Monday, October 31, 2005

One more hour...

I'm agitated this Halloween morning. Could it be because I heard the news about Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court? Could it be because the Packers had another sloppy, horrific loss? Could it be because I had an allergy attack yesterday so my body's adjusting to the NyQuill (from last night), Sudafed and Wal-itin in my system - chased with a cup of coffee? Or could it be the fact that I'm going to be eating at The French Laundry in less than a week and I'm going to be the person responsible for driving two friends through wine country?

So, for most of North America, daylight savings time came this weekend. I was dogsitting, so I was up by 6:30 a.m. because an Australian lab/border collie shoved her nose in my face and started licking my nose and lips mercilessly. I wanted to go back to bed, but I started thinking of the concept of daylight savings.

You have one more hour of time.

For my college life, that one hour meant one more hour of partying or more likely - one more hour of sleeping in to counter the effects of that hazy Saturday night. Now, in the post-grad world, that hour takes on a new meaning (at least for me). I see this hour as a gift. What are you going to do with it? After I let the dogs out, I went downstairs and started channel surfing; watching whatever was on at 7 a.m. Sunday morning. I felt like I was wasting a gift by sitting sleepily, watching heavily-edited versions of Fatal Attraction and Dennis the Menace (like 'Saved by the Bell', just watch it for a hate fix and wonder to yourself how desperate you would need to be to be Christopher Lloyd). Here were some recommendations taken from different sides of my personality.

The indulgent side of me... What better way to feel young than to revert to your college years and use it to sleep in?

The serious side of me... What better way to use up your time than to surf the Net for a job in Tucson and get another resume sent? Your lease expires in a week. If you sign a six-month lease, you're going to save a hundred dollars a month. If you sign a six month lease, you're in this city for another six months. Can you handle it? No - move, bust your ass - the clock is ticking. This is your life!

... of course, I didn't have a laptop, so this argument sort of died out like a tropical depression.

The verdict... Took a shower and moved around at a slower (read leisurely) pace than usual. While waiting for my roommate to get up and meet me for breakfast at The Radial Cafe, I picked up a New York Times and ducked into a coffee house and read for an hour. I usually meet my friend at another coffee house later in the day, but I thought I'd get a start on the important events of the day.

Preemptive strike ...

Anyone who limits Rosa Parks' legacy to African American civil rights. Rosa Parks helped advance the human race, not just a single race. RIP, Ms. Parks - and thank you.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Now every other man I see ... reminds me of the one who disappointed me

So - had coffee with this guy last night at a coffee shop in the Old Market. We had some good conversations via and coffee seemed like the next logical step. It's coffee, not alcohol. It's cheap. And after one or two cups, you should be able to sum up your next suitor.

... and it did.

The place is littered with couches, so I sat on a loveseat next to him ... and waited to finish his conversation on his cell.

... already I'm starting to be defensive. Some calls you need to take before you meet someone, but this conversation was more about who was wearing what at a party a few days ago.

Being in journalism, I am fairly good at ice breakers. So I start asking about his move to Omaha (he lived in rural Iowa), his opinion of the city, his job. I also asked what music he liked and he shrugged " I don't know, everything, I guess" in a dull, passive and limp response. After a few questions, I paused, looked around, waiting for him to ask me something about my life, and with no response, I made some general comment about the artwork in the place.

It didn't take long for me to finish the second cup of coffee. I looked at my watch and said I had some stuff to do and we went our separate ways. No harm done. Friends who don't truly 'get' me as my close friends whined "You should have given him a chance. Maybe he's shy." Yes, and I love shy people. But something has to draw you in - attract you. This is usually when nonverbal communication comes into account (not making out - just reactions and gestures).

Walking to my car, the thoughts immediately rushed to my head. "Why can't I find an interesting guy in Omaha?" "Are all the geeks taken?" But I realize how cluttered chat rooms are with that sort of negative bullsh**. If anything, I can use the experience - harmless as it was - in future endeavors. Sort of like going on job interviews.

Preemptive strike -

Straight friends who repeatedly dis gays in front of you - again and again. Then pat you and say "I'm not talking about you, just others." Yeah - and a lot of those criticisms are probably true. But for some reason, it still cuts. Even though I'm removed from the attack. When I was growing up, I actually heard some folks (white) make some snide comments about blacks in front of a a co-worker who was black. They immediately said "We're not talking about you...." Of course not. And I don't believe that only people within a culture can lay criticism toward that culture. I just gotta be honest - some of the barbs sting.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Pics from the trip

Raging Sage -The coolest coffee shop in Arizona and probably one of the top five coolest coffee houses in the U.S. All hail Raging Sage!

... the locals

... the experts

Monday, October 24, 2005

The stuff that dreams are made of...

So, I was late to work today. I hate being late. I've overslept before, but have always been able to make it by 8:03 a.m. But this morning - I hit the snooze a few times and then did the typical mistake of "I'll turn it off, because I'm awake. BUT, I'm just going to rest my eyes for a few minutes THEN get up and get into the shower. I deserve this." This was around 6:34 a.m.

And in a flash - I'm sent off to dreamworld. I'm with a group of people (friends, family and coworkers). I'm with this nice man who looks like Josh Hartnett (Virgin Suicides, Wicker Park and the ungodly Pearl Harbor). I'm instantly attracted to him, but given that I hardly know him, I play straight. Everyone starts leaving this parking lot we're at (outside lot of say Target or Lowes). Everyone's going to a party or a dinner of some sort. But Josh lookalike and I are still there, trying to find a corkscrew that belongs to the person throwing the party. We're freaking that someone lost it, but we remain levelheaded.

Dream takes us to a nice house, late-70s decor, brown, shaggy carpet and wood paneling. We're in the basement and we're still looking for this corkscrew. I'm growing more attracted to him by the moment, but remain collective, assuming he's got a girlfriend. While we're looking for this corkscrew in the basement, we start making small talk about what turns us on. Nothing gross - just little things, like rubbing your shoulders or sides etc.

He tries to explain what he likes and I play dumb, still looking around for this damn corkscrew. Finally, he grins and gestures over to this beanbag, "Here, let me show you." My Adam's apple feels like a stone. I go over and we remove our shirts. Soon, we're watching TV, shirts off and we're running our hands over each other's arm. That's it. Suddenly, he looks at me and gives me a gentle kiss on the lips. And that's that, we just go back to watching TV in each other's arms.

That moment of intense ecstasy jolts me up.

7:48 a.m.

S**t. I run through the shower, call in and say I'm running a tad late and zoom out at 8:12. I make sure that I have Fugazi, Minor Threat and Wilco to get me through this day. Normally, I would be cursing through traffic, but I'm totally at ease. Yes, I hate to be late for work. But as a result of my irresponsibility, I had a helluva dream (a dream I would not have had if I got up and went into the shower and went to work early). Big-ups to the irresponsible ID part of my brain.

Preemptive strike

Just because I had a dream about cuddling with a straight-acting Josh Hartnett lookalike doesn't mean I'm going to let preemptive strikes go, even though I feel guilty for lashing out at anyone today since I'm in a really good mood, but here it goes...

In chat rooms, when you first meet someone and agree to meet sometime for coffee or a brew, honesty is a great policy ... but not an absolute.

SomeoneFit4Fun - "I'm lonely, when are we going to hang out?"

Awesome! When can we hang out? You've totally reeled me in with that line!

One thing about being TOO picky is that you are lonely more times than not (usually). It's ok to feel this way - but disclosing it as an excuse to get together? Recipe for disaster. There're such things as courtship even in today's world. Use those skillz.

Like Swimming...

... first off, if you can spot the music reference of the title and you're in the Omaha area, you win a date with me.

Ok - I'm swimming over lunch break. I haven't worked out since my trip to Tucson. I did run the dogs early Saturday morning before I had to work. But, honestly, I've been a slug for about ten days. I know a good mind needs a good house to function properly, so I hopped in the pool to get a cardio workout going. I knew I wouldn't be able to do 30 laps, so I thought I'd do ten, then go back to work - ten's good - it's humble. It's admitting that you've been out of the game for awhile, so don't expect to return to marathon status (in my case, 10K status).

Exercise is supposed to reduce clutter and focus your mind. Hopefully, when you're running/lifting/biking/swimming/yogaing/spelunking, you stop worrying about stuff like whether or not to work a few extra hours after work, whether your insurance will cover those new glasses you bought to obtain that 'indie cool' look or that last heated phone call with your guilt-trip-giving mom and focus on the 'now' - that one more lap, that one more set, that one mile because that's all that exists now.

Of course, swimming has a debilitating effect on me. When I tire on the weights or a bike or the track - there's always something else to do. "screw it, I'm done anyway, onto the jump rope!" When you're swimming - you're out in the water. Alone. You're stuck. There's nowhere else to go but to the edge of the pool, where you have to pull yourself defeat. On a good day, all that exists in my mind is sort of a Buddhist calm - everything must be focused on achieving the goal of 30 laps (the arms move for a reason, the breath must be steady, the mind must not wander). Of course, most times it goes like today:

Lap 1 -
Good, good. Great pushoff. Arms and legs working well. It's like I never left. See, that's why it was good that I took so many days off. My body is healthy and rested. Exercise the body, but the mind needs exercising too - and sometimes, you need a day or two of video game playing and Harry Potter reading to achieve this goal.

Lap 2 -
Woah... not so good. I can usually hold my breath for two full 'circle' cycles for my arms. I'm starting to breathe after only one cycle. I hope I don't inhale the water through my nose. God, don't do this.
"1, 2, 3 if you wanna take a shot at me, well get in line!" (Sleater Kinney line) keeps going through my head.

Lap 4 -
Wait...wait. Is that punk ass in the next lane challenging me? He just jumped in and his pushoff sent him halfway across the pool. He DOES want to challenge me! Well, that's all fine in good for your first lap, but let's see how you are after three. I see him swim the other length of the pool and notice a but of a gut portruding. Good to see he's not as perfect as he thinks he is.

Lap 5 -
Good, good. Level playing field, he and I, at the same starting point. I pretend I'm not seeing him and go about my business. But he smokes me and makes it look effortless. God I'm old. I should have purchased some saline solution - my doctor said he would rather have me sleep in my contacts rather than run my contacts through the tap (I ONLY do this for emergencies).

Two laps later, I'm in the steam room. Not for the better. Just stewing.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Hello, I'm here for the date -

While I was in Tucson, I tried to look up this girl I felt a connection with. She has since moved to Dallas Ft. Worth to be closer to family. So, I hunkered down in Epic Cafe and kept reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This girl was sitting next to me, brown hair, with a neo-crunch vibe about her (e.g. hair messed up, but in a way that can only be messed up with the correct conditioners and a keen stylist). I asked her where to find a good place to eat and she directed me to this Vietnamese place where "absolutely nothing is heavy."

Fifteen minutes later, she pointed to my CD player and asked what I was listening to. I told her Neko Case. She knew who she was (bonus). However, she preferred a few other artists that are similar to Ms. Case, but I had absolutely no idea who they were (bigger bonus). Of course, I was due on a plane the next day, so that was it. A warm smile and that was it.

The next morning, I left, but I swung by Epic Cafe to get a caffeine jolt before I left. She was there and asked how dinner was. The dinner was exactly as she said - light, but memorable. No numbers were exchanged, or emails. It was just a good encounter.

I was chatting with this guy online. We were just talking about work. He bragged he had 500 CDs in his collection. Some good, mostly mediocre. Still, he seemed cool enough to at least possibly grab a cup of coffee with. We talked more - trying to get an angle for a coffee meeting without sounding desperate.

He asked what I did for work - I told him
He asked my stats - I told him (even though he saw a pic)
He asked if I worked out a lot - not in a flirting way, but as almost a prerequisite - I said 'yes'
He asked if I was hung - ...

... and the conversation buzz kill hits.

Yeah, yeah - I know the circumstances between these two encounters are as different as Kurt Vonnegut and Karl Rove. But chances are you're going to have these sorts of conversations with gay guys than straight gals. Maybe they're not different, it's just that most of the guys are less subtle in their approaches.

In this case - Ladies - 1 , Guys - 0

Preemptive strike

"Are you hung?" Do you really need to ask that? Find out for yourself, eventually! Trust your instincts. Use the force -

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Writers are a sensitive lot

We write our stuff and we force our friends to read every damn blog or article we publish, wanting feedback. We hate boredom. We need excitement; we feed off of it. Do I pack up and move to another city with no job awaiting me, or do I continue to sit and sulk here? This morning, I went to Lincoln to have coffee with my mom. She ran into someone she knew from work - she sat down with her (it was a table for two) and proceeded to talk for nearly 30 minutes. I was sort of taken aback, since she wanted to hear about the trip. But I sat down and listened idly while reading the paper.

I don't need attention. I understand she wanted/needed to get in touch with this person - but they wern't talking about anything. Just school, the girl's sorority, etc. Mom gestured to me to buy her some coffee. I obeyed. Still, after reading the paper for the third time, I was getting restless.

By our nature, writers are generally self-absorbed. We hopefully think that our thoughts are that important enough that they need to be written down and eventually published. That's not a bad trait in the least. Still, it sets oneself up to acknowledge that yes, we are self-absorbed. And we need an audience.

So, who knows where this massive need to change habitats is coming from. All I know is it's suppling fuel creatively. I know of writers who intentionally or not - begin to sabotage relationships to supply some kindling for writing. I think it's because it's one thing most writers fear - stability.

Still, watch me totally contradict this Blog if I ever land a stable job and a good boyfriend.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I'm back ... now what

Job interviews done. I'm in my jeans, nursing a vodka tonic. Shoes off. However, due to the fact that a security guard misplaced his weapon in Tucson International Airport, my luggage is now in Nashville because of massive flight delays.

So - I interviewed with a few papers, a few software companies. And I have to admit, I felt truly ... home in Tucson. I have a few reasons for that. First off, Raging Sage on Campbell St. totally rocks the f**kin' house. Secondly, the Desert Museum, Catalina State Park and the storms are some of the most inspiring environments to be around. Thirdly, it's an artist haven - I spoke with a ton of writers who were on their third and fourth cups of coffee at Raging Sage and at Epic Cafe.

So, I'm in Omaha now - and I don't know what to do. I have family that is driving me away from this city. I have a few friends that I want to beat to the punch in getting out of this city (which is totally petty, I realize, but I just want to be honest). And, I'll be honest, I am feeling a tad depressed now.

Still, I'm not about to let you off the hook, Tucson. You ARE at the top of the nation in terms of property crime. I stayed at what could techincally pass as a shithole at the Howard Johnson off of 22nd St. and Freeway. As I was going outside to grab some ice, some homeless guy was roaming the floor where I was at (the second floor). And the football game was less than inspiring. I caught a few wiffs of the hamburgers that were being sold at the game - my stomach turned a few times.

To top it off, I finished off Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban while I was there. On to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

The soundtrack for the trip started with the New Pornographers' Twin Cinema and ended with Fiona Apple's Extraordinary Machine.

Now ... I realize that in order to grow as a person. In order to allow someone into my life, my 'house' has to be in order (without sounding too new-agey). I just wish I could do that in this city, but I don't see it becoming a reality.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Status update

I'm tying from a public library in Tucson. My hotel doesn't have Internet access. It doesn't have a lot of things. I have to pull up on the metal thingee in the sink (god, I need to bone up on my plumbing terminology) when I spit out my toothpaste. The metal blocker thingee that seals up the drain when you're taking your contacts out - won't come out, so you have to pry it out with your hands - and even then, it will only come up about 1/8th of an inch.

Ok, five minutes left on public computer.
The girl I wanted to see here moved.
Tucson is pretty, but dirty. Not too sure if I want to move here. Still, there are a ton of cool coffee houses around here. I'm meeting some cool folks here. As for the gay scene, The Rainbow Cafe is filled with passive lesbian folkies (not the cool political angry folkies ala Ani Difranco). IBT sucks - just a hot, sweaty bar.

The good stuff -
Raging Sage Coffee
Epic Cafe
Che's Lounge
Indian Oven on Campbell
and this awesome Mexican restaurant - 88 E Broadway

Ok, gotta log off - three minutes left - INCLUDING posting time

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Tempe bound

So... After kicking off this Blog saying that I met a girl in Tempe, I'm about to return there to look for a new environment. I don't know what about Omaha has this effect on me. I went to see Built to Spill last night and was glad Omaha was a place where Built to Spill can pack a house of enthusiastic fans. Still, I'm surrounded by family who constantly grind away my self-esteem.

After I got back from Tempe, my sister said I had a 'spark' - even a swagger. A lot of people, including my friends, said I wouldn't survive because I would be utterly alone. The truth turned out to be the opposite. I was 1500 miles away from the high school that was like a prison sentence. I was away from a toxic family life that inflicts guilt on you and makes you feel inadequate and incomplete because you're 30 and you're not a homeowner, yet alone married. In Tempe, I was judged on my own merits.

Of course, I may have fallen in love with the concept of escaping rather than the city itself. That's why I plan to go there with an air of objectivity. I've applied for ten different jobs - so far no calls back. It's a tight job market. Still, I plan on making some cold calls/walk-ins. Failure is not an option. If I go and just veg out, I must not want to get out of Omaha. But I do. More than anything.

Of course, you have to have the right tunes for the journey - CDs I've packed...

The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

The New Pornographers - Twin Cinema

My own mix (Sheryl Crow's 'A Change Will Do You Good', Johnny Cash's version of 'I Won't Back Down', Oasis' 'A Bell Will Ring', Yo La Tengo - Big Day Coming')

De La Soul - De La Soul is Dead

Radiohead - OK Computer and The Bends

The Verve - Urban Hymns

Monday, October 10, 2005

Ok before you read this...

I'm not into games.
Only read this if you're interested in reading my work on a long-term basis. No one-night skim through and toss me aside.
If you think I'm easy, than you're chasing the wrong Blogger, buddy.

What if you began your Blogs like this? Kind of off-putting to say the least. Still, that's what a lot of us do on dates. It's like people (gay OR straight) don't trust their internal radar. Look, something about that person was able to make it past your barriers and possible revulsion for that cup of coffee or that vodka tonic. The thing is... let things play out - hell, have fun - you're only on this Earth for a short time.

You don't like games? Games are fun. Games keep you on your toes. Games challenge you. Keep in mind, I'm very monogamous, but if I'm met with the "only long term seekers need apply" greeting, I'm out of there. Part of the joy in a relationship is getting to know someone. And that first couple of times, the person may not bring their 'A' game - they may be shy, they may be aloof, they may be tired after working a 14-hour shift.

Once you sit down with a person, if you are expecting nothing less than your next long-term relationship, you're setting yourself up for a major disappointment. If you are on the receiving end, you are going up against some insurmountable expectations. "This guy wants me to be his life partner, and the only thing that we've talked about so far is ex-boyfriends and 'Harry Potter'?"

All I'm saying is... relax. Let your instincts guide you whether or not the guy's a bullshit artist. Use the force...

Preemptive strike
Yankee fans.
Can't stand the Yankees...

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

On self-confessional blogs

I just was cycling through some of the blogs. There are blogs from coffee shop workers and food service workers who talk about shitty customers. There are blogs from medical students that talk about their interesting cases. There are blogs by columnists that give fresh takes about the events of the day.

My blog - is basically a diary. Like so many others. With a blanket of anonymity (wow, that's a cliche if there ever was one), people can open up their souls to strangers. These blogs have a voyeuristic appeal. But I realize that these get old. People have their own dramas to wade through, they don't want to swim through another person's 'nobody love me' or 'I need to improve' confessions.

I will try to not make this blog in that vein. Some confessional blogs are great, but it takes a definitive type of writer to write confessional stuff. Carrie Bradshaw's prose in Sex in the City made it seem easy, and as a result, unleashed a ton of imitators from both lonely straight gals and cosmopolitan-slurping gay men. I guess the only way to prevent blogs from slipping into self-confessional parody is to always keep them open for people to inject their opinion or to strike a nerve with readers.

Preemptive strike
Haven't done this for awhile. Ok, you're at a gay bar. As you are in your late 20s or early 30s, you ensure your hair is sculpted, your jeans are perfectly pressed and your shirt looks hot. You go with a friend, your 23-year-old friend. You're at the bar, waiting for your order and someone who is quite good looking comes up to you and initiates a conversation. Your heart flutters. You still got it.
"What's your friend's name?" "Is he single? Do you think he would like a drink?"

There's always that moment to snap your spine back to reality. I will risk going into bitter queen mode and just say this - people at gay bars - if you see a guy you would like to ask out - say "hi" to HIM. In that same vein, if anyone sees me at a gay bar, please talk to me only if a) you deem me worthy of a conversation, b) you want to buy me a drink, which I'm free to turn down or c) The place is hellishly packed and you need me to move. 15 seconds of sloppy flirting to get an "in" with my friends will not be accepted.

Monday, October 03, 2005

'Fag Hags' - The uneasiest of relationships

First off, I hate the term. It disrespects gays and it's a huge dis to a lot of best friends of gay men. It sounds pathetic. It sounds hopeless. It brings to mind lonely Friday nights spent in a bedroom as the 'fag hag' goes on and on why men are pathetic and the gay guy comforts the girl, rubs her shoulder, and vents why men are pathetic before they spring for a pint of Ben and Jerry's and they cuddle and watch Will and Grace and rent The Object of My Affection.

It's an uneasy relationship to maintain, however. I think straight female/gay guy best friend relationships go into that uneasy zone - where a gay guy wants so much to be with that girl, if only he were straight. And the girl - well, the guy represents everything that has failed in their relationships (possibly) - a sensitive, attentive, fun guy who likes a lot of the same things she does. It sounds perfect...

But - their growth starts to stunt, just like you are told coffee does to you if you drink it when you're a teenager. One is likely to disappoint another. One begins to feel guilty if they go out on a date. The other feels guilty for persuing a relationship while the other is going through a lonely downtime.

I don't know of any other relationship possessing this much potential for hurt. But at the same time, there are fewer relationships that seem more rewarding and complete. It's a tricky situation - I admire any couple who can go through this without inevitably hurting one another with this type of dynamic.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Stuff you need to survive in these times (a.k.a. 'what I'm thankful for)

If I'm gay, I don't want to turn into 'bittergayman.' You see that person sitting alone at a troll bar, constantly dogging on the gay culture, the scene and how much this town sucks. Still, this town does sort of suck. And there's plenty to dog regarding the gay culture.

But - that's the easy part. Making gays/lesbians/bisexuals depressed is like shooting fish in a barrel or getting an elderly bear to buy your drink at a bar.

So... I thought for this Saturday when the Red Sox won a game against the Yanks last night, I would give you 12 readers something different - things that I'm thankful for - or things that you need to survive in these times...

1. Fiona Apple - Extraordinary Machine - It comes out Tuesday, Oct. 4. It's released after a breakup with Paul Thomas Anderson, label problems and producer switches. Lots of my sizable female friends hated her because of her waif-chic look, but her albums always had an air of authenticity to them - and man, she can sing. This album is definitely going to Tucson - a welcome return to form from one of the most quirkyalone artists out there.

2. Straight friends - If gays, lesbians and bisexuals are to continue to make headway into the mainstream, we need a little help from our friends. Our cool, hip, literate, openminded straight posse. Hanging with your own kind, as eclectic as they may be, tends to limit your thinking and alienate you from the rest of society, something that the religious right no doubt wants.

3. Computers - The reason I'm writing this stuff. Computers have given many-a-confused, young gay/lesbian/transgender/bisexual a forum to discuss their issues without fear of being revealed before they have the awareness to fully acknowledge their sexuality. Yes, you have to deal with the scum predators, the over-eager gay recruiters who are fawning over a person because of their looks and not thinking about their well-being, but in general, I have to say that computers do far more good than harm when it comes to the evolution of society.

4. Kettle One Vodka - Because it rocks.

5. The New Pornographers new album, Twin Cinema - see answer no. 4

Preemptive Strike
I'm ending this on a bitter note, sorry. I'll try and keep it light... Preemptive strike today goes to guys in gay chat rooms whose picture is either their hairy ass or their schlong. I haven't met you yet. Now that you've made me lose my appetite, I definitely don't want to meet you. In the words of Green Day: "I don't know you, but I think I hate you / you're the reason for my misery."