Thanks to Mel and Nicole, both of whom knew I would enjoy this little clip. So, in light of the recent pervy GOP contretemps...
Have a great weekend, and watch out for cops in the loo.
It never ceases to amaze me how quickly time passes. Thirteen years ago today, my nephew Ian was born. He arrived four weeks too early, way too tiny, and very frail, but seemingly overnight he's grown into a gangly teen.
Here he is with his cousin Megan, who is using him as a pillow while she naps.
Megan is three years old, and she thinks Ian is pretty much the coolest thing since sliced bread. (She never has napped on me that way, and my lap is far cushier and more expansive than Ian's.)
Today, sadly, is also the third anniversary of my mom's death. Ian was the first grandchild in the family, and my mom and he were great friends. It's a particularly cruel coincidence that Ian's birthday will always be colored by memories of the awful day we lost Ann.
I've heard Ian say, with a certain wry turn of phrase, that he has a "funeral birthday," but he doesn't seem to dwell too much on that aspect of the day. He's a normal kid who is eager to open his presents and eat cake.
His brother Gavin, five years Ian's junior, did once remark "We used to get more presents when Nana was still here." That comment kind of took our breath away, but really Gavin was just making a practical observation. My mom did tend to spoil the boys, just as she had done with my sisters and me.
It's very sad to me that Gavin will have few memories of my mom as he grows up, because he was just four years old when she died. Little Megan was just only months old, so Nana will always be just a face in pictures for her. Megan often draws pictures for my mom, though, and she tells my sister that "when Nana is all better and comes back," that she'll give her all the accumulated drawings.
Too bad three year olds don't get to set more of the rules.
So, another hypocrite holier-than-thou Republican asshole has been caught with his (queer) pants down. It's such a familiar story at this point, that I'm barely able to savor the Schadenfreude that ought to be the most delicious aspect of such moments.
My immediate thought when the Sen. Craig story broke, since I had recently spent time at the Minneapolis airport, is that I'm glad no GOP stuffed suit made a pass at me in the men's room while I was on my way to Las Vegas. Northwest Airlines made our trip miserable enough as it was. Fending off some married gay troll in the john would not have made the vacation any nicer. (Now seeing Dean in the Las Vegas airport on the other hand, THAT was a treat.)
Since I'm not a closet case, and I don't live for the thrill of doing filthy things in even filthier public places, the allure of cruising men's rooms for sex has always been lost on me. Just using public restrooms for their intended purpose is often seedy enough. No need to go jamming my bits under the stall divider or through rough-hewn glory holes. (Or even through carefully sanded-down glory holes, for that matter.)
I remember the night I learned that men have sex with each other in restrooms. (Sorry, no Advocate Men-type story follows.) Oddly enough, my father was the source of this knowledge. During a dinner party at our home when I was in eighth grade, my dad, a sociologist, brought up the topic of Laud Humphreys' ethically flawed study Tearoom Trade: Impersonal Sex in Public Places.
I recall several diners being mildly scandalized as my father described the research into what had been, and to some extent still is, a murky social milieu of men who have sex with other men and may or may not consider themselves to be homosexuals.
"People really do that?" I recall a female guest asking my dad in some disbelief. "Oh, I just can't believe it!"
My father, who has always delighted in shocking people, assured her that even at the University of Minnesota (a mere 100 miles away!), certain men's rooms in the main library were well known tearooms.
I found the conversation quite gripping, so I sat very still to avoid reminding my (no doubt horribly mortified) mother that I should probably be asked to leave the table while the adults chatted in this vein.
Several days later, I stopped at the public library and found a copy of Tearoom Trade to see what all the fuss was about.
Leave it to a sociologist to make sex dull. Diagrams of "Fellator A" and "Watch Queen B" aren't exactly the type of stuff to fuel a budding queer's imagination. (The good gay stuff, as anyone who was a bookshelf-snooping babysitter in the 1980's can attest, was to be found in the salacious Judith Krantz novel, Scruples.)
To each his own, I guess. But unless your name is Jake Gyllenhaal, don't go tappin' your toe near me when I'm on the potty.
Not afraid to have standards,
Our dear friend Yarn Boy is taking a brief (and very welcome!) hiatus from his blogging hiatus to let us know about a new collection of knitting patterns for men.
I encourage you to check out the book (it has Yarn Boy's stamp of approval, and he's a knitting god, if you recall).
I'm not quite sure what to make of that feeling, because it's very unfamiliar to me.
The last time I actually liked my job, it was 1996, and I was teaching German at Princeton. It has been a LONG time since I didn't face each work day with nausea, dread, or, at best, a sense of grim inevitability.
This is the third corporate job I have had since I left academia eleven long years ago. Within hours of starting the first two jobs, I had a very strong sense that I would hate both of them. As it turned out, I was pretty much right.
Don't misunderstand me--I made friends at both of my last two jobs. In particular, my pals at the job I just left are completely amazing, and I'm not about to lose touch with them just because I switched jobs.
However, part of what held our little rag-tag band together was the fact that we so badly needed the support of food friends to survive day to day in what was a pretty shitty work environment. We were a small group of smart, interesting people trapped in a boring, absurd environment that required us to spend something approaching eight hours a day seated in our tiny cubes when we had literally NOTHING TO DO for months at a time.
That's not a recipe for job satisfaction, no matter how much fun we had together at coffee breaks and lunch.
The vibe at my new job is unlikely anything I've felt before. It's, oh what's the word--NICE. People at my new company generally seem happy. By comparison to my last job, the corporation lavishes money us. We have amazing food (a sushi bar in the cafeteria--I mean what the HELL?) an on-site Caribou Coffee, and, imagine this--the software and technology we need to do our jobs! And so far, nearly everyone I have met in the Corporate Communications department is witty, liberal, and in some cases, not hard on the eyes. I even have interesting and challenging work to do that is highly visible and actually benefits thousands of people throughout the company. I mean, damn--I'm just not used to that.
Am I nervous before work each day? Yes, I am, but I'm a little less nervous each day. I'm also excited to go do new things, and I have literally never felt that in a corporate job before.
Yes, yes, I know--all jobs are work, and I know that there will be many days to come when I won't feel like going to my new, larger, better appointed cube. This current happy glow could all be just a honeymoon phase before reality sets in.
But you know what? I don't care. Because even if this is just a honeymoon, it's the first one I've ever had.
Have a great weekend, my dears.
Over the weekend I got my tennis racquet restrung, but picking it up at the sporting goods store was bittersweet. I have just one last tennis session with my pal Samantha on Thursday, and after that my tennis appeared over until next summer. I've really loved being back on the court, but it didn't seem like I would be able to put together many more matches before the snow flies.
Yesterday at work, however, I was delighted to find out about a company-sponsored tennis league that starts meeting in September and continues all through the winter. Amazingly, it only costs $5 per session, which means the the corporation must have some sort of deal with the tennis center.
Before I left work, I signed up for the league and received a friendly greeting from another fellow named Sean. It's an all-doubles league, but that's fine with me. I'm better at doubles than singles anyway. In singles I'm always thinking "Oh crap, where should I hit the ball," but in doubles there are fewer options, so I'm able to focus much better.
So, not only will I get to keep playing tennis all winter, but I'll also get to make more friends at the new job. I think this is the kind of situation people describe as win-win.
PS--I still really, really hate Sandra Lee, and I feel storm clouds gathering. I may need to go on a Sandy-rant again soon. Stay tuned...
Last week we bought an HD DVD player, and I have to say it's pretty damn cool. The first movie we watched on it was Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles. That's just the first HD DVD that Netflix happened to send us. It's not exactly a special effects extravaganza, but it looked really good. Gene Wilder's insane hair never looked so kinky crisp on my TV before.
We're not going to buy a lot of HD DVDs, because we still want to be sure that we're not committing to the twenty-first century version of Beta. If the Blue-ray format wins out over HD DVD, I don't want to be stuck with huge stack of "loser" discs. So, for now, we'll mostly get HD DVDs from Netflix and take a wait-and-see attitude.
Of course, I did want to buy at least a few new DVDs, and the first one I decided on was Superman Returns.
I've had a Superman fixation since I was a little kid. I played Superman a LOT. In fact, my mom sewed me two capes--one red one for when I wanted to be Superman, one black one for when I felt in a vampire mood.
Not for WG the sad, drab dishtowels sported as capes by other waifs in the neighborhood. I had fittings for my capes.
I no longer have a cape (that fits), but I can still get goosebumps imagining that a hunk like Brandon Routh is taking me for a romantic flight in his manly arms.
That hussy Lois doesn't deserve him.
Can ANYONE explain to me why this pasty, bloated closet case is a star? What the hell is wrong with the "Claymates" anyway?
He truly makes me want to wretch. In fact, I threw up in my mouth a little just watching this clip.
Justin Timberlake should kick Clay's pallid ass for besmirching "Sexyback."
1. Comcast Cable blows.
Comcast was supposed to come install two cable cards in our new HD TiVo on Monday. Darren was very specific with them that we needed TWO cable cards, since our TiVo is a dual tuner model. How many cards do you suppose the cable guy brought to the house?
One, of course.
A second appointment was subsequently scheduled for yesterday, again with a two hour window, between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m.. The cable guy arrived, and asked us "So what do you need me to do?"
Um, install a cable card?
"Sorry, I don't do that. You needed a different installer for that."
Huh. So, why exactly were YOU sent to us? ARGH.
So, now, sometime on Sunday, a third representative of this stellar cable company will come to the house. If HE doesn't bring a cable card, he might turn up in a landfill in Iowa someplace.
2. Broken tennis racquet strings blow.
I was all excited about my last one-on-one tennis session with Samantha last night. The weather was perfect, mid-70s, no wind, no humidity. We hit for about five minutes, and I was really striking the ball well. Then I hit an off-center topspin forehand and heard a dreaded thwack-pop sound that I last heard sometime back in the mid-'90's.
A busted string. Nice.
Naturally, I hadn't brought my old racquet with me, since I "never" break strings. So that ended our session. We're going to reschedule for next week, but I need to get my racquet restrung before then. ARGH.
What blows in your life today?
I spent my second day at the new job in pleasant meet-and-greets with a succession of interesting and engaging people who all expressed delight that I had accepted the job in their department. I did no real work at all today, but I came home dead tired anyway. It's hard to be charming and "on" all day long. The rest of the week promises more of the same.
I came home in dire need of relaxation. A beer started things off, and then I switched to my sock project. Tonight I picked up the gusset stitches, my least favorite part of socks apart from the dreaded kitchener stitch. (Sorry, Jesse, but it's still true.)
I'm really looking forward to wearing these, even if I didn't quite get the stripes to match up the same on both socks.
Gathering my strength for another day of "It's a pleasure to meet you, too!"
Day one of the new job has come and gone, and I have to consider it a success. I spent five hours in an orientation for new-hires, and despite how dull that sounds, it wasn't half bad. The presentations were well organized, useful, and not at all cutesy.
The company gave us each a voucher for lunch that allowed us to buy as much as we wanted in the excellent cafeteria, free of charge to us. I ordered a burrito roughly the size of my head, and it was delicious.
After lunch we had another orientation session, and then my manager picked me up from the training room. She brought me around for the office for a series of meet-and-greet chats with people I'll be working and with and sitting near. All of them seemed very friendly, and some were smokin' hot sexy-boys to boot. One fellow I met attended my alma mater (though two years ahead of me), and another guy grew up in my home town and had taken college classes from my dad.
My first impression of the company's atmosphere is really positive. I've never worked anywhere that was physically so attractive and offered such great perks to its employees. Of course, I still only have the foggiest notion of the actual work I'll be doing, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I won't hate the job once I actually start doing it. For the next few days, I'm mostly just having one-on-one sessions with all sorts of people. Tomorrow my boss is taking me out for lunch off-site, too.
The biggest relief today is that my request to work a 6:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. work day was approved easy as pie. That's a huge relief, because Darren, Hudson, and I are very happy with the schedule we've kepy for the last four years.
So, tomorrow I go back. The thought of spending all day meeting new people is a bit daunting, but if they're all as friendly as the people I met today, it shouldn't be bad.
More to come. There are 5800 people in my building, so you know I'll have some freaks to describe for you soon...
I had my final evening tennis session last night, and it was very enjoyable. Since the college kids who teach the class were feeling lazy, we just played matches and did no drills. I played singles against two different guys.
First, I played a nice half hour set with George, a lefty who I'd guess is about 55 years old. I would say I'm a little better than him in terms of form, but I got nervous in one of my service games, and he broke me. That was enough for me to lose the set 6-4. I had a couple really great shots that won me the praise of hottie college boy. I'm still glowing a bit from that.
After playing George, I played against a friendly yet oddly intense and sort of freaky fellow with bad BO. I can't remember his name, even though I made a point of introducing myself before we started playing. I hate when I can't remember people's names. Perhaps that's true of this guy, too, but he was very sure of my name--Scott.
"Great shot, Scott!"
"Wow, Scott, you sure do put a lot of spin on your serve!"
"Scott, do you think my racquet seems too heavy? I just bought it. Damn, Scott, I think it IS too heavy. What kind of racquet are you using Scott? Scott, yours seems much lighter and easier to maneuver!"
"That ball was out, wasn't it Scott?" (Yes, by about two feet.)
And so on. He had already called me Scott at least fifteen times in the first five minutes we hit together. I thought about correcting him, but he was so far into the Scott thing I didn't have the heart.
When the class ended, we all stood around chatting a bit, saying our good-byes, etc.. Finally I said I should get going. A flurry of farewells followed, and I started toward my car. As I got to the gate of the tennis courts, one last voiced called out to me.
"Thanks for a great match, Scott!"
Yeah, sure thing, um, Freaky BO Guy.
Well, the last day of my job has dawned. I'm here at my desk with nothing to do (much like my normal days for the past 8.5 years), wondering how long I actually have to sit here. Again, pretty much my usual routine.
Yesterday my teammates and managers took me out for a really nice going away lunch. None of them seemed very chatty, though, so I ended up talking a lot more than I expected. Good thing I'm so damn scintillating! They gave me a $125 restaurant gift card. That was a very cool surprise. Darren and I can go out for really nice meal some evening soon.
I have no big plans for my day once I'm sprung from here. I have a check-up at the dentist at 3:20, but that doesn't feel particularly celebratory. I had Mexican food, beer and margaritas last night with Darren's family, and I still feel bloated from that, so I doubt I'll be pigging out tonight, either. Still seems a bit early to lay out my clothes for Monday, too.
Well, I'll ponder my options as I erase my browser cookies and Favorites.
Have a great day!
Last week I hit my one year blog anniversary. I knew it was sometime in August, but with the trip to Las Vegas and all the new job excitment, I never got around to checking the exact day. Turns out it was August 4. Oops.
I don't know how I'll ever make this up to myself, but I'm going to try. Dinner, drinks, something like that.
Thanks for stopping in regularly and for all your comments over the last year. I've met some really great people as a result of this blog, some virtually, some in person. I owe each and every one of you swell people a Coke.*
On to Year Two!
* Coke offer must be redeemed in Eagan, Minnesota. May not be combined with other offers. Offer void in Arkansas, Delaware, and the United Arab Emirates.
While this two hour CGI weather-porn extravaganza isn't particularly memorable as cinema, the day I saw the film for the first time is sharply etched in my mind. It was late May of 2004, and Darren and I were on a weekend getaway to Duluth, MN, on the shore of Lake Superior.
We arrived on a sunny Friday afternoon, but when we looked out our lake-view window Saturday morning, a true gale was ripping across the lake. Huge waves roared by just outside our room and crashed repeatedly over the boardwalk. The wind howled through the hotel, and rain flew past in horizontal sheets. It was all very dramatic in a Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald kind of way.
Our plan for the day had involved a variety of outdoor activities, but the weather forced us to scrap our itinerary. We sat in a coffee shop, watched the waves batter the shore (and anyone fool enough to venture onto the boardwalk), and pondered what do with our wet weekend. Finally we decided to go see The Day After Tomorrow.
We drove through torrential rain and gusty winds to a drab little theater a few miles from the lake. We plopped ourselves into the stained, threadbare seats and watched lovely Jake Gyllenhaal and still hunky Dennis Quaid fight the weather for two hours. In the end, the weather pretty much wins, but the two hot guys live, so it's all good.
When the house lights came up, we stepped back out into the gale, feeling as though we were somehow caught up in the film we had just seen. Alas, no soaking wet Jake awaited us in our hotel room.
There's more to my attachment to this movie than the Gyllenhaal Effect and freaky meteorological synchronicity, however.
Watching this overwrought bit of celluloid reminds me of the last day I felt hope about my mother's health. A week before we took our trip to Duluth, my mom had undergone cancer surgery, and in the days after her operation, she had narrowly survived a sudden pulmonary embolism. By Memorial Day weekend her condition had greatly improved, and she was due to leave the hospital in several days. As we watched The Day After Tomorrow, for the first time in weeks I found myself relaxing, and at least for two hours, I was able to push aside my fears.
So, as I sit here watching Jake struggle through the flooded streets of New York for probably the twentieth time, I experience faint echoes of a day when I thought things might turn out okay for my mom and my family after all. In the end, things weren't okay, but this silly movie still bears the imprint of the hope I felt that day.
So, if you're ever channel surfing at my house and you come across a scene of Jake being chased by wolves through a Russian cargo ship stranded on Fifth Avenue, settle in because we're not going anywhere.
It's a strange and, given the tragic circumstances, unwelcome feeling to see Minneapolis splashed across every newspaper, website, and TV channel. (Has CNN showed anything else in the last day but footage of the bridge collapse?)
I've always resented it when Minnesota is referred to as a "fly-over state," but I'd prefer that insulting, externally imposed anonymity to the sudden notoriety the bridge collapse tragedy has brought us. This is truly an awful time in the Twin Cities.
With so many people still unaccounted for, the news today remains grim, and it's only going to get worse as divers resume their recovery work in the murky Mississippi.
So far, amazingly, none of our friends or family has a direct connection to the disaster. A close friend of ours drove that span just minutes before the collapse, and one of my coworkers was only twenty cars back from the bridge, on her way to a Twins game, when the structure failed. Another good friend works just blocks from the site, but she was safely away at the time of the disaster. Today she described to me the chaos in the area near the bridge.
It seems like my friends and I have reflexively been reaching out to check on each other, and I've spoken to a number of family members who didn't get my "We're okay!" email last night. All day at work I heard people receiving calls from concerned friends and family.
I'm really proud of how well the Twin Cities metro area has responded in this crisis. The disaster response teams in Minneapolis have done amazing work, and ordinary people on the street have accomplished great things, too. I'm not sure I would have had the courage to dash into the waters of the Mississippi to pull people from their cars amid the twisted steel and concrete, but that's a story we have heard repeated many times already.
I feel such sadness today for the families who have already received tragic news, and I can only imagine what it's like for people who are still hoping for news of their loved ones.
In the days after 9/11, I often had sick feeling in my stomach when I saw jets fly overhead. I think a lot of us here feel something akin to that as we zip back and forth across the Mississippi on bridges high above the water. I know that I nudged my car up an extra five miles per hour as I went to work across the Mendota Bridge today. I'm glad I only have for more days of that commute.
I'll be going back to my regular (utterly random) blog-topics after this post about the disaster. Just keep us Minnesota folks in your thoughts.
I was in the midst of composing a post for tomorrow when my sister called to make sure I was "safe at home." I had no idea what she was talking about, but she told me to turn on the TV and I'd see what she meant.
As you have probably heard by now, one of the major interstate bridges near downtown Minneapolis collapsed during rush hour, dumping cars, buses, and trucks down into the Mississippi.
I cross the river twice a day (on a different bridge), and I've morbidly imagined many times what it would be like to be on the bridge if it collapsed. It's horrifying to me that scores of people have actually experienced such a disaster this evening.
Thanks to those of you who have checked in on me! Darren and I are fine, as is everyone in my family. My boss just called, too, and no one in my team was at the bridge when it collapsed.
Wish us luck here. It's a bad day.
I'm a week past the excitement of the job offer and the joy of giving notice, so naturally worry is already creeping in. I start the new job on August 13, and right now I'm feeling something akin to back-to-school anxiety. I'm a bit queasy, a bit unsettled. I expect those feelings to get much stronger over the next two weeks.
Even when I was in Las Vegas last week, playing video poker with four Long Island ice teas pickling my brain, I was starting to feel stabs of "What if I'm making a huge mistake?"
I'm not making a mistake, though. Everyone agrees, even my managers at my current job, who have told me that I'm making a smart career move. (Sure, NOW they can admit I have a dead-end job!) I've been in my job eight years, and I've wanted to leave it for at least seven of those years. Well, okay, since nearly the first day.
I know it's normal to feel anxiety before starting a new job. The trouble is, I feel stabs of anxiety before going to a movie or driving across town to a friend's house. So, extrapolate from there, and you'll see that starting at a new company is enough to have me upchucking my Cheerios. For six months.
The irony is that even a sucky job can be pretty enjoyable when you know you have just a few more days left to serve on your sentence. I'm keeping very busy documenting web publication tasks that will be falling to my coworkers when I leave. I haven't had this much work to do in years, and the days are flying by. All I had to do to become productive was resign!
Better yet, I can arrive late, leave early, and not pay any attention at staff meetings. Everyone keeps telling me how much they'll miss me, and that's a nice feeling, too. It's also great to know that the stupid, make-work projects I've been putting off no longer matter. (HA, now I'll NEVER have to redesign that huge web site that no one even uses!)
Leaving is just scary, that's all.
Deep breaths. It's going to be a great change for the better. I can do this.
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