Friday, January 27, 2006

Another vacation!

Yep, I'm running away for another vacation. My timing is pretty good as the weather here is getting pretty cold and considering that I'm just losing it at work.

No email, no phones, no one bugging me and no one dumping their problems on me. But wait, that's not all!

Warm tropical islands. Cool frothy drinks poolside while hotties wander by. Yes, it all sounds so good.

A full trip report when I return next week.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

When a Pop Star Sings?

Do pop stars sing to their own music when they are driving?

Or rather, I should say, do pop stars sing to their own music when they are being driven somewhere? Cause really, what kind of pop star are you if you are driving your own car?

So for example, when Kelly Clarkson (love her!) is being driven around LA and gets stuck in a traffic jam, does she sing to her own song on the radio, or does she wait for a Britney Spear's song or a Beyonce song?

Hmm, bad example. That would be like "American Idol in a Car". Her singing someone else's songs. Not so much. So I'm thinking no, she doesn't sing along to other people's songs.

So the question remains: Does she sing along with her own songs?

And what does she think about the thousands of people who are singing along with her while trapped in their cars?

Saturday, January 21, 2006


So the USNA Alumni Association Board of Trustees won’t support a non-discrimination statement that includes sexual orientation or gender identity. Their reasoning: we’re already an inclusive organization and we don’t need that. This coming from the very diverse Board of Trustees that is made up of all men, and only one African American. Nice. What they told USNA Out was that we needed to prove that we were being discriminating against at the local chapters. Any proof would surely be hearsay, but that’s what they said.

So knowing that the DC chapter would probably be one of the most conservative alumni chapters, I decided that I would go to a meeting to see how inclusive they really were. But the problem was that I just didn’t want to go up to some one and say, “Hi, I’m Trey, Class of 89, and I’m gay.” I needed to work some angle or look for some opportunity and it happened this week. The Greater Washington Naval Academy Alumni Association was hosting their monthly luncheon and CAPT Patricia Cole, the Special Assistant to the CNO for Diversity was going to be the speaker. So this would be a great time for me to raise the issue of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and put myself out there with out really outing myself in some strange artificial fashion.

As I drove out to the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, I called Jeff in SF to help me work up a good question. We came up with something like this: “CAPT Cole, thanks for coming here, I really appreciate your brief and am a strong believer in diversity. However, there is a group of US citizens who are not allowed to use their energy, skills, and talent to help the Navy. What are your thoughts about allowing gays and lesbians to openly serve in the Navy?” I sat in the parking lot and wrote the question down so I wouldn’t mess it up and then I went inside, signed in, got a drink and did a quick surveillance of the room. There were maybe 30 people there. Three active duty officers (in addition to CAPT Cole), a couple of women, and then the rest were men. Primarily from the older classes of the Academy. CAPT Cole was the only ethnic minority there. I sat a table with two alumni and we had a pleasant conversation. One of them was from the Class of 49 and a little bit senile, but he did tell the most interesting stories.

After lunch, CAPT Cole got up and gave her presentation. The Navy has come up with a new definition of diversity: “Diversity is all the different characteristics and attributes of individual Sailors and civilians which enhance the mission readiness of the Navy.” The Navy wanted to get people out of the mind set of only thinking of ethnic or gender diversity and look at the broader picture. She did say that while they were looking at other diversity issues, she was mainly going to focus on ethnic and gender diversity. She said that she wasn’t going to talk about homosexuality, but she did say that a senior officer on the Diversity Vision Group had raised the issue and but she couldn’t really address it. Her comment sort of made my question irrelevant, so as I listened to her brief, I started to think about a new way to raise the issue.

She showed slides about the current US demographics and how the Navy relates from an officer and enlisted perspective. She also showed the projected demographics for 2050 and talked about how the Navy needs to be looking at what it needs to do between now and then to ensure we have the diverse Navy, and Navy leadership, that we need. And that’s when I knew I had my question.

After the brief, she entertained questions and they were interesting. One alumni raised the issue on whether sailors think of themselves as lifers anymore. That all of this stressing of the individual was a bad thing. That sailors now were so individualistic that they thought of the Navy as just a job, not a career. CAPT Cole responded that in today’s young sailors, you need to reassure the sailor that his worth as an individual was recognized and valued. After a couple of other questions, I raised my hand, but some alumni from ’51 cut me off. He proceeded to comments that sometimes diversity for diversity sake is a bad thing. We don’t want to make diversity the end goal. And CAPT Cole responded that the Navy wasn’t going to be changing our core values: Ship, shipmate, self. But that we need to take advantage of the different skills that our diverse nation has. Then the ’51 guy started saying that we don’t necessarily want to just let anyone in. And then he said, “Those blacks” and I just cringed. “We don’t want those blacks if they can’t meet the standards. We need to make it hard so those blacks want to join.” CAPT Cole (who is African American and was just the epitome of professionalism) responded that the Navy wasn’t lowering standards. That in fact the Navy’s recruitment’s standards were actually rising. After she responded to him, she turned to me for the final question of the day.

“CAPT Cole, I just want to say that I found your brief very informative and I like the new definition of diversity very much. I also think it’s good that your team is looking forward to the diversity challenges of the future. However, I do want to raise the homosexuality issue that you alluded to before. Sooner or later “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is going to be repealed, there are already over 100 sponsors to the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, and the United States is just one of two countries in NATO that don’t allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the Navy, the other being Turkey. When is the Navy going to start looking at the unique talents and skills that the gays and lesbians in the United States can offer to help enhance the Navy.” And that point I almost choked. I was really nervous and I could feel my pulse pounding in my head.

CAPT Cole started off by saying that she couldn’t do anything about it right now because she’s constrained by law. But she did say that this was an issue that the Navy was going to have to deal with eventually. She mentioned the senior officer’s concern from the Diversity Vision group, she mentioned the business imperative to recruit high quality candidates, she mentioned that if the Navy is going to reflect the US society then changes will be needed. She also said that society as a whole generally has a negative view of an organization that supports discrimination and the US military is going to have to deal with that.

I thought she answered the question pretty well without making any grandiose or earthshaking comments which I think she knew better than to do. The whole time she responded to my question, I kept my focus on her so I didn’t get a chance to check out the reaction of the rest of the crowd. After she answered my question, they gave her a little plate and the luncheon was over. The alumni to my right was friendly and said that I had asked a good question. After that, I went over to thank CAPT Cole for answering my question. While I was waiting to speak to her, a woman came up to me and said she was from Verizon and she commented on my question as well. She said that from a commercial industry perspective, diversity and openness is key to employee recruiting and retention. And that the Navy is going to have to address it at some point.

By the time I thanked CAPT Cole, the room was emptying pretty quickly and I had to get back to work. So I never did get a chance to gauge the reaction of my question to the rest of the alumnis. But the next meeting is Feb 15th. I’m going to try to attend that one as well.

Monday, January 16, 2006

"Did You Take An Awkward Pill?"

Great line from the West Wing last night. Now that I finally have my Tivo back up and running, I'm trying to catch up on some of my favorite shows.

So my weekend has been a futile quest for love or lust amongst the leather and latex set that gathered in DC for the weekend for MAL. I wandered among the various fetish booths at the hotel and then hung out at the bar trying to see what trouble I could find. But put that many gay men in a single location and it's like you've just dumped 1000 children into Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. Why have the chocolate bar, when you never know what new devilish chocolate delight will be around the corner. And it's not like gay men aren't ADD when it comes to sex anyways. Jimbo's description from last year is spot on.

While I want a BF (boy friend), I'm willing to settle for a FB (f*&kbuddy, or as we say in polite company, "a friend with benefits") for now. But every time I go to one of these events, it reminds me why I'm not into any of the normal gay scenes. I'm too old and out of shape to be a circuit boy, not to mention unwilling/unable to partake of the requisite party drugs. I'm too cute and normal and usually clean shaven to be in the leather scene. While I saw lots of hot muscle guys with tatoos that would definitely fit the bill for FB's, it's all of the red, yellow, and brown hankies and stripes on their leather that scares me off. I'm definitely not into that. And don't even get me started on the guys with welts on their back. Ugh.

So basically I am the Goldilocks of the gay scene, looking for the one that's just right, but trying them all, just in case.

I did don what leather I had and went to the big dance last night at Nation. It was packed and surprisingly enough, the music had a lot of vocals to it. Which was nice for a change. I did have a good time and I will say it was a friendlier crowd than usual. Unfortunately I only ran into people I've met before and didn't want to see again. That's my luck.

The ironic moment of the night is when Fergie starts singing about her lovely lady lumps to a cavernous room full of hot half naked gay men. To give Chris Cox some props, toward the end of the mix, he did manage to dub in "hairy manly nuts." And even more ironically, I think I like Fergie's version better.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Weird Week

It's been a really weird week. Busy and strange and frustrating and inspiring and tiring all at the same time.

The wonderfully freakishly warm weather was caused a lot of fog. I love that. I like that way the fog sort of softens everything. It takes the harsh edge off everything. The day's aren't too bright, the nights aren't too dark. It's just this grey world and doesn't seem to threatening.

On Thursday I drove across the Key Bridge in the fog and it was kind of spooky and magical. When I to to my office, which on the 6th floor of a building overlooking the Potomac, I could see where the layer of fog ended. Like someone leveling icing on a cake, there was an broad layer of fog blanketing the ground. The fog was a bit pink and orange as the sun was trying to break it's way through. And there, in the distance, was the Washington Monument, breaking through the layer of fog and shining brightly. It was just an amazingly beautiful morning.

Work has been the usual madness and chaos and I am so looking forward to this weekend. In addition to it being a long weekend, it's also MAL this weekend. So I'll be venturing forth in some of my more unusual garb to see if I can find some trouble.

My "Fit by 40" program has not gotten off to a good start. There have been some bad days, and some good days. All things in time I know. I just need to try to maintain the focus and have more good days than bad days. That being said, in two weeks I'm going to be in a bathing suit on a ship full of body image obsessed gay men. Yeah, that's going to do wonders for my self esteem.

Monday, January 09, 2006

All The World's A Stage

Went to the gym tonight. My usual trainer is taking bartending classes, so he hooked me up with another guy. This new trainer was C-U-T-E! But I'm trying to be all professional and serious about everything as we train.

Anyways, the good thing about a substitute trainer is that they always under estimate the amount of weight I can lift. Which is good becuase I get to slack off a bit. My trainer knows me too well for that. Anyways, the substitute trainer (ST) noticed that I was lifting stuff pretty easily and that he needed to jack the weight up. I made the comment that I need to work on my acting. If I act like it's killing me to lift the weight, then he won't increase the weight.

A little bit later he asked about my USNA t-shirt. He asked if I had gone there and I said yes. He asked about what the obligation was. Four years, he asked? Five I said. But I stayed in for 11 because it took me awhile to figure out that it wasn't quite right for me. Sort of a glib response, but I figured it was harmless. And then he makes a comment about me acting in the Navy. And I was doing some exercise at the time and it really didn't register, but I guess it was true. While I was in the Navy, I was acting like I was a certain type of person.

I guess I'm still acting now, but I think my character is a bit richer, a bit fuller, a bit more human.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Will no one rid me of this meddlesome law?

Looking at the various machinations of the Bush administration, the quote from King Henry II rings in my head: “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?”

For those who don’t know the story, King Henry II appointed his friend Thomas Becket to be the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1162 in England. King Henry II was looking at ways to control the Catholic Church in England, a threat to his royal power, and he thought by putting his guy in charge, that he could impose his will on the church. But once installed as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Becket’s loyalty shifted to the church and created quite a conflict between these once close friends. In 1170, Becket refused to re-instate two bishops who he had previously excommunicated for their support of the king, and when King Henry II heard this, it’s claimed that he shouted: "What sluggards, what cowards have I brought up in my court, who care nothing for their allegiance to their lord. Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest." Four knights heard this cry and went to the Cathedral in Canterbury where they attacked Becket and split his skill as he clung to the altar.

I think this quote resonates with me as I think about George Bush sitting in the White House saying “I need to torture people to get information to fight the war on terror, but the law prevents it. Will no one rid me of this meddlesome law?” And surrounding him are lawyers and other administration cronies, looking to support their liege, who work tirelessly through the night and even darker days to twist every law and statute to create at best a very shaky legal position to support torture. Or detaining of enemy combatants. Or extraordinary rendition. Or wire tapping of US citizens.

It seems that Bush’s “knights” have been working hard to rid him of those meddlesome laws. Those meddlesome laws that he swore and oath to obey.

In what it seems is the long night that is becoming the United States in the 21st century, there are beacons of light. When the military service JAG senior officers came out opposing the “military interrogation techniques” (i.e. torture), there was a flicker of hope that these atrocities would be stopped. Then the McCain amendment was passed, it seemed like a ray of hope had emerged and that the administration would finally realize that these are not meddlesome laws. These are the laws of the land. They are the laws that characterize the United States as a defender of freedom, of liberty, of democracy. They are the reason that the United States is respected and admired around the world (or was).

But Bush’s knights couldn’t let the little people stop him from carrying out his God given duty. So in another form of legalistic mumbo jumbo, the knights have come up with something called the “signing statement.” It gives the king, I mean president, the ability to sign a law, but then to basically say that he may or may not enforce, respect, or follow the law. And how quickly that ray of hope has been extinguished.

In the mean time, the president continues to spy on the US public (for their own good of course) in clear contradiction of existing laws. Oh the knights have come up with the legal framework to explain why it’s okay for the president to break the law, but let’s make no mistake that it’s breaking the law. If the FISA court was not supportive of the war on terror (which it clearly is since it’s granted all but something like 5 wire taps in the past 4 years), or if the FISA law didn’t allow for short fuse wire taps and the ability to get permission after the fact (which it does), or if the FISA system didn’t work, then I think some changes to the FISA law would be in order. But this was all done outside of the FISA system WHILE it was still working. This illegal spying and wiretapping was done in parallel with other government agencies actually using the system. So either the system works and you broke the law for no reason, or the system doesn’t work and you need to fix it. Not just ignore it when it's inconvienent. But fixing it, if it really needs fixing, would take time and effort.

But unfortunately the knights are too busy to do anything like that. They need to keep working to help build a “legal framework” to explain the next arrogant over-reach of executive power that is needed to support the never ending war on terror. Stayed tuned, you know it’s not over yet.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Gym Attire

In keeping with my Fit By 40 program, I went to the gym tonight. It was hell. It was packed with people, everyone being dedicated to their New Years Resolutions. Atleast for this week. Come mid-late February, I suspect that it will be back to normal. Until then, I'll just have to deal and be flexible when it comes to cardio machines.

Tonight I did the elliptical, but it was not one of my usual elliptical machines. Yes if you go to a certain gym all of the time, you have your favorite machines. Some of the ellipticals are positioned so you can watch TV, some aren't. The Rosslyn Gold's is a strangely arranged gym. Anyways, I got stuck on an elliptical where I couldn't watch TV. So I was jamming to my music, and just people watching.

Which brings us to our subject: gym attire.

I know there are formal rules. You must wear a shirt. And it's got to cover your chest. Thought some guys really push that. But I'm talking beyond that. Looking at the people, you can see certain trends and categories.

The newbies are broken into two basic categories. New Clothes vs. Old Clothes. The New Clothes types who want to be really dedicated to their work out and have bought new clothes as part of their motivation. Lots of micro fiber and spandex. Which can be good or it can be bad. If they haven't been to the gym in a while, then it's usually the later. The old clothes types wander around the gym in old sweats and ratty t-shirts. There is no attempt to look good. They are there to work out so they can look good outside of the gym.

The oldtimers can be broken down by the type of work out they do (or don't in some circumstances). The weightlifters have their own uniform. Usually cotton t-shirts, some Underarmour shirts, then baggy shorts. While the cardio queens are in their tights and t-shirts. My favorite of course are the poseurs who are usually wander around in whatever will make them look good while they lounge on the machines and randomly pick up a weight every ten minutes. Hate them.

And me? I'm a weightlifter who does a lot of cardio. And my clothes are a mix of old and new. I've got some t-shirts that are so holey they should be blessed. But I love them. And I've got some newer stuff. So it just depends.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Years!!!!

Okay, 2006 is going great already! One my New Years resolutions was rock hard abs. Check. Got that. Okay, sure. Technically they are bronze and not really mine. And actually that's not even my statue, but details people, mere details!

My New Years Eve was oddly fun. After making no plans until Friday, some friends and I decided to go to this fundraiser called "SEXE" for the Actors Theatre of Washington. It was at the Source Theatre and it was a blast. We ate, drank, danced, and watched a pretty decent drag show (and I'm not really into drag shows), but it was fun. The drinking started early with a couple of drinks at my place. Then we had some more drinks at the party. Needless to say after the party, we were all toasted. Which explains why I carried the statue H bid on and won at the silent auction down 14th St at 145AM on New Years Day. And then we hit Halo to get another drink. Well, they drank, not I. And for some reason the bartenders were not happy at Halo. But now that I think about it, I really can't blame them. It was 2AM and they were trying to close. But everyone did comment about my hard body. That I was carrying. We met another lost soul there and the next thing you know we are going to JRs. When will the madness stop? I finally bailed, taking Mr. Perky Nipples with me. He was a bit cold when I go home. And I am so glad I left when I did as I was a bit hungover on Sunday. I've heard there were shots done after I left. That would have been so not pretty.

Okay, on to more serious stuff. New Years Resolutions. My biggie is to lose weight. I've established the "Fit By 40" program and have even set up weight loss targets for the next four months. I've got a whole year, but I am the king of procrastination so I want to start now. Plus with my trip to Europe in September, I want to look FABULOUS by then. I went back to my trainer today and my goals is to do some sort of cardio 5 times a week. Which I think is totally do able. But really what I need to work on is my diet. I'm a big time stress eater so that's what I need to figure out. What to do when I'm stressed out that doesn't involve slamming Cokes or munching on chocolate. More importatnly, what I need to do is figure out how to cut out the stress. So that's part of my goal. I haven't quite figured that part out yet, but I'm working on it.

I hope everyone had a safe and fun new years eve. Welcome to 2006!