Sunday, June 28, 2009


By the way, before I forget I oughta mention a little milestone we reached here at From The Ashes HQ. Sometime just before 11 PM Saturday night we had our 250,000th visitor drop by. He (or she) was from San Leandro, California and arrived via an image search for "Johnny Weir high heels". He (or she) only stayed for 23 seconds so I guess I didn't have what he (or she) needed.

While I have long since accepted that I don't write well enough or dirty enough (anymore) to have a "hit" blog, and indeed as everyone's traffic has slowed to a trickle since the masses have moved on to Facebook and Twitter, I am still grateful that the 50 to 100 of you friends and total strangers drop by every day. Even if most of you get here now simply by searching for "Janet Jackson Boob".

A Little Taste

Editing the parade photos. Should have more than a few up by tomorrow. Here's a little sumpthin' just to keep your attention:

Happy Gay Pride Y'all!

I'm heading out in a little while to take in the parade and the Street Fair. I was supposed to march again this year with a different group, but I'm not sure my sore feet are up to the task. Besides, the weather report for the afternoon is much improved and plenty of sunshine during Pride means only one thing. Shirtless Latinos. I best get my camera and get busy.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

HIV Testing Day

Dear readers,

Today is National HIV Testing Day. It is an annual campaign coordinated by the National Association of People with AIDS to encourage Americans of all ages to get a test and know your HIV status.

"Since the beginning of the HIV and AIDS epidemic well over half a million people have died of AIDS in America – the equivalent of the entire population of Las Vegas. There are currently more than one million people living with HIV and AIDS in America and around a fifth of these are unaware of their infection, posing a high risk of onward transmission.

America’s response to the AIDS epidemic has produced mixed results. HIV prevention efforts have not always been successful and every year approximately 56,000 Americans are infected with HIV. In March 2009 Washington DC reported an HIV prevalence of at least 3% among people over 12 years - similar to rates in some parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

Stigma and discrimination towards HIV positive people still persist and thousands of uninsured Americans struggle to access good HIV care and antiretroviral therapy."-via Avert

Far too many Americans remain HIV+ and undiagnosed. Many of these men and women, because of ignorance, fear and lack of access to adequate health care and/or insurance, engage in unsafe sexual encounters that continue to spread the virus. Many of those infected don't receive their diagnoses or treatment until they are hospitalized with an opportunistic infection and suffering the effects of a seriously compromised immune system if not full blown AIDS. This makes their treatment more difficult, more expensive and generally harder to tolerate.

People in this country are still dying from AIDS and complications due to untreated HIV.

A rapid HIV test, with results in 20 minutes can be performed in a doctors office or any clinic. It is virtually painless (some tests require a simple finger prick, and there are tests that only require oral fluids). If you are HIV positive, starting treatment today will prolong or save your life. Current medical treatment is fairly uncomplicated. Side effects to treatment vary but are usually temporary and tolerable.

GO HERE to enter your ZIP code and find an HIV testing site near you. Don't be afraid, take control of your health and your life.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

No-Name Cat

Because cute cat pictures used to be a sure-fire way to increase your blog visits, here's one of the new kitten that my niece adopted while I was visiting the family. Poor guy still has no name so I took to calling him Cat.

I'm back in NYC now, reunited with Mr. Riley, who spent three days boarded in a kennel. He is none the worse for wear and even got a bath and a nail trim while he was at the doggie spa. However there are repercussions. Unlike most dogs who usually give their owners the cold shoulder after a separation, Riley has glued himself to me and follows me from room to room, curling up right next to me whenever I sit on the couch or do some writing. He seems determined to make sure I don't leave him again.

I was at the airport this afternoon going through security screening when I began my little ritual: cellphone, loose change, belt if there's a big buckle, house keys ... house keys ... house keys ARE IN MY JACKET IN THE CLOSET AT MY MOM & DAD's! Not enough time to drive back, I boarded the plane hoping that at least one of my roommates would be around and accessible so I could get in. All is well and I already have a replacement set of keys but I'm currently locked out of my own mailbox until my real keys arrive in a couple of days.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Report From Buffalo

Found a quiet moment this morning as the niece had to get a quick orthodontist visit. The teenage braces have wiggled loose and need an adjustment. Currently, there's a brand-new kitten curled up behind my back in the computer chair. He arrived yesterday afternoon after a visit to the ASPCA in search of a lost cat that escaped from mom and dad's house in a bold move I first used almost thirty years ago. That is, wait for an open door when nobody is looking and run like hell. The cat belonged to the niece, as does the brand new kitten, so clearly she has moved on from this crushing blow. I have to admit, although teh kittehs are not my first choice of pets, this 2 month old boy is pretty cute. Typically, he loves me. As I have always said, I'm aces with kids and animals, it's the damn adults I can't abide.

Much high drama has broken out in my ancestral homeland, as the niece and her dad have taken their ongoing discord to a whole new level. She has temporarily decamped for grandma and grandpa's house while phone calls are made, State Troopers have been called in, counselors are summoned, and everyone takes a week or so to calm down and decide how to get this kid out of high school and in to college without ending up pregnant or a drug addict. During one discussion I did in fact offer to take her in. I was already on the verge of becoming a foster dad to a troubled stranger, so my own niece didn't seem so crazy. But of course, I totally knew grandma and grandpa would sooner die than agree to a separation that far. I thought it needed to be offered anyway.

My brother's 50th birthday celebration was a low-key affair, dinner at a nice (for real!) restaurant, a little ice cream cake and some well-wishes. I finished the night by pointing at him and laughing while quietly and cruelly observing:

"You're old."

He smiled.

Monday, June 22, 2009

On Location

A little travelin' music as From The Ashes relocates for a brief weekday visit with the family in bucolic Tonawanda, NY. That's suburban Buffalo in case you don't feel like Googling. My brother turns 50 years old this week. As Roseanne said "I don't mind you getting older, but why do you have to take me with you?"

Although considering I could technically have been already dead or dying by the time I reach 50, my birthday will be triumphant and heroic, whereas my brother is just getting old. Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I Surrender

I finally gave in and ordered an MP3 player. Up until now I have always used my phone. It has a Micro SD card that holds around 100 songs, which is quite enough for me to get in a good hour at the gym. But I do get bored with the same 100 songs rather quickly, and while my phone does play music, the sound quality is severely lacking. I don't usually play music dangerously loud, but a nice thumpa-thumpa while getting up to speed on the cardio machine would certainly be helpful.

I ordered this Sansa 2G player because I found it listed on Woot! for $19.99 with shipping. Too good a price to pass up. By the time I ordered, the red, blue and silver models were sold out. I had to choose between black and dark pink. I didn't order the black. I thought the dark pink would look cuter with my gym outfits... I mean clothes.

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Tomato Grows In Gramercy

Got home after midnight a couple of days ago and glanced over to marvel at how big my experimental tomato plant in a pot by the windowsill was faring. It seemingly grows by leaps at a time as it was noticeably bigger still.

It was then that I was startled to spot this little baby tomato that had sprouted almost over night. So it appears that you can indeed grow a tomato plant on your windowsill in the middle of New York City.

If Riley climbs up to chew this beauty off he is one dead dog.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Reprinted Word For Word

By Scott @ Bill In Exile

In the last year bias related murders against LGBT people has increased 28% and the number of gay bias murders has reached the highest point in ten years nationwide.

This just makes my blood boil for if there’s one thing I hate it’s people who prey upon gays and lesbians out of a sense that we’re somehow easy targets because they perceive us as weak.

As any of my friends, family members and ex boyfriends will tell you I just FUCKING LOVE it when gay bashers make the mistake of thinking that I’m someone they want to fuck with.

One time, when Hot House Brent and I were boyfriends, we were walking up Christopher Street toward Sheridan Square from our apartment on the corner of Bleecker and Christopher.

In front of us were two 20-something year old hetero couples, clearly bridge and tunnel types, who were in the city on a weekend and had come down to the Village in order to stare at the fags on our home turf and make fun of us like we were some sort of freak show on display for their personal amusement.

These guys were your typical loudmouthed frat boy assholes who didn’t possess a half a lick of sense between the two of them. They were acting out for the benefit of their dates so that they could show how manly they were by making snide comments about all the faggots in the neighborhood.

Now mind you this was on FUCKING CHRISTOPHER STREET — in the heart of what was then the gayest neighborhood on the planet.

Brent and I had been following about ten feet back from them for half a block getting more and more annoyed when I said to Brent, “Go on up there and work those two asswipes.”

Brent, NEVER one to shy from a challenge like that, sashayed his pretty butt right up to the bigger, more alpha {and cuter} of the two boys and when he got up to the group he parked himself in front of them, effectively blocking their progress, whereupon he inched his sunglasses down his nose so he could look over the top of them at the hetero miscreant, stared him up and down, and putting his hands on his hips said to him, “Baby, you are so fine. Why don’t you ditch the bitch and make the switch.”

To which the fratboy asswipe could only turn various shades of red and sputter as he tried to figure out if what he thought he just heard from this queen standing in front of him arms akimbo was in fact what he had heard.

Just as he decided that he had heard Hot House Brent correctly and that maintaining face in front of his posse required him to kick Brent’s ass Brent said, “Have I introduced you to my pet bulldog.”

Now, up to that point I had hung back so these tools thought Brent was alone and easy pickings, but as soon as Brent introduced me I let off after the alpha boy who, upon seeing me coming for him hell bent for election, took off like a fucking springbok across the veldt being pursued by a pack of ravening hyenas.

He abandoned his friends AND his date standing there on Christopher Street as I chased him into traffic on 7th Avenue South, across Sheridan Square and toward 6th Avenue where I satisfied myself by watching him run off toward Washington Square Park in close to world record time.

When I got back to Brent, the girls and the buddy had made their escape and Brent was surrounded by a gaggle of faggles congratulating him on handing this group of rude interlopers their walking papers from our neighborhood.

Gay bashers are the worst sort of bullies. And however they do their bashing; either with fists, guns or words they’re all the same and nothing more than common, low-down cowards.

As my friend Barry over at Enrevanche says of bullies:

“One thing, and only one thing, stops bullying in its tracks: a sufficiently violent response by the victim.”

This month is the 40th anniversary of Stonewall — I’d urge everyone to remember what happened on that date 40 years ago when a group of pissed off gays and drag queens refused to be bashed by the NYPD. And in the spirit of those drag queens who would that day, 40 years ago, brook no nonsense even from the police, I’d like you all to make it a point of personal honor to never, ever allow yourselves to be bashed in any way, shape or form by anyone.

Until the bullies and homophobes and haters of the world understand that their actions will result in extreme pain for them then they’ll just keep victimizing and bashing us — even if that bashing takes the form of “harmless” words and jokes by people who consider themselves friends.

Because it’s just a short, ugly trip from being bashed by words to being tied to a fence in a cold Wyoming field with your life slowly ebbing from you.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

My Gaydar Kicks In

It was just around the time I started puberty, roughly around the age of 13. As it turns out, not only did my hormones start to kick in but apparently, so did my Gaydar. I distinctly remember being riveted by a Saturday morning live-action cartoon show called The Land of the Lost. - Marshall, Will and Holly, on a routine expedition! It's now been re-made as a just-released feature film starring Will Ferrell (probably the least funny "comedian" that somehow keeps being cast in movies since Jim Carrey).

While the sci-fi subject matter, dinosaurs, time-travel and cheesy Sid and Marty Kroft production values might have been enough to hold my interest, it was most definitely the budding gay-boy boner that kept popping up every time the camera brought a lingering glimpse of teenage son Will (played by teen idol Wesley Eure) or his provocatively unbuttoned denim shirt and his skin-tight brown cords. Even from the beginning, I was riveted by a brown haired boy with a hot ass. And could we talk about those pretty blue eyes?

So imagine how pleased I was to run across this article via where Wesley Eure acknowledges what my teenage dick sensed all along, he was and is a big homo. He's also openly out, always has been (with the exception of the press), and recounts some surprising details from his career. Mostly that he was openly gay while a major star on Days of Our Lives, yet alleges he was ultimately fired for it. He also discusses a year-long affair with TV and mini-series star Richard Chamberlin that The Enquirer got wind of and their attempt to smear him.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

HIV And Porn

A female porn actress has tested positive for HIV and has been given the unfortunate moniker of "Patient Zero". The "real" Patient Zero was supposedly an airline steward who crisscrossed the world having tons of sexual encounters and unwittingly spreading HIV. Although given what has since been learned about the virus and how long it may or may not have been in existence, the whole Patient Zero story may just be an exaggeration if not a fabrication.

In any case, this (so far) unnamed porn actress has been put in vagina lock-down along with three other adult performers. Initial reports claim this is the first porn HIV+ test since 2004.

Now comes word via LA County health that at least 16 other "previously unpublicized" adult performers have tested HIV+, 10 of which are likely men who have sex with men, although they have not been identified as predominantly performers in gay, bi, bareback or straight porn.

Given the "mainstreaming" of bareback porn and the newly-accepted practice of cum-swallowing that has erroneously been deemed as "safe" even among strictly condom-only gay porn productions, this news is not exactly shocking or a big surprise.

And as an aside, it kind of sucks to be faced with testing positive and then have that information potentially posted on the internets before you've even had the chance to deal with the emotional implications, but that's another article entirely.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

All Is Well

I've been unexpectedly extremely busy, but nothing bad. Will update soon as I can get a free minute or two.

Saturday, June 06, 2009


Watch the embedded video from NBC Nightly News as Lynnea Garbett, the young woman who testified against cuts to HIV programs in Sacramento last week, tells her story and expresses her fears about the impact these proposed cuts will have on her personally and the approximately 30,000 others in California whose lives depend on this program.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Life In A Tenament

Leaky pipes in the bathroom have been an on-again off-again situation for the last 20 years here in my Castle High Atop Second Avenue. At one point it got so bad, and the "super" at the time was so unresponsive that the ceiling collapsed and you could actually see through a hole into the upstairs bathroom. The ceiling, or sections of it, have been replaced at least twice.

Here's what it has been looking like for the last couple of months:

Not another collapse, this was intentionally cut away by the "super", in preparation for another patch job. This was necessitated by another leak in a shower stall up above that previous tenants installed. It had been leaking for months. Of course I called and was assured over and over that it had been fixed. I eventually got the "super" up to see that the ceiling had completely split open from water damage.

Today the plumber is upstairs, noisily banging away and sawing pipes and generally doing whatever half-assed repair will get by until the next time whatever is "fixed" turns out to be still leaking. In the meantime, all manner of gravel and dirt and (I'm sure) asbestos residue is falling from the ceiling turning my tub, sink and bathroom floor into a pebble-strewn dirty mess:

I guess I should just be thankful I was too lazy to clean the bathroom yesterday like I originally planned.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


Started itching like mad before bed last night and I assumed that a mosquito got in and had been feeding on my irresistible (and tainted) blood. It was right before bed so I sprayed myself with the bug spray I keep on the nightstand before going to sleep. I remember seeing what I thought was a huge collection of welts under my arm and was surprised I could have been bit so many times without feeling anything.

Hours later I woke up itching like never before and realized that I had welts up and down both arms and on my belly. I had broken out in hives. Ended up sleeping fitfully and itching all night. This morning I finally got up and the hives are all down my thighs as well. I'm actually relieved it wasn't a concentrated attack by a rogue band of mosquitoes. No idea though what I could have had a reaction to. The only thing I ate that I can't vouch for was a hot dog in the evening. Not the end of the world but still ridiculously itchy.

I also lost about 8 lbs. which has nothing to do with hives or HIV. Just enjoying all the spring vegetables and fresh fruit and cutting way back on the ice cream.

About a year ago (maybe more) I forced open my DVD drive on my desktop because it wouldn't respond and ended up fragging the damn thing. I had to do any DVD burning and movie watching on my laptop which was inconvenient but workable. Last week I happened to look up the model number of my DVD drive and discovered that I could buy a replacement via E-Bay for $20 including shipping. So I did, and the installation took all of 10 minutes. Geek Squad charges $150 for this? Happy it's finally fixed.

Riley caught a live mouse last night on his walk. He usually eats them but I managed to convince him to spit out the dead and completely squished little Mickey ( and it took quite a bit of convincing). I kicked him (the mouse) off the curb. Burial by street sweeper (or hungry rat). Then I made sure to praise Riley for being a champion mouser, as it's a skill I would like to preserve for inside the apartment.

That's all. Need some calamine lotion.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

HIV News Around The USA - None Good

Chicago Department of Health reports 30% of area Black gay men HIV+. Over 50% unaware of their status. Also, HIV reportedly seven times more prevalent in Black gay men under 35 versus Whites. Read more ...

California proposes $55 million cut to ADAP. 35,000 low-income Californians likely affected. Read more ...

Indiana removes gay White men, Hispanic women from priority funding targets. Prevention efforts and education information likely to suffer. Read more ...

60 HIV+ Canadians barred from entry to USA. Delegates to attend North American Housing and HIV/AIDS Research Summit. Despite year-old Executive Order lifting travel ban, Dept. of Health and Human Services still enforcing restrictions. Read more ...

Monday, June 01, 2009

Eminem Nude + Guys Balls

I'm experiencing a surge in visitors today, which usually sends me digging through Sitemeter to find out what's in the news or which much more popular web site has picked up a story or mentioned me. Today there's no need. If you consider that two of the biggest search words that feed readers to this site are "Eminem Nude" and "guys balls" it's no big head-scratcher why I'm getting quite a few hits.