Thursday, February 28, 2008

Grand Central

OK. I bit. I may regret this but I'm up for an experiment. I just signed up and for now until I think up something clever and I don't sound like a tampon commercial you'll have to suffer with a pre-recorded greeting. I will, in fact, post the best and nastiest (are you listening, Miss Mackenroth?) messages for all the world to enjoy. So go ahead .....cawl me.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I'm Rich, I'm Wealthy, I'm A Happy Miser

I've caught a little chest cold, and I now sound very much like the late Brenda Vaccaro. Only without the emphysema. It's kind of sexy.Tons of stuff happening on all fronts, so I'll update you in bits n' pieces as there's time.

Monday's mail brought me a timely gift courtesy of Ye Olde Gummint in the form of my federal tax return. It wasn't a huge amount of money, about 1 1/2 times a week's pay, seeing as how I don't get bogged down with all that deduction nonsense. I don't save records or receipts. Just give me back what you're gonna give and make it snappy. I file immediately, as soon as I get my W2, so I beat the rush and get a quick payday. So I tucked the check into my back pocket and set out into the East Village. After stopping at the pharmacy to get more meds for My AIDS, I went to the gym to do a little cardio and shower/shave. Then I popped in the see my hot Croatian barber with the sexy DSL, after which I took in an afternoon Gay-A meeting. I finally returned home and promptly realized that somewhere in my travels I had lost my refund check. How much does that suck? After grabbing the dog I took him out and re-traced every block I had been on, in the hope it had dropped out of my pocket folded up, and no one was the wiser. Alas, that was not to be. I was crestfallen. Of course, I quickly dialed up the IRS web site and found a number to call for a replacement. But now I have to wait another 45 days. Assuming no one found the check and successfully managed to cash it. If that happened I'll have to file a fraud claim and that will hold my refunded refund up even longer. All of which really just adds up to a colossal inconvenience and means my plans to get my finances really back on track will have to wait another month or so. I'll live. The really annoying part is I hardly ever lose or misplace anything. It's so not me. And I'm not entirely convinced I wasn't pick pocketed or robbed. My gym is notorious for that. To console myself I ate half an order of Chicken Parmesan and spaghetti and an entire loaf of garlic bread.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Flash!

The Naked Cowboy is walking through our offices as I type this. He's not naked of course, but he's in his tighty-whiteys.

What An Ass

-and not in the nice sense of that expression. I tried to tell you but would you listen? Nooooooo!

Hey Guys--I'm sorry for the repeat email asking for votes but I need everyone's support again if possible. Project Runway is having an online challenge where we made 3 looks which you can view at the below link, and the public can vote online up to 10 times a day. Even if I don't win ($10,000) it is important that Bravo sees that I have a big fan base in case I decide to go back for another season. I really appreciated everyone's support so far. I know it's kind of a pain but I would love it if you would take a second to vote for me and pass this link onto anyone you know.

THANKS!!
OXOX Jack Mackenroth


And what kind of a douche-bag grown man signs his e-mails with X's and O's? It's not his fan base that's big on this queen, it's his moobs and his humungous cojones that it takes to try to exploit the HIV "commuinty' to win yet another contest.

Friday, February 22, 2008

I'm Just A Bill, Here On Capitol Hill

Sens. Kerry, Smith Introduce Senate Bill to Ease HIV Restrictions, Restore Compassion to HIV Policy -via Gay News Blog

Senator Kerry (D-MA) and Senator Smith (R-OR) have introduced a bill to alleviate the restrictive policy that bars HIV-positive individuals from entering the U.S. and from becoming residents.

The United States has one of the harshest restrictions in the world on HIV-positive immigrants. HIV-positive people from other countries are almost completely banned from entering the U.S. Customs officials can search anyone's luggage and if they find HIV medication, send the person back on the next plane. In addition, immigration officials can force a temporary visitor to take an HIV test on demand.

"It's incredible that the federal government still tolerates a ban that not only restricts AIDS experts with the disease but also refugees who are seeking asylum in our country," said Sen. Kerry. "My legislation will end this draconian law."

"Immigration Equality applauds Senators Kerry and Smith for sending a strong signal that the U.S. is a compassionate nation, states Victoria Neilson, legal director of Immigration Equality. "Restricting an individual's liberty of movement or choice of residence on the grounds of HIV does not protect the public health."

Under current immigration law and policy any person who has contracted HIV/AIDS is statutorily barred from entering the U.S. and from seeking residency. Limited waivers are available but difficult to obtain and may prompt future exclusion thus discouraging participation.
If enacted the bill would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act by removing the statutory ban on HIV and extend authority over HIV inadmissibility with the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).

HIV is the ONLY condition permanently written in to the law. For every other disease, HHS is authorized to add or subtract based upon its discretion and the threat to the public health. The U.S. is one of only 13 countries to have such harsh HIV restrictions including, Armenia, Brunei, China, Iraq, Qatar, South Korea, Libya, Moldova, Oman, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan.

How I hope and pray that they will, but today I am still just a bill.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Care For A Drink?

I had a discussion yesterday I thought I might post about. I still have liquor in my apartment. Right where I've always kept it. I had some wine that I've long since poured out. I was saving it to cook with but eventually it turned bad even for that. But I still have a few bottles of liquor gathering dust at the back of a serving cart in my kitchen.

Some alcoholics feel the need to get rid of all the hootch in the house to avoid temptation. Other people, taking a more militant stance reason that alcohol is a drug and are so committed to being drug free that they refuse to provide it and "enable" others, even guests. A few ex-drinkers keep or buy alcohol for special occasions or holidays. No sense making others do without just because the host is a drunk.

I tell people I keep liquor on-hand for guests as well. I sometimes joke that I leave it around on the off chance I decide to jump off the wagon. The truth is, for me, the bottles are largely symbolic. I keep it in the house as a kind of reminder. That every day I don't just not take a drink. But that every day I can but I choose not to. In an odd but important way, on those rare occasions when I stop to consider the bottles in easy reach, it's an affirmation of my commitment. Rather then an unwanted temptation, it makes me feel good.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Hey! Look Who Dropped By ...


to wish me a Happy 46th (DEAR GOD!) Birthday. And he even had a bath for the occasion. Of course, that did nothing to fix the underbite or permanently floppy ear...

Monday, February 18, 2008

That's Unfortunate

There's a restaurant in my neighborhood that completely puzzles me. It has always been a Chinese food place of some sort or another. And yet, for at least the last ten years all or part of it keeps closing down for renovations. Sometimes the name changes, sometimes not. Sometimes the smaller "to-go" section closes and re-opens as an Asian bakery or tea shop. For a while I honestly wasn't sure what that side was. There was an unintelligible chalkboard out on the sidewalk that eventually became worn away and meaningless. Sometimes the restaurant part closes for renovations and re-opens and I can't determine what has changed. Sometimes they seem to be offering more sushi than strictly Chinese. I'm not entirely sure whatever goes on in there is altogether legal at this point. It could be an elaborate ruse for money laundering or puppy smuggling.

So I wasn't too suprised when once again, several weeks ago I walked by to find newsapaper covering the windows and another "closed for renovation" sign put up. This time the entire main room seems to be going under the knife. It wasn't until two weeks ago that I came home from work and noticed that a brand new awning had been installed. It seems that the Chinese food menu is being renovated to offer mostly vegetarian fare this time.

Without looking it up, I think it's safe to say that the awning cost several hundred dollars if not closer to $1000 to have made. That's not even counting the cost of the installation, labor, etc. And I'm not sure what made me notice, I guess it was that glaringly obvious. But if that's the case how come nobody at the awning shop, from the restaurant or even on the street before it went up noticed this:

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Spoiled Brat

Ugh! I had a little snit at work tonight. I was working with a manager that can be extremely immature and very passive/aggressive. Unfortunately he seems to bring out those very qualities in myself. And it makes me even angrier because I'm trying to be the bigger girl these days.

So tonight he arbitrarily closed the kitchen and then the downstairs bar and locked the front door a full two hours early. Not that I haven't locked up before the "official" time myself, but there was easily 20 or more people still inside the venue and a live band that had another set to do. On top of that, he never advised me he had decided to close, nor did he apparently let the bartender at the main bar know either. I ordered some dinner and the bartender ordered food for a customer that we both didn't have a prayer of getting, considering the kitchen staff was already in the locker room changing to go home. It wasn't until I went to ask the other manager what made him close down two hours early in the middle of the week that I found him downstairs closing the bar with the front door already locked. Now mind you, technically he doesn't answer to me at all, but in the interest of running a business well, I would never do something like that without, at the very least, letting the other manager know. When I realized what happened I was so put out, and yes, pissed off, that I just put my coat on and left without saying anything. My feeling at the time was if he didn't need me to consult when or if we should close the entire venue, why the hell should I stay around an extra hour or two just to make sure the paperwork was done and the accounting was correct? Obviously, my input isn't needed. And while I do care about what happens to the business, I don't like being taken for granted or used. While I feel my actions were understandable and completely justified, in retrospect I feel a little childish. Like I grabbed my toys and went home. Also, getting angry and resentful feels like a step backward and sets off a couple of warning bells for me. Maybe tomorrow I should just say what I think and clear the air. Part of me is afraid it will make him even more passive/ aggressive towards me. He doesn't take criticism at all well. Still, those would be his issues and not mine. Right?

I know, I owe you a recovery story. I'm having trouble getting it started. Patience.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Y'awl Is A Idiot, Y'awl

So I'm watching a DVR episode of America's Best Dance Crew while I'm having some lunch. Great idea, like the format, love the dancing. Although would it kill them to have found a crew full of lightly muscled Latin boys? I'm just sayin'...

But the reason I'm making a rare double post today is about the judges. Specifically Shane Sparks, who achieved a certain notoriety judging and choreographing for So You Think You Can Dance. I watched him many times on that show without noticing it, so why the hell is MTV letting him say "Y'awl" every two seconds? He substitutes it when he means "you guys" or "you" and "your". He starts and ends sentences with "y'awl" and drops it in the middle of things where it clearly doesn't mean anything at all. Aside from sounding like a freakin' idiot, do we really need even more teenagers running around thinking this kind of thing passes for basic English? Why don't we just pass out millions of Burger King applications and get it over with?

Seriously. I want to throw a lamp at the TV. Make him stop, MTV.

Tee Hee! This Is Completely Legitimate *Snicker*

Important Medical Information - Tee Hee!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Damn!

At this rate I'll only have another 10 years to milk this disease for sympathy ...

VIRxSYS Announces Interim Results from VRX496 Gene Therapy Phase II Trial
Disease Altering Treatment Shows Ability to Prevent HIV from
Replicating


GAITHERSBURG, Md., Feb. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- VIRxSYS Corporation, a privately held company developing gene therapies for HIV and genetic diseases, presented results from its Phase II trial of VRX496, a gene therapy for the treatment of AIDS, at the 2008 Annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston, MA.

"This appears to be a significant demonstration of slowing and possibly halting the replication of the infectious HIV virus in humans," said Dr. Gary Blick, Medical Director, Circle Medical LLC. "VRX496 appears to cause wt-HIV particles to lose their envelopes and the in vivo pressure delivered by a patient's own modified cells leads to massive quasispecie reductions and production of impaired and less replicative virions. This treatment shows tremendous promise."

VRX496 has the potential to change HIV/AIDS care. Currently there are a variety of drugs available for HIV-infected patients, but all have long-term complications. To date, there have been no reported adverse events in any patient receiving VRX496 in clinical trials. In addition, VRX496 does not require daily administration.

"We are proving the effectiveness of our lentiviral vector approach in attacking HIV," said Dr. Laurent Humeau, VP of R&D for VIRxSYS. "Our lentiviral vector VRX496 appears to sustain expression of the RNA antisense targeting the HIV envelope for a long period of time, with a measurable effect on the HIV replicative fitness up to 3 years following a single injection. We believe this will prove to be an important step in the treatment of this disease."

VRX496 is a different viral vector than those used in previous gene therapy trials. VRX496 is derived from HIV-1 itself and has it disease-causing elements removed. Currently, VRX496 is being investigated as a therapeutic treatment (a treatment for those already infected with HIV). Unlike other viral vectors, lentiviral vectors appear to sustain expression of the delivered genes of interest for a longer period of time. Their safety profiles are currently being evaluated in clinical trials.

"These results are everything we've been hoping for," said Dr. Riku Rautsola, CEO and President of VIRxSYS. "VRX496 is a remarkably promising treatment for HIV. We are very excited about what we are seeing so far in our trials and are confident that these results will continue into Phase III."

OK, back to the story ...

Thursday, February 07, 2008

OK. I've Finally Impressed Myself

I'm thrilled. And a little stunned, actually. Also, I can't believe how fast it went by. Seriously.

Today is the first anniversary of the day I stopped drinking.

One year ago today I walked across town and in to an AA meeting on the far west side of Greenwich Village. I was not afraid. I was sad and scared and at once without hope and hopeful that I would find a way out of the mess my life had become. Little did I know I would change everything I had come to believe was true.

I had known for some time that things had gone horribly wrong. For the first time in over 40 years I actually contemplated ending my life. This is a monumental admission for someone like me. I always believed that life, that my life, was something worth living. I always had hope. I could always find the joy. Now, for the first time in my lifetime, being here, being anywhere, was no fun at all. I was physically exhausted and emotionally wrecked. Every day became a chore to get through and an exercise in futility. I was devoid of hope and without passion. Tragically, I had lost the ability to laugh. My sense of humor, my weapon and my lifeline, was lost to me. I only ate to live.

While my physical health had yet to deteriorate, my mental health was rapidly crumbling. I was plagued by phobias, irrational fears, a deep sense of foreboding and an inability to see in to any possible future. I had a series of panic attacks, and my social anxiety progressed from quirky to an inability to make or maintain even the simplest conversation or relationship. I literally could barely speak in intelligible sentences at times. The only emotion I could access besides despair was rage. But it was the rage I had turned inward upon myself that would almost prove to be my undoing.

I was (and am) tens of thousands of dollars in debt, as my disconnect with reality caused me to live far and away beyond what my limited earning power had become. I was reduced to a series of jobs that, without realizing it, I took thinking I could hide away and be left alone. Work became a means to an end, and finally even that facade crumbled. My ability to hold down even a menial job disappeared as I started spiraling more quickly. That in turn triggered more fear. Ultimately, my fear of losing absolutely everything finally helped to override everything else.

In the meantime, I did seek help or attempt to help myself. I quit smoking in reaction to how badly I was feeling physically. And it worked. For a time I felt better. Or, as I came to realize much later, I felt less bad. Later, I blamed a lot of my physical difficulties on being HIV+. In some cases that was true. To this day I still get nauseous from my medication most afternoons. I spoke openly to my doctors about my panic disorder and greedily gulped down whatever medication they prescribed. For a time I felt better. Yeah, it was actually less bad again. I managed to squeak a whole 'nother year out of drinking with my General Anxiety Disorder diagnosis. I finally even went in to therapy, which I found enormously beneficial. But here's a tip: therapy might help, but it won't make an alcoholic who doesn't want to discuss his alcoholism significantly better. Although it did serve to highlight how desperately hopelessly unhappy I had become. I still couldn't see what the problem was, and I couldn't conceive of a solution. I guess I didn't want to.

I still don't remember what it was that made me make the trip across town that day. Like every other major obstacle I've forced myself to tear down in my life, part of it seems to be as simple as finally being ready. But part of me thought maybe I would find or prove that alcohol wasn't really the cause of my problem. And that turns out to be true. Alcohol and my alcoholism was in reality a symptom of a much larger problem. A manifestation of my fear. Of all my fears. An outward expression of my rage and my desire to destroy myself. Whatever it was that propelled me, while it wasn't immediately apparent that day, within a week or two I knew I was exactly where I belonged. I listened to people that were nothing like me describe a litany of ways we were exactly alike. Every panic attack, every shame filled instance of bed-wetting, every episode of sleepwalking, every night spent week after week after month in a living room lit by a flickering TV screen and a few candles, alone in the company of a bottle of booze, every fear and insecurity and recrimination large and small was reflected back at me. Very quickly, and for the first time in years, I began to feel hope.

Coming up next ...

My recovery so far.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

I Didn't Vote For ....

anybody. Fuck you. I'm not part of the solution. I'm firmly in the category of part of the problem. Vote for me to win $10,000 as a blog fan favorite. I didn't do a thing for it just give me money.

In case you can't tell, I worked a 13 hr. day. I didn't even take a dinner break. I had soup at noon. I'm tired and cranky.

The next person that works the phrase "this is unacceptable" into a complaint to me is getting a boot to the ass.

I'm goin to bed .... grumble grumble, mutter mutter ...

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

But Considering The Alternative ...

Aging Grace: Facing the Uncertainties of Growing Older With HIV

January 29, 2008

By David Evans


On the morning of January 6, readers of The New York Times awoke to a sobering headline: “AIDS Patients Face Downside of Living Longer.” The article highlights the stories of two fifty-something HIV-positive men, both of whom boast a disheartening list of ailments more typically found in much older people. Both men seem uncertain about how they might navigate a bleak future filled with illness. The article credits antiretroviral drugs for giving one man back his life and hopes for the future, but poses the question, “at what cost?”

Some readers recognized their own struggles in the men’s stories and felt validated. Steven Deeks, MD, a prominent AIDS researcher and doctor at the University of California San Francisco’s General Hospital, said, “Several patients sent me e-mails saying that finally someone was talking about the important issues that were affecting them.”

Others, like Rona Vail, MD, an HIV specialist at Callen-Lorde Community Health Center in New York City, worried the article may have stated the problem of living with HIV in such dire terms that it could make people with HIV more pessimistic about their futures. “We’re already such an ageist community that I worry people will be that much more afraid of getting older,” she said.

The article clearly touched a sore nerve when it highlighted the lack of existing research that might explain how much worse the aging process may be for people living with HIV. Confronted with a limited amount of data to help predict what lies ahead, it is no wonder some HIV-positive people and health care providers are anxious about what the future may hold.

Read the rest of the article here.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Saturday, February 02, 2008

I Take It Back

That last post was funny. This is absolutely hilarious. I told you I was busy on Tuesday:


No way you're getting in here.
Photo: Courtesy of Spotlight Live


NewsFeed
2/ 1/08
4:15 PM Clubland’s Toughest Door Is in, Um, Times Square?

Clubs have long vied for celeb-studded Tuesday nights, so what’s the hottest one going these days? By one account, it’s Spotlight Live??? We were tempted to dismiss the Times Square karaoke complex as “strictly for the tourists” when it first opened, but that changed when we heard hip-hop stars were in the house during the recent Monday morning when a knife fight broke out. According to MTV.com, BeyoncĂ©, Mya, Fantasia, Ne-Yo, and others have taken the stage for Tuesday’s “R&B Live” night. This week, when Diddy hosted a Bad Boy showcase, Fat Joe, Ray J, and Missy Elliott were in the audience, and Naughty by Nature and Danity Kane performed. We called the club looking to get in on the action, but were told it was a private event put on by an entertainment group affiliated with Universal Records. In other words, that door is tight.