Sunday, April 30, 2006

United 93

Went to see United 93 today with Greek Boy. It was his idea and I just said yes. Lots of interesting previews. Definitely want to see "The Break Up." It looks really funny.

Then the lights dimmed and the movie started. It's good. Very good. But about 20 minutes into the movie, I realized that I didn't want to watch it. And we hadn't even gotten to any of the bad parts. I was just struck by the routines and every day lives that were being shown, the methodical process of how the nation's air traffic works, all with the knowledge of where the movie was going, what horrible ending was coming. I was trapped in the dark. Knowing that those awful events that were going to be re-played, re-shown, in front of me. And I couldn't leave, and I couldn't take my eyes off the screen. To see the confusion when the first planes go off course, and then of course the smoke billowing from the WTC when the first plane hit. It was still unreal, and yet heartrending. They did use the footage of the second plane hitting the second WTC tower and it just hammered home the awfulness of that day. During the days, weeks, and months after the attack, you couldn't escape that footage on TV. It was everywhere. But in the years since, it's sort of retreated from our public consciousness. We talk about 9/11 in abstract terms, with a certain since of distance, temporally, but also emotionally. It just seems safer that way. But this movie definitely brings it closer, too close. The scenes on United 93 are riveting. The phone calls to loved ones are heartbreaking and there was more than one teary eye in the theater as we watched the hijacking take place in almost realtime before us. The courage of the passengers was just amazing and as the movie progressed towards its fateful ending, you are rooting for the passengers. Hoping, futily, that they will be able to overwhelm the hijackers and save themselves. But they don't, and you know it, and it makes the ending that much more powerful. When the movie ended, the theater was utterly silent. As the lights came on, I saw several people holding hands and crying softly. We shuffled out quietly, the only way to show our respect for those who died that terrible day.

Out in the sun shine, my sadness turned to anger. It's going to happen again. It really is just a matter of time and how much safer are we? The nations ports are basically unguarded. I can tell you that there is almost no security at train stations. We've spent the last three years fighting a war that had NOTHING to do with 9/11 or Al Queda. That's three years and BILLIONS of dollars that could have be spent on making American safer. In fact, the war in Iraq has only create more people who hate the United States. I know we can't stop suicide bombers completely, but we aren't even trying to change the hearts and minds of those who would attack us. We talked big about Public Diplomacy, about how we needed to reach out to the average Muslim on the "Arab Street". Yeah, how's that going by the way? Haven't heard about any progress on that front in while. Imagine the goodwill we could have won if we had stopped at Afghanistan. If we had poured just a percentage of the resources we've spent in Iraq into trying to create a peaceful, functional, democratic Afghanistan. While many in the Muslim world would still hate us (I'm not completely naive), I think we would have had a great success story to tell to the "Arab Street" about how democracy and freedom and peace are good for all people, even Muslims.

I hope a lot of people go see United 93. I hope it makes them remember that horrible day more clearly and maybe jolts them out of their complacency. And maybe we can start to ask the right questions about what we are doing as a nation to make sure this doesn't happen again.

Friday, April 28, 2006

What Omens?

So last night I stayed up late working. Had a big brief to my psycho customer and I was trying to work the financials and it was driving me crazy. If we do X, Y, and Z before December, it will cost this much. If we have to do X, Y, and C before next January, it will cost this much. If we A, Y, and R before the middle of next March, it will cost this much. I kept trying to predict all of the random potential combinations and have costing for them and I just got more and more frustrated as I work. I finally go to sleep, depressed and mentally preparing for the beating to come in the morning.

I wake up after a fitful sleep and turn on the TV. I watch VH1 in the morning, and the first song they play is the new Dixie Chick's song: "Not Ready To Make Nice." Uh oh. I can feel that stubborness coming on and now I'm worried that if I get pressed to hard, I'll snap. I shake it off. I can handle it. The next song comes on. It's Daniel Powter's "Bad Day." Ugh. Should I even go into work today because this really isn't looking good. I don't really have a choice. I turn off the TV. I'm afraid the next song is going to be "WalkAway" by Kelly Clarkson.

The two hour meeting we have is cut down to about 12 minutes. And is actually fairly productive and non-abusive. YEAH! So that's a good thing.

I bounce from meeting to meeting, all of them freakishly good. And then I get the best news of the day, week, month, or maybe even the year.

My first real program manager job with my company was on a project out of New Jersey. It was an interesting project and had lots of potential. But the government customer was kind of a loose cannon. Not exactly psycho, but definitely not right. Our relationship was never good as he kept trying to push the envelope on certain things that I didn't feel comfortable with, doing things we weren't supposed to do, and not do things we were supposed to do. After working with him for almost a year, including a hellish trip to Kuwait, we finally parted company with him. Our contract wasn't over, but he decided to switch contractors and we were good with that.

Today we found out that he was arrested for fraud, embezzlement, and tax evasion. I'm sorry, I know it's schadenfreude, but it really made my day. Call it justice, call it karma, call it whatever. But it really made my day!

Omens? What omens! Hell, I should buy a lottery ticket today!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles!

Back from a quick trip to NJ. Train from Union Station to Newark. Monorail from Newark Train Station through the airport to the rental car place. Picked up the car and then headed to Ft. Monmouth. This afternoon, we got out early, so instead of going back to Newark and waiting two hours for a 3 hour train back to DC, we just motored back to DC.

It looks like I'll be back next week. They've got a bad case of NIH (Not Invented Here) syndrome and are just all over the place in trying to implement some new software & capabilities. I suspect this may become a train wreck, very quickly. But we'll see.

I did ditch my co-workers last night to meet up with a very cool couple who live near by. They are a bit older and have been together for 25 years. How's that for impressive! Great dinner, great conversation. But it just drives home the point. Why don't I have a boyfriend? Well, let's leave that for another time.

Okay, Joe is now posting a new version of Pink's: Dear Mr. President. Love the imagery. The ending is a bit much, even for me. But I understand the sentiment. It's funny, I just read this article about viral videos and I can definitely see this being one of them.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Parents . . . . You Just Can't Win

So I sent Mom the link to the Pink song. Her response:

"Whoever Pink is should know better than to sit with legs spraddled [sic]...would her mother approve?...lyrics? Who care what she sings...COURAGE!"

I told my mom that I doubt Pink considers herself a "lady" and that she must have missed Pink's tatoo. That would normally send Mom over the edge.

And Dad? No response to my email at all. Just denial. So some things never change.


What's the First Rule of Walk Club?
Don't talk about Walk Club!
What's the Second Rule of Walk Club?
Don't talk about Walk Club!
What's the Third Rule of Walk Club?
Don't know. Is there a third rule?

So I'm going to start up a weekly walking club with some friends who live in my hood. Since the weather is so nice, we should go walking at night. Up to Adams Morgan, over to Gtown, down to the Mall. The mission will be to not "stop" at any establishments serving food or liquor. Anyways, we'll see if I can coerce some folks to do this. Otherwise, it's just more running for me.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Pink's: Dear Mr. President

Wow. Just. Wow.

Random Thoughts on a Lazy Sunday

At dinner the other night, we started talking about email. How impersonal it can be. How it can take certain tones, and how it can be interpreted. For some reason when I get an email from someone I know, I can almost hear them speaking, so I think I do a pretty good job of interpreting email. But if you don't know someone, then it can be hard to figure out what message the email is really trying say. My customer is a pro at taking the absolutely worst interpretation of any email I send. It really is a gift for him. So it takes me twice as long to write him emails that are clear, succinct, and attempt to minimize any possibility of misinterpretation. I fail most of the times, but I try.

What does kill me are some of the quotes people add to their signature blocks. One guy has this as part of his signature block: "I solemnly swear to tell the truth as I know it, the whole truth as I believe it to be, and nothing but what I think you need to know." And no, that's not from Cheney's email. But seriously, if you got an email that said that, how would you react? Would you trust anything this person said?

So Dad. He's coming to visit in a couple of weeks. Well, he's coming to DC to go on a bike ride up the C&O Canal and then on into Pennsylvania. I'm gone when he first shows up, but will be back when he gets done with the trip. It took some convincing, but I finally coerced him into staying with me, in my condo, as opposed to a hostel. Yes, a hostel. My 76 year old Dad in a hostel. It's where the bike ride starts, so that's why we was going to stay there. Anyways, he's going to stay in my condo while I'm gone before the trip starts, and then when the trip is over he'll spend a couple more days with me before he heads back home to Mom. So questions. Do I de-fag the condo? I don't have pictures of naked everywhere, that's not exactly my decor. But I do have some fridge magnets that show shirtless men. And I've got this great poster from Ptown on my fridge of a sailor with a sea bag over his shoulder, and he's saying, "Sorry Girls, I'm Gay."
So to what extent do I purge my house, my home, to make him more comfortable?

And how comfortable is he? Not. I specifically end my phone conversations with him saying that I love him, but I don't get a reply. So things aren't great on that end. There's nothing I can do about that, I know, but I'm hoping that when he's here we can talk, even a bit about it. I sent my parents an email with the bio of my friend who won the award on Friday. My Dad responsed and asked me how I knew him. And I replied with the truth. He was the first person I had ever loved. That we had met in 2001, dated, and then broke up. But that we were still friends and that I considered him one of my best friends. I'm not sure how Dad will react to that. But we'll see.

I just love Joe. And it's not just Joe, but it's his readers as well. Joe's been talking about the ex-gay organization called "Exodus." He was asking readers to spoof the "Gay, Unhappy?" billboard that Exodus has in Orlando. And they have. But apparently Joe was contact by a mother whose son had killed himself after being "treated" by Exodus. Joe posted her letter
and it's heartbreaking.

Another reader posted something that just resonated with me. He said: "The gift of being gay is that it can force you to question many of the things you are taught and that others accept without question." And I think that's so true. I don't know all of the answers. And I'll never pretend that I do. Every human heart is a mystery, unique and important. And the world we live in is complex and fragile and precious. And I think we all need to ask the questions that we have, to help learn how other people feel, to help live in this wonderful world, and to help love ourselves and one another.

Sorry, didn't mean to go so deep, it just sort of went there.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Awards Ceremony

I called my Mom on Thursday night to let her know that I was going to an award ceremony that the US Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales was going to be. I told her that I was going to wear my "Red State = Police State" T-shirt. And my mother freaked. She just went off on how I need to remember my upbringing, that it would be inappropriate, and on and on. It took me like five minutes to calm her down. Puh-lease. Can you just give me some credit for being a responsible, mature, adult. First of all I *know* it would be completely inappropriate. Plus, I would never do anything to embarass my friend getting the award. That would just be wrong.

The award ceremony was part of the National Crime Victims' Rights week. My best friend works for a victims' rights organization and does just a great job. It just always amazes me that he can do something that can really make a positive change on people's lives. And it's not just a job for him, but a passion. And he is so good at it. He totally deserved the award. The ceremony was very moving and there were several other awards for other peoples who help crime victims around the country. I think at the end of the ceremony there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

Okay, so can I be a bit bitchy? Who actually says their name with the middle initial in it. They kept mentioning Gonzales and they would say his whole name: Alberto R Gonzales. Okay, I can see where in the pamphlet or the certificates they would show his middle initial, but to actually say it. It's just weird. And they did it over and over again. :"Alberto R Gonzales" "Alberto R Gonzales." Just weird.

Oh, and the irony. The last time I was in the Mellon Auditorium was for the Cherry Circuit party a couple of years ago. So that's funny.

Cherry is this weekend also, but I'm avoiding it like the plague. I'm in no shape to dance with my shirt off. So no cherry for Trey.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A Consumate Actor

I used to just devour sci-fi books when I was a kid. I just loved them. A great way to escape, and a great way to build your vocabulary. Boy was my mother surprised when I knew what autoerotic-asphixiation was. But I digress.

One of my favorite stories was about an actor, the world's greatest actor, who had killed someone. In the future, they didn't quite believe in capital punishment. Oh, they would kill you, but at the very last minute, second, nano-secont, they would transfer your consciousness, your being, into a clone they had made. So you would experience death, but still be alive. As part of their judicial process, if you were found guilty, they would kill you/port you to a clone, and then if you earnestly repent, they would let you go. If you weren't earnest, then they would kill you again. No one ever had to experience death more than once to earnestly repent. But the problem was that everyone knew the killer was an actor, so after he was killed/ported to the clone, he apologized, repented. But he was such a good actor that they couldn't tell if he was earnest or just acting. So they killed him again. And again they couldn't tell if he was really earnest or just acting. So they proceeded to kill him in some pretty gruesome manners, over and over and over again. Looking back now, I'm not sure it was really a suitable story for someone my age then.

I bring this up as I had a very odd conversation at work. I'll be honest. I'm not very good at dissembling. I've said it before that I have no poker face. But I like to think that with certain people I work with that I can be totally open and honest and get openness and honesty in return. I know, how naive can I be? But when talking with this person, I felt that every word had been carefully chosen and weighed, every sentence carefully structured and balanced. The person was obviously telling me what I wanted to hear. But was it honest? Did that person really believe/think that? I don't know. And I walked away from the conversation confused and concerned.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter!

That's a pic I took at Annapolis yesterday, but I thought it would be appropriate for today.

Okay, we've got a lot to cover and not a lot of time, so let's get started:

- I've slipped into the whole "eat till you're sleepy, sleep till you're hungry" mode. That's usually some defensive mechanism that kicks in when things are not going right. I just wish I knew what that was.
- Add in the fact that I've been eating late, I've been having the weirdest dreams. I woke up the other morning just quivering mad at one of the guys who works for me. I was lost in Africa and trying to get back to the ship but I didn't have any money, nothing. And then I see this guy who works for me, he's on vacation in Africa, and won't help me get to the next city where the ship is going to be. Missing the ship when it leaves port is a HUGE deal, so I was really upset and just getting madder when he wouldn't help me. Hmm, where did that frustration come from?
- My AC has been acting up so I finally had the repair guy come out. And after almost 2 years in my condo I discover that there is a secondary air filter to my AC unit. While I have been very good about changing the primary filter, I never knew about this one. It was disgusting. Ugh. We also climbed up on the roof to check out the main unit. Interesting views, especially into the condos on the top floor that have sky lights! But it's such a haze to get up there that I probably won't go up to often.
- Went to Annapolis yesterday for a quick road trip. It was fun. And had crab cakes for lunch. Yum. Walked about the Yard. Walked around town. Did a little bit of shopping. Wanted to hit the Mid-Store, but it was closed. Oh well.
- Not only am I not even trying to date, but apparently I can't even be bothered to go out. Both Friday and Saturday night I stayed home and just vegged and watched TV. The good news is that I've watches all of the Atlantis epsiodes and some other things I've tivo-ed. Still haven't tackled Battlestar Galactica. But atleast I can tivo new things now, like Love Monkey!

And finally, we've got to talk about Madge. Where's the love Madge? You put out a killer new album that just rocks, you plan a world tour to support it, but you can't take the time to come to DC? You've sold out the MCI Center every time you've been here. So where's the love? After looking at Philly (sold out), NYC (sold out), and Atlantic City (Atlantic City? Are you freakin kidding me? AC over DC? Madge, why have you forsaken us!!), it looks like No Karma Boy and I are off to the Windy City. Yep, I just put a serious dent in my credit card to buy the tickets. I'm hoping to scam some free air line tickets from United. And then it's just hotel rooms. So I think we'll probably make a weekend of it. But this definitely means no IML for Trey. Oh, I'll still have a very gay weekend in Chicago, but instead of leather men, it will be dancing men. And I'm okay with that.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Not So Much

After work I hit the gym, by myself, and got some decent cardio in. My stomach (and now back) hurt, but what's a little pain. Anyways, the endorphins kicked in and I was feeling okay. And I was sweating. Buckets. So I blaze out of the gym and get in the car which is freakishly clean for a change. I sit back against the seat and I can feel that cold, clammy feeling of the sweat in my shirt getting pressed against my cloth seats. Ew! So I decide to take my shirt off. I've almost stopped sweating, it's sunny and warm, so no big deal.

Except that I'm shirtless. Driving my Volvo. Through traffic in DC. Now, if I looked like this, I would never wear a shirt. But I don't. Not even close. (yes I know the hair is close, but back off!) Anyways I got a couple of strange looks before I realized that maybe driving shirtless isn't something I should do any more. I mean, it may not be appropriate for someone of my age and . . . um . . . body type. Note to self: Keep extra shirt in gym bag from now on.

Oh, and how appropriate. The word of the day is: aberzombies.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Back Online & Random Thoughts

Seems I had a little Verizon issue so I was sans internet all weekend. Which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Okay, some random thoughts:

Saki Bombs are not a good thing. Coerced by a good friend of mine I went out with the young turks at my company. Ah to have a young liver.

Will and Grace. I have to watch it to keep my membership up, but it really has been pretty poor lately. Wait, Will has a boyfriend for all of three episodes? Yeah, that's groundbreaking. Anyways, I tivo-ed an episode and watched it this weekend. Not bad, but not good. But there was one line that just killed me. Jack gets the lead for a TV show because he was the lead character: "a devastated narcissist careening towards a dismal future." Harsh, but funny.

Speaking of Tivo. I've got the complete second season of Battlestar Galactica tivo-ed so now I'm almost out of disk space. Which means I guess I need to actually watch it. But now it seems like such a commitment. Even speading through the commercials I've probably got a good 16 hours of TV to watch. Hello couch potato.

Speaking of, I did go to the gym tonight. My stomach still hurts but I needed to do something. My butt will soon need it's own zip code.

The Black Party. Joe did an amazing job capturing the look, feel, smell, and practically taste of the Black Party. I've been, a couple of years ago. Arrived a little after 1AM, danced till about 8AM, and then stumbled back to my hotel almost crippled for a few hours of sleep before I checked out and flew back to DC. I definitely would like to go and somehow manage to stay awake and fully functional to really be able to experience it. Joe describes a scene at 10 in the morning that is just so powerful that I need to quote it:

"The morning music portion of the Black Party is an entirely different vibe than what precedes. The sexual urgency and the aggressive cruising is removed. The men on the dancefloor are noticeably older. Many of these older guys sleep all night and arrive at the Roseland specifically for the morning music portion. We smile and acknowledge each other as friends, even though we only ever see each other at this time. We are survivors, all of us, a fact underscored, amplified, by the 20, 25, 30-year old tunes being played, each song removing us to a place and time back when we danced with The Lost. In the music, we find our truths, we find our souls, we find ourselves, we find The Lost. It's not uncommon to notice someone dancing with tears rolling down his face. Still, he dances. He dances in memory, in tribute. He dances with his hands up to heaven, channeling love, channeling spirit. He dances with a head full of photographs, full of touches. Certain songs may make his heart ache, his throat tighten, his tears flow....but he dances to that motherfucking record. This is no somber requiem dance, it's a smiling-through-tears celebration of memories. I've told friends that I go to church once a year, and it takes place during the last hours of the Black Party."

Joe rocks.

Umm, last little tidbit. Greek Boy and I hit Juniors on Sunday night for a little night cap since we both were losers on Saturday night and just stayed home. It's packed, but not necessarily in a good way. I see a little twink walk by and his t-shirt says: "I Hate Myself and I Want to Die." LOVE IT.

And the best line ever: "The Longer It Takes to Find Mr. Right, The More He's Going to Pay For Keeping Me Waiting." - Matt Groening - Life in Hell.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Good-Bye My Lover

Wow. And this reminds me that I need to go get my copy of BBM.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


"Sometimes, pain is all that lets you know you're alive."

An interesting line to read at 4 AM at the emergency room.

So . . . . . wasn't feeling well yesterday. Just kind of put it off and didn't think about it. Busy at work and I just don't have time to be sick. Went out to dinner with a friend. Still not feeling well and realized mid-way through the meal that I was basically sitting on the edge of my seat with a stiff back so that I would not be in pain. Wasn't sure what the deal was, but went home and just decided to call it a night. When I laid down, that's when I realized that I really couldn't take a deep breathe without some serious tightening, cramping, pain in my lower right stomach area. I tried about a thousand positions, but nothing was working. If I breathed really shallowly, then it only hurt a bit. But I started to feel dizzy from trying to breathe so lightly. And the pain was just getting to the point where I couldn't take it any more. So around 1AM, I got dressed and headed down to the GW ER. The Ronald Reagan Wing. As a walking, talking, non-bleeding patient, I was immediately moved to the front of the line. ; ) At first they thought my lung had partially collapsed which happens a lot to tall skinny guys. Hmm, not so much. Did the chest x-ray thing and it was good. Waited for a couple of hours to see the doc and they finally determined that I've partially torn a muscle in my stomach that is basically aggravated when I breathe. So they told me to take it easy and drug myself until I feel better. The Dr was nice, but her bedside manner was a little off putting. Trying to get a cab home at 4ish in the morning in DC is challenging. I got home around 430 and found my last remaining percocete from a long time ago and took that so I could sleep a bit.

I blame my trainer. For many things. But I think the psycho side twist crunch things we did Monday night may not have been a good thing. My dad says, "A little pain is a good thing." I agree, but sometimes, a lot of pain is just a lot of pain.

Oh, the line from up above? It's from "Crossroads of Twilight" by Robert Jordan. Yeah, I took a book to the ER. I'm hoping the Tylenol PM works for me tonight.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

White is the new Black . . . and other problems

So white is the new black. On the plane ride back from San Diego I caught up on my required homo fashion reading and apparently white is IN. And let me tell you, from my little stroll through the circle on Friday afternoon, I have to agree. Every other gay guy I saw was wearing white. Which pretty much sucks for me. White is not a flattering color on me. White makes whatever body part bigger. So it you have a larger upper body (I'm *not* saying a big ole gut), it will make it look bigger. And if you have a larger lower body (and I'm *not* saying a big fat ass), it will make it look bigger. Oh, and like everything else in the gay fashion world, it must be worn skin tight. So think of it as white sausage casing. Sounds sexy, doesn't it?

I discussed this problem with Mr. No Karma and he told me not to sweat it. White's really not in till after labor day and by then pink will be the new black. Again.

After a nice little jaunt around town enjoying my day off, I got a call from Greek Boy. He asked me if I had seen my car recently. Hmm, that's a bad way to start a conversation. He told me to go check it out. And I did. It seems someone had smashed in my windshield. I just sort of stood there dumbstruck for awhile. No damage to the car to the left of me. And no other damage to my car. I thought it was a baseball bat. But when the guy came to replace the windhshield today, he thought it was a brick. There was a little bit of red residue in the shattered glass that matches that color of brick. The odd thing is that whoever did it must have picked the brick up and put it someplace. Unfortunately I know where they got the brick. There's a slightly crazy lady in the next building who has a whole stack of red bricks in her yard. So I'm guessing it was just someone drunk/stupid/mean. Or all of the above.

It looks like I'll be traveling to Paris a lot in the next couple of years. My sister finally got her orders and she's going to be stationed in Paris. I can't wait. I love Paris and this will be a great excuse to go. So that's cool.