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pride.ca

So here it is the Monday after the Pride weekend festivities in my favourite North American city, Toronto. Earl and I arrived back at The Manor last night around 10:00, we went to bed shortly afterwards.

We both took Friday off from work so we could get into Toronto nice and early and hit the pavement Friday night; the QEW decided to disagree with us a bit as traffic was crazy from Hamilton all the way to the Gardiner. So we got to the hotel room around 6; by 7 p.m. we were off to a pre-pride meet and greet and North Bound Leather. It was quite festive. Afterwards there was dinner and drinks with friends and hanging out on Church Street people watching until the wee hours of the morning. Very nice.

Saturday morning we were up at the crack of noon and headed over to the Village Rainbow Café for some brunch. The mood was festive.

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We then hit the streets, walking up and down Church Street (and the side streets between Church and Yonge) visiting the vendor booths and enjoying the festive atmosphere. The weather was perfect for the celebration and the streets were subsequently very busy.

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Earl and I took our obligatory self shot.

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After the fun on the streets in the afternoon we cleaned ourselves up, decked ourselves out, had dinner and then met up with friends for the typical Saturday night fun. I’d share the pictures but people would blush.

It was raining pretty good on Sunday but we decided to ignore that and see the parade after all. We checked out of the hotel, put the Jeep into a strategic escape position and parked ourselves on Yonge Street.

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We were going to move to the east side of the street but we were unable to cross over Yonge without going through the subway tunnels, so we stayed on the corner of Yonge and Grenville, joined by our friends dan and Rick.

The parade was fabulous. The rain stopped just in time for the festivities to start and then it was nearly 2 1/2 hours of people being themselves in a very long, very festive parade.

People dressed appropriately for the celebration.

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Yonge Street was shoulder to shoulder with spectators.

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Folks from all walks of life marched by.

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Here’s something you wouldn’t see in the states. The Canadian Forces, the Mounties and the Toronto Police were actively recruiting members Saturday and Sunday on Church Street. They naturally took part in the parade as well.

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I have to admit, the leather float is always one of my favourites.

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And the bears were bubbling over with pride as well.

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All in all it was an excellent weekend and one of my favourite pride events thus far in my nearly 41 years. I’m looking forward to the fun next year.

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Dry.

So I am sitting at the local Panera grabbing a bite to eat whilst running a bunch of errands. I always wait until the last minute to get running errands done and over with when it’s a bachelor week; I don’t know why I wait until the last minute, but I do. That’s not my usual style.

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I just spoke with Earl and he was near Interstate 66 in Northern Virginia as he makes his way up I-81 on his way home. He said he waved to Thom, who lives in that general area.

In keeping within the spirit of eating healthy, I am having a turkey sandwich with not much in the way of mayo on it for supper. I noticed the sandwich is quite dry. Turns out the kitchen receipt was wedged in the sandwich. Thermal paper needs salt.

The work week has been flying by; I am surprised by this as I am really looking forward to our weekend in Toronto for gay pride. The weekend holds a few adventures and I’m looking forward to it all.

Circles.

Sometimes you just got to dance.

Here’s Kimara Lovelace with “Circles” from 1998. I had the pleasure of meeting Kimara for two of our station concerts back then; she’s one of the nicest artists I’ve ever met.

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Tied.



143.365, originally uploaded by iMachias.

So today I am writing from the Park and Ride along the Erie Canal during my lunch hour. For some reason I thought that there were picnic tables down here but they are none, so I am eating my lunch in the car and enjoying the sun. I’m actually sweltering a bit, which is a considerable change of pace versus what it was like last week. I didn’t bring a hat so I have to sit in the car to keep my head from getting burned.

I’m blogging on my computer using my iPhone 3G as an internet tether for the first time and it is working beautifully. Let’s hear it for accessing features before they are ready.

Earl is on his way to Tennessee for business meetings so I am in bachelor mode until Thursday night. I kicked off the frivolity last night by mowing the lawn and then mowing the neighbors’ lawn as a reward for us not getting their mail for the first time in five years. I think they may have finally changed their address or perhaps all of their subscriptions expired.

Work is going good today and I’m in a chipper mood. I have been cleaning up various aspects of my life lately, including eliminating various causes of stress and canceling appointments or commitments that I didn’t really need or want but felt obligated to do. I got my teeth cleaned yesterday, too, and that’s put a bigger smile on my face. My teeth don’t look any different but the hygienist was surprisingly complimentary on the state of my mouth and this made me feel better about myself. I have a second appointment in a couple of weeks for the buffing and polishing as yesterday was this whole deep cleaning them I had never had done before. It hurt a little bit but I feel the better for it today.

Ever since the drive home from Toronto a couple of weeks ago I have been on a more intensive self-discovery path than I have been for the past several years. I’m scratching to see what lies beneath a few facets of my brain and liking what I find.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – you’d think that by (almost) age 41 I’d have this life thing figured out by now. At least the journey is something I truly enjoy once again.

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NY Route 177.



NY Route 177., originally uploaded by iMachias.

Today I joined my dad and my stepmom for dinner to celebrate Father’s Day. Dad picked the restaurant, we went to the Brew Pub in historic Sackets Harbor. A microbrewery, the Brew Pub offers some great beers along with a delicious menu selection. If you’re in the area I highly recommend it.

It has been too long since my Dad and I have had the chance to talk at any great length; since I was heading home after dinner we took two separate cars to the restaurant and Dad rode along with me. We caught up on family stuff, reminisced about various things and just had a nice conversation. I really enjoyed the ride and the time together.

Since I planned on heading home after dinner I took the opportunity to take a more direct route instead of backtracking by way of my Dad’s to get home. This route involved taking NY Route 177. Route 177 is my favourite rural route of all time to drive on.

As a driving enthusiast I am quite aware that there are posted speed limits in the United States. Route 177 is a road that begs you to defy these speed limits, well at least in the summer, and the weather was perfect for me to oblige.

I always seem to drive Route 177 from west to east. It’s approximately 25 miles long, and save for slowing down to 40 MPH for the tiny hamlet of Barnes Corners, Route 177 is otherwise an open, relatively straight road that passes through lots and lots of farm land as it makes it’s way over the Tug Hill. I was not the only driver that was exceeding the speed limit. I was, however, very in tune with my car, the road, the fields I was passing through and I had an incredible feeling of being centered.

Many meditate to find their center. I drive.

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Community.

It’s no secret that Earl and I have been somewhat hosting a semi-monthly bear night at the only gay bar left in our fine little city. Tonight was the latest bear night and with it being pride weekend and all, we thought folks would be in a festive mood.

Earl and I like to make every one of our bear nights extra special by adding extra goodies; we usually have a 50/50 raffle to raise money for the local HIV related charities, we give away lots of door prizes and we bring goodies for the crowd to snack on. We’re not that much different than bear nights in neighbouring cities but it’s something a little different for the crowd in our area and we like to think they enjoy it. To cover the expense of gathering the prizes, buying the food, etc., we charge a cover charge at the front door. This gets you entered into the drawings automatically and as I mentioned before, gets you in the door where we like to think you’ll enjoy something a little bit extra. As an added bonus we had professional photographers taking photos for those that were interested in sprucing up their online existence or even wanted a print of something extra special for their living room.

Now, I’m going to sound a bit elitist here, but over the past year or so the typical crowd at the bar has, well, degraded. What was once the hangout for the 30+ crowd and those that wanted to enjoy a somewhat civilised party has turned into the catch-all for anything and everything gay in our region. This is not uncommon in the days of instant gratification and hook-up through the internet, but nonetheless the population of the bar has tipped in the favour of the 18-25 crowd with an emphasis on the lower half. Anyone under 21 is marked with large “X”s on both hands. Some claim that the permanent marker indicators sweat off whilst they’re dancing but we know better.

But I digress.

Tonight we began the night by charging our standard cover charge of $5.00. The crowd started picking up around 11 and at 11:45 I had a line of about 10 people or so waiting to show their ID and pay their money. This is when one of the employees of the bar came up to me and said that we had to stop charging the cover charge immediately. I asked him why, he replied that he was getting urgent text messages from people that said they didn’t like the $5.00 cover charge and that word was getting out about it and it would kill the crowd.

Here’s the thing. (I say that a lot). It’s no secret that we were charging a $5.00 cover charge. We never make it a secret. We include that information on all mentions of our events. Making it a secret would be moronic.

I countered that you can’t stop charging a cover charge at five minutes until midnight because that would be very unfair to those that had already paid. He said he didn’t care, we needed to stop the cover charge. To prove his point, he called the owner of the bar and got him to agree.

So we stopped charging the cover charge.

At 12:15 we gave away half of the door prizes; we usually have the drawings closer to 1. At 1 a.m. I shot away whatever food was left, packed up our toys and got the hell out of there.

I was pissed.

I don’t care about the money. Earl hates to hear me say that but I couldn’t care less about the money; we had barely covered our expenses but it wouldn’t be a total loss. What did anger me though is that the rules of the game changed one third of the way into the night, and that was extremely unfair to those that had paid to get into the bar. This change in the rules significantly changed the vibe of the party into some sort of youth-infested rap fest that was making the bears in the crowd quite uncomfortable. So much for bear night.

Tonight was the last time that Earl and I will ever contribute a bear night to the community in this area. We will continue to support our friends as we travel here and there but we are _done_ with what we had going here.

I’ve picked up my toys and brought them home.

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Shopping.

Today I decided to spruce up the wardrobe just a little bit and make like it’s summertime by purchasing a couple of pairs of shorts. I was recently accused of wearing too many variations on the camo shorts so I decided to go for something different. At first I considered something in a plaid, but I stopped wearing plaid years ago when I sat on someone’s old couch and disappeared from view, prompting others to think I had become a floating head (damn that trendy jumpsuit) so I moseyed on over to the local Army and Navy store and took a look at “work shorts”. Don’t think skorts because they’re not and luckily they are not slanged down to worts.

Anyways, I hate shopping. When I was being built for this life they left out the shopping option when they installed the gay gene. Whilst I enjoy people watching very much, I like it for just that: my sitting back and watching people go by. I don’t want to actively participate in the mayhem associated with shopping, I actually want someone to shop for me (hence the aforementioned plaid incident in the early 1990s).

The first order of business was to find a Father’s Day card. The small section in the card shop was jammed with people pawing and grabbing at the cards with one particular woman yakking on the cheap flip phone wedged between her head and shoulder as she went on and on about some sort of work-related business that she was going to take care of on Monday whilst reading touching cards to express her love for her father. Not only was she very loud but she was separating the cards from the envelopes and putting things back in a generally disorganised fashion. The anal retentive side of me kicked in and I subsequently kicked her (um, accidently) and stepped on the back of her left shoe. She didn’t notice until she tried to turn and walk away.

Mission accomplished (selecting the card, not terrorising Miss AT&T), I finally got to the Army Navy store and made my way through the Carhartt section. Wearing Carhartt clothing is a badge of honour for my rural side of the family and something that I quite frankly enjoy. I like the feel of this particular brand of clothing and the practicality of it, hence the aforementioned work shorts.

I ended up purchasing three pairs in muted colours (but not all the same colour). As I stood in line at register 2, the kind cashier kept trying to direct me to other registers, even though there were others behind me. “You can go through register 3! Register 1 is open! You can even check out at the service desk!” Apparently I am scary but I stood my ground and made my way through register 2.

One thing that I have noticed whilst being out in public lately is that there are a lot of screaming kids on the street. Now I don’t mind that kids are out and about, after all it’s their world too and they need the interaction for proper socialisation, but lately there’s a lot of unhappy kids in a set radius around me. A meal at the diner was interrupted by a kid who propelled himself through the diner by latching onto the legs of the other customers. There were three kids screaming in various departments of the Army Navy store. I suspect they were trying to out scream each other as they shared their dismay with the situation.

I know how they felt.

Cosmic Bowling.



139.365, originally uploaded by iMachias.

Tonight Earl and Jamie came up with the idea of going bowling. And not just any kind of bowling, but Cosmic Bowling, complete with capital letters. We invited our friend Tony to join us.

Here’s the thing. I haven’t been bowling since 1979, efforts on the Wii notwithstanding. It has been 30 years since I was last seen in a bowling alley, more specifically the Strike ‘n Spare in Mattydale (outside of Syracuse); my Uncle Gary took my sister and I along with our cousins Jean and Heather for a Saturday afternoon.

I have two traumas associated with bowling. The first is that I come from a family of good bowlers; both Grandma and Grandpa City (and all of their siblings and relatives) were in bowling leagues. Grandma always watched bowling on Saturday mornings and early afternoons; she would often remark that I should become a pro-bowler if I really intended on making it in life. So I always feel some of lineage commitment pressure when I am handed a bowling ball.

My second trauma is that I broke two lanes that day 30 years ago when I was at Strike ‘n Spare because I had a habit of not waiting for the pinsetter to do it’s thing and would end up chucking the ball into the little rail thing that tells you not to bowl. I think there was a reason that Uncle Gary never took us bowling again.

So while tonight’s bowling adventure was fun, I have to admit that I really, really suck at it. I think I bowled a 49 in the first game and a 50 in the second. Earl was giving me pointers such as start with your right foot, don’t hop and for god’s sake don’t throw the ball like a shotput again! I seem to have this roundhouse approach to my bowling stance and tend the launch the ball like a backhanded frisbee throw. At least the little extra hop I used to do when I was a kid is gone. A bonus of the evening was that my ball didn’t jump lanes and usually ended up in the general vicinity of the pins.

After a post-game snack at the Denny’s where people are routinely shot or stabbed, I am pleased to say that I had a really good time with the guys tonight. I’m actually looking forward to going bowling again some time and maybe even knocking down a few of the pins.