Sunday, May 29, 2005

DC Eagle Saturday Night

The back porch. Around 1230.

I'm standing outside alone. The smoke and the heat from inside is a bit much and it's nice outside. The porch has a decent crowd, a nice mix of bears, leather guys, young, old.

And then there's this group of A&F-ish guys who are pounding the drinks hard and talking loud. Very loud.

"Look, I know that I have Ish-Shoes! But that gurl is messed up." One says to the other.

"Oh she is a big ole mess alright. A big ole mess." One replied back. As he threw up one hand in the air.

The Eagle, for the un-initiated, is a levi leather bar. You get a good mix of bear, leather guys, athletic guys, blue collar, etc. Big, butch, men for the most part.

What we don't see alot of are big nelly queens.

If you are waving your hands with a theatrical flush as you make your point. Or if you refer to another guy as "a gurl" or "she", then I think you may be in the wrong bar.

Just a thought.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Melancholy Mike? Danny Downer? Sammy Sad? Grumpy Gus?

Debbie Downer seemed a little girlish. I'm not that gay. Right?

I will admit that I've just been a grouch at work. My secretary keeps asking if everything is okay and I sort of wave her off. Or, we'll play this game where I go, "It's just GREAT." Like Tony the Tiger. And she'll go, "Fine, lie to me." I appreciate the concern, but it just doesn't help.

What would help? A little dose of reality and responsibility from my customer. Instead, what I get is just random, abusive, accusations combined with unrealistic expectations. And part of the reason why it gets to me so much is because I know part of it is a game. Let's just fuck with the contractors. Gee, that makes me feel like I'm a valued part of the team. AGH!!!!!

So in addition to the insomnia, which makes me tired and less likely to work out on my non-trainer days, I'm also stress eating. So I've started to gain weight. Yeah, that makes me feel even better.

So I was laying in bed last night trying not to think about the potential diaster meeting I had scheduled, I thought about the last time I truely lost weight. I had gotten back to DC after living in Naples. I was still in the Navy, but working at an organization where the stress was pretty low, and I worked basically 8 hour days. So that's the type of environment I need to be in if I want to lose weight. Losing weight will be good for my health, good for my social life, and good for my self esteem. Hmm, so what do I do?

I did leave work early today. Okay, I left work at 430PM after getting there at 6AM. Anyways, I left work, came home and changed into shorts and then headed to Axis to get my haircut. I left Axis with my fab short semi-spikey haircut that includes some great highlights. I grabbed a soda and then just sat in the park, relaxing and having a great time. It was so nice to just stop for a moment and let time sort of slide by.

This weekend I will have fun!! Damn it. Of course, with the work network going down, I won't be able to work that much. Damn the bad luck. ; )

Is it Friday yet?

Monday, May 23, 2005

Am I a Debbie Downer?

Someone at work made the comment that I was a Debbie Downer. I finally saw the SNL skit the other weekend and I got it. Yes, I'm negative at work. Too much to do, not enough time, tasking conflicts, over commitments, personality conflicts, etc. But am I really a negative person? I didn't think about it at the time. Sarcasm rules supreme in my office and if you can't make a joke about how insane it all is, then you will go insane.

But tonight I was coming back from the gym and I passed my neighbor coming down the stairs. "Hey, how are you?" I asked. And he replied, "Oh, not bad as you would say."

And that's what I would say. "Not bad." It's my standard response. If things are going to hell in a handbasket and I want to jump off the 14th St bridge. I'd say "Not bad." No one really wants to get sucked into my personal hell so why be honest and say "Things really suck." Imagine the reaction you would get. If things are going okay, then I'll say "Not bad." And even if things are going better than okay, I'll still say "Not bad." Just as most people don't want to get sucked into your personal hell, most people also don't want to get sucked into your personal paradise. "Great, I just had the best blow job or the best dinner or met the nicest guy, etc." It borders on the edge of TMI. So "not bad" has become my standard response.

And I'm beginning to think that's wrong. Or not healthy. Or whatever.

One of my favorite quotes (and I can't remember where it's from): "Never being happy isn't the same as being unhappy, is it?"

Am I subconsiously preparing myself to never find happiness?
Is this all some self protection mechanism?
Is this all too deep for a Monday night?

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Because a little loyalty goes a long way.

My letter to United. And I was so pissed when I was on the phone that I actually started to tremble.

19 May 2005

United Airline Customer Relations
P.O. Box 66100
Chicago, IL 60666

Dear Sir/Ma’am,

I have been a United customer and Mileage Plus member for almost eighteen years. I’ve always had a good experience with United and United Mileage Plus, but I am writing to you today to let you know that I am very unhappy with a recent experience with United and United Mileage Plus.

Because a little loyalty goes a long way.” That’s the tag line on your website for the Around the World promotion for flyers out of the Washington DC area. I participated in that promotion and earned 8 credits. Today I decided to redeem those credits for the free round trip I had earned. I went to your website and that’s where I made a mistake. I hit the button to redeem 4 credits which is only one regional domestic ticket. I wasn’t sure what “regional domestic” meant, but thought I could use it go to go Colorado to visit my parents. And then I really made a mistake by confirming what I wanted, without ever know that a “regional domestic” ticket meant a ticket good for destinations within 800 miles. That’s not enough for Colorado. When I found that out, I contacted United Mileage Plus via phone to see if I could fix it. The lady who helped me was very nice, but very firm in telling me that I had made the mistake and there was nothing she could do about it. And there was nothing I could do about it either. I couldn’t send the redemption back, get the 4 credits back, and then get the 8 credit award ticket. I couldn’t even redeem the other 4 credit award and then combine the two 4 credit awards for one 8 credit domestic round trip ticket. Four plus four didn’t equal eight. Dumbfounded, I asked for customer relations. I called customer relations and another nice lady listened to my problem and confirmed that there was nothing she could do either. She did offer to send me a discount for a future flight, but a $150 off is not the same as a domestic round trip ticket.

Because a little loyalty goes a long way.” That’s what the promotion said. I make a point to fly United whenever I can. That’s loyalty. When I tried to redeem the award that I had earned, I couldn’t because of a simple mistake and an unyielding and unsympathetic system. That’s not what loyalty’s about. Now I’m not sure I’ll be making that much of an effort to fly United in the future.


Bitter and mad customer (actually my real name).

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Happy Anniversary!!!!

A year ago today, hundred (maybe thousands) of gay and lesbians were finally allowed to legally marry in Massachusetts. The world didn't end, the US was not attacked by terrorists, heterosexual marriages are still as strong (or weak) as they ever were an cats and dogs are not living together.

In honor of this great fact, here's something I wrote pre-blog:


The Rosie O’Donnell wedding? Big deal. The National Tattler has found out that a major celebrity gay wedding is planned for the July 4th weekend and it is set to re-ignite the culture wars like never before. Later this summer after gay marriages become legal in Massachusetts, celebrity action figures GI Joe and Ken will be married in an extravagant wedding planned in the gay summer mecca of Provincetown. When contacted by the National Tattler, GI Joe confirmed the wedding by saying, “I’m going to take the beach, and then take my man to the altar.”

Earlier this year, a spokesman from Mattel, Barbie’s management company, announced the split between Barbie and her long time boyfriend. But despite the announcement of an amicable split, our sources tell us it was anything but. “She wanted the ring,” says Teresa, Barbie’s beach friend. “She wanted to get married. She had the dream house, the beach house, the cool cars, the clothes, jewelry, she even had the wedding gown all picked out, you name it, but what she didn’t have was a husband.”

“And when she found out about Joe, she was mad. Rip the evening gown, throw the tiara mad,” Teresa says. “I suspected something was going wrong a while ago. First of all, they never had sex. They’ve been dating for thirty years, and they never did it? That should have been Barbie’s first clue. I’m all for waiting until you’re married, but that’s a bit insane. Then there were the tea dances. Barbie has a standing tea party at her dream home every Sunday afternoon. Ken used to go. He used to love it. He really got into the different teas, the crumpets, the cucumber sandwiches. But then he got on this Atkins kick. “No carbs after noon” he would joke. And then he stopped going. He said he was going to “tea dances” instead with some of his friends. Barbie wanted to go, but somehow he convinced her she wouldn’t like it.” There was no comment from Barbie or her spokesperson from Mattell.

“I think this is a proud moment for all gay and lesbian action figures,” said Parker Johnson, the spokesman from the Action Figure Defense League. “For far too long, action figures have had to hide their sexual orientation to fit into mainstream society. Isn’t it bad enough that we’re not anatomically correct?” Parker said bitterly. “GI Joe is a national war hero and it’s only fitting that he lead the charge for equal rights for gay and lesbian action figures.” Gays and lesbians make up approximately 10% of the human population, but numbers for the action figure population are not known. “Oh it’s higher, much higher,” said Parker. “Think about all of the hyper-masculine, big muscle famous action figures, in tights and rubber costumes. They are all muscle mary’s,” claimed Parker. “They are just over-compensating to hide their sexual orientation. I hope this wedding opens America’s eyes and lets other gay action figures feel comfortable about coming out of the closet.”

But this new gay wedding has re-ignited the culture war. Leading conservatives quickly denounced the upcoming nuptials and are calling for the dishonorable discharge of GI Joe under the Department of Defense’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. “This is another attempt by the gay and lesbian community to subvert America’s children,” said Anne Koulter. “GI Joe should be ashamed and should be immediately discharged from the Army.” A DOD spokesman said that the Army was looking into the situation. Parker Johnson, in response to these inquiries, responded saying, “The Army can’t kick him out. He’s no longer on active duty. Their silly rules no longer apply to him. He’s always in uniform because it looks good on him, it really emphasizes his chest and arms, but he’s out of the Army.”

Right wing Christian conservatives are also up in arms. “This is a national crisis,” claimed Pat Richardson of the Christans Only Coalition on his daily television show. “This is another sign of the moral decay of our great society. Our little children are being indoctrinated by these gay action figures. What kind of adult will these children grow up to be? What morals will they have? Leave it to the gays to force their unnatural sexual practices on young children, isn’t that what priests are for?” Pat Richardson’s comments on his television show have led to action figures being kicked out of homes or burned alive. Some parents are claiming that the fumes of the burning action figures are giving them headaches. Parker Johnson responded saying, “Pat Richardson’s comments are completely irresponsible and hurtful to all action figures, gay and straight alike. Even now action figures are being threatened and killed. What part of the “Love Thy Neighbor” doesn’t Pat understand? I personally find the continual references to gay sex as a means to rile up the Christian conservative base and frighten mainstream America offensive and just plain stupid. This isn’t about sex, gay or straight. Action figures are not anatomically correct. So if Pat Richardson thinks it’s all about gay sex, then he must have gay sex on the brain. It’s all about love. GI Joe loves Ken. And I think that scares Pat”.

Amid all of the media frenzy, Provincetown is gearing up for the wedding. “We were hoping Ben and Matt would come here to get married, but this is much better, much bigger,” said Julian Smythe, owner of the Prince Albert Guest House on Commercial Street in Provincetown. The GI Joe and Ken wedding will take place during the height of the annual circuit party called “Summer Camp” when this small New England town is overrun with hot gay men. “Oh it’s going to throw a wrench into every circuit boi’s plans,” claimed Tom, a close friend to GI Joe. “Invitations to the wedding are the hottest item in the country,” claims Tom, originally a native of Finland, but who now lives in San Francisco. “I almost feel sorry for those boi’s lucky enough to get a invitation. I mean, what will they wear? The circuit party uniform is baggy shorts and no shirt (hot pants are so last year). But gay men never have an informal wedding. It’s going to be over-the-top glamour, black tie, flowers everywhere, maybe an ice sculpture of David. Personally I think Joe wants more of a low key wedding, but he’s whipped by Ken. He’ll be in his dress uniform if Ken gets his way.”

With the proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages and the recent gay weddings in various locations around the United States, the wedding of GI Joe and Ken will certainly be a media circus. Pick up next week’s National Tattler to get more dirt on the GI Joe-Ken wedding.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Discipline (and lack there of)

I was raised in a fairly strict household. Dad was an office in the Army. We lived in the south. It was always "Yes, sir" and "No, Ma'am." Then I went to the Naval Academy. A little bit more discipline there too. Then the Navy for 11 years. So do you see the trend? But it's weird, I've got lots of discipline in some parts of my life, but not in others.

Discipline. If it's work related, I'm pretty strict with myself. Work late, work on weekends, get the job done no matter the costs. If it's money related, I'm fairly strict. I don't go on shopping binges, I put money away every month. Stuff like that.

But if it's personal stuff, I have no discipline. I've never been able to control what I eat. I try. I really do, but I need to work late so I end up drink full strength Cokes and eating bad food. See one form of discipline overrides the other.

So I set a goal for myself to loose some weight by Memorial Day, and it's not going to happen. Usually I have arranged some sort of trip or something as incentive to loose the weight. And then when the date arrives and I haven't lost the weight, I still end up going becuase it's all been arranged.

However, this time is different. I have not lost the weight I wanted to loose, so I decided to cancel my trip to Chicago for Memorial Day. I ended up "eating" the one night in the hotel as part of the cancellation fee. Oh well. So no IML for me this year. No hunky men in leather. Yes I'm bummed, but maybe it will give me some incentive. I've already paid for the trip to Ptown in July and I must lose weight by then. Even if I am going for bear week.

Okay, so I'm not going to IML for Memorial Day. So should I shave off the beard/goatee? That is the question.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Bob the Builder??

Okay, I spent some "quality" time in the office this weekend. Yes, I know. Wow, what a shocker. There's actually a couple of fairly decent reasons. I ended up going to this conference this week and with the trip to Charleston the week before and then last weekend's crazy schedule I was soooo far behind. The conference I went to was for work, so the usual power geeks and business development/snack oil salemen. I ended up talking to one guy and I walked away feeling like I had gotten slimed. The best part of the conference was this speech by a guy who used to work in the DoD Office of Transformation. It was a really good mix of international relations, national security, and information technology. Just fascinating. And it got me thinking about that Masters I have collecting dust. It would really be cool to do something with my masters. I ended up buying his book (and the new New Order CD!) and I want to start to read it in all of my [sarcasm] spare [/sarcasm] time.

The other reason I went into the office is because I had a fair number of people working this weekend on the latest release. So I felt guilty about them working, so I came into the office even though I could do most of the work from home. Usually going into the office is better since I don't surf that much at work and I can usually focus. But not this weekend. I ended up spending too much time cleaning up my office. I ended up just junking reams and reams of paper. So much old crap I've collected in my nearly 4 years (and 5th office) at my company. Going through some of the various folders and piles of paper, I found old medical claims, minutes for old, old meetsin, copies of my security clearance info, and a "Bob the Builder" coloring book. What the f&^k? I have no idea what that was doing there. But I'm going to bring it home and take it to Charlotte when I go out to LA for the 4th of July.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Flavor of the Week? Cherry!

Another bizzarro weekend, but in a different way.

I spent Friday night in, just recuperating and relaxing from my trip to Charleston last week.

On Saturday, after the gym, I met up with some gay USNA alumni for a brunch in Dupont. Some of them were new faces, some of them old friends from our trip to Annapolis last fall or my trip to San Francisco in January. One of them was a guy I had known while on active duty, then seen again in Sydney Australia after I had gotten out, and then seen again a couple of years ago in Rosslyn. Talk about random meetings. Just too weird. As usual, the stories from our lives were familiar, and yet different, and ranged from those who had been forced out of the Academy, to those who had served for 20 years. The meeting was a little bitter sweet as the Alumni Association Board of Trustees failed to address the non-discrmination clause that we had proposed. They claim they want to support diversity, well here was your chance. And it got stalled in the governance committee.

Saturday night was the Service Member's Legal Defense Network National "End the Witchhunt" Dinner. A group of us went and it was a really special night. I saw some of the A-list gays (hate them!) plus some other people I knew of. SLDN does really good work and while I think we are a long way off from repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" I think we need to keep up the good fight. Former Ambassador Carol Mossley Braun gave the keynote speech and it was awesome. The dinner was fun, but the speeches were a bit too long. After dinner, J. and I raced back to my place to do a uniform change.

Cherry is the big circuit party for DC. So after swapping the tux for some shorts and a t-shirt, we headed to the Andrew Mellon Auditorium down on Constitution Ave. The big *news* is that the GSA (which runs that space since it's in a government building) decided to relent and allow the users (which would be all of the hot gay men) to dance with their shirts off. Hello, how can you have a circuit party without hot shirtless men? The space was amazing, the lighting was great, the crowd was okay (more on that later), and the music was okay. Was there a single word sung during the 3 plus hours we were there? No. It was all "bottles and pans" type music. Great if you are dancing in a "manufactured joy" haze, otherwise not so much. The crowd was definitely in interesting mix. I think I did see three lesbians and may half a dozen straight women. The men ranged from supernova "hot" to "damn it's cold can you put your shirt back on please." But I'd say it was mainly the warm side of the scale. After the "main" event, we went to an after hours party at Platinum where the music was better, the men were hotter, and we just had a good time. Until about 4AM which is when my red bull wore off and my feet were killing me and I realized it was time to go.

Men. Circuit men are, for the most part, very good looking. After another chance to observe them in their natural habitat (which involves lots of dark spaces, black lighting, smoke, fog, and lights that flash to the beat of the music), I've determined that there are two basic species. There's the homo maximus. He's huge. As in "I'd like a double steriod latte please." Which, of course, is a look I like. J. called me an "arm whore" since I'm attracted to guys with big biceps. Guilty as charged. The homo maximus generally tend to stick to their own. They dance (if you want to call their odd body movements, hindered by over developed muscles, dancing) in groups. Their drug of choice is X or maybe GHB. The other species is homo minimus. He's skinny. He's got the lean, cut look down pat. Old jewish women see him and cry as they try to push food at him. He loves his coke and tina. Tina lets him dance, not for hours, but for days. And who needs food when you've got music to feed your soul. Or something like that. Homo minimus goes into their dance haze and they will dance with anyone or anything. I saw one dancing with a mirror. They looked good. The problem is that eventually they get that really skinny, gaunt look and then that's when they get cut from the herd.

Sunday AM, J and I hit Kripy Kreme (hmmm, doooonnnnuuuttts!) and then had lunch. Then we decided to hit the T dance. The funny thing about the T-dance was that it was so odd to be dancing in a small dark crowded room and look out the window and see the sunny sky out there. I would have preferred an outdoor tea dance a la Ptown. But I will say the music was the best we heard all weekend and there were several homo maximus's who I had seen the night before looking all hot and bothered, plus some homo-minimus's who haven't stopped dancing since Friday night. And there was me, sober and just dancing away.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Situational Awareness

Situational Awareness is the new buzzword in the Department of Defense. It's all about knowing what is going on around you. Pulling in the data from various sensors, reports, etc and then use that information to help you engage then enemy.

In today's society, situational awareness is also an every day survival tool. Bad things can happen to good people at almost any time and to protect yourself you need to know where you are, what's going on around you, potential threats, potential escape routes, etc.

I've traveled around the world, to some not very friendly places, and it's just become second nature to me. Walking in a crowded souk in Oman, or down a dark street in Russia, you just need to be aware of your surroundings.

Chris Crain is the editor of the Washington Blade and he was recently gay-bashed in Amsterdam. Yes Amsterdam. A very friendly city, a very gay friendly city. During Queen's Weekend which is a big gay holiday. But he was attacked not be a Dutch citizen, but by a group of North African, presumably Muslim, immigrants. So even in a presumbably safe environment, bad things can happen.

So after looking at the pic of Chris, do I feel different about my little bit of bravado last weekend? I'm not sure. I still think standing up for myself was important. And it was 1030 on a Saturday morning in front of Whole Foods. There were plenty of people around and it was just one guy. So on balance I'd say I was pretty safe. The bad thing is that one knife, or gun, could have made the situation completely different. That's what scary.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Whole Foods = Weird Freaks?

I live around the corner from Whole Foods and I love it. It's such a great store and I go there way to much. Seriously, way to much. The Whole Foods (WF) on P Street has often been cited as one of the catalysts for the rejuvenation of the east Dupont-Logan area. Five years ago, this neighborhood was a mess. But you plop a Whole Foods in and all of a sudden the gays are there, the Embassy staff, the yuppies, etc. It really was responsible for turning the neighborhood around. And that's not to say that there still isn't a little bit of "transition" going on. There are still a bunch of old time shops and stores that look pretty ratty. And the day workers hang out in front of the old Duron store that's going to be replaced by new condos. So the folk who go into Whole Foods really run the whole gamut of society and that's one of the things I love about it. Usually. This weekend? Not so much.

Saturday AM. I'm pumped from my session with the person trainer. It's a bit rainy and I've got a rain slicker on and I've got my MP3 player going and just good with the world. I stop into WF to get a post workout protein fix. I grab some food and as I'm heading back out to the street, I hear very clearly over the music in my headphone. "FAGGOT." Again, my music is not that loud and I know what I heard. So I turn around to the scraggly, kind of scarey black man behind me, "Excuse me, what did you say?" Probably a little bit loud since my headphones are still in. "I didn't say nothin'" he says. "Yes you did. I heard you say Faggot." "I wasn't TALKIN to you," he snarls. "Well then who were you talking to?" I snarl back. The endorphins from the gym are finally kicking in and I'm just a little bit pissed off here. "None of your God Damn business" he yells at me. "Then I suggest you keep your comments to yourself," I say loudly back to him. "Oh, and have a nice day." And with that I turn and walk away. Okay, first of all do not even try to pull that crap on me. I can kick your ass even after being punished and abused by my trainer. Second of all, it's f&%king 1030 Saturday AM. Who do you think is going to be at Whole Foods at that hour? Local crackheards? Keep you bigotted comments to yourself or nextime if will be some muscle head who may pound you into the concrete.

Sunday PM. Went to JRs with a friend. After a couple of drinks (okay 4), I decide to go to WF to get some bread so I can make a sandwich with some left over veal from lunch on Saturday. As I'm looking around the bakery, this guy starts talking to me. I've seen him before. We went out once but not so much. Tonight he's looking ragged. First of all, who wears sunglasses in WF at 8PM at night? That should have been my first clue. And he's just a chatty Cathy. Telling me all sorts of stuff I don't want to know (the number of hair transplants he's had). He asks me if I'm going to Cherry next week. Cherry is the big DC circuit party. I tell him yes, but not exactly sure to what parts. Then he asks if I party. I tell him no. I've got a security clearance and drugs really aren't a good idea. Then he tells me that I need to take G. That's GHB. That all it does is make you horny and sweat when you dance and then it's out of your system. And that's how he's lost all of this weight. Okay, so I finally catch a clue. He's flying. Really high. All of the "weight he's lost." Yeah, newflash buddy, but you haven't lost a lot of weight. You're still pretty big. Plus, he's juggling this plastic container that has enough tuna pasta salad to feed Ethiopa, plus a big coffee pound cake thing, and then some other things. I'm thinking this is the post drug binge eating. Yeah, that's why the G isn't working for the weight loss. I finally escape, but it was just a weird night.

Lesson learned? Need to shop at the Soviet Safeway more.