Monday, April 27, 2009

In it to win it!

Our marathon training group ran five miles on Saturday. Well most of them did. I had finally found my orthotics—which, unlike a logical runner, I had stored for the winter among the mittens and boots we never wear—and I’d forgotten that my first orthotics-supported run of the season typically results in debilitating shin splints. So by our four-mile turnaround on Saturday I was limping like a Republican campaign to "save" marriage and I—being smarter than a "family values" Republican–cut my losses and headed back to our starting point … while our más macho runners continued to the five-mile turnaround and still lapped me on our way back. ¿Quién es más maricón?

But! I ran again this morning at 6:00 with my orthotics, and I had zero shin pain. I even remembered to wear my freakishly expensive running watch, which I’d been forgetting to wear since I started my summer running more than two weeks ago. Unfortunately, I’ve apparently also forgotten how shut it off, so until I dig out the manual it’s gonna keep thinking I’m running in place—kinda like a Republican!—which is totally gonna ruin my first official training pace of the season.

But that's not even what this post is about! No! It's about our neighbors! See, we live next door to what appears to be an assisted living facility for elderly people of a common ancestral heritage. I am just guessing this to be fact because there are no signs or logos declaring that the building is anything but a condominium, but all the old people I see coming and going through its doors are of the same ethnic flavor and most of them have canes or walkers or wheelchairs. And all the young people I see are wearing hospital scrubs or driving wheelchair-accessible vans. So I'm gonna go out on a limb and say my hunch is right.

Before I run every morning, I take a good five minutes to stretch in front of my building. I do this for two reasons: 1) You should always stretch before you run, especially at 6:00 am and 2) If you do it in front of your building instead of in your living room, you give yourself a few minutes to decide if you've under- or over-dressed for the weather before you take off running in it. Plus you can smile at your totally hunky downstairs neighbor in the off chance he, too, is leaving the house in shorty-short shorts at 6:00 am.

Whew. Is it hot in here? Where was I? Oh, yes! Gay marriages are legal in Iowa as of today! So all the straight marriages are collapsing! Look! Rush Limbaugh has already lost three of his sacred marriages! The Republicans were right! If only we had listened! The humanity! The hubris! The "Christian" hatemongering goatfuckery!

In these last few moments before society completely implodes on its Satan-marrying, puppy-kicking self, let me continue my story: As I stretch each morning, all those young people with their wheelchair-accessible vans pull up next door to usher our neighbors to what I assume are supervised adult activity centers. But the writing on the vans is in a language I don't understand so for all I know they're taking my neighbors to lap-dance classes. Or Ellis Island. Or—since it's 6:00—maybe they're taking them home in a wheelchair-accessible drive of shame.

The vans hold about six people. And last summer when I was out stretching I sometimes noticed that there was one elderly woman who clearly thought she deserved the shotgun seat on the van. But, not being an English speaker, she didn't know all she had to do was yell "shotgun" to get it. Instead, she actually elbowed her way—well, to the extent her walker would allow—past her fellow van riders to get from the front door of her building to the front door of the van. In the five minutes it took me to stretch out my hamstrings. I witnessed this about once a week and I always thought hey! free blog post idea! but by the time I'd run my miles and gotten home and showered I'd forgotten all about it.

Until this morning!

The woman had clearly kept up her 6:00 elbow game all winter, and she was combat-ready and in it to win it this morning as I emerged from our front door to unlock my hamstrings in the early-morning sun. The van pulled up just as I took off running, though, so I didn't get to see if she brought home the gold.

But I assume I have all summer to find out. At least until the world ends in a vile, repellent heap of man-on-man, woman-on-woman, straight-marriage-destroying unholy unions.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I just spent $32 on ugly-ass monk shoes

So the least you could do is come see me wear them.

I'll be singing and dancing and monking (and firemaning!) all weekend in Bad Habits, the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus' fabulous original musical about young love and drinking and Jake dancing around in ugly-ass monk shoes and also wearing a fireman uniform in a monastery. Click on this information-filled graphic to get your tickets:
And if you're sitting there thinking one of these days I'm actually gonna haul my ass away from this Pulitzer-worthy blog and go see Jake in one of his gay-ass chorus shows, you'd better get hauling. Because I think this will be my last show for a long time. While I love the chorus, I'm finding myself resenting the time commitment it requires. And you really shouldn't resent your volunteer activities. Of course, I reserve the right to change my mind if we do another Sidetrack show-tune-themed show. Because I could never resent an evening of show tunes. Unless they were all from Cats.

Speaking of show tunes, Bad Habits features two songs from the short-lived musical version of Carrie. True story! And they're actually pretty fabulous songs. Even though we sing them in ugly-ass monk shoes.

But what are you doing reading about a musical that ran for only five performances in 1988? Bad Habits runs for only three performances this weekend. Click here to get your tickets. Amen.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Are you certain what you wish is what you want?

We just got a couple new printers at work.

Our old printers had names like Room and Hallway because back in our company's infancy they sat in places that were universally known as the one room and the one hallway.

Now that we're in our Barbie® Dream Office, we have lots of rooms and lots of hallways. And lots of printers. And as we were installing the new ones a couple weeks ago, I said we should give them names that were more descriptive. Or at least less confusing.

In a fit of shameless homosexuality creative genius, I suggested we call one of our printers Princess Sparklepony. But our printer guy said he refused to call in a repair order for something called Princess Sparklepony so we were not naming any printers Princess Sparklepony. Which I agreed was a very good reason, and I subsequently refrained from suggesting we call our other printers Porcelain Bidet, Cap'n Tinglebusiness and Manbutt.

So imagine how much Diet Coke came out of my nose today when I went to print something and I noticed a new name had been added to our printer menu:

My co-workers know me too well

They decorated my office this morning with custom-made birthday signs:
They made two other signs as well: one with a shirtless personal trainer and one with large-haired woman from the company the domestic partner works for. So with all of Broadway, the cast of Law & Order, a stand-in for my personal trainer and all the domestic partner's colleagues—which is pretty much everyone who's important in this world—wishing me a happy birthday, I pretty have no choice but to have a happy birthday. Which I totally did on Saturday.

And today I have a really bad cake hangover. Please keep your voices down.

(And yes, I blacked out Fred Thompson's ugly mug. There's no reason to drown your birthday glow in a droopy-eyed grimace from a leaky douchebag. Which means Rudy Giuliani should probably avoid mirrors next month.)

UPDATE: My department took me to Chipotle for lunch. Then my folks sent a cake to my office:
So this is pretty much a perfect day.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

And so it begins

The weather for our first marathon training run could not have been more fabulous: It was cool and overcast-y with a slight breeze and a low-pressure front of camaraderie. Barely a majority of our 17 runners showed up, but that just gave us a bigger pool of no-shows to gossip about.

And the run was great. Except for the part where I couldn't find my orthotics, which I'd hidden away last October in some drawer where I guess I'll never find them again. And I forgot to wear my house payment of a GPS running watch, which I'd at least had the foresight to charge the day before. And the 1.5 mile sign was missing where we'd planned to turn around so our three-mile run ended up being four. And we went to our default barely-qualifies-as-edible diner for brunch afterward because for some reason it can always seat a bunch of people on a moment's notice, and as I was sawing through my French toast I suddenly realized I was eating at the last place I would ever pick—aside from a David Vitter diaper fitting or a(nother) Rush Limbaugh bachelor party—for a birthday brunch.

But! I did remember my camera. And here's what our quorum looked like all aglow after our first four miles together:

300 miles from now, we'll be running a marathon together!

Saturday, April 18, 2009


41 years ago this very minute, I came screaming into the world. And I immediately started thinking of inappropriate things to write about. Thank goodness the Internets were invented so I didn't have to keep all those hooker jokes to myself. And poop jokes. And anti-gay bigot jokes. Which are all basically the same joke, when you think about it.

And one year ago today, I became domestic partnered with the lovingest man on the planet who—as a surprise bonus—is also the laundry-foldingest man on the planet. So I ended up with two planet record-holders right in my own home. I'm just lucky that way.

Friday, April 17, 2009


My trainer must have figured out he’s on trainer probation as we inch up to my trainer-package renewal date because he’s finally started treating me like the dirty little punching bag I am. He has now kicked my butt into a beaten, whimpering pulp three sessions in a row. And now that it appears he’s finally gotten over the fear of breaking me, I think that when these current sessions end I’m gonna crawl back for 36 more. I just need to sell a kidney to pay for them first. Which might totally take me down a waist size in my jeans!

In the mean time! Marathon training officially starts tomorrow. Which means pretty soon I’ll have to stop doing leg workouts. Which I hope means we’ll just hit my chest even harder each week. And then maybe I can finally be a teen supermodel.

After running two Chicago Marathons on my own and three under the auspices of the AIDS Marathon training program, I’m trying something new this year. Four friends and I decided we like the structure and the camaraderie that come with a team training program, but we don’t get much out of the AIDS Marathon’s run-walk-run training philosophy. Or its rah-rah pep meetings. Or its stand-around-for-45-minutes-before-we-run training schedule. Or its nobody-looks-good-in-yellow yellow marathon tank tops. So we’re starting our own training team. And we each invited a handful of friends to join us. Our current head count is 17 people, but I get the feeling we’ll lose some of them before the month is out. So we should end up with a good 10ish dedicated runners who can push each other all summer. And I’m so excited about it I could just … well, run.

When we organized our team, we had three simple rules: 1) You have to be fun. Because nobody wants to be stuck on a 20-mile run with boring people. 2) You have to be dedicated to beating a 4:00 marathon goal. I’m tired of being in the 4:00+ crowd every year, and I’m hoping our no-walk training program plus our collective marathon experience will propel all of us into the rarefied world of 3:00-something finishing times. 3) You have to go to brunch after our runs. Or else you will be talked about. And nobody wants that.

In the mean time, we have to pick a team name and maybe make team shirts so people think we’re a legitimate training group. I’m currently at a loss for ideas, but fortunately we’re not too proud to take suggestions from faithful (or even not-so-faithful) blog readers. Matthew and his camera are currently on vacation in Peru (some people are so lazy they’ll do anything to get out of a three-mile run), so I’ll be doing the Joe Photo duties tomorrow. Look for our first (mostly) team photo on here before the weekend is out. Then brace yourself for another summer of marathon posts. This time with no begging for sponsorships!

But you’re not totally off the hook! If you want to sponsor an AIDS Marathon runner, I’ll be posting links to my friends who are running in the program this year just as soon as they set up their sponsorship pages.

And if you want to run the Chicago Marathon yourself, click here. But do it soon—the race is filling up fast!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Celebrity Teabag!

I know this post is a day late and a chromosome short (just like Glenn Beck!), but I didn’t think about it until I was falling asleep last night.

I forget even where this started. I remember laughing about it with my brother-in-law. And my friends Paul and Mike. And my old lifting partner. Which is perhaps why neither of us got very big in the two years we lifted together.

In any case, somebody I know somewhere in my past came up with the idea for Celebrity Teabag!, a fabulous new game show where everyday citizens get to meet famous celebrities … once they guess who they are.

Each show would start with some catchy theme music followed by a meet-n-greet where the convivial host makes awkward small talk with three contestants. Once we get back from commercial, the contestants are blindfolded and placed on their backs on low, narrow tables with their heads toward the camera.

Then the first celebrity comes out. He or she (if it’s Bea Arthur) smiles and waves to wild applause, walks up to the first contestant, drops trou and starts making tea … one contestant after another. Overhead cameras focused on each contestant’s face capture the aftermath as our ordinary citizens struggle to decide which celebrity just Dropped In for Some Tea™.

Celebrities two and three follow suit, and as the contestants ponder for the cameras we break for our second word from our sponsors.

When we get back, the contestants are standing side-by-side at a podium under dramatic lighting. They’re told to write their celebrity guesses on an electronic pad as a thoughtful version of the theme music plays in the background. Once the music ends and the lights come up, the points add up as the guesses—and the celebrity names—are revealed. The contestant with the most points wins cash and valuable prizes … and gets to cavort with the celebrities as the audience cheers, the balloons drop, the credits roll and the catchy theme music plays once again.

And just like Jeopardy! has theme weeks like “college” and “military” and “spinster librarians,” Celebrity Teabag! could have had an awesome “batshit crazy Republicans who can’t do math and who are too lazy to understand history” tie-in theme yesterday. If only I’d gotten this post up in time.

Who would you like to see on the next Celebrity Teabag!? The winner in most of our casting discussions back in the gym tended to be Karl Malden. Followed by Bea Arthur. With an occasional Matthew McConaughey thrown in as a sorbet to cleanse the palate. So to speak.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Two for two!

I just renewed my Chicago driver's license, and not only did the DMV get me processed through its labyrinthine renewal center and back out to the rainy sidewalks of Chicago with a shiny new license in my hand in about 10 minutes—a new world record!—but they also took their second photorealistic picture of me in the eight years I've lived here. Two decent pictures. In a row. It's a feat unheard of in the history of recorded DMV portraiture. This is change we can believe in!

Speaking of being hounded by the paparazzi, I got to pose over the weekend for fellow blogger and commercial photographer Scott Barnes in Indianapolis. He'd asked me to come in for a shoot whenever I made it to Indy, and I happened to be in town (sans domestic partner, who was stuck working) over the long holiday weekend to help some friends renovate their fabulous new (old?) midcentury modern home. But I took no pictures of the renovation efforts so you'll just have to picture fabulousness + midcentury + modern + home + friends + plate of giant homemade chocolate chip cookies and enjoy what you see in your head.

Where was I? Oh, yes: Rick Warren is a lying, manipulative sack of douchenozzles. But his clumsy machinations are pissing off the wingnuts. And any clumsy machination that makes a wingnut's head explode is a clumsy machination I can believe in. So I'm conflicted about loathing him. But only a little.

We now return you to our regularly scheduled blathering. So Scott the photographer is great with male figure studies and exploring composition in light and dark. We had only two hours together, but I brought a suitcase full of random clothes and props and a so-fresh-it-was-still-kind-of-scabby tattoo and we went to work.

Some of the pix he took were just about mugging for the camera and showing off the ink:

Some were supposed to be about athleticism, but every once in a while a cat would wander into the frame and make it look like I had the magical ability to poop cats:

Some were all about gratuitous flexing:

Some were about an almost-41-year-old's delusions of looking like a lifeguard on a Milan runway even though he's wearing a Gap hoodie:

Some were about shadows and ink and the human form:

But that love handle—which Scott swears he thought was muscle—grosses me out on levels only a self-absorbed almost-41-year-old gay man would understand, so I did some cropping in iPhoto and cut out some of the abovementioned shadows and ink and flabby human form and turned a potential lifetime-of-therapy trigger into ART:

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Oh, hai.

Remember me? I used to write a blog here. But then work happened. And early-morning workouts. And errands. And tattoos. And my fabulous new antique (well, technically old antique) china cabinet, which arrives tomorrow and I’m so excited I could just pee. But apparently not excited enough that I could find the energy to move furniture to make room for it this week. Which means I’m getting up extra-early tomorrow since I billed 12.75 hours today and right now all I want to do is sleep.

And you know what else happened? Iowa! And Vermont! And, to a lesser degree, Washington, D.C. Which doesn’t get an exclamation point just yet. But it all happened in a matter of days. Which just blows my mind. And suddenly the domestic partner and I have been discussing maybe having a big ol’ legal gay wedding in my home state (Iowa! Join us at the picnic! You can eat your fill of all the food you bring yourself!) in the very near future. Of course, we’ve been talking about having a big ol’ illegal gay wedding in Chicago since the day we met almost three years ago but we haven’t muted the TV long enough to even discuss wedding themes yet. I’m pulling for a theme that’s simple and easy. Like “garden.” Or “prison.” Or “octomom.” But you just know the domestic partner will make a fuss if we don’t do “Golden Girls”—though I refuse to wear anything resembling that toilet-paper-tube-festooned monstrosity Dorothy wore in the series finale. We may be hell-bent on destroying the very one-man-one-womanness of the sacred institution of marriage, but I’m not doing it dressed as a failed Project Runway challenge.

I even had a blog post kinda started in my head about our newfound freedom to marry legally without crossing time zones. I was going to use the Iowa state motto as my headline: Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain. But before I could think of anything weepy or profound to say after that (and trust me, I’ve been weepy and profound over the news all week), the walls in Vermont tumbled. And this time it was at the hands of Vermont’s legislature. And the American Taliban’s insultingly moronic and criminally misleading “activist judges” argument tumbled right along with it. Damn those activist elected officials!

But the fact remains that we’ll be able to make a short drive across the Mississippi in a few weeks—right after my birthday!—and get ourselves as legally married as Newt Gingrich or Rush Limbaugh or John McCain was any of the eight times they got married. Only we won’t be so morally repugnant when we do it. And we’d never copy their wedding themes. Besides, we’d have no idea how to decorate for “hypocrite douchenozzle.” Not even in a toilet-paper-tube dress.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Is it just me?

Or does it look like Madrid doesn't really want to host the Olympics in 2016?

Thursday, April 02, 2009

How I saved $1,300

We have a lot of crap. Even after two years of admirably herculean efforts to de-crap our lives, we still have a lot of crap.

Unfortunately, we have very little storage. Which in theory will help deter us from accumulating more crap over the years. But in the mean time, we have a lot of crap.

For instance! The domestic partner’s china. Though it’s not entirely my taste, it’s quite lovely. And there’s enough of it for us to host a state dinner for 18 with two salad courses and three dessert courses. And oysters! And sorbet! And clarified butter! But not on the sorbet! Because that would just be gross!

Unfortunately, we never use our quite-lovely-but-still-not-my-taste china. Even more unfortunately, it takes up three cupboards in our kitchen. Which is why I’m forced to store the majority of our cookware (which I actually use) in our oven (which I also actually use). (On occasion. OK, about once every other month. Which is still six times a year more than we use the china.)

So! I decided to spend a thou-plus on a fabulous buffet we could put in our dining room and display the quite-lovely-but-still-not-my-taste china we never use. And I thought I’d found the perfect buffet on the Crate & Barrel web site:
I liked it because it had square elements like our Asian-inspired dining room table and swirly elements like our gay-ass inspired chandelier. And potential peek-a-boo elements behind those swirly elements so we could show off the china. And it had slight hints of blue-gray in its finish, which seemed like they’d fit well in our Wedgewood-y blue dining room.

I’ve been visiting the buffet online for over a month to see if it ever went on sale, but it never did. So we were gonna just bite the bullet last weekend and make a trip to Crate & Barrel to check it out and—if we liked it—buy it at its full $1,300 price (less $100 we have in unused housewarming and birthday gift cards). But we got lazy and never went.

And guess what! It went on sale this week! Laziness triumphs again!

I finally found time to stop by Crate & Barrel last night to check it out and possibly buy it … but when I finally saw it up close it proved to be what we will euphemistically call “too ugly to be in our house.” In person, it’s way more rustic than the web pic implies, it’s poorly made with cheap materials, and apparently it’s very easy to knock paint off of. And the scrolly stuff on the front is just flimsy plywood with another layer of non-scrolly flimsy plywood behind it. So you couldn’t even see the quite-lovely-but-still-not-my-taste china inside it if we put it there.

So I’m back on the hunt. And I’m temporarily $1,300 richer than I’d planned to be today. But I have a friend who gave me a lead on an antique wholesaler who’ll sell me stuff at cost (how does one determine “cost” on an antique?) if I drop her name. So I’m going there this Saturday. And I won’t be lazy about it. Because even though laziness saves me money, it doesn’t get the stored cookware out of the oven. And I’m already overdue for my every-two-months cooking obligations.