November 2006

Culinary Commitments.

Come the first of the year I have agreed to cook more at home. This is in an effort to be a little more budget conscious as well as making strides to healthier eating. In preparation for this great event, I’ve been paying a little more attention to the habits I have in the kitchen and am trying to get a routine down.

The first thing I did was actually locate the kitchen. In case you’re wondering it’s the room with the smaller television.

The second thing I did was assess our stove, declare it unfit for my needs and tell Earl I would like a new one. Something more automatic.

Ah, but I jest. The stove is perfectly functional but I really can’t figure out how the house was built in 1996 yet the stove was manufactured in 1985. I firmly believe our stove came out of a mobile home. It has that “tornado terrified” look in it’s eyes.

As I was preparing my lunch, which involved boiling water, I noticed that I had the habit of putting the measuring cup in the dishwasher after boiling water in it in the microwave. Well now that I think about it that’s just silly. It only had water in it, the water was boiling, so ergo, the cup should still be clean.

Today I was a rebel and put it back in the cupboard after drying it off. I feel like such a rebel.

Ripped to Shreds.

Getting all this paperwork ready for college is a tedious chore! This week’s focus has been getting together the necessary medical paperwork so that they’re sure that I’m not going to infect the student population with some sort of plague or something. So they need to see my medical records.

My childhood doctor died a few years ago and apparently he took the location of his medical records to the grave with him. I did have a few emergency visits to the village health center as a kid so I thought that perhaps they may have exchanged words with my regular doctor and perhaps exchanged records along with the conversation. So I called them up, asking for a copy of my records and immunizations.

“Oh, we shredded you years ago,” said the friendly woman on the other end of the phone. Knowing that I haven’t done anything too scandalous in my hometown over the past decade or two, I deduced that she was talking about my medical records and not of a recent catty conversation. So there was strike one.

I then called SUNY Fredonia, where I went to college for a year, figuring they had to have had my immunizations on record since they were required for my entrance as a freshman back in 1986. “Oh, we shred records after eight years.” Shredded again, strike two. I replied, “Oh, I would think you’d enjoy a bonfire or something like that.” She didn’t find humor in that.

Luckily, the folks at my high school keep everything for one hundred years, so they sent me a copy of my “permanent record”, including a transcript and my health reports. Hopefully I have enough documentation for me to get into school without having to have a blood test and a new round of immunizations. Glancing at my transcript, Earl couldn’t believe that I wasn’t an “exceptional” student, clocking in with grades of a B+ or so. I told him my high school philosophy: why kill myself over something I wasn’t going to use again when “good enough” would get me through. I had better things to do.

It’s A Small World.

Last night between work and school, Earl and I followed our normal routine: a little din din, some conversation about the day’s events and then a quick check of e-mail and whatnot before I flew out the door for my CAD class. (I need to learn how to be a cad, I guess).

While online I went to one of my favorite bear sites and did a quick search to see who was currently logged in. Normally I get all sorts of invites and quick little chats from men in the Big Apple, as they think that because I live Upstate I must be in Yonkers. They’re disappointed when they find out that a. I’m just chatting and not looking for a quick hookup and b. I live about four and a half hours away. Nosing around a bit, I stumbled across a guy from nearby Albany that had very similar interests as mine and was hot hot hot. Earl agreed with me, letting out a hearty “woof” when I showed him the picture.

As Earl was woofing I then realized that I knew this guy. Back in the late 1980s I went out with Tom, a fellow music education major a couple of years older than me. He had never reached his educational goals and had set up house for himself not far from where he had both gone to college. He was quirky in his own way that was relatively compatible with my eccentricities. Long story short, he dumped me after two states and two and a half years, saying that I was changing in ways that he couldn’t keep up with. Thank goodness for evolution. Anyways, we lived together for awhile after the breakup. To keep it all interesting, we dated other people while still living together and I eventually moved into my own apartment while he set up house with his new found love. I had the opportunity to meet his new boyfriend before moving to another part of the state. He was handsome, extremely talented in the world of art and seemed like an all around nice guy. In any other situation, I would have found him likeable and would have liked to hang out with him.

Sixteen years later, we run into each other online and start chatting. I followed his homepage link and started reading his blog and confirmed what I suspected – he’s very handsome, extremely talented in the world of art and seems like an all around nice guy. We have similar interests (aside from our common ex) and have curiously evolved in relatively the same direction.

I look forward to chatting with him again.

Snack + Algebra = No Sleep

Last night was pretty much a sleepless night for me. According to Earl I did actually sleep but I was roaming around the house sleepwalking. I don’t remember it, but apparently I was looking out the window. I’m sure the neighbors enjoyed the full frontal flash, leaving me to wonder why they were looking in our bedroom window to begin with.

I’m sure a lot of my restlessness last night was due to my college placement exam I had taken earlier. The first two parts were a snap, I enjoy reading so I breezed through the required reading passages and follow-up questions. The essay portion involved writing about an experience in which I felt a strong emotion. I passed on writing about a sexual experience and treated the exercise as if it were a blog entry. The most difficult part of the writing was using a pencil and paper, as I can type much faster than I can write. But I like to think I got through it with my own brand of insight and humor.

Then we came to the math portion of the test. There were actually two math exams, both 28 minutes each. If you completed the second test early, you were free to leave if you were comfortable with your answers.

The first page of the math test was fine, involving simple addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Earl and I have occasionally had discussions on the way I add because I break down everything to a multiple of 10 and usually do so out loud. It’s how I learned back in second grade and I continue to do that today. I’m really fast at it and if I didn’t say it out loud, you’d never know that when presented with a problem like “8 + 7”, I then say to myself “8+7 = 9+6 = 10+5 = 15”. It’s quirky, I know, but then what part of me isn’t quirky.

So I breezed through the simple math feeling a little cocky. Then I turned the page and that’s when the fog rolled in. I don’t know why it’s important to know the -2/3 exponent of the number 654 but that was the first question on the second page. I had word questions like “A Greyhound bus has left New York and is headed for L.A. It’s traveling at 65 MPH and will stop once for a potty break. How many gay men are on the bus?” I figured the answer was zero since no gay man that I know of would be found on a Greyhound, and marked my answer accordingly. Which brings up another whimsical point. We were told that if we didn’t know the answer to a problem then we should leave it blank rather than choose the wrong choice. Apparently we were penalized for wrong answers but not as much so for blank answers.


I struggled through the first math test and took a deep breath before jumping to the second with the rest of the folks in the classroom with me. Before she started the clock, the instructor told us to at least look at these questions before throwing in the towel. The clock started, I turned the page and all of a sudden “x” was doing perverse things to “y” with “z” jumping in as a threesome, all on the line of a fraction. At that moment approximately 15 people got up and left, less than one minute into the second half of the exam. I muddled through 10 or so of the 25 questions, once I jammed a “10” into the “x” part and tried all the answers on the multiple choice to make it all come together in a reasonable way. I left about 20 minutes into the exam.

“X” and “Y” were still on my mind, and dancing a tango with the chocolate cake and milk I had when I got home from school, when Earl and I called it a night. Therefore, I didn’t get much sleep.

Test results in a week. Can’t wait.

Testing 1-2-3.

Tonight is the big placement exam for my entrance to the local community college. I have to admit that I’m slightly nervous about the ordeal. To prepare, I’ve taken a little comp time so I can squeeze in a nap this afternoon after loading up on carbs. Come to think of it, I think I’m suppose to load up on carbs before a bike ride, not a placement exam, but some extra carbs never hurt anyone.

I figure the nap will be of great help. I’m a fan of naps. Back in kindergarten I loved nap time. Most of the kids had a blanket that they laid down on, but my father brought home a carpet remnant that I could roll up and use as my nap mat. The teacher would divide the class up, girls napped on one side of the room, boys on the other. I guess there was a fear of teeter-totter hanky panky or something. I know that I often got hollared at for not staying on my mat, opting to lie with Robbie on his blanket.

So tonight is the big placement exam. Three tests in three hours. Reading, writing and arithmetic. I’m not sweating the reading part, heck, I’ll read the phone book if it’s the only thing within reach. Writing? Well, aside from the fact that we have to do it long hand (i hope I remember penmanship), I figure I can entertain the examiner with something akin to a blog entry, as I was told that we get to write about any topic we wish. Now, as far as the math goes, well, we’re talking algebra here and I’ve been given the helpful hint that if I don’t know how to approach the problem then I should just leave it blank instead of guessing, because there’s more points taken off for wrong answers instead of blank answers. But the way I look at it is how many ways can “a” equal “b” divided by “c” anyways? The one math-type problem I’ve never been able to solve is in my favorite sci-fi book of all time, “The Demu Trilogy.” It takes place on an alien planet, where weeks and weekends are of variable length. The alien population has extra fingers and toes all around, so their counting is based on the number twelve. When asked how many days before the next weekend by a human, an alien responds, “Three twelves third.” Earl and I have had this debate for years on what “three twelves third” is. I think it’s twelve, he thinks it’s nine. He’s probably right, since his SAT scores were much higher than mine. I wish the author was around so I could ask him. Maybe I should google him.

Anyways, for tonight’s festivities II have to bring only my social security number. At least I remember that.

Tickets to Milwaukee?

I wish I had read the news earlier. The 80s group Expose is peforming together Wednesday night in Milwaukee. One of my favorite groups of all time, I was excited to read that the ladies (Jeanette, Ann and Gioia) are performing together again.

I wish I had a way to get to Milwaukee on Wednesday night! Maybe they’ll drift over to this part of the country on their 2007 tour.

Here’s a refresher course for those not familiar with Expose:

Thanksgiving weekend.

Thanksgiving weekend.

Originally uploaded by DJSuperCub.

So it’s Sunday night and our Thanksgiving weekend is winding down. My mom and sister are on their way back home after a nice casual afternoon and evening together. Earl is at a local poker tournament. The later he comes home, the more likely it is that he won. My on-call has been exceedingly light this weekend, which is good in many respects, but frustrating in one, in that I basically sat at home all weekend for no reason. I guess the positive out weighs the negative though, because we were able to get some stuff done around the house, I did some studying and preparing for school and we were able to spend some quality time with family.

I’m looking forward to taking the week head-on and feel ready to do so.

End of the Ribbon.

So today I’m at work as part of the “skeleton crew” that gets to do the employment thing on the day after Thanksgiving. There’s a small number of cars in the parking lot. There’s a handful of my fellow employees here pretending to do some work. I wonder if our web browsing activity is being monitored today.

It’s times like this that I get a little frustrated. I decided to make a smart business decision and eat lunch here at work instead of jetting home like I usually do because I felt I needed to be accessible in the event of some telecommunications catastrophe going on. But who am I really kidding? Everyone is at the mall or at least sitting on the road stuck in traffic trying to get to the mall. I read in the local paper that people were camping outside of the stores as early as last night in hopes of being first in line to get the rock-bottom prices available today only as we’ve been promised since the Fourth of July.

I’m starting to dream of a “Walton’s Christmas” and am considering making Earl a gift that is something useful out of popsicle sticks. But let’s face it, when I was made back in 1968, the crafty gene was left out of the gay mix, so that probably wouldn’t work. Besides, I don’t like popsicles.

Usually by this time of the year I have a mental list of Christmas gifts I’d like to see under the tree. At the very least it provides a stock of answers when I’m asked the inevitable, “What do you want for Christmas?” If I’m going to be quite honest (says he in his best Simon Cowell voice), I don’t really want anything for the holidays this year. I’ve got all I could possibly want and then some. I just want to spend some time with Earl, our relatives and our friends, eat some good food, share some memories and make people laugh. I want to give some hugs. That’s all I really want this year. I don’t need the latest electronic gadget, I’m not pining for anything showy. You know what I really want? Plumbing in the house that doesn’t leak (curse the man that built our house) and a toilet that flushes without having to plead with the pipes that nothing will clog up (curse the man that built our house again). You know what I’d like to give? I’d love to give Earl a state of the art remodeled kitchen, a paid year off from work, a trip around the world in both directions and the guarantee that we’ll win the lottery tonight, all coupled with my undying love (well that last one I can do quite easily). I’d love to take away all the worries that plague my relatives and tell them that everything is good.

So it is officially The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. I just hope everyone remembers that.

Someone Please Slap Hollywood.

As I mentioned in the previous entry, today Earl and I enjoyed a Thanksgiving themed episode of “Bewitched”. We’ve been fortunate that to date Sony has released the better half of the series on DVD. It helps bury the memories of the remake that bombed the theatres back in the summer of 2005. I still shudder when I think of what a “Bewitched” movie starring Nicole Kidman could have been but actually turned out to be. It’s a shame that Sony won’t go ahead and do the movie again, keeping Nora Ephron far away and going for something a little truer to the original. Nicole Kidman could play Samantha who, in the very first moments of the movie, wakes up from a nightmare and tells Darrin about the awful dream she had where she was trapped in a movie set and everyone was calling her Isabel. Then we’d go on with what we all know and love as Bewitched.

Anyways, before “Bewitched”, there was a movie called “Bell, Book and Candle” released in 1958, starring Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak. It’s a great romantic comedy, with familiar faces peppered throughout the cast and fabulous special effects of the era. It’s wonderfully “late 50s chic” in it’s style and sensibilities and all in all is a wonderful cinematic experience. I could watch the movie a thousand times and not complain.

So of course it’s going to be remade. Alicia Keys is going to star in the Kim Novak role. They’re going to “reimagine” the movie a bit to bring it up to modern sensibilities.

Cue the vomit.

Now I have no problem with Alicia Keys wanting to be a witch on the big screen. But why can’t she be her own witch instead of grabbing someone else’s and trying to make it better? Can someone please tell me why the Hollywood folks make obscene amounts of money by grabbing something that’s already done and doing it again?

I’m taking a stand on this one. I’m not going to see this movie. I don’t care if it’s not scheduled for release until 2008. I’m not going, no one can make me, and I’m urging anyone and everyone to do the same.

Someone has got to start the charge and tell Hollywood, “Enough is enough!”. We want something original and we want it NOW!

Happy Thanksgiving.

Giving Thanks.

Earl and I are settling in for the night after an very enjoyable Thanksgiving dinner. My father and stepmother are on their way home after a wonderful day of food, drinks and conversation. I spoke with my mother this morning, I hope to speak with my sister and her boyfriend later tonight. After I finish this blog entry, Earl and I are going to watch the episode “Samantha’s Thanksgiving To Remember” from the fourth season of Bewitched. It’s one of my favorites.

The picture above is from last year’s Thanksgiving feast and I must admit it’s one of my favorite photos ever of Earl and I.

I have so much to be thankful for. It’s been a decade and the passage of time has solidified the fact that I have found my true love in my best friend. I’m also thankful and grateful for my family and that includes every member of the clan. I wish every gay couple could be as accepted by their families as Earl and I are. Thank you.

I’m also thankful for our friends, especially Tim and Steve and Tim & Gordon in Wyoming, and the folks we’ve had the opportunity to meet this past year, including the guys in Buffalo, Thom in Va., Karl & Randy and Tom & Lee in Mass. I’m even thankful for the internet, for we wouldn’t have met the aforementioned guys, as well as those we hope to meet in 2007.

I think the wine is controlling what I type on the keyboard right now, as this is starting to sound like a loopy awards acceptance speech. I suppose it’s better than the sobs of joy in the mashed potatoes that I’ve encountered in the past.

There’s a bright future ahead and I’m thankful for that too.