Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Christmas Sucked Ass

But lest anyone return to their dreary cubicle and re-take his (or her) rightful position as worker drone this morning, read my pre-Christmas post and suspect I may have offed myself (or secretly wished it) no such luck, fuckers. Everything's fine. The Hellcat managed to pull it together and we had a quiet, low-key afternoon and night. I made a brunch that was simple and quite tasty. We split a bottle of wine in the evening and managed to find a cute little gay-ish restaurant in Chelsea that was open. Apple martinis and bellinis acompanied a very delicious dinnner. We rested at home and then headed out into the wilds of the East Village for a minor bar tour. The Hellcat got his cock sucked in the bathroom at Urge. And I only bought him dinner. Ah well, next year I'll know. Felize Navi-spooge!

Today I managed to send myself via e-mail the picture I was going to use for my Christmas card. Me and The Rockettes. My hair has grown considerably since then. My concentration camp look will soon be a thing of the past. We just returned from seeing Finding Neverland. I loved it but I cried like a woman.

Happy Holidays

Friday, December 24, 2004

Darkness All Around

Yesterday was a dark day. It rained. It was raining when I woke up. It rained on my way to the grocery store and the gym. It poured on my way to the laundry. Great, wind-whipped sheets of rain lashed the streets. I managed to duck under an awning and was luckily wearing a raincoat, but my shoes and socks were soaked and the water managed to seep down my neck and collar. Even the few times I went outside to find it not raining, within a half-block of my walking anywhere, the rain began again. I never could decide if my mood was reflecting the weather, or if the planet was responding to the foul mood I was in.

I was supposed to be getting ready for Christmas. I had started with good intentions. Over morning coffee, I opened the half-dozen Christmas cards I had received the past couple of weeks. I like to open them all at once close to Christmas. It usually pushes me into a good mood but this year, not so much. The fact that some people insist on sending out overtly religious Christmas cards annoys me. I mean, I'm aware that the roots of Christmas are obviously a Christian holiday, but many people, me included, choose to celebrate Christmas as a way to spend time with friends and family, to enjoy good food and good company. To reflect on how fortunate we are to be healthy, safe, and with a place to call home. It's about a gift freely given, a chance to tell a valued friend he is cared for. The religious part of the holiday doesn't interest me. So I find Christmas cards with great, thunderous, biblical quotations, complete with exclamation points, to be an affront. What's wrong with a card that says "Wishing you the warmest of holiday memories" and a beautiful picture of a family in the woods atop a horse-drawn carriage?

Not that I'm really celebrating this year anyway. I can't go home. That's the nightclub business. I have to close tonight. I have Christmas Day off tomorrow, though. No real plans for a party. The Ex left this morning for five days in Buffalo. We didn't exchange gifts for the first time in several years. Not surprising, we've had a rough time in our relationship this year. And no great loss, either. The Ex is a notoriously bad gift giver. He's one of those people that buys you what he thinks you should have instead of what you will like. Last year it was tacky gold jewelry I wouldn't be caught dead wearing and clothes. Size large. I weigh 147 pounds.

So that leaves me, Colby and The Hellcat in town and at home. That relationship has been strained of late as well. The Hellcat attempted what amounted to an out-patient rehab. It consisted of a single visit to a psychiatrist and another to a grief therapist and a plan to attend a month of 12-step programs every day. Alcohol, Drugs, even Sex-Anon, it didn't matter. As the current line of thinking for some people that specialize in addiction is that most people are cross-addicted. With the drugs leading to sex or the alcohol leading to drugs. Also, he went on medication to treat what's believed to be a bi-polar disorder. At any rate, he didn't make it two weeks. I think it was only one night back on the pipe but I can't be sure. So we endured four days of the after-affects. He holes up in his room and sleeps or watches television. He rarely eats and when he does it's junk food or cereal. Walking the dog falls by the wayside. So whenever the dog is left alone in any room besides the bedroom he sleeps in, not surprisingly he shits or pisses. How special is it to come home from work at 2:30 in the morning and have to clean up two or three piles of dogshit? Very special indeed.

After a couple of days gone to ground, The Hellcat will emerge from the bedroom completely manic. He will have worked out yet another theory as to why the rehab didn't take and how the next time will be different. He will follow you from room to room talking incessantly about himself and his problems. Any attempt to change the subject or inject yourself into the conversation will be deflected or ignored, so the subject can once again be all about him. This condition will last a half day or more, at which point he finally exhausts himself so much that another day and a half of laying on the couch and falling asleep to HBO ensues.

This is the time when the cycle begins again. I can usually look forward to a solid week or more of "good" Hellcat, where we can take in a movie or work out together. But lately that's become bittersweet for me too. This is always followed by a week or two where you can see the old patterns of addiction take hold. Now that I've mastered his cycle, in the back of my mind I'm always thinking of what's to come, and trying to figure out the best way to make it affect me and my life the least.

The upshot is that we have tentative plans to whip up a tasty brunch in the afternoon. I've offered to treat him to Christmas dinner at a restaurant of his choosing. Public Assistance doesn't provide him with a Christmas bonus. But this is all predicated on whether or not he can get up and get dressed. I may just be spending Christmas alone. Which I've done before, but for some reason, this alone feels really alone.

I'll probably try and treat it like any other day and ignore it best I can. The Ex is complaining of computer problems so maybe I'll clean up his system for him. A lot of places will be closed, but the diners will be open for food. Movie theaters do a decent business Christmas night. Maybe I'll troll the bars for a lost tourist to take home and unwrap.

I'm sorry this post is such a downer. I could have written a goopy post full of good cheer and love for all humanity. I have it in me. But that's not my reality right now. I wanted to write the truth, and I actually feel a bit better getting it all down "on paper". So, thanks for listening. And I do wish you all the happiest of holidays. If you find yourself lucky enough to be in the presence of good friends and loving family, take a moment to mark it, and thank the Universe for your good fortune. Fear not, we must endure the darkness to truly enjoy the light.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Heavy Is The Head That Wears The Crown

Is that a real quote? Or did I just lamely bastardize Shakespeare or something? But I have to address a problem at work. Funny thing is, I had a feeling this would happen, just not so soon.

Shortly after arriving at work and getting on the floor, I was approached by one of the waiters wanting to talk:

"What's up?"

"The Keymaster called me gay. I'm not a real gay rights, militant gay kind of guy..."

(interrupting) "Well I am. I need to know in what context he said it. Did he actually call you gay?"

In a nutshell, what happened was that The Keymaster, who has as horrible a case of verbal diarrhea as I've ever encountered, was lamenting to another employee the difficult time he's having controlling the staff. He explained further that today he was dealing with the waiter "Dave, who is gay, and you can't get anywhere with him." Unbeknownst to The Keymaster, the other employee he was addressing was also gay. So the other employee immediately approached Dave (not his real name) and let him know that the manager was not only talking about him, but telling other employees he was gay. Unfortunately, the result was that the next time Dave and The Keymaster interacted, The Keymaster also cursed at Dave. Since the pump was already primed, Dave took the opportunity to yell at The Keymaster that he should stop cursing at him and by the way, he knew he was telling people he was gay. Of course, this caused The Keymaster to go back to the other employee and express his dismay that Dave is upset that he talked about him being gay.

As I was talking to the other employee and trying to get the facts unvarnished, I elicited an unexpected confession. Apparently, The Keymaster was overheard walking through the club with a brand new employee just out of training. My name came up. It went something like:

"... And the other manager, Tom, who is gay, is easily excitable and over-reacts to things."

Now, if I have any non-gay readers (it could happen), I guess I should explain that referring to someone's sexuality as a descriptive term, as in gay Tom, is as offensive as Black Bob. Or maybe:

"Who has the scotch tape?"



"Yeah, you know, Jewish Mike."

In other words, I'm going to have to bring basic sensitivity training to a grown man in New York City in 2004. I'm going to have to let him know that if he has a problem working with gay men that a) He ought to get out of the restaurant business, and b) he better learn to keep it to himself, as he's leaving himself and the club open to a lawsuit. I plan on asking for an apology. I am by no means in the closet or ashamed of my sexuality. However, discussing my sexuality with a newly hired employee is a) wildly unprofessional and b) a sign that you have issues on that subject.

In other words, I intend to bitch-slap The Keymaster and let him know he's just crossed the line with me. And while I'm trying always to be the bigger girl, I know where to find my inner nasty faggot. Don't make me go get her.

Coincidentally, an illustration as to why I need to make this point.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

A Little Behind ...

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

I accomplished quite a bit this week. Not the least of which is paying off my overdue rent. I've been behind by a month for about 6+ months. Between my shopping "problem" and the fact that I have a serious impulse control disorder, well, it adds up to my borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. And you'd think if I was paying Paul I'd be having more sex. In any case, being out of work for a couple of months didn't help. And is it a big surprise that my job managing a gay bar left me ineligible for unemployment? The pressure to get caught up weighs heavily on you week after week and then month after month. I had a recurring feeling of nagging desperation. Like no matter how much money I had or made, the wolves were at the door and it was all a house of cards ready to collapse.

Be that as it may, I've brazenly used/abused my being current on the rent to hit the landlord up for a new refrigerator. The old refrigerator is not working. Bottom line. The history of the old refrigerator dates back to the early 1990's. I'm not entirely sure when but it was sometime during the years with Beth. My first roommate. The refrigerator freezer had iced up and needed to be de-frosted. I was not the wizened (grizzled) Duchess I am today, but even then, I knew you let the freezer de-frost on its own. In fact, the freezer actually says so if you inspect it. At least this one did. Knowing that she was the impatient type, I passed this knowledge on to Beth. Alas, she decided to ignore me. This resulted in a late night work phone call with Beth sobbing that she had punctured the freezer with the knife she was chipping away the ice with, and all the gas inside had spewed into the kitchen. A repairman came in to patch the freezer and restore the freon but from that day forward, probably sometime in 1989 (!), it was never the same. The freezer was never cold enough and the refrigerator was OK... but things spoiled much faster than they should have. You couldn't keep ice cream for more than a couple of days. From late June to late August we had to buy daily bags of ice if we wanted cocktails. And we (I) wanted cocktails. I broached the subject of a new refrigerator several years ago with the landlord. At the time, the resulting increase in the monthly rent was off-putting. But my current roommates have convinced me that any rent increase will be easily offset by the cost of spoiled food and bags of ice.

So I've timed the request to coincide with renewing the lease in February. Sometime in January I expect to take delivery of a spankin' new refrigerator. In the meantime, I'll fantasize about what it would be like to eat the above man's ass for an hour or six.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

From My Mailbag ... Plus More Stuff

Hi Tom - Like the automatic subject line. Whenever I get to NYC.... Really writing about the testosterone therapy. My level was low so my Dr started me on the patch (seems to have no effect) and now the gel. Guess I'm wondering why you're taking it and what differences you have noticed. Don't know if I'm just placeboing or if there is a change. Thanks - D-----

Sent: Tuesday, December 14, 2004 3:52 AM
Hello D-----, How've you been? Well, I hope. Here's everything I know or was told by my Dr. re: testosterone replacement. Normally, men produce less testosterone naturally starting in their 40's. It's usually incremental and takes decades before the physical effects are dramatic. ( Meaning difficulty getting/maintaining an erection/difficulty achieving an orgasm/ lack of sex drive/ lack of energy.) In HIV+ men, a progressive and more rapid drop in testosterone production can be a simple side effect of the HIV and can occur anytime in your 20's/30's etc. I haven't found any information as to why this is, just that it is. Further, a drop in testosterone production can occur in otherwise healthy men although a drop for no reason is admittedly rarer.

Low testosterone levels are usually diagnosed from a few (or series) of blood tests that confirm a gradual downward trend in testosterone production. In my case, my levels fluctuated around the low/normal levels for the last eight months with the last two tests being consistently lower. So we decided on beginning treatment. I was given the option of receiving an injection followed by me giving myself injections of testosterone replacement. Aside from the obvious yikes! factor, I declined the option because my research showed that many health professionals think that flooding your system with that much testosterone at once is unhealthy. It taxes, among other things, the liver and other organs that are used to processing the body's testosterone output more gradually. It's why I chose the gel, which is absorbed through the skin over a six hour (approximately) period.

I've been on the therapy for about three weeks now and I have noticed some changes. The return of my morning erection has already been discussed and celebrated in my blog. And while it's not the piece of pipe I used to wake up to in my 20's, it's definitely a change. Further, I'm having a series of what I've dubbed IE's (inappropriate erections). Last week, I was headed to my favorite pizzeria for a couple of slices. A fantasy popped into my head as I was walking down the street and I found myself getting a raging, obvious hard-on in my cords. And, as usual, running commando, so I had to think of dead puppies and kittens and quick. Now, I really, really like the pizza there but honestly....

Today, I was doing cardio on a new piece of gym equipment and between my loose-fitting sweats and the boxer briefs I was wearing and the angle I was pumping my legs at..... dead puppies and kittens.

I have to say I'm noticing some personality changes as well but they're harder to prove. I'm irritable. But I'm always irritable so you'll just have to trust me when I say I'm more irritable than normal. I've had to stop myself on several occasions from exploding in public at a rude cashier or a stupid tourist. Fortunately, I was aware this would be a possibility and seem to be learning how to compensate.

The only way to tell for sure if the testosterone replacement is working is with a blood test. I'm assuming if you claim the patch was having no effect that you had a blood test confirming this. I'll be using the gel for another three weeks before I take a blood test to get some new numbers. Testosterone therapy is by no means experimental. It's a legitimate condition with a legitimate treatment. So I don't see how you would be given a placebo. Placebo's are usually given for drugs in an experimental phase. And while I'm no lawyer, I believe if you are involved in some sort of a program where you can possibly be given a placebo as a control group, you would have to sign some sort of document/agreement stating that. Unless your hometown is Tuskegee. My prescription comes from a national chain drugstore and goes by the brand name Androgel. I would think you could just Google up whatever you're taking and confirm it's the real deal.

I hope this is along the lines of what you were looking for. I admit, I was a bit apprehensive about (in effect) shutting off my balls. But in the end, I've never been a big ball man anyway. And if the trade off is the really (I hate to brag) enormous erection I popped yesterday when my masseur finished his "session" on me, and today when I took matters in hand myself, well then, god bless chemical enhancement.


Researchers at Rutgers develop three drugs they say destroy HIV.

I've been meaning to highlight his blog. Aside from being highly entertaining, he posted a link and then a very interesting essay on World AIDS day. This elicited a very thoughtful series of comments from a diverse group. All in all a wonderful job. I didn't comment because there was much to digest. There still is.

On a related tip, Larry Kramer sits down with Village Voice columnist Alisa Solomon and expounds on some thoughts and comments widely carried around the blogverse from his Nov. 7 Cooper Union speech. Make no mistake, I consider Larry Kramer to be a living gay hero. But I significantly disagreed with much of that speech. Here, with an interviewer forcing him to clarify and expand his line of thinking, I find his call to arms familiar and inspiring. I can only speak for myself, but I sense something's brewing in the land of cock smokers and muff divers. Be afraid, be very afraid. Read it here.

Monday, December 13, 2004


An easy night on the job. I actually had some fun. I had enough other competent management with me that I could take the time to joke around with the staff, enjoy some time at the concert and still be home by 1:15. The Hellcat was still up, so we had a lovely chat before bed.

Work is ....Interesting. It's very heterosexual. The world is. I'm just not used to that. There's only two overtly gay men working there besides me. The only open lesbian was just fired. I've gotten some signals that we have a couple of bi girls on staff, and I had a security guy tell me that one of the male performers was so pretty "I'd do him". I didn't react. There's very little anti-gay sentiment from people. Racism is far more prevalent. I haven't actually said the words "I'm gay" to anyone connected with work. On the one hand, I don't operate under the delusion that I'm able to pass, that I'm a "masculine" male. First of all, I don't give a fuck. The concept of "masculinity" to me is fucking stupid. I'm a guy. I like my guy parts. I have no desire to be a woman. "The Duchess" is a gay male persona. It's fun and funny. But I also feel no need to "play" a guy or live up to some masculine ideal. I'm a gay man. How "butch" can you be getting royally dicked?

So I assume they know I'm gay. But I'm giving way too much credit to some heterosexuals. Because they're more stupid than you would think. Some of them are so completely unaware of the other people in their environment that the fact that I'm gay would be stunning. I don't care. I've told stories about The Hellcat. I've talked about The Ex. I haven't characterized The Ex as the real Ex, however. I'll get around to it. One of the things I like about the new job is the fact that it's such a big place, that a level of impersonal is built right in. I had 18 servers scheduled tonight. I can stick and run. Jump in and take care of a problem, tell a joke. I can be fabulous for a second and then take off. I'm not hiding, I'm being superficial. Superficial suits me right now.

The funny thing is, I've had more than one employee or manager comment about how "laid-back" or "cool" I am. How nothing seems to bother me. Of course, that's just not true. What is true is that I have a rich and full (for better or worse) life outside of work. I'm HIV+, I live with my ex-lover, my other room mate is a meth addict, I've got a serious shopping problem, I'm currently trying to resolve whether my responses are the result of testosterone therapy or I'm an extremely and inappropriately angry individual. In spite of it all, the upshot is that I like to do a good job, it's important that my staff does a good job, but in the grand scheme of things, it's a nightclub. It's food. We do the best we can. My job does not define who I am. Too many other things are more important. So I take on a "Buddha" quality because while I don't have all the secrets, I have a couple. And one of them is to relax, you're smart enough. It'll all get done.

Here's Some Stuff

POZ Magazine has an interesting article about igniting fresh debate regarding HIV undetectability and long-term health. -via TheBody.com

Texas lawman needs some schoolin'.

Gay Republican (!) Mayor Re-Elected.

Mormon parents wait 'till their son dies to support him.

Ellen! Stop discussing your realtionships in print!

Friday, December 10, 2004

Now That's An Office Party

Eight closing shifts in a row. And tonight was quite the cap on the week-plus. Not in a bad way. More in a typical New York City way. We hosted the Mother of all Holiday parties. It was an intimate affair for a meager 800 people. They rented the entire club for the entire night. That ain't cheap, folks. Of course, when you own/run this set of properties, I guess you can afford to drop a few dollars.

Besides, in an effort to not be (I assume) totally vulgar in a display of wealth, this particular company uses their annual holiday party to raise money for charity. Specifically, a foundation to research/cure pancreatic cancer. Trust me, it's not as much of a buzzkill as you would think. You can, in fact, get loaded and pack on those holiday pounds while raising money for cancer research. I overheard a relatively reliable source quote a total raised as 1 million dollars.

Logistically, the majority of the planning was done by a squadron of party planners. Curiously, they all wore identical black pantsuits. They frightened me a bit. In addition, we had about 30+ of our own staff available and plenty of managers. That would be me. I pointed a lot. I listened intently to my walkie talkie at conversations that had nothing to do with me. I snacked on "horse ovaries". In short, I was superfluous. And I got a small cash bonus from the client for my ( mediocre) attention. It beats a sharp stick in the eye.

You know that you're at a party that's spent some money when Chris Rock introduces the house band. You know you're at a party that's spent some money when they've paid for a 5 hour open premium bar for 875 people. And I guess when you own Radio City Music Hall, and all that's attached to the property, it should come as no surprise that instead of some kareoke set-up, where drunken office staffers warble to Britney Spears tracks from four years ago, you enjoy a performance from The Radio City Music Hall Rockettes. I confess, in the end, The Duchess could not resist being in such close photographic proximity to The Rockettes. Let's just say that assuming I have the time this weekend, my Christmas card this year will be truly memorable.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Aww, He's Sick

The Ex came home from work early this afternoon. He was sick. It seemed to be a stomach flu. From the way he was whining and moaning, you would think he was the first person ever stricken with it. He did throw up. I assume his stomach was cramping. But honestly, if you didn't know better you would think his death was imminent. He went from his bedroom to the bathroom to the couch and around again. He balled up in the dark on his bed, and then sat and shivered on the couch. He drew a hot bath. Then he started the whole circuit over again. He threw his forearm across his eyes and moaned. He laid in bed and groaned over and over. There seemed to be no end to his suffering. Well, actually the end came when I left. I'm sorry, I couldn't stand it. It was just soooooo pathetic. I had to go to work anyway and I bailed a half hour early. Yes, I realize I was just ill myself and I was, of course, feeling sympathy. But my god, the way he was carrying on....

Besides, I have a little resentment in the bank. When I was sick The Ex was out of town and of no help. The Hellcat responded to my informing him I was sick to going out and getting high and leaving me to care for his dog. I was new at the job at the time. Every time I mentioned I was sick I was ignored or the subject was changed. I spoke to my boss after the fact.

"You didn't seem sick at all."

Apparently, I needed to curl into a ball and moan and groan as if I was about to breathe my last. Stupid me for trying to soldier through it. But I felt like absolute hell and nobody (except my Mom and Dad via phone) lifted a finger to help or comfort me. So unfortunately I have no well of sympathy to draw on to try and tend to The Ex. She's on her own.

P.S. (Without naming names) Do you not have a creative thought in your sweaty hairy fat head? You've stolen my header, my template and the quotes at the top of my blog. Get a fucking life and do something original, loser.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Cold and Wet, Tired You Bet

Could this weather suck a little more? And right smack dab in the dead of winter. It was dark and cold and rainy here in New York today. My mood was colored by the weather all day. Dark and cold. I didn’t want to be at work before I ever got there. Plus I’ve closed the bar every night since Wednesday and my next day off isn’t until Friday. Eight closing shifts in a row suck. I’ve overused suck. My room is a bit on the nippy side from my drafty windows. How cute do I look in my black sweats and Buffalo Bills football sweatshirt? Very cute indeed. Enough complaining, I promised a story.


About a month ago. I’m at the gym and my workout is done. I head for the showers and I freely admit I hit the steam room to check out the cruising action. Honestly though (and this was before the testosterone made me a horn dog) I wasn’t really looking looking. Not finding anything remotely interesting, I returned to the showers. My intent was to shower up, do some grocery shopping and head home. Coincidentally (I SWEAR), the shower I chose afforded me a view of the sauna through the partly opened curtain. I say partly open because while I always pull the curtain, I don’t insure that it’s not possible to see a millimeter of my skin when I’m showering. I pull the curtain. If you can see my ass you see my ass. If I’ve got any part showing any other guy doesn’t have, feel free to point and scream.

So at some point I looked up while showering and was able to see through the sauna door. I spotted a nice looking boy. He looked to be in his early twenty’s. He was looking directly at me. I was startled at first and then slightly turned on. It was only then I realized there was someone else in the sauna. He was a bit older, maybe thirty and blond and slim. He was looking at me too. The exhibitionist and the voyeur in me were now fully alert. I continued showering and soaping various parts. I freely admit I unabashedly soaped up my naughty pieces and paid them extra attention.

It was only during my shower show that I noticed something. The twenty something boy (and he was more boy than man) was leaning forward. Dramatically forward. Bent at the waist forward. It was then I noticed the older blond guy’s arm. It was behind the other boy. Am I seeing what I think I’m seeing? And they’re both still staring at me. Of course, I can’t resist the invitation or the speculation.

I turn off my shower and head for the sauna. Modesty and safety seem to take over as they both act as if nothing is happening. I let them know it’s cool with a quick crotch massage (on myself), at which point they both drop towels to reveal hard-on’s. Now that I’m closer, I get a chance to see them both. The twenty something boy is slim with a few tattoos. He’s got a cute treasure trail to his cock but no chest hair to speak of. He looks to be about 5’8” and 140. In spite of that he’s got a nice 7” inch cock that’s pretty thick. He's scruffy. I love scruffy. The older blond is also about 5’8” and slim. He’s got a bit of chest hair but not an ounce of body fat and about a 6” cock that’s bone-hard. Once they’ve confirmed they’ve hooked me in they resume their show. The dark haired East Village tattooed boy leans forward. At which point the blond runs a hand down his back and starts fingering his hole. Damn! After a couple of minutes the blond sticks a finger in his mouth to spit-slick it and slowly jams it up the boy’s hole. The East Village boy moans. I’m bone-hard. The blond guy is alternately jerking off and watching me play with my package. By now I’m leaking pre-cum and I squeeze a bit on to my finger and eat it. The East Village boy likes it and I get another moan. One finger becomes two.

“That’s fuckin hot.”

“It feels good.”

“Fuck yourself on his fingers, man.”

“You like it?”

“Fuck yeah.”

Two fingers become three and now the East Village boy is really riding the blond man’s hand. I’m totally turned on and amazed that he’s riding the blonde’s hand like a fucking pony. Eventually, the East Village boy is completely turned on and moaning like a bitch as I jerk my cock and wait for him to cross the line. Inappropriate public behavior? You bet. But part of the turn-on, obviously, was that they wanted to put on a show for somebody. The other part was that it was in public in the middle of the day. I was only too happy to be entertained. The East Village boy shot a nice load, at which point I responded by blowing a hot load on his chest. That brought the blond guy off too.

"That was fucking hot."

"Yeah man, thanks."

I've seen the blond again several times, but I've never again seen the scruffy East Village boy who got finger fucked at the gym.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

It's Late

Worked tonight and Air Supply did two shows. They were wonderful and sold out both shows. The crowds were great and the shows were very entertaining. Air Supply. I'm showing my age.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

I'm Sorry, I Know I Promised You A Whole 'Nother Story. I Forgot It Was AIDS' Birthday.


The Body.com- HIV/AIDS 411

Gay Men's Health Crisis

Body Positive

The Hive - Social/support group for HIV+

Mind/Body Medical Institute

Seattle Treatment Education Project- STEP EZine

Callen-Lorde Community Health Center- HIV/AIDS medical care in NYC. They take good care of me.

The Center- LGB&T Community Center

The Starfish Project- collecting unused AIDS drugs for worldwide patients who can't afford them

Meanwhile ... worldwide:


Hut by Hut, AIDS Steals Life in a Southern Africa Town By MICHAEL WINES and SHARON LaFRANIERE
copyright 2004. The New York Times.com
AVUMISA, Swaziland - Victim by victim, AIDS is steadily boring through the heart of this small town. It killed the mayor's daughter. It has killed a fifth of the 60 employees of the town's biggest businessman. It has claimed an estimated one in eight teachers, several health workers and 2 of 10 counselors who teach prostitutes about protected sex. One of the 13 municipal workers has died of AIDS. Another is about to. A third is H.I.V.-positive.
By one hut-to-hut survey in 2003, one in four households on the town's poorer side lost someone to AIDS in the preceding year. One in three had a visibly ill member.
That is just the dead and the dying. There is also the world they leave behind. AIDS has turned one in 10 Lavumisans into an orphan. It has spawned street children, prostitutes and dropouts. It has thrust grandparents and sisters and aunts into the unwanted roles of substitutes for dead fathers and mothers. It has bred destitution, hunger and desperation among the living.
It has the appearance of a biblical cataclysm, a thousand-year flood of misery and death. In fact, it is all too ordinary. Tiny Lavumisa, population 2,000, is the template for a demographic plunge taking place in every corner of southern Africa.
Across the region, AIDS has reduced life expectancy to levels not seen since the 1800's. In six sub-Saharan nations, the United Nations estimates, the average child born today will not live to 40.
Here in Swaziland, a kingdom about the size of New Jersey with one million people tucked into South Africa's northeast corner, two in five adults are infected with H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS. Life expectancy now averages 34.4 years, the fourth lowest on earth. Fifteen years ago, it stood at 55. By 2010, experts predict, it will be 30.
Epidemics typically single out the aged and young - the weak, not those at society's core. So what happens to a society when its fulcrum - its mothers and fathers, teachers, nurses, farm workers, bookkeepers, cooks, clerks - die in their prime?
Part of the answer lies in Lavumisa, where two visitors spent five weeks recently talking to more than 60 residents, following the terrible ripples that an unrestrained epidemic is sending through the community. Sickness leads to death, death leads to destitution, destitution worsens a host of social ills, from illiteracy to prostitution to abandoned babies. Multiply a single illness or death scores of times, and a town like Lavumisa begins to unravel.
The average life expectancy here is 34 years, but there are fewer and fewer 34-year-olds - just the very young and the old, struggling to do a 34-year-old's job.
Today, Lavumisa's schools are collapsing. Crime is climbing. Medical clinics are jammed. Family assets are sold to fend off hunger. The sick are dying, sometimes alone, because they are too many, and the caretakers are too few.
Much of this is occurring because adults whose labors once fed children and paid school fees and sustained families are dead. Lavumisa's lost generation of adults has reached beyond the grave, robbing survivors of their aspirations, reducing promising lives to struggles for existence.
Sixteen-year-old Nkuthula Madlopha wanted to be a police officer. Instead, next year she will till her grandparents' fields, filling in for her dead parents. Her brother will herd livestock.
Their grandmother, Vayillina Madlopha, wanted a quiet old age. Instead, at 80, she is a new mother. "I thought my daughters-in-law would be serving me food, washing for me and cleaning the yard," she said. "Now I must start afresh."
Eleven-year-old Ntokozo wanted to be a third grader. Instead, he lies on the floor of his one-room hut, his knees swollen like baseballs and his mouth pitted with sores. His mother, who died in May, infected him with H.I.V., either during her pregnancy or later as he helped tend her oozing sores. His sister, Nkululeko Masimula, 26, wanted a job. " I wanted to have my own business; to be a hairdresser or a wholesaler," she said. Instead, she tends her brother and their 61-year-old grandmother. She sells the family's chickens to raise money for food. Finding the $20 a month required to take her brother to the nearest antiretroviral drug site, 60 miles away, is a pipe dream.
Dido Khosa, 9, wants his mother back. "She used to cook food, wash my clothes, do things for me," he said, sobbing. Instead, he describes a life of regular beatings by his father and his father's girlfriend and periodic escapes to the homes of neighbors.
Delisile Nyandeli, slim and pretty, wanted her own home and family. Instead, she cares not only for her orphaned sisters and brothers, but also for the orphaned children of two sisters who died of AIDS and whose husbands fled. At age 20, she is a mother to nine other children besides her own boy.
"Today, when I was cleaning this house," she said, "I thought about it - if my mother were alive, she would be the one doing this. Because when my sisters don't have any pencils or other things they need for school, they come to me.
"And I can't help them."

A Hard Life Made Harder

Baked by drought, blessed with a single paved street, a gas station, two liquor stores, two bars and a wretched crafts stand for tourists speeding from the adjacent South Africa border post, Lavumisa clings to Swaziland's lower rungs. Life would be hard here, even without AIDS.
A mostly rainless decade has discouraged most farmers from planting maize, the staple crop, much less the cotton that once underpinned the local economy. Many survive on homegrown chickens and pigs, donations from the World Food Program and the kindness of relatives who work across the border or in Swaziland's better-off cities.
The town does not keep death statistics. Most people quietly bury relatives in their yards or nearby fields rather than buy a cemetery plot. But Mzweleni Dlamini, the acting chief for Lavumisa and the surrounding region, does not need a tally to tell him the toll is very high.
Two years ago, he shifted his regular meeting with subordinates from weekends to Tuesdays because Saturdays and Sundays were consumed by funerals. Now he has given permission for weekday funerals because there are too many dead for the traditional weekend services alone.
With the dead gone, it is the impoverished survivors' turn to suffer.
At Lavumisa Primary School, a beige L-shaped building of concrete classrooms clumped around a red dirt yard, enrollment has fallen nearly 9 percent in five years, to 494 students, as children drop out to support families. One in three students has lost at least one parent.
Nomfundo, a 15-year-old seventh grader, made the four-mile trek home from school one recent day with her brother, Ndabendele, 10. He carried his books in a torn plastic bag. She sported the shaved head customary for girls in mourning.
Their 34-year-old mother, a domestic worker, died Aug. 29; their father died in 2003. Care of the children has fallen to their grandmother, Esther Simelane, 53, who has been jobless for 14 years.
Since the illnesses began, she has sold four of the family's eight goats to raise money for food.
"Wheesh! Now I can feel the hardship," Nomfundo said. "Who is going to pay my school fees? Even the clothes. Where am I going to get them?" She tugged at her school uniform skirt, riddled with holes and hemmed several times to hide tears.
"I feel small," she said. "We used to have track suits. Now we no longer have track suits. Other kids say, 'Oh, now you don't have a track suit. Not even shoes! Now you are on the same level as us.' "
Actually, the two children are headed lower. Unbeknownst to them, their grandmother has tested positive for H.I.V., apparently contracting the virus while dressing her daughter's bleeding sores. Mrs. Simelane has kept the news from Nomfundo and her brother to spare them further trauma.
Should Nomfundo manage to stay in school another year, she will move up to Ndabazezwe High School. Elphas Z. Shiba, the headmaster, keeps careful track of his 366 students in stacks of ledgers.
Mr. Shiba can state that at the beginning of this year, Ndabazezwe High had 40 students who had lost at least one parent. Nine months later, there were 73, 20 of whom had lost both father and mother, nearly all of whom are desperately poor. A decade ago, Mr. Shiba said, the school had perhaps five orphans, none of them needy.
Both the primary and the high school are staggering under the burden of feeding and educating a growing army of orphans who, by and large, cannot pay the school fees. The state has pledged to pay to educate orphans, but so far it has picked up but half the Lavumisa primary-school fees. Mr. Shiba said the high school was getting a mere $15 of the $100 a year it costs to educate each orphan.
Ndabazezwe High School is now deeply in debt by Swazi standards. It owes $275 for electricity; $200 for water; $260 for books and hundreds more for office equipment. The security guards have not been paid in two months. Borrowed money bought the woodworking and home-economics materials needed for final exams. Even school lunches are hit-or-miss.
Mr. Shiba and Stephen Nxumalo, the headmaster at Lavumisa Primary, reluctantly intend to carry out a resolution adopted in May by the nation's main teachers' organization. Starting in January, students who do not pay their fees - currently about 100 in the primary school, 258 in the high school - will be barred from classes.
"The number of those who don't pay keeps increasing," Mr. Nxumalo said. "It's because of the orphans. We are going to send them home, because we have no option."
Tibuthye, Sandile and Nkuthula Madlopha stand to be among the first to go.
Their parents are buried on a hillside outside Lavumisa. Their father died in 1999 at 46; their mother three years later at 32. The father's parents, 80-year-old Vayillina Madlopha and her 82-year-old husband, Ellias, now raise three children, ages 10, 12 and 16, on Ellias's $75-a-month pension.
For the old couple, the son's death was a double blow. Gone is the $30 a month that he gave them to supplement their meager income. Gone is the extra labor and money for diesel fuel that he provided during the planting season on their farm. Their fields of maize, pumpkin and beans now lie fallow.
After school one day, Mrs. Madlopha bent over an open fire, teaching 10-year-old Tibuthye how to bake buns to sell at school for a few cents. "I am old, I will die," she said. "They must learn how to work, so they will be able to do these things on their own."
Nkuthula, 16, has plans for after her graduation. "I want to be a police," she said in halting English. But the Madlophas cannot afford to fix their broken tractor, much less to educate three children.
"They need too many exercise books and school uniforms," Mrs. Madlopha said. "We can't afford all that. We are failing them."

Grim Choices for Children

What has befallen the Madlophas is happening across Lavumisa. When a family loses a parent to AIDS, public health experts here say, the household production of maize quickly falls by half; the number of livestock owned by nearly a third. It is the equivalent of draining the bank account.
Unable to both feed and educate their children, impoverished single parents frequently farm them out to relatives, following an axiom of Swazi culture that one takes care of one's own blood, no matter the cost. One in six families has already has taken in a child left parentless by AIDS, according to the World Food Program.
"We Swazis don't believe there are orphans," said Lavumisa's mayor, Victor Simelane, who is not related to Esther. "But now the extended families cannot support the magnitude of the orphans."
Increasingly, such children face a grim choice: either seek shelter with whomever will take them in, or live on the streets.
As he walked down Lavumisa's main drag, yards from the South African border gate one afternoon last month, the mayor spotted Thabiso Mavimbela, 12, darting across the macadam. "You see," he said, "here is one of these street kids. They don't have extended families. They're loitering around the town." Five years ago, he said, such kids did not exist.
Thabiso's world is a fearful place. He spends much of his after-school time on Lavumisa's streets. After his mother died five years ago, his father abandoned him. He ended up in his great-grandmother's mud-and-stone hut, , its walls a checkerboard of holes and openings stuffed with rags, down a rutted dirt road from the primary school.
The two sleep on grass mats on the dirt floor. Thabiso's uncle occupies the only foam mattress. Thabiso has no toothbrush, no washcloth, nothing except his tattered clothes. At night, he said, mice bite his feet.
Those are the least of his problems. "My uncle tells me: 'When your great-grandmother dies, I will kill you too,' " he said. Panicky, he grinds his wet eyes into the cuff of his green-and-yellow school uniform. "I know that when she dies, I have to be killed. I don't have any other place to go."
Thabiso's uncle says the boy is treated well. But in an interview in early September, his aunt, Thembi Simelane, said Thabiso sometimes sought refuge in her home, declaring that he would rather sleep on his mother's grave than in a hut with his uncle.
Ms. Simelane once was Thabiso's lifeline. Despite losing her husband to AIDS three years ago and rearing her own five children, she supported the child with profits from clothes bought in South Africa and resold in Lavumisa. But she had to abandon that work last year when she, too, fell ill.
Last January, she tested positive for H.I.V. "My days are numbered," she told a visitor in September.
She showed a speechless Thobile Jele, a social worker at the mayor's office, a will scrawled in black crayon on school notebook paper. It bequeathed to Ms. Jele her five children. It did not mention Thabiso.
At the end of October, Ms. Simelane died.
Roaming Lavumisa's streets with Thabiso is Dido Khosa, 9, whose mother died in 2002 at age 28. His father and his new girlfriend now care for him, after a fashion.
When a neighbor questioned him some weeks ago, Dido told her he had spent two days alone at home without food.
Filching family money to buy bread, he said, brings a stiff penalty. Pulling down his dirty sweat pants, Dido displayed a two-inch scar on his thigh where, he said, his father had beaten him with a pipe. He worried an abscessed tooth with a stick.
"I eat when there is food at school," he said.
Asked who takes care of him, he replied, "No one."
In August, Lavumisans noted a new sign of the growing stress on families: two abandoned babies, left on doorsteps days apart.

A Weakened Work Force

In a way, one might not expect the hollowing out of Lavumisa's adult population to have much affected its minuscule economy. Unemployment in Swaziland averages 34 percent. There is no shortage of cheap labor to replace a fallen clerk or farm worker.
But the death rate is transforming businesses and the work force, in ways not easily visible.
Peter McIntyre, 66, is one of Lavumisa's real estate baron's and probably its biggest private employer, owner of a grocery store, a liquor store, the gas station and the Lavumisa Hotel. He has lost about a fifth of his 60 workers to AIDS; the latest, a yard worker named Julius, died Oct. 4. Another worker is dying, he said; she begs him daily to look after her five children when she is gone.
Employees like the yard worker are easily replaced. Not so his accountant, who died of AIDS in 2001. Mr. McIntyre's relatives said it took three months to find and train a qualified replacement.
His three sons, in their 30's and heirs to the empire, see a lesson in that. The South African government intends to buy the land beneath the grocery and hotel and build a new border crossing. The sons are not sure that they want to rebuild after the sale.
"My sons are very wary to open a new shop," Mr. McIntyre said. "They say you have so many hassles - people dying; you can't build a permanent staff. I don't know where it is going to end, what's going to happen to Swaziland."
Medical clinics are caught in a double squeeze, with mushrooming caseloads and a steadily sicker staff. Visits to Lavumisa's one-room medical clinic have jumped by nearly a fifth since 2000. At the regional health center in nearby Matsanjeni, home to the only doctor within at least 30 miles, outpatient visits have tripled since 1998.
The Matsanjeni clinic is chronically short-staffed. On an average day, officials say, at least one of its 18 nurses is either sick or on leave for a funeral. The administrator suspects that the recent deaths of at least two clinic workers were caused by AIDS. Mothers-to-be suffer most; the prenatal clinic is closed much of the time.
Only one segment of the economy is prospering. In the Lavumisa region, with 21,000 residents, reported crimes over a three-month period - largely burglaries, assaults and thefts of goats or cows - have increased 25 percent in two years.
Prostitution is booming. On the broad dirt road that parallels the South Africa border sit the Lavumisa Hotel, the town's two bars and, each evening, a string of 18-wheelers parked for the night. More than 1,100 rigs cross this border every month, fueling a growing sex trade with local women.
In 2000, a report for the United States Agency for International Development concluded that Lavumisa had five resident sex workers. On a recent Thursday night, perhaps a dozen worked the bars.
Some are recent AIDS orphans. They are driven by their poverty: performing sex with a condom nets a woman about $4.50; without a condom, perhaps $9. An enterprising sex worker can make $50 a night.
"I used to stay with my mother and father, before they died of H.I.V. illness," said Thebisa, 18, during a break at the Lavumisa Hotel bar. "And then I couldn't afford to go to school. My father died in '98. The following year, it was my mother. I began working this way in 2000."
Her 19-year-old friend, Dabsile, another AIDS orphan, said: "A lot of my friends are in this business. Some of us, it's because there's nobody to look after us. For some of us, it's because there's peer pressure."
Dabsile said she was terrified of getting AIDS, and in fact, AIDS warnings are plastered on storefronts and billboards in Lavumisa. Jars of free condoms sit on the border-crossing counters and on other counters across town. Counselors advise prostitutes and truckers alike about protected sex.
Yet Dabsile has never worried enough to take an H.I.V. test or to insist on condoms with her boyfriend, who knew nothing of her truck-stop trade. They initially had protected sex, she said, "but as time goes on, you don't as much."

A Gathering Storm

Lavumisa and other towns like it are windows into the crisis that has beset Swaziland. AIDS kills an estimated 50 people here and H.I.V. infects 55 more each day, erasing hard-won economic gains of the last 20 years, according to the United Nations and the World Health Organization.
"It is the most efficient impoverishing agent you can find; it just sucks out the resources," said Dr. Derek von Wissell, who directs Swaziland's National Emergency Response Council on H.I.V./AIDS, the agency charged with stemming the epidemic.
Until the late 1990's, when AIDS began to hit with force, Swaziland seemed a society on its way up, making strides in health care, education and income. No more.
Economic growth and agricultural production have slowed. School enrollment is down. Poverty, malnutrition and infant mortality are up. By 2010, the United Nations forecasts, children who have lost one parent or both will account for up to 15 percent of Swaziland's one million people.
The adult H.I.V. infection rate, 38.8 percent, now tops Botswana's as the world's highest. The death rate has doubled in just seven years.
"Swaziland is frankly beyond the threshold of what we thought could happen," said Duncan Earle of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, who oversees $48 million in AIDS-related grants to the kingdom. "Ten years ago, we thought the peak infection rate would be 20 to 25 percent. This stretches the imagination."
A long-promised flood of antiretroviral drugs financed by the Global Fund and other donors could help stem the carnage. But like the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, Swaziland is starting slowly. Only about 4,000 of the 26,000 who need drugs get them. Perhaps 8,000 will have them by the end of 2005.
In 16 months, the Global Fund has disbursed $5.1 million in AIDS grants to Swaziland. Yet not until this month did the overwhelmed Health Ministry hire its first two doctors to work on H.I.V. programs. Some $2.8 million earmarked for orphans' education is locked in the Treasury, even as the government this year spent $600,000 on the king's 36th birthday party.
To the United Nations envoy for AIDS in Africa, Stephen Lewis, it is hard to fathom the consequences awaiting a nation with a vanishing middle generation.
"I resist an apocalyptic scenario," Mr. Lewis said. "But I have to admit, in the middle of the night I ask myself: 'How are these societies going to survive?' "
Lavumisa's story is not entirely bleak. Two decades into the epidemic, Mayor Simelane said, people here are "beginning to accept that they are being attacked by this monster" instead of linking AIDS to witchcraft or a white plot against blacks.
The city allots 2 percent of its limited budget to anti-AIDS social work, and has a $2,000 emergency fund for burying the dead. Chief Dlamini, King Mswati III's representative to the area, has dedicated three acres to a garden for orphans. A free feeding center for orphans is under construction near the town butchery. The high school has started a garden to feed hungry students.
A new mobile H.I.V. testing center is drawing customers on its weekly visits. One recent afternoon, two dozen people, mostly women, waited for it to open. At the Matsanjeni regional health center, seven miles away, a counselor said 350 to 400 people had visited since testing began last December.
But for every resident who faces AIDS or steels himself for a test, another shies away, fearful of the outcome.
Busisiwe Matse, a 44-year-old mother of six, went to the center in early October. Her husband, Boy, a former miner, is bedridden with symptoms of AIDS. She had been almost constantly ill for nearly a year. She was almost relieved, she said, when the counselor informed her that she was infected because now she can seek treatment.
Boy Matse's other wife, Khanyisile, 27, refuses to check her own status. "I'll do it later," she said.
Dr. von Wissell, the Swazi AIDS czar, has an ambitious agenda to reach families like the Matses. He plans to use Global Fund money to speed drugs, food and social support to towns hits by AIDS and to increase care for orphans.
Despite a sluggish start, he said, the government is moving as quickly as the frail health infrastructure permits. Antiretroviral treatment could be available near Lavumisa in six months, he said, but that will not be enough to halt the epidemic.
He does not know, he acknowledged, how much worse that epidemic will become.
Virtually all the Swazis dying today were infected in the 1990's, when the infection rate was far lower than it is today. Those who are just now infected will not fall gravely ill until about 2012 - a tidal wave of illness and death that is still eight years away.
How Lavumisa and other similar towns will cope with that is anyone's guess. "Nobody has ever walked that road," Dr. von Wissell said. "Nobody."

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

I Shaved

Well, my balls and butthole, sure. But I meant my face. I'm clean shaven again. No mas salt and pepper goatee. I think I grew it at least a year ago so it's been "my look" for quite some time. It was surprising all day to look in the mirror and see a different face looking back. My upper lip is thinner than I remember. And my buzzcut head totally doesn't work for me anymore. I'm growing my hair back. I'll let it grow for a while to see how much grey I've got in there. I'll decide if it needs some color in a couple of months. This is actually more significant than it sounds. It's partly an outgrowth of the new job. (New beginnings. etc.) But it feels like I'm either developing another new personality (this would be my eleventh, give or take), or perhaps an old persona is taking control. Further proof, all the skin on my palms has been peeling off. No cause for alarm, it's happened dozens of times throughout my adult life. I molt. Either way, a new/old me is braking out. I must need something my soul is providing me, even though I'm not sure what it is yet. In the meantime, I've got a clean smooth butthole to keep me occupied.

"Hello, my name is Tom, and I'm a shopaholic."

"Hi, Tom!"

Seriously, I left the house this afternoon to drop off a prescription and pick up some lunch. My feet, in some sort of a trance, walked me to 23rd St, where I found myself entering Housing Works. I've mentioned before what a kick ass thrift shop it is, and the fact that the proceeds go to people with AIDS keeps me as a regular customer. Besides, since they take donations from other fags that feel as I do, where else are you going to find an Armani sport jacket for 50 dollars? Anyway, of all the luck they were having a fall clearance and all men's clothing was half off. Darn! Well OK, I'll have a little look. I left with a (not Armani) sport jacket (dark grey with blue pinstripes) and two fall sweaters that I could not have seen myself buying previously. The new personality must need clothes. Total cost to me: 21 dollars.

After lunch and a trip to the gym, I headed down to the local Martha Shack on Astor Place. I was looking to replace the decorative pillows on my bed. They've ripped and are unstuffing at an alarming pace. And we know how painful unstuffing too fast can be. Surprisingly, Miss Martha's current selection of decorative pillows is woefully inadequate. A prison project if I ever saw one. Use that cheap lesbian labor, Martha girl! So I settled for replacing the sneaker socks The Hellcat stole from me. Along the way home I decided to stop in at the new Filene's Basement on Union Square. It's far and away bigger than the Filene's I've been shopping at. On the way up, exhibiting enormous self-control, I purposely didn't even glance at the DFW. I don't need shoes. Unfortunately, the Filene's selection of sheets and towels is pretty good, but their decorative pillow selection is even worse than Miss Martha's. No luck there. So would it hurt to check out the menswear? No it would not. Again, some sort of a narcoleptic trance ensued. After starting out in men's shirts, I blacked out. Only to awaken again in men's clearance shoes. Shoes! How could this be? And what's this box in my hand? Why, it's shoes! But wait. It's a color (concord, yes concord) I don't have. And they're shiny! The gays like shiny. And they were marked down twice to $39.99. And now they've made it to clearance and are 40% off of that. I must have them. I am powerless against the clearance shoes. I finished with a belt. And not just any belt. A reversible Kenneth Cole belt. Reversible as in black on one side brown on the other. That's fucking brilliant. Seriously, I am so impressed I may buy several to give to friends. A black and brown belt are essential to anyone's wardrobe. To find both in one belt for $16.99? Kudos to the Kenneth Cole design team.

It's been about a week since I started the testosterone replacement therapy. On the surface, I can't say I feel appreciably different. However I did notice two things. One little, one most definitely not. The little thing, I'm finding myself to be seriously more energetic at the gym. I don't get tired. A half hour on the Stairmonster leaves me feeling barely winded. I do fifteen reps of an exercise when I usually can only do ten. And I only stop because I feel like, well, I should. I wrap up my workout not because I'm worked out, but because I have other things to do. The big thing happened this morning. I woke up around 10:30 and could have dozed longer but I didn't want to waste the day off. As I swung my legs out of the bed and stepped into my slippers, I noticed it. Morning wood. Hello old friend. I confess, I didn't really miss you until my doctor asked me about you. Only then did I realize you were gone. But there you were tenting out my pajama bottoms so strong and proud. On a side note, I've been (annoyingly?) aware of my cock all day. Coming home from the grocery I felt like I had a mild case of blue balls, even though I know I cleaned the pipes last night before bed.

Coming up - I think I'm going to book a massage for tomorrow evening. It will definitely be an erotic massage. How erotic it gets I will have to tell you later. Tomorrow's post title: Finger Fucked at the Gym
A Rare Double Blog Day,

but you know I can't resist posting a remarkable Craigslist ad:

Looking to Play St8 Married need to be Discrete - 29

included with this picture:

Yeah, real discrete buddy. Christ, you "st8" people are fucking freaks. And if you look that shitty in a bra and panties at 29, well....

Sunday, November 28, 2004

How Was Your Holiday Weekend?

It was more by chance than design, but I didn't get an opportunity to post a pithy missive until now. Well, that's partly true. I did manage a half-drunken post last night that the Blogger gods saw fit to unleash a "server error" upon. Just as well, as I distinctly recall confessing some secrets I thought better of after a night's sleep. Although I try to tell you everything, my lovelies, there are times when I need to reveal plans after the fact. I have my reasons.

As usual, my holiday weekend wasn't. I chose to think of Thanksgiving as just another Thursday. Considering it's a uniquely American holiday, and a family one at that, it seems painfully pathetic to me when you scramble to celebrate with absolutely anyone. As some feel that's preferable to being alone. I'm OK alone. Besides, there is the point that while the story behind Thanksgiving is just that, a story, the reality is that in an indirect way, we are celebrating what turned out to be an invasion by the white Europeans that resulted in the wholesale slaughter of an indigenous people. Pass the yams.

I am in the midst of a three day weekend now, though. My boss claims it's a reward for being a "gold star manager" and "a big help the last couple of weeks". I think it was total happenstance and she's blowin' smoke up my skirt, but I like it. I hit the gym today despite sleeping till 1:30 pm. Quite honestly, I use any excuse I can think of for staying in my room or getting out of the house these days. Particularly on the weekends when everyone is home. It's my house, but I don't feel welcomed, and I don't feel cared for. So on the rare occasion when I'm home for the day, I try to get out and keep busy.

Today I spent some time tending to my vast financial empire. Lucky thing, too. I pulled up my brokerage account. It's the one I play with, buying and selling stocks. My retirement account is separate and I tend to leave it mostly alone. If I speculate that a stock has taken a serious beating, this is the account I use to start accumulating shares. I can buy a block wholesale or accumulate for a year or longer. Generally, I tend to keep buying shares as long as the average price I pay is less than the current share price. Sometimes I stop at one hundred or one thousand shares. Then I start shopping for something new. In any case, an investment I made several years ago finally paid off. The stock price popped and I made a quick thousand. Now here's the tricky part, or at least the hardest part. It's time to sell. You see, as happy as I am that the stock popped, there's no way it's going to stay at it's current inflated price. It's time to take some money off the table. If I was the smartest investor I would sell some of the investment off, take the profit and re-invest in another stock. I'd love to, but my cash crunch got a renewed life when the Amex bill for last month came due in full. Hi, have we met? I'm broke.
So I'm cashing out half the investment and using the money to pay off the last of my outstanding bills (not counting my lovely and cherished credit cards). Considering I've spent the last six months chasing my financial tail, it will be a relief to head into the holidays and the New Year on a more secure monetary footing.

Coming up: My blog has been de-sexualized as of late. But it's merely reflective of my life. I've had my reasons. From adjusting to a new job, to my apartment being repeatedly in a shambles. I've adjusted. And on the surface at least, the apartment has returned to, if not normal, presentable. I intend to make sure it stays that way. And I intend to bring back one of the favorite things my little corner of the blogsphere is known for: dirty gay sex. Watch for it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

In The News ...

A woman has filed a $20 million dollar negligence lawsuit against the Bed-Stuy Family Health Center here in Brooklyn after being misdiagnosed as HIV+. While her lawyer provided no information as to the treatment she did receive, he did claim she gave blood samples "regularly". She apparently received her original misdiagnosis in 1995 which she likened, if you can believe court documents, to "a death sentence".

Further, her response from the point of diagnosis included, again according to court documents, becoming "depressed, reclusive" and contemplating suicide. "She wasted seven years of her life." In that, I most certainly agree. She took the opportunity to meet, face down and excel against one of life's greatest challenges. To be provided with concrete evidence that the time to make your life count for something has finally dawned. And she fucking rolled over and gave up. She didn't hear the clock ticking in the background, she skipped from the middle of the book to the end without a goddamned fight.

And then, in the ultimate proof that this woman was born without a soul, and this country has no sense of shame or priority, when she is, in effect, given back the illusion that her life (apparently) will now go on forever, is she full of joy and hope and (finally!) a sense that her future hasn't been written and her limited options have no more (theoretical) limits? Fuck no! The weak bitch slaps down a suit looking for a $20 million dollar payday. Because it's not enough to be told you're gonna live, not when it provides the opportunity to never accomplish, achieve, fight against or conquer another challenge, all on the governments dime. People suck. They truly do.


They've backed down from the original plan, but after howls of protest from various gay groups, federal prosecutors have tabled their plans to post conviction posters of gay men sentenced for dealing crystal meth. These activists accuse authorities of "needlessly vilifying gay men" and further, try to give a pass to gay meth dealers by claiming they are "nonviolent addicts that sell to support their habits". Yeah you dumb fucks, and they sell to other gay men, other current or future addicts. They are actively participating in the dismantling of our "community", as sure as someone HIV+ knowingly cumming up a neg man's butt, or not bothering to disclose his status. Fuck the meth users and fuck the dealers. While I think the over all idea of the posters is just plain dumb, I have no desire to protect those that are obviously and pointedly not doing anything to protect themselves. Or worse, actually carelessly doing harm to others.

Crystal meth will cause you to lose your job.

It will cause you to lose your money and your home.

Crystal meth use will seriously damage your health, even to the point of rotting your teeth right out of your skull.

Crystal meth use will cause what can turn out to be irreversible brain damage over time.

Unfortunately, we have become a society that seems to think life can be lived without consequence, and without blame. The gay crystal addict should be "informed" but not made to feel bad. That's bullshit. You're hooked on a drug that has rendered you in effect useless, and if you're dealing you're just taking more gay people down with you. I'll give you my compassion when you admit what you are and start doing what you need to get well. Until then, you're just a weak pathetic addict. I could care less if a poster makes you feel bad.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Oh Girl, I'm Tore Up.

Went to work on Saturday at 4 pm. Worked two shows and then covered the late night for a manager that got called out of town for a sick relative. I've made no secret of my desire to have nothing to do with the late night weekends. They bring in a separate security team and dj's and basically turn the showroom into a hip-hop club. They physically search people on the way in, including making them empty their pockets and searching the women's purses, even their cigarettes. That's a sure sign of a crowd I would prefer not to cater to. Besides, it's called late night for a reason. Last call is 4 am or later. After completing paperwork, cashing out registers, etc. it can turn into a very late late night. I caught a cab home at 6:45 am. Today I was due back at 2 pm. I was working on fumes in the tank.

We hosted a charity benefit in the afternoon. Then we followed that with the second show. It was Stephanie Mills in concert. Stephanie Mills. It was 30 years ago she played Dorothy in The Wiz on Broadway. Yes, she did her only real pop hit "Never Knew Love Like This Before" but best of all, I finally got to hear Stephanie Mills sing "Home" (from The Wiz). Speaking of tore up, she didn't do the number. That song got did. She closed with it. I got chills. I'm already pretty jaded enough that I rarely notice the performances in the showroom. I noticed this one.

Aside from that, I made some gay money this week. My paycheck included an extra shift. I was pressed into bartending service for a couple of hours on Friday. I managed to pick up an extra $40 for my troubles. I got paid in cash for the extra late night shift as well. More than enough to pay the bills, and possibly splurge on a masseur/escort. Emphasis on masseur but hey, a hardworkin' girl has to have her fun doncha' think?

Friday, November 19, 2004

Your Attention Please...

I do not have tuberculosis. I repeat, no TB, I. That is all. Thank you for your attention.

If you live in Manhattan and you have steam heat in your apt. run, do not walk to get a room humidifier. It's made a huge difference in how I sleep and also how I feel in the morning. To wake up hydrated, well until you experience it you just don't know.

So last night I got home from work, stripped down to my briefs, popped out my contacs and got the coffee ready to brew in the morning. Then I set about making myself a nightcap. Imagine my surprise when all three ice cube trays contained only water. Cursing loudly I got dressed again, threw on a jacket and walked down five flights of stairs to the Korean's where I bought $1.75 bag of ice cubes. Slamming the door near The Ex's bedroom on the way out and on the way back in. The Hellcat was still up, and professed innocence, suggesting The Ex may have dumped all the ice cubes because they tasted funny. I left The Ex a "you suck" note to which he professed his innocence as well. Typical. Regardless of the circumstances the fact remains I live with two people who flat out refuse to consider me or my feelings when they go about their lives. Yesterday before leaving for the gym and then a 10+ hour work shift, I emptied the recycling garbage can and noticed a putrid odor coming from whatever had congealed at the bottom of the can (dog food + people food + god knows what). So I removed the inner liner and put it in the shower. I filled it with Pine Sol and hot water and let it soak. Then I scrubbed it with a toilet brush. I scrub the floors. I bleach the porcelain kitchen sink. I spend my own money to replace and then change the soap encrusted shower curtain. And neither one of them lifts a fucking finger beyond the most basic household maintenance. And sometimes not even that. There was a dead cockroach inside the microwave that sat for two and a half days. It's finally gone, but whatever spilled on the glass plate inside is still there. I guess I'll clean that too. In light of all this, is it too much to ask that I can have a tray of ice cubes at three in the morning? Apparently so.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

I'm Calling The Geek Squad.

If you haven't heard of them it's a roving computer repair/IT team that has branches in various cities throughout the country. They will advise you by phone, or, if you're lucky enough to live in a city where they operate, you can call and have a Geek delivered right to your home. New York being the ultimate delivery town, calling for a Geek delivery only seems natural. (When I first moved into my castle high atop Second Avenue, we used to call for a delivery of food, video and liquor to see if we could time it so they all arrived together. The best we ever achieved was two out of three.)

So I'm having some computer issues. As you know, my PC up and died in The Great (Ongoing) Room Re-do. I thought it was a faulty power source which I replaced to no avail. I was thinking that it might be as simple as a failure in the on/off switch. I do plan to check it out when I get in the mood to tinker. In the meantime I couldn't wait any longer and went ahead and found a new (refurbished) computer with a pretty good processor and a big fat hard drive (thank you, Gold Card). It came with XP Home installed and I kept my monitor so it barely feels like I've changed anything.

But I have no sound. According to the information book the motherboard supports 2,4 or 6 channel audio output. I've only got the two channel output enabled. Two channels, two speakers. It should be working. It isn't. And aside from plugging it in, I know nothing as far as sound and speakers on a computer.

I also want to install my old hard drive on my new computer. Aside from the added storage (I will probably never, ever need) I want to be able to access that drive for some of the programs I've lost copies of, particularly Photoshop. Aside from that, while I did back up my pictures at some point last year (yay me), the newest pictures were never saved. And while I always have access to the blogs listed on this site, I was actually actively or periodically following many many others. Some I could just find and bookmark again. Some, like a newly discovered gay blogger who's also a Buffalo native, I can't recall what his site was called or where I found it. Now intellectually I understand how you go about installing a hard drive. But the one time I tried it a couple of years ago I ended up fragging the whole system. I absolutely cannot afford to do that again. I am comfortable adding a firewire port, I've installed extra memory, I added a faxmodem to a cheap computer that I gave my sister as a gift. So on the surface, I should have the skill to install the drive myself. Quite frankly I'd rather pay someone to come by one afternoon and do it right the first time, make what I'm sure is a simple and obvious correction to my sound settings, and be on his/her way.

I replaced all my bathroom towels today. I had half a dozen or so that matched the colors in the bathroom. Once The Hellcat moved in, they started disappearing one by one. He has a tendency to react to (frequent) spills by grabbing the closest towel, regardless of what it's for or who it belongs to. Paper towels never seem to be an option. I've seen him use one of my bath towels to clean up a spilled liter of Pepsi. I watched, appalled, as he took one of my bathroom face towels and used it to dry his dog. Then he put it back in the bathroom on the towel rack where it hung for days. I have no idea if anybody used it to wipe their face or dry their hands. It would probably still be there if I hadn't cracked and threw it in my laundry. I'm sure he believed that his intent was to use one of the towels, or let a trick clean up with a towel, pledging in his head that he would launder and return it. The problem is he doesn't always remember his pledges and justifications that he makes to himself when he's high. So over the last few months all my bathroom towels disappeared. I plan on explaining this to The Hellcat the next time I'm sure he's sober. I will make sure he understand that the new towels don't belong to the house. They're mine. I bought them, and I'm the only one that can use them. Taking one with the intent to launder it is not an option, regardless of whether or not he's high, as he has proven that won't happen. I'm interested in whether or not he can follow a clearly stated boundary. I suspect not but maybe he'll surprise me.

I finally made it back to the gym today. Probably only the second time since starting my new job. And the first time I really wanted to since getting sick. I did a half hour of cardio and a half hour of abs. I should have time to get there again tomorrow. I'll be starting back in on the weight training. Not coincidentally, tomorrow I start the testosterone replacement therapy. It's basically steroids. The implications are obvious. My desire to document...well, everything has me wanting to get some "before" pictures. If there's time in the next couple of days I'll get it done.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Congratulations, You Only Died A Bit More.

Went to the Doctor's today. It was a regularly scheduled visit. A follow-up to my latest labs. It was a very good news/bad news experience. Some of the good news: cholesterol, liver function, blood sugar all normal. Some not so good news. My T-Cell count dropped dramatically, by almost exactly 100. (Even my T-Cells fall away in nice round numbers and in an orderly fashion.) I'm currently at 349. Still all right but approaching the 300 point where my doctor and most of the current medical industry recommends you start taking medication. It's no cause for panic, we've scheduled a re-test for the first week in January. Hopefully, I'll stabilize again or possibly get the number back up. If I test again and show another drop, however, my doctor wants to open up discussions about my first meds.

I talked with my doctor about my recent illness and described all the symptoms I experienced including my cow pox at the end. Fortunately my pox co-operated and though greatly faded, I could at least show the residual effect. Except for the visual evidence and a slight congestion in the morning I have no other symptoms of my illness left. She swabbed my throat and did an on the spot test for strep. I didn't have it. After that, she speculated that it was just a virus that resulted in a rash of some sort. Since it seemed to be resolving itself she told me not to worry about it, but by all means if it reappears anytime soon I should come in immediately.

I talked with her about feeling like absolute crap the week or two before I got really sick. I asked if it were possible that my T-Cell drop was just a further symptom of the viral infection. It should also be noted that I didn't experience an increase in my viral load, which is something you would expect with a large change in T-Cells. She at least threw me that bone and said that it was certainly possible.

I let them do a TB test. The last time I took it I got too busy to have the results checked, and there's some state law in New York that makes you have one at least once a year. I mean, it's not like they ask you to leave the state if you don't get it, but they totally bug you about it so it's easier to just take the test. I have to say though, at least at the Gay/Lesbian Health Center where I'm treated, they don't make you sit and wait to have your TB test read. You walk in and tell them why you're there, and someone comes immediately to check your test. The whole process takes a couple of minutes, minus the time it takes to walk over there.

So I left vaguely unsettled, and I started thinking. I'm wondering why I'm fighting so hard to stay off the medication as long as possible? I mean, it's not the pills per se, I already take pills every day. I take a multi-vitamin and extra C. I take three anti-anxiety pills in the morning and three more at night. I take the occasional Clonazepam. I take an anti-inflammatory when my joints ache. In short, I'm OK with pills. In a way, when I finally do go on medication it will be a good thing. My T-Cell count will climb. My viral load will drop, possibly to an undetectable level. But I still don't want to go on meds. If I examine why, the surface answer is I just don't want to. I don't want to. But the truth lies deeper. I don't want to go on those meds. The HIV meds. May the spirits forgive me I don't want physical, concrete evidence in pill form for me to see that I'm HIV positive and sick enough to need to take daily medication because of it. And as hard as I've worked to accept my illness and incorporate it as just another aspect of my life, what does it say about my own prejudices and fears that I seem to want to remain HIV+ on paper only? That I fear the day I have to acknowledge my illness, to literally have to swallow the evidence into my body with medication that theoretically I could be on for the rest of my life. How embarrassed am I to come to the conclusion that I can handle being (in my own words) "sick, but not sick, sick. You know?"

Lastly, and also in keeping with the good news/bad news, I had another test done to measure my testosterone levels. I got my lowest results ever. It's a wonder I get hard at all. (I still do, I swear.) Short term, it may be another answer to my feelings of fatigue. Long term, left untreated my doctor claims it puts me at risk (about 20 yrs. out) for osteo.... osteopi.... brittle bones. So the fourth of the fistfull of prescriptions I left with today included Androgel. I'm going on testosterone replacement therapy. The possible side effects can include a loss of belly fat (these are results I've been made aware of both from "the internets" and from South Beach Diet research), as well as an increase in muscle mass and body weight. Aside from that, I supposedly can look forward to a several month period of the Tommy Lee syndrome. I'm going to be better, bigger, stronger and harder. Several times a day if the research pans out for me. Let me know if you need a well hung 141 lb. sex machine in the next couple of months.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

2 1/2 Days Off

Wahoo! It's been a few weeks since I've had a real "weekend". In the nightclub business, 2+ days off, regardless of when they take place, count as a weekend. Plans so far include a day of beauty, tanning most parts, shaving others. Laundry of course. It's also been a few weeks since I've been at full strength. In the past my days off consisted of puttering around the house and cleaning up after my room mates. I'm going to try to catch The Incredibles. It's the first movie lately in a long while I've actually wanted to see. I love movies. But I don't just like anything. Cool animation, funny horror, action/adventure I'm in. Epic dramas, anything by Merchant/Ivory, I'll watch it on video. Maybe. I've still never seen Titanic.

Work went really well in spite of the fact it was me and Gozar The Keymaster. I had to take point for the main showroom and make a workable floor plan. Then I had to arrange for All Access Passes, Photo Passes for the press, Video Passes for others as well as video release forms. Then I had to set aside seats and tables for the house list as well as providing tables for unexpected VIP's and a last minute VIP section for the headliner's record company and guests. It wasn't that big of a show, probably 250 people total, so it was a great way to get my feet wet in areas where I've only just observed. I lead the pre-shift meeting. Being a former actress, I have an innate sense of whether people have totally tuned me out, or I've got their attention. The Dutchess can still command a room. I'm actually looking forward to a night when we're working a fully seated, really busy show. I want to cut loose and show some people how it's done.

The funny part of tonight was it was technically Gozar's show. According to the schedule I was supposedly just assisting in the show room and running the restaurant. But he and I both knew that Gozar was incapable of running even a small event like this. You could almost hear the relief in his voice when he realized that I was leading the charge up the hill. He was only too happy to carry the flag. The only area that we totally clashed over was when the restaurant hostess used his inability to make a hard decision to get out of work two hours early. I pulled him aside and explained that he had overstepped his boundaries. The person assigned to run the restaurant should make that call. Because without a hostess, the person assigned to run the restaurant then has to hover by the door making sure new customers are properly greeted and sat. I also made a point of expressing my dissatisfaction with the situation completely privately. Gozar seems to not understand at this point that certain things need to be kept "management only". We need to present a united front even if it's not really true. I'm gay. I'm totally comfortable creating an illusion. Heterosexuals need to be taught discretion.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Tom Was Here

Home from work at 2:30 am. Of course, I went in at 10 am. The day shift was uneventful. I spent a little time bonding with the owner's mom. She handles the bookkeeping for the club. She's actually a pretty nice lady, relatively mellow. She seems (on the surface, at least) to forgive mistakes as long as you can document what happened, in order to resolve the issue and send better information up the chain. The owner et. al, apparently only want clean, bottom line data. So Mom is the filter between us (management) and them. I had a $98 credit card discrepancy on Friday. I tried to figure it out. After about 20 mins. of adding and re-adding credit card deposits at 4:30 in the morning I finally gave up. One thing I've learned is that sometimes you need to look at a problem with a fresh pair of eyes. Either someone else's or your own after a night's sleep. Something that appears unsolvable at 4 am can be instantly resolved the next day at noon. Mom confirmed that I made the right decision. Pack it up, leave a note, and go the fuck home.

The night shift was technically uneventful as well. We did the Sunday night comedy show in the restaurant and an outside contractor booked the show room. This is usually a recipe for disaster as an outside promoter can be totally unprepared for the vagaries of a nightclub booking in New York City. They don't seem to grasp that you need to issue backstage passes for your entire crew. Trying to push your way through a doorway by muttering "He's with me." gets you a stiff-arm to the chest and a demand for a ticket or ID. Insisting the person you're trying to mack through the door is "hooked up" only serves to redouble the staff's resolve to not allow you to get what you want. This group was surprisingly professional. They were organized and very low maintenance

In any case, if I had any difficulties at all it was with the other new manager. He has a serious problem with insecurity and tries to cover it up two ways. He fixates on a single issue for a couple of days and talks about it and fusses over it ad infinitum to the point where the staff just ends up rolling their eyes and not responding at all. Or he just starts yelling and swearing at people, starting arguments and building resentment among the staff to what appears to be a growing critical mass. Now, I'm not absolving the staff of any guilt in this scenario. They will try, given the opportunity, and depending on who we're talking about, to get out without finishing their work. But I do maintain that in my opinion, the manager that tries to get what he wants by yelling, by threats and intimidation, by talking to adults as if they were less than or not adults, is usually covering up for his own insecurities. People that solve a problem by screaming are usually trying to not allow you to find out they're not too bright. His latest fixation seems to be with the key box. To explain: We have a key box in the managers office with duplicate keys to almost everything. Dressing rooms, locker rooms, dry storage, liquor rooms, menu cabinets etc. The staff, during the course of the day, will grab keys they need to open up rooms or bars or storage. They're supposed to return the key to the key box ASAP. That doesn't always happen. But the new manager is obsessed and keeps urging me to take people's ID and use Post-It notes to track who has what key. Feh. I know who returns keys and can be trusted and who can't. I endured my key lecture only to enjoy the image of me stabbing his temple with a pen and driving it deep enough to write my name on the surface of his brain. But maybe that's just me.

Friday, November 12, 2004

BRILLIANT! (and pretty funny)

SorryEverybody.com check out the galleries. You could spend hours.

In His Own Words. Dartmouth lacrosse goalie comes out. -via towleroad

Which Desperate Housewife are you?

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

I Got Pox!

I'm saying monkey pox, but I'm not sure. Could be chicken. I prefer monkey. I noticed it first when my fever first hit. I had three zit-like bumps on my abdomen. I didn't really pay it any mind as at the time, I felt so bad I was hoping someone would casually walk up to me and split my skull open with an aluminum baseball bat. As my brain began to swell and ooze out the fracture onto the sidewalk I would have spit the blood pooling in my mouth and whispered "thank you". That's how bad I felt. In any case, by yesterday I was much improved and began getting ready to shower and work. When I took my blouse off and walked by a mirror is when I first discovered the horror. Pox! Pox everywhere. Down both arms, my torso and back are covered. I got pox on my scalp and forehead. Only a little pox on the face. Curiously, almost nothing below the waist. It's a prudish pox, it is. Positively no cock-pox. It's not itchy, and I've monitored it all day it's not spreading. I may have spread it, though. In spite of the occasional temperature spike I went to the Home Depot for Gays as well as Bed Bath and Beyonce. I took my pox along with me. I bought a room humidifier. The steam heat in my apartment is intense, to say the least. Between the cold weather and being sick and feverish, by the time I woke up yesterday and today, I felt like ferrets had snuck into my bed and reached down my throat with their tiny ferret feet and scratched and scratched until they left a red, raw mess inside. I had to hydrate my mouth a couple of times before I could manage to commit to a swallow (heh heh). If you were listening from the other room it sounded like I was getting slipped the pickle. I was drinking water.

I also brought my pox to the Laundramat. It was match the socks or throw them out day. Sadly four white and five dark socks met their end today. Someone should start a Sock Registry on-line. People from all over the world could post their single sock with a picture and a brief description. Other's could search the site until a sock match is made and eanie, meanie, chili-beanie a matching pair of socks is reunited.

I left a message with Mom and Dad telling them that I had been sick all weekend, but I was feeling much better, and I mentioned that I had the pox. I know I laughed on more than one occasion when leaving the message. Still, I decided to follow it up today and called while still in bed after my first morning cuppa. Mom inquired how I was and asked about the pox.

"I don't know Mom, it's pox. Like chicken pox, it looks like that. It doesn't seem to be getting any worse and I feel so much better I'm not really concerned."

"Is it because of your condition?"

"Maybe. Or I maybe caught a pox from some sniveling brat on the subway."

"Cause your father and I were thinking it was that skin thing that people with your condition get."

"Ma, you were afraid I have Kaposi's ?"

"Well, we were worried."

"That's not pox, that's cancer. I don't have cancer. Most HIV+ people never contract Kaposi's anymore. I mean, anything's possible, but not with my TCell count or viral load. I guess if you totally roll over and refuse to take meds and let yourself get taken you might develop it. I got red bumps all up and down my upper body. You know. Pox."

I don't regret telling the family I was HIV+ on my last trip home (and I owe you that story in it's entirety), but I knew the other edge of that double-edge would be how carefully I dole out information. Not the least bit surprisingly, I say pox, they hear cancer.