Monday, September 29, 2008

Worn Out

I was up until after 3 am yesterday even though the alarm was set for 8 this morning. No reason, just couldn't wind down. I have a lot on my mind what with money being short and the New York City financial community going into shock. Whatever happens, it's sure to affect my industry and job prospects. At my "former" restaurant/club, we did many, many events for financial institutions. Lehman Brothers was a regular client. Not anymore. And I doubt their party budgets will be very generous for a while.
Not that worrying will do much good. It will become what it will be.

On top of getting to bed late I tossed and turned most of the night. That's when I wasn't being bitten by the mosquito in the room. I woke up around 5 am with two itchy bites on my arm. Riley must have picked up on how restless I was as he woke me several times barking at the window and then tried to nibble and lick me awake from about 6:30 on.

So I was dragging my ass all morning. Despite that, I managed to arrive early at an appointment for a job this morning. Then I walked through Soho before making a lunchtime appointment in Midtown.

After that I took the subway back to Union Square to shop the Greenmarket. The seasons are definitely changing as apples are coming in to season as well as all kinds of late summer squash.

I screwed around at home for an hour or so juggling money in my accounts, trying to figure out who gets paid this week. Then I took Riley to the park to begin some obedience training. Within a 1/2 hour he had mastered Sit/Stay and then Stay/Come. I never got around to training Jet, and while I don't want Riley to be a little robot, some discipline wouldn't hurt this one at all.

Speaking of which, it's time to go out for a walk and then I must get some quality sleep. Tomorrow I have another dental appointment at 10 am. I think I'm getting a permanent crown put in but there have been so many appointments for this root canal, I've really lost track.

Also, there is a distinct possibility I may be going back to my old job, despite how much I ran down the owners a couple of weeks ago. Let's face it, I need to work, and with the economic news of late, I'm thinking I might be better off taking the bird in the hand.


Medical Update

I'm fat and fabulous. Got my quarterly lab reports last week. Liver, blood sugar, blood pressure check, check and check. Cholesterol is too high but I don't drink and I don't smoke and I don't take recreational drugs so god help you if you get in between me and my ice cream. I'm currently not anemic because I've been remembering my iron pills most days. My health care provider wants to start me on low-dose Lipitor if I can't get my cholesterol down in three months. I may or may not agree to that. I'm about maxed out in the number of pills and vitamins and supplements I can remember to take every day.

My viral load is undetectable and my T-Cells are a robust 987.

I have no sexually transmitted diseases (discounting The AIDS) which makes sense because I don't really have sex anymore. That was a cry for help shrouded in a dispassionate statement.

I had the sense to discuss the extreme foot pain I've been experiencing the last six months with my care provider. I hadn't mentioned it here but it's been getting progressively worse. It started in the morning but soon became an all day thing. Lately any time I got up from a seated position I was literally hobbling from one room to the next. She asked several questions about the pain, the severity and the time of day and immediately diagnosed Plantar Fasciitis. After reading up I think she's exactly right. Since I took so long to seek treatment, the pain I was experiencing radiated from my heels through the bottoms of both feet. I was also experiencing ankle and shin pain as I attempted to "walk different" to alleviate the pain. I finally spoke up when I realized that it was getting harder and harder to walk anywhere and getting up and down the stairs, let alone out of bed, had become excruciating.

She prescribed a two week course of anti-inflammatory medication that did the trick in one day. I'm currently experiencing only mild discomfort after exercising or bike riding, and I'm waking up out of bed with no discomfort at all. Curiously, the main causes of the condition in middle aged patients are either recreational athletics or a large weight gain. Let's all be kind and assume it's the biking, shall we?

In other news, The Holy Terror I call Riley has torn through two fitted sheets and a futon cover. He has left puncture holes in every pillow on the couch and bed. He has eaten a tube of toothpaste, a sandal, a tube of apricot/cucumber facial mask and an entire nectarine. He graciously gave back the pit.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

True Blood Does Not Suck

I was dismayed to read an advance review of the new HBO vampire series True Blood. I had high hopes and an incredible amount of anticipation for the show, seeing as how, at least in NYC, HBO did an amazing and extended marketing campaign that went on for months prior to the series debut. So I was a little disappointed to read a pre-screening review that was largely negative in one of the local papers. I don't even remember why the reviewer didn't like it, only that it was gratuitously violent and needlessly dirty. SOLD! I think the reviewer didn't like the story either but I stopped reading after the nudity bit.

So I was pleasantly surprised to find I genuinely liked the series right after the first episode. I mean, you have to really muck it up for me to not like a vampire series anyway, but beyond that, I loved the writing, some (but not all) of the acting and I loved the entire bayou setting, atmosphere and undertones. It's an anything can happen world full of secrets and mystery and right up my alley.

And it didn't hurt that most, if not all, of the gratuitous nudity involved Australian Soap Opera actor Ryan Kwanten, who plays Jason Stackhouse, the totally humpy, voraciously horny and lovably stupid brother to Anna Paquin's lead character.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Rare Moment Of Calm

As much as I'm enjoying being a doggie dad again, Riley is quite the handful. I'm not sure of his age but he seems to be somewhere firmly between puppy and adult, and as such, he's pretty high maintenance. I walk him four times a day right now because I have the time and he seems to have a lot of energy to expend. Trouble is, he usually gets back home more wound up than when we left. He runs in the dog run for 20 minutes until he gets so obnoxious I finally have mercy on the other dog owners and take him out. He is a serial humper. I'm not sure if it's going to go away once his doggie hormones level off, but I sure hope so. When he's not humping outside the house, he's chewing inside. He has demolished every toy Jet ever had and bites through most chew toys, even the ones made of hard plastic. I have to constantly pull the couch and bed pillows from his jaws, and he has attempted on several occasions to eat the bed and the couch. He has already left bite holes in some pillows and my bedding. They will eventually need to be replaced. I can't remember the last time I yelled "NO" to a man in my bedroom this often. It feels unnatural.

Of course I should count my blessings I have him at all. After getting up at the ass-crack of dawn last week to take him up to Manhattan Animal Care and Control, I ended up leaving him there for his surgery worrying about him all day. The man who did his intake was a total asshole. I like to think I'm normally well-spoken and polite, so I'm always shocked when someone is aggressively rude to me for no apparent reason. After getting six kinds of attitude from him after asking about his rabies shot and whether or not I could have his nails cut while he was anesthetized, I reluctantly left Riley there for the day.

I returned that evening expecting to pick up a groggy but healthy dog to take home. What I got was a completely different animal. As in not my dog. He was similar, I give you that. Same approximate size. Tan fur, white chest. But Riley is more of a cinnamon color. And this one was all Pit Bull. With a tiny droopy tail and bright red eyes. For a minute I thought it was Riley, but all beat up from the surgery. But even though I only had him for a few hours the night before, this dog didn't have Riley's cute black tail nor did he have the white birthmark on the end of his nose I had already taken to smooching. Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to compare the ID number that I had on my paperwork with the one around this dog's neck. No match.

And incredibly, when I rushed back to the desk and told them they gave me the wrong dog and his ID numbers didn't match, one of the desk employees tried to shine me on and try to explain that the dog's ID numbers get consolidated or changed or some such nonsense. "THIS IS NOT MY DOG!". I said loudly enough for a supervisor to come out. After checking his tag and my paperwork he quickly made a show of trying to find out how such a thing could happen and who checked the tags at first. I suspect animals get lost or misplaced here fairly often. In any case, the dog was taken from me and several minutes later my gorgeous, birthmarked, non red-eyed, none the worse for wear Riley came bounding through the door and wiggling at my feet.

And just before we left that hell hole for good, something told me to inquire about micro-chipping the dog. This is supposed to be done by ACC before the animal is released. I was told he was 'chipped. So I asked for the ID number in case I wanted to register him. That was when they decided to scan him. No chip. The supervisor returned with another scanner to confirm he wasn't 'chipped. At which point they did it right there in front of me.

After collecting his microchip ID #, his rabies vaccination tag (which they claimed he already had) and the rest of his paperwork, I couldn't get Riley out of there fast enough. I realize Animal Care and Control in a city like New York is probably underfunded and pure chaos at times. They take care of all animals, not just cats and dogs. But here I was a present and responsible adopter trying to follow the rules and get my pet taken care of, and they barely managed to do that. Let alone keep track of him at all.

And no, they didn't clip his nails.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Drunken Face-Plant

Watch this bit of hilarity while I come up with a post with some more substance.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Couldn't Resist Him

So I plucked Riley off the pages of Craigslist. I had been looking for a new dog for a couple of weeks but the search intensified after my "vacation" ended. I figured if I was going to be out of work I might as well make some good use out of it. Getting a new dog takes a certain amount of free time, at least at first, so I thought I should jump on the opportunity.

Riley was rescued out of the Brooklyn Animal Shelter by a rescue group, as apparently he was on a list to be put to sleep. There was nothing wrong with him except for a bit of a chest cold that needed a course of antibiotics. He was being bordered at a vet's office in Queens, about an hour from my house by subway. And after I made the trip out to meet him, we got off to a rocky start. He was quite the handful. His kennel was a small cage and he got two walks a day, as well as just a brief exercise period in the back, and always one dog at a time. To say he was frustrated would be a pretty big understatement. He constantly chewed on his own leash, he pulled me almost right off my feet, and he jumped up on everybody. He was almost too strong even for me.

So he was already qualifying as a dented can dog, but since he was so cute, I took him for a walk. He was horrible. Completely undisciplined, didn't pay any attention and didn't know how to walk on a leash. I had my doubts. But after a block he stopped trying to bite the leash and a block later there was a glimmer of some rudimentary training. I walked him aound the vet's neighborhood and he calmed down considerably. He was by no means good, but he was presenting a challenge, and I love that. I always date the bad boy. Plus, I thought he was gorgeous. What can I say? I'm shallow.

By the time I brought him back to the vet, I was pretty much sold. If for no other reason than I wanted to get the poor creature out of Queens.

So the next afternoon Riley was picked up and brought to me in Manhattan. He was to stay overnight, and I was to get up at 6:30 the next morning in order to take him waaaaay uptown (110th St.) to Manhattan Animal Control. He was scheduled to have his balls cut off. I hated the idea of bringing the poor thing from his second shelter in to my home, only to turn around and have to bring him to another shelter, and worse, this time have him get knocked out and wake up with his man-bits missing, but I guess having a person there to comfort him and a nice place to recover would count for something. I needn't have worried. By the time I picked him up around 6 that night he acted like he wasn't missing his balls in the slightest.

Tomorrow, I'll tell you what a hell hole Manhattan Animal Control turned out to be, and how they ALMOST GAVE ME BACK THE WRONG DOG!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

First Look

Readers, this is Riley.

45lbs. of trouble moved in to my apartment late this afternoon.

Am I Showing?

Hope I don't jinx it, but I think we are about to have a new family member debut on the blog very soon.

Stay tuned ...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Total Bull-shit

I was railing against stupid shit like this before, but now that this ridiculously litigious country has taken the art of abdicating any and all responsibility for the decisions that cause them problems to new heights and possibly dragged me into the courts as well, I'm on a one man crusade to point them out and rail against them.

Case in point: Midtown country bar Johnny Utah's is now being sued by NYC screenwriter Aaron Schnore, 38, after he supposedly downed some drinks (voluntarily), signed a waiver (voluntarily) and climbed aboard a mechanical bull (voluntarily). After he was thrown off (what a shock!) this dumb-fuck decides to sue the venue for letting a (chronologically) grown man make an ass of himself. Here's what his lawyer managed to claim without choking on his own bile:

"[The operator] pumped it up until he could throw him," said lawyer Lawrence Saftler. "That to us is an assault and battery."

The suit, filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, charges that Johnny Utah's was negligent for letting Schnore's wild ride go on too long and for allowing "an inebriated individual to use and ride the mechanical bull."

It also describes the bull - which is furry with padded horns - as a "danger" because it lacks the "proper safeguards and padding to break falls."

The suit seeks unspecified damages.

"Things are supposed to be fun, not injury-producing," Saftler said.

Personally, I say the only mistake this restaurant made was letting a whiny Jew get on a mechanical device that required a modicum of athleticism and co-ordination to operate in the first place.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

This N' That

I find it almost impossible to believe, but I may have actually finished decorating one of the rooms in my apartment. The bathroom, while not perfect (and given the age of the building and the condition of the pipes, it never will be) feels like it's actually done. I've painted and repaired the molding around the (crooked) door, I've glued down the floor tiles I've used as a wall treatment, and all the towel bars and fixtures match. There's also plenty of storage with room to grow if need be. I suppose if push came to shove I would replace the bathroom sink and I could clean up the paint and shelving inside the window, and I might, but I don't look at the room in any direction but up (where the ceiling is splitting from leaky pipes) and think "ICK". I've also been working on the spare bedroom, but I think my own bedroom will be the next to get some attention. It could use a paint job if nothing else.

Another stunning development occurred this month at the dentist. Specifically, that I've been going religiously. This root canal I finally agreed to is taking forever. I've already had five appointments over the last month or two. The first two appointments seemed to be the bulk of the digging and drilling but in actuality it was this last appointment that was kind of "YUCK" as he had to give me another shot and file down the tooth and fit me with temporary crown. Again, beyond the discomfort of the initial shot, it didn't hurt, but it took quite a while and the sound of my tooth being repeatedly filed down from different directions and the vibration in my head wasn't what I'd call pleasant.

But what I found amazing as I calmly sat there with my hands folded in my lap as two people stuck all manner of drills and files and suction in my face was the fact that I've come this far. I wish I could describe the absolute abject panic I used to experience when anyone would even talk about going to the dentist, let alone the few times I actually managed to pill myself down and climb into the chair, but suffice it to say between the rapid heart beat and the overwhelming feeling of terror, I was afraid to even get my teeth cleaned. Now a dentist appointment is no more stressful than my quarterly blood draws or any other medical issue. It falls in to the category of a major, massive breakthrough and I absolutely attribute this one as a direct and demonstrable benefit to getting sober.

My brother and his wife are in town the next few days, mostly so he can attend a couple of last games at his beloved Yankee Stadium before the celebrated old ballpark is shuttered and demolished ahead of next year when the Yankees move across the street to their shiny new home. I'm not really up for attending a game but we do have plans to meet at least once or twice for dinner and a little sightseeing.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Moving On

Yesterday after a job interview in midtown I stopped in to my old job and cleaned out my desk. There was nobody in the office except the Operations Manager and the office secretary. My boss has not been paid for 6 weeks. I found out the events manager officially resigned the day before. I have no plans to officially resign as I don't want to screw up unemployment and besides, giving them the courtesy they have not given me is just not in my nature. Immature? Guilty.

Aside from a picture of Jet I kept on my desk and a copy of some computer payroll files I copied "just in case", the bulk of what I took fit in a small shopping bag. My desk was loaded with key chains and pens as well as candy and nutrition bars. I"m a bit of a pack rat so I had a ton of markers and Sharpies as well as Post-It note pads and labels in three sizes. I tend to explore the entire building when I'm bored and tuck things away because "you never know". I checked all the pictures I was saving on my office computer, a couple of cute men but nothing hardcore or embarrassing. I was tempted to delete all the pictures and documents but I was afraid that would seem spiteful, even for me.

Still, I haven't turned in my building or office keys as of yet. Because you never know ...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Not Good News for NYC

H.I.V. Is Spreading in New York City at Three Times the National Rate, a Study Finds

- via The New York Times-By SEWELL CHAN
August 27, 2008

The virus that causes AIDS is spreading in New York City at three times the national rate — an incidence of 72 new infections for every 100,000 people, compared with 23 per 100,000 nationally — according to a study released on Wednesday by the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The findings, based on a new formula developed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, estimated that 4,762 New Yorkers contracted H.I.V. in 2006, the most precise estimate the city had ever offered....

Men accounted for 76 percent of new H.I.V. infections and women for 25 percent. (The figures exceed 100 percent because of rounding.)

Blacks made up 46 percent of the newly infected; Hispanics, 32 percent; and whites, 21 percent. (Figures for other racial or ethnic groups were not provided.)

Those under age 20 made up 4 percent of the newly infected; those 20 to 29 years old, 24 percent; those 30 to 39 years old, 29 percent; those 40 to 49 years old, 29 percent; and those 50 and older, 15 percent.

Read More ...

Monday, September 08, 2008

Silly Flaggot

So I spent Sunday afternoon biking around the west side on one of the most spectacular Sundays of the year. Bright blue skies and moderate temperatures were our reward for the soaking we got from the tropical storm yesterday. I ended up taking a cruise. Every Sunday during the summer there is a gay Tea Dance "booze cruise" that leaves from the west side piers. The thing about going on a booze cruise if you no longer booze is that you can always go to dance (which I did not do), look at cute guys (of which there were only a handful) or enjoy the boat ride as well as the spectacular night-time views of Manhattan (which I thoroughly and completely did). I thought I would get some great pictures during the cruise but by the time the boat actually left the dock, the sun had pretty much set. Note to self: Next year do it when the days are much longer.

Still, I did manage to get some fantastic shots during the early part of my afternoon, and I'll post those as soon as I have a chance to work on them. But for now, here's one for the for my middle-aged gay posse:

Remember flaggers? If memory serves they were a staple at circuit parties, and bolstered by chemicals, they could twirl for hours. Flaggers never really went away here in NYC, and apparently if you put a bunch of middle-aged gays on a boat cruise in the summer, there be flaggers. It's like whale-watching, only gay.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Subway - Porn Bottoms Need Not Apply

Distressing news from the "Show Me" state, as married (with three kids!) well-hung fucking HAWT uber-bottom porn star Kurt Wild was fired from a Missouri Subway shop. It seems that a customer recognized the 22 year old (no explanation as to the customer seeing enough gay porn to recognize Wild without seeing him naked with his heels behind his ears) and threatened to boycott the Subway if Wild wasn't fired. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say the busybody queen was fat. I know if I were the customer, I would certainly appreciate someone taking care of my foot long who was particularly adept at handling meat.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Unwelcome Home

The day after I arrived back in New York I high-tailed it in to Times Square to get a first hand look at the possibility that the restaurant and/or club would be re-opening any time soon. The news was not good. There were various back office employees walking around, as were my boss and the events manager as well as one of the promoters and that's pretty much it.

Not only has nobody been paid in 3 weeks but some of the people who did get paychecks waited too long to put them in to the bank and as a result, many people had paychecks bounce, which in turn caused the checks that were written against them to bounce as well. Some people lost over $1500. I was fortunate in that my "final" check cleared my account, but I am still owed for three weeks pay that I doubt I will recover.

Before you ask, I have already filed a claim with unemployment, and on Monday I will be contacting the Labor Board to find out what rights, if any, I have to try and receive those checks. Whether or not either one of those things pans out in the future, I have no income right now. If unemployment comes through, it won't be until the end of next week or later, and it won't be enough to live on.

Fortunately, I did manage to pay off some of my outstanding credit card bills, so money for food and such won't be a problem in the foreseeable future, but I don't want to max my credit and get behind in rent. That is exactly where I was a year and a half ago, and it took me this long just to carve out some breathing room.

It seems that the owners intend to re-open the venue at some point. I assume they don't believe that anyone will be able to wait around for however long that takes and they will need to re-hire and train a whole new staff, but I wouldn't know that because through all of this, no one below the level of the Operations Manager has received a single e-mail or phone call of any kind letting us know what the status of the venue is. We weren't fired, we were simply ignored. And not paid. They didn't even have their accounting department or a spokesperson or a lawyer issue an apology or a statement. Nothing.

Several people have e-mailed or texted me looking for guidance or information and I've been forced to simply commiserate with them. I don't know what is going on and quite frankly, I no longer care.

I've purposely avoided writing at length about work unless it was such a juicy story or some celebrity gossip that I couldn't help myself. But one of the things I didn't talk about was how unprofessional and inexperienced the owners have been. They know next to nothing about running a restaurant and nightclub and even less about the basic responsibilities that come with being an employer, And that has become glaringly, sickeningly obvious now, when the Spotlight (HA!) shines squarely on them. The lack of communication, the complete disregard for their employees and the obligations they have to pay them (and me) what they are owed, has left me disappointed and very angry. So angry I want nothing to do with them anymore.

It would take a heartfelt apology, a complete change in leadership and a sizable check, in short, it would take a miracle for me to go back there no matter the outcome of all their self-induced problems. And I don't see a miracle on the horizon.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Leaving On A Jet Plane

I'll be heading back to New York City and my Castle High Atop Second Avenue early this evening. I should be sitting on my couch by 9:00 and masturbating by 10:00, as it's been a week since I've had any "personal" time and I find myself hungrily eyeing well-muscled teenagers whenever we pass them in the car. It's dirty and sad but there you have it.

I'm very glad to see that my parents seem well and healthy. It won't always be so but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it, and I'm in no hurry. I'm also glad to report I didn't need to avail myself of the AA meeting list I brought with me. I never really thought that my parents bore very much responsibility for my alcoholism in the first place, beyond simple genetics. I suppose you could make a case that some of the underlying issues that helped my drinking take root might be traced back to my childhood, but I am a firm believer that blaming your parents for your failed adulthood is a uniquely American exercise in not taking personal accountability for your actions.

I started drinking, I kept drinking, I took drugs and I lost control of it all, assuming I ever really had it. Maybe at some point along the way I was compensating for or covering up something painful or hurtful that was instilled but ultimately, I was hurting myself and when I finally faced that truism, my road became easier and clearer. I enjoyed quite a bit of clarity this week.

And some surprises. Had you told me before this week that both of my parents absolutely loathed George Bush and the current administration, so much so that they are both not only for, but actively for, vociferously for and voting for a black man for President of the United States I would have felt your forehead for fever, but that is indeed what is happening. And from all that was said this week, short of Barack Obama actually joining the Taliban and declaring jihad on the Town of Tonawanda, there's not a thing that John McCain and the Republicant's can do or say that would change their mind. And if they reflect the sentiments of most semi-conservative, disaffected, lower-middle class Americans, I'm ready to call this a win for Barack and tell John, Sarah and her slutty teen aged daughter to fold up their tents and go home.