-security logic, and she soon found whatever she needed to confirm my identity by looking at the socks and shampoo in my carry-on.

My second run-in with security measures designed by partially sober toddlers happened this week. On Friday, I deposited almost $2,000 in expense checks into my checking account via the ATM at my friendly neighborhood bank branch. Like I’ve done about every 10 days for the last seven years. But when I checked my account online yesterday, the checks had been removed from my balance under the transaction description Payee Not On Acct. Which is apparently code for once every seven years, we actually look at the financial documents we process pertaining to your life savings. I cleverly assumed the Jake thing was the reason for the problem, and a 45-minute lunch-hour conversation today with a bank manager confirmed that 1) I was right and 2) the bank has never allowed checks to be deposited into accounts unless the names matched exactly. With the rare exception of every time I have ever deposited a check at this bank over the last seven years because nobody—and I mean nobody—ever uses my real name.

Unfortunately, the resolution to this problem currently lies in the hands of the USPS, who have been entrusted to deliver the checks to my home address so I can start the pointless-checks-and-balances pride parade all over again. In the mean time, I can do nothing but blog and wait. And be $2,000 poorer than I rightfully should be. But the branch manager assures me he’s listed both names in the bank’s system so this won’t happen again when they do their next seven-year security check.

And believe me: If they screw this up again, I’m going to make a big stink about it. Or my name isn't Jake.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Like a thunderclap from the sky

So there we were, blissfully asleep in the wee hours of this morning in our big, kinda-droopy-but-soon-to-be-replaced bed in our cozy new condo, when WHAM! A massive, heart-stopping explosion jerked us both upright in the dark, as though the heavens had erupted in an apocalyptic, post-nuclear thunderclap. Which, it turns out, is exactly what happened.

And what makes our thunder-waking-us-from-a-deep-sleep story so newsworthy? Um … mostly just the fact that I don’t have anything else terribly fascinating to blog about at the moment.

For instance! I ate at Olive Garden on Friday night with my friend Matt. It’s true! Matt stopped by the condo to see it for the first time, and then we drove to the suburbs for some down-home chain cookin’. We were there, so we were family. Then he took me home so I could climb right into bed and be up at some hateful hour on Saturday for marathon training. See? Do you SEE how boring my life is right now?

Also! My friend Bob came over on Saturday for what he figured would be an hour-long adventure in helping me (and me alone because the boyfriend was conveniently “at work”) synchronize two wireless laptops, one Vonage system, one surround-sound system and two TiVo systems that had sat dormant since the day we moved them to the new condo. But the joke was on us! Because that hour stretched to freaking eight hours of clicking, plugging, unplugging, replugging, swearing, saying Cool! once in a while when something worked right, running to Best Buy for a TiVo connector part it turns out they don’t carry, ordering it online in the rare window of opportunity when the wireless cable Internet was working, and eventually getting most of the network up and running. But there are many things we still have to fix:
• The TiVo and the cable system are still two channels apart, even though we’ve re-set up the channel alignment repeatedly. Which means when TiVo thinks it’s recording a CSI rerun, it’s really saving an hour-long infomercial two channels away about a miracle girdle. An hour! About a girdle! (Although I have to say it makes a huge difference on the figures of the average mall shoppers who try it on and gasp appreciatively in the mirror. Bob and I ordered seven already for ourselves.)
• While the TiVos now hum away contentedly as they get updates on new program schedules, change channels almost to the right channel numbers, and even—tentatively—actually talk to each other wirelessly so we can watch something from one TiVo on a different TiVo television, they have somehow bypassed the Comcast OnDemand service we pay so dearly for. Which means we still have more buttons to push and more cables to re-plug if we ever intend to watch OnDemand CSI episodes with their limited repertoire of truck commercials.
• The cable in the bedroom doesn’t work at all. But that could have something to do with the connector cable we ordered and we’re waiting to receive. So we’re not freaking out about it just yet.
• I figured out how to use HTML blockquote to indent these bullets, but I still need to figure out how to maybe make the bullets hang off to the left of the copy.

WHEW. For living such a dreary, empty life, I guess I’ve been having more than my fair share of adventures. On tonight’s docket: I’m going to go running. And then do a warmdown. And then watch three hours of infomercials about foundation garments. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s report.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Four miles!

Our second marathon training run is behind us. If you remember from last week’s report (or maybe you don’t; I may not have mentioned it and frankly I’m too lazy right now to go back and check), I moved up a pace group this year with Fearless Leader Matthew and George, who used to be known as New Running Buddy but George is faster to type and I don't have all day, people. So I’ll be training all summer 30 seconds per mile faster than last summer. Which should leave lots more time for blogging.

Unfortunately, Fearless Leader Matthew was in Paris this weekend celebrating a birthday whose number I don’t want to say here, but it looks like this when I type it: 40. So we had a pinch fearless leader, who ran us without looking at his watch to make sure we were on pace. Which is a roundabout way of saying he ran us TOO DAMN FAST. Of course, being too cheap to own my own running watch, I had no way of knowing this. And since I knew I was running in a faster pace group, I expected to be pushed a little. But by the first half mile on Saturday, I was convinced 30 seconds per mile was too much to ask of my rapidly aging body and I’d have to drop back to my old pace group, which this year is popluated with total strangers.

Imagine my relief, then, when we crossed the finish line and I stuffed my bloody lungs back down my throat and the AIDS Marathon staff chided our pinch fearless leader for freaking me out so damn much for running us WAY TOO DAMN FAST. Actually, they just chided him for running us too fast; apparently they could care less if some 39-year-old was freaking out because it seemed he was too old and wheezy to keep up with his friends. In any case, I’m gonna stay in this pace group. At least until my lungs pop out again.

George was Fearless Leader Matthew’s pinch photographer this weekend, but he kind of forgot to get out his camera much during our training run. Maybe because it was more of a sprint to the death than a standard-issue run. So though we ran 10 people, our team picture didn’t get taken until 40% of us (see how good I am at math?) had dispersed to the winds after we were done. But here are our leftover runners, all happy and content that they didn’t get any bloody lung on their clothes:

Friday, May 04, 2007

A spring abortion

I was on a roll here for a while. And let the record show I almost made it. See, I’ve amassed enough of those foo-foo trendy shirts with silk-screened baroque abstractions and embroidered tendrils that I realized I could wear one each day for a week and create my own Gay As The First Week Of May wardrobe event. Because sometimes picking my outfit in the morning is the most exciting part of my day. Unfortunately, the shirts are all about as thick and warm as gossamer negligée (why buy ultra-trendy clothes that are built to last longer than they stay in style?) and it’s gotten pretty damn cold here. So I aborted my one-man fashion marathon on the last day and reported for work this morning in a sturdy polo shirt that actually blocked the wind on my walk to the bus. Please don’t see this as evidence of my personal failure.

Speaking of almost-not-there clothes, I need to get Naked Locker Room Guy off my chest. (Maybe I should clarify that statement: I need to get my Naked Locker Room Guy story off my chest.) As you can imagine by his name, this dude finds ways to stay as naked as he can as long as he possibly can in our gym's not-always-pleasantly-scented locker room—literally standing around naked when I change into my workout gear and still being naked when I come back an hour later after my workout. And he doesn’t seem to be doing anything of consequence all that time. He may be standing at the sink, or drying his hands, or rummaging through his locker, but the real purpose of all this non-activity seems just to be pointlessly, unproductively naked. (There’s a Bush Administration metaphor in there somewhere.)

Now, I have no problem with nudity—on any body type—in the locker room; changing clothes and showering and kinda being naked once in a while is the whole point of being there. And this guy isn’t terribly creepy about it. I don’t see him leering or doing anything expose-y or in any way making anyone uncomfortable. And he’s not the stuff of locker-room porno fantasies, so I doubt he’s thinking people are enjoying the view. But seriously. An hour-plus of nakedness almost every day of the week in a locker room that smells faintly of sewage and dirty socks? I don’t get it.

But there’s more. The dude is old enough that his all-over tan has taken on the look of a leather leotard. Which, while not the healthiest of choices, is his own aesthetic and he totally owns it. And I don’t know how to say this next part in a way that won’t be slightly disturbing, but I’ll try to put it as delicately as possible: He’s pretty lean, and his butt cheeks hang apart enough that you can totally … um … see his butthole. As clearly as you could see a cruller on an old pillow. Even when he’s standing perfectly upright. And though I am decidedly not in the habit of staring up people’s buttcracks, there are mirrors on every wall and he works the whole locker room with such omnipresence that his backside is always in everyone’s sight lines and you just can’t help but look at it. Even when you really, really, really don’t want to. And while everyone can see that he’s achieved an all-over tan that is unquestionably all over, is that really an accomplishment we need to revel in together? And if you think about it too long—even though you really, really, really don’t intend to—you start to wonder if he’s ever gotten a sunburn down there. Or if he’s nicked himself shaving it. Or if he’s taught it to wink and wolf-whistle at passers-by.

But! Now that all of that is off my chest, I leave the ponderables to you, dear readers. And since my mind is now free of this burden, I can use it to accomplish more productive things. Like planning my Second Week Of May themed wardrobe event. Which, unlike all those other fashion trends—like The Summer Of The Ankle! or The Year Of The Shoulder!—will not attempt to usher in The Week Of The Butthole!

If you’re lucky.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Dirty little secret

We closed on our condo in January, after a months-long battle with what remained of a murdered man’s development company, a five-week bout of unemployment, a new job for me, a whole new career for the boyfriend … along with the billions of other things people have to think about when they’re buying new property and moving into it. Together. For the first time. With no turning back. Even if one of us gets up to pee an awful lot every night.

And I thought we’d done a good job updating addresses, opening a joint checking account, transferring the utilities to our names, supervising contractors, scheduling movers, stocking the refrigerator, buying cute new shoes to celebrate moving in together and everything else on our epic to-get-done list.

But the title company never asked us for proof of insurance at our closing. And the condo board never asked us for proof of insurance when we moved in. And without those built-in reminders, the whole insurance thing never really crossed our minds. Which means we’ve been cooking meth and incinerating hookers and welding Ferris wheels in our condo for three whole months with no insurance whatsoever. None!

We didn’t realize any of this, though, until Coppy McGoatfucker confiscated my driver's license a month ago in a little fundraising sting where I discovered that in all the excitement of moving I’d also forgotten to put my proof of car insurance (and my car was fully insured, for the record) actually in my car.

But that all changed about 20 minutes ago when—after a combined 10 hours on the Internet and phone getting quotes and researching company reliability (conclusion: every insurance agency in the world has disgruntled former customers who are not afraid to post their stories on the Internet)—we are now officially insured. One condo and two cars. All in one handy bill. Which means we can ramp up the meth production. And stage more kitten wars. And invite Rush Limbaugh over for a fun little game of Push The Drug-Addled Divorce Junkie Through The Window. Because we’re insured!