Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas...

Or whatever holiday you celebrate right around now. Or if you don't celebrate a holiday... well, happy day off.

I got you a present!

Enjoy this holiday season, folks.

Friday, December 22, 2006

It's Better Than Drinking Alone

The holiday season is wearing me out. Not because I'm this big social butterfly with all these "events" to go to or anything. It's because I feel like I need to go out a lot more than usual (just because it's the holiday season) and then I end up drinking more than I should and getting home later than I should (like now!) and fucking up my work situation more than it's already fucked up.

Tonight I actually walked through a particularly bad thought process with my friend at JRs. It went something along the lines of "I've seen that guy here three nights in a row now. Kinda hot... I'd do him... but what a lush. He's been here three nights in a row!... Of course the only way I'd know that is because I've been here three nights in a row...."

Yeah, it's been that kind of holiday season.

I bought several new jeans the other day then realized I need new pants for work too. Why do the crotches always seem to wear out faster than any other part of the pant? While we're at it, how the fuck do I stop my ever-expanding waist size? It's hard to buy pants for short fat people like me. I need an inseam of 28 or 29. No one makes those except for people with, like 26 waists. Take a waist my size, and people assume your inseam is something like 33 or 34. No one seems to make the waist/inseam combination for me. I'm short and fat, and now shopping is becoming a challenge.

I'm not sober. Drunk blogging is fun!

Good night folks! I'm here all week. Maybe not blogging, but I'll still be here.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Giving Up the Ghost

Dear C---,

You probably don't know this -- or if you do, you're deliberately putting it out of your mind -- but I have an immense crush on you. Huge. You're sweet, and smart, and very handsome, and I love the time I've spent with you.

You possibly don't know that every time I hang out with my friends, I ask whether or not you'll be joining us.

You possibly don't know that whenever I see you, my heart skips a beat.

You possibly don't know that when we hug -- whether it's hello, or goodbye, or anything in between -- I wish it would last forever. Your warmth, your scent, your smile, your eyes: I could get lost in that moment for an eternity.

I've teetered on the precipice of falling head over heels for you for a while.

But it seems like you haven't yet gotten over your last relationship, which ended several years ago. You're still apparently quite wounded by its dissolution. You've told me and our friends explicitly that, having had the love of your life once already, you're really not interested in ever finding anyone else. And it seems like you're not going to be ready for another relationship with anyone any time soon.

I'm sorry that you've been hurt. I'm sorry that you're still hurting. But most of all, I'm sorry that everything that I can offer you, everything I want to give to you, everything I could bring myself to feel for you, won't be enough for you. I'm sorry that you're unable to accept what could be a great thing.

And I'm sorry that I find myself deciding that I'm just going to have to move on, and put what I've felt about you for a long time in the past.

Happy birthday, C---. I loved you.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Shop Shop Shop

IM Conversation:

Me: You interested in doing a Target and/or Costco run this weekend?
Friend: HAHAHAHAHA! You're kidding, right? Target the weekend before Christmas?
Me: Uh... I'll take that as a "no."

Thursday, December 07, 2006


An open letter to [name redacted]:

Let me get this straight (no pun intended): You are a guy. Your life partner -- whom you call your husband -- is another guy. You are committed to each other as if you were legally married; you own a house together; the whole shebang. You had a commitment ceremony before friends and family and there you exchanged proclamations of love and fidelity with your man.

And you exchanged rings. Specifically, you wear what can only be referred to as a wedding band. On your left ring finger. And your husband wears one too.

I have no problem (obviously) with any of this. Heck, some day I'd love to be able to present a man to my family and friends and say, "This guy's the one. The rest of my life, this is the guy for me."

What strikes me as odd, though, is when you kvetch about people who see your ring -- again, it's on your left ring finger, and it's a wedding band -- and assume that you have a wife somewhere out there. You complain that this is an invasion of privacy. And you claim that it is an unwarranted conclusion to draw. You get upset that such comments, when you have to respond to them, put to you the choice of either (a) retreating to the closet by referring to your man-mate as a "wife", and switching pronouns accordingly, or (b) "outing" yourself by telling a stranger that the band represents a husband, not a wife. Neither option seems very appealing to you.

You claim that the ring is a private reminder, to yourself and your partner and to no one else, of your commitment, and it's no one's place to draw any inferences from your hand.

Honey, with all due respect, you need to face the consequences of your life choices. And by "life choices," I do not mean a choice to be gay, because I don't believe that's a choice. I'm referring to your choice to wear a wedding band, and to wear it on your left ring finger.

Let's face it: You've adopted the universal heterosexual symbol of commitment. The fact that it means something entirely different to you than it does to anyone else is of ZERO consequence here. I mean, none.

Yes, yes, yes, the issue of gay marriage has made headlines for a few years now. But with the exception of Massachusetts, no state has legal marriages. (Vermont, as I'm sure you know, created a civil equivalent to marriage for gay couples.) And every state that has since considered the question has voted to add to their state constitutions provisions that restrict marriages to a male joining with a female. So while gay marriages have, in fact, been making headlines, that doesn't exactly mean that it's been a successful P.R. drive, or that this country happily accepts men-whose-wedding-rings-represent-another-man.

Your ring is in clear public view. If you wanted a private reminder of your commitment to your man, you could have had his name tattooed across your ass. Or you could have discreetly put a ring on a chain and worn it around your neck (tucked inside your shirt). Or you could have worn a cock ring or inserted a butt plug (every time you shift in your chair, you'd think of him and smile). Hell, you could have discreetly stenciled his name on your fingernail. Each of these would have called less public attention to your union and could still have the purpose of affirming to you and your man that you are each other's life mate.

But no: you put on a ring. And by doing so you have made a public proclamation that's no different from wearing a crucifix around one's neck or a yarmulke on one's head. It's an outward manifestation pretty much compelling the viewer to reach one conclusion.

You simply cannot fault anyone for accepting your invitation to reach that conclusion.

Let's put it this way: You see a yarmulke, you're going to assume the wearer is an observant Jew. (Let's face it, yarmulkes aren't terribly fashionable among the non-Chosens.) Anyone sees a wedding ring, they're going to assume you're heterosexually coupled. Heck, if I were to put a wedding band on my left ring finger tomorrow, I'm sure strangers would think I'm hitched to a woman, despite the objective facts that I'm gay and I'm not actually coupled. The objective facts behind your ring matter only to you, but the signal that ring sends out doesn't necessarily track those objective underlying facts.

So get over it, [redacted]. Either be out and happy and prepared to talk about the unusual significance of the ring you wear, or quit bitching about having to hide the gender of your partner from people who draw that conclusion. I suppose the third option is to remove the ring completely, but even I would hate to see that happen.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Closet

I thought that by this point in my life I'd be done with the closet. Of course, I also thought that my non-heterosexuality was kind of obvious, but I'm told it's not.*

Every Tuesday night I make my way to a local bar for poker night. It's a free night, and it's amusing and entertaining (except when I bow out ridiculously early), and I'm pretty much a regular there now. I recognize faces; I know some names; and I know who I prefer not to play against and who I enjoy playing against.

To these people, I apparently come across as "one of the guys." Which is great. And none of them come across as hatefully homophobic, which is also great. Over the past few months, I have been treated to such comments as "check out pink sweater," referring to a lithe young woman at another table whose breasts were, frankly, unbelievably perky. On another night, the men at the table shared ogling rights to an attractive, thin Asian woman who is becoming quite the regular.

Table talk has included (thankfully brief) discussions of which female celebrities are hot and which ones wouldn't be kicked out of bed. Remember when Keith in Six Feet Under starts that job in private security, and all the guys stand around and talk about chicks, and Keith is so afraid of revealing his sexuality that he even says "Yeah, I'd tap that" about one woman? Yeah, it's kinda strangely like that.

I generally play along with these discussions. No, I don't go so far as to mention which woman I'd love to tap, but I do comment that some women are attractive. Hey, I'm allowed to notice beauty. (Yes, that's a rationalization.)

But the funniest moment was one night when a gay social group decided to hold its happy hour at the bar on the same night as poker night. This made my table-mates quite nervous, from what I could tell. As we played, it was inescapable that there was an unusually large congregation of men at the bar. Not only was their sheer number noteworthy, but the total disproportion in the male-female ratio was stark.

One player at my table commented that "not one single guy playing poker tonight wants to lose early tonight of all nights." Meaning: Unlike other nights, losing early doesn't mean lounging at the bar and talking to attractive women. (Kind of a shame, actually, because the guy who said this was really very attractive. I definitely would not kick him out of bed.)

The straight boys seemed uneasy about the whole situation, though thankfully none of them spewed any hateful rhetoric. Some seemed in denial about the men at the bar, preferring to believe that it was some post-work professional networking scene. (Perhaps my gaydar is more attuned to it, but just by scanning the faces of the men, I could tell it was most decidedly not that.) One seemed unwilling to even use the word:

Me (joking): You could go get a drink with the gay guys up there.
Him: You really think that's what it is?
Me: What what is?
Him: You know... those guys up there.
Me: Do I really think that's a gay mixer going on up there? Yes, I do.

Inexplicably, I stopped myself just short of saying that I would join them when I was done, or that I was going to a different gay bar after the game.

I suppose it just never comes up in conversation, but a part of me does wish that I could "come clean" with the guys at these poker nights. When I first started going, there was this cute lesbian couple who were also regulars. They stopped showing up several months later. They never, oh, made out or anything, but it was pretty clear they were together. There are usually one or two cute guys playing with us, one of whom I think may be gay, but we never talk about it.

At some point I'm sure it'll work its way into conversation, but until then... I'll keep my queens in the pocket. Which is, again, a shame, because some of these boys are really cute.

* Recently, at a gay bar, I realized why it's somewhat unclear: there are men here who are WAY gayer than I could EVER be. I randomly made a comment to a stranger while waiting for my drink and the 23-year-old just oozed homosexuality in his response. I was actually kinda taken aback. Me, straight-acting? Go fig.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Elevator Elevator Up and Down

Random observation: Why is it that some people can't seem to even remotely guess the relative speed of elevators?

Scene: You get on the elevator on the 15th floor. You press the "Lobby" button. Someone else gets on at 12 and also presses the "Lobby" button. Then the elevator stops at 11 -- and the guy from 12 absent-minded starts to make his way off the elevator before he suddenly realizes he's not at his floor yet.

Did he really think he descended twelve floors that quickly?

This is even funnier if the person in question actually lives or works in the building in question. One would think they'd get used to it eventually.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


WaPo reports today that "President Bush . . . dismissed calls for U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq as unrealistic."

Because, of course, charging into Iraq with no clear plan, mission, timetable or defined goals was realistic back in 2003. It's a very convenient time for you to venture into the "real" world, Mr. President.

It's a Date

I visited a friend's house recently (within the past two weeks). At some point as we were walking through the house, I noticed a calendar pinned to the wall. Absently, I noted, "Your calendar is still set to November, 2006."

He looked at me. "Today is...?"

I was so embarrassed.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

My Thanksgiving Observations

It's late, but here, in narrative form, are some observations from my Thanksgiving.


I purchase a fruit tart from Whole Foods and make my way to the bus stop, where I am to catch a crosstown bus to a friend's house in the Capitol Hill area in Northeast DC. The bus is surprisingly -- no, shockingly -- on time, requiring me to run to catch it. It's nearly 4:00, and I've lazed most of the day away. Most of my friends have probably started their dinners by this time; some are on their second helping, others are at their second dinner. I'm just getting started, which is all for the better, because I have a terrible habit of stuffing myself silly when presented with massive quantities of delicious food.

I take a seat in the third forward-facing set of seats, selfishly taking both seats for myself. The bus isn't all that populated, and I would have been willing to move my tart if someone needed the seat. No one ever did.

Across the aisle and one seat behind me is a girl reading a book while her earbuds presumably entertained her. She never looks up for the entire time I'm on this bus. I start creating random stories in my mind about how she's a drifter, and she's just riding the bus for fun "to see the sights." That theory would work better were she actually looking out the window instead of casually ensconced in her reading material.

An older gentleman sits facing the front door of the bus in a raincoat and suit. His suit is rumpled, as if he's actually worked through the day in it. But it's Thanksgiving Day, I think, but I suppose there are people out there who work in this day. He's reading through the Washington City Paper with studied concentration. He either finished the feature article long ago or he generally isn't interested in that kind of stuff, because he's concentrating more on the tail end of the paper, including the personals. He seems to reading every last one of them.

A few stops later, a large older man with white hair and matching (short yet scraggly) beard climbs aboard. He looks homeless, though he lacks the smell usually associated with homeless people. He's carrying two large plastic garbage bags, filled close to bursting with what appears to be junk. One man's trash is another man's treasure. Or maybe he just didn't have "nice" looking bags to carry his stuff in; not all of us have the luxury of courting around Whole Foods bags. He sits facing City Paper man; his eyes appear to glaze over as he stares vacantly out the window.

At one intersection, the bus waits for an inordinately long time. The driver has seen something I was unable to from her superior view: a large black woman was apparently making her way to the bus with some difficulty. Perhaps she had tried to run, but one could only imagine that she wouldn't have been making terribly great time even if she had made the effort. She sports a large waist-length fur coat (whether it's real fur is up for debate), which seemed incongruous when paired with her short skirt which revealed her ample thighs. Her hair consisted of both a bad cut and a bad color job; the short platinum blond waves matted themselves to her scalp like limp lasagna noodles.

A woman who appeared North African boards at the next stop. The bus continues to pull forward as she stands there and fumbles through her purse in search of the right change. From near the back exit, a voice calls out, apparently to her, "Yo Jessica, is yo' Mac-Donalds open?"

A woman with dirty blonde unruly hair also boards, carrying an oversized backpack. It's unclear whether she's one of those crunchy granola hippie types (perhaps she was backpacking across the country?), or whether she's just down on her luck and trying to keep it together. She sits two seats in front of me, her giant backpack sticking up at least two head lengths past hers.

Jessica doesn't even look up as she responds to her friend: "I don't know; I'm not there." She pays her fare and takes her seat next to Literary Girl; three rows behind her is her friend.

As we drive on, we pass the McDonald's. It is presumably the McDonald's to which Jessica's Friend referred, for she comments, "There it is... Dang, it is open!" For a brief moment, I contemplate how sad it must be to even consider having a Super-Size Value Meal as Thanksgiving dinner, but then I hear Jessica's Friend continue: "Oh wait, it ain't open."

"Hey, Jessica, you going to DC General?"

Not bothering to turn her head, Jessica responds: "Yes."

"Is it nice there?"

"It's not bad." The lack of eye contact makes me wonder whether Jessica and this woman are actually friends. No indication is given why they both happen to be heading to DC General. Where I had presumed that Jessica worked at McDonald's, perhaps she works at DC General. Or are they both friends of a long-term care patient? Or perhaps they struck up a friendship visiting their respective friends?

"I'll ride up with you," Jessica's Friend offers. "Want to come sit by me?"

Again without looking at her, Jessica takes her up on the offer ("Sure!") and moves to sit next to her.

At some point during this conversation, Fur-Laden Large Woman With Bad Hair disembarks. She is met by two well-dressed men on the street. Apparently they are all heading for the same place; the two men are each carrying what appears to be food products in boxes. I surmise that they are volunteering to serve Thanksgiving dinner to someone or another. In many past years here I have looked for the opportunity to do this and have somehow never succeeded in finding one.

A clearly angry black man boards. He's carrying two grocery-sized plastic bags. He too strikes me as homeless, and I wonder if he's even paid the fare. If the driver is demanding it of him, she isn't doing it loudly enough for me to hear, which takes some effort seeing as I'm less than ten feet from the front of the bus. He stands behind the driver, grasping at the poles for support after putting one of his plastic bags down on the seat. He mutters frequently, including inflections that, judging from the tone and vehemence of his exhalations, are likely curse words. (Perhaps he has Tourette's?). At one point, he clearly states "I'm not even gonna bother to take a seat," though he does sit down literally ten seconds after he says it. After approximately 8 stops he gets off, still cursing, including a few choice words at the driver. I still don't remember if he ever paid or not. If he was ejected for nonpayment of fare, it was the most drama-free ejection I've ever seen. Of course, given how long he was on the bus, he may very well have reached his final destination anyway.

City Paper Guy gets off a few stops later, abandoning his paper on the seat recently vacated by him. Before I -- empty handed except for my fruit tart -- can even think twice about it, Two-Trash-Bag Man lunges across the aisle and snatches it. He flips through a few pages for under a minute, then shoves the paper into one of his overfilled trash bags. This reinforces my initial thought that he appears to be some kind of pack rat.

As we approach Union Station, Jessica and Her Friend abruptly change plans. Jessica's Friend suggests they take in a movie; Jessica politely demurs. In the alternative, her friend suggests that they go looking for some food. Jessica quickly agrees, and they both hop off right outside the station, hoping that someplace or another will be open at this hour on Thanksgiving night. The nature of their relationship remains completely unclear to me, but it looks like they were willing to enjoy each other's company for Thanksgiving, and I am happy they both don't have to spend their nights alone.

As we continue to wind through Northeast Washington, I take in the views of the homes there -- well kept rowhouses, many of which probably have substantial amounts of history attached to them. The streets are strangely quiet; nary a pedestrian can be seen. I see one couple with a stroller leisurely making their way down the street, but that's all. I suppose they're all gathered around their dinner tables eating turkey, or around the television watching football. That'll be me soon enough.

I start to fret about whether I've remembered my stop correctly, and whether I should get off at 11th Street or 14th Street. I can see the street on which my friend lives, but alighting early could result in an unnecessarily long walk. Thankfully, I find that I did in fact remember my stop correctly, and I get off and walk about a block and a half to my friend's house.

It was a magical Thanksgiving even before I ever made it to dinner.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Still Here

I've been so delinquent in posting. I've just been tired and bored and uninspired. I'll be back soon. Hopefully this week.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I Don't Love You, You Don't Love Me

Insanely catchy, if laughably simplistic. Check out the "cool" handheld keyboard! I still have no idea what any of it means, but it's fun.

Lately, my life seems to be a lot closer to "I don't love you BECAUSE you don't love me" than just the random happenstance of mutual non-love. "I wish I could quit you!"

Saturday, November 11, 2006

O Canada

Heading north for the weekend, just to check it out. Catch y'all on the flip side.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Why Now?

I'm not saying that Democrats should be hardasses about everything now that they've taken control of both houses of Congress.

All I'm saying is, it's really easy to call for bipartisanship when you're the party who has had one-party control of government yanked out from under you.

And it's particularly less-than-palatable when that call for bipartisanship comes from one of the guys at the very center of partisan power grabs for the better part of six years.

Yo, Dubya: I didn't see you asking for bipartisan cooperation when your Republican cronies were busy redistricting Texas to dilute out Democratic votes. I didn't see you clamor for compromise while you consistently nominated (and pushed through) ideologue after ideologue to the federal bench. I didn't see you ask your Republican friends to give any thought to their opposition concerns across the aisle when it came to -- well, any significant issue at all in the past six years that you've been in office.

For as long as you've occupied the White House, I cannot remember a single time when you've ever even noticed that this country has two political parties, one of which disagrees with yours on many issues. You consistently held fast to your party line, and you basically took the position that your party had the power, and your party therefore had the right to make the rules, however myopically they may choose to do so.

So -- again, not that I'm encouraging Democrats to retreat into a "we're in control now so everyone else shut up" shell -- but I find your plea for bipartisan cooperation now to be hollow and, frankly, more than a little desperate.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Happy Dance

Everyone seems pretty confident Democrats will be taking over the House as well as the Senate.

I've been giddily skipping around my office all day.


On a sadder note, gay marriage bans passed in three more jurisdictions. This saddens me because it says that even while Democrats were getting to the polls and casting their votes to defeat Republicans, these same Democrats are voting at their polling places against gay marriage. I tell ya, if we can't get Democrats' minds past the "icky" factor of gay marriage, then there's no way we're going to get Republicans to support the idea. And thus, gay men and women will forever be denied full and equal participation in this society.


Still, on balance, control of Congress makes me happy.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Some incredibly superficial thoughts on this Election Day (because I'm just too tired to rant on about the crap that's happening at polling places) about the front page pictures that show upon the WaPo website:

- The poor random voting woman must be mortified. She's kind of plus-size, and her eyes are bugging out as if from surprise for no apparent reason. It's not the most flattering picture of her.

- The shot of Adrian Fenty hugging one of his supporters makes him look a little standoffish. Though still, I'd like to be the one pressed up against his body.

- Jim Webb's wife is stunningly pretty.

- But the bearded smiling guy behind him is hot.

- What's up with Eskimo woman with George Allen? He's in a suit and tie and no special winter gear, and she's Nanook of the North.

Oh, right, because you actually expected substantive shit on this blog.

Just Do It.

If you're an American citizen reading this and haven't done so yet, GO VOTE!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Conversations I've Been Involved in Recently


Boss: "I'm back from lunch. Any calls?"
Me: "No, it's been really quiet."
Boss: "Hm. Why?"
Me: "Uh, because no one anywhere picked up the phone and dialed our particular 7- or 11-digit combination?"


Girl: "Did he tell you his gym story?"
Me: "You mean his story about a guy named Jim or about his workout?"
Girl: "Huh?"
Me: "Gym story, like J-I-M?"
Girl: "Oh, no, like "J-Y-M."
Me, and everyone else listening: [burst out laughing]


Friend: "So what are you doing right now?"
Me: "I'm in the middle of a Charlie's Angels marathon."
Friend: "Wow. You truly are a loser."


[Friends having some conversation about oxycodone and other pain meds.]
Me: "No, what you need to do is dissolve some of that in some water, load it up in a syringe, and shoot it up your asshole. The effect is just that much faster."
Everyone: [...]
Me: "Okay, why I picked that particular moment to inject myself into that conversation I don't know. I'm just going to go quietly back to my beer now."


Random guy in gay bar: "Who do I have to blow to get a drink around here?"
Almost everyone else in earshot at the bar: "Me."
Me: "Not me, I just drink here."


Friend, upon noticing that the phone in his rear pocket was beeping: "Oh, that IS me. I thought I was just hearing some random beeping noise."
Me: "Do you often hear random beeping noises coming out of your ass, or is that only when you back up?"

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Keep On Movin'

Dear Metro Riders:

I'm addressing this to all Metro riders because I'm fairly certain not all of these actions can be attributed only to tourists. I know we Washingtonians love to hate tourists, and we blame them for a lot of the stupid stuff that happens in this city, but trust me, there are a lot of really stupid people in this city.

Why do you insist on using the "new" farecard machines for paper card transactions? Many years ago, Metro introduced SmarTrip cards to use as fare payment, but did not eliminate paper farecards at the time. Because these SmarTrip cards are plastic and reuseable, they had to install new farecard machines to accommodate them. These new machines have reader devices for the plastic cards and also accept credit cards. The "old" machines still deal only in paper farecards and hard cash.

My question, then, is this: Why do you insist on using the newer machines for cash transactions involving paper farecards? Along a bank of six farecard machines, some new and some old, I invariably have to stand in line behind you while you pop in a few singles for the purpose popping out a paper farecard. While the older machines remain idle and could have easily served your purpose, you pick one of the new machines, while I (a SmarTrip card holder) have no choice but to use the new machines, thus forcing to wait behind you. We could have both conducted our transactions at the same time -- you at an "old" machine, me at a "new" one.

You, my dear, are a moron.

Why do you insist on using the handicap turnstile? Just a gripe of mine, but why do you, a fully able-bodied person, tend to gravitate towards the extra-wide turnstile, even when all of the other turnstiles are not being used? Are you really so grossly obese in your mind's eye that you think you can't fit through the "normal" sized turnstile? Then what makes me laugh is when you try to go through those handicap turnstiles but don't realize that the paper card slot works differently than the others: so you stand there like an idiot for a second, wondering why your card has just been kicked back out of the slot you put it in while the turnstile bars have opened.

You, my dear, are an idiot.

Why do you insist on standing right in front of the doors? Lots have already been written about this, but really, make some room, people. If you force me to, I will shove past you to get out those damn doors before the train starts making its way to the next stop. I find it particularly annoying when you stand there and glare at the people who have to get past you as if you're the one being inconvenienced. Buddy, you chose to stand right near the door, and the door's not just for decoration you know.

Why do you insist on standing right in front of the doors? When you're on the platform, you ought to know that there's no prize for being the first to board the train when it pulls up at the station. Hence, standing right at the door where the train pulls up is retarded. When people are trying to get off, they (and I presume you, when you reach your eventual destination) don't particularly like being made to walk the gauntlet. This isn't Tailhook '91. Get out of the frigging way and let us off.

Really, is it just so hard?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


An Open Letter to Phyllis:

Dear Phyllis:

Thank you so much for your help on Sunday night. You were funny and friendly, even despite my having to ask for clarification about the sex questions. (Have I noticed a decrease in sexual performance lately? Well, that would require a baseline that consists of actual sexual activity. My hand seldom disappoints, if that matters any to you....)

As Cincy Diva guessed with astounding accuracy (Steve was quite close too), I went in for a sleep study at Georgetown on Sunday night. Gay sleep disorder, be damned!

Oh, but that this were me....

I wanted to thank you, Phyllis, for being so nice and friendly during my ordeal. Okay, so "ordeal" is probably an overly strong word, but you have to admit, undergoing a sleep study isn't as fun as it may sound. I didn't expect a night at the Ritz, but I must say sleeping with all those damned wires protruding from all over my face, head and neck was kind of difficult. (That made it particularly funny when you piped up on the intercom that I should feel free to roll over onto my side if I wanted to. This would not have been particularly easy.)

You even woke me up in the middle of the night. Usually this would piss me off, seeing as I have a hard enough time getting a decent night's sleep anyway, but you did so because some of those gazillion sensors detected that I was having some trouble lapsing into restorative sleep and/or I was snoring. You slapped a CPAP machine over my face (again, not the epitome of comfort), but I dealt with it.

I actually felt pretty good for the rest of the day after you awoke me at the ungodly hour of 6:45 a.m. (By the way, uh, yanking those sensors you taped to my legs within minutes after I woke up, uh, well, that kinda hurt. I kinda like my moderately hairy legs. Now there's a bald patch on them.) I didn't fall asleep at work at all the next day (and I fully expected I would, because I usually do). Even though I was not machine-assisted last night and hit the snooze button excessively today too, I am still doing okay today.

But the big news is that I made an appointment with my doctor. I've timed it so that it should fall around the same time he gets your report, so he can go ahead and tell me what he thinks and whether he should write me a prescription for the CPAP. Personally, if I can't get a man into my bed now, I can't imagine I'll be all that much sexier sleeping with a X-wing missile guidance system strapped to my face ("Use the Force, Luke!" -- "Luke, you've disengaged your guidance system, is everything okay?"), but screw it if it means a good, long night's sleep!

If only this were my bedpartner who isn't repulsed by a gas mask on my face as I sleep....

Anyway, here's to better nights of sleep to come.

Thanks again, Phyllis. You made an unpleasant evening that much more endurable.


Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Different Bed in Every City... But Not Quite.

So, tonight I'm not spending the night in my own bed. But I am not in a different city (in fact, I will be less than 10 miles from my own bed), nor am I having any sex whatsoever tonight.

Any guesses?

I'll post about it later, I'm sure.

Friday, October 27, 2006

My First Halloween

As we approach Halloween, I thought I'd share this audio conversation with y'all. You won't understand a word of this audioblog post unless you speak Cantonese. Okay, well, you might pick up the following words: "Halloween," "ding dong" (doorbell chime), and "Supreme Court judge." The sound quality is poor, but if you just want to get a sense of my family and me having a good time during my first trip to Los Angeles last February, go ahead and listen to the gibberish:

this is an audio post - click to play

(In case you're wondering, my Uncle Randy decided to use his video camera to record this conversation. He gave me a copy on CD.)

The woman whose voice dominates this audiopost is my mother. My dad pipes up a little bit toward the beginning, but it's mostly my mother. The other woman who chimes in from time to time is apparently a family friend whom I don't know well, and the male voice in the middle and end of the recording is my Uncle Tim, whose house we were staying in. And the hyena laughing? That's me.

I'm tempted to just end this post here, but I suppose some more explanation will be in order. In the process, I will embarrass myself terribly, but what's the point of a semi-anonymous blog if you can't make an ass of yourself on it?

Here is the story my mom is recounting in the recording. It is the story of my first Halloween.

I was somewhere between two and three years old, and my family had just moved to the States from Asia. They downplay Halloween where I was born.

We had finished dinner and were just sitting around, when the doorbell chimed its familiar "ding dong." Me being young and excitable and energetic, I ran to the door to be the first to open it. (I apparently often did that. It was a time of youthful innocence. Two year olds could rush to open to the door without fear that some evil person dressed in a black trenchcoat would snatch you out of the open doorway and remove you to his waiting car. I also used to race to be the one to answer the phone.)

Opening the door was my big mistake.

There in the door were a group of extremely tall (probably as tall as four feet!) scary people, including people with green skin, blood on their faces, unkempt hair, and scary bug eyes. (I don't remember, but I can only imagine.) My reaction, of course, is predictable: I had my living daylights scared out of me.

I let out a scream that only a two-year-old fag-in-traning can. Unable to decide whether it was safer to run forward or backward, I was was literally immobilized with fear for a split second (though, of course, it probably felt like a century). I was caught midway between trying to run and absolute mind-numbing terror. I can only imagine that I looked like Fred Flintstone gearing up for a sprint -- you know how he hovers an inch above the ground, legs working, but going nowhere, before he takes off?* Yeah, that was me.

Eventually, my legs took action and, still screaming, I turn tail and ran... straight into a doorframe. So terrified was I that I missed the door opening and ran into the doorframe instead.

On the recording, it's at around this time that everyone around the table is laughing hysterically. That word "kuung" you hear, is Chinese onomotopoeia for the sound of me crashing into a two-by-four. Oh, and "Supreme Court judge"? That's my uncle saying that this is the type of story that could really embarrass a guy after he's been nominated to the Supreme Court. (My entire family is extremely proud of the whole lawyer thing.)

A huge lump developed on my forehead, of course. Apparently, this was par for the course with me; I hit my head a lot as a kid, and the lumps on my forehead (immortalized in numerous photographs) proved it. (Actually, "you used to hit your head a lot" is what the adults tell me now about my childhood.** A not-terribly-nice variation on this theme is the notion that my head was so disproportionately large for my body when I was young that I had a hard time keeping my head up, and I had even been known to fall face first off the can for this reason.)

Okay, it's not as funny now that I've written it up, but hot damn, that was a funny story. But more importantly, it was was fantastic sharing that kind of a hearty laugh with my family. We don't do that often enough.

Happy Halloween!

* I just realized I've used this analogy before, and for this lack of originality, I apologize.

** I still harbor a sneaking suspicion that my parents actually dropped me on the head on multiple occasions. It would explain a lot.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Turning Japanese, I Think I'm Turning Japanese, I Really Think So.

This is a nifty site, so I thought I'd share. This puzzle is a photo I took from the Japanese garden in the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

Have fun.

Monday, October 23, 2006

I Love You, Mike Greiner

Mike Greiner is my new hero.

(Okay, longtime readers of this blog know I have issues with the word "hero", but I really think this time it's kind of deserved.)

Who is Mike Greiner? He's a teacher at Westfield High School in Chantilly, Virginia. And he, unlike many, many, many other English teachers in this country, actually takes at least a little bit of time to teach his students proper grammar.

I, for one, am appalled at some of the basic grammar rules which people today can't pin down to save their lives. There are people whose professional lives require a mastery of the English language -- or, at least, a basic grasp of it. And some of them still can't get simple grammar rules to save their lives.

I learned to diagram sentences in the seventh grade -- a little late, I know, but the public school system in Hawai'i just isn't all that. Although I never did get the whole thing down (check out the above link -- I would NEVER have been able to do that), I learned to appreciate the simple things like subject-verb agreement ("A network of arteries connects all the major organs of the body.").

Recently, through a horrible confluence of events, we had two large projects (each taking on lives of their own) due at the courthouse at once. I took on one project while my boss took on the other. I type my own work, and I'm the kind of anal guy who edits my work along the way. When I type the words "there is no precedent for this argument," I make sure the correct spelling of the word "there" is used.

My boss, on the other hand, being of a certain age and not as proficient on the keyboard, tends to dictate his work for someone else to type up. This typist, much to my dismay, doesn't type as carefully as I'd like. I end up insisting on reviewing my boss's work product before it goes out just for that purpose: I need to make sure embarrassing grammatical errors don't make it into the final draft of a document. As I edited this last round of paperwork for this major project, I could myself adding and removing apostrophes with alarming frequency. This happens often when we have a lawsuit with multiple defendants: our typist can't seem to make an effective and disciplined difference between the "defendants" and "defendants'". I find the following in drafts handed to me:

- Defendants argument ignores controlling Supreme Court precedent.
- Defendants' cannot escape liability for their actions.

I swear, I edited apostophes so much it got to the point where I seriously thought that my typist was deliberately using it incorrectly just to rile me.

I know I've blogged about this before, but there really should be more English teachers out there like Mike Greiner. God bless you, Mike Greiner.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sharin' the Olivia Love, Perhaps.

(Seems like Olivia doesn't have all that many well-known songs that would be appropriate as a title for this post.)

I have tickets to see the love of my life, Olivia Newton-John, again in a few weeks. On November 4, 2006,I will be once again in Atlantic City watching my favorite performer of all time perform. I will, undoubtedly, be sobbing uncontrollably through most of it. I have yet to decide whether to head up on Friday night or Saturday morning, and I have yet to decide whether to spend a night in Atlantic City at all.

Now here's the thing: I have an extra ticket. The one reliable pal I would have gone with is passing on this excursion. So, here's a plan:

If you love Olivia anywhere near as much as I love Olivia, I'm happy to share the love with you. If you're in DC, we can share a ride up to the city. As I said, I'm flexible if you want to spend an extra night there as well. If you're not in DC, but can make your way up to Atlantic City, I'd also be happy to sell the extra ticket to you.

If you're interested, please either drop me a comment or an email.

I realize this is a long shot, but hey, I'd love company for the show, and this way I might get to meet another random blogger.

Previous Olivia posts here and here and here.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Attention Costco Shoppers

Dear Costco Shoppers:

You. Yeah, you know I'm talking to you. Thing is, I don't think you care.

We're in a warehouse store. The shopping carts are pretty wide, but then so are most of the aisles -- you know, to make up for the fact that everything is huge there. Kind of makes sense that way.

I'm quite aware that they also hand out free samples of food. Free food is generally good. To be honest, a lot of the food they offer is remarkably good, for a wholesale club.

But for the love of Pete, can you please think for just a microsecond before the lure of free food -- or the sight of the 128-oz. bag of potato chips -- irresistably tempts you to stop in the middle of the freaking aisle?

In theory, at least three oversized shopping carts can fit into any given aisle: one cart on either side of the aisle, and one moving down the center of it. I'm pretty sure they planned it that way. What they didn't plan for was the notion that people like you would actually turn your cart to the most inconvenient position possible as you examine the jumbo size jars of Jif peanut butter, causing others to have to move way the hell around you. Somehow, you manage to either turn the cart perpendicular to the item you want (huh?), or you manage to line youself up with the other carts in the aisle, creating the perfect blockade point. Never mind that there's empty space before and after the point where you're standing, you have to stop exactly where you are, which happens to be exactly where other carts and people create a logjam.

It gets worse in the produce area in the back of the store. The aisles are narrower there. Can we please act accordingly? Let's all please learn to recognize that there are people behind us most of the time, and that any abrupt stopping will greatly disrupt the flow of people moving around the area. Stopping dead in your tracks to get a free sample of king crab corn chowder -- and actally standing there to eat it -- stops things up. Even worse is when you stop dead in your tracks waiting for the free samples to become available. That's a little pathetic, as well as the cause of flowus interruptus.

Of course, this isn't limited to Costco shoppers. It happens pretty much at any grocery store I've ever been to. Serious, folks, does it take that much work to actually think about how your actions affect the others around you?

Thanks for the consideration.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I'm High as a Kite, I Just Might, Stop to Check You Out

Never ever let me drink coffee again. At least not a whole lot of it.

Yesterday, if for no other reason than because I felt like it, I stopped into the deli across the street from my office for a cup of coffee at work. I'm not usually a coffee drinker; I prefer tea. But my boss drinks boatloads of coffee, and his hazelnut blend always smells so good.

So I got myself a 20-oz. cup. Sadly, part of the reason I picked that cup was because I knew that refills later would cost only 50 cents. Oh, what a mistake this turned out to be.

I finished the entire cup before noon. While I can't say my heart started racing, I could definitely feel something going on. I was floating, but in a good way. I was more productive at work than I've been in a while, because somehow I was able to find a singular purpose. My fingers flew across the keyboard, making arguments left and right, and where I wasn't making arguments, I was making notes about what arguments I would be making in that section. I was on fire.

Walking slowly down the hall became something of a challenge. I felt with every muscle in my body that I wanted to be doing something else, like running, or pull ups, or something that engaged more muscle activity than sitting on my big fat ass on this fancy office chair. So I got up to take a walk.

My walk took me back to the deli, where I suddenly realized my empty coffee cup was, in fact, in my hand. What fortuity! I refilled my 20-oz. coffee cup (with French vanilla this time) and paid 55 cents. Strolling out the door, I took another sip of this newfound manna. Mmmm, heaven.

I went to play poker (as is my Tuesday night routine) that night and had a great time, if for no other reason than I was more outgoing than I usually am. This, you see, was because I was buggin'. Thankfully, I was bantering with people who were cool about it, even though I found myself employing such epithets as "bitch" (specifically "punk-ass bitch") (directed exclusively to men), "bastard," and "son of a bitch." (For the record: yes, some of these guys were actually quite cute). I also whined excessively about my exceedingly short stack which required me to go all-in on a J-3 suited (which hit two jacks on the board, quadrupling my money and keeping me in the game for another 45 minutes or so).

Then I went home, watched some tv, ate some cold pizza, and crawled into bed. The clock on the wall read 11:45 when I crawled into bed.

I didn't get to actually sleep until 2:30.

I was up again at 8:30 after repeatedly employing the snooze button.

Do not ever let me drink that much coffee again.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Don't Care How, I Want It Now.

So the protests at Gallaudet continue. Yesterday, the Gallaudet faculty joined the fray, passing several non-binding resolutions expressing their lack of confidence in incoming President Jane Fernandes. What struck me most was the following quote from a Gallaudet alumna included in the WaPo article:

However people feel about her, "whether the issues are valid or invalid, that doesn't matter now," he said. "This school will not move on unless she resigns."

What this person is saying, therefore, is that whether or not the students' protests were justified, they have created such a shitstorm that there is no alternative short of Fernandes's resignation. It doesn't matter if their concerns were utterly without basis in fact; students can achieve their goal of ousting the presence merely by throwing a monkey wrench into the works.

Cliff's Notes version of lesson learned: No matter what you believe, an effective way to achieve your goals is to force everyone around you to their knees, and eventually, you will win. Gallaudet students have apparently effectively employed a method of persuasion seldom seen beyond the six-year-old "Buy me candy" set: Sit on the floor and scream until you turn purple, and eventually the authority figure will sigh, roll their eyes, and give you exactly what you want.

While I'm at it:

To the protester whose t-shirt states that he was "dropped" by the D.C. Police while being arrested: Boo freakin' hoo. When you're being arrested, kid gloves are off. What do you want, a cookie? Maybe a nice fluffy down comforter in the back seat of the squad car? Gimme a break.

To the student with the t-shirt proclaiming that you were "arrested for peacefully protecting Gallaudet": I call bullshit. You were blocking people from entering the campus. Hell, man, even abortion protesters are required to let people into the Planned Parenthood, but in your zeal to "protect" Gallaudent you've prevented anyone whose views don't align with yours from even walking onto the campus.

To the Gallaudet administration: Grow some balls, already. You tried to have the gate opened and all it took was students forming a chain and saying "no" for you to walk away with your tail tucked between your legs? Get real. Civil disobedience is pretty much premised on the expectation of getting arrested, so since that's what these students claim they're engaged in, you should go ahead and have them arrested. As I suggested yesterday, you may also consider expelling them from school, thus granting you permission to label them trespassers and -- you guessed it -- arrest them.

Or, as long as you're so completely balls-free anyway, just give up and have Fernandes resign already. Just buy the damn candy for the baby already.

Sometimes, One Just Has To Vent

In a shockingly circular bit, this post is a way for me to do some venting... about venting. I'm bitching about the ability to bitch.

Triggering event: I'm extremely frustrated with a client of mine. This afternoon I was talking to her, and she drove me totally bonkers. I'm trying to settle her case and she's self-destructing her own settlement talks and then even says that she doesn't really care if the entire settlement blows up. I'm asking her all the questions a good lawyer does to make sure that my discussions with opposing counsel are as focused as possible and she absolutely REFUSES to answer them with any thought, and instead insists on not speaking in hypotheticals (even though those hypotheticals will come to pass the moment I speak to opposing counsel, and she'll have to face them anyway). She even goes so far as to actually tell me how frustrated she is, even though she is the one causing the frustration.

I hang up the phone with her (actually, for the first time in many, many moons, I SLAM the freaking thing down) and, because it simply had to be done, I let loose a very loud, completely unprofessional ARGH.

Now I admit that it was unprofessional. But there's literally three other people in the office right now. No clients. No one poring over a document with the focused intensity of a Franciscan monk. No, it's just me, my receptionist, and two others at the other end of the hall.

So I go to my receptionist (who knows I don't like this client much right now) just to say, "Man, I hate her. I hate her. I hate her. Words cannot express how badly I hate her."

Her response: "Man, what is your problem? Calm down."

Okay, I wasn't expecting a cookie, but since when is the proper response when someone is clearly venting frustration to be so freaking dismissive?


Sadly, this has been happening a lot in my personal relationships recently. I can't express a random feeling anymore without it being analyzed, re-examined, re-hashed, and placed under the intense scrutiny of logic. Suddenly, my friends have all turned into Spock/Data hybrids. If your feelings aren't logical, they aren't valid. Because feelings must fit within a particular mathematical rubric of logic.

Me: Man, that evening went on forever. I thought we were stopping in [to a friend's place] for a drink and now it's like 11:30. I thought we were going out tonight.
Friend: Well, you should have said something! If you were so ready to leave, you should have started making the moves to head out. It's not like you don't know how to extricate yourself from a social situation. I would have left whenever you wanted to. You never made a move to leave.

Was I bitching? Perhaps. Was I saying something was keeping me there artificially? Not really. Did I need to be blamed for being frustrated at the lateness of the hour? No, not really.


Me: So his mom was nice. Fun. Sometimes I wish my mom were more like that.
Friend: Why would you wish that? There's more to her than you see, you know. His home life is messed up. You don't know the half of it. You don't want to trade into that.

Did I ask to trade up for everything? No. I merely waxed wistful at the thought that my mother may one day sit down with my gay friends and my boyfriend and have a fun time with us. I think we'd agree that having one's mother enjoy the company of her son and his gay friends would be a cool development. Did I need an attack? Not really.


Me: Well... that was annoying.
Friend: You didn't have to stay, you know. I would have been happy to move along whenever. Don't act like I was keeping you where you didn't want to be.

Did I say any of that? Did I mean any of that? I think you're projecting what you think I thought. Get over it. I said it was annoying. That's all I said, and that's all I meant. Shut the fuck up about anything else even remotely related to that.


Me: That was ... odd.
Friend: Why do you say that? Was that any different from [blah blah blah]? Why is this situation odd when the other isn't?

Is consistency the only thing that matters in life? Am I allowed to find something odd if something similar isn't? Must I parse out the differences? Most importantly, must I think all this through before I open my big fat mouth? (Apparently, for some of my friends, the answer is yes.)

I can't take it anymore. I like for my friends to be there for me, to listen to me, and to at least somewhat ratify my feelings. I don't need them to be "yes-men," agreeing with me on everything, and I do expect to be called to the carpet when I'm being completely stupid, but when it happens all the friggin' time -- including times when I'm not being completely retarded -- I get sick of it.

And, frankly, I think it affirmatively hurts my friendships when I find that I have to stop and think about absolutely everything before it passes through my mouth. I don't like having to censor myself. I don't want to have to fact-process my thoughts before speaking on an impulse. In most unscripted conversations, thoughts just spew spontaneously. It seriously constipates the flow of conversations if I have to stop and think, and adjust my comments based upon what your perceived criticisms will be.

I feel a little bit better already, in part because I'm thinking the readers of this blog won't react the way I've described above. I've come to realize that venting on here is therapeutic in that way: no one expects to have to answer you, or contradict you. I feel like somoene's "listened" (even if no one at all has read this) and with that, I can be content.

Flames on this post, though, may send me over the edge.

Monday, October 16, 2006

They Don't Need No Education

So I've been following the Gallaudet protests over the course of the last week or so. After having shut down the entire school -- the university as well as the elementary and middle school, and facilities for adults needing hearing tests -- for three days, the administration finally authorized arrests for the students who had effectively walled off the school.

Frankly, why these arrests were so long in coming is baffling to me. The students have taken over the school and held it hostage to a higher goal that they cannot even articulate. Having reviewed as much as I can about the school and about incoming president Jane K. Fernandez, I can figure out no coherent reason for these protests. She was standoffish as a provost? Boo fuckin' hoo. What do you want, a cookie? She has never been able to hear but only learned ASL at age 20? So what? She's not black? While this may be a concern, it certainly doesn't seem enough to shut down the school over.

And to put it mildly, who the fuck do these 20-something kids think they are? They pay tuition to get an education -- from what I can tell, a pretty damn good one -- not to make dictates and demands on who is in the administration. On any other college campus I know of the students don't have veto power over the selection of their president. These "demands" that an unpopular president resign are pretentious at best.

Compare what's happeneing at Gallaudet with recent events at Randolph-Macon (Women's) College. Historically an all-women's college, the school recently voted to admit men. Did the students shut down their own campus for days on end? Did they deny their fellow students the right to attend classes? No. They cried; they mourned. Some slept on the lawn in front of the Main Hall in protest. Some initiated paperwork to transfer. Some boycotted classes, but I see no indication that those people also forced other students to stay away from their classes. Protesting was a voluntary effort for those who passionately felt their school should have remained single-sex.

At Gallaudet, quite a different protest is taking place. Those who disagree with the appointment of Ms. Fernandez have appointed themselves masters of all that is right with the deaf community, though, again, they can't particularly articulate good reasons for their passionate dislike of her. And these kids have basically set up a situation where if you don't agree with them... well, you'll have to effectively be part of the protest anyway. They'll boycott your classes for you.

It's awful that these kids have taken over the campus; it also shows a distinct lack of backbone that the administration couldn't do anything to shut them down earlier than this. Is it really so easy to shut down Gallaudet's campus? Just walk into the main hall and "demand" that the grown-ups leave? And as for "letting" cars into campus: since when do the staff and administration of any school have to beg permission of the football team to go into their own offices?

From the day I started college through today, my college has had four presidents (I'm counting one interim president for about a year). One guy I recall being quite a controversial pick. One woman suffered from accusations of inferior qualifications -- indeed, I recall many felt that her selection was tokenism because there were more qualified men than her in the running. Her selection did not shut down the school. It caused some dissention, and while students voiced their concerns, in the end everyone went back to their classes and went on about the business of learning. What the hell is it about Gallaudet that education should come to a screeching halt because some students don't like the president?

A brief list of things Gallaudet students need to give themselves more credibility now:
(1) a coherent and solid reason Ms. Fernandez "must go." So far everything I've seen just doesn't cut it.
(2) much more reasonable "demands" with respect to the administration. "We will not stop unless she resigns" will only make both sides dig their heels in, especially since you really have no right to do anything you're doing anyway.
(3) a reason the school shouldn't just expel your asses since your "civil disobedience" is serving to screw up the very mission of the school: an education. If you want to pay tuition then not attend classes, that's your choice. But when others are paying tuition and would like to have professors lecture to them and you won't let them, you are a disruptive force and deserve to be kicked out.

On a lighter note: Wow, some of these Gally boys are hot. Check out the shirtless guys protesting earlier this week at this Express post. Okay, I specifically referring to the one guy without any writing on his chest.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

On Singledom (Again)

E.: So do you think J. will talk to you again now that she's married?
Me: No. I'll never see her again.

-- Recent conversation I had with a girlfriend of mine

We were kidding, of course -- kind of the reductio ad absurdum of our particular social circle. The girls we know all tend to drop off the face of the map when they start seeing someone seriously. All bets are off when they actually go getting married. I'm sure I'll see J. at random intervals from time to time -- mostly for special occasions like birthdays (even though two girls have birthdays that coincide with her wedding anniversary, meaning that she'll probably be missing that particular party), but seeing as she already just this close to fell off the planet for wedding planning, I can't imagine I'll see her all that much now.

The wedding was this past weekend. I could wax poetic about how gorgeous everything was, from the reception to the dinner and dancing to the bride in her pretty white dress, but that's all been done. Take my word for it: everything was, of course, the picture of wedding perfection.

The ceremony itself was performed by a woman who was a close friend of the bride -- they were childhood friends and remained friends through the bride's graduation from law school while the other completed divinity school. The ceremony was fun that way -- part prayer and sermon, part reminiscing. Nothing personalizes a wedding ceremony than the officiant being able to refer to the bride's personal quirks and long search for the perfect mate.

One thing about the ceremony that bugged me. While I understand that I was there to witness and celebrate the union of two people, I didn't really have to made to feel like I was somehow defective for not having someone else in my own life. There is, I think, a fine line to be drawn between celebrating the commitment of two people to each other, and pointing and laughing at those people who aren't in a position to do that. This couple seem to have crossed that line a few times during the ceremony. Like 242 (I counted).

I remember a reading from the Bible. Thankfully, I don't remember where it come from (1 Corinthians? Paul? Something else?) but it was all about how much being single sucks. Stuff to the effect of "before I was nothing, now that I found you, I am complete." During this reading, I started checking out the groomsmen, who looked quite dashing in their tuxedos, though they were probably sweating balls.

It didn't end after that. The officiant wanted in on the action too. "We were made man and woman for each other," she started. Immediately I steeled up when I heard that heterosexist line, but I let it go for the sake of my friend. Then it continued. I don't even remember the exact words, but if I had to paraphrase, her sermon on love went something like this: "Two is better than one. We all strive to be part of a 'two' because we weren't meant to go through life just being a 'one.' Being part of a 'two' is being a whole; being a 'one' is less than whole. When we have someone else, we have that complement; that someone to be with; that someone to pick us up when we fall down; that someone to rely upon for the rest of our lives. That's just not possible if we're trying to go through our lives alone."

Obviously she was more eloquent than that, but I truly started getting sick of it. I've blogged about being single before and I stand by that post 100%. Being single is not a curse. Being without a partner is not a badge of inferiority or defectiveness. Many times, being single can be better than being coupled. The whole "grass is always greener" phenomenon.

I'm very, very happy for my newly-married friend. Really and truly I am, for she has found herself a man to be with and he makes her happier than I've seen her in a very long time.

But all I can say is, when I fall, I can and do pick my own damn self up, thankyouverymuch.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Seriously, what is the deal with the American public?

Okay, perhaps I should clarify: What is up with Republicans?

Some people have GOT to get their priorities straight.

This Mark Foley scandal has conservatives up in arms. Many a pundit now is predicting that races that once were close will tilt Democratic. Democrats, thanks for Mark Foley's predeliction for soliciting young boys for wildly inappropriate activities and liaisons, may actually have a chance to regain both houses of Congress.

Seriously, folks, this is what grinds your gears?

The White House lied to all of us about weapons of mass destruction. This has led us to thousands of dead American servicepeople, still more dead Iraqi citizens, billions of dollars in unjustified war expenses, and the feuling of international hatred toward us (which could very well lead to still more dead Americans).

Rank-and-file Republicans rallied around the lies and called those of us who questioned them "unpatriotic." John and Jane Republican -- average non-political hack people next door -- voted for "Republican" George W. Bush, helping to propel him into a second term of lies and spin.

The party which used to espouse the death of big government has sit by and watched as the federal government has grown the largest it's ever been. Maybe that's just because most of it taken up with the Department of Homeland Security. Because big government is okay if its purpose is to erode the personal liberties upon which this country is based.

A Republican sending sexual emails to teenagers is what causes everyone to throw up their hands and proclaim their disgust?

Trust me, in no way shape or form am I saying that what Foley sent to thse kids is "good" or even "harmless" -- they're seriously the stuff of phone sex lines, except these were being sent to sixteen year old boys -- but why is sex the only thing that stirs these Republicans up enough to actually get angry at your own party?

Events like this have convinced me that, at base, the Republican Party is really consumed with sex. It's apparently the only thing that really sends their blood pumping. It was sex that sent Republicans into a rabid frenzy over President Clinton. Gay marriage reliably gets Republican votes (even if some of those votes cast on the floor of Congress are cast by (shhh!) closeted gay people).

Okay, one edit: it's not just sex, it's also violence. It's the party of testosterone run amock; it's the party of boorish chest-thumping and gaudy muscle-flexing. They can't be bothered to cobble together money for public institutions like schools, environmental protection, reduced dependence on oil, libraries or universal health care, but put death and destruction and war and armaments on the table and suddenly there's a sea of green flowing out of that pork barrel. In many ways, it's like a head of household who would rather spend the family's hard-earned income on a large-screen plasma HDTV to watch the fight on Saturday night than pay the tuition for the kid's college education.

The story ends strangely though. Usually the hero, having only slightly bloodied himself while leaving his opponent in a bloody pulp, gets his pick of the hot babes waiting for him, at which point he takes her home and ravages her loins. But Heaven forfend anyone should accuse the Republican of ever having sex. Most of them seem to be quite the repressed bunch.

Just look at Mark Foley.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Compare and Contrast

Iraq, 2002:

Condeleeza Rice: "But we don't what the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud." -- CNN Interview by Wolf Blitzer

North Korea, 2006:

State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack: "The Bush administration will continue to work with its allies in the six-party talks to discourage 'such a reckless action.'" -- WaPo

To sum up:

US Policy in Iraq: "Saddam might have nuclear weapons. We're not absolutely sure, but we can't take the risk that he does have them. We have to charge in there and stop him -- toppling an autonomous government and committing the lives of American citizens and billions of dollars in the process -- before a mushroom cloud erupts from these weapons which, again, we haven't confirmed the existence of. Why take chances?"

US Policy in North Korea: "Kim Jong Il has nuclear weapons. He's said he has them. Intelligence indicates he has them. He wants to test them. Let's keep trying to talk him down. Kim Jong Il is so susceptible to reason and level-headed dialogue that way."

Monday, October 02, 2006

An Open Letter to My Uncle

Dear Uncle in Whose House I Crashed in LA Last Week:

Thanks again for letting my parents and I crash with you the other week. I really appreciate it. It saved me significant hotel fare and it was very relaxing to be with my family in a comfortable setting.

That being said...

In addition to the fact that the tiled wall in the bathroom of the pool house is quite excessive, I thought I'd take just a little bit of time to advise you about some other stuff I picked up during my brief stay with you.

>> I'm glad your proud of your wine collection, but -- and I'm no wine expert here -- it's not all that great. Your pride about your bottles of "Two Buck Chuck" were odd and out of place. It was a decent wine, to be sure, but it was TWO DOLLARS. If you were single, that wouldn't be the way to impress a date. In a somewhat similar way, I wasn't terribly impressed when you said, "Hey, how about some wine with dinner. I have a great bottle in the kitchen. Two buck chuck!"

>> Similarly, your pride in your beer collection is seriously misplaced. Cans of Bud Light do not an extensive and cool beer collection make. The lone bottle of Heineken was a little less ghetto, but it was clear you didn't want to offer that bottle to me when you pushed the Bud Light on me instead. Of course, you then changed your mind and offered me -- again in a strangely excited way -- "Taiwan Beer." No, not a beer from Taiwan. An actual can of beer labelled "Taiwan Beer." No brand name other than that. Dude, even your thirteen-year-old son was able to recognize that as a "crappy, no-name beer." At first I told balked at him, asking what the hell he knew about "crappy, no-name beers" -- until I found out he was right.

>> Speaking of your thirteen-year-old son (my cousin): Woah man, the way you have that boy trained is really, really disgusting, dude. He's not an electrical appliance plugged you can "Clap On, Clap Off, The Clapper." On way too many occasions, I was sitting next to him when we heard two sharp claps coming from another room, which caused him to jump to his feet and call out "Coming!" You probably already know this and don't care, but he rolled his eyes every time you did that. Even Maria Von Trapp, a lowly nun/governess, wouldn't subject herself or the children under her care to a means of being summoned which didn't involve calling out a name. Speaking of, your kid has a name, in both Chinese and English, so those times when you do refer to him, doing so as "Kid" in Chinese is also appallingly rude. No wonder the poor guy has issues.

>> Your lottery spending habits are craziness. I'm told you spend $45 A DAY on lottery tickets. Are you freaking nuts? If I assume 5 (rather than 7) days a week and four weeks a year, that's $900 a month you spend on lottery tickets. I'm sorry, but even the occasional win won't make up for the amount you lose on that. Sure you may hit the "big" jackpot of several million someday. But do you really think that $900 a month couldn't be better invested elsewhere for a higher long-term rate of return?

Okay, I know none of this was my place to say. See, that's why I posted it on this blog which I'm sure you don't read rather than telling you personally.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Rich Man, A Poor Man, A Beggar

The rich are not permitted to come anywhere near the poor. Marie Antoinette may have proclaimed "Let them eat cake," but apparently in America today, the better-off among us are apparently afraid they'll get cooties from those of us who are that much less fortunate.


I arrived at LAX the morning of my departure with ample time to make my flight. What with the "no liquids or gels" thing and my paralyzing uncertainty as to how long checking in and security checkpoints would take, I took no chances. I was about two hours in advance of my flight's departure.

I made my way over to the self-serve check-in counter. In days past, I would have simply used a kiosk and gone on my merry way, as I would not have checked any luggage. Given the aforementioned restrictions, however, and the fact that I had just seen my parents (and thus been handed a slew of things to take back with me), I had extra bags that simply had to be checked. No biggie.

Having tagged my luggage, I was advised to take my bags to the security screening area, which was to my right. I dutifully gathered my bags, walked over, and stood in the line where other passengers were clearly checking their bags for security purposes.

Without even asking, the American Airlines employee at the head of the line waved me off and pointed further down the terminal, indicating that I was to go there. Still having no idea why, I grabbed my things and started walking over there, only to realize I had no idea what I was looking for. Finally, still not having found what line I was supposed to be in, I went back to my original line.

The woman in front of me turned and asked me, "Are you in first class?" (I can't even bring myself to capitalize that). "Uh, no," I asked, thinking what a silly and irrelevant question. But I was wrong. It in fact was a relevant question, for I had somehow accidentally deigned to stand in line at the first class baggage screening section. The "poor" peoples' security screening was, as I had been originally told, further down the terminal.

This annoyed me greatly. What, first class passengers pose some quantum different level of security threat that they get different security screeners? (If so, are they greater or lesser threats?) Having read guidelines for when to arrive at the airport, I have never seen an airline suggest different arrival times for first class versus economy passengers. This is because, I presume, usually all passengers will run a fairly equal risk of being screened or held up by security procedures. Apparently, this is not the case at American Airlines at LAX, for first class passengers get not only a dedicated line to retrieve their boarding passes, but also a different (therefore shorter) line to send their bags through security.


But wait, there's more!

Having finally handed off my luggage to the kind gentleman at the poor people's security gate, I started making my way to the gate, fully aware that I would have to pass one more security checkpoint along the way. I turned around and saw a sign indicating that my cluster of gates was located upstairs. Fortuitously, there was a set of "up" escalators about 100 feet from me. (Notably, these escalators were only about 40 feet from the first class baggage check-in).

As I approached the escalator, I saw the signs but I couldn't believe it. There was an American Airlines employee standing at the base of the escalator (complete with lanes set off by faux velvet rope, may I add) whose job it was to check boarding passes. Yes, folks, this escalator was reserved for first class passengers. The employee took one look at my boarding pass and pointed me to another set of escalators at the far end of the terminal (past where I had started the process by getting my boarding passes).

This flabbergasts me. A special escalator for first class to get one freaking flight up? Seriously, do these people need their asses wiped for them too?

I made my way to the Untouchables' escalator (about three times farther from the luggage security checkpoint than the Brahmin escalator), went up, and looped around to get to the passenger security checkpoint. Just as I figured, the security checkpoint was the same one for first class as for The Rest of Us. Really, the only thing they did was make us walk farther.


I wish I could adequately reproduce a diagram of how retarded this system is and how all it did was fuck us non-trust funders. Instead, I hope this descriptive will help:

First class passengers:
1. Go to check-in line to retrieve boarding pass.
2. Go to baggage security line; leave luggage there for eventual loading on plane.
3. Go up the escalator to gate security.
4. Pass through gate security, proceed to gate, wait for flight.

Non-first class passengers:
1. Go to check-in line to retreive boarding pass.
2. Walk past first-class passenger check-in counters.
3. Walk past first-class baggage security line.
4. Go to ghetto baggage security line; leave luggage there for eventual loading on plane.
5. Walk back past first-class baggage security line.
6. Walk past a perfectly good set of esclators leading to gate security.
7. Walk back past first-class passenger check-in counters.
8. Go up ghettoized escalators.
9. On the upper level, double back one more time (this is the third time covering equivalent ground), passing below you the economy class passenger check-in counters, the first class passenger check-in counters, and the first-class baggage security station.
10. Pass through gate security, proceed to gate, wait for flight.

Man, rants like this make me sound like some kind of Socialist.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Boredom Never Felt So Good

I just got back from my trip to Los Angeles. My parents were there hanging out with my uncle (Mom's brother) -- with his wife and eighth grade kid -- and my other aunt (Mom's sister) was there too. I would call it a mini-family reunion, but there are so freaking many people in my mother's immediate family, this gathering was really just a small tip of the iceberg.

I did nothing at all of any interest during this trip. Nothing at all. Called some friends of mine to chat, but didn't get together with them. Went out to some great ethnic food. Went to hang out with yet another uncle (another of Mom's brothers) who lives about half an hour away. Ate still more. Took a few photos. Shopped a little, which was retarded, but strangely fun because it was with my mother, which I haven't done in a while.

For much of my three days there, I was bored. I had a book (Bushworld by Maureen Dowd) which I read during periods of downtime, and I got through about 150 pages of it. I feel asleep on more occasions than I care to admit. I took random photos with my digital camera. (I did not take it with me to dinner, for fear of it being stolen again). I took other random shots (mostly of cute boys) with my camera phone and sent them off to a friend of mine.

My parents made the obligatory "you've gained weight" comments, which I managed to let slide in between the many many irresistible foods they shoved at me. I had to share a bed with my father, which I haven't done since I used to get nightmares when I was six. The bathroom I used had an entire wall composed of mirrors, which I find retarded.* My uncle burned me several CDs of family photos.

Despite the lack of anything of any substance worth talking about during this trip (some venting about LAX to follow, though), the purpose of this trip was 100% met. They say home is the place you can always go where they have to take you back; I really know what they mean. I had always thought my relationship with my family was a little distant, but it maybe I was wrong.

I don't think I've ever before felt as bored and comfortable at the same time. I'd be much happier if this kind of bubble lasted much, much longer. The insulation is kinda nice.

* I'm sorry, but there are certain things one never needs to see, including the sight of yourself showering in a tiny little stall, or yourself peeing. I deliberately never turned to my left when I was, uh, doing other stuff.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Ties That Bind

My friend E. and I have this theory: Our parents make us sick. Literally.

Both of us have noticed that whenever we see our families -- or even plan to -- various small inconveniences rise to the surface: our noses start to run, throats start to tickle, hair starts to fall out. Okay, that last one usually actually results from us pulling the hair out.

I love my family, but extended stretches with them aren't my thing. We mutually strain nerves. We get annoyed with each other. We try our best not to get snippy, but we most certainly do. Then we feel bad about it.

I see them and I realize how much I miss them. But between those times, I don't tend to talk to them much. I know they love me and they want the best for me, but somehow it doesn't translate well when I examine their actions. Okay, it may be because I usually filter things through a twisted set of lenses that will inevitably change the instant one of them dies.

My nose is running.

I'm leaving town early tomorrow for a few days to hook up with the 'rents out in the City of Angels. There will be no fun time. There will be no "me" time. I don't plan on catching up with friends who live in the area; I don't plan on hitting up any gay bars; I don't plan on doing anything that doesn't involve my family.

I'm terribly excited, and looking forward to it.

Back on Monday.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Table for One

Okay, so I have once again reaffirmed the notion that being single sucks. I base this conclusion not on the lack of a default sex partner, or frustration of the search for that nebulous and ultimately amorphous concept of "companionship" or "togetherness." I reach this conclusion because, as legions of single people before me have learned and I keep having to re-learn every time I get even remotely ambitious, cooking for one is well nigh impossible.

Well, at least for me.

In theory, cooking for one is not terribly difficult: gather the ingredients for one dish, make it, then save the rest for later. There are, though, several flaws to this idealistic approach.

First: The temptation to eat the entire thing -- whatever it may be -- at one meal is great. Especially for me, because I'm one of those eat-because-I'm-bored kinda people. If I actually get off my ass and make, say, a pasta salad for dinner, the result is that there is a large stash of pasta salad sitting around my kitchen. Which means that after I finish that first bowl, I have a tendency to go back to the kitchen and grab myself a second bowl. Repeat cycle through prime time, and suddenly that huge stash of pasta salad is significantly reduced.

Okay, so no, I don't ever actually eat an entire box of pasta (gussied up with "healthy" additions), but that's usually because of the next reason, which is

Second: If I don't actually eat the whole thing at once, I get bored with it so quickly I really would prefer not to have it again the next day, either for lunch or dinner. No really, when I make pasta salad, it's whole box of pasta, plus stuff. That can last three or four lunches. Have you any idea how boring that is? Especially since, when you bring your lunch into work, you have a little bit less of a reason to set foot outside the office come lunch hour. Which means I usually end up in the office, taking my food out of the fridge, and eating at my desk, which further exacerbates the boredom of eating leftover food to begin with.

Third: Many items required for some recipes aren't sold in single-serve units. Fresh basil, for example. Celery stalks. Lettuce. Asparagus. Seasoned salt. Cuts of meat, poultry or fish. So you end up buying way more than you need just to add it to this one dish you wanted to try, and the rest ends up rotting away. Well, not the seasoned salt; it just sits around waiting for the next time you struggle desperately to find something to put it in. Banana extract? I've had a bottle for three years now. I only ever use maybe six stalks of asparagus at a time (and I use that many just to use them), but still the rest of the bunch ends up going bad. And what's the purpose of buying fresh meats from the butcher counter if half of what you buy ends up in the freezer anyway?

The other day I had the thought that I'd make myself burger(s) for food for a while. Just thinking about it made my head hurt knowing how much I'd waste. I could buy fresh ground meat -- maybe half a pound -- which would make for two quarter-pound burgers. But the buns would come in a pack of six or eight. That's a bit much. Then there's the fixings. I'm not terribly worried about the ketchup, but it's hard to buy just enough lettuce for the top of two burgers. You end up with a lot more than you want. And tomato? Buy one decent sized one, and half of it ends up on the burger while the other half rots in the fridge. Oh, and don't forget about the egg and bread crumbs or onion soup mix or whatever it is one chooses to use to bind the meat before grilling. Grrr.

I once had this idea that I would bake once in a while. Banana bread; peach cobbler; apple pie. Sounds like fun, right? Nah. Takes a bunch of effort, and it is just NOT a good idea for me to have entire pies sitting around my apartment smelling so damn good with me the only person around who could possibly eat them.

Okay, I'll admit that a greater concern for me is that oftentimes I'm simply too lazy to cook at home to begin with. But when I'm not, it's tough. I feel like I need to find some man to settle down with, if for no other reason than we can plan our weekly grocery shopping together then share our meals. Perhaps that way less food would go to waste, and less money would be spent on things never eaten.

Thankfully, I can get bonus miles for using my credit card at certain eating establishments.