Saturday, December 31, 2005

Quite A Start To The New Year

So this afternoon found me at the Doctor's. I was getting fresh numbers from my most recent blood work. For those keeping track, my last test had my viral load down to 1163. My newest number? .... wait for it .... 95. Almost undetectable (which is technically under 50) In addition, my T-Cells that came up last time at 452 are now a whopping 616. According to my Doc my T-Cell percentage is testing the same as a heatlhy HIV negative person. Of course, I'm not. What I am, is in pretty damn fine shape and starting the New Year pretty healthy for a sick person. Oh, and in spite of the fact that I stuffed my face all week with homemade Christmas (sorry, Holiday) cookies and ice cream and pasta I actually lost about three pounds. Don't hate me.
To celebrate I bought three new blouses at the Old Gravy and some new storage shelving for my DVD's.

Here's a hot guy in a Speedo to help us all celebrate.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Now With Tasty Marshmellows!

So I finally got around to setting up a photo page with a Flickr account. You can have a look see here. I'll be putting a permanent link on to my blog, probably tomorrow. I realized that I have a ton of pictures of family members and other things that none of my friends and family have ever seen. So we'll be keeping all Flickr posts on the tasteful side so as not to give any interested cousins the vapors. I'll be uploading pictures over the next few weeks if you care to see such things.

Fortunately, we're under no such Rules of Decorum here at From The Ashes, which is why I'm free to give you pages and pages of Some Guys Butt. Enjoy.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Back On The Mean Streets

My vacation in Buffalo (!) has come to an end, I've returned to Nueva York. Something has changed. In me. I feel ... different. Stronger. And definitely less afraid. Also, I'm thinking in sentence fragments. Christmas here apparently was ... interesting. The Ex threw his back out again. He's walking funny but he's able to work. The Hellcat had a bad tooth act up and ended up in the emergency room Christmas night because of the pain. He had a root canal yesterday. The interesting part of all this? I don't really care. I think I'm done with these two.

On another note: As I mentioned before, I password protected my gadgets before I left town. I discovered to my frustration that using system restore won't bypass a lost (forgotten) password. Logging in as the administrator and deleting the passsword is the way to go.

A Little Housekeeping ...

I feel a site re-design coming on ... in the meantime, I've updated the list of sites I link to. I'm also considering de-listing a few I've grown disillusioned with. Here's a question: Have any of you taken down links to sites that don't link to you? Or how about because you don't approve of other sites they link to? There's a couple bloggers out there who regularly attract comments and attention from others I genuinely despise. Is it petty of me to drop them from my links? I'm just sayin'... In any case, I thought I'd call your attention (as I do from time to time) to some newly discovered (to me) blogs of note.

The Diary Of A Lost Boy - The site itself is a tad busy for my taste and fer god's sake pick a type style! but she's HIV+ so that right there gets you listed. From The Ashes is openly HIV+ biased. Considering some of the shit we have to go through, it only seems right.

Completely Naked - Jared is kinky and has a knack for writing about it. What's not to love?

Shitty Blogs - I've been through the entire site including the snarky comments posted by other readers. Good for some shits n' giggles. I just pray I never end up there.

This Thing Of Darkness
- He's a 24 year old hooker here in the Big City. And we know I loves me some prostitutes. But Christ! I hope this boy lives to tell his tales. Quite a start, though.

There you have it. If nothing else, I've pointed you to a couple of sites that should get your man parts all tingly. Now I'm off to the gym to work off the mountains of food I inhaled over Christmas. Ta ...

Friday, December 23, 2005

Holiday Sign-off

I'd forgotten how pretty a foot of snow on the ground looks. I have to admit, despite a slew of problems and decisions facing me after the new year, it's good to be home. Or as close as I'm likely to get to that abstract (to me) concept. Mom and Dad appear to be in good health. My niece is whip-smart and a fabulous dresser (What more could a GUncle* want?). I'm surrounded by memories, both good and bad, thankfully, mostly good. The room I'm in right now is outside the boys' and girls' bedrooms that we grew up in. It's fairly large, and currently being used to store toys and games that my niece has no room for at her house. There are various (unfinished) art/craft projects scattered about and furniture pieces that currently don't have a home. There's a computer desk and my mom's aforementioned woefully slow desktop PC. I've managed to squeeze out whatever speed is left in the creaky processor and noisy hard drive, making checking my e-mail and composing this missive tolerable if not quick. The desk is surrounded by casino games (for Mom) and puzzle and Barbie games to entertain my niece. Everywhere in every room including this one there are family photos in and out of frames, on the wall and tucked into other photos. They are of my father's fairly large family and my sibling's and our (limited) progeny. I will miss my sister this whole week. Thankfully, as the years pass the mourning becomes more wistful and less a painful ache.

Directly behind me is an alcove that I briefly moved into as an older teenager. Preferring the lack of real privacy to the symbolism of moving from my childhood bedroom. It's been filled as well with unused furniture and more pictures. Most of them are of my sister but there's an 8x10 of me tucked in there as well. I don't believe I've duplicated the smile beaming out from that photo in many, many years. But I want to, and that counts for something I guess. There are ceramic and fabric angels scattered around the pictures as well as several candles in holders of glass and brass and other decorative settings. Yet another preference I'm only now realizing I may have unconsciously brought from home.

At the center of the alcove and indeed by default the focal point of the space, sits a 3 foot tall orange glass vase. I remember the why of picking it out if not the when, but I'm thinking I was a young teenager. I vaguely recall paying for it myself and I'm absolutely certain I picked it out alone. At first blush now, a case could be made that it's hideous. Judging by it's display here amongst treasured photos it seems my folks disagree. And so do I. It was a gift freely given, because I wanted to brighten up not just Christmas, but every day in this home we shared. And I thought that it was beautiful. When I turn around and see it sitting there, and the memories of Christmas' past and family gatherings and those we have lost come flooding into my heart and soul, to me, It still looks beautiful.

Have a Merry Christmas everyone and a safe, happy and joyous holiday weekend. I'll speak with you again after the holiday.

*Gay Uncle

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Greetings From Buffalo

It was about as painless and easy commute to the airport that I've had in years of travel. Who knew the most effecient and easiest mode of travel between Penn Station and my castle high atop Second Ave. was to walk? I left almost a full hour later than planned but arrived at the LIRR platform a serendipitous 5 minutes before my train was departing for Jamaica. I pulled into the station in Queens and found I had an hour and a half to complete the final leg of my journey to the airport. I found myself happily dialing up friends and family, smugly relating how I was planning on casually making my way toward my listed terminal.

Of course, I hadn't counted on my carrying an expired non-driver's ID getting me pushed into a line of suspect travellers that were sent through metal detectors, interviewed and scanned again with a detector wand. I hadn't counted on my luggage being swabbed with some sort of cloth device and having said cloth loaded into one of those new-fangled "sniffing" machines. I most certainly didn't expect the machine to emit a series or warning beeps, at which point my "Safety" inspector began stomping her feet and swearing at, I assume, the prospect of having to actually do something. And I definitely didn't have an answer when I was informed that my luggage had tested positive for explosives. I resisted the urge to offer a theory that me and mine tend to test positive for things (THANK YOU! I'll be here all week!). But after answering a series of what seemed to me completely lame questions and having my suitcase and man-purse opened and emptied, I was set free to explode whatever I intended to.

All of which still left me with plenty of time to buy a newspaper and bottle of water and relax for a few minutes before my flight began to board. So here I am, safe in the bosom of my passive-aggresive family. I've been told I look good "now" as opposed to last time I visited when I "had them worried". Oh.

Expect regular updates, in between me trying to breathe some life into mom's tired old PC. I don't think she's run a window's update ever and it looks like her anti-virus software hasn't been updated since my last visit.

I hope all your travels this week go as smoothly as mine did. Minus the suspected terrorist part, of course.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Anybody have a good suggestion how I can get to JFK on Wednesday afternoon? I have a flight to catch.

Seriously, I have to say that except for the anticipated difficulty I'll be having tomorrow getting out to JFK, I wouldn't be suffering much as a result of this "crippling strike" that has "gripped New York". That's assuming I wasn't getting out of Dodge. I'm one of those New Yorkers that has basically seen to it that all my needs can be met within a 10 block radius of the apartment. I have food, liquor, laundry, movies and music all in walking distance. My therapist and doctor are a brisk 1/2 hour walk across town. The fact that I use a phrase like "my therapist" should be a clue as to how entrenched I've become. Theoretically, there's an Upper West Side. I haven't seen it in years. My nose bleeds from the altitude above 57th st. I could always dial up a hooker for delivery. I've always wanted to try and time it so the hooker and pizza would arrive at the same time. I've only come close.

I spent the day finishing up last minute preparations for my holiday visit back to Buffalo. I had a therapy session that dredged up more questions than it answered. More on that later. I plan on spending my Christmas vacation relaxing and pondering my next move. I'll have lots of time to work things out and share my thoughts if you find that sort of thing interesting.

I filled out an application for unemployment. My employment history these past 10 years has alternated between legitimate and sketchy but The Ex seems to think I may have put in enough "real" time to be eligible. That would be sweet. It would mean I could take a few weeks to find a new job I actually gave a rat's ass about.

I watered the plants and did a load of laundry. Nothing sucks more than coming home from a trip to a giant pile of laundry. And dead greenery. I took a few minutes and put password protection on my desktop and laptop. Normally, I wouldn't bother but I've been feeling anxious about being away from the apartment for so long. I'm hoping that the boundary challenged people I live with will resist straying into my room and rifling through my computer files, but I ultimately lost that battle to paranoia (or common sense) and locked down everything. I pre-paid the credit card bills and I charged up all my gadgets. Cellphone, Palm and digital cam all in working order and ready to record those precious holiday memories. That's if I can get the fuck out of this city.

As I said, I'll have a lot of downtime, spending the next six days (holy fuck!) along the banks of Lake Erie, but I will be using Mom's dial-up PC to update so there will be precious little in the way of pictures. See you again at the end of my travels!

Update #1: As suggested, the plan is to make my way to Penn Station and take the LIRR to Jamaica, Queens and the AirTrain. However, news coverage from yesterday saw the LIRR stations a complete cluster fuck. So far, it seems they've worked things out today. I'll be leaving my apartment at 1:30 pm to try and catch a flight out of JFK at 5:30. Check back to see how I fare.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Have Yourself A Bloody Little Christmas

A bit of controversy was stirred up in a couple of articles that ran this week in The Post. To my surprise, the story went national as I tracked down coverage in the San Francisco bay area as well as a Boston TV news station. The most accurate reporting I could find regarding the story was here. The reason I'm mentioning it? One, it's pretty funny. Two, I think this whole national "debate" regarding the use of Happy Holidays versus Merry Christmas is about the most retarded waste of time ever. Three, the people who put up the display are my neighbors.

Just on principle and in my limited capacity as an "artist" I would defend these people to the end. And as a bit more backstory only the Christmas lights and Santa are new. The bloody doll heads in the tree are year 'round. There have been demands to remove the display and even some thinly veiled threats to rip it down. Over my dead Bloody Barbie body. New York City has a rich and storied live and let live tradition. This is not Southern California. We don't censor our controversy. We embrace it. At the very least we stop, take note, shrug and move on. That's why I live here. If you think little Suzie might be traumatized by an artistic display you may have to (gasp!) take a moment to explain to her then here's a thought: Walk on the other side of the street, moron. Just don't mess with my right to have myself a bloody killer Christmas.

In Other News ...
It seems a bit of a controversy of another sort has broken out surrounding the accursed Blog Awards. It's taking every ounce of self control in my possession to resist weighing in beyond my previous ridicule. So for now I'll just keep reading and snicker on occasion.

Also, something's amiss in the land of Movable Type. It seems almost all the Livejournal Blogs have rolled back anywhere from three days to a week. With no explanation as of yet, I'm left wondering if the substantial bank deposit I made yesterday still counts.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

When Being An Empath Can Suck

To my own lack of surprise, I was indeed fired this afternoon. And while I'm sure there are one or two people gleefuly rejoicing at my perceived come-uppance, I assure you this is no tragedy. There were some real difficulties associated with my job that I tried not to bore everyone with. Not the least of which was how it impacted on my free time. I thought that taking a position at a lower profile bar versus the mega club I had come from would be less intense commitment-wise. And while I did manage to lower my everyday stress level while at work, I found that my free hours began everyday around twilight. That was cute when I was a 20-something bartender, not so much as a 43 year old man. Starting your day when One Life to Live began and having breakfast during Oprah (that's at 4pm here in New York) can start to wear on a body. To say nothing of how I was struggling to stay on, let alone remember to take, regular doses of my meds. Taking into account I also started my new job without a moments break from my old one, and adding in that horrid bout of depression I fell into and well, I've been god-damned tired for months now.

I've had to make some adjustments in my life. Not the least of which is to admit I'm not Superman anymore. I need rest. Used to be I could be up and out of the house after a six hour re-charge in the sack. Now I struggle to get my old bones out of bed after 8 hrs. And then I need another hour and a half before I'm ready to shower and actually leave the apartment. As an example of what I was up against, I would frequently go to work on Friday around 7 pm (OK 8) and not get home until after 6 am. I was expected to get back in on Saturday by 5 0r 6 pm. In reality, it was usually closer to 8 again. Even then I was exhausted.

On top of that, it was increasingly apparent that they were expecting me to spin gold out of crap. Specifically, there was no money for advertising, promotion or salaries. In the end, including mine. No hard feelings, we just can't afford you.

There's more to say but it's late and quite frankly, I'm drunk. Everything will work out fine and I'll do laundry and finish this post tomorrow. I've booked my flight home for Christmas. Worry not, faithful readers. Good things are ahead.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Some Extra Free Time?

I spent today relaxing around the apartment. Truly taking a day off from any and all responsibilities. I sorted mail and fluffed the pillows and watched stories about extremely fat people on TLC. Early this evening I got a burst of creativity and popped out for some glossy photo paper to make up some prints. Eventually, I would like to have all the photography in my room be a display of my work. Here's a shot I haven't posted from a trip to Central Park in May of 2004. It's inside the underpass next to the Bathesda Fountain. It has since been closed for repairs and is all boarded up. The late afternoon sun made for some great shadows.

Central Park May 8, 2004

I suppose it's a good thing I spent the day regrouping. The owner has called me in for a meeting tomorrow afternoon. I have a very strong suspicion I'm going to be fired. Not to worry, if it happens I'm totally prepared for it. Gotta go now. Look at the time. Iron Chef is on.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Checking In

I'm healthy and fine, thanks for asking. I'm also ridiculously busy. Between work and the parties we booked and the parties we're attempting to book I have very little free time lately. I basically work, sleep and jerk off once in a while. I have pages and pages of bookmarked news and sites as well as party pictures to show you, but I haven't found the time to properly highlight them yet. I'll try to update further this coming week. Two things I guarantee you won't read about here:

Brokeback Fucking Mountain

The Urban Fucking Blog Fucking End Of Year Fucking Blog Awards (0f any kind).

Enough already! At least I only tell you I masturbate, I don't fucking pass it off as an interesting subject.

Although I'm a very good masturbater.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Killer Squirrels! Like I Don't Have Enough To Worry About

A Russian news agency is reporting that a pack of murderous squirrels descended en mass from a tree and visciously gutted a large barking dog. Observers saw them scamper away with bits of their kill still in their tiny homicidal paws. Ominously, one of the squirrels stopped half way into the forest and pointedly stared down a six year old boy. If it's an uncorroborated report from an obscure Russian town, you know it must be true. I shudder to think how long it will be before wilding bands of killer squirrels begin rampaging through Central Park. This one's for you, Ray.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

And Now, A Word Or Two About My Ass.

Since I have a spare half hour, even though there's probably work I could be doing, I thought I'd clue you in on my ass-attack and why I was feeling so craptastic (pardon the pun) all last week. It started the day before Thanksgiving with what I ass-umed was hemorrhoids. It's not something I suffer from often, but when you've had jobs that require you to be on your feet and walking for hours and hours, the 'roids can "rear" their ugly head from time to time. Nothing a little "brown eye cream" can't take care of. But it's still painful and if it flares up at work, well, it can make a shift until you can get home to a hot bath and some Prep H seem interminable. By Thursday, I had added the runs to my repertoire of Thanksgiving gross-outs and by that night, I was running a low-grade fever that came and went for days.

I'm not sure when the spasms started. You know when you're having a piss and the door buzzer rings and you just know it's the UPS guy with the package you've been waiting for so you pinch off the stream so you don't miss the delivery? It's totally voluntary. Well that particular spasm kept happening to me over and over again. All day and night. Sitting down, standing up, attempting to sleep. And they were painful spasms. Really, really painful. As I described it, it was like someone sneaking up behind you and jamming a white-hot metal pipe up your ass and yelling "surprise!" There was no warning, and no rhyme or reason to when it happened. Although walking seemed to increase the frequency, so I started avoiding that whenever possible. But even the simplest of movements, like reaching for a water glass, could cause me to shift just enough in my center to trigger a spasm. Which soon enough would result in me crying out in pain followed by a lot of cursing. It was exhausting. Because the spasms would cause me to clench every muscle from the waist down, my leg muscles grew sore. I was sleep deprived, being woken by waves of pain every hour. The pain and spasms continued through the weekend, and I did still have a case of The 'Roids. Add in some HIV meds-induced diarrhea and basically nothing good was associated with my ass for several days. And that's saying something.

Finally Monday came and with it, the return of normal business hours. I wasn't much improved and put in a late afternoon call to my doctor. Do I feel thankful that I even have a regular doctor that will return my call within an hour or two of my making it? Yes I do, but unfortunately he couldn't see me that day or the next. I explained that with the pain I was in I wasn't even sure if I could make it to work the next day and I didn't care who I see as long as I see someone. With that, he made an appointment for me with another doctor two days later with the advice that if my condition worsened I should get to an emergency room. By then, I most definitely didn't feel I was getting any worse and decided to wait it out.

Now you know by the time Wednesday night came and my appointment was coming up most of my symptoms had subsided don't you? Of course they had, and I debated keeping the appointment at all. But I was still a little tender and I was curious what the hell went wrong with my innards so I ended up going. I ended up getting cultures done from anywhere on my body that had a hole (yes, there too), a quick urinalysis that came back negative (for what, I never found out) and a digital inspection of my innards. Commonly called a finger wave, if I recall correctly. The diagnosis? Bacterial infection of some sort that resulted in prostitis. The source? No way to know for sure but here's a telling exchange between me and the kindly doctor:

Her: "Have you had any unsafe sex in the past couple of weeks?"

Me: "No, not in a long long time."

Her: "Including oral sex?"

Me: (pause) "Oh. You're counting that?"

Regardless of the source she ended up prescribing a butt shot of antibiotics as well as a back up oral dose and an admonishment to avoid bumpin' uglies with another man until Mary's typhoid was cured. Not really a problem as my aching innards and my ass 'roids made me feel about as sexy as Tara Reid asleep in her own vomit. And there you have it, one minor medical "crisis" survived. And me just a day or two away from being back to my ass-tounding self. Sorry.

MY ASS (Part 2)

So I'm takin a spin around my blog links and I find myself down under with one post in particular a source for inspiration. Nobody appreciates a nice butt shot more than me. As I said, it was early in the day and I found myself inspired, challenged even, to come up with an equally appealing hiney pic. I took several timer shots 'till I felt I got what I was looking for. Unfortunately, I failed to take into account the butt load of antibiotics I had shot in my ass the day before. And I had no idea she had bandaged me afterward. So you tell me, even as damaged goods, how's my ass?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Take The Test (2)

I'm still not feeling well, although today I am much improved. I'm currently deciding if one more day of bed rest will help me heal more or if I should suck it up and go to work tonight. In any case, that's no reason why I can't pass along this little Gem of the Internets.

Update: My condition improved by leaps and bounds throughout the day today. Although the worst appears to be over I'll keep an urgent doctor appointment I made for tomorrow. Just to be on the safe side. Besides, it's been weeks since anybody has fingered my butt.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Thanks. - A Report From Thanksgiving Day

So the holiday came and went. Wish I had an interesting story or two to relate. If possible, the day was even more uneventful than it normally is. I stayed in bed 'till a little after noon. Missing by quite a bit the Thanksgiving parade. Not that I would be caught dead anywhere near the actual live parade. I made that mistake once before many years ago. Like any large free event that takes place in Manhattan, you need to arrive at the location, in this case anywhere along the parade route, hours and hours beforehand. I don't wait well and I don't do cold. So it goes without saying I don't wait in the cold. Ever. But I do enjoy watching it on TV. Assuming I'm up. You can't ask for a better view.

Since I snoozed through the parade and The Ex was down in Ft. Ladida attending the White Party, my options were limited to whatever fun I could cook up with The Hellcat. The problem with that plan is that The Hellcat has been something of a poop lately. First it was a bad reaction to antibiotics, as he was being treated for a "possible" case of (applause) the clap. I say possible because the boyfriend du jour came down with it for sure, so The Hellcat's Dr. decided to dose him just to be safe. In any case, as they always seem to do, the antibiotics made him nauseous and listless. Then it was a toothache. Or rather, an entire set of teeth ache. Unfortunately, although it seems The Hellcat has, in fact, stopped using meth (it's been well over 6 months if not closer to a year) he's paying the price for years of using. In this case, between the constant grinding of the teeth caused by the meth and the bad oral hygeine also caused by being too high to take care of yourself, The Hellcat has cavities that need filling, broken teeth that need repair, as well as at least one root canal he's going to have to suffer through. Besides all that he seems to have lapsed into his own trough of depression, the upshot of which is he doesn't leave his room for an entire day (except to walk and feed the dog) or he leaves his room only to relocate to the couch and repeatedly fall asleep, only rising to eat junk food or do dog maintenance. Showering and/or bathing seem to be a low priority. This has been going on for over two weeks. It's sad, but also annoying. Even when I was at the bottom of my depression I managed to rally and get out of the house every day, if only for some aimless shopping and a meal at the corner diner. It's depressing having a depressed person lie around the house all day. Particularly when he seems to not want to do anything to address the problem.

So it should come as no surprise that The Hellcat finally rolled out of bed after 3 today. He fed the dog, ate a bowl of cereal and retreated back from whence he came. He did manage a "good morning" but no mention of whatever tentative plans we had to grab some brunch or make a meal.. Not that I was expecting it. I had already gone out the night before and purchased all the fixin's for a big breakfast. In fact, I was just sitting down to the sale circulars from the daily papers and a heaping plate of scrambled eggs w/salsa, a big ole' ham steak , some toasted onion pita and some fresh fruit when he stumbled through the kitchen. And as much as I meant my previous statements that I try to treat a family holiday like Thanksgiving as just another day, it would have been nice if an effort had been made on his part to spend an hour or two with me before I had to go to work. Instead, I spent the afternoon with the TV off puttering around the Internets, paying some bills on-line and shaving my legs. I intended to go see Harry Potter or Rent, but my legs had gotten pretty overgrown. I'm sort of kidding. Besides, by the time I would have had to leave for the movie I had started feeling a little rundown myself. I was running a slight fever and had a headache. So I saved my energy and headed out into a cold and blustery Thanksgiving night to work. The Hellcat was still napping. He had been up a grand total of 10 minutes.

Work was fine, albeit slow. Our regular drunks were in attendance, and I did get a real turkey dinner courtesy of our restaurant next door. Unfortunately, whatever was ailing me had moved into my digestive tract. I didn't get sick, but I did make several hurried trips to the bathroom. If ya' get my drift.

As a matter of fact, between the (literal) pain in the butt I was experiencing, add in the fact that I overall felt like shit, mix in a dollop of feeling all alone and lonely and you have the recipe for me finally jumping off the wagon. I got home and I was cold, I was tired, work bored the crap out of me and my innards felt like they were about to burst outward. So I mixed me a vodka/soda... The earth continued to turn. I didn't go all Days of Wine and Roses and progress right to the rubbing alcohol. I watched the final episode of Rome (loved it!) and then channel surfed 'till about 6 am. I had two drinks, I made myself a third, but I never made a dent in it, instead drifting off to sweet merciful slumber. My "Thanksgiving holiday" coming to an end with a whimper. Actually, the whimper was coming from me. But nothing a good nights sleep, a gallon of Immodium and a giant tube of Preparation H couldn't cure. How was your holiday?

Friday, November 25, 2005

Always Keep One In Reserve

Here's a li'l sumthin' just for stopping by. Judging by my site counter I'm huge in England, so hopefully this will go over well. And yes, Mikell, feel free to share any or all.

also - Here is an example of someone with way too much time on his hands.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

If you're in New York City from out of town or just at a loss for something to do, or if you spent the day with the dysfunctional relations and you require some emergency alcohol therapy but you're not sure where to go, come on down to the Bowery and visit me at The Slide. We'll be open sometime in the evening until sometime in the morning (don't press me for a commitment) and we'll be decked out per usual for our new Thursday night Bowery Beach Party. I can promise you a Speedo wearin' gogo stud and $5 Bowery Sunbursts, served in a hurricane glass and perfect for chasing the winter chill away. Plus, there might be pie. OK, that's probably a lie. But there will be music.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

That's One Way To Win An Argument

Yesterday. A gay couple driving from New York City to New Jersey was crossing The George Washington Bridge. At some point an argument ensued. Half way across the span the argument got decidedly heated, whereupon the driver stopped the car, got out and jumped headfirst into the Hudson River. He was pulled from the water but pronounced dead a short time later.

And I thought I insisted on having the last word ...

Monday, November 21, 2005

In The News

CNN and UNAIDS are reporting that more than 40 million people worldwide have HIV. 25 million people have died from AIDS since 1981. 3.1 million people died from AIDS last year alone and an estimated 4.9 million more people have been infected. In addition, recent reports indicate that 1 in 5 new cases of HIV reported nationally are from the New York City area. Just in case anyone is counting.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Mark The Passing

Six kinds of shit came raining down on some of my fellow blog-friends and acquaintances after I posted yesterday. I wasn't planning on writing much today but I feel like I need to say something.

News of the death of Texas blogger Angreeblkcub skittered around late yesterday. I only knew him from checking in from time to time and from following his comments and exploits over on Drink More. We traded a couple of good-natured comments a while back as well. His final post is a stunningly prophetic goodbye. Many of you who new him better than I are deeply saddened and at a loss. May the spirits claim him as their own, and may the days and weeks ahead help you all find comfort in his courageous, outrageous, life. If you have some time this week, go back in and read some of his archives and take a few minutes to mark his presence on this plane.

Also, my blog-buddy down in Ft. Lauderdale, R.J. is struggling with what appears to be the imminent loss of a friend as well as the death of a beloved pet and long-time companion. I've never had a pet to completely call my own but the animals I've helped take care of over the years I've always fallen in love with. I can only imagine how attached one must get after spending 18 yrs. with one. While that's a great run for a house pet, it's still incredibly sad to reach the end of that road. I've already sent my condolences and good wishes his way. I just wanted to acknowledge that I'm thinking of you, baby.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Weekend Edition

Neo sent me these a while back. There are more, but these are my favorites.

Friday, November 18, 2005

How Dry I Am

Well, it's been four weeks since any form of the demon alcohol has passed my lips. Two more days and I will have reached my goal of one month. I originally mentioned I would do 60 days, but that just smacked of fanaticism. Is that a word? Anyway, I'm in no hurry to break my liquor fast. I've given myself permission to enjoy a glass of wine or two assuming I'm off for Thanksgiving and I find myself cooking or out to dinner on the holiday. We haven't gotten a straight answer from the owners about whether or not we'll be open. I suspect we will be. It doesn't really matter one way or the other. I don't celebrate Thanksgiving as a rule. It's a family holiday in my mind, and since I don't have much in the way of family around, running about trying to "invent" a family and celebration has always felt a bit desperate to me. Of course, that whole statement sort of speaks to an issue I've been dealing with in my therapy sessions. The fact that I have quite a bit of trouble forming intimate relationships, be they friendship or sexual, with anyone. But that's a subject for another day.

Coincidentally (?), I'm pleased to report that I'm feeling worlds better, fucked-up-in-the-head wise. Things aren't perfect. Some of the issues I've been grappling with regarding my above mentioned intimacy problems, my unresolved sense that I've wasted a huge chunk of my life, as well as my fears for my future are all still bubbling beneath the surface. But I no longer feel overwhelmed by it all. I'm no longer experiencing the day to day fear and extreme anxiety, a sense that I am powerless and incapable of facing even the simplest challenge. If I wasn't expressive enough in describing how much I was struggling, I would say that was the most frightening, most frustrating part. The fact that I'm a control freak is well documented and freely acknowledged. So when I felt that I had lost control, of everything, my emotions, my reactions, my ability to reason, well, let's just say I will do whatever it takes to avoid going back there again anytime soon.

So, winter fast approaches. The change of seasons usually makes me feel rather melancholy. I mourn the passing of another summer and wonder, aloud and to myself, how I will slog through another season of cold air and grey skies and (if you're me) really cute sweaters and the opportunity to layer brilliantly. But this year is different. I am renewed. My sense of balance has been restored. I have hope again. And sometimes, hope is enough to keep you going. Stay tuned ...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Help Wanted

To clean my apartment and paint my bedroom, but that's not why I'm posting.

I'm trying to start a new night at The Slide. I could fall back on the tried and true big dick contest and slutty gogo boys that are an East Village staple, but I thought I'd try something a little less lowbrow. Of course, chances are the whole concept will fall faster than a botoxed forehead at the six month mark but what the hell, at least I'm trying. So I'm putting together an acoustic night for Wednesdays. I'm looking for guitarists, duos, and small combos. I'm also looking for singers who can provide their own vocal tracks. We have a decent sound system (when its working) and a full complement of mics, stands and rudimentary lighting. I'd also like to talk to spoken word artists and poets that would be willing to appear between sets and perform selections from their work. The artists don't necessarily need to be gay. They certainly need to be gay-friendly, bi, or straight but "queer" (which I guess means those East Village tattooed rock boys who don't mind getting a blowjob from "a dude"). Basically anyone with a desire to perform for little or no money that can put together about 20 mins. or more of material.

It's what they used to call a showcase back in the day. Only this one will be for LGBT (did I get all the letters in the right order?) performers and those that support us. Sure, my motivation is to up my bar sales which will ultimately make me look good, but hey, if I can do that and provide exposure and an outlet for my people at the same time, where's the harm? Now I've been trolling Craigslist the last couple of weeks and I've gotten some great leads. Even booked a few people over the coming weeks. But I thought I would use my blog and my tens of readers as another resource. Are you a singer/guitarist looking for a space to perform? Do you know of any performance artist with a crazy bent and no place to show off their talent. Remember, we just staged a murder this past Saturday so we "do" outrageous. If so, please get in touch with me through the comments section or scroll down to the links and shoot me an E-mail. If you know of somebody, feel free to forward this to them or send me a way to get in touch.

I'd really like to create a space for some up and coming artists to get some exposure. I look forward to hearing from you. If not, there's always slutty gogo boys with big dicks.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Get Off My Corner, Bitches!

So the British tabloids News of the World and The Mail are breathlessly reporting on a man who claims to have beaten back an HIV+ diagnosis by taking supplements. He now tests HIV- and claims to have "cleared the virus" from his system. Our very own NY Post has predictably run a piece on the subject complete with a reporters byline. Remarkable, considering the "reporting" seems like a simple rewrite of a wire service summary. Without naming names, various bloggers far and wide have seen fit to link to the story without giving out some important facts. Namely that both "newspapers" have a tendency to lie. Particularly if it sells more papers. And it shouldn't be lost on anyone that a)The man has sold exclusive rights to the story of his "miracle cure" to both tabloids. b) The first option he considered when told of the news of his "spontaneous clearance" was a lawsuit. c) He professes the desire to help those already diagnosed as HIV+ but so far flat out refuses to undergo further testing to back up and/or explain his good fortune.

While I won't discount that it's in the realm of possibility that human evolution may result in a subset of people that posess or will posess a natural defense against HIV infection or a natural resistance to full blown AIDS, this particular case stinks to high heaven. And shame on the people in the media as well as irresponsible "legitimate" bloggers who lazily are reporting false hope and fantasy as fact. For a more fair and balanced take on the subject, at this point I'll direct you to a telling chronicle of the current facts to The Guardian. And for another well done breakdown of the story behind the story, check out Richard at PAYOR.

On the same beat, for those of you outside of NYC, our own NEXT magazine ran an interview this week with an unspecified HIV specialist. Among the more shocking claims is this little gem:

"Based on the numbers I see in my practice, I would say 40 to 45 percent of gay men in lower Manhattan under 40 are HIV-positive. ... Probably a third of those don't realize they're positive."

I take no comfort in what should be some cautionary statistics if they're true. But it does take a bit of the sting out of some recent rejections based on my sero-status.

I have more to tell you in the morning. It's 3am and Iron Chef is coming on. Stay tuned ...

Monday, November 14, 2005

Murder Most Foul

Saturday night on the Lower East Side. In addition to the usual bevy of GoGo Boys, I found myself enmeshed in drama both planned and unplanned. The planned drama consisted of a visit from performance artist Julie Atlas Muz and a little staged show entitled "Murder In The Slide". She was booked by the club owner, and while I had an idea what to expect, I was excited to see what kind of an effect it would have on the crowd. What started out as a unnervingly quiet night exploded around midnight and by 12:30 we were pretty full. Julie decided around 1:15 that the crowd had peaked and she was ready to perform. After walking around in what amounted to a sequined bra and panties for an hour or so she returned up the stairs wrapped in nothing but white butcher paper. A staged fight with an accomplice broke out by the outside door. We had a relatively mixed crowd in at that point, and I had to reassure one outer-borough young woman that it was OK. She seemed relieved when I started snapping pictures. The "argument" turned into a shoving match, whereupon her "boyfriend" hoisted her into the air and carried her to the stage as Julie screamed for help.

After depositing her on the stage and some more fighting, her boyfriend ripped off the butcher paper leaving her naked.

From there, he dragged her off to the bathroom, which had been covered in more butcher paper and equipped with a strobe light. As classical music swelled in the background the boyfriend violently swung at his victim on the floor, as "blood" splattered up covering him and the wall.

At the climax, Julie as bloody victim popped up against the blood spattered wall, only to slide slowly back down in a death spasm that would have made Quentin Tarantino proud. After which, her killer mingled amongst the crowd, graciously serving cocktail weenies to the delighted albeit confused crowd.

I couldn't resist snapping a picture of a blood covered Julie in our bloody bathroom. If a naked woman covered in sticky fake blood makes this a NSFW post I apologize.

The unplanned drama resulted in a bartender I truly liked getting fired and a dancer refusing to be booked in the club again due to some shoddy treatment he received. How familiar does that sound? I have a feeling I can salvage the situation. I can be rather charming as long as I don't have to sustain it.

Let's see ... what else?

I haven't talked about it here before, but I was very upset to hear that poet and performance artist Emanuel Xavier was beaten by a gang of teens on the street last month. I'm an admirer of his work and have seen him perform at several spoken word events over the last few years. However, it seems he'll recover and he's speaking out about the attack. - via Gay City News

I spent this evening trying his recipe and making a big ole' pot of beef stew. If you've never made it before but always wanted to (like me) give his recipe a try. It's remarkably easy and simple to modify with other ideas and things you have in the fridge. I added red and green peppers, some corn, half a cup of V8 juice and a healthy splash of Merlot. It came out positively yummie but thanks to my Sicilian blood I made far too much. Anyone got a hankerin' for a beef stew lunch, gimme a shout out, yo. I got lots. And thanks again, Ethan.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Insert Part A Into Slot B

I'd be remiss if I didn't provide a link to the wackiest porn shoot ever. I had to re-read the article several times just to make sure I understood who had what parts and what they were doing with them. Enjoy, and have a nice weekend.

Friday, November 11, 2005

From My Mailbag NSFW!

In response to a Craigslist ad "Horny top looking for younger jock bottom" (Don't start! I was in a mood.) I posted a while back, I received this most generous, if a bit off topic, offer in my e-mail from one self-proclaimed "AmazingSTUD". It was accompanied by a series of photos that I feel compelled to post here as well. Just so you understand my need to respond. Here's the original e-mail:

Do You Enjoy Complimentary (no charge) MASSAGE and MORE?
I am a Professional Photographer and Former Pro Masseur (7 yrs experience)

Please be HIV neg, d/d free, NON-SMOKER. I am the same. No bareback or Drugs (PNP).

Please reply by return email (if possible, with your fullbody or x and or nude pics with face)
WS tops are hot, but optional

As you can see, he asks that I be a NON-SMOKER, and judging by the caps it is extremely important. Luckily I quit four years ago. He specifically states that he's not interested in bareback sex nor does he do drugs or want to deal with drugs. Fine and fine. We're absolutely lousy with condoms and lube around the castle. I'm not bragging. Quite the opposite, the only reason I'm well equipped in the safe sex department is I haven't been having any sex of any kind. And my drug use these days is limited to what "The Man" tells me to take. But I digress.

Unfortunately (for me) he also specifically insists I be HIV-, and alas, I am not.

But here's where my confusion lies. If the offer is for a MASSAGE and MORE (which I'm assuming means him bottoming, or something) plus, in case you didn't notice, that casually thrown in WS top option at the end. Like, "By the way, if you get the urge to pee on me, by all means, do". And if unsafe sex is not an option and there's no chance that either one of us is gonna show up high on X or crystal meth and do something stupid, why oh why is my HIV status an issue?

Now, you understand I'm not saying anyone has to engage in a sexual liaison with anyone not of their choosing. I'm just wondering, if you lay down the guidelines of no drugs and no bareback sex, where does my being HIV+ factor in?

So I asked him.

Here's my (grammatically poor) e-mail response:


I really appreciate the generous offer. While I would love to take you up on
the offer of a complimentary massage and more. I guess I need to decline,
even though I'd rather not.

Like you I am a non-smoker and drug free. That includes poppers and pot. And
I am fully prepared to engage in healthy safe sex practices. Unfortunately,
I am a healthy HIV+ man and that seems to rule me out according to your

I'm curious, however, as to why if you only practice safe sex would my HIV
status be a factor in receiving a massage and whatever you meant by more? Of
course, I can't force you to have a sexual experience you clearly aren't
interested in, I'm just wondering what the deal-breaker is here for you?

Unfortunately, I got no response.

In Other News ... It's been three weeks and I still haven't cracked. Not a drop to drink. I have another week and two days to go to make my goal of one month dry. Obviously, I'm going to make it. Now I need to decide if I press on sober, or try to rejoin the social drinking set.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

And Now, Some Fresh Numbers

Monday found me at the doctor for the results of my latest blood work. Before I get to that, I need to vent a bit. Overall, considering I have no insurance and am essentially a ward of the state, my access to and experiences with health care for HIV+ persons has been excellent. I've been extremely blessed in that regard. I am able to secure appointments easily and quickly. My therapist, adherence counselor and my doctor have all provided me with direct phone numbers in order to reach them should a crisis arise. During the course of my previously chronicled emotional meltdown, I was afforded comfort and concern, as well as provided more intense psychiactric counseling, and for the most part, felt a sense that I had people looking out for me.

Having said that, this past two days has been an exercise in frustration. My Monday appointment was for 2:30. I freely admit I have a tendency to dawdle in the afternoon, and leave at the last possible minute (if not a few minutes late) for the 1/2 hour trek directly across town to the Health Center. I don't expect to breeze in and be swept directly into the exam room. I'm willing to wait, and I understand that seeing patients can be inexact as far as budgeting time. 15, 20 minutes, even 1/2 hour and I don't really take note. But when a nurse comes in to the waiting room and blithely informs everyone that the doctor is approximately an hour and twenty minutes behind on his appointments well, that's just poor management and a bit of an insult to patients who have a limited amount of free time. Indeed, it was a full two hours later that I finally found myself in an exam room, still waiting to actually see my doctor. By the time he arrived I was starving and completely uninterested in anything but a rudimentary exchange of information. I got my numbers, picked up some renewed prescriptions and told him I was feeling "Better. Fine." To top it all off, half the reason I was there was because I wanted to get a flu shot. Imagine how through I was when he informed me they were "out" and I should contact the city Health Department or call and come back later in the week when they "might have more." Another opportunity to sit around and possibly (or not) get a flu shot? Great! Can't wait!

The next day found me at my local Duane Reade, armed with three prescriptions, two of which were renewals. One of them, Androgel, I've been taking for months. So imagine my surprise when the "pharmacist" informed me that he couldn't fill my prescription. Because I needed a prescription. Seriously. I immediately started talking to him like he was brain damaged.

"You do realize that you're holding a prescription don't you?"

"But you need a new one."

"Newer than 24 hours ago?"

"When did you get this?"

"Yesterday. It's a prescription from my doctor. I'm not sure what you mean. It's the only prescription I've ever had."

"Well, we don't have it so we'll have to order it. It will be a while."

"How long is 'a while'?"

"Probably Friday."


"What's your date of birth?"

"Fuck you." (I made that part up.)

"It will be ready tomorrow."

(Huh?) It wasn't lost on me that Friday had now become tomorrow. But I had an appointment with my therapist and decided to leave well enough alone. It was two hours later when I returned to the pharmacy. Would you be shocked to learn that the Androgel prescription was, in fact, filled that day? He out and out lied about not having it. Sure enough though, another prescription I had filled at that same pharmacy 3 weeks earlier was kicked out as "not covered". I have since learned that for once, they got it right, sort of. As it turns out, the state will cover my medication in a stronger dose, and not the weaker one I had requested. More medication than you need? Yeah, we'll pay for that! Again, I'm just venting, but I've been spending a lot of my free time lately taking care of my physical and mental health. It's exasperating to have to keep returning to places two and three times to get anything done.

Enough. I promised you some test results.

After about 8 weeks in treatment my viral load has dropped again. From 7,900 to 1,163. My T-Cells are a robust 452. Equally as important, my liver is showing no adverse effects from the medication, and my cholesterol, both good and bad, are unchanged and beyond excellent. Oh, I am slightly anemic. But that runs in my family and it shows up periodically in my tests.

Considering it took almost two and a half hours, I guess I could get worse news than I'm just fine.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Autumn In New York

Sunday found me up first thing in the, well... noon. The Hellcat and I had tentative plans to try and get our asses moving as early as possible on Monday. I've been wanting to take the digicam up to Central Park. While it hardly rivals a tour of the changing leaves in the deep woods of Vermont, for us tried and true New Yorkers, it's our version of experiencing the wonder that is nature and the great outdoors. As opposed to the outdoors where they keep all the Dim Sum delivery people when they're not at my apartment dropping off an order.

Since the weather report for Monday was turning iffy and since we both found ourselves travel ready before 3 pm (an extremely rare occurrence around the castle) we decided to race against the dwindling late afternoon light a day early and try to capture some images.

We hadn't remembered or counted on running into the remnants of The New York City Marathon. And by remnants I mean the true stragglers. These were the people that were determined to finish the race. Even if the race turned into a walk. Hell, as I pointed out, even if they walked the entire course through all five boroughs it was still a long-ass fuckin walk. Not to mention the guy we spotted trotting along with a seeing eye person as a guide. But as compelling as some of the stories seemed I was interested in capturing more photos in the nature category, so we left the marathoners and thousands upon thousands of discarded Gatorade cups behind and pressed further into the park. I like this image. You can see the West Side apartments jutting above the tree line and the cool autumn breeze slightly rippling the lake.

By late afternoon (damn Daylight Savings Time!) it was completely dark and only 5:00. By then, we were headed towards the exit home which always takes us past Mr. Trump's skating rink. As you can see, it's already open and a perennial attraction for both locals and tourists alike. The city skyline makes a pretty dramatic backdrop, despite the obvious exposure problems, I like this shot, too.

As The Hellcat and I walked along the park, he with his professional-type film camera and me with my sub-$200 5.1 mega-pixel digi, we discussed what attracts our eye about a potential shot. We both agreed that while talent and an eye for detail, as well as the ability to pull something extraordinary out of the ordinary count for something, a lot of truly beautiful photography can be boiled down to plain dumb luck. And that explains this, my favorite picture of the afternoon. I wish I could say I planned it all. The truth is, I stumbled upon a confluence of light and color and shadow that I thought was beautiful. I hoped I was able to capture it and it appears I did. This one will go up in the apartment.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

(More) Bits And Pieces - Weekend Edition

I had a chance during my Halloween non-celebration to clean up and update my links section. I took off some sites that are no longer blogging or that I simply lost interest in. Not to worry. For every blogger that got dropped I found another interesting (at least to me) contributor to the blogsphere to replace them. For now, you'll have to scroll waaaaay down to the end of my page if you want to follow these links. I'm blogging from work today, and not only am I using a Mac (which I've never used before two weeks ago) but I'm using Safari for a browser. It seems (as near as I can tell) that Safari doesn't support some Blogger features. Most significantly, there's no link button for me to provide you with an easy way to check out these sites. I'll update and add links (done!) from home in the morning. Anyway, here we go. Stop by and say hi, and tell 'em Tom sent ya.

BLURT - He's a self proclaimed urban punk/poz slut. All I know is he's dirty, provocative and funny. Three of my favorite qualities in a man.

ARTEMIS' NIGHTLIFE RAMBLINGS - She's a New York City drag celebutante and gal about town. We met because she was hosting a Wednesday night party for us that (through no fault of hers) never really got off the ground. The girl gets around so it's a good read.

BRAT BOY BULLETIN - Take a look at the generous amount of self-pictures young Ethan shares on his site. Must I explain?

HEAVEN - Memoirs of a boy of pleasure. Brandon Aguilar, porn actor, deep thinker, and the proverbial hooker with a heart of gold. Say what you will, his musings and his experiences make you stop and go hmmm.

And while we're gaily traipsing through the blog field, I'd be remiss if I didn't welcome back a re-launched VIVIDBLURRY. I like the new site design. It's simple and effective. Young Toby seems to have lost none of his snarky wit and willingness to offend from behind his protective fort of empty cases of box wine. However, I'm gonna miss the link to me he provided on his old front page. Not only was it a classic insult but it was good for about 50 hits a day. Ah well, time to pick a fight elsewhere.

Last night brought us a minor mishap in the GoGo Boy department. At some point later into the evening as I was performing my assigned task of "killjoy" and (as nicely as possible) breaking up couples and trios of hot boys (and not so hot dirty men) as they tried to not so subtly have sex in semi-public areas, I saw a commotion break out in the middle of the room. Upon further inspection I noticed a shapely pair of bare legs lying on the ground. Fortunately, they were attached to the aforementioned GoGo Boy. Unfortunately it appeared that he had fallen off his GoGo platform. How this happened was and still is a mystery. By the time I got there he was surrounded by ineffectual (drunken) assistance, and appeared to be unconscious, or at least dazed. After a minute or two he recovered enough to insist he was fine and resist coming down to the dressing room to see if he was OK. We prevailed, which was a good thing for upon closer inspection in the light it seemed that he had suffered a nasty (read: bloody) laceration to the back of his head. As everybody ran to fetch gloves and first aid kits, and then proceeded to twitter on about how he needed stitches and should go to the hospital, it was yours truly who actually set about cleaning up his bloody scalp and matted hair. As we all know by now I'm not in the least bit squeamish about such tasks. So while my injured Canadian Hottie kept insisting he could go out and finish his shift I dutifully managed to finally stanch (most of) the blood flow, while explaining how decidedly un-hot it would be if I allowed him to step back on the GoGo platform with a fresh open wound. He finally acquiesced, if for no other reason than by the time I got him reasonably patched up his shift was already over. He finally, if a little bit wobbly, saw fit to head for home. At my request, I received a text message from him this afternoon assuring me that he suffered no concussion and he was fine.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Two Weeks

and not a drop to drink. This despite an admittedly difficult to fight off craving for a glass of wine. Or three. I feel like I've left the habit breaking portion of this lesson and have moved into the character building section. The one where I set a goal and tenaciously hang on, keeping my eyes on the prize. Ultimately, I would like to be able to split a bottle of wine with a humpy date and, well, hump my date. I'd like to be able to meet friends out for brunch and get a Sunday afternoon buzz on Bloody Mary's. I'd like to be able to have a couple martinis before dinner and laugh and talk and relax and have that be the end of it. So I need to spend some more time building my resources so I don't fall back into my old anti-social ways. I'm learning all over again how to be comfortable in my own skin. To overcome my innate sense of shyness and just to relax and have fun again. I used to be a ton of shits and giggles. I lost that quality somewhere along the way. I miss it.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

What An Odd Feeling

After months of turmoil, I suddenly find myself in the proverbial lull. I went to my therapy session yesterday and remarked on how utterly unremarkable I was feeling. For the first time in weeks I had no real agenda, nothing that felt like a pressing need for me to discuss. It seems between the medication and the lack of alcohol I have finally managed to acheive what feels like a shocking level of "normalcy". Of course, once I got to talking I did manage to re-visit some familiar themes. Like how I have no real interest in living with The Hellcat or The Ex anymore. It's not that they're bad people. Far from it. At their core I would say they are both pretty good guys. But they share a similar trait. They are both completely thoughtless. And by that I mean without thought for the people around them or for their environment. Beyond the basic comforts I mean. On more than one occasion I have attempted to not scrub the toilet or wash the kitchen floor or disinfect inside the microwave. I have managed to go weeks on any number of these tasks, only to break down in utter disgust at the sheer filth the both of them are willing to put up with. Whereupon I do it myself. Still, it amazes me that two grown men can live this way on a daily basis. I would love to be a fly on the grease covered wall when I do finally leave these two to fend for themselves. The Hellcat I'm not so worried about as he seems to have a knack for finding people to clean up after him. The Ex is in for a rude awakening.

Halloween came and went. I got so busy puttering around the house taking care of this and that that it was after 10:30 before I realized I could still make it out to any number of bars or events and get some pictures. Between not even considering making up a costume and given that I have a few weeks to go on my pledge to dry out I decided to skip the frivolity and took a trip to Baskin/Robbins instead. A scoop of vanilla and a scoop of chocolate peanut butter was all the celebrating I would need. I spent the night cleaning up my PC and laptop. Deleting files, organizing photographs and downloading some new software. You may have gone out and got laid but I defragged two, - count 'em two, hard drives. Party on, dude!

And finally, from the Dept. of What The Hell?: there's this.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Bits 'N' Pieces

The trouble with taking medication to make you feel better is that once you start to feel better you forget you need to take the medication. Maybe that's just me.

Blind Item: Which Trans-Atlantic talk show host paid a visit to a LES nightspot this Halloween weekend and was last seen leaving with a Trick (or Treat) in the form of a much younger go-go boy? Although truth to tell, from the shape he was in, he'll be lucky to muster a (Union) jack-off. Too obvious?

I have Halloween night off for the first time in years. An interesting state of affairs considering I'm not drinking right now. Of course, as it was pointed out, I just spent the last week and a half in bars also not drinking. How is that different? Perhaps I'll bring my trusty digicam out to snap some pictures of Halloween NYC style. One place you won't find me tomorrow is the parade. That's one cluster fuck to be avoided at all costs.

Halloween aside, tomorow I have a day of beauty planned. Haircut, gym, tan plus other errr... personal grooming rituals. I may even get a massage. With or without "release" TBD.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

I Quit Drinking.

You read that right. Now before any of you do something rash and sell your stock in the USA distributor for Stolichnaya, know this. It's temporary. At least I think it is. The plan is to go 30 days without a drink. We'll asses the matter then.

Why return to the days of prohibition? Because I'm stubborn but I'm not stupid. It occurred to me that while in the midst of treatment for depression, it may not be the wisest choice to continue to go to bed every single night with a belly full of a known depressant. And that's what I've been doing. Every night for years. I compartmentalized my drinking, just like I do every other aspect of my life. Work has a box. My sex life has a box. There's a box for creative pursuits. It stands to reason I'd construct one for drinking. You see I never drink during the day (the rare Sunday brunch being the exception). I don't do Happy Hour. I rarely drink before midnight. But every night, starting around 2 am I would get that itch. That urge. Somewhere a Stoli bottle (or Kettle or Svedka) began to call me.

"It's the end of the day! ... Finish up!... Drink me!" Not the whole bottle of course, but I've been known to make a hefty dent.

Over the course of the last few years, I further withdrew and turned my drinking into a ritual I preferred to pursue alone. Sure, I would have a couple of drinks at the end of a shift. Or I'd head out to Nowhere or The Urge or even (shudder) Spl ... sorry, SBNY on occasion. But that was always the prelude to my drinking alone time. I would turn out the lights, light several candles, find an interesting movie or TV show (As my therapist pointed out, it has all the makings of a hot date. Minus the man, of course.) and then .... woooosh! Up goes the wall. After that, nothing registers. Nothing gets in. No problems at work, no fights with The Ex, no sink full of dirty dishes courtesy of The Hellcat. Nothing. It would all just melt away in a haze of ice cubes and lemon twists.

Trouble is, after awhile, nothing really can get in. That includes other people. I spent the last year of my life working 50 hour weeks with the same people day after day and I never really felt like I got to know any of them. And I don't think I let them get to know me. I'm making the same mistake at my new job. My relations with everyone there are very surface, very non-committal. Part of that was borne out of me taking a new job while in the midst of an emotional crisis. I pulled back to try and mask the difficulty I was having staying focused. But part of it is due to the person I've become. The person I'm no longer enjoying being.

So it was in this spirit, and with the intent of taking advantage of the fact that I had a therapist to lean on, and anti-depressants to make me feel more stable, that I decided to address a part of my life that I have been reluctant to face down. Mind you, after much introspection I've reached the conclusion that alcoholism is not the problem. Alcohol abuse, however, is a symptom. A symptom of my need to feel in control. Yes, I realize the irony in the feeling of ceding control to the alcohol as representing me feeling in control. I didn't say it was logical. All I knew was that for one hour every day at the end of the day I had my spot on the couch, in the night, with the lights out and the candles burning. And I had peace. I had my space. It belonged to me.

The thing is, I can still have that if I want it. Minus the alcohol. And the dry mouth in the morning. And the lack of dreams at night. And the coffee shakes from too much caffeine. And the depression. And the lack of confidence borne from me needing a nightly crutch to hobble into slumber. Ironically, the control I'm feeling from not going to bed drunk at night supersedes the old control issues by a mile. Who knew?

Listen, I'm sorry if this all seems rambling and incoherent. This is the first time in 20 years I've felt this overwhelming desire to change the course of my entire life. The fact that I'm willing to even be this honest about my relation to and abuse of alcohol is a major achievement. I'm sort of still working a lot of it out in my own head. Hence, the disjointed post.

But there you have it. My first week without alcohol. I feel worlds better in the morning. And the dreams, good lord the dreams. This afternoon I knew it was time to get up when I dreamed that I lived with The Ex, The Hellcat, The Ex's friend Ron and the little sister from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Not the actress, the character.

I'm not sure where I'm headed with all this.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Saying Hello ...

Just some free advice from me to you. If you have an important Doctor's appointment in the morning, you probably shouldn't be hanging out drinking in a Lower East Side gay bar. If you do decide to drink the night away, you probably shouldn't bring a bag containing all your medical records with you. If you do decide to bring said bag, you oughta keep a real close watch on it instead of getting drunk on Scotch and feeling up the GoGo boy. And when said bag goes missing, you ought not come to me expecting me to do more than give the floor a thorough search by flashlight. And while sympathetic to your plight, you'll excuse me if I secretly think you're a total dumb-ass.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Oh, No She Didn't.

Careful dear, your ego is showing.

Oh, Aaron. I figured my last post would get a rise out of you. The fact that you took the bait so vehemently just makes it all the more laughable. Before you get your panties further in a bunch let me say that I am completely aware that you were treated most shabbily by, (in particular), the previous management. From what I understand it was clearly an unpleasant time in general around these parts. I am also fully aware that prior to my coming on board, you were the DJ on more than one relatively successful night. Some built from nothing. I guess what’s open to debate is whether your presence was cause or effect. Judging by your vitriolic response I assume you believe it was all you, you, you.

Nevertheless, I am dumbfounded by the absolute gall you display by attempting to tell me the blog equivalent of “shut up”. On my own space! Like it or not it’s the Wild West out here on The Internets, and particularly when it comes to my little corner of the blogsphere, and opinions being like assholes in that everyone’s got one, I’m allowed to have mine. Or be one. If anyone’s allowed to tell anyone else around here to shut up, it’s me.

As to me knowing the difference between DJ’s and promoters and the pettiness of challenging my background, I have no need to prove myself or respond to your whiny little challenge. I just spent the last year dealing with PROFFESSIONAL performers, stage managers, booking agents, road managers and publicists. The kind that routinely fill a room with in excess of 1,000 people. So excuse me if I’m non-plussed by some marginal local "talent" that manages to gather 75 fags in New York City on a Tuesday night.

However I will say this. I do, in fact, know the difference between a DJ and a promoter. I also know that in my experience, they share some marked similarities. Not the least of which is an over-developed sense of their own importance. In other words Nancy, get over yourself. In the grand scheme of things, neither one of us matters all that much.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Let's Lighten Things Up (Kind Of)

Britney and Kevin both get 'tooned.- Via Steph & Alek and Thought Not, respectively.

For whatever it's worth, here's the link to my new place of employment. No, I didn't design the web site. It's actually kind of out of date. And I hate that scroll bar at the bottom.

Speaking of which, he made some nasty comments on his site regarding the final night we hosted Gay Jeopardy. Now, I wasn't even there that night except in passing, so I don't know 100% what took place, but I think he's being a little mean and unfair. There are good honest people here working very hard to morph the space into a fun, sexy New York nightclub and lounge. I've only been here a couple of weeks and we are in a bit of a state of flux. But to suggest that everything went to shit and blame it all on "technical problems and an understaffed bar" is quite simply not the whole story. Well, let's say a lot of party promoters and DJ's resort to that line when they can no longer, if they could ever, draw a decent crowd.

We've got a whole new vibe planned for our little corner of downtown, if it works, it's gonna be great.I'm just sayin ... try not to bite the hand that feeds you. Even if it's kibble.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Turns Out, They Got A Pill For That.

So my psych evaluation turned out to be just that, and not the monster in a box I had worried it up to be. After explaining my depression and my desire to feel better, she asked me a series of questions designed, I suppose, to eliminate possibilities as much as diagnose a condition. So no to head trauma, no to seizures, no to alcohol and drug abuse. No (and this was a relief) to manic depression. I apparently don't experience the real manic mania you need to qualify. Sorry, not crazy enough, next!

I did express that while I no longer felt in crisis, I quite simply hardly ever felt "Good". And I would like to feel good again. So I have a new friend. It's called Lexapro. It's used in the treatment of adult depression and General Anxiety Disorder. It will eventually replace the Buspirone I'm taking and hopefully, the blurred vision, headaches and hot flashes I've had to suffer through.

Another pill.

Today I researched the best value best price for a new scanner. I wan't to scan in and create some CD slideshow pictures from when I was a kid back home. I know my brother would really enjoy something like that. That's when it hit me. This was the frist time in weeks I've thought about any creative project. Maybe I am feeling better already.

In other news .... and as a total aside I haven't had the chance to mention. As it turns out, The Hellcat has been off his meds since the middle of summer. And he hasn't been under a Dr's. care about it either.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

A Little Nervous

Tomorrow afternoon I go in for my rescheduled psych eval. I'm nervous about it. But my fear of always feeling so odd overwhelm my fear of meeting and confessing my problems to a total atranger. I'm also afraid I won't be able to re-create what I went through during this depression as I've mostly moved away from it. I'm still very blah and apathetic in the morning but I know now it's temporary. By the afternoon, aside from being tired I feel better. By the time the sun goes down my mood improves dramatically and by about 10 pm I feel right as rain. The thing is, I'm pretty sure most people don't wake up in the morning absolutely convinced that they won't have the energy to get through the day. I'm pretty sure most people don't spend the afternoon sacked out on the couch when a world of shopping, gyms or dare I say it, sex looms around every corner. Part of this, I know, is a transition caused by the new job. I'm a person who likes routine and I'm getting used to new hours and new responsibilities. It plays into my fear of loss of control or looking incompetent.

Still, I hope I can express the depths of the despair I was gripped in. I hope I can adequately express my inability some days to even dress myself. My cognitive functions went out the window. I was alternately manic and then woefully depressed. I still am, but I'm managing. I just feel like I shouldn't be experiencing these massive mood shifts every day. Aren't most people on a more even keel most days? Why can't I have that too?

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Damn Fags ....

I'm oh so very much enjoying being back amongst my peeps. But I'd forgotten what a handful gay employees can be. I got spoiled (HA!) at my previous job. All the bartenders were well over 30 and they were responsible, reliable and self-sufficient. Not so much with the gay boys. You have to remind them to do the same thing the same nights over and over again or (tee-hee) they just plum forget. We just started accepting credit cards at the bar, and they are looking at the Veri-phone machine like we just introduced them to fire. But honestly, we pack out the beer every night at the end of the night. Unless of course I forget to say the magic words: "Did you pack out the beer, baby doll?"

So my first night closing alone this week. It was a slow Tuesday and it was cold and wet. As an aside, ENOUGH ALREADY with the rain! It really, truly is ridiculous. Anyhoo, I was already pitchin' a fit as I had determined that one of the bartenders was missing money from his register. This has happened before when I was new to a job and it's incredibly awkward. The bartender doesn't know who the hell you are and you're saying he's short money. How does he know you're telling him the truth and not ripping him off? For that matter, how do I know the reverse? In the end, money was missing from the register due to a malfunction in the drawer. But it was well near 6 a.m. before that was determined. It was when I began closing up the outside that the real fun began. At first, I thought nothing of the fact that the only locks I found were for the opposite side of the club. I just assumed they had been switched. So there was little me jumping up trying to grab the gate and missing by a mile each time. In the rain. After several attempts I finally noticed some strategically placed pipework that made the whole endeavor simplicity itself. Thankfully, (or not, I can't decide) I decided to glance down at the club door before toddling on home. In the rain. Imagine my surprise when I realized the gate I assumed was pulled and locked by one of the bartenders was instead wide open. And imagine how thrilled I was to realize that the only way back inside to lock up properly was through the gate I had just pulled and locked. So I dutifully if not pathetically unlocked everything, fumbled with my keys to find one I had never even used before to let myself back inside, up and down two flights of stairs. I finally found the actual correct locks for the correct gates, locked up both sides of the club correctly and toddled on home. In the (now) pouring rain.

It was actually kind of peaceful in a wet and clammy way. Very few people out and about at that hour. Going on 6:30 a.m. and still dark and gloomy. I oddly enjoyed it. That is, until I found myself about two blocks from my castle high atop Second Ave. When I absent-mindedly patted my jacket in anticipation of some dry clothes and a quick voddie/soda. I was confirming the location of my house keys. Only there was nothing there. I quickly patted down every pocket. Nothing. I found myself crouched under an awning, frantically pawing through my knapsack hoping against hope I had thrown them in there. I looked like a crackhead looking for a last, lost rock. But alas, it finally became apparent that I had most likely left the keys back at the club somewhere during the lock, unlock fiasco. I had no choice but to turn back. Now I truly felt pathetic.

I could have gone home and tried to roust The Ex, it was late (early) enough that he would be wake-able. But the keys to the club were on there too. I had visions of some homeless guy ducking under our awning to get dry and finding the keys to a candy store right there for the taking. Nice way to start my new job. With a break in. So I walked down the fifteen blocks back to the club. The soaking rain being the least of my worries now. For a gut wrenching minute they weren't there and then yes, on the steps down to the club I spotted them. Thank god. I scooped them up and headed back home. It was only when I was halfway back and after I confirmed it was just after 7 a.m. that I remembered I had a 2 p.m. Dr's appointment. god. damn. it. As evidenced by my previous entry, I made it on time. Miraculously.

Side benefit to the new job. Internet access. Blogging at work is fun again.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Ch - Ch - Ch - Ch Changes...

Old viral load: 760,000+. New viral load after 4 weeks in treatment 7,900. For all my bitching it appears I got "The AIDS" on the run. Baby steps, folks. Another round of test results in four more weeks. And I've rescheduled my psych evaluation for this Monday afternoon. I may ask whoever does it to sign a release before I let them go exploring inside my head. It's not safe in there.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Grey And Gloomy

was the day today. My mood sort of matched. I don't think it has sunk in yet that I'm officially never going to go in to a job I've grown to hate. Well, assuming I never take another job I hate, that is. I spent the weekend completing my year in servitude. Giving two weeks notice and then having to complete said weeks is agonizing. Instead of secretly finding joy in never having to say this or put up with that again, I typically spent my time berating myself for putting up with those intolerable conditions for an entire year. I felt bad after every shift. Were it not for my new job, and all the fun I'm having there, well it could reduce a Duchess to tears.

Which, truth to tell, did happen last week. I have alluded to the fact that I'm seeing a counselor. I have been for about six weeks. Every Tuesday. As you saw from the previous posts I was in a pretty bad place. And while much improved, last Tuesday found me decidedly shaky. I debated with myself about showing up for counseling at all. Which is hilarious and typical of me. When I need help, I run from the very people trained to help me. Nothing in my troubles can't be cured by curling up with a cold vodka bottle. Which is how I found myself sobbing uncontrollably as I confessed my fear of being crazy. As I explained I had been in the clutches of a depression I was afraid I would never find my way back from. I tried to re-create in words the chaos that my thought process had become. I did a pretty good job of it too. She immediately scheduled me for a psych evaluation. After re-assuring me that she did not, in fact, think I was crazy. I found a little comfort in that.

Do I need to even tell you I skipped the psych eval? I know! But really, after spending 45 minutes sobbing like a hysterical school girl, the prospect of going through it again, this time with a total stranger, left me less than thrilled. So I skipped it. I'm gay. It's our way ...

I am following through with my next session today. Some good did come out of my breakdown last week. I was able to articulate many of the things that have fueled the depression. Getting older and being alone chief among them. I also have a Dr.'s appointment the following afternoon. I'll be getting the first test results since going on the meds. I intend to discuss my depression with him as well. Don't misunderstand, I'm not curled up in the dark watching infomercials. I work, I sleep. But my appetite is off. I have absolutely no sex drive. I just feel ...... blah. Except when I'm at work. And the current bartender I have a little crush on takes his pants off and works in a skimpy pair of undies. Then I feel really good.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Oh What A Night.

And what a circus I'm presiding over. Thursday night on the Lower East Side. Drunk men, drag queens and Gay Jeopardy. Welcome to my new world. Rather than relate the tale in words I've chosen to edit most of it and give you pictures.

The night started un-eventfully enough with a couple of Go Go Boy auditions. And while this one was decidedly a Go Go Man and not a boy I'd probably hire him because he has a big dick and he wasn't afraid to prove it. Believe it or not (you bitches!) I declined.

After which, we moved into the Marquee and Gay jeopardy with Linda Simpson.

The actual game show bored the fuck out of me but included Linda Simpson as host (cranky schoolmarm) as well as Sultana, Duch and Taboo as contestants. I'm afraid of Taboo. But I love how Duch kept referring to Linda as simply "Simpson".

There were several Lower East Side celebutants in attendance. Case in point: Miss Violet Temper:

After the show, all the drag Queens did a number but only a couple truly stood out. Sorry, bitches!...
Duch worked her magic on the crowd ...

And so did Sultana. She worked!

Before, during and after some drunk men insisted on taking off their clothes and letting their cocks flop around in their boxers. For the most part I didn't care but then there was this man:

All in all, Ms. Simpson does a pretty amazing job considering the meager (Read: no) budget she's given. The fact that she gets some amazing guests and people to come out and support her week after week speaks to that. Which is why it's a shame that it looks like Gay Jeopardy will be cancelled after next week. At least that's the story so far. I've spoken with the powers that be and all is not set in stone. There are variables. And in one scenario Gay Jeopardy featuring the highly entertaining Linda Simpson lives on. If not, next week is it. But you didn't hear any of that here. Stay tuned ...