Sunday, October 31, 2004

Drunk, Sober, And Back to Drunk

Good lord, I'm Toby. Fine, be that way I'm two Tobys (Age-wise, anyway. I'm pretty sure I'm hung better, but double is doubtful). Last week I worked the day shift. I felt traumatized. It had been years since I had been to work at 10 am. I'm serious. The last time I was even up before then was the AIDSWalk in May. I didn't get to bed (last week) before 5:15. Mostly because I was worried about getting up in time. Go figure, I'm worried about over-sleeping which causes insomnia. If you know me, it makes a kind of twisted sense.

At any rate, I'm scheduled for the day shift today and tomorrow. Now that I have one under my belt, I was able to sleep last night by about 1 am. I get the sense I was sleeping fitfully, and I have no idea if he was the direct cause, but the The Fuckin Ex opened up my bedroom door at 5:30 this morning and woke me up. To explain: The Ex works a 9-5 job (more or less). He rarely drinks a drop on the weekdays. On the weekends, beer, tequila and blow (he's so 80's) are on the menu. It works something like this: He leaves the house around midnite, and spends two or three hours doing an E. Village crawl, always ending up at Urge because we know the owner/manager and drinks, and cocaine (for him) are free. Then he wanders home around 4 am where he proceeds to lurch around the apartment like the TV sheriff making sure I, a grown gay man over 40, do not sleep with the TV on. Afterwards he plugs in his headphones and either The Beatles or Oasis or some other unwashed uncouth British rock band plays and he proceeds to warble and wail away to them, which, at 5 am sounds like I'm holding some little retarded boy captive in the back bedroom. Several trips to the bathroom as well as inexplicable tours of the apartment and at least one unremembered food rummage are sure to follow. The problem is I'm angling for the weekend day shifts and I can't have Drunky The Drunk Man waking me up to police my television. Tonight if I remember I'll lock myself in, which, over time usually breaks him of the pattern he's in, whether he's aware of it or not.

Speaking of drunk, I got off work this evening intending to pop into the gym. Go figure I forgot to wear or pack some sneakers. Of course I could have run home and picked up a pair but I believe in listening to The Universe. If I was meant to work out I would have remembered the sneaks in the first place. Besides all I was really interested in at that time was a martini. So I had one, two (FINE!) three martinis and a glass of wine. I napped for about an hour and then woke up. Went out for pizza and salad and some garlic knots (have I mentioned I'm single?). On a (not seemingly) related note, I'm going to try and get my gym schedule under control. I'm shooting for three days a week for now. That will be acceptable.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Have I Finally Seen It All?

Cross-dressed to kill.

I kind of figured this is where he was heading. Good luck, Devon. I hope you continue to get well. Your "appetite" will return, just in another form. You'll see it when it's time.

On an unrelated note - I finished training at my new job. I am far from done learning, though. They seem to need us now (there's another manager that started the week before me) so what we've managed to learn seems to be good enough. In my case that's true. The rest I can learn as I go. Last night, we had a sold out show in the main club. That's 1,000 people. Sort of without my knowledge they made me the main manager over the guy that's been there a month longer. About two hours into the night the club was full, the bar was packed and the bartenders were at full tilt. Computer paper and dollar bills were everywhere. The waiters were selling as many drinks as they could. The bass was vibrating the stacks of plastic cups in the service station. The VIP seating was done, most of the guests from the various band lists, record industry tables and friends of The House were in attendance. I resolved a serious seating problem for some people who believed themselves to be important. As I stood next to the bar gulping a cup of ice water I became aware that my heart was beating faster and my brain was firing on all cylinders. I was in the moment and two steps ahead at the same time. It was then that it occurred to me that "Yeah, this is what I do". I was totally comfortable and in my element. I run big events. It's what I'm good at. I'm good. I grooved to the music for a second and feasted on the collective energy. Then I got back to work.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


I wrote a post last night after work at 4:30 in the morning. As I was finishing, my suck-ass laptop deleted it. I have no time or inclination to re-create it. It wasn't important anyway, merely some modestly clever musings. Everything is fine and work is keeping me really busy. I'm shooting for a longer post tomorrow. Also, if you want to have sex with me I believe tomorrow afternoon between 3 and 3:40 will be good for me. See you then.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Technology Meltdown

My apologies for the dearth of posts this week. I was betrayed by my technology. It all started last weekend. I decided to use my Saturday off to re-arrange the furniture configuration in my bedroom. I got an idea that I thought would give me some extra storage space, as well as get me away from sleeping in the direct path of my drafty windows and the accursed morning sun. The storage and sunlight idea worked, but I confess it was a sacrifice in terms of design. It's all a melange of exposed wires and power strips. Some things I'm able to reach more easily, others are no more accessible than before. The catalyst to my tech meltdown involved moving the DVD/Cable boxes to another wall, moving the TV set to the other side of the bed, (The most successful change I made. I'm able to lounge around in bed watching movies and ... doing...things ... all afternoon if I want. And I do.) as well as moving my computer/DSL/VOIP connection and various computer peripherals about four feet to the left. The TV/DVD adjustment appeared to go without incident. But by the next day the cable was no longer working and the connector wires between the DVD player and TV turned out to be about a foot shorter than I needed. To make a boring story at least mercifully shorter, after a couple of days thinking I had a service call from the cable company in my future I managed to dope out that I had re-attached a connection that had popped loose incorrectly. TV/VCR/Cable. Check. Not so my poor poor PC. After completing the adjustment and hooking everything back up and powering up my computer, ... nothing. Bupkiss. No power. I jiggled and wiggled (the computer). I hooked and unhooked. Finally I took the PC off the grid and confirmed that the machine itself was getting no power. Thankfully, whatever was wrong wasn't affecting my phone, router or DSL service. So I found a way to bypass the PC and press my poor damaged laptop into service. But it doesn't have the muscle of my PC. So internet porn is largely not an option. That chops my on-line life in half. I tried replacing the power supply as that seemed the obvious problem. It wasn't. I'm stumped. I may have to replace my computer and find a way to download the data on my hard drive. I got some good filth I refuse to lose.

Aside from that, I've been pretty busy getting up to speed in my new job. I'm not struggling. It's just a lot to absorb, as any new job is. I got my first new paycheck on Friday. It was only for half a week but when your sense of self is tied in with earning a living, even a little bit feels good. Besides, it looks like my pay will be equal to if not slightly more than I was making, and I'm back amongst the legally employed. So I'm paying back into my (probably non-existent) Social Security for the first time in about four years. But the new job has played havoc with my diet and my workout schedule. I feel sluggish and bloated. I'm planning on getting up tomorrow in time to get in a decent workout. In a perfect world I'll have time to drop off my laundry. For now, I think I'll walk the dog and take a hot bath. Oh and I imagine I'll watch ... movies ... in bed.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

When It's Late

I'm in my bedroom and everyone has gone to bed. The city that never sleeps occasionally does. The Ex always retires around midnight on a work night. He found out today he's being sent to Paris for a long weekend in November. Feh. I'm not so good with the foreskin. The Hellcat and the on-again boyfriend are spending the night here. The boyfriend leaves for his job as a school teacher at 6 am so it was early to bed for them, as well. I spent the last two hours puttering. I putter a lot. I rarely sit still for very long. I almost never lie down except for the obvious times. I popped an entire chicken breast in the oven complete with red bliss potatoes at 11:30 pm. I did watch a fresh episode of The Real World and a Will & Grace rerun while the chicken cooked. But I sat on the couch the whole time, I swear. I haven't seen any new episodes of W&G, although I've heard rumblings along The Internets that it's not very funny anymore. Of course, there are those that never thought it was. I always fell squarely in the middle with that show. I saw enough of myself reflected as a neurotic, self-centered New Yorker to at least find it amusing. Plus, I was delighted that someone managed to do, and get away with, the American version of Patsy Stone in the Karen Walker character. When the talk began of doing AbFab for American TV, my first thought was that America in it's current prudish return to "family values" (and the horrors that sentiment conjures in many Americans) would never accept a pill-popping, liquor guzzling, aging sexpot on prime-time TV. Turns out with the right blend of unapologetic acting and great writing, they will.

Anyway, after pulling the chicken from the oven and separating the chicken and potatoes into containers for the fridge, (See, I had no intention of eating I just cooked a meal. For later. Or tomorrow. Because I had an hour. It's complicated.) I had to clean off my bed if I had any intention of sleeping in it. I unpacked the dirty clothes from my gym bag and put the stack of books I moved earlier back where I had them. I put this month's stack of unpaid bills back where they were this morning. Mindful of the fact that I have 10 days to figure out how I'm going to pay them. After that, I should be back receiving a steady income and will spend November bailing water out of the bottom of the leaky boat I call my life. I brushed and flossed. My gums absolutely gushed blood. My daily reminder that the dentist (notice I don't call him "my dentist" as he's the dentist I was given. He sort of comes with my HIV coverage) wants me to go to Columbia School of Dentistry and have them cut open my gums and peel them back and clean underneath and then sew them back on. As fuckin if. I can't even fucking stand my free HIV dentist and have to totally medicate just to get through a filling. (Heh, heh. You said "filling".) You think I'm going to let dental students cut me open? I'll bleed, thanks.

I hung up the clothes that didn't need to be cleaned and pick out tonight's sleeping ensemble. I selected a black fleece sweatpant and a white cotton long sleeve shirt. It's turned chilly enough at night that fleece and an extra blanket are called for. The Hellcat has been remarking how drastically colder the apartment has become. Finally, after all these years I feel validated. My home is drafty. I added the optional tan fuzzy slippers for a "don't forget to gay it up, look". I did what was left of the dishes. I turned off the lights in the apartment ( kitchen, living room, bathroom. The Ex inexplicably never, ever turns the bathroom light out when he's done.) I leave a utility light on under the kitchen shelf to facilitate sleepy trips to the bathroom. As I've been writing this we've had two so far. I lined up the remote controls from the living room on top of the cable box in the same order every night: (assuming I haven't fallen asleep out there) TV remote, cable box, DVD/VCR. Then I trimmed my nails and lit a candle.

And that brought me here to you baby. And I'm finally at rest. Here in front of a computer screen. I made myself a fresh Sky and soda. You have my undivided attention. Did I mention you've been looking pretty fuckin sexy lately? Awwww, don't blush, baby. I love the way your eyes crinkle at the edge when you smile. You wanna get out of here and go somewhere more private? Yeah, we can just talk .... if you want.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


Had you suggested to me as recently as three weeks ago that tonight I would be attending a Public Enemy concert, and shockingly, enjoying it, I would have surely smiled weakly and patted you on the head and sent you on your way. But wonder of wonders that's exactly what happened. Now, if you ask me the question in general terms "Do you like Rap?" My answer would be no. But that's not entirely true. I like what I call "anthem" Rap. Those big, powerful call and response Raps with a recognizable hook and a backbeat that when you first hear the first few measures, the crowd, regardless of race or age, leaps to their feet, arms in the air transported and responding as one. To the empathic, it's like a drug, or sex, as you feel wave after wave of collective ecstasy strike you in the gut and radiate throughout your body. It is tribal, it is communication, it is raw human emotion expressed and experienced through music.

Besides, Public Enemy isn't just any Rap group. They're freakin' Public Enemy. If not one of the originals, certainly one of the first superstars. They have history, and as such the crowd transcended what you would consider a stereotypical Rap crowd. By my estimate they were split 50/50 black and white, probably 70/30 male/female (more men), and I would put the median age of the crowd squarely at 30. These people came for the music. Not to get fucked up. Not to knock around an impromptu mosh pit. Indeed, I was working the main security door and I saw only one intoxicated white man escorted out the whole night. There were no arguments or fist fights.

If there was one obvious star amongst the group, if he wasn't always, it was Flava-Flav. The crowd went wild when he took the stage and from then on it was Public Enemy feat. Flava-Flav. I haven't had the chance to write about how much I'm enjoying the current Surreal Life on VH1. I have found it to be hilarious, sad, shocking and always wildly entertaining. If you've been following the show, an amazing subplot has been the burgeoning romance between Flava-Flav and Brigitte Nielsen. Sensing ratings gold (and rightly so) the powers that be over at VH1 have already signed the pair to a new reality series called "Mad Love". So of course, a camera crew from Mad Love was on hand to document Flava-Flav's performance. By the end of Public Enemy's set Flav was left on stage to introduce his kids, I counted three but there could have been more, and then finally the big payoff as he introduced Red Sonja herself. Fortunately, they seemed to have caught her between liquor fueled bouts of un-consciousness, as out she popped bright-eyed and looking well, awake at least. Flav expressed his true love for the former Mrs. Stallone, some onstage passionate kisses were exchanged, I think Brigitte said a few things, then Flav played her a drum solo, Brigitte gyrated, children grew frightened, and.... scene.

Monday, October 18, 2004

An Enema? That's Sick...(I Love Craigslist)

Date: 2004-10-18, 11:56AM EDT

Masculine, muscular TOP, 5'8", 170lbs, 9" cock, HIV negative. Italian, 39 years old, salt & pepper hair, blue eyes, clean-shaven. Looking for an inshape bottom, 21-35 years old who's into having his ass stuffed. You'll take an enema to clean out, and then get on your hands and knees, with your ass arched up high and wide open for my probing fingers. I'll gently and slowly push peeled, well lubricated bananas deep up into your ass, one-by-one, as you do hits of poppers. When your ass is completely stuffed, I'll firmly squeeze your cheeks together to help you hold everything in, until I'm ready to let you sit on the toilet and push it all out while you're sucking my 9" cock. You must have pics to trade.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

My Legs Fucking Hurt!

I got home from work tonight, on a Friday night, at 1:30 am. Not 5:30. I love it, but this will take some getting used to. I got my basic schedule for next week. I'm off tomorrow. I work in a nightclub and I get a Saturday night off. It's madness, madness I tell you. I'm working Sunday through Friday and then I get next weekend off. What the fuck? I have a management job in Bizarro World.

Not to brag (OK, that's a lie) I fielded a phone call today from The Hammerstein Ballroom wanting to speak to me about a management position. This is one of the biggest venues in New York City. The main stage /theater has a capacity of 2,500 ppl. That's just on one level. Oprah Winfrey taped a week of shows from New York City in an upstairs (smaller) ballroom. One year we did an awards show for Soap Opera Magazine. I was way more into the soaps then than I am now. I am happy to report that a lot of the guys on soaps are pretty damn gay and they do likes they liquor. But I worked for Hammerstein many years ago as a bartender for special events when a friend of mine was the events manager. To say that their approach to co-ordinating the logistics of a multi-level event were haphazard would be generous, at best. You always felt as if you were riding a runaway train with no brakes during an event where you would routinely run out of ice, mixers, cups or any number of critical and (seemingly) obvious items that can bring a bar to a screeching halt. And considering many times the bars were complimentary well, let's just say you don't want to get between someone who believes they are terribly, terribly important and his free Absolute and cranberry. But by god, it would cause someone to speak in clipped tones to someone else via walkie-talkie. Not that anything usually happened as a result, but walkie and then talkie took place. Of that you could be sure.

So I took a modicum of pleasure in informing them that I had already accepted a position with another company, but I appreciated their interest (NOT). The point of this story is that after two weeks of very focused job searching, I was lucky enough to get some attention from some of the largest, multi-faceted, most profitable venues in the city. Granted, the job market is much improved from the last time I was looking for work, but truthfully, I think my confidence in myself, in my experience, in my ability to think on my feet, is reflected in my resume, and as a result, at least for now, I'm an attractive hire. I wish I could figure out a way to translate this attractiveness to my ass. Any suggestions?

In any case, I'm both pleased and chagrined that I spent the last three years underestimating myself and my abilities and my monetary worth, only to find out what I know and what I know how to do, was worth more than I've been getting paid for. Lesson learned.

Friday, October 15, 2004

The More Things Change

Tonight was day (night) one on the new job. I reported for work on time and immediately began my training shifts. According to the GM, new managers used to train at every position but now "there's no time for that" so you end up hitting the critical positions. Crowd control at the door, ticket checking and box office, closing procedures and later register drops and cash out procedures. In short, nothing I hadn't done before. En route to the club I couldn't help but be bemused by the knowledge that I was once again heading for Times Square for work. All roads seem to keep leading me back there. Not surprising, as I've seemed to have shown an affinity for large, multi-faceted multi-leveled "attraction" businesses. Considering the main concert room can hold anywhere from 700 people to 1100, I'm right in my element. The second show tonight sold a ton of tickets and then the promoters seriously padded their guest lists. When they realized this was going to be a problem, they slashed all their guest lists in half. So 50 percent of the people who believed they were "on the list" and getting in free, as well as all but a fraction of people in town for the CMJ music festival, were informed they weren't getting in. Period. Non negotiable. Good times...

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Playing Catch-up

Oy! I'm so behind. How this can be when I haven't started my new job yet is anybody's guess. You'd think I would have nothing to do but post massive missives, but keeping busy is time consuming. Saturday found me joining The Hellcat, his on-again boyfriend and Colby for the bi-annual meeting of the Dachshund Friendship Club in Washington Square Park (seriously). We were too late to participate in the singing of "The Dachs Song" (no, seriously) but we did arrive in time to mix and mingle with other dachshund's and their owners. Lots and lots of dogs. Long hair, short hair, blue eyed and spotted. Some had cute (or humiliating, if you believe dogs experience humiliation) costumes. There was much talk about harness choices (very Folsom Street) and spine injuries (common to the breed).

Afterward, we hit the Greenmarket in Union Square, whereupon I stumbled on a street fair. Unable to resist, I parted ways with The Hellcat & Co. to explore. What I intended with a 20 dollar bill in my pocket was anybody's guess. Shopping isn't always about buying. Learn it. Had a late light brunch on the steps of Union Square, narrowly escaped a street brawl with a drunk panhandler and then had my aforementioned killer workout. On that subject, I know I mention working out often. Enough that you'd think I had this nice bod. Alas, it's just not true. I've never been able to bodybuild. Genetically, I'm just not predisposed for that. I could take supplements and obsessively monitor my diet to transcend my genetic limitations and become "buff" and "cut". But seriously, I've always exercised because it just makes me feel better in general. It keeps me from getting fat. Having fat doesn't bother me (much). Getting fat fer real would depress the fuck out of me. Also, the men in my family have a grand and glorious tradition of heart disease. My cholesterol has always been textbook perfect. I attribute that to regular exercise. Aside from trying to keep my heart from exploding, the only other thing I'm trying to accomplish is to keep my ass off the back of my legs for another year. I like a nice ass. Whether it's on myself or others. A nice ass on a guy is ...well, nice. So I spend 40 minutes on the Stairmaster several times a week just to fight gravity for another month. Another year. It's a battle I'll probably lose eventually but today isn't that day. And oh yeah, exercise is a good way to treat "The HIV".

The new job starts tomorrow. They seem a tad disorganized, but I'll try not to pre-judge. I had an interview for a similar position at another huge bar/restaurant today. If they make me an offer in a few weeks I may seriously consider cutting bait and fishing another pond. I'm mercenary like that. But for now, I'll take what I'm offered. I rang up about two grand in credit card debt but I didn't have to touch my 401k or my brokerage account so I guess I emerge relatively unscathed.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Sometimes They Get It Right

Sandals Resorts Ends Anti-Gay Policy.

Jury Ignores "Panic Defense" In Killing Of Gay New Yorker.

Monday, October 11, 2004

We Interrupt With A Bulletin

I am officially once again gainfully employed. That wasn't nearly as disastrous as it could have been, now was it? And I may still be fielding a couple of other offers just to hedge my bet and put myself in the best possible position. Which at this point, would be my ankles behind my ears. Job details as they become more clear to me.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Get Your Geek On

Holy Shit! After all these years (and that's no exaggeration) I finally got Outlook Express to synch up with Outlook and my MSN mail account. I wasn't even trying and the way to do it just popped into my head. And what do you know, it worked. Small victories, my friends.

Went to the post office this morning to pick up a package. It was a wireless keyboard for my Palm. The damn thing runs off two AAA batteries. That's it. I got it on so while it came with software, I had to hunt down (a bit) the documentation to figure out how it works. Once I did though it worked like a dream. It's about half the size of a full computer keyboard, but the whole keyboard is color coded and icon loaded so it's perfectly obvious how to use it. I decided to get the keyboard because upon further investigation, a replacement for the LCD screen for my laptop will run around $300. Money I can better use for, oh, I don't know, food. So down the road someday I'll just get a whole new laptop. But in the meantime I was a little frustrated losing my mobility. The Duchess likes to roam the countryside and blog amongst her subjects. So now I can unpack a couple gadgets even smaller than my laptop (which I have to confess I think is kind of cunt) and bang out whatever happens to bubble to the surface in this fever dream I call life.

In other news....

German police investigating possible cult of gay cannibals.

I worked out every day this week since Tuesday. Sometimes hard, sometimes not, but every day. Today I fuckin' blasted my abs. I'll pay for that tomorrow. A good workout makes me horny. So does a good meal. And fresh air. And clean laundry.

I like martinis.
How gay GOP group lost its faith in Bush
- Carolyn Lochhead and Zachary Coile, Chronicle Washington Bureau
Sunday, October 10, 2004

Washington -- The small band of 11 gay men and one lesbian, Republicans all, who set out more than four years ago on a highly personal crusade to reconcile homosexuals and the Republican Party, today concedes utter failure.

One is leaving the party. Another resigned his Bush administration post. Their leader refuses to talk to the media. Few will even vote for President Bush. Most feel profoundly betrayed.

For the Austin 12, as they call themselves, Bush squandered a precious chance to broaden the GOP and deliberately harmed the gay civil rights movement at a historic turning point.

Bush may win re-election because of his stance, the members of the Austin 12 say, but they are certain the damage to gays and their party will take years, if not decades, to reverse.

The president's endorsement in February of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage broke the group's spirit and shattered its support for Bush. To back an effort to insert into the nation's founding document words that would exclude gays and lesbians was -- for them -- unforgivable.

Charles Francis, the group's leader, compared the response among gays to the way California Latinos walked away from the GOP after Proposition 187.

"The stampede you hear will be 1 million gay voters who voted for President Bush -- gone, and their families gone, and their friends gone," Francis warned before Bush's endorsement of the proposed constitutional amendment.

The Austin 12 got their name from their April 13, 2000, meeting with then Texas Gov. George W. Bush, the first presumptive GOP presidential nominee ever to meet publicly with gays. Bush emerged from that meeting to declare at a high-profile news conference that he was "a better person" for it, and he promised to embrace gays in his administration.

Speaking extensively about their experience for the first time, the members of the Austin 12 say they saw a warm and open man without animus toward them, who they believed could lead their party out of the culture wars. They pledged their support, facing thinly veiled scorn from largely Democratic gay activists and raw hostility from largely Republican conservative Christians.

Members of the Austin 12 interviewed by The Chronicle ascribe the president's decision to back the same-sex marriage ban to a political calculation: The 1 million gays and lesbians who voted for Bush in 2000 are outnumbered by the 4 million evangelicals who stayed home.

"When I think back about that conversation I had with him about setting up a better world for gay and lesbian babies, he's taken a huge step back, because he now has unleashed the forces that he kept at bay in the early years of his administration," said Brian Bennett, who came out while a top aide to former Rep. Bob Dornan, the famously anti-gay Orange County congressman.

"The really hateful types -- the Dobsons, the Sheldons, the Bauers -- he set them loose to call for an amendment and to go after us in 50 states as well," Bennett said. "So they now have a cause celebre, and they have a president of the United States backing them, and they're whipsawing gays and lesbians in every one of these states. And that is reprehensible."

The catalyst

The evolution of Bush and the gay movement began with Francis, a Washington public relations professional, solidly Republican and openly gay. Francis had never been active in gay causes or politics, but he knew the Bushes through close family connections in Texas. His brother, James, managed Bush's campaign against former Texas Gov. Ann Richards. Charles Francis got to know Bush on family fishing trips.

Dismayed by the anti-gay climate in the Republican Party and the damage he believed it had done to GOP causes, Francis came out to Bush in a personal letter. Sensing that Bush had a big future, Francis offered his help in dealing with gay issues as a conservative.

In the 2000 GOP primaries, Bush was running to the right of Sen. John McCain, speaking at Bob Jones University and refusing to meet with the Log Cabin Republicans, the chief gay GOP group, which had endorsed McCain. But when the primary contest ended and Bush shifted to the center as a "compassionate conservative," Francis saw his chance.

Francis handpicked the Austin 12, many of whom were Log Cabin members and, for the most part, connected to politics.

"It was Charles who persuaded me," recalled activist David Greer, "Charles' belief and his personal relationship with the governor."

"You didn't expect things to change overnight," Greer said. "But just the fact that there was a meeting was the victory. ... I was proud to be part of it, proud to be able to speak directly about these issues to somebody who was going to be leader of the free world. It sent chills down my spine."

The night before the meeting, the group met in a conference room of an Austin law firm. Rather than confront Bush with a laundry list of policy demands, they chose a more personal appeal. Each would tell his own story.

As Virginia political consultant Scott Huch put it: "We knew the way we had to approach it was to reach his heart."

The meeting

At Bush campaign headquarters, they were met by Bush political czar Karl Rove and communications director Karen Hughes. Bush bounded into the room, warmly greeting each member of the group -- and promptly boasting that he would become the next president.

Carl Schmid, a lobbyist from Washington, D.C., talked about his lesbian sister raising three African American children with her partner and the problems facing gay couples who want to adopt. "He said he appreciated it, and said, 'It's true that love can come in other forms,' " Schmid said.

Jim McFarland, a Milwaukee lawyer, told Bush how coming out as gay while serving on the City Council changed the views of many of his conservative friends and colleagues. Bush nodded and agreed. "He felt that it was important that people who are gay should be more open with other people about their experiences so people can learn from that," McFarland said.

Bush told the group he was frustrated that people labeled him anti-gay.

" 'I just don't understand how my views could be so misunderstood,' " Huch recalled Bush saying. " 'I'm not a hateful person. I'm not a bigoted person.' "

Bush was told he could change that impression. Let people know lesbians and gays are welcome in your campaign and in a future administration, they told him. They even suggested he use the phrase "sexual orientation is not a factor" in hiring decisions. Bush adopted the phrase.

They asked that there be no gay-baiting at the national convention, but an openly gay speaker instead.

"(Bush) looked over at Rove and said, 'We have no problem with that,' " Huch recalled. "He asked, 'Who would be a good speaker?' "

The group recommended Rep. Jim Kolbe of Arizona. A few months later, he was at the podium.

Bush delivered on other requests. He kept former President Bill Clinton's anti-discrimination executive order for federal employees, despite intense pressure from conservatives to revoke it. He included gays in his administration. Austin 12 member Scott Evertz became his AIDS czar, and Michael Guest ambassador to Romania. Austin 12 member Donald Capoccia was named to the U.S. Commission on Fine Arts.

By Schmid's count, Bush appointed more than 40 gays or lesbians -- less than a third of the number appointed by Clinton, but a record for a Republican White House.

Other moves followed. Attorney General John Ashcroft invoked a federal hate crimes provision to allow the death penalty in the Shenandoah National Park murders of two lesbians. Bush signed the Mychal Judge Act after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks allowing death benefits for same-sex partners of public safety officers.

The White House sided with gays on lifting the District of Columbia ban on domestic partnerships. "After years of us fighting ... we were able to accomplish it under a Republican president and Congress," Schmid said. "I can't say I was without disappointments, but to be in the middle of it and to see progress ... at least I saw some positive movement along the way."

McFarland called Bush's first years in office "the best any Republican administration has ever done" on gay issues.

The Austin 12 overtures burnished Bush's image as a moderate and provided hope that he was helping to make gay issues safe for Republicans. Even the liberal Human Rights Campaign praised several of Bush's actions. The steps were small, but the White House was quietly supportive -- and, in what many say was more important, kept religious conservatives at bay.

Energized by the success of the Austin 12, Francis formed the Republican Unity Coalition, a "gay-straight alliance" with GOP stars: Mary Cheney, Vice President Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter; GOP operative Mary Matalin, then working for the vice president; former Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming; and former President Gerald Ford.

The group held party-sanctioned events at the 2000 convention and issued a "Cody Statement" declaring that traditional Republican principles of freedom and family should apply without regard to sexual orientation, which it sought to make a "nonissue in the Republican Party."

David Catania, a District of Columbia council member, said he raised $70,000 for Bush, and Schmid recalls countless media interviews to help improve Bush's image with gays and moderate Republicans.

Yet looking back, the Austin meeting held an omen: At the outset, Bush said he would not support same-sex marriage. Greer said the group saw it almost as "a throwaway line."

They told Bush, "We're not here to discuss that," Schmid said. "At that time, it wasn't an issue. We didn't have Canada, we didn't have Massachusetts. It wasn't even on the radar screen."


It was not until spring 2003 that concerns about the administration began to emerge for members of the Austin 12 -- two months before the Supreme Court issued its decision in Lawrence vs. Texas that overturned state sodomy laws, decriminalizing homosexuality.

That April, Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., warned that if the court overturned sodomy laws, legalized polygamy, incest and other acts would be next, an assertion that outraged gays.

A few weeks later, Matalin suddenly did an about-face and defended Santorum on national television, declaring that Catholicism teaches one to "love and accept the individual, but you cannot accept the act."

Matalin went on to accuse gays of "raising the tolerance bar" by criticizing Santorum, going so far as to compare that to calling the pope a bigot.

Without explanation, Mary Cheney suddenly resigned from the unity group.

When the high court issued its Lawrence decision in June, evangelical conservatives leapt on Justice Antonin Scalia's dissent, accusing the court of inviting same-sex marriage and taking sides in the culture war.

In November, the Massachusetts Supreme Court issued its decision requiring the state to grant civil marriage licenses to same-sex couples. By this time, conservative evangelicals -- leaders of the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, the Traditional Values Coalition and Concerned Women for America -- said they had handed Bush an ultimatum: Endorse a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, or their constituents would stay home in 2004.After San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom began issuing same-sex marriage licenses, the president, on Feb. 24, announced his endorsement of just such an amendment.

Few believed Congress would have the votes to pass it, and Bush had a quintessentially Republican argument against it -- made by Vice President Cheney in 2000 -- that marriage is a state issue. But Bush sided with federal intervention.

The Austin 12 said his imprimatur unleashed the forces of the conservative opposition, which rolled through state legislatures with copycat amendments that have become and are becoming law. "That's the power of the bully pulpit," Greer said.

It has never been easy being a gay or lesbian Republican. Rebecca Maestri, once an aide to former Sen. Alphonse D'Amato, R-N.Y., said she told Bush in Austin that day, "It's more difficult for me to come out to the gay community as a Republican than it is coming out to my Republican friends as being gay."

"I'm called a self-hater," said Maestri, chairwoman of Log Cabin's Virginia chapter. "This is the gay community that is supposed to be for diversity and tolerance, but I represent the evil empire, I guess. I'm the Uncle Tom of the gay community."

But she had hope in Austin, when she said Bush told the group, " 'You know, I'm just a guy from Midland, Texas, and I don't understand this stuff. Help me.' "

"It's hard for me to say it's been a disaster, but I think that any therapist would tell you I'm in denial if I don't," Greer said. "It just hurts to say it and hurts to face it."

Capoccia, a New York real estate developer and ally of New York Gov. George Pataki, resigned his position on the arts commission. Catania has been the most outspoken. Last month, he endorsed Kerry for president.

"My heart has left the party, my head has left the party," Catania said. "The party as it is now is not one I can support."

Other members will stay in the party, while actively denouncing Bush.

"That doesn't mean I support Kerry, either," said Daniel Stewart, mayor of Plattsburgh, N.Y. "It means I can't support George Bush anymore. I have just had it. He hit my soul, he hit my heart. I'm not going to stand there and violate my own conscience to help get someone elected."

Most will stay in the party to fight where they say the battle counts.

"I believe in the principles of the Republican Party, and I won't be railroaded out of the party just because of my sexual orientation," Maestri said.

"Why should we abandon Rudy Giuliani, George Pataki, Arnold Schwarzenegger and other leaders who are in the party taking heat for standing up for gays and lesbians?" Bennett said. "They have the courage to stand up for me in my party. What good would I be for them, who are in some ways jeopardizing their political futures by standing up for me, if I cut and run?"

Friday, October 08, 2004

The Debate (Minute by Minute)

George Bush gets into fighting shape for tonight's debate.

9:01 The candidates are ready, the Midwestern idjits are ready, the 2004 Presidential Debates begin.....

Charlie Gibson has become "Charles".

According to the rules, a flashing red light means "prepare to be electrocuted."

9:05 Kerry seems a little shaky on his first question. Did he over prepare?

9:07 Bush already complaining about "the pressure" of his job.

9:08 First of 5 invocations of 9/11 by Bush.

9:10 Bush can't find the word he's searching for: commission, perhaps? He chooses "group".

9:11 Bush takes notes: "My job is hard. It's so very, very hard."

9:14 Kerry cites (R) Sen. Luger to criticize US actions in Iraq. Good one.

9:16 Bush: "wrong war, wrong time, wrong place" redux. (2)

9:18 Question: Are we the Ugly Americans?

9:19 Bush invokes Ronald Reagan.

9:20 Wait, we didn't join the International Court in The Hague so our soldiers wouldn't have to be subject to a court of law?

9:23 Fat lady nods in approval. A fresh Kerry convert?

9:25 Bush uses lame, prepared, "scowl" joke to cover for reflexive borderline scowl. No one laughs.

9:28 Bush: "the Internets." The internets? There are more than one?

9:29 "Vee-hicles" He said vee-hicles. Lord, help us.

9:31 Kerry weaves unrealistic fantasy about the lovely army he plans to create.

9:31 Bush the bully emerges and ignores "Charles" Gibson.

9:33 Bush scribbles furiously: "Oooh, I hate this guy. I hate him, hate him, hate him. I wish I could sigh."

9:37 A good question regarding cheaper Canadian drugs. Curiously, it seems Bush has called Canada a third-world country.

9:39 If you're not from Missourah can you say "missourah?

9:41 Kerry scores a nice shot going for the Senior/Medicare vote.

9:43 John Edwards' smarmy past as a litigious ambulance chaser comes back to haunt him.

9:45 Pow! Bush unleashes lame, prepared second joke regarding hard work to deflect his pathetic "hard work" whining. Absolutely no one laughs.

9:47 Message to both you stooges: The only medical care issue we want to hear about is National Organized Health Insurance.

9:52 I'm bored.

9:54 Kerry falls for trap and looks into the camera promising no new taxes in first two years. You asshole.

9:55 Kerry: "No lobbyist left behind." Good one. And scores the first genuine laugh, to boot.

9:57 Bush attempts to take credit for 1.9 million new jobs he had absolutely nothing to do with.

9:59 Bush's environmental record. This oughta be good.

10:00 What's a hydrogen automobile?

10:01 Kerry ignores environment issue to try and escape liberal label. Ridicules "Clear Skies Act."

10:04 Unintelligible and convoluted jobs question from audience.

10:05 This Kerry guy has "a plan" for everything.

10:08 Frat-boy Bush emerges, ridicules Kerry's answer. "Want some wood?"

10:10 Bush talks about "terrists" and lies about Patriot Act.

10:14 Kerry trots out (in order) Nancy Reagan, Michael J. Fox and Christopher Reeve to answer embryonic stem cell research question.

10:18 Has the camera shown a black face yet?

10:20 Bush displays rudimentary knowledge of the Constitution.

10:22 Kerry gets a potentially controversial abortion funding question. He obviously panders but seems to make a case for a secular society.

10:28 Fat lady in red looks horrified. Or pissed off it's hard to tell.

10:32 Kerry misses chance to paint Bush with dirty Halliburton brush. Scores a minor swipe that barely registers.

10:33 Kerry promises to kill people for us.

10:36 Bush reminds us we're at war (again), reminds us that people are looking to bomb us and says everything at home is A-OK.

While I hesitate to call either candidate a clear cut winner, I have to congratulate the designer of the shock collar hidden under Bush's shirt that kept him from becoming totally lost (more than once) or from appearing (overtly) to be the unctuous, whiny, petulant spoiled rich kid he usually seems to be. Kerry was (as expected) in command of the facts he needed, but if he's going to make any headway or take the lead in this campaign, he should take the time to forcefully and aggressively expose the lies and hypocrisy plaguing this administration.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Oh Me Of Little Faith

Went for an early evening workout with The Hellcat. He's currently running a gym scam, scoring a free week at various branches. We figured out a hole in their "firewall" and have exploited the weakness in their system to score four free weeks and counting. Of course, usually he perpetrates the scam, goes once, and then skips the rest of the free week fighting with his on-again boyfriend or some other colossal waste of time. Does it really count as a scam if you reap no tangible benefit from it? In any case this branch was on 14th near 6th and out of all the branches we have visited this one was GAY GAY GAY! Stopped at the supermarket for some supplies, came home and popped some chicken titties in the oven.

The Ex informed me that I had two messages marked Urgent waiting on the landline. (Knowing full well he listened to them.) As you may have already guessed, they were from people wanting to interview me for work. Include the interview I already arranged for tomorrow and I have three set up at various times. And three more resumes going out for likely positions. In case you're wondering, I am focusing in the restaurant/bar business. After a couple of weeks of looking at jobs available, I've reached the conclusion that on paper at least, I'm not too qualified for other work. I'm not saying I can't do anything else, I'm saying it's awfully difficult getting hired for something you've technically never done before, even if you're confident you can do it. "They" seem to like some sort of documentation that you've completed a course or received a degree. The Man, always tryin' ta keep you down. So fine, it's back behind a bar, or running a bar or restaurant. This time, though, I intend to limit the time I spend at work, and use my free time more wisely. A real estate license is a distinct possibility. I will be investigating further some on-line courses. And I need some certifications in a few computer skills. Yes, it's time for the old lady to hit the books. For now, I need to get my teeth brushed, my jammies on and curl up in the bed (before 1:00!). My first interview is at 10 am. Cross yer toes!

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Last Night

The Hellcat scored some free ducats to an Off Broadway show from a connection he's got. I met him and his on-again bf way out west on 42nd. The show was called The Oldest Profession and it was written by Paula Vogel. She also wrote How I Learned to Drive, which won a Pulitzer for Drama in 1998. It was a cast of five women, the notables (I guess) being Joyce Van Patten, a character actress who you might not know by name but when you see her you go "Oh yeah, her", and Katherine Helmond (Mona, from Who's The Boss?).

As the title suggests the actresses all portray prostitutes in NYC. The play is set in 1980 and spans a four year period. Right there we have some serious credibility problems. The very idea, even in 1980, that five 50+ yr. old prostitutes have banded together and formed what amounts to a brothel centered around a retirement home, where they turn tricks for 10 bucks "plus a two dollar tip", where a big score is a $20, and where one of the hookers receives a hero's welcome for turning what appears to be a remarkable 100 dollar gig at an old man's birthday party, requires a certain amount of suspension of belief. Katherine Helmond plays the de facto Madam, in charge of collecting the money and distributing allowances and supervising lunch breaks (!), now, I realize I wasn't here in 1980, but I find it more than a little hard to believe that hookers sat around negotiating lunch breaks with their madams. In fact, the amount of time allotted for lunch becomes a sore subject repeatedly throughout the play. And while I know for a fact that anyone that wants to be paid for sex, regardless of their age, will eventually find someone willing to pay for sex, a woman in her fifties would be hard-pressed to make a living that way. Even pervy older men looking to pay will naturally gravitate towards younger women. And assuming you still could get a $20 blowjob in the 1980's (as I'm sure you could) in those days you could just troll the Meatpacking District and find some strung-out junky whore for that.

In any case, after a couple scenes together the women (for no apparent reason other than plot device) start to die off one by one, each one performing an old standard musical number after changing into satin lingerie. They then remain on-stage lounging around the periphery as the remaining characters struggle to get by. This continues till there's one character left, alone on a park bench covered in newspaper. She rummages trough a trash can for some food as the dead characters sing one more snippet from a musical number. Fade to black.

I tried to glean some hidden meaning as we walked across 42nd St. But for the life of me I couldn't find one. There was no real examination of how these women came to be or be together. There was no discourse regarding how people who choose prostitution are frequently marginalized by the very people who avail themselves of their services. There wasn't even word one about the general struggles of aging that any group of women, regardless of the circumstances of their life, would normally engage in together. It didn't really seem like a play as it did the idea for a play. A what if... That took form and somehow got produced. The acting wasn't bad, the delivery seemed fine, there just didn't seem to be any purpose to it. There was no "there" there as they say.

Still, it was nice to get out of the apartment. The theater, although practically in The Hudson River was very nice, extremely intimate. And it kept me from sitting at home obsessing over why I sent out 7 resumes and didn't get a single phone call back.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Not So Dumb

Last year, I picked up a manual to try and teach myself Adobe GoLive (for website design and publishing). About a quarter of the way through it I became totally lost and put it in the pile of books I couldn't or wouldn't finish. In the interim, I've learned a thing or two about Cascading Style Sheets and HTML and websites designed with frames and I just started skimming a garbage picked manual on Dynamic HTML. So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to find that upon re-visiting the GoLive manual this weekend, I totally understood most of the instuctions and was even able to distinguish what was too advanced but unimportant to my current needs. I doubt I'll be moving my site off Blogspot (at least for now) but there will probably be some changes around here as I experiment with writing HTML code. If you hate what I've done just wait a day or two, it'll probably change or change back.

I felt myself slipping into a depression all weekend. It didn't feel really severe and I could tell it was totally related to not having a job. It appears that my sense of self is tightly interwoven with being gainfully employed. Fortunately, ABC Sunday night provided a welcome distraction. Starting with Extreme Makeover. This week the family was living in a broken down (broken windows, holes in the ceiling, broken faucets) hovel in central LA. There was a mother and father and four kids. In addition the father (who worked as a counselor to inner city kids) lost his mother to a stray bullet from a gang fight, leaving her five kids as orphans. So they took in those kids as well. Nine kids. And if that's not enough to tug at you one of the kids is autistic. (I know, it almost seems made up.) If you believe the way they package the show (And I don't. For example, Queer Eye still tries to make it seem as if their makeover happens in one day when in reality it happens in four) it takes them a week to tear down a wreck and rebuild a three story brand new home. Granted, they have what appears to be hundreds of volunteer workers made up of professional builders so it's possible, and honestly it's not that important as to the result, a struggling and impovershed inner-city family comes back to a brand new home. They cry, and so do I. Mission accomplished.

Moving on, I watched the first episode of Desperate Houswives. I was looking forward to some high camp. You know how "the gays" love camp. The show opened promisingly enough with one of the housewives blowing her own brains out. Marcia Cross is an absolute hoot as the Stepford-ish Martha Stewart character. Nobody does crazy better than her. And I loved when the housewife (played by Eva Longoria, a Young And The Breastless alum) getting fucked by the lawnboy (Jesse from Passions) leaves her husband at a party to go home and cut the lawn herself, so she can continue being fucked by the lawnboy. I can relate. Having the show narrated by the dead housewife is a contrivance that will have to be dropped, and I'm undecided how I feel about Terry Hatcher and her storyline, her and the kid she has feel like they wandered in from a totally different, poorly written sitcom. Burning down the neighbors' house, was a pretty funny first episode touch. And what the hell did Nicolette Sheridan have done to herself? I mean, besides the overly blown-up collagen lips. Why does everyone in Hollywood not see what a total cliche that's become? Nicolette, do yourself a favor and learn two words: lens filter. And avoid extreme close-ups. All in all, I'm not hooked yet, and I think they can go further "out there" if they want to. In any case, it was the perfect compliment to my "comfort dinner" of meatlof and Mac and Cheese.

I finished my rare night of network TV viewing with the season premier of Boston Legal. It's a spinoff of another law show set in Boston (The Practice) that I watched sporadically during it's first season. At first, I dismissed it as a knockoff of Ally McBeal, but I guess that's selling it short. James Spader is wildly entertaining as an amoral lawyer who wants to win at all costs. And William Shatner, well.... Shatner is a star. He's got a bag of tricks and you can practically see him deciding on screen which one to pull out but fortunately it's a huge bag and his choices are always highly entertaining. You can't not watch and enjoy. His Denny Crane character will be a classic. And I hate to admit it, and I have no idea if it was the performer, the direction or a bit of both, but the surprise cameo by none other than The Rev. Al Sharpton was absolutely letter perfect. An inspired bit of writing and casting.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Something For The Weekend

Ladies and germs, I give you ... Dancing Bush. -via Mr. and Mr. Enjoy.