Jul 31, 2007

a workplace anecdote

Today I got a call from a former co-worker, Tessa, (name changed to protect the innocent...namely me) for my birthday. She's 6 days off, but who cares. Of course I wasn't home to get it, but my machine picked it up.

I haven't seen her in nearly two years. She moved up north after Katrina, and I don't get to bask in her overly-maternal graces the way I once did.

She's one of the many ummm...interesting...people I've worked with. Really, I can't begin to describe the bizarreness of my place of employment. I don't think it's possible, but here's a little anecdote to whet the appetite.

Tessa was from a very controlling family in India. She had been a nun at one time. She left the convent under mysterious circumstances, came to the U.S. to "take care of her mother" (cue Little Edie's voice in an Indian accent here) and became a teacher, of biology. But again, hers is not the story I'm telling here, (though it's a good one).

Several years ago, among the countless wayward souls who've wandered into our workplace was a young woman named Tammy. Tammy was a buxom young woman, a brand new novice in the convent. Uniquely (for us), she was white....and half Native American, and from rural Alabama.

She was also highly intelligent and a gifted writer. She settled in to teach religion. She also settled in to live with Tessa, who had a reputation for hospitality, generosity...and pettiness.
They lived together for a few months, and at first it was fine. Tammy paid her rent for a room. The two of them seemed to bond as friends. They had mutual nun-like interests. It was a perfect co-dependent mother/daughter-like relationship, a mutually beneficial situation.

Then it hit the fan.

(Now, it's not like you didn't know this was coming, did you? Of course you did.)

It began with Tessa's complaint that Tammy didn't like her cooking.
"I cook and cook and cook and she doesn't eat what I cook!"
That was hard for her to understand (and frankly hard for anyone to understand, since her cooking was legendary; even her enemies have to admit that much).
It progressed to complaints about her new roommate's slovenliness. "She eesn't clean! She's not a clean person!" It progressed to money issues (doesn't it always?)

And then it took an uglier turn.

"I hahve to tell you sometheen" Tessa whispered in my ear one day after work. "She, Tammy, she's cray-see."

"What do you mean?" I pretended ignorance (but really, I mean a to-be-nun...from Alabama...named Tammy? How could she not be crazy?)

"Yes!" She whispered excitedly.

She then went on to detail what a typical night at the house had turned into, before the two of them had ceased speaking. Just before the fallout, apparently the two had gotten very close...close enough to open up about everything, a sure sign of disaster ahead.

Tessa was a 45 year old virgin, from a very strict Indian family with all the hangups you would imagine. You must keep this in mind.

Still, she eagerly told me, in the most prurient detail, stories of her and Tammy's conversations pre-fall out, a sort of bizarre nun-like sleep over, with Kentucky Fried Chicken and porn, both of which Tammy seemed addicted to.

They'd watch the porn together and eat fried chicken, and Tammy, so Tessa informed me, would graphically detail her lust for both me and our fellow coworker Ben.

(She was barking up the wrong tree there, bud....but truth be told, I was both a tiny bit flattered...and felt the compulsion to take a bath with a very strong brush at the same time).

Not long after this, Tammy disappeared.
She just didn't show up to work one day (a pretty common occurrence actually, come to think of it).
I still had an essay she had asked me to read somewhere in my bag....
but she was gone. No explanation, nothing.
Just gone.

Within a few months or so, however, we learned a few more details. First that she had left the convent, then that was living in a trailer in a very sketchy area, and finally the coup de grace, that she was due with a child from one of our priests.

Then came Katrina, and well, who knows...

Jul 30, 2007

Completely gratuitous




But he (Paul Rudd)'s just too adorable
to stand.

Sorry.

Just in time for back to school, 1980



K & B pencils on Ebay

They're already up to $15.00

I suppose I'm not alone in missing them.
There's even a Wikipedia entry on the fabled K & B

Jul 28, 2007

"Wigs start at $14.99"



I scanned this from a circular I got in the mail today.

Why do I have the fear that several platoons of Harpo Studio Storm Troopers will be descending upon Kenner any minute now?

I'd suggest you get yourself in your Oprah(tm)-proof bunker if I were you.

Dora the...ummm..."explorer" indeed.

This ranks up there as pretty much one of the most obscene things I've ever seen:

Jul 25, 2007

"Dirty Old Man"



I've always loved the under-rated girl group The Three Degrees, but I'd never heard this song before.
This seems to be a clip from some European music show, circa 1975-ish. I love the set, 1930 goes mod.

Pray to the Hand



I saw this holy card a while back, and I was compelled to buy it.
Forced even, I might say.

Max Ernst and Dali put together...on acid...couldn't come up with anything freakier than the Catholics, I don't think.

Jul 24, 2007

Pony tale



So today is my birthday, and frankly,
it's been kind of sad.

But I found this old photograph the other day of me on one of the ponies my grandfather used to sell.
It's a nice memory.

Jul 22, 2007

Iced tea and memories (or the last time I wore white jeans)

Tonight, after seeing a film at our local glbt film fest, Carlos, Marshall, Dennis and I ended up at La Madeleine.

While there, Carlos made mention that he'd been stood up there once, which reminded me that I had been stood up there too.
I'd also had a first date there with a very boring guy from Mississippi the day after Princess Diana had died, but that's not the story I'm telling here.

No, thankfully, what I remember most about this particular location is that it's the site of what I think was the best first date of my life.

This was back in the days before the internet. I'd posted a very brief ad in a local paper (there was a word limit if I remember correctly). The experience was not very successful, needless to say.

One day, however, I got a voice message from someone named "Danny" (not one of my top five attractive names by the way, or anyone's I dare say), but I could tell by the accent that he was not from here, a definite plus.

We chatted briefly (not much on the phone thankfully) and agreed to meet there, since he worked nearby. I knew next to nothing about him. Remember, this was back in the dark ages of blind dating, before photos. I was well aware of what might show up.

Instead, I got there to find a tall, preppy looking guy

(and I immediately regretted wearing white jeans, of all ungodly things. What was I thinking?!)

What made this date all too unique was that he asked me questions. He was genuinely interested in me. I didn't quite know how to respond to this sort of thing. Didn't dating mean listening to someone pontificate about himself for two painful hours and then reject you? That had pretty much been my experience with dating up to that point.

I was just on the cusp of grad school at the time, and he had just finished.
He was teaching at a local university, he mentioned, hence the choice of venue.

He brushed off my curiousity about his writing and asked me about my own writing.
I was too abashed to even be able to discuss it. I didn't even have the words, but he insisted. He wanted to hear some of my work, the best of which I could do was recite some amateurish poems to him (in white jeans no less! I could die now, just thinking about it)

He offered me his agent's number. He bought me some iced tea.
I learned that he had moved down here to write. He and his boyfriend were, at that moment, "on a break."

(From what I've heard...from multiple sources...moving down here inevitably brings upon violent break-ups and uncontrolable alcohol and/or drug abuse to most couples. Completely understandable, really.)

Two things stand out about the date. One was something very subtle. Somewhere during the date, he gently touched my hair. Some sort of paper had flown into it as I was rambling on idiotically, and he reached up and gently picked it out, smiling at me. It was such a sweet gesture that I was completely infatuated.

The other was his main piece of advice to me: "Oh, you really need to move out of this city. You need to move to New York."

Anyway, we stayed there for a good while, all the while he asked questions about me, sincere intelligent questions. You can't imagine how disconcerting this was, like seeing a UFO land outside the cafe or something.

It's an event that in all my dating experience has not been replicated, sadly.

He never did tell me that he had been published. He never bragged about anything at all. Of course, being the neurotic stalker I am, the exact day after meeting him I rushed off to the library, looked up his name and was astonished to find his novel in our own little library!
(He later published another more successful novel, a copy of which I had and lost in the flood.)

Of course, this story ends sadly (as do all my dating stories). A while after we had met, I called him up for another date. He told me regretfully, that he had reconciled with his ex. They moved away soon after. I never did see him again.

The saddest part of this story isn't so much that he "got away" (I'm sure that part was pretty inevitable), but that this dating story is the best I've got.

Or maybe it's the white jeans that are the saddest part.
Could be.

Jul 21, 2007

"I hope you don't take that the wrong way"

I've written before about dear old Anderson Cooper before, and I know this clip has made its well worn rounds around the internet, but, what the hell, here it is again:



Is he inching his way out? Who knows.
He is a deft little dancer, I'll give him that.

Hotter than Hot or Not


"Gurleen" here is looking fierce. (I didn't make that name up either, I swear)
See more at Rate My Turban

Jul 20, 2007

Sopa seca de fideos


I really don't like cooking for just myself, but sometimes it's inevitable.
When that happens I have a few old recipes I fall back on.
I've gotten it down to an art, how to dirty as few utensils as possible.
One of the easiest dishes to make is something I learned about...sheesh, maybe 25 years ago?... from a cookbook picked up in San Antonio with my mother. This was in the midst of my Mexican period.

Anyway, I went to Big Lots the other day and found just the right brand of Mexican noodles (fideos). It's basically just spaghetti that's really short. Most of the time I simply use ordinary spaghetti and break it myself. I often take short cuts with the recipe, but tonight I took my time. It's cheap, easy and good, pretty ideal for any recipe.

Here's my recipe (not from the book, which has been long lost):
One pound of fine spaghetti, broken up into one inch pieces.
1 can of chicken broth
1 can of Rotel (the tomatoes with chiles already in it)
a tablespoon of oil or so.
An onion, sliced or cubed.
a pinch of ground cumin
a dash of ground corriander
Cheddar cheese, (or Monterey Jack or Queso Chihuahua if you like)

In a large pan with a cover, heat the oil. Put in the broken spaghetti and fry them until they are opaque. Don't let them burn, but it's good when at least few get browned. Add the onions and stir. When the noodles are opaque, put in the Rotel and let it absorb a bit. Stir it well. Add as much of the chicken broth as you need (usually the whole can). Add the cumin (not too much) and the corriander (I like more corriander) and cover the pot. Turn the heat down to medium and let cook until the noodles are al dente. Be sure not to overcook the noodles. Taste periodically to see that they are still firm. When done, sprinkle with the cheese and eat.

If you want, you can vary the recipe any kind of way. I've made it with no fat (using a nonstick pan and a tiny bit of Pam) and even put a bit of chicken in it once or twice. It's very much homecooking, but that's the kind I like the best.

The Good Life (redux)

Just a year ago, I'd been so exicted about a website about one of my favorite childhood britcoms

Now, youtube (God bless them) has clips.


Margo, needless to say, was always my favorite character.

If you can't hide them, flaunt them!



Why waste money on all that expensive surgery when you can just crochet these super cute Polycephalic cozies? Dress up those extra heads, don't hide 'em!

Jul 14, 2007

America's Next Top (Wig) Model

Ever wonder what happens after Tyra Banks gets ahold of you?




Above are Cycle 6's Joanie and Cycle 1's Robin (Honest to God)

Read more humilation at Four Four

Jul 13, 2007

A tour of the building

When I first moved in here a year ago, I asked my landlord
about the neighbors. Since then, I've fleshed out his very cursory descriptions more fully.

One night a few months ago Velinda and I spent an hour or so, late at night, talking in my car outside of my building. We were simply chatting in the car before getting out, but it turned into quite a late night show. There was an inordinate amount of activity going on, people coming in, going out, other people coming in, going out. It was fascinating to us both.

Anyway, in the year since I've lived here, here's what I know so far about my neighbors:

Downstairs, in the Northeastern quadrant, is a nest of French lesbians. I know they are French, the lesbianism is speculative, but not without grounds. I've never seen a man there, they are decidedly crunchy, and this is midcity after all.
I mean come on.
When I first moved in, the one who pays the rent (I think) was not very nice. The other day, however, the other one seemed to almost warm to me, offering me a bit of a smile. I'm not holding my breath. I don't think I'll be sharing white wine and lentil stew on their floor cushions any time soon, but it is nice to come home some days to hear French in the hallways.

Across the hall from them is a young professor. He's slender and tall and with a mop of curly hair and glasses...rather like
Erlend Oye well, ok, maybe if you squint.
He's from Texas and is in the Latin American Studies program, Spanish Literature. How do I know all of this, you ask? Well, because I am a sick man. Yes, have a little crush on him...or did. I'm ashamed to say that within a few minutes of finding out his first name (a box left on the porch addressed to him) I discovered that I have but one degree of separation from him. (My friend Dennis' friend Hugo, whom I also know slightly seems to know him. They were in the same phd program). I'm sorry, I'm sick. I know this. Don't judge.

That is the extent of my investigating, I swear.
Besides, my crush has waned since I've decided he's probably straight...that and seeing him wearing a headband while running. Nothing can kill a crush like a headband on a man.

In the apartment below me lives an older man. He's the only one I've actually spoken to at any length. He's semi retired, friendly, very old time New Orleans.
My intial impression was that he was straight. (It sounds like all I do is speculate on my neighbor's sexuality, doesn't it? I really don't...ok, maybe I do, but not all the time. Don't judge!)
Anyway I'm sure it would be anyone's impression that he is straight, but now I'm having second thoughts. I'm not sure why...it doesn't matter. He has at least one good friend, another older man, who visits him often, and they drive off together often. The other day this other man, to whom I've never even spoken, by the way, waved to me. I thought that was nice....odd, but nice.

The last apartment downstairs is inhabited by a guy from somewhere in South America, I think my landlord said. He's a bit paunchy, seems like a businessman of some sort.
We saw him taking out his garbage in a suit jacket and boxer shorts one night. Very odd. He's never around.

Upstairs, there is another mystery man, a young man, very much like an overfed frat boy. He's almost never home (thank goodness, considering his neighbor, the howler).
He has said hi to me once I believe, and I've peeked into his apartment (door was left wide open) to see a mess of dirty laundry and hand me down furniture, all very bachelor-esque. He, the South American and the Latin American professor all seem to be gone for the summer, in fact.

The apartment next to mine was formerly inhabited by a couple, neither of whom were ever very nice to me. It's odd that I am the "friendly" one here in this apartment. There's something not right about that. It certainly wasn't like that at my former apartment. But I digress...
This couple had lived in my apartment before I moved in, but wanted more "space." (yeah, right, and I'm sure Howler Mc Howling across the hall had nothing to do with it)
The husband used this address as his "Law Office." The wife was considerably younger than he was and from Africa. A lot of the mail still coming to my address (a month after they've left the building and a year after they've moved from this apartment) seems to be from creditors and such.
There's was always something shady was going on there, couldn't quite put my finger on it, but it was shady. The only thing I miss about them is the smell of African food wafting up from the hall (cooked by one of the several young female family members she seemed to always have in from Africa on a rotating basis). I don't miss high pitched Swahili being cackled into cell phones at all hours.

Then, of course, there's my other neighbor
Ahem.
I was happy to have at least one other soul I know confirm the howling. My friend Dennis had a tiny little taste of her the other day, a very subdued version of a high full moon performance, but still enough.

I can't quite figure out who's moved into the apartment next to mine. My fellow tennant, the older man below me, tells me that it has been rented and that the rent's gone up. The other day Michael and I helped a young woman and what seemed like her young husband in, as they carted up what looked like Sam's Club amounts of snack food, but a few days later Carlos and I saw a young (gay?) man, in a wife beater going in. Who knows. Currently, it seems like no one is there at all.
That much has been nice.

Jul 11, 2007

Isn't it laconic?

A few days ago, a guy responded to my ad with this email:


Hi.
Cool profile.
I love Nick Drake too.


Okay, I thought...it's nice to hear a young gay man with musical interests other than just Xtina, etc. I read his profile. He mentions liking Virgina Woolf, Walt Whitman and David Sedaris. I write back with (moderate) enthusiasm (too much?):


Thanks!
How's it going up there?
Nick Drake? Cool. What's not to love?! He was incredible. What's your favorite song of his, if you have one?
I love Whitman and Woolf too...and Sedaris of course.
all the best,
jason


He responds:
i guess pink moon....what's your favorite Woolf nove? (sic)

--C


I write:

Hi,

how's it going up there?

Well, I'd hate to be too predictable, but Mrs. Dalloway is my favorite, though To the Lighthouse and Orlando are both good too.
And you?
all the best,
jason


He writes back:

jacob's room


And that's it. Two words.
Now, I don't quite know how to respond to this. Do I strain my brain for annoying questions about Jacob's Room? Do I let it go and ignore his response?

Why would one initiate a conversation if one had no intention of participating in it? To quote Miss Fantasia Barrino, "If you don't want me, then don't talk to me."

But this is not atypical. Oh no. I've been down this well worn road many times before.

After a while I feel like I'm pestering someone with questions (all sincere by the way, I really *am* interested in how he's doing and what he likes, I swear), only to get monosylabic answers.
What's up with these people?

Mamie

The other night, wandering the jungles of Planet Fabulon, I happened upon a post about Mamie Van Doren, the 50's "blonde bombshell."

I clicked onto Mamie's own webpage and found myself in a confusing and fascinating world of random political musings, quotes about Christina Aguilera, Gerald Ford, Marilyn Monroe, Howard Hughes, Leni Riefenstahl...and Lou Rawls.

Oh, and then there's the photo of Mamie in the nude.
The photo of her in the nude today....
at 75.

Say what you want, but she's pretty amazing.

Seventy-freaking-five, people.

Mamie then:


Mamie now:


Of course, if you're of a more prurient mind (like me), you can jump forward to her musings penis size and
her numerous conquests

Jul 10, 2007



Do we need any more political embarrassment down here?

I mean really.

I wonder what he meant by all that "protecting" the "sanctity of marriage" stuff?
Is that some kind of euphemism for being spread-eagled and greased up on a DC hooker's bed?

Jul 9, 2007

I complain about my job, but

it's memories like this that warm my crusty heart.
Earlier this year, while reviewing for the final, I mentioned the following sonnet by Shakespeare:

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error, and upon me prov'd,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov'd.


I read the first few lines hurriedly, simply to remind them of it.
Before I could finish, one girl exclaimed excitedly, with absolutely no sense of sarcasm or irony,

"Girl, that's my jam!"

Even more amazingly, no one ridiculed her. A few girls grunted in agreement. And they pretty much all agreed.
It was beautiful.

Jul 7, 2007

hypermediocrity

One of the best concerts I've ever been to, I think, was Fischerspooner's.

This is their breakout "hit", Emerge:



The concert was over the top...and just plain fun. It was really more like performance art than a concert at times.

(I also got the chance to touch Casey Spooner's ass as he was being passed around in a mosh pit-esque moment. He's pretty cute, by the way.)

I've always especially liked their cover of "The 15th" (by Wire).

Crazy in Love Deja Vu



Just saw this photo on (dlisted.com) and wondered, gee, is Rupaul finally
making a comeback?
Nah.
Turns out it's just Beyonce having an epileptic fit (I mean, "singing") down here this weekend at Essence Fest.
Too bad.


Click here to see more of her funny faces

Jul 6, 2007

I bought a brand new bath mat



This is the excitement in my life.
It's from Target, from the Thomas O'Brien collection. It's the best I could do to satisfy my ridiculous crush on this man.



Of course, I've never heard him speak or seen him move, which is ideal for a crush, isn't it?
I've only ever seen still photos.
(Actually, I may have heard him say ten or so words once, but a crush is not about reality, it's about imagination, right?)

As I've admitted before, I sometimes embarrassingly find myself drawn like a lemming to his photo, loitering around Target's linen department, daydreaming.
It's all too pathetic.

I like to imagine him living in a comfortable modern aerie, somewhere in the East Village, on a very leafy street, in a prewar building. His decor is midcentury modern of course, but nothing too doctrinaire. It's all very masculine, but not too much. He has a lot of blonde wood and a large dog, a golden retriever perhaps (in the East Village? you're asking yourself...I know....but come on, indulge me here).
He's got a lovely life, but he's a bit lonely if he's honest with himself.

This is, of course, where I come in....
ahem

But I digress.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, walking the streets of NYC with Michael, imagine my delight when we happened upon his Aero Studio at 419 Broome St. It was pure happenstance, I swear.

(I mean it's not like I wouldn't have stalked him, but I just hadn't had the energy yet to do so.) It was pure luck.

Of course, Michael had no idea why I was so exicted, but after I told him he insisted we go in. No, Mr. O'Brien was, unfortunately, not there, just a slightly prissy bald clerk who seemed mildly irritated that we had wandered in.

You just know these types can practically smell whether or not you're going to buy something.

I did notice, however, in a glass case the exact same soapstone sculpture I had seen on the discount shelf at TJ Maxx not but 3 days earlier.
Of course, I had to remark on this coincidence. Somehow I don't think the sales clerk was impressed.

Whatever.
I was.
That's all that matters...that and my new bathmat.

Jul 4, 2007

Que Tal America




Just heard this disco classic again (at jockohomo) and re-fell in love with it.

A few minutes of research and I found that someone's youtubed (is that a word?) the record spinning. The internet is just amazing, isn't it?


Anyway, it seems appropriate for the holiday... on several levels, so enjoy!

(Dig those funky cowbells)

Jul 1, 2007

You couldn't make this up if you wanted to:

Man attacks unlucky peacock at Burger King

N.Y. resident insisted bird was a vampire; animal had to be euthanized

Updated: 2 hours, 17 minutes ago
NEW YORK - A peacock that roamed into a fast-food restaurant parking lot was attacked by man who vilified the bird as a vampire, animal-control authorities said.

Beaten so fiercely that most of his tail feathers fell out, the bird was euthanized, said Richard Gentles, a spokesman for the city’s Center for Animal Care and Control.

“It’s just unbelievable that someone would do something to a poor, defenseless animal and do it in such a cruel fashion,” he said.

Read the rest here

(And how ironic is it that MSNBC runs with this as a lead item? Or am I the only one old enough to see the irony in that?)