Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Metrosexuality of NASCAR

When did NASCAR become so metrosexual, you ask? Well I think all signs point to Jeff Gordon's meteoric rise to racing stardom.

And if you ask me, it was about time too, as NASCAR was pretty much the last holdout against the metrosexual invasion. I know racing is all macho, but Indy and Grand Prix racing had been M.S. for years. So much so, in fact, that they now have had to go 'cross sexual' and import a woman to boost their ratings.

Now I know NASCAR is not ready for women drivers. Its far too sexist for that. But look at other bastions of manhood and how they have 'evolved'. Football has gone metrosexual: from the likes of Larry Czonka to those of Tom Brady and Adam Vinatieri. Baseball has gone metrosexual: from Catfish Hunter to Mike Piazza. Basketball has... well, basketball had Dennis Rodman. And Christian Laettner. And Wally Szczerbiak!! Enough said.

Sure NASCAR has always been redneck as all get-up. But what a brilliant decision by the NASCAR powers-that-be to skew the racing community toward metrosexualness. Just look at how the popularity of NASCAR in America has skyrocketed in the last few years! Just a coincidence? I think not.

Pretty sells.

Pretty NASCAR drivers are more marketable. Pretty drivers will draw in women viewers. You get the women- the men follow. And so does the money.

And if you are very lucky, you get some gay viewers with large disposable incomes to watch as well. All you have to do is a little math: one very cute driver + one messy divorce + one 'is he or isn't he' rumor = Big gay following. All NASCAR has to do is stir the pot a little (see top picture again!)

NASCAR made the smart choice in going metrosexual, and it is minting money for everyone concerned. I know it must really chap the asses of some of the old school NASCAR fans, but I'm sorry to report the old days are gone. Goodbye Richard Petty (ewwww!). Hello Jimmy Johnson (mmmmmm!).

Oh, and Kasey Kahne if you are reading this- congratulations on your victory in the Coca-Cola 600! And call me sometime!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Ah... memorial day

Forgive me fathers, for I have sinned. It has been several days since my last posting. I have been very remiss in my blog-duties, I know. But not having internet access at home does put a crimp in my blogabilities.

So, here is a posting in an effort to catch up.

Friday night I did nothing, save have a shitty piano lesson. Sometimes I have good lessons, where my teacher and I laugh a lot and I have these ever-so-brief insights into greatness. I use the term 'greatness' loosely here. I mainly mean that she will notice something about the way I play and come up with an eloquently descriptive way to fix it. Like "cb, you are much to stiff here. You need to sweep your wrists more, like... waves. Play as if you were playing ocean waves. Its all very zen in a way, and when I get it, its a blast. I quite honestly get giddy when I have these tiny breakthroughs.

Friday was decidedly NOT one of those lessons.

Saturday started as a good day. Early to rise, I got laundry, cleaning and bill-reviewing out of the way. Then I had my traditional smoked salmon bagel and coffee at my favorite free wi-fi cafe and downloaded a lot of music from iTunes. Then it was off to play 3 hours of volleyball- and let me tell you, I actually played WELL on Saturday. Last weekend I sucked ass and actually left early because I was playing so horridly. However, this Saturday I was serving hard, setting well, passing decently and crushing the living shit out of the ball when I hit. It was awesome. I even had one incredible dig where a guy drilled the ball, I actually got there and down enough to pass it beautifully to my teammate, who then set me, and I crushed it and we won the point. Ah........

Then it was convertible top down driving to Lexington to visit my friend Kev. We then merged with a couple that he knows, and we all went to the Eagle in Charlotte. This is where the weekend started turning on me.

The Eagle was kind of a bust. Not many hot guys, and the most action I got was a verbal sparring match with a rather twinkish boy from Michigan who was decked out in his favorite Detroilet Pistons jersey. He was cute, and had caught my eye earlier, and I DO so love the verbal sparring thing. But seeing as how he had a partner and the sparring was less David and Maddie from "Moonlighting" and more Bill Maher and anyone right wing, it was not that much of a sexual turnon for me.

Sunday was not a good day for me. After spending the night at Kevs (platonically), I woke up rather early and then drove home (top down of course). The drive was pleasant enough, but also gave me time to think and reflect on my single life. Never a good thing when one has been desperately single for 4 years in an area that has a severe dirth of elegible men. I had brief moments of clarity when I realized that I would probably be alone for the rest of my life, and that the rest of my life started 4 years ago. Kind of depressing actually.

And because I drove home early enough, I had all of Sunday afternoon to contemplate this. None of my friends were around and I didn't have any procrastination opportunities and nobody to play outside with. What I would have given for just one frined to throw a frisbee with. But no.

And so the depression-and-self-pity spiral continued downward.

To cap off Sunday, I thought I'd watch a couple films: Nanny McPhee and The Dying Gaul. I watched them in that order which was a mistake.

Nanny McPhee is a darling movie; Yes its sort of Mary Poppinsish, but with a really dark twist. And man do i love me some Emma Thompson. She is a goddess and I love her work immensely. And her accent. And...

SPOILER ALERT - do not read any further if you plan on seeing this movie and don't want to know a certain detail

And she starts off so ugly in the film that she's almost unrecognizable. But as the children transform from ill behaved little beasties into nice children, she transforms too. Every time the children learn one of her 'lessons', she loses a bit of ugly (a mole here, a wart there). By the end, she is her radiant, beautiful self and I swear I cried in several spots because of this little heart-tugging plot device.

So, at the end of the Nanny movie, I am a bit of a mess. I've cried a bit which is most likely reflective of my current mental state and I feel that it has been somewhat cathartic. I'm actually feeling less dumpy. Then I pop in The Dying Gaul.

Oh my God, this movie is seriously fucked up. Its brilliant and a definite must see, but so dark. So cruel. I can't even begin to go into it here. After it was through I just turned off my electronics and went to bed. Enough for one day.

And that brings me to my Memorial Day off. I am updating my blog, I've read K-dog's blog, I've checked movie times and plan on seeing X-men III, I've had my coffee and bagel at my favorite wi-fi spot, and I plan on starting the third movement of my musical composition.

I wanted to hit the reset button and make today sort of a do-over... but I can't get that damn Dying Gaul movie out of my mind. Or the statue for that matter. Perhaps its fitting, seeing as how the statue represents a memorial to a valiant, yet vanquished, foe.

Those crafty Greeks sure knew how to honor the fallen- not only their own, but their enemies as well.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Good Days

The two pictures that I am including today were taken by yours truly in New Zealand a couple years ago. They represent sort of 'bookends' on what I would call a very good day.

This first picture was taken inside a small, naturally formed ice cave on Franz Josef glacier on South Island. More about that in a minute.

On this particular day we had scheduled a 'glacier hike' in the morning along with some sight seeing in the area. Getting up on the glacier would require a short, but spectacular helicopter flight. Needless to say, my family and I were very excited by the prospect of all this.

Unfortunately the day dawned a bit grey and overcast. It went through alternate periods of sunshine and clouds and was a bit worrisome from a glacier hike perspective. In fact, the weather up on the glacier was such that our original hike time was delayed - by two hours- in order to give the weather time to clear. Evidently the helicopter pilots actually need to be able to SEE or something.

During our wait, we had a good brunch and got to experience that delicious "will we or won't we" sensation. After our flight delay, we made it back to the helipad and YES- we were a go!

The helicopter flight was awesomely smooth and beautiful. Very much unlike other flying- because you don't get that acceleration feeling. Its more floating. From above, the glacier looks like the skin of an elephant, all wrinkley and greyish.

We landed on the glacier, strapped on our crampons, grabbed our ice picks, and started the hike. Praise God/Buddha/Allah that we got the hot glacier guide named Kev. Kev sounds particularly nice when pronounced with a Kiwi accent (sort of more of a long eee sound).

I got along famously with a young couple from London. We joked and laughed about an evil young boy who was turning into a real discipline problem for our guide.

Anyway, the hike was incredible. Towers and canyons of ice, pools of frigid, aquamarine colored water, steeps to climb, breathtaking vistas, views of the whole glacier field, etc. It was amazing. And our guide was not only hot (and in shorts!) but very well informed with tons of glacial knowledge to impart.

Along the hike our guide found a small ice cave for us to explore. The opening was small, maybe 2.5 feet tall and 3 feet across. And the cave was really only big enough for one or two people at a given time. So we all took turns going in if we wanted. After wedging my 200 pound frame through that tiny opening, the cave balooned up to perhaps 6 feet in height. The light was eerie and absolutely beautiful. The picture above does not quite do it justice. It was like being underwater, but with better color variation and the ability to breathe without gills.

I could go on and on about the glacier hike, but it would get a bit redundant. We left Franz-Josef feeling very lucky and sated. But the day was not finished.

I got the opportunity to drive our camper van on a short journey from the glacier to the coastal town of Greymouth. This was the only time on our trip that my father actually relinquished the driving duties to me. Not only was it was very odd driving on the other side of the road, but I was driving on some narrow-assed two lane highways. And our campervan was big. Think small winnebago that can sleep six.

Some roads actually turned into single lanes when there was a bridge. It turns into this whole etiquette thing of who gets to cross first when two cars are on opposite sides. One of the bridges was wooden and also doubled as a train tressle. Guess who was having severe 'stand by me' flashbacks while driving THAT portion?

But we evenually rolled into Greymouth and found our 'holiday camp'-- campground at the beach. Greymouth sits on the left coast of the South Island and is washed gently by the Tasman Sea. Our camper spot was adjacent to a trail that led over a short area of dunes and to the beach.

After getting everything all parked and situated and comfy, the family and I grabbed some beers and headed out to the beach for the sunset. We cracked open our beers, toasted the day, kicked off our sandals, and waded out into the Tasman Sea. A picture of the beach appears here:
What a day. I had taken my first ever helicopter flight. Over a glacier in New Zealand no less! I had hiked on a glacier and explored an ice cave. I had safely driven a behemoth vehicle on the wrong side of the road. And I had waded out into the surf of the very southernmost Pacific.

That night as I listened to the waves crash against the shore while curled up on my camper bed, I closed my eyes and repeated a short mantra: remember this day, remember this day, remember this day....

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Offended by Sex Offender Hunters?

Nothing gets me riled up more than watching Dateline doing a "sex-pose" on sexual predators where they solicit men online, and then spring a trap on them when they arrive at the house.

I think its blatant entrapment by the law enforcement, and I don't see how it really breaks any laws seeing as how there is no actual minor involved and no actual sex transpires. All that happens is that there was a chat online with an adult 'pretending' to be a minor, and then a guy shows up at a house and gets ambushed. I really don't see how the law protects against soliciting a pretend minor.

And then these guys get arrested and charged and go to trial. All for a bunch of online fiction! Hasn't anyone realized that nearly EVERY chat online contains fictional content? I mean, when I'm online, I weigh 185 pounds and have an 8 inch dick, for christ's sake.

I guess my biggest beef is that I don't buy the "one age cutoff fits all" thing. What age is appropriate? Who's to say that at age 17 years and 364 days you don't know what you are doing sexually, but miraculously on your 18th birthday you suddenly achieve this epiphany on sexual responsibility? There are 12 year olds that are very adult and are probably capable of these types of decisions. And there are 25 year olds that are so juvenile in the sexual department that you wonder if they aren't retarded in some way.

I can tell you that at age 14, not only did I know what I wanted sexually, but I'd already done a fair bit of experimenting. And I know that I fantasized about several adults (swim coaches, gym teachers, tv stars, etc). What I would have given to have had an experience with one of THEM!

But had I actually gotten my wish and had successfully seduced my smoking-hot swim coach, that would have been illegal. And I obviously would have been a 'victim' since being 14 would have meant that I didn't understand sex and had no personal responsibility in the action.


At age 14 I was in 8th grade, and I knew ALL about the birds and the bees. I'd known since 2nd grade, actually, like MOST kids. When boys in 6th grade are knocking up their hotty 20-something teachers, you tell me they don't know what's going on? And this shit's been going on for years- hence the song "Hot for Teacher" by Van Halen.

And don't try for one second to tell me that the boy's fathers aren't secretly giving their sons high-fives for scoring an older woman!

Ok, which brings me to the second part of my diatribe. Sexual Offender Registration. The Supreme Court just upheld a decision that two Alaskan men had to register with the state and be subjected to having their pictures posted and the police and community notified of their whereabouts. Evidently their prison sentence doled out by the justice system was not enough punishment. They now get to endure more.

How's that for our justice system in action? You get convicted of a crime, do your time, and then are released on your own recognisance. But wait! We think you are still guilty and that the punishment of prison wasn't enough. Now you get to be the focus of community torment.

What about "Convicted Murderer Registration"? Or "Thief Registration"? I think I'd like to know if I was living next to a murderer. Because I'm sure that they will murder again, right? Prison didn't cure them. I don't care even if they killed someone in self defense or in a hunting accident. They are still murderers.

Now, I don't want readers to think I believe that people should just be free to fuck children. Because I don't. If the sex is not consentual or if the child is too young to consent, then YES- the perpetrators of these acts should be buried under the corner of the penitentiary. Nobody has the right to do anything to anyone else against their will. That treads on constitutional (and certain inalienable) rights and therefore is most definitely illegal.

And for child molesters and others who prey on children by twisting their innocence and trusting ways in order to 'get some', then yeah. These people probably ought to be registered and watched.

But a 16 year old choosing to have sex with a 30 year old? Or a 15 year old and a 19 year old? Do we really try, convict, sentence, jail, free, and then also register these offenders? Do 'statutory rapists' deserve to be registered?

Where does the punishment stop?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

How NOT to choose a career

I'm just a gay man trying to make it in a blue collar world. And let me tell you, it sucks ass. And not in the good way.

Picture of me in my deluxe cube ===>

Somewhere along the path of life, I somehow got shunted onto a decidedly non-gay trail. Perhaps I just wasn't paying attention or was bamboozled by some straight he-devil guidance counsellor. I don't know. But rather than going into a 'fabulous' career involving art, fashion, theater, or design like most of my bretheren- I became a glorified grunt in a factory. A fairly well educated grunt, but a grunt nonetheless.

This is rather mystifying to most people that actually take the time to get to know me. In the end, they usually think I should be in some form of entertainment (music, stand up comedy, theater, etc). But no. I maintain that I was brainwashed to think science was my 'thing'.

I did manage to squeak out a Master's degree in engineering- but its in a shitty discipline. Which obviously hasn't helped my career that much seeing as how I am still just a lowly worker-bee 15 years after college graduation. God, that $48,000 spent on my education was so worth it! Money well invested.

My life right now consists of driving out to a manufacturing facility in the absolute most rural area of North Carolina, toiling in a plant that smells like hot metal/kerosene/feet, and earning on average less than our electronic technicians who work overtime. (Contrary to popular belief- engineering pay is NOT that great). Imagine how happy I was when I found out my yearly salary is eclipsed by guys with a two-year tech degree who agree to work weekends? Truly heart-warming.

Sometimes I just stare at my office wall and start quoting Talking Head's lyrics "How did I get here? This isn't my beautiful house. Same as it ever was... same as it ever was...."

My craptacular job is brought into even sharper contrast when compared to my friend K-dog's. K-dog (I'll call him K9 for shorter) works in the beauty industry. He does NOT have a frou-frou job like spritzing cologne at people; he actually designs and plans runway shows for a well-known company. He gets to travel to exotic locations like London, Milan and Cleveland. He stays in posh hotels. Gets to meet people like Claudia Schiffer, Daryl Hannah and Sean Penn. K9 drinks apple-tinis with the rich and famous, within spitting distance from Paris Hilton and her army-o-skanks. Shit like that.

In addition, his job is located in a near-suburb of a big city in America. He, of course, lives close to downtown and commutes. The company he works for has amenities such as a health club, massage therapists, and yoga instructors in-house. They have an organic health food lunch caffeteria. He swears that when people fart there, it smells like jasmine and lavendar.

Not only do I have to work in an environment that makes a dirty diaper wrapped in burnt hair smell appealing, our caffeteria consists of 5 vending machines and 4 microwaves. Yes, if I want I can have peanutbutter crackers and diet coke for lunch. Joy.

Where did I go wrong? I'll tell you where. College. When I decided that I was 'straight' and needed a good 'straight' job that would please my parents. And a future wife. I thought engineering would be a stable, money making job that would support a family and give my parents something to brag about in the annual christmas letter. Forget the fact that I really hate math and hate getting my hands dirty.

Or maybe it all started further back- like in early childhood. Or the womb. Genetically, I guess I inherited some traits from my parents that predisposed me toward science and other geek pursuits. Damn my parents for getting me chemistry sets and legos!

I guess if you try hard enough, you can blame your parents for anything.

Monday, May 22, 2006

My Poor Friend Frank

My Friend Frank (from here on in known as MFF) is severely challenged in the 'taste' department, bless his heart.

I think it comes from getting married and living as a straight man for many years before finally coming out at age 40.

I think the gay giftbox isn't sent past age 35.

Because he never got his box he still dances like a 40-something white married dude, can't decorate worth shit, keeps a messy house, and only whores around with 20-somethings.

But what I want to focus on is his decorating (dis)ability. Please note the picture above. This is a cameraphone shot of one of Frank's cherished "art pieces". He did it himself. Hard to believe, no?

He came up with the quote in the artwork himself, of course.

Most of my brunch friends and I have since joked about it. Some of our substitute quotes include:

Journey is a Rock Band
Love is a battlefield
A Choice is now illegal in South Dakota

The best of Frank's original art cannot be seen in this photograph. He has an entirely cobalt blue oil painting that has the word "sky" fingerpainted into it. The companion piece is entirely red and has (you guessed it) the word "sea". They hang next to each other in the living room.

If the above picture were clearer, you would see that its hanging next to a recessed wall shelf unit (with mirror backing) that contains various chotchskies and knicknacks (bad pottery, gifts from his child, a biosphere with dead brine shrimp, ceramic figurines, stainless steel vessels, etc). Surrounding the festive artwork are several mardi-gras style masks that rival the best Andrew Lloyd Webber production.

I need to sneak some more pictures of his house. He has a curio cabinet that makes me want to go out and buy an aluminum baseball bat and then offer to 'house sit'. His mantle alone I believe sets the world record for most candle holders in stainless steel or chrome.

My private joy was buying him a truly atrocious, bejeweled clay elephant from TJ Max and then making him display it.

I'll take a picture of that next.

2006: the nadir of gay cinema

As of late, I find that gay cinema (for lack of a better term) sucks.

I can say this, because I am not only a movie maven, but I am also on the selection committee for the North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. Now, before some of you scoff at that and think that the words 'gay' and 'north carolina' should never appear in the same sentence together, you should realize that the NC film festival is one of the most respected in our country. This year marks the 11th anniversary of the festival and now we even have Sundance's stamp of approval! So nyah!

Durham, bizarre as it may sound, is this odd little island of insane liberalness in a big red sea of conservatism. It hosts the American Dance Festival every summer (HUGE dance event), the Full Frame documentary film festival, and the Gay and Lesbian film festival. Not to mention being home to Duke University, a huge lesbian population, and all things American Tobacco.

This week our little committee meets to finalize our film choices for this year's film festival (August 10 - 13). We've been compiling ratings on an ever-growing list of films for a month and a half now, and it is finally drawing to a conclusion. And for that I actually send up a silent prayer. I wish I could say that I was overjoyed by this year's crop of films, but alas... I cannot.

Please don't get the wrong impression; I love being on the selection committee. Its a big honor for me, its fun, and I get the chance to see a lot of films that most people don't get to see. Its cool to get to see the fruits of some other fruit's labor. Plus I get to be 'back stage' at the festival and act all important. Its ego-boosting for sure.

I think some of my negativity perhaps stems from the fact that after weeks of being bombarded by gay and transgender-themed movies, I honestly get a bit 'gayed out'. The rest of my negativity stems from the fact that the majority of the films are pure schlock.

I'm being generous when I use the term 'schlock'. To make it more North Carolinian, I could call it "Pure-T Schock". Dreck would be apropos. Drivel works too. So does shit. Whichever synonym you choose, it doesn't sound good.

I wish my ratings reflected some sort of overinflated sense of Ebert-Roeper egotism, but I really don't think that's it. When you boil it down, I'm an easy grader with fairly low standards. As long as the movie has good pacing, a few cute people, believable situations, and a few laughs (or tears), I give it full marks. And I enjoy the full gamut of cinema: drama, documentary, mockumentary, comedy, dramedy, satire... you name it, I value it all. And I really even lower my standards for the gays because of the independent nature and small budget constraints of the films.

But Jesus wept! The films don't have to suck, do they folks?

I screened at least four films involving drag queens trying to camp it up but failing miserably. Drag murders, drag zombies, drag queens trying to outgross Divine. None of the films remotely worked. I enjoy high camp as much as the next gay man, but these were more like low camp. Or the outhouse AT camp. Uggh.

There were several self-indulgent short films that were sort of documentary-ish but that didn't make much of a statement other than "Hi, I got a sony handicam for christmas".

The documentaries were a real mixed bag. There were a lot of docs about transgender folks- the most disturbing of which involved transgenders in prison. Seriously creepy. Oh, and my two personal favorites involved fetishes: pony play, and pup play. To spare you the google search, pony play involves people dressing up and pretending to be horses (with bits, harnesses, stirrups, blinders, riding crops, etc. Sometimes they even have riders). Pup play is similar but involves pretending to be a dog.

Also in the whole melange were some bizarre, experimental films, one of which involved stop action placement (and removal) of hundreds of donut holes on a naked man. (why???)

We also get a lot of foreign films. I like foreign films because they don't seem to be bound by the constraints of mainstream hollywood-america. In other words, they tend to be really out there. Most of these I generally liked. The slickest one was a futuristic, french, bladerunner-esque story about cloning. Unfortunately it was all in futuristic, parisian-french slang with no subtitles. Try following THAT for 30 minutes!

Of course, after sifting through all of this, there were a few keepers. If you can get to a film festival this year, I think you should look for the following:

Amnesia- guy loses memory, and struggles with trying to remember if he's gay or not

Boy Culture- I didn't see this one, but our committee recommends it highly

Coffee Date- straight guy internet blind date goes awry when date turns out to be a gay man. Straight guy's life spirals into 'gaydom' afterward against his will.

Long Term Relationship- personal ad brings two together, but trying to make it a long term thing proves more difficult

Mormor's Visit- swedish short film about an escaped granny who comes to visit her gay grandchild in NYC

Man Seeking Man- finnish short film about a man placing an ad for the first time, but doesn't quite get what he bargained for. This is one uncomfortable film!

Oedipus- French bladerunner-esque film. Very slick- as long as you have subtitles!

Room Service- my favorite film! A short about a kid who hires a hustler from an ad, and the hustler used to be an actor (and the childhood crush) of the kid.

What grown ups know- Aussie film. Sort of a complicated ailing mother / son /'daddy' triangle.

And that's it. Kind of a short list from the 100 plus films we received in. Not like I saw all of them, but it was enough.

That'll do pig, that'll do.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Necessity is a Muther

I'm what you would call a semi-handy faggot.

Of course I am not one to do tons of home projects on my own, but I have been known to dabble a bit. Especially when money is tight. When I am flush, I'll just call a handyman like any sensible gay man who prefers play to work. But in the past I have actually been forced into the following: mudding and taping of drywall, laying tile floors, removing (and hanging) wallpaper, putting in shower doors which included drilling through existing tile, installing ceiling fans, changing light fixtures, put in sink fixtures, etc. Oh, and one time I helped a guy redo his tarred roof (but that was merely to get into his pants).

Let me just say this about that the reroofing gig. Once I finally DID get into his pants, the dozens of blisters on my hands prevented me from doing much. As did the intense sunburn on my back. The whole thing ended up being rather sad. And not worth it.

Now when it comes to automotive maintenance, I must admit I'm rather retarded.

My lack of comfort around the engine compartment of a car is even more sad given the fact that I do engineering work for a company that supplies engine components to the Big Three Automotive concern. In my time at said company, I have learned exactly how a type-II overhead cam engine works, but not necessarily how to change the oil.

To learn more about zen and the art of auto maintenance, I worked with a friend of mine on changing the rear rotors and breaks on my 1995 acura integra. We also changed the radiator in that car. All I learned from this experience is that if you have the right tools, you can do anything. And I also learned that the damn car was starting to fall apart so I sold it.

Okay, so cut to a few weeks ago. This is several weeks P.B. (pre blog), so I am reconstructing this from memory. I was driving my bright yellow convertible MINI cooper (his name is Jack) though the wilds of North Carolina at dusk. If anyone has travelled through NC in the spring, you know it gets very buggy. And not just small insects, we're talking the HUGE ones that hit your windshield and it sounds like a truck has kicked up a piece of gravel and you need to inspect for cracks.

Unfortunately as I was driving and trying to keep my windshield clean, my wiper fluid gave out. And with my car still being 2000 miles from its scheduled dealership service, this meant that I was going to have to refill my wiper fluid. DEVIL! But honestly, at this point I'm thinking this is absolutely no problem for someone of my means and educational background.

So the next day I swing by the handy-dandy Advance Auto store, and pick up some great wiper fluid. Not only is it a fantastic shade of turquoise, it also claims to help dissovle organic bug residue,bird shit, etc. And at 4 dollars a gallon, it was only slightly more expensive that the gas I use, and therefore a bargain.

I take home my prize, pop the hood, and prepare to replenish Jack's wiper fluid supply. And that's when I realize that I really haven't looked that much under the hood of my MINI.

The engine compartment is small, for starters. VERY small. They have shoehorned in everything into a tiny space and nothing is where you think it should be (which I discovered later). Also, everything is maddening labled with those fucking european icons. I guess they figured not everyone buying a MINI would speak english- so they use pictures. Unclear pictures.

Well, its 7 at night, and the light is fading and I see a big, empty reservoir at the center-back of the engine compartment. It sits right between the wiper blades which is a perfect location for the wiper fluid reservoir. On the plastic reservoir is what appears to be some sort of spurting icon, which I think is either representing Jeff Stryker or the wipers. So I begin filling away.

It was only after filling the whole fucking thing up and looking a bit closer when I was putting the cap back on, that I noticed the red "X". It was then that I started to panic. What the fuck did I just do? My car is still under warranty. What reservoir did I just fill???

It was the engine coolant reservoir. For antifreeze.

Now I really start to panic. Antifreeze and bug dissolver are decidedly NOT the same types of fluids. They have vastly different properties (I know this from freshman chem class, I think). And the last thing I need is for my radiator to explode in a frothy, turquoise mess.

What to do, what to do... i know! I'll get a turkey baster and siphon out the washer fluid. No one will be the wiser and my warranty will still be valid! Yes! So I dash inside to my kitchen to my utensil drawer.

No turkey baster.

Come to think of it, I can't remember EVER using a turkey baster. I don't cook turkey. HELL, I don't even cook!

So then I start running through the litany of 'what can I do'? I could drive to the store... no. Because then the washer fluid might suck into the radiator and I'd be fucked. I could walk to the store- but its several miles away. The quickie mart? Doubt they have anything. A piece of garden hose and mouth siphon the stuff off? Too risky. If only I had something-- anything-- that could suck out the fluid from that damn reservoir.

Gasp. But wait. I DO have something. Its brilliant. And it will work. Its perfect! Why didn't I think of it before? So I run to my bathroom and get my...

... enema bulb.

This is something, in my opinion, that every gay man should own. After all, you don't want to be getting intimate sometime and suddenly realize that you have that "not so fresh" feeling.

Feeling rather triumphant, I run out to the car to begin my siphoning duties. My excitement was rather short lived, however, when I realized that the snout on the enema bulb was only going to get me so far. It was never going to be able to reach all the way to the bottom to get out all the fluid. I needed an extension of some kind.

Back to the kitchen, but this time to the junk drawer. Where I find the perfect item. A penis straw.

I am NOT joking about this. At a cinco de mayo party last year, there was a rather gay pinata full of all sorts of gag prizes. In addition to flavored lubes and stuff, a few lucky people got these plastic drinking straws with a male member at the top. Very anatomically correct, replete with testicles and veins. I guess its funny to sip a cosmo out of a penis... I don't know. And I don't know why I kept it, but I did. Fate has a sense of humor I think.

So, with one deft snip of the scissors (I cut off the head), and a bit of duct tape, I had a long snout for my enema bulb. And in a few minutes, all the offending liquid was siphoned off and squirted into the correct reservoir. Which, in case you were wondering, is located on the very left side of the engine compartment basically over the front tire.

Now, I did rinse my enema bulb quite well before storing it again for future use. However, the next time was a few weeks later, and when I used it I discovered that it leaked like Condie Rice shooting poolwater from between her teeth. Not pretty and quite messy actually. Evidently that bug dissolver solution did a number on it.

Necessity can be a real mother sometimes. But at least I had a fully functioning car so that I could drive to the drugstore to get a new enema kit.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Art of Seduction

Last night a cop tried to pick up my friend Kevin and I for a threesome. And to skip the suspense and be rather "Bertold Brecht" about the whole thing... we declined the offer.

First things first: about Kevin. Kevin is a friend of mine. ONLY a friend. I met he and his ex partner (they just broke up 2 months ago) through my friend-pimp Frank. Kevin and I hit it off instantly, being very similar in personality. We keep each other laughing incessantly and we have the same personal hangups, so that as friends we fit quite nicely together. And because of this, we very early on reached a tacet agreement that we would never sleep together. I think it would be like having sex with twin brother or something. Of course, I do realize that this is a fantasy for some, but in the long run I think it just fucks things up.


Kevin is pretty attractive (although he doesn't think so). He thinks that I am attractive (although I don't think that I am). And if I may be honest and slightly egotistical for a moment, I think at a bar we do garner a small amount of attention. We joke, laugh, are generally loud and friendly, and probably not too awful to look at.

So, cut to the Eagle in Charlotte on friday night. Its country AND western night (they have both kinds!) and the place was chock-a-block with cowboys and NASCAR fans. I can honestly say that I haven't seen that many hubcap sized belt buckles since I went to a straight bar after a Garth Brooks concert. Kevin and I of course dressed for the occasion by wearing our best cowboy hats (his from Wal-Mart, mine is a leather one from a thrift store).

Kevin and I are in the place for MAYBE 10 minutes, when a very handsome man starts talking to us at the bar. Over 6' tall, buzz cut, goatee, very "V" shaped torso, flat stomach, masculine, etc. Your basic bar-nightmare on any regular night. But Kev and I are wearing that magic cologne called "from out of town". That, and he's obviously inebriated at this point, as he is swaying just a tad and slurring his speech. Ok, and when I say 'very handsome' he would actually qualify as HOT. Both Kev and I thought so from the moment he did his first 'drive by'.

Another good thing about kevin and me is that we have nearly identical taste in men. So much so that I quite often ask Kevin when we are out, "Kev- is it wrong for me to find the guy with the goatee in the sleeveless shirt attractive?" If it IS wrong, I can always count on him to tell me so.

So the hottie is talking to us both. And flirting with us both. And buys us both a shot. I preliminarily got the impression that he liked Kevin more. But I think Kevin gets more attention that I do. He has piercings (ears, tongue, lower lip), tattoos, hairy chest, and is bigger than I am in a stocky, thick, muscular chest sort of way (the bitch). So with my ego starting to deflate, I try to hang back to see what is going to transpire next.

But then Kevin goes to the loo, and I start getting the full brunt of Mr. Hotty's attentiion. Through my conversation with him, I discover that he's a cop. Which is, of course, like one of the holy grails in gaydom. Now if only he'd been in a State Trooper uniform and I had to get out of a ticket.....

Well, Kevin comes back. And Mr. Flirty starts the 'touching'. The light petting. The touching Kevin's lower lip piercing and saying "That's hot". And then turning to me and touching my salt and pepper goatee and saying "That's hot". And then the questions like, "So, you guys aren't driving back tonight are you ? Where are you staying?" Etc.

Ok. Now realize that we have been in the bar MAYBE 45 minutes at this point. So Kevin (god love him) grabs my hand and somehow manages to gracefully excuse us to the outdoor patio so that he can smoke. We grab a far table and the conversation goes like this:

K: CB, I want to know what your take on all this is.

CB: He wants to do a threeway with us.

K: O.M.G! I KNOW! How transparent! I knew you'd pick that right up.

CB: Um, I sorta picked up on it when he kept touching both of us identically...

(CB mimes the chin touching thing and says "so hot")

K and CB dissolve into laughter.

CB: So what are we gonna do about it?

K: Well, he IS kinda hot. But a threeway is out of the question. Plus, it would be too easy. It sorta loses some of the meaning when there's no chase involved....

EXACTLY! There was absolutely no art to this guy's seduction. There was no mystery about it. No 'does he or doesn't he' moment. No chase. No 'coyness'. And honestly, that really ruined the whole thing. Even if he WAS a cop.

So Kev and I went back into the bar and flirted more. But with plenty of knowing sidelong glances and covert giggles. And during the parade of the cop's friends, we basically discovered that the cop is a big whore. AND supposedly bisexual. AND a big bottom (so much for the fantasy).

By the end of the night, the officer of the 'piece' had gone from an 8 to a 4. And Kevin and I (being the solid 6.5 - 7's that we are) could no longer justify even entertaining the idea of him.

All this drama, however, freed me up sexually to do the "smouldery eye-tag" thing with another guy at the bar. Which was fun- as all good chase scenes are.

P.S. The cop went home alone. As did Kevin and I.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Dethrone the Burger King!

That Burger King "King" guy in the commercials REALLY creeps me out.

He's got those "helter skelter" eyes going in that plastic head, along with the permagrin. The SCARY grin. And then the mime hands come out and present a burger or a croissanwich or whatever BK is hawking at the moment. Its just freaky.

Now I suppose this is fulfilling BK's ultimate plan of creating a memorable commercial. But their commercial is memorable the way that, say, a shuttle disaster is memorable. You know where you were when you first saw it happen, but you don't want to go back there.

I'm honestly thinking of boycotting Burger King, just because of these ads.

I'd boycott McDonalds too, because of freaky-ass Ronald McDonald, but at least they stopped using him in the ads sometime in the mid-eighties. Between that yellow jumpsuited clown and Grimmace, it was a wonder I slept at all as a child!

As you may have guessed, I hate clowns. Mimes too. I know that mimes are not 'technically' clowns. But with the white faces and the no-talking thing, they are in the same vein of creepiness. Tell me you can watch Marcel Marceaux or Muminchance and not get a bit agitated.

I also tend to hate mascots. Not ALL mascots-- just the ones that have that "I'm gonna steal and eat your children" look. Unfortunately the Hurricanes hockey team has such a mascot.

I love hockey. I love the Hurricanes. And (allah willing) they will win the Stanley Cup this year. But their mascot "Stormy" just has to go.

"Stormy" is what they call and 'ice hog'. I think he looks like a cross between a rottweiler and a cow. He's brown and white fur, with floppy ears and BIG BLUE EYES. What the fuck kind of pig is brown and white and furry? But its the eyes that freak me out!

His eyes used to be brown/black. Normal eyes, I would call them. But then somewhere after the first Stanley Cup season, he got a makeover. And his eyes got WAY bigger and miraculously turned blue. Like we needed to make an ice hog even more aryan!

I think there is some sort of mass corporate conspiracy behind this whole freaky, big-eyed spokesmascot thing. Maybe its a subliminal way of reminding us (the american public) that we are always being watched. I mean, look around at all the things that have overexaggerated eyes besides the BK guy and Stormy: manga, barnum and bailey clowns, the cars in that new pixar movie, disney princesses, bernie mac, the simpsons....

The list goes on and on people.

The Joy of Estrogen

Ok. First let me start off by saying I'm NOT a misogynist.


Allow me to borrow from a time-honoured racist phrase and say, "Some of my best friends are women." Its true. Sheri was my beer-swilling, hockey-watching, concert-going, cribbage-playing best friend down here in North Cakalacky until she moved. Heck, I would have married her in a heartbeat had it not been for the fact that she has a vagina instead of a penis.

But I digress.

What I want to focus on today is that although women can be fun to play with, they are decidedly not fun to work with. Or manage. And I have the unfortunate task of managing NINE women. All of whom seem to hate one another with a passion reserved for only the darkest of Edward Albee plays. Or soap operas.

The lab where I work is a daytime drama, minus any hot, shirtless men and/or love interest. I think it would do rather well on CBS. The name I have picked out is "Days of our Lab-ias". Its just a working title, mind you.

The women that I manage range in age from 24 to 54 and they seem to delight in stabbing each other in the back. Rather that work as a team to overthrow the evil tyrant (aka ME), they tattle on each other incessantly. And over the most inane stuff!

"J___ is selling Avon on work time"
"C___ is using FMLA when really her boyfriend beat her up"
"S___ took 40 minutes for lunch"
"M___ is surfing the internet"
"B___ spent 2 hours on ONE inspection"
"T____'s radio is too loud"
"L____ is on the phone too much"

You think I'm making this stuff up? I couldn't make up shit this good. Of course, each tattling puts me in a bind. I have to investigate the allegations, and then decide if action needs to be taken. I've actually written up nearly everyone in my lab for one infraction or another.

And of course, each writeup merely serves to add gasoline to the fire. Because after the person gets written up, they go on a quest to find out WHO told on them. And then it becomes their mission to find something else to tell me about to get back at the person who told, and the whole cycle (pun intended) starts again.

I swear its enough to make me go postal. But that would mean I would have to register for a gun license, wait, then go to Wal-Mart to buy a gun and some ammo (where else would one buy a gun??) and then make my hitlist... uggh. Its just too much work and I'm far to lazy for that.

So yesterday I tried to foster some teamwork by point blank telling them that they could absolutely run this lab if they merely worked with, rather than against, each other. Seriously. I'm so easygoing that as long as the work gets done, I couldn't care less if they took 40 minutes for lunch or sold avon or surfed the internet.

But I'm confident that it won't happen. There are too many Betas in my fishtank for there to be any peace.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Nice guys finish last...

... or in the case of American Idol contestant Elliot Yamin- 3rd.

I actually cried a little bit when Elliot was booted from Am-Id last night. Not that it wasn't fully expected, mind you. Elliot's story was nearly cinderella-perfect except for one thing: he wasn't cute enough. Unfortunately Elliot is more like one of the ugly step-sisters in appearance. And Disney storylines just don't do as well when the protagonist is, well, less than an 8. They can even drop to a 7 as long as they have a killer bod.

Poor Elliot just has his voice, bless his heart. And a heart as big as Texas.

It was the heart thing that got to me on Wednesday night. The 5 minute vignette of his trip home seemed the most genuine. His comments about how he felt like a king, and that even though it was just for a few minutes, he would treasure it always. (Hear that Disney? That's a heart string moment...)

The entire time he was home I got this sense that even Elliot knew that this was his last hurrah, and that he might as well make the most of it. It was charming, and melancholy, and heartwarming, and made me think, "Damnit. He's a nice guy and he's gonna lose."

This is yet another reason that America pisses me off. Elliot never really had a chance to win. He was just not pretty enough. Not 'hollywood' enough. Not (gasp) marketable. Too many times did I hear people commenting on his looks or his "fucked up grill". From the first time he smiled for the camera, I knew that this lepreuchaun wouldn't get his pot of gold.

How sad is it when we can overlook someone because their parents didn't have enough money for orthodonture when they were in junior high.