Friday, September 28, 2007

Around The NSFW Net

Everybody and their blogger has highlighted it, but in case you haven't had some fun yet check out the Manhunt send-up found here. Some people are complaining it's mean spirited. I say if you cover your doodle with a playing card you deserve what you get. I just pray to the goddess I never stumble across myself.

I'm also enjoying checking in on the latest ill-conceived window treatment posted at Lurid Digs. It's milk out the nose funny.

If you just want to touch your naughty bits with some free porn there's a new You Tube knock off to check at You Porn. There be gems amongst the junk if you look.

Finally, I'm a slightly embarrassed fan of animated superhero porn. I'm assuming because it combines several interests of mine into one deviant fetish. I prefer not to analyze it any deeper. If you share this harmless kink with me you can check out It's a great site where you can peruse and purchase the Anti-Heroes comic, play games, check out a cool blog and other fan art, as well as a pretty good link list to other gay animated artists. You could spend hours.

There you have it. Plenty of funny gay filth to get you through the next few days. Enjoy the weekend if you're about to start yours.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

This Is A Test

So I've managed to keep part of my resolutions. I'm going to the gym more than I was and I'm making it to several Gay-A meetings every week. The latter turned out to be really good timing. Up until now, most of my sober experiences have been overwhelmingly positive. Its pretty easy to stick with a program when everything is going well. Harder when things start to go to shit.

Work has been challenging of late. I've been feeling woefully under-appreciated. A lot of the work I do is behind the curtain, keeping things running smoothly. I take care of the weekly payroll for the entire front of house. I not only make sure everyone gets their pay but also their tips and whatever pay they're due for private events and parties. Along with that, when there is a mistake, either mine or through payroll, I have to respond and fix it. For everyone. This involves a lot of record keeping and e-mailing and list making. That's not a complaint. I like to do it. But it's not simple.

I also maintain all the training forms, manuals, floor plans, menu descriptions and other important paperwork for the place. We just went on-line with a promotion through a Broadway related web site. I assembled all the promotion information, menu, reservation information and came up with a method for ringing it in to the system, tracking the vouchers and crediting the staff with a tip for the sales. No one told me to do this. I just knew it needed to be done. I researched, planned, designed and executed a non-alcoholic drink menu. I even wrote the freakin' ridiculously clever copy for god's sake.

That's the kind of thing I do all the time, And again, I actually enjoy it. Weird, I know. In addition, I make sure that the front of house has all the supplies they need to cash out at the end of the night. We recently changed our closing procedure, which can involve thousands of dollars on some nights, and I came up with a simple accounting procedure to insure we would be accurate in reporting to the financial office. None of this is particularly flashy or glamorous. But it is important and would need to be done eventually. I don't operate under the illusion that I'm the only one who could accomplish these things, but I'm certain I get it done as fast and as easily as anyone could.

Which makes the fact that I was just passed over for a promotion a might galling. Up until now, all the management team has been just that, a team. At least on paper, we have been equal partners. And now, one of my co-workers has been promoted to my boss. And to be perfectly honest, it's not the job title that's bugging me. I could care less what you call me as long as it's not "lousy lay". What totally frosts my butt is he's on his second raise in the seven months we've worked together. And I hate feeling jealous about it but I just don't see why. Beyond being in the building when money comes in, I can't point to a single instance where he's done anything beyond agreeing with everyone and being every one's bitch. OK, that was petty. And I don't want to give the impression I don't like the man. I really do. And he works hard. He's competent, cares about what he's doing, puts in a lot of hours, does what he's asked to. But he also has no follow through and a shitty attention to detail. And he has a tendency to react to things rather than act on them. He does what he's asked to and only what he's asked to and never tries to come up with a better plan. He never initiates ideas he merely executes them. In short, he does what he's told. And that, I suspect, is what gets him raises and promotions and not me.

I'm stubborn, opinionated and loud. These days I don't suffer foolishness very well. I focus on the things I think are important to the business, sometimes to the exclusion of what I know would look better, or make me look better. I can be quite charming for clients and customers, but I am absolutely horrible at dealing with promoters and party planners and "artists". If someone sets off my bullshit meter, rather than pay them lip service I shut off and walk away. I'm more than willing to admit when I'm wrong, but I have a tendency to argue and answer back. I'm quite sure it can be annoying.

But in the end, I think what I do for the business is extremely valuable. I've been doing this for quite a while. I've learned a lot, and I don't always think they take advantage of my experience. I run a major NYC restaurant and nightclub with brand new video/computer systems, a high quality sound system and the capacity to hold over 1,000 guests. Promoters and party planners and "artists" need our venue a lot more than we need them. They're like buses. Another one will be along shortly. And the things that they want are not always what's easiest, best for the business, or even realistically possible. Someone has to have the brains and balls to say so. In this case, it's usually me, even though I'm usually ignored and proven right later. And while I take a certain amount of satisfaction in that, I'd rather take home a bigger paycheck and a certain amount of recognition.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Art Or Bust

I just ordered two more prints from some digital photos I've been working on. One was a color shot of some landscaped gardens in Rockefeller Center. I Photoshopped it into a gorgeous watercolor-like 20X24 print that will look perfect right above the couch. Now, all of the major artwork in the living room was created by me. I'm not sure if any of it is any good, but I do know it makes me unbelievably happy to have created it.

The second photo is a B&W print I'm having done of a shot I took in Atlantic City back in 2004. I was wandering down the street that runs along the back of the main strip of casinos when I came upon a garden. It was landscaped with marble and gaudy columns I thought it might make an interesting photo. Instead, I happened upon a man dressed head to toe in a black pleather suit and boots. He was laying on the marble steps in the afternoon sun, sound asleep. If you didn't know better you might swear he was posed. He was solitary and sad and obviously, at least at that moment, defeated by life. Of course I'm projecting but that's what I saw. It was originally in color and I've been hanging on to it until the right inspiration came along. A couple of weeks ago I took out the color and began playing with the brightness and contrast. Every day or so I went back and adjusted it more and tried some filter effects. Eventually, I opened it three days in a row and didn't change anything. That's when I knew it was finished. I have a series of B&W photos of various sizes that run along the length of the kitchen hallway. Some I took and some are common prints I bought years ago. My intent is to slowly replace the purchased prints with my own work.

I've been meaning to tell you about the company I'm using to have these digital photos converted to prints. It's a site called Postersize-it (I know, horrible name) and they do digital photo prints as large as 24X36. I love the fact that you just have to upload a jpeg. or tiff. file right to their servers in order to place an order. The paper quality they use is superb and the turnaround time, from order to delivery, is super fast. At least where I'm located, I get my print in around 3 days. For somebody like me who requires instant gratification, that's wonderful.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Monday Moment Of Zen

MTV has been re-running the entire last season of So You Think You Can Dance. I found that enjoyable. I've been watching more television lately what with the magic of my DVR unit and the fact that I don't spend every night drunk watching Trading Spaces re-runs. I already pre-set the DVR in anticipation of the new fall season starting. First choices are new episodes of Heroes and The Bionic Woman. Here's a compilation vid featuring SYTYCD hottie McHot-ness Danny.

And here's a rare double-Zen video posting. Unscientific reasearch proves you were either one of two kinds of person. The kind that loved loved loved (like me) the Fembots or the kind that was totally freaked out by them.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Double Down

It's Talk Like A Pirate Day.

So I couldn't resist showing you this:

What The Hell?

New View co-host Sherri Shepherd doesn't believe in evolution "period" and doesn't know if the world is flat. I'm almost as offended as the Christians are at Kathy Griffin. Mostly I'm just sad. Even ElittleBrain Hasselhoff seems taken aback :

Did I ever tell you about the day I discovered, to my horror, that my own parents scoffed at the very idea that evolution could be true? No? That's because I blacked it out, thus enabling me to still look them in the eyes.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Alarm-Free Sunday

Good lord. I slept until just after 1:00. Actually I did a time check around 11:30 and then dozed and dreamed until after 1. It was heavenly and decadent and so not something I get to do too often. Nothing I did but simply from the vagaries of other people's schedule requests have left me with three days off. A nice long weekend to start the week. I would have planned a little trip but while I have some spending money, I still have bills,bills, bills to pay.

Today's agenda consists of a haircut, a tan and a visit to the gym and a Gay-A meeting. I have some photos I've been wanting to work on and I may scrub the kitchen floor.

That's my little life. I like it.

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Quiet Week

The calm before the storm I suspect. We have a few events at work but nothing major coming up. Home has become delightfully and predictably routine. I finished redecorating the living room except for a few minor details. I'll try to post pictures next week. Summer is over and the leaves have already begun to turn and fall in the local park.

The highlight of the week came Monday. We hosted the Fashion Week show for Nico & Adrian. They presented their Spring/Summer 2008 collection. Nico & Adrian is a boutique house here but they have a big gay and international following. With good reason. The show had male and female fashions/models. The women were mostly in dresses and full outfits. Most of the men were in skimpy bathing suits and tight open shirts. It was delightful. Also delightful were the designers themselves. As well as all of their assistants, stylists and make-up people. I am surprised and thrilled to report that they all couldn't have been sweeter or more together and professional. Although the show itself went up over an hour late, everyone connected with it was on time and a pleasure to work with. The fact that the night ended with me drooling over almost naked 22 year old boys with no body fat was just the icing on the cake.
Photo: Nico & Adrian, New York

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sell! Sell!

200,000. Wow. It's been years in the making, but from humble beginnings many good things come. Late yesterday afternoon we had visitor number 200,000 cross our threshold here at From The Ashes HQ. I know nothing about him or her except he/she was from the UK and didn't stay very long at all. I assume he was dissatisfied with what he found as he came to me via a search titled "party favor cum slut". And while I like to consider myself accommodating there are limits...

According to the stats I get, my little corner of the bloguverse gets read on six continents. And while the bulk of my readers are in fact from the US, we get visitors from at least 23 countries. Hello Malaysia! Of course, it's also true that I get a lot of visitors from the oddest searches in words and images, but I attribute that to my wondrously perv ... er, diverse interests. To wit:

"eminen nude"
"tied up and fucked"
"fat fuck" (The NUMBER ONE search!)
"soccer pee"
"robbie williams armpit"
"nude blood"
"dragged naked"
"weird boob"
"well hung canadian men" (as if!)
"shaved pubic hair designs"

and the ever-popular
"flying cumshot"

My readers are freaks, y'all! But you're my freaks and you are loved.

Seriously, I started this blog almost as a lifeline. I had been diagnosed with HIV. I was depressed, suffering from serious panic disorder, in need of some therapy. I now know I was alcoholic. I felt lost and completely alone. With nowhere else to turn I launched myself into this new form of expression without a clue as to what it would lead to. I decided very early on that if this idea was going to work or be worth doing, that I would have to try my best to remain brutally honest and unflinchingly unafraid of the consequences. As it turns out, it became like a trail of bread crumbs out of a very dark forest. In some ways, I think this blog may have saved my life.

Today (at least) I am sober. I have been faithfully and successfully treating my HIV and my overall health is amazing. My mental health, well ... I guess that depends on who you ask. But I certainly don't feel as crazy. Along the way, my reasons for writing have evolved. I decided that I would try to concentrate on informing people about HIV treatment and issues whenever I could, hopefully without being strident or preachy. I tried to make sure that I kept a good accounting of what I experienced through diagnosis and treatment. My hope was that sometime someone who was just beginning that journey would come here and find some useful information and not be as scared. I also wanted to reflect that while being HIV+ was a big part of my life, I also maintained many other interests, distractions and obsessions. I love weird news, outrageous behavior, snarky sarcasm, and true New York stories. Whenever possible, I tried to share that with you.

All is not perfect, if such a thing is even possible. I've recently discovered I have a lot of work to do on my journey of sobriety. Let's just say I'm seriously stumbling over some of the 12 Steps. I've made some great strides on the road to self-acceptance, but discovering who I am, where I came from, and where to go from here seems endless. And that's good, I think. I'm a single gay man with HIV that left 40 officially in the dust. My prospects of ever finding a man to share my life with grow exponentially dimmer with each passing month. I am almost as socially retarded as I was when I started this. I am 20 short years away from retirement and as it stands now I'm looking forward to a twilight of Social Security and dinners of cat food.

In short, while I have toyed with the notion that it might be time to end this chronicle, all indications are that there's still some tragic ore to be mined from the cave I've dug for my life. When all is said and done, I feel I haven't said or done it all yet.

In other words: I'm not finished. We still have some roads to travel. I'd be pleased if we could still go down some of them together.

You comin'? ...

Monday, September 10, 2007

Monday Moment Of Zen (NSFW)

Courtesy of the fabulous Alexyss K. Tylor. "I likes to suck dicks."

Friday, September 07, 2007

Labor Day Weekend In Pictures

My beloved niece at the M&M store.

(photo deleted by request)
Central Park playground

Yankee Stadium. Bronx, NY

(photo deleted by request)
Central Park, NYC.

Stuyvesant Park. My niece and Jet.

The whole fam damily. Coney Island, Broolyn NY

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Odds & Ends

Jet woke me up at 9 am this morning. Not sure what he wanted besides attention. After I got up and made some coffee and set to checking e-mail and browsing porn sites he seemed satisfied and sacked out on the bed per usual. This would be fine except I didn't get to bed until 4 am and we have two events back to back tonight with less than 1/2 hour between them. It's a logistic nightmare. I will be sleep deprived and crabby.

On the plus side, I got a good jump on the day. I decided over the holiday weekend that I would make a point to use my free time a little better. I've been complaining that I have no time to make any Gay-A meetings, despite the fact that in this city, there's almost always a meeting somewhere. The truth is I'm a creature of habit, and I've fallen into a routine that didn't allow time for meetings. I'm feeling that I won't be one of those people that needs a meeting a day to stay sober, but I certainly see the value in maintenance, and I always come away from a meeting with a renewed sense of resolve. It's a great reminder for me of where I've come from, and what I'll be going back to if I start down that road again.

Also, while I am decidedly not a "Silver Daddy" I have become a Paunchy Uncle during the last year. I've been joking with people about being pregnant with twins, and taken to calling them Ben & Jerry. And while my new found obsession with ice cream is partly to blame, it's also true that I haven't been able to put together anything remotely resembling a workout routine. I knew the jig was up when people began to affectionately pat my belly. I laughed, but inside I wept like a sad, fat clown. OK not really, but I was a tad mortified. It's been decades since I had a belly to pat. Aside from the ice cream, my diet is actually fine. I've managed to stop it on the french fries, I quit munching on the warm bread, and I limit myself to a single slice of corn bread when I get a little hungry during a shift. Mostly I need to get my saggy white ass to the gym and on some cardio machines. Problem solved.

During the Labor Day Family Invasion we took some time to visit with my cousin and his wife, who live here in the city. I hardly ever see them unless someone comes to town. My cousin is only a year younger than me. He married late and then they took forever to have kids. I assumed they never would. Not only did they finally get around to it, they doubled up. Twins. A boy and a girl. While I'm not discounting my own potential fatherhood, I sometimes can't imagine raising children in this city. Let alone being well into your 40's with twin babies! My cousin looked happy, beat up and decidedly more "Silver Daddy" than the last time I saw him. If having kids ages you I may have to re- re- think this idea again. But the kids are pretty damn precious. Here's a nice shot of the boy. More to follow.

(photo deleted by request)

And in other news ...

New York City police officers raided Mr. Black a popular East Village gay club on the weekend, arresting 32 people.

Seventeen employees and 15 customers were charged with the sale, use and possession of drugs.

A police spokesperson said the raid followed an undercover operation which found widespread drug dealing and use at the basement dance club. The spokesperson said the drug use was going on in full view.

Police seized 60 bags and vials of cocaine and a quantity of ecstasy pills

Following this weekend's raid NYPD said it is unlikely the club will reopen under the current owners and that the liquor license will likely be pulled.

Not that I take any smug satisfaction at other's misfortune. Not at all ... *snicker*

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Dear god.

This was the e-mail invitation I received when I woke up Monday morning.


3pm - 9pm


139 East 45th Street, 2nd Fl. btwn. Lexington & 3rd Ave.

Uncle Charlie's opens today at 3PM (so you can still catch that nap)

Happy Hour Drink Prices from 3 - 9PM (Medicaid accepted)

This is the day to meet that special man (by special we mean without a swollen prostate)
as Uncle Charlie's hosts our weekly


139 East 45th Street (2nd Floor)
Between 3rd and Lexington
Just a short walk(er) from Grand Central Terminal
Across from the NY Health & Racquet Club (where a defibrillator is always charged)

Somebody kill me.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Monday Moment Of Zen

Comes courtesy of the London Daily Mail. It seems powerful storms off the coast of New South Wales created a huge ocean disturbance. The storm apparently found itself parked over an area of ocean with the right mix of "salts, chemicals, dead plants, decomposed fish and excretions (ew) from seaweed". It whipped itself into a frothy mix that washed ashore and stretched over 30 miles out into the Pacific.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Hard Labor Day, Soft Drinks

It's early Saturday night and the family is safely winging it's way back to Buffalo. I emerged largely unscathed. And as I said halfway through the weekend, if this doesn't drive me to drink I'm officially "cured". It's not that I don't love my family, it's not even that I don't enjoy them. It's just that as an out gay man with HIV the relationships, already complicated, become a potential minefield. And many of my relatives are no less stubborn, opinionated, passive-aggressive and as passionate as I am. It can be a volatile and exhausting mix to deal with. In the past, I would cope with this jumble of emotions by numbing it with alcohol. That is not a viable option these days. And I promised myself I wouldn't "drink at" anyone when I simply couldn't or didn't want to deal with them or the emotions they stirred in me. And I'm no longer beating myself up with alcohol when my worst qualities rear up either. That leaves me, sober, dealing with the family, both in the past and in the now, on a level I hadn't in quite some time.

And it was OK.

I'm still processing.

But I feel pretty good.

I came away with stories and pictures. But before I bore you with sugary sweet anecdotes and shots of my very cute niece and ridiculously adorable twin 2nd cousins, here's a shot of a boy I ran across practicing something in the park that involved taking off his shirt and not an ounce of body fat. And for this, we are all thankful.