Friday, August 31, 2007

Car Wash!

What: New York boys of Leather Car Wash
When: Sunday, September 9th at 2:00 PM
Where: Eagle NYC
Who: The NYboLs and their pals, and all the hot men of summer beer blast.
Also, cabbies and firemen.
Why: For charity and fun!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


It seems like all I've been hearing for the past month or two is that my feelings are wrong, created by unusual situations or medications. This seemed entirely possible, as this Summer has thrown some very intense problems my way. I've been plagued with doubt about my perceptions and analyses, as over and over again I've reached conclusions about the behavior of those around me, only to be told I was mistaken, it was coincidence, it was simple forgetfulness, or some other lame excuse. I feel like I've been painted as a small-time conspiracy theorist, capable of seeing only the worst possible explanation. I've been called paranoid.

But yesterday I received hard proof that one of my suspicions is true. I am not paranoid. I am correct. I am vindicated. One of my worst fears is realized. The rest of my "crazy theories" now seem a lot less like the dark musings of someone trying to find reason in ordinary disappointment and misfortune, and instead a lot more like real insight. I'm feeling both incredibly hurt and incredibly relieved, which is a very odd combination.

And you know what? I'm okay with it. I can deal. I had my day for crying at the outset and now it's done. Only the across-the-board insistence that I had lost my faculties was causing me to doubt, delay, and cling to the hope that things might not be as bad as they appear. Finally a crack has appeared in that facade and instead of trying to deduce what's behind it, I can see for myself. My expectations will change to fit the circumstances and life will go on.

How not.

How not to have me cuss you out and hit your vehicle when you pull into the crosswalk while I have the green light on my way to work in the morning:

Be a hulking daddy of a construction worker in coveralls over a plaid shirt, smoking a fat cigar, and when I attempt to give you the glare of death through the windows of your beast of a pickup truck, blow smoke at me and sneer a little half smile when I can't help but continue to stare in lust.

Otherwise, screw you, and maybe the ding I'm going to put in the side of your car as I detour around it will teach you not to pull into the intersection when it's already packed with vehicles and you know full well you're not going to make it through "the box" before the light changes. This city is ruled by pedestrians. Cars are a barely-tolerated necessary evil. I bet half of the cars on the street on a weekday morning contain a single passenger who could just as easily get to work via public transportation. Be a diva and drive your pollution-spewing, resource-wasting hunk of metal into one of the most crowded cities in the country if you must, but at least follow the rules of the road, or suffer my wrath as it is rained down on your metallic finish!

Have you ever seen that ride at the amusement park for which you're strapped into a full body harness, attached to wires hanging from a giant metal structure, dragged back and up about five stories in the air, and then unhooked so you freefall and fly out over half of the park, with everyone on the ground laughing and pointing as you scream like a little girl who's just witnessed Barney being doused with gasoline and set on fire by a rabid band of unemployed Christmas elves?

My mood swings are exactly like that.

Friday, August 24, 2007

It's me! It's me!

Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic
Cyanide & Happiness @

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Brooklyn, baby.

Last night I trekked to Brooklyn to meet JP and the gang who made the short film "HEY GiRL" last Saturday. (See YouTube link below.) All of the entries for the Film Racing event were being screened.

First things first, the Film Racing guys really got it right to include free popcorn and soda with the $8 ticket. Brooklyn scores a point for being frugal.

Second, JP's roommates and friends are pretty fun. I enjoyed hanging out with them while they were making the movie and that feeling continued last night. The movies ranged from very good to very bad, and all very hetero. HEY GiRL was shown as the very last of a couple dozen, and I just don't think the straight people got the humor. But that's okay, we had fun.

Third, Brooklyn is all right. Of course, I always have a good time when I go there, other than the one near-death experience with the vampire--but that can count as an exception to the rule. It's generally low, so I can actually see the sky, if not the stars. It has some very fine parks, restaurants, bars, and all the good things that come with urban living. I could definitely live there.

I am proficient at Manhattan snobbery. I learned it early in my career as a New Yorker. When you live in Manhattan below Central Park, it's almost too easy to be superior to everyone from anywhere else. I live at the center of the Universe. Some would try to throw out London, Paris, Berlin, etc., and to be sure those cities all have some areas in which they can beat NYC. But this city is far more than the sum of its many, many parts. Manhattan is magic and anyone who tries to convince you otherwise is being dishonest.

With all that said, I really and truly feel no need to gloat over my superior location. I mean, so a guy lives in Jersey City, so what? I'm sure it's a nice place and he has good reasons to be there. The fact that I have a different answer to the question of where in the NYC area I want to live than any other guy merely means we have different priorities. No further judgment can be made.

I throw out my Manhattan snobbery as a verbal game, with a wink. It's fun. It makes non-Manhattanites all jittery and defensive. That's all.

The real reasons I visit Brooklyn so rarely are all practical. It's a long subway ride away. I'm generally going in the evenings, when the trains are few and far between, especially for the return ride. It really is a completely different city and I don't know my way around. Look at the map and you'll see a dozen different street grids, each tilted a different way and overlapping the others. It's like navigating the West Village, which I'm only now figuring out after three years, only 20 times the size. I can't tell which direction is North! I have to print a map and look at it on the street!

I've adapted very well to this crazy city. And in time I'm sure I'll learn plenty about its boroughs and suburbs. But for now, dear friends, I'm going to mostly stay in Manhattan. Because I'm still just a boy from Kansas, after all, and though my back yard may be paved, it's my turf now and I like being here.

Monday, August 20, 2007

A sink full of crabs.

Part of this weekend's festivities included a Saturday afternoon trip to JP's outrageously oversized SoHo loft, where he and his roommates were participating in Film Race. I managed to help out in a couple very, very small ways. I held the microphone and acted as a human boom mic during a couple of scenes. I also clapped while the music was being recorded for the opening sequence. All in all, it was a fun afternoon, and exciting to do yet another new and crazy thing in NYC.


Above are a couple of photos of my apartment. And yes, what you see is most of my apartment. To the right out of the frame are a small kitchen and a small bathroom. There's also an entry hallway with enough room for a couch and a good size closet.

I'll have to dig up some of my photos of my houses in Kansas. The last I owned with my ex had five bedrooms, an eat-in kitchen, full living and dining rooms, a full basement, a two car garage, and was on a corner lot in the nicest old neighborhood in Topeka. The amount for which we sold that house would barely be a downpayment on a one bedroom apartment in Manhattan, and I'm talking before paying off the mortgage!

I'm unlikely to be a homeowner again in NYC. I look forward with wonder to answering the question of whether I'll ever want to move away from NYC, because I cannot now imagine the circumstances that could prompt such a move, at least voluntarily. Thus I may from now on always be able to fit my worldly possessions into a small van. And frankly, that's okay with me. Lean and mean, I can be three blocks or three thousand miles away without too much inconvenience.

I fight change. I worry and fret over how it may negatively impact my life. And yet it happens, over and over again, whether I worry or not.

Last weekend I painted my apartment. Not all of it, just some select areas. The darker caramel brown and the lilac gray/blue are both new. For once I'm really happy with my color selections.

If I must live with change, I suppose making some of those changes myself, rather than waiting for what the world throws at me, is probably a good idea.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Above: Yeah, my nephew really is the cutest baby in the entire world. Totally ready for his close-up.

I started this post last Friday, when I thought I'd write about how I'd been feeling really sad and angry, and then I had an epiphany on Thursday night which made me feel all better.

Well, that was Friday.

I guess I just have to get used to the idea that I'm on an emotional roller coaster right now. I used to say that all the time, but only now do I really think I know what it means.

In many ways, I had a good weekend. My sister just arrived from Kansas and is settling in to NYC life. Made a movie. Had fun and relaxed.

And yet...and yet...still so upset. Can't even put my finger on it. GRRRR.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Make up your mind, already.

Above: The high altar ready for Easter Sunday at St. Mary the Virgin, Times Square. For a bit of perspective, the altar is 13.5 feet wide. The tallest candles at the back are more than 6 feet tall.

I get it all the time. Those strange looks when I tell people I have to go to church on Sunday morning. New York is a very, very secular city. For all that it is filled with churches, they're rarely filled with people on Sunday morning, at least not relative to the number of people who live here. Religion is the domain of the Midwest, the Bible Belt, the Red States--at least that's what we hear; most New Yorkers haven't been there.

Add in that I'm gay and then add on top that I'm a kinky pervert, and you start to get an idea of how strange the looks are. Yes, there are quite a few leathermen who are associated with church, often as organists, but most of those don't talk about it much. Whereas I have a tendency to invite everyone to come with me.

But I'm not an evangelical! The word "evangelism" originally meant preaching or proselytizing and did not have the conservative Christian connotations it holds now. But in either case, the word does not describe me, because I'm certainly not conservative and I could care less whether you believe in Jesus.

I'm not so sure I believe, after all. When it comes to religion, spirituality, or belief in anything that science can't measure, I have only questions and no answers.

So why in the world do I go to church? That's the question behind every strange look.

I don't have a good answer. I often cite the ritual and the beauty of the space. The music I hear there, be it pipe organ, choir, or otherwise, is also a big factor. It's the kind of art into which I can really sink my teeth. And viewed in that way, it's not so strange--many people are moved by the collections at The Met, MOMA, Lincoln Center, Radio City Music Hall, or any of the other bastions of art, I just happen to find my favorite works in a French Gothic church. Tastes vary.

There's more to it, of course. Some of it hearkens back to my childhood and the time I spent growing up in sacred spaces. You can take the boy out of church but you can't take the church out of the boy. Also, I'm sure some of it is fear of death--isn't religion the opiate of the masses?

The ethics of Christianity are also a quality I admire. Remove the supernatural motivation from the equation and the ten commandments are still worthwhile guidelines. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Don't kill or steal. Sure, many fanatics have wrongfully twisted the Bible into a club which they use to beat others over the head, but when it is stripped to its most basic elements, Christianity is built on a solid foundation of morality.

When all of those things are added up, however, I still don't hold the total sum of my motivation to spend time in church. I can't explain why I leave feeling so good after Mass.

Maybe I do it just so I'll have some time set aside to contemplate these questions.

Some people would say that it's God causing these things, prompting me to go to church, and soothing my soul when I'm there. Well, okay, maybe it is. But then maybe it's like my father would say--the aliens who terraformed our planet are beaming happy rays into my brain. The point is, any number of explanations are just as likely in my book. Invoking the divine does not by itself raise a theory above raw conjecture.

In the end, I again give in to the contradiction. My life is full of them. This just happens to be one of the more obvious.

Tonight I'll be at Solemn Mass for the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Rector will be preaching, the choir will be singing, the incense will be burning, the flowers will be verdant, and I will be content.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Fried trip.

Above: myself, a couple boys, and some of the guys who went to NYboL's Second Annual Beach Day on Sunday. That's us at 8:00am, looking more chipper than we should given the hour, but perhaps that's because of orange juice they had on the ferry. The Verrazano-Narrows bridge is in the left background.

And here's the Verrazano up close and personal. This was snapped in the afternoon, on the way back to the city.

And finally, the view just after passing under the Verrazano and into New York Harbor. From right to left there's Manhattan, then a gap which is the Hudson River, and then New Jersey to the left of the Hudson. Even farther left from the cluster of buildings that is downtown Jersey City, one can just make out the Statue of Liberty.

Half of the fun of Beach Day for me is the ferry ride. Being from Kansas, I'm very impressed by large bodies of water and the ships that sail them.

I'm also continually impressed by the huge pieces of structural engineering all around me in NYC. Just getting to the beach we passed under four suspension bridges. In outgoing order, they were the Williamsburg, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Verrazano. I actually dread going over the bridges, just a little, but I love going under them!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

It happens.

Above: snapped in Asbury Park, New Jersey, at a leather block party three of my brothers and I attended this Summer. A scary drag queen taking a painful crap into a golden throne? You betcha. And she picked that bitch up over her shoulder and carried it off after her number.

This evening I put together a small group to see a play at the Fringe Festival. The show was called Top and Bottom and was billed as being about an extremely submissive bottom and a socially awkward top. I'm not sure where I first read about it, but it sounded like it would have all the elements of an interesting show. Plus I had the impression that the Fringe Festival was very edgy, interesting theater.

I was disappointed. There were certainly some funny lines and situations, as when the bottom was babbling on about a really hot bondage scene he had in the woods while the poor top was slaving away tying him up very intricately, but without any passion. But for the most part, as Densemore observed afterwards, it was pretty clear that the writer/director was not writing about what he knew. They hit pretty much every kink/leather cliche in the book, without putting any new spin on them.

Once we finally got to the sappy meat of the story, the bottom became very emotional while recounting a scene which had gone bad and ventured into non-consensual territory. But when ultimately he had not been seriously hurt, and clearly the experience was not keeping him from seeking out kinky sex, the story lost all of its bite.

Likewise, when the top proceeded to recount a lifetime of hiding his kink and then being rejected when finally revealing it to a date, thus sending him scurrying back to his shameful hermit hole, I was unconvinced. It's 2007, after all, and these guys were supposed to be from Los Angeles. The man had more gear and knowledge of technique than he was likely to acquire without encountering many guys comfortable enough with their kinky sexuality to set him at ease, at least a little.

I could have forgiven the naive writing, however, if the actors had simply sold their roles. I've seen many simplistic portrayals of the kink world that were nonetheless compelling because the characters were imbued with believable sincerity. Instead, during much of the show, I found myself daydreaming of my theater fag days back in high school and trying out my own delivery of the lines in my head.

Most disappointing, however, was not the sub-par production, but the fact that my first foray into the Fringe Festival couldn't even push an envelope across my desk. I wanted edgy, but I got safe. I wanted experimental, but I got by-the-book.

I wanted to go home thinking, "Wow, only in New York!" Instead I left wanting to pull the writer and actors aside to say, "Seriously guys, this is New York."

I'm nobody, least of all a creative type, but a week and a half ago I was in a friend's show at the leather bar, where he put me in a donkey mask and had me humping and bootsexing a punk tranny boy onstage. It was a Wednesday night, we did it for shits and giggles, and we still had a bigger and happier audience.

I'm just sayin'.

Friday, August 10, 2007

So therefore.

NYC Gay Pride Parade, 2007

well hey do you do judo when they surround you
a little mental yoga will they disappear
it's grim but never dubious as motives go
no matter what it takes she promises a show

thunder wishes it could be the snow
wishes it could be as loved as she can be
these gifts are here for her, for you, for me

i watch me be this other thing, i never know
if i'm marooned or where the purple people go
then lily white matricide from vicious words
it doesn't leave a scratch so therefore no one's hurt

thunder wishes it could be the show
wishes it could be as loved as she can be
these gifts are here for her, for you, for me

and on and on the nurses make it clear
just when you escape you have yourself to fear
a restaurant that never has to close
breakfast every hour it could save the world

so hey do you do judo in your finery
an angel's face is tricky to wear constantly
thunder wishes it could be the snow
wishes it could be as loved as she can be
these gifts are here for her, for you for me

Purple People

Monday, August 06, 2007

It was one of those.

Above: A happy photo at Folsom Street East, to cheer my mood.

This post was written Monday, but then I got distracted with painting and such, so I'm posting it a bit late.


I am wroth with the world.

It's actually a touch alarming. I had a decent night's sleep last night, but I woke up very groggy today, and I just can't stand anyone. My boss, who is a bit excitable but overall a good guy, is getting short shrift from me today. His well-known foibles have become intolerable.

I wonder if it's perhaps the muscle relaxer I took last night before bed. I have TMD issues in my jaw so the doc prescribed these to loosen things up, but I haven't been taking them lately until last night. I know they make me groggy when they're working, but it seems a stretch that they're causing me to be bitchy the next day.

Despite my cranky blog post yesterday, it's not like I spent the weekend at home doing nothing but being depressed. I was actually much more productive than usual--I cooked quite a bit of food which should last most of this week and I painted my bathroom. The latter I'd been threatening to do for a couple months and it felt really good to accomplish. I'm going to start in on painting my room this evening, while I'm on a roll. I also went to Mass in the morning and the Folsom Street East volunteer thank-you party in the evening. There was much shopping for the perfect quilted coverlet on Saturday, and though unrequited, the hunt was pleasant. I also treated myself to a cup of a fantastic single-origin brew at Grumpy Coffee, which was excellent, though at $7 for a small I'll probably stick to the usual but still-extraordinary varieties. I saw the Simpsons movie on Friday night with Fluffybutt after we got stoned out of our gourds; it was clever and entertaining, if not really side-splitting.

So I was really fairly busy being productive and social this weekend, which means I can't pin today's ire on yesterday's complaints. What, then, is causing these homicidal thoughts?

Perhaps it was the coverlet. I really don't like being denied what I want. They have the perfect answer at West Elm, but I don't want to pay the $120 they want. Can anyone direct me to a lightweight, solid color (prefer a light sage, blue, grey, or tan), quilted blanket or duvet which won't break my budget?

If I'm going to have to lay in the bed I make, I may as well make it stylish.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Whipping post.

Above: Grace Cathedral, Topeka, Kansas.

I really try not to use my blog as a place to bitch. But this afternoon I'm going to fail.

Lately I've been feeling low and having difficulty connecting with people. I'm feeling like an outcast for a natural reason, though I know it's not logical. I went to church this morning and was feeling really good afterwards. Then I tried to have brunch.

I'm going to jump back a little bit. A couple weeks ago I decided to have some guys over for drinks. It was last minute, but I'd done it before successfully. Of two dozen invitations, one guy (bless him) showed up, half said no, and half didn't respond.

I've spent most of the intervening time by myself. Finally, last night, I started to feel really lonely. Great, I thought, that means it's time to get back into the world.

This morning I invited five of my closets friends to brunch. One has a date, one has to clean his apartment, one declined without explanation, and two did not respond.

Fine. Whatever. I'm sure it was nothing personal. I send out as many of these invitations on a regular basis as anyone I know, so it shouldn't be surprising that many are declined. This post is not a passive-aggressive attempt to get anyone to change their behavior. I'm working hard on attempting less to impose my will on the world and accepting the choices of others. A sudden deluge of invitations would not fix my problem and would of necessity have their sincerity doubted. There's nothing that can or should be done.

But when do I start wondering whether the universe is trying to tell me something? Because this is making me mad and sad. And when I feel strongly about something, it has to have some underlying import, right?

When do I start wondering whether all these people are trying to tell me something? An old friend in Topeka used to ask me, when we hadn't seen each other for a while, whether his deodorant wasn't working. Somehow, with this crowd, I don't think that's the issue.

I realize the answer to those questions is in this post. It's almost certainly me, not anyone else. But if it's all much ado about nothing, why must it piss me off so much?

Friday, August 03, 2007

Tori, Tori, Tori

So I finally dug into my photos last night after the delay caused by the hospitalization of my Powerbook. Mostly I have new pics of IML and Pride. I'll be putting up some of the fun ones in the next few posts. Above is me on the Eagle NYC float, looking as sedate and butch as I managed to get that day. Most of the time I was waving that gold hanky around with my boots in the air like a mad faggot. Good times!

Matticakes and I just picked up tickets to Tori Amos's October show at Madison Square Garden. I'm not quite as much of a Toriphile as I once was, but I'm still very excited to see the show. Her latest album has a bit of an edge she's been lacking lately and it will be interesting to see how she translates it to the stage.

Recently I've been back in touch with a good friend from high school, we'll call her Blondie. She may have been my original fag hag--we caused all kinds of trouble back in those days. I remember skipping school with her to go get our ears pierced, because in the middle of the day the ladies at Claire's Boutique assumed we were over 18 and didn't card us before piercing us. We'd call in to school pretending to be each others' parent, and to the best of my knowledge, it always worked.

Anyhow, to tie this all together, I remember the first time I ever knew of Tori's existence was in Blondie's bedroom. She had a copy of the first album, Little Earthquakes, and I remember being fascinated with the art on the back. It took me a while to realize the giant mushrooms were arranged as phalluses. I don't think I listened to the album at the time, as my real introduction to Tori's music came with Under the Pink, but I'm quite sure this was my first exposure to the most influential artist during my late adolescence and early adulthood.

This fall will be the fourth time I've seen her live. Can't wait!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

It's getting hot in here.

The city is boiling over.

You know the feeling. You put the pasta on to boil in a smaller-than-recommended pot. You wander out of the kitchen for two minutes to send an email, change the music, or answer the phone. And then you hear it--that sizzling, popping sound of the frothy water overcoming the sides of the pot, splashing down and frying into a huge mess on your stovetop. You run to catch it, but by the time you've heard the sound, it's too late. Your quick pasta dinner has turned into a mess. You'll spend 20 minutes just cleaning up the stove.

It's not yet noon and New York City is 90 degrees. Back in Kansas, a 90 degree day in August was almost a blessing. But here, everything is paved. My walk to work takes about 20-25 minutes and is about 25 blocks, which is about 1.25 miles. By NYC standards, I have a very easy commute, because I don't have to use public transportation. In the course of that mile walk, I pass exactly zero blades of grass. There are no parks or grassy medians. I suppose there are trees, but trees along 9th Avenue are bedraggled stick figures which provide no shade.

Everything here is covered in concrete, asphalt, and buildings. Put a couple million people on top of that surface and the city literally begins to cook them. Being on the streets of Manhattan in August means getting sautéed with all the homeless, tourists, bridge and tunnel jackasses, and poor souls like me who can't afford to get out of town during the stinky season. It quickly becomes a vile stew full of vicious glances, sharp elbows, and angry growls. It's nothing short of a miracle that people aren't brawling in the street.

I'm heading out to get a salad for lunch. I'll do my best not to throw my cell phone at someone's head!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Blogging in the Dark

I've been in a very dark place lately. I can't talk at all about what has happened, so it's difficult to blog about the issue.

I generally deal well with emergencies. In an acute situation, I'm your go-to guy. I can identify a problem, research possible courses of action, analyze the pros and cons of each, make a decision, and resolve the situation. I'm not always correct, of course, but for better or worse, I get things done.

Unfortunately, my skill in this area drops off markedly when the situation becomes chronic. I'm an excellent sprinter, but I'm useless in a marathon. Anything that requires long-term planning is beyond me. I just don't have the discipline. Eventually I'll get tired and distracted, and my attention will wander off to something else, leaving that problem which required a long-term solution to fester.

Moving to NYC was a huge effort. Packing, disposing of nearly everything, shipping, closing up life in Kansas, setting up accounts here, finding a job, finding an apartment, joining a gym, etc., etc. Check, check, check...I took care of it all, with very few bumps in the road. A few months later I found myself with nothing to do, no problems to solve, and feeling terribly alone in a strange city.

Building a social life in a new place, especially NYC, requires patience and persistence, and I found it much easier to stay in my apartment and have dinner delivered.

Fortunately, I eventually worked my way out of that quagmire and developed a life I love here. But as often as not I don't solve the long-term problems. My finances are a mess. My career is something I fell into, rather than planned. And so on.

Life has changed once again. The problem is solved, inasmuch as it can be. The course is charted and the ship has sailed. I am left to deal with my emotions, which won't return to "normal" for some time. I don't like it one bit and I'm not doing very well. It's dark in here.