Friday, September 30, 2005

6:10 am

Back from day one of the new job. My new work uniform consists of a T-Shirt and jeans. Genius! I can think of a lot of worse ways to spend my evening then surrounded by half-naked latin strippers. Mrs. Astor would be proud. More later, need to sleep.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Words To Live By

"There is no such thing as inner peace. There is only nervousness or death. Any attempt to prove otherwise constitutes unacceptable behavior."
Fran Lebowitz - The Fran Lebowitz Reader

Amen, sister.

also ...

possible use for that pound of saurkraut

Oh look! So that's where I left my sense of humor.

Despite the weather outside, it appears the storm inside my noggin' has passed. I slept completely through the night last night for the first time in weeks. I dreamed. I woke up centered and rested. Most significantly, I woke up un-afraid. My fear being the most puzzling and crippling aspect of this episode. Which leads me to give some credence to a theory my therapist floated. That my problems may have been rooted in a story I wasn't able to tell anyone but her and my Dad. One I still can't tell for fear of my own safety and for legal reasons. Don't mean to tease, just want to set the record straight and remember things correctly.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Don't You Know

Don’t you know things can change
Things’ll go your way
If you hold on for one more day
Can you hold on for one more day
Things’ll go your way ...

A lot of people have posted musings as to how life doesn't come with a re-set button. They claim you need to accept what has been dealt to you and move forward from there. I think that's bullshit. I have never believed in accepting what is and rolling over. I get knocked down. I get up swinging. I get knocked back. I dig in and plod forward. One. Day. At a Time.

Granted, part of what snapped me out of my depression was the new job. Yes, it came together and today I met with the owners of the club that wanted to hire me. We agreed to terms and I quit my current tormenters. The next two weeks I'll be working almost every day while I finish up my old duties and learn my new responsibilities. This is good. For all those who have advised me to embrace distraction, I am ready for a new challenge. I would be un-truthful if I claimed that all is well. Things just suck a little bit less than they sucked before.

I have more to say....

but for now, starting on Thursday, I'll be running the show as I make a SLIDE down to the Bowery. Hopefully soon, I'll have my name on The Marquee. I have much to learn about my new home. Most importantly, I'll have a legion of new people in my life that I can't wait to meet. Play the audio post. This should be good ....

Monday, September 26, 2005

Just So You Know ...

It's probably not a good idea to go to the grocery store in the midst of a stormy brain (as opposed to a more positive brainstorm). Why the hell did I think I needed a pound of saurkraut?

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Baby Cried The Day The Circus Came To Town

I've been feeling really down. God, what a lame opening line. And what a load of bullshit. I haven't been feeling "down." What I've been feeling is abject despair. I peer into my own future and what once seemed limitless now appears to be nothingness. I find no joy in the day to day no spark of creativity other than this on-line gnashing of the teeth.

As encouraged to by a few thoughtful readers I contacted my Doctor. It was last Thursday, and I was getting ready for my interview. Or trying to get ready. Picking out a shirt became a chore. I thought I looked crazy. Truth to tell, I still feel the pic I posted looks like I may snap at any moment, but it's possible I'm seeing more than what's there. I don't trust my own eyes. Nor my judgement. I can tell that not everything's real. I'm unsure of what is and what isn't. He did respond that day. To inform me that nothing he prescribed could be causing my symptoms. He thoughtfully left his number so we could talk further. I called him. I already have his number. Fuckin dumb-ass. Oh and, as an aside, this sort of means I'm crazy after all.

I've lapsed into a depression. I've described them here before. Those of you who suffer from it already know it far too well. Unfortunately, my years of experience dealing with depression has only shown me that you really can't. I mean, knowing what it is and doing anything about it are two different things. And I'm not convinced the meds aren't causing it. But I had brunch with Neo today, and while that in itself was comforting, if not distracting, he also is someone I trust who made some good points.

Being HIV+ can suck sometimes. Over and over. Sometimes it doesn't suck for a couple of years or months. But then it sucks again for another sucky reason. From sex to work to dating to Dr. appointments. And right now being HIV+ for me has been the suckiest. From going on the meds to being forced to tell my boss. I hate having to set my phone alarm every day for midnight for my second dose reminder. I hate having to remember to put the extra dose in my bag when I take the first one.I hate the fact that I get flushed for fifteen minutes every day twice a day and sweat like I'm menopausal. I resent the daily reminder that I've got an illness. As I sobbed uncontrollably last week, overwhelmed at the thought of a job interview and then a meeting with my brother then a full night at work: I. Feel. Weak.

And I hate weakness. In myself or others. And so I'm angry. At everyone around me and myself. And every step I take as I wander aimlessly around the city I used to love feels like plodding hoplessness. Neo says it's normal. Or as "normal" as someone like me can manage. I've lost control to a virus, and I don't give up the wheel easily. I just don't know how to go on from here. I don't even know why.

I received an E-mail offering me a new job managing a club. It appears the job I wanted will be mine, however no details regarding salary, hours, etc.. have been discussed. So it could all still fall apart. The head space I'm in now says it will all turn to shit. My hopeful soul is in there cheering me on. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Job Interview

My job interview went great! I don't want to give too many details for fear of jinxing it, but sometimes my empathic skills when used as an advantage are a wonder to employ. I felt a very strong connection to the club owner and I think he really liked me. I would be using my skills as a manager as well as pulling tricks from my theatrical bag that I haven't had to use in far too long. Cross your fingers, kids. This could be the change I've needed.

On a related note, as I've been actively searching for work I'm finding something new. Many employers, at least in the public service sector, have no qualms about asking you to submit a picture with your resume. This is new. Time was, you got someone's resume and called them in cold. If they walked in dragging their hairy knuckles on the ground (And that was the women) you just made the obligatory interview short and moved on with only a barely visible shudder. Now they ask for pictures. I'm assuming to make sure you're 30 not 80 and male and not trans-ing. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Trouble is, while I take hundreds of photos a year almost none of them are me. And the ones with me in them I'm usually holding a martini in one hand and my cock in the other. A conversation starter, sure. But not really apropos of a job search. So last night after dicovering my camera battery needed a re-charge and again this morning I snapped a few off of myself so I would at least have some photos to post with my resume. I hate them. Well, hate is the wrong term. I just don't think I photograph too well. But trust me, I look positively dreamy on video. At any rate. I used a variation of this one. I think it looks about like me as I'm likely to get. Good or bad there I am.

On a completely unrelated note, I'm afraid I'm having some unexpected side-effects to my new meds. I wake up every day lately feeling horribly horribly depressed. Borderline suicidal except I don't believe in suicide. But it's that extreme. I don't see the point in anything, I can't muster the courage or the will to go on and I don't see the point in trying. My life feels like an abyss that I'm about to fall in to and disappear and no one will care. I have honestly asked myself out loud the last few days:
"Has it finally happened? Have I gone totally crazy?"

Then, about an hour or two after I take my dose and have some lunch, a lunch I have to struggle to complete or find the energy to go get, everything lifts and the brain storm that was raging passes. I feel relief and peace and a total clarity. There's nothing I can't accomplish. It wasn't until today that I backtracked when this started and realized the new factor in the equation is the meds. If it's temporary that's fine I'll get through it but christ! It's a rough way to start the morning every day.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Star Jones

is donating her dress from the Emmys to hurricane relief. A tent city will go up outside Austin, Texas by the end of next week.

Took a side trip to this store down in the East Village. Came away with two pairs of Puma kicks and two Hanes V-Neck T's, dyed green and light blue. Total cost: 60 bucks. Score!

Having a skim latte at the big green corporate behemoth.

Queerty blows. And it's fugly, too.

Set up a job interview for tomorrow afternoon. Wish me luck!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Coming Out Again, Again!

Last night. Two shows back to back. An evening with Air Supply. I needed insulin by the end of the second show, it was that sugary sweet and feel-good. How in the world our on crack bookers decided to follow that with Masta Killa on the same night is absolutely beyond me, but there you have it. Fortunately for me I was excused from the mayhem as I was scheduled to open and work the day shift today. So in hindsight it probably wasn't the best idea for me to agree to meet The Hellcat (who had eagerly joined in for the sappy goodness that was Air Supply) for cocktails at the scene of my old crimes, but after insuring that a chance and unwanted meeting with Jabba The Drunk (That's a looooong way back to link but I'll try.) wouldn't occur, we were on for cocktails at The Clownhouse.

Now the last time we attempted to visit our old friends, after splitting two bottles of wine on the Great Lawn during a philharmonic concert, it ended badly. I remember shots flowing freely, well, remember is an exaggeration. I was told after the fact. All I know is I went from the club to the next day as one continuous memory. I was out talking and the very next memory is when I awoke the next morning. I was feeling bad about my adventure with extreme drinking 'till I managed to touch base with The Hellcat later that day. Somehow after we got separated, or rather, I got drunk and up and left, he somehow made it back down to the castle high atop Second Avenue. Trouble was, he left his bag with house keys at the Botoxed Frownhouse. It was after 5am and I wouldn't hear the buzzer and The Ex is more than a titch deef. So he plopped down on the front stoop to ponder his fate. Whereupon he fell fast asleep. Only to be awakened by the neighbors' dog, down for his morning pissoir, excitedly licking his face. Said naighbor was attached to said dog and offered assistance which The Hellcat happily accepted. By now it was close enough to his actual morning time that The Hellcat managed to roust The Ex and shuffle off to some non-cement shut-eye. My working theory is we got slipped a mickey. The alternative being we're boistrous, overgrown fratboys.

At any rate, I was determined to enjoy a couple cocktails and toddle on home. The Hellcat ordering up shots of my old buddy Jose to begin the evening notwithstanding. I must say, extreme drinking-wise I did OK. I remember all that was said and done. We managed to excuse ourselves after 3am but well before last call, buzzed, only a $20 spot poorer (love that) and brimming with confidence or liquor fueled bravado (pick one) that four to five hours of sleep would more than suffice. It was not without a touch of horror that I was awakened by The Hellcat (no, not licking my face), explaining that the maddening noise that was annoying me was actually the alarm clock going off the past 20 minutes and I was about to be running quite late. I dutifully put back on all the clothes I had shed four hours ago right down to the underwear. I made a pot of coffee and gulped down a cup as I rinsed off in the sink. It was the start of a magical day.

I did arrive at work somewhere in the neighborhood of a half-hour late. Late being a relative term in the morning, as I see no real correlation between arriving at 10 or 10:30 when all you do is open the safe and give out banks and make a list of who is working. It's not a challenge to get it done in plenty of time. Still my boss would disagree and considering she was on the premises due to the fact that her production company was running the show this afternoon, she took it upon herself to start my day for me. For the record, I was still drunk. The first clue being when I got on the ground to unlock the front door and just laid there for a few minutes, making unfunny jokes to the retail girl. It seeemed like a good idea at the time. Still, I managed a modicum of decorum and felt rather confidently that the day would proceed as expected. That's about when I realized I had come to work without my medication. Noon was approaching and it was time for the kool-aid. I had left it in the fridge at home. I'd been on the god-damned pills just over a week and I was about to miss a dose already. Fan-fucking-tastic. This in addition to the day last week when I woke up and couldn't remember if I had taken meds the night before or just meant to and forgot. Turns out I did it and forgot. Taking medication twice a day every day is a little bit harder than I expected. There are no consequences if I miss a dose of anything else prescribed for me daily. Until now. Now I could develop resistance. Now if I let the level of medication in my blood stream get too low, it won't work anymore. The viral killing field in my system will be devoid of soldiers on horseback.

I was unsure what to do. Finally, after much debate, I approached my boss.

"Um, I take some medication. Every day. And I forgot it at home. And I think I need to run home and get it."

She made that face people make when your distress somehow pains them.

"Can't you send somebody? Send (the hostess)."

And at first, I considered it. I really did. I even approached one of my employees and told her I was sending her to my apartment.

But before that I dialed my home. Hoping against hope that The Ex would be up before noon or that The Hellcat hadn't gone back to bed. I was disappointed on both fronts. And the reality of this undertaking began to sink in. You can't just hop on a subway and pop over to my apartment. I live in that no man's land section of Manhattan that isn't really serviced by the subway. You have to take a train near my apartment and then walk the final 15 minutes. That's true no matter what station you select. So whoever did this would have to take the subway, figure out what was the correct direction to my house and then walk there. Then walk up five flights to my apartment. Then go to my refrigerator and get my HIV meds. Being careful to get the correct HIV meds, as The Hellcat and I store our Kool Aid on the same shelf. Ain't that cute? And then someone would have to go in my room. And determine which of the four pill bottles they discovered there was the right one and not the Viagra. Then back out the door and down the stairs and to the subway and back to work. And still, I thought it might work. I called The Hellcat and left a message, explaining what was happening. And as the words were leaving my lips I knew it wouldn't work. So I interrupted myself.

"Fuck it, I'm coming home. Never mind."

And I went to my door staff and said exactly that.

"I forgot some medication that I need and I'm running home to get it. I shouldn't be gone more than an hour."

They promised to handle whatever came up and really, we all acknowledged, what really could happen as we were loading an audience for a children's puppet show that has never drawn more than 100 adults and children.

So that's what I did. I went home. I got my medication. I changed into a pair of black jeans for good measure. I returned to the club. The puppet show had begun. All without incident. At least, that's how it seemed to me.

It wasn't until at the end of my shift that my boss confided she had to speak with me. I assumed the worst because the worst keeps happening these days. I imagined she wanted to fire me. Or send me to another club. A whole host of awful scenarios ran through my head all at once. Curiously, it hadn't occurred to me that my unexpected absence was an issue.

"I need to ask you... it's a personal question but I need to ask you, what medication are you taking that you had to get?"

And there it was. Left or right. Blue shirt or brown? Make a choice. I barely hesitated. I guess too much has happened for me to back away now.

"I'm HIV positive." Her eyes widened. She hadn't expected that. I continued,

"It's OK, I've been positive all along it's just that until recently I've been maintaining with diet and vitamins. But that's not working anymore and now I'm on more powerful medication and I have to take it and I can't really miss a dose or I could develop resistance."

And there it was on the desk between us. My reality. My struggle. My war. My little war. And the implication that it takes precedence over a ridiculous puppet show that 35 people are coming to. Which of course, it does, although she's loath to admit it.

"Well of course, if it's serious about your health, I'm not unreasonable. I mean, if it's your life, I mean of course...." she trailed off before recovering enough to turn the conversation onto my other shortcomings as a nightclub manager. A subject I know all too well about, as well. We were back on common ground.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Turning Hard To Port, Hang On ...

I wouldn't have thought it possible, but tonight I was caught totally unprepared and shocked by a confession from a co-worker. I wish I could tell you right now what happened. But I'm not sure legally how to proceed. Not that I'm exposed, but others might be. I'm sorry to be so cryptic but I've had a couple of drinks and want to make sure I don't tell a tale that results in a friend going to jail for... well, forever. I couldn't be more serious. Check back during the day for an update.

Part of me is secretly thrilled. Just when I thought I've heard/seen it all ...

We Interrupt The Current Crisis ...

I'm sorry I haven't updated yet on the extreme fucked-up-ness that has befallen one of my co-workers. I was expecting some news before I could safely (for him) relate the story, and I haven't got it yet. So be patient, it's a killer.

In lieu of that juicy news, howzabout I report my experiences now that I've finished my first week on HIV meds. I took the first combination at noon on Monday. By 4:30 I threw it all up, plus my lunch. Of course, I immediately knew what I did wrong. In addition to the prescribed meds, I also took all the other pills I've been taking. Which means I took the meds, plus a multi-vitamin, plus extra C, plus extra zinc, plus my morning dose of crazy pills. All in one great fistfull. I think I was a little pissed off and wanted something symbolic. I was rewarded with vomit on my sneakers. At various points during the day I broke out in a sweat and I was extremely shaky and tired. So I was a little concerned about the midnite dose before bed. I was worried about getting sick in my sleep. The irony of having come this far only to throw up at night and choke to death was an experience I could do without. Not to worry. I tolerated the second dose just fine and slept through the night.

The next day, I pointedly took only the HIV meds at noon. I made sure to slip the multi-vitamins in right after an afternoon snack. Et voila, absolutely no pukishness. I was still experiencing bouts of headaches and sweats however. Oddly, it seems to coincide with my twice daily doses of crazy pills. This was unexpected. I have so far found no information regarding an adverse interaction between Buspirone and HIV meds. But I've taken to spreading my three pill a day 2X dosage of anti-crazy to 2 pills 3X a day. The sweats and headache are tolerable, but I'm hoping temporary.

My appetite is great. It's always a good sign when you're hungry when you oughta be. I'm not sleeping very well, but I have no idea if it's because of the meds. I was experiencing hand tremors the first couple of days, but that seems to have stopped as well. After the first exhausting day at work, I had a few days off and could monitor what was working and what wasn't. By the third day I felt well enough to get to the gym, and I've been in 3 times so far in the last week. If I can manage a half hour of cardio and a half hour of weights my first week on the meds I think I'll be just fine.

Ever the lady, I will skip discussing the dreaded intestinal side effects. Beyond saying yep. But nothing uncontrollable (or without warning, thank god!) and I've got the Immodium at the ready should I need it.

The dose at noon and dose at midnight seems like the perfect schedule for me and I've taken to setting my cell to ring every night at 12am. If I get busy in the club I get my reminder right on time.

I guess, I would have to say that beyond having to take pills all day every day (and the other managers at work have definitely noticed, I make no effort to hide it), it hasn't sucked nearly as bad as I feared. Some of my side effects have disappeared, I'm told most of them will given time. I have some fresh blood tests coming up in a couple of weeks. I wonder if I'll see any results that fast. Hope so. I'm being a good little kool-aid drinker.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Four Years Ago

I was sound asleep when The Ex came home. It was between 10 and 11 am. It was as if I heard every other word. Bombed ... Trade Center...airplanes .. closed .. buildings destroyed.

"What, what? What are you talking about?"

I turned on the coffee and then the TV.

And there I sat for hours and hours that first day. As I realized it had already happened. I was watching the tape of the horror that was inflicted on my people, my city. As the events unfolded, I remember quite clearly being unable to comprehend how other human beings could be this consumed by hate. Could be capable of this kind of poisonous rage.

And I remember, as the days and weeks and months went by, and my adopted home transformed into a city under seige, my neighborhood, quite literally, mutated into an armed camp, I remember doubting if we would ever find our way back again. If we would ever heal.

And half way through the afternoon I did what I thought was right. I joined the thousands upon thousands of people making their way uptown on foot. And while they were heading for refuge, for bridges, for carpools and buses for home, I went in to work. And gathered a crew and opened a bar. About 100 or so people dropped by. In shock they took whatever comfort they could from a cold drink and some soft music.

And now four years later, I find the memories just as vivid. The sadness over the evils man can and does willfully inflict upon other humans just as troubling. But I wistfully celebrate the triumph that is the spirit of my city. The joy of a summer Sunday walking through a city park, armed only with a camera and some water. And I smile, if a bit less broadly, recognizing that we have come back from the edge, as people will do, as a city with a heartbeat too loud to more than quiet.

I have no desire to read a list of names. I have no desire to attend a somber ceremony. The dead will be remembered. The living continue. I continue. I will start my summer Sunday head held high. I will trust in the limitless promise that is the future.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Too Easy

Dear Anthony,

I'm sure that you have resolved your feelings about all the obvious jokes since childhood. I'm also quite sure you are seriously hoping to be a contender in the election. And as much as I would absolutely love love love it if we could call you our mayor for the next four years, I'm feeling quite confident that we New Yorkers will not be looking forward to being led into the future by Mayor Weiner.

Good luck anyway,

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

At Long Last, My First Contest

And it's a doozy. Let's all play .....

Who's cock is who?

For your edification I present three disembodied cocks. (And we know how painful that can be.) One cock is me. One cock belongs to an up and coming porn star and (relatively) recent transplant to our fair city. The third cock belongs to a porn superstar and all around dirty bird. The contest is simple. Guess which cock is me and also guess the names of the other two porn cocks.

Cock A.

Cock B.

Cock C.

The prize? Brace yourselves. The first person to correctly identify the owners of the disembodied cocks will become the proud recipients of these authentic souvenier Donny Osmond sunglasses. Guaranteed to get you beaten up if worn to the beach. (Estimated retail value: Around a dollar)

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Late To The Party

Reporting from a week ago, but what the hell, I got pictures. Went to the closing party of High/Life/Low Life that began at The Slide but moved and then petered out suddenly at 6's and 8's in the lower East Side. I'd never even been to that club before and wandered about aimlessly trying to find it. Certainly, the sight of drag diva Sweetie standing out on the darkened corner served as a signpost I had found the right place.

The crowd was mixed and aimless. They weren't dancing so much as milling about. A show was promised and in the meantime, Mr. Nardicio and company hired an ice cream truck on the street corner. The only time serving it up soft is acceptable. I occupied my time stalking him for a while. He was the featured dancer in what I presume was the Low Life portion of the evening, although it was decidedly tame, he looked cute. The show finally began and while some of the performances were an acquired taste...

others turned it out. Not the least of which was drag star ShaBoomBoom*, featuring some Jody Whatley fierceness that brought the crowd to their feet.

Other "highlites" of the High Life included an underwhelming "performance" from the World Famous "BOB". It consisted of flashing titties to classical music. While the entertainment value is dubious, it makes good pictures.

Sweetie closed out the show with a hell of a number. Unfortunately, over a week has gone by and I've forgotten what it was.

What I heven't forgotten is that after that drag-a-palooza I had a hankering for some man and trundled on over to East Village mainstay The Cock.While the crowd itself bored me, the entertainment was decidedly more pleasing.

Say what you want about the bod but there's no denying, mmmm-mmmm I likes that face.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

When The Going Gets Tough ...

The tough go ... shopping! Pulling myself out of my funk about the meds required an intervention that only an Amex Gold Card could provide. To wit:

One new bag for the new laptop:

Two new pairs of undies (size medium), one cock ring (size snug!) and one black jockstrap (also medium):

Oh, and of course I tried the jockstrap on. And of course there are pictures. Would I let you down after all we've been through? Have a good holiday.

Friday, September 02, 2005

So What Happened?

Well, in a nutshell, the time bomb that's been ticking away in my bloodstream the last several years seems to have gone off. It wasn't a total surprise. When my doctor upped my blood tests from four times a year to bi-monthly to monthly, you kind of figure he was seeing something not so good. Still, when my last viral load showed a six-fold increase in one month, even I was caught by surprise. If above 100,000 was too high, a whopping 711,000 made me gulp. I was a walking bug factory. And while my T-cells are holding steady so far, if I leave things be and don't start treatment, eventually my immune system would give way. Which puts the final nail in my Mutant Healing Factor theory. And while I admit, the idea of starting on more aggressive meds than my current multi-vitamin/crazy pill regimen doesn't thrill me, thrush and pneumonia thrill me less.

So I grudgingly acquiesced. Today, I met (again) with an adherence nurse. We talked about some of the side effects I could be expecting. In other fun news, if I have a negative reaction to one of the drugs they've prescribed for me, I'll need to stop immediately. If I ever take it again, I could die. Great! This afternoon I turned in the prescriptions for pick up tomorrow. I'll begin treatment on Monday. Coincidentally, I was scheduled off for four days next week. If I do have a negative reaction at first, at least it will be in the privacy of my own home. Nothing says a day off like sudden diarrhea.

For those of you curious, they are starting me on Kaletra (3 pills 2x a day), and Epzicom (once a day). The Epzicom is really two drugs (I multitask yet again), Ziagen and Epivir. Kivexa for all my European readers. I think I have two. So I'll truly be taking a handfull of pills every day around noon. And then a few more at midnight.Please, please I'm begging you all. Don't feel the need to send comments and e-mails full of horror stories about these drugs and how they made you shit your pancreas. I'm nervous enough as it is.

Several people I've dealt with the last few days have said I may be pleasantly surprised. It's possible that my rising viral load has been taking more out of me than I knew. The theory is that if I spank down my viral load and raise my T-Cell count, I may actually feel markedly better in the next few months. And better sounds good to me.