Tween.

It’s that week when we are stuck between Christmas and New Year’s Day. The gaiety of the season tries to hang on but come this weekend you’ll probably be sick of the holiday decorations. I love the spirit of the holidays but not the cleanup. Alas, it must be done.

Work has been oddly busy this week. This is usually a slow week at work and so the staffing is light. This makes for the rest of us to be busy.

Earl and I have been going from party to party having fun with family and friends and from mall to mall spending gift certificates and a whole lot more. I think we’re shopped out now.

I have discovered HD radio and am enjoying a LGBT oriented radio station hiding on 94.5-2. The name of the station is “Pride Radio” and they play a lot of dance music. I haven’t heard any air personalities yet. I think I like Proud-FM in Toronto better but this Pride Radio is an acceptable substitute.

I spun up my first dance mix CD in 364 days. This was the first time using the new equipment in the studio and I must say that I am fairly impressed with how far the technology has come along. I’m listening to the CD with perfectionist ears as we speak. I might actually share this one for the masses. Not bad for a first attempt with the new equipment.

I have written down a few goals for 2010. I’m not resolving to do anything this year but I have a few goals I’d like to attain. I think they’re reachable.

DJ SuperCub.

So it has been a year since I last made a DJ SuperCub “Beat Assimilation” mix. The last time I spun in public was last New Year’s Eve, when a young woman drinking bathroom tap water out of a dixie cup she was sharing with her friends asked me when I was going to start playing dance music. To her, dance music meant bumping and grinding to rap on the dance floor.

I then decided that I was DJing in the wrong place. It wasn’t long afterwards that my aging mixing console decided to give up the ghost. Instead of investing the money into new equipment, I sold the aging PowerBook G4 that ran it all and settled into music obscurity.

For Christmas I was given a new mixing console along with a bunch of other sound equipment for the studio. The stars aligned and I now have Earl’s old MacBook Pro, which is working fabulously despite having been dropped five or so feet, all loaded up with my old music library.

Last night I took the new console out for a spin. And it works BEAUTIFULLY.

There will be a new “Beat Assimilation” mix by the end of the year. I have to take a few days to catch up on dance music I have missed out on, including Freemasons featuring Sophie Ellis-Bextor and “Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer)”.

It’s time to ramp DJ SuperCub back up to full potential. Enjoy the ride.

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13.

As the cold breezes blew and darkness settled over the river, it was 13 years ago tonight that Earl and I, along with Rick and Helen as witnesses, exchanged our commitment vows and placed our wedding rings on each other’s fingers.

Time certainly flies when you’re having fun.

Tonight we are celebrating as most married couples do; in a hotel room near the scene of the crime, spending time with family and probably gettin’ a little nookie before the sun rises.

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Last Minute.

For once I’m not rushing with last minute shopping this year. Everything is wrapped up and under the tree.

It’d be a kick to fight some crowds today though. Maybe I’ll drive by the mall and see how lively it is.

Gimmick.

It was earlier this year that I was on the road and decided to stop for a quick bite to eat in the middle of nowhere. Luckily, a set of golden arches signaled the location of another fried nirvana and I made the decision to go through the drive-thru. Trying to stay healthy, I opted for a grilled chicken sandwich value meal but then I negated the healthy part by making said meal a large. (It’s not a super-size, wink wink).

The surly-turned-friendly drive thru attendant handed me two bags: one which contained my meal and another which contained a Coca-Cola glass. I was surprised by this; I didn’t know I would be getting one of these glasses. The fries were turned upside down in the bag.

I didn’t go to McDonalds a lot over the summer or through the autumn, but a couple of weeks ago on my way back from Danbury, Conn. I stopped at another McDonalds where I ordered the same meal. I was handed another glass for opting to go large. This glass was tinted brown, whereas the first glass was tinted green.

Great gods they’re collectible!

When I was a kid there was a fast food restaurant chain here in Upstate New York called Carrols, and they had collectible glasses back in the 70s. These glasses (I think) had lead painted characters of Looney Toon characters on the side and were quite nifty to look at. While the Coca Cola tinted glasses didn’t have Looney Toons characters on the side, they are still quite attractive. A little research on the internet turned up that they not only have green and brown but they apparently have _six_ different colors to add to your collection.

I have become obsessed with these glasses.

So I went to our local McDonalds and proudly ordered the same meal I had ordered out of town. Twice.

“Where’s my glass?”

“Oh we stopped those a couple of months ago,” said the manager as I beckoned her over with concern on my face. “I sold the display for $50 and gave the money to the Ronald McDonald house.” Well that was a very honourable thing but where the hell was my glass?

Sigh.

I am still obsessed with these glasses.

Earl managed to pick up a blue glass in his travels and after a little investigating I found that we had one other green one but I still need pink, purple and some other shade of blue.

Sacré bleu!

I am resisting the temptation to go to other stores to find these glasses. However, I am considering purchasing a set on ebay.

If anyone wants to share a glass with me that they don’t want, I’ll pay for shipping and I’ll give you a shout out on the blog.

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Wheels.

A couple of weeks ago the Cubster’s van died. The motor is seized and in need of replacement. We have been waiting for the car dealer to find a suitable motor so he can get back on the road. In the meantime, we have looked at a few vehicles to be considered for replacement.

Last night we drove up to my hometown to the used car lot where I bought my second car way back in 1985. The first car being a ’74 Chevy Vega where the frame eventually broke in half, my second car was a 1976 Pontiac Astre that was nicknamed “the Disastre”. It was basically a Vega with a Pontiac nameplate, but it was $200 and a steal for a senior in high school. The car served me well and as an added bonus, when I wore my red snowsuit it looked like an olive with me as the pimento. This garnered laughs from family and friends.

Anyways, we drove up to the car lot where I bought the Disastre and took a look at a 1994 Honda Accord. Earl has little experience in buying a used car and Jamie wasn’t really feeling the Honda in any way but I talked with the guy that my family has known for a couple of decades. After asking important questions like how the brakes and the tires were, the history of the car and if he would feel comfortable driving the car cross country (not that anyone planned on doing that, but it’s a good question to ask), I decided to take the Honda out for a test drive. Just like I did 25 years ago, I drove through the village and through the neighboring village, ending up on back country roads where I could “open ‘er up” and see how she handled at around 65 or 70.

She handled pretty good for a ’94 with 130K miles. There was no shimmy at all and all the lights worked. I deemed the car safe after slamming on the brakes a few times to make sure they worked and listening for the telltale pings of an oil starved engine (it didn’t have the pings). One slamming of the brakes was mandatory; there’s a lot of deer running across the roads up in those parts.

It’s been a long while since I’ve test driven a used car and surprisingly it’s something that I miss. My last used car was the ’86 Hyundai Excel (the first year Hyundai sold cars in the U.S.) which I bought in 1989. The Honda was holding together much better than the Hyundai did, despite it’s bit of rust around the wheel wells. It felt pretty good to going bombing up the Ridge Road and it made me feel young again.

Jamie ended up not buying the car but the trip was well worth it. It’s little things like this that keeps me grounded. And as I mentioned before, I feel a little younger again.

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Wrapping.

I was faced with one of the few moments of the year that strikes terror in my heart. Even though it’s the holidays and all that and we are constantly reminded that this is indeed the most wonderful time of the year, I was breaking out in a cold sweat. My hands were cold and clammy and my tongue had the dry numb feeling that precedes the possibility of becoming nauseated.

I was about to wrap Christmas gifts.

There is a persistent myth out there that says the gay men have been programmed with the “pretty gene”; we are everything that Martha Stewart aspires to be, we can make walls ‘pop’ with a splash of an obscurely named paint and we wrap our gifts to add “breathless” to the atmosphere of giddy when the giftee is presented with their gift.

I am happy if the scraps of wrapping paper selected are all the same pattern.

I can’t wrap gifts. I don’t care if it’s a Rubik’s cube without the packaging. I can not wrap anything with that oh so delicate paper that insists on ripping if you give it a little tug. My corners are exposed, my tape doesn’t stick and my shears don’t shear.

I’d have better luck going to Ms. DeFazio and Ms. Feeney at Bardwell’s Department Store.

Earl and Jamie went out shopping yesterday afternoon. Like an insane squirrel, I sought out my nuts, er packages, from their secret hiding places and assembled everything on the dining room table, where Earl had thoughtfully put several rolls of wrapping paper, scotch tape and a couple of pairs of scissors. The first thing to be wrapped was a shirt box. I carefully laid the box down on the pulled out paper and cut the appropriate size. I folded over and something on a corner ripped. I adjusted to hide the rip but to no avail, another corner ripped. I applied some tape to the ripped paper. I then tried to patch a piece of paper over the rip, hoping that the bear’s head matched the same of the bear on the original piece of paper but it didn’t look right. I then wrapped another piece of paper around the middle of it all, hoping that it would make some sort of makeshift bow.

It looked awful.

At least it didn’t have crumpled up paper to make a convenient carrying handle like I had last year.

When all was said and done there was barely any rolls of wrapping paper left and to compensate I just shoved the presents behind a big box I had had professionally wrapped while I was out shopping.

They might not look pretty, but at least the presents are full of loving intent.

Rerun: Deck The Halls With Vomit.

Originally posted on 16 December 2001, this blog entry is one of my first.

This Christmas marks the sixth festive holiday season that Earl and I have been together. Let’s see… 1996 was 1, 1997 was 2, 1998 was 3, 9, 00, 01, yep it’s the sixth holiday season together. I always lose track, because our fifth anniversary is the day after Christmas, so that makes six.

Where were we now. Oh yes, it’s the holiday season once again in our merry little household. The tree is decorated so festively. The outside lights have been up since the weekend after Thanksgiving, and are now blowing fuses left and right. (I don’t know whose idea it was to decorate the 25 foot pine tree in the middle of our yard, but why did we put the connecting plugs at the top?) The tinny little caroling voices are screaming through Mr. High Fidelity and No Bass Speaker in the mall. Jingle BELLS Jingle BELLS, JINGLE ALL THE WAY. All of these are wonderful clues that it’s the most wonderful time of the year. But the real cincher on the arrival of holiday spirit is my partner Earl. God love him, his body just falls apart at the thought of the holidays. It’s like his warranty has expired or something.

Our first Christmas together, he warned me. “I always get sick around the holidays. Actually Rick (his youngest brother) and I take turns, he gets sick one year, I get sick the next.” And to think I was marrying into this festive little family the day after Christmas! The giddiness of it all! Because the way the holidays fell that year and because our families weren’t quite adjusted to their newest couple, Earl went to Pennsylvania for his family’s Christmas, I went up north to my folks and then met up with him Christmas afternoon. “I was sick yesterday, but I feel great today, since you’re here sweetheart.”

So I made it through a holiday season without actually witnessing “The Near Death holiday experience”.

The following year he was just stopped up in the sinuses a little bit. I reminded him, “Isn’t it Rick’s turn?”

“Aren’t you cute,” he replied, and proceeded to suck up the entire boxes of Kleenex into his nose. Had I not been holding his baby niece, she probably would have followed the Kleenex. The honk was heard as far away as Peoria, Illinois.

I don’t even want to mention the holiday season of 1999. Let’s just say I should have decorated the toilet seat instead of the bay window.

Last year, as we were getting ready for a Christmas party at my father’s, he broke the news to me.

“I’m having a stroke”.

“So soon? We haven’t even gotten the Christmas shopping done yet and the bills won’t be here for a month, how could you be having a stroke already?”

“You know, you’re going to feel really rotten when I drop dead into this wretched egg nog.”

“How do you know you’re having a stroke? Do you feel like Grandma Walton in that 1960s version of the Waltons movie?” I asked, trying to sound sincere.

“You know, you could show a little more compassion for a man who’s having a stroke. My left arm is numb.”

“Well then, it can’t be a stroke if it’s your left side. It’s got to be a heart attack”, I said, with all the wisdom of Nurse Needles.

“No, I’m not having a heart attack”, he nearly hissed back at me. I didn’t even know he could hiss. “I’m fine. Don’t worry about me.”

So I didn’t.

I don’t like to sound insincere or uncaring, but I think that the inner child in him gets so worked up with excitement about the holidays that his body can’t take it or something. Maybe it’s because I have a somewhat twisted philosophy on sickness. I simply refuse to be sick. I won’t do it. I won’t catch a cold, I won’t harbor pneumonia and I refuse to take part in a flu epidemic. I am going to trudge through life healthy and that’s just the way it is. I try to introduce him to my philosophies on the matter, but he’s not having any of it.

This morning I noticed he started sniffling, so I suggested “Try some of the Echinacea. It suppose to boost your immune system. Or maybe you want to start building up on Cold-Ezze”.

“I hate that stuff. It tastes awful.”

“Yes, but sweetheart, maybe it’ll herd off this cold that you seem to be catching.”, I replied, trying my best to be the doting lover.

“No, I’m going to have a cold. It’s because of the holidays.”

Tonight we went on one of our annual “Ride Through The Snobby Section of Town and See The Lights” rides. Since today was such a beautiful, mild day, I took the opportunity to vacuum and clean the car, and I put an air freshener in it.

“That air freshener is a bit over powering, isn’t it?”, he nearly snarled.

“Why don’t you wrap it up in a napkin and put it in the glove compartment?”

He wrapped it up like a dead minnow and shoved it in the glove compartment, underneath all the manuals and everything. He then rolled down the car window and hung his head out like a sick dog. Since we live in Upstate New York, and it’s winter, I needn’t point out that it was 30 degrees. “You are going to get sick if you keep up the dog routine. Shut the window!”

As we held hands and enjoyed the beautiful Christmas displays, I noticed he was sniffling more and more. So we headed home, had a mug of hot chocolate each, and then I announced I was going upstairs to update the website.

“I’m going to watch a little television”.

I had just started up the internet connection when he dropped the news.

“My leg is numb.”

Always the concerned lover, I went downstairs and dug my fingernails into his leg.

“Ouch! What the hell are you trying to do to me?”

“I thought your leg was numb. I wanted to be sure.”, I replied, trying to sound as authorative as Marcus Welby, M.D. “If you don’t feel good, why don’t you lie down?”

“People lie down when they’re tired. I’m not tired. I’m numb.” he said, a little exasperated.

“You didn’t sleep well last night, maybe you need some rest.” I suggested.

And so he did. He actually took my advice. I just went and checked on him… he’s snoring away, once again making the cows down the road restless with all that noise. I just know he’s going to be all sniffly this week. And being the loving lover, I’ll be there pushing the Echinacea and Cold-Ezze… after all, what are lovers for? But isn’t it Rick’s turn this year?

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Shopping.

Bradlees.
With the holiday season in full swing it’s been all about the shopping. It seems like that’s what this time of merriment and wonder has really turned into, a big shopping fest where we get minute by minute reports of how the big chains are faring in these economic times as we buy more and more cheap junk made overseas in an effort to show our loved ones how much we care about them.

Shopping has become such a chore. Those of us on a modest budget used to have numerous choices for holiday shopping. Here in our small city we used to have two functional malls and several large shopping plazas to choose from with a selection of stores: Bradlees, Ames, Montgomery Ward, K-mart, Caldor, Steinbach; the list goes on and on.

Unfortunately one mall was replaced by a Super Wal*Mart (Always White Trash, Always) 10 years ago and since we now have four of these monstrosities within 20 miles of our house the rest of our choices are gone. Our discount choices have been whittled down to Wal*Mart, Target and K-mart, and I can’t even mention the local K-mart without laughing because the best thing that could happen to that store is a devestating fire, and it pains me to say that since I was practically raised a blue-light baby.

I think one of the reasons I get cranky about shopping this time of year is because what’s left of the shopping choices in this area are all crammed into big box plaza after big box plaza along a road aptly (and creatively) named “Commercial Drive”. Traffic flow is like molasses at best and quite frankly it’s a chore to get in and out of all the little parking lots they have thrown around the once farmland in a hapazard fashion. So today I decided to stick to a more rural locale and headed to a free-standing JC Penney that was built sometime in the 1960s. I haven’t been there in at least 10 years and quite frankly I had a wonderful experience! Not only has the store been updated and it’s easy to get in and out of the plaza it’s situation in, in the 20 minutes that I was there I was approached by three different sales clerks to see if I needed assistance with finding something AND the cash stands were in full use with clerks that were actually smiling! I felt like I had stepped back in time a little bit and it was a wonderful change of pace. I then decided to go to a local store that specializes in outdoor clothing and found the exact same experience there; they were friendly, helpful and while both stores were considerably busy, I didn’t feel rushed, shoved or in need of a firearm or cocktail.

I think I’m going to stick with the slower pace in the smaller city for future shopping adventures and what I can’t find there I’ll just order online and have it brought to me. I’m a much saner person that way.

I still miss Ames though.