Ten for '10

The competition for 2010: be the first to complete all 10 things on this list, or complete the most by the end of the year. There are 8 participants competing who created and voted on this list. I expect you readers to root for TEAM BRIAN! (Well actually, 50% of you are probably other contestants.) I will keep you updated on my progress. Play along at home and send me updates.

I haven't thought too much about resolutions on top of this challenge, but I think I'll be busy enough.

  1. Crash a wedding.  Parameters: You cannot know the people getting married, you must stay at least one hour.

  2. Create a self time capsule including whatever it is you u want (no bigger than a shoebox). Give it to a fellow person on the email list, and it cannot be returned to you for 20 years.

  3. Do something you've been avoiding for at least one year that takes less than a day to do (i.e. going to the doctor, confessing your love to someone).

  4. Improve current employment situation (new job, raise, promotion, or extra benefits).

  5. Learn to cook an Indian meal. Parameters: A meal – must include at least one main dish and one side dish, dessert optional, like on Top Chef. You must actually cook the meal, no heating something frozen or pre-prepared up. You must serve it to at least one other person and send the group a picture and the recipe.

  6. Lose 10 pounds.  Extra credit: Take a “Jared” style photo – let’s see you holding out your pants!

  7. Organize a scavenger hunt in your city.  Must include at least 10 stops and at least 10 people must participate.

  8. Shoot as many different types of guns as possible at a shooting range only-we are not Sarah Palin.  If the range will let you take a picture, we want to see it.

  9. Take a "lesson" (for example, I want to take a skiing lesson, but it could be guitar, basketweaving, oral sex, etc.)

  10. Visit another participant in another state.

Have a happy new year!

Women in Love

Women in Love: a page-turner it was not, but it was one of those books that I didn't mind spending a lot of time reading, as if when I settled down to read I'd think, "Let's see what those crazy kids are up to now!"

You know in Annie Hall when Alvy says: "Love is too weak a word for what I feel - I lurve you, you know, I loave you, I luff you, two F's, yes I have to invent, of course I - I do, don't you think I do?" Compare:

"The point about love," he said, his consciousness quickly adjusting itself, "is that we hate the word because we have vulgarised it. It ought to be prescribed, tabooed from utterance, for many years, till we get a new, better idea."

Remember that time you were walking with your boyfriend but all you could think of was killing him? "To himself he was saying, 'I ought to kill her here. There is only this left, for me to kill her.' A heavy, overcharged desire to bring about her death possessed him. She was unaware."

Remember New Jersey and how we were always driving around?

"And where are we going?"
It was the answer she liked.


Showtune Tuesday: Rent

It was bound to happen.


Dream, 12/27/09

In between the chills and willing myself not to puke, I had a terrible dream that started out with college friends all talking about how they had recently been detained by police. The next day, I was heading to my car (the Spirit!) after work, and there were policemen in tanks firing machine guns at gangster/fratboy hybrids. A cop with a gun flagged me down and started asking me all sorts of weird questions, e.g. did I ever drink in the car? He creeped me out, and in the dream I ended every response with "sir." His name was Ryan. He was driving me--in my car--along a highway in a surreal version of New York to JFK airport.

Once we were moving, things were less tense. We stopped at a cafe that Molly owned. The man named Ryan sat down at a table. Molly was up by the kitchen, wearing a toggle coat and green glasses. Her hair was pulled back in a ponytail. It was blonde, not like real life. She said, "I haven't seen you in a while." I apologized and said,"Molly, this is Ryan. He is a police officer..." When I started introducing him, he motioned with his hands as if to tell me to keep quiet about him. And in an instant, I knew he was not what he had claimed to be, and I had been telling some stranger a lot of personal information about me. I stared at him and yelled, "You're a fraud!" He jumped up and made for the exit. I shouted for the others in the cafe to stop him, but he was too quick. Sirens were blaring outside. I ran into the street and screamed to some firemen to stop him, but I watched him talk his way out of being captured. He was running away. I was had.


More Holiday Music

From the Denver Gay Men's Chorus holiday concert, "Let it Ring! Let it Swing! Let it Snow!", featuring the Rocky Mountain Ringers:

Showtune Tuesday: Holiday Inn

Happy Holidays to you all!



I took advantage of my season pass for the first time and went skiing yesterday. Fantastico.

I returned to running for the first time in about 5 weeks. That sucked.


Showtune Tuesday: My Fair Lady

Derek watched this for the first time sometime last week. He was impressed that I knew the lyrics to "Get Me to the Church on Time." Pshaw!


Dear Michael (Not Cav This Time)

Dear Michael,

I was at the bookstore a few weeks ago when I saw a greeting card that quoted Emily Dickinson and summed up what I have long thought: "I felt it shelter to speak to you." I have mulled over this topic a bit, about how from when I visited your room back in the day (you can never go back), I never felt like I had to be anybody except me. Thank you for that.

I should have bought it, but maybe I was afraid you would think I was joking. I could have written "Happy Birthday" in it!

Bien à toi,



It Is Cold

Janine says it's three degrees.

Showtune Tuesday: Guys and Dolls

Alas, old links are broken.


Dreams, 12/6/09

OK, this was definitely influenced by the Celine Dion Workout Video that I watched last night (thanks to Adam for tipping me off):

I was attending a wellness retreat or diet boot camp run by Celine Dion. I was late to our meeting or whatever it was in the cafeteria. The menu was ham, but because I was late, Celine punished me by giving me a miniature slice. Mike R was a waiter serving dessert. A waitress, a Japanese woman in kimono and obi, was giggling because of the tiny ham. That prompted me to start laughing and tell Celine, "I'm sorry, but I can't do this."

Later I dreamed I was walking down Karla Drive with Dave M. He was telling me about a girl he liked once and how he had given her a sticker of a golden coin from Mario Kart.


Last Week

It was upsetting to listen to the speeches in the NY Senate debate on marriage (you can find them at http://www.youtube.com/nysenate) and then see the law voted down. During the debate, I think only one senator (Diaz Sr.) who voted against the law spoke. I think if you're voting on something that is profoundly affecting people's lives, maybe you should have to explain yourself.

I've been worried about New Jersey, where gay marriage may come up for a vote next week. In the long run, I think these arguments will look ridiculous. I keep reading about how young people are supportive of marriage equality. I just wish we were all there NOW.

And I'm happy I live in a country where I can even be bitching about this, as opposed to, say, Uganda where a bill to make homosexuality (or anyone who aids and abets it) punishable by death is currently under consideration. On the other hand, it's been a hard week to be happy when our anti-war president is sending more soldiers to Afghanistan. (Unless of course they are openly gay. But our fierce advocate president is surely working on that.)

The DGMC sang at Whole Foods this week. In a grocery store singing holiday songs, I was crying a little because I was happy to be there. ("Christmas makes you feel emotional...") We finished the concert with "Bambelela", which they often translate into English as "Never give up." It was the day after the vote in New York. It felt good.

Also heard this week: can medical marijuana advertising save media? I only felt like telling you about this because back home people were asking about what Denver is like, and one striking difference with NJ/NY is the presence of marijuana dispensaries and their advertising.

The mountains are snow-covered and look beautiful. It has been shockingly cold this past week, but the mountains are a good visual reminder to keep things in perspective. They've seen it all.

Just Because


The Physics Lesson

I'm sure some of the other laws of the universe we discussed have held true, but I have forgotten them. The most important lesson I learned in Physics class came when Mr. A. told us, "There will always be someone smarter than you, there will always be someone better than you..."

Sen. Diane Savino FTW

Lots of eloquent speeches today, but I just liked how down-to-earth she was and the story with the pedi-cab. It must be the Staten Island in her. "We in government don't determine the quality or the validity of people's relationships. If we did, we would not issue three quarters of the marriage licenses we do."


Showtune Tuesday: Patience

I hear the soft note of the echoing voice
Of an old, old love, long dead –
It whispers my sorrowing heart “rejoice” –
For the last sad tear is shed –
The pain that is all but a pleasure will change
For the pleasure that’s all but pain,
And never, oh never, this heart will range
From that old, old love again!

(P.S. I love how the staging of this production is exactly like the one Penn Singers performed back in 2000, right down to the threesome stage right because men and women are not evenly matched.)


Showtune Tuesday: Ziegfeld Girl

I was channel surfing and found Ziegfeld Girl on TCM. (Oh God, I'm turning into my mom.) I may just need to rent it to see the beginning. Right before the number below, there was an awesome girls-in-sea-creatures-costumes sequence, so you might need to rent it, too!

Viewing tip: let this baby load so you can watch it through. Happy Thanksgiving. (Alas, old links are broken.)


Portrait of the Blogger

Once, Bob and I were talking on the phone. He told me this is what it was like when we used to talk on the phone: "'I'm going to do my French homework and watch X-men.' You were a weird kid."


Dream, 11/19/09

Mike, Raina, Leslie, and I were walking to Study Hall. We were discussing a test I had just taken where you got points for putting your name on the front. Leslie poked fun, accusing me of cheating. Raina, in complete seriousness, said it was a question you could really get stuck thinking about. We found seats at a long table. Yulia, Elena, and Justin were there. Everyone took out blue books and notebooks. I said they were too hardcore students for me. Yulia said she was getting anxious already. Justin was at the end of the table, talking about a guy he had dated. He was wearing dog tags.


Showtune Tuesday: Can-Can

Beaujolais Nouveau this week.



My parents are in Las Vegas taking advantage of their complimentary room at Hooters. Awesome.

I'd have sex with Heathcliff.

A little behind the times, but I finally heard "Empire State of Mind".

At the potluck this week, I found out that no one else knew what Permanent Press is for, either.


Opposing Viewpoints Thursday

Patrick Dempsey in Sweet Home Alabama: douchey or not douchey? Go!



I remember that we used to flirt or otherwise attempt to convey emotional information in “away messages” posted on AOL Instant Messenger, typically through song lyrics.

Erin had the Pixies. Andrea had Imani Coppola and Counting Crows. Raina had, “The fire that you like so much in me is the mark of someone adamantly free.”

Craig quoted from his Social Psych textbook: “It has been said that if two people look into each other’s eyes for more than a few seconds, they are either going to make love or kill each other.” I was sure that note was for my benefit.

It was this collective behavior, if only for a brief period. Do people still do this? Do they do it on Gchat or Facebook? Was it possible, probable even, that you mistook an away message really meant for someone else?

I would come across lyrics I didn’t know. Hari, who didn’t often engage in the away messaging, posted, “Taking the easy way out.” Of course I looked that up and downloaded the song and still feel terrible when I hear it, no matter how much water under how many bridges.

(I remember this heyday of AIM coincided with the introduction of digital music that no one paid for.)

Sue had something from “Fantasize” that time. Dani had David Gilmour. I had the Beatles, Ben Folds Five, Ani DiFranco.

I have loved these people, and I was so, so stupid. I could have just come out and said it. It’s not like we have all the time in the world.

Showtune Tuesday: Zombie Prom


Running Commentary #5: Notes from the Marathon

Hannah's tip was to get a good night's sleep two nights before the race, because the night before you'd be too anxious and excited to get good sleep. We ran into Yvonne on the street after a great pre-race dinner, and she said the same thing. This advice was true.

When we woke up in the morning at 4, Dre's first word was "Goddammit." Mine was "Fuuuuck!"

On the bus ride to Staten Island, I kept saying ridiculous things that made Nina laugh, and she warned that she would not have this during the race because she did not want to waste energy. I told her I call Mile 3 "LAUGH RIOT." She told me, "I will be throwing water on you at some point during the race. That's going to happen."

Taping your name on yourself is the best thing you can do, besides that whole sleep thing. Strangers supporting you, wishing you well. You see the best in people, like how you think nothing bad can happen on Christmas.

Andrea left her phone on the bus, but then the driver turned around and dropped it off. I said someone above was watching out for us. Dre revised her morning's "Goddammit" to "Goddammit, You're Awesome!"

This is what people do for three hours while waiting to start a race: eat, go to the bathroom, pin bibs on, pin gels on and dance around so the gels start swinging like tassels, trade lines from A League of Their Own.

My friend from work found me right at the start of the race. "I wondered who that was with 'anus' on their back and figured it had to be you."

I wasn't worried about time. Because my goal was to finish, my biggest fear was that I wouldn't be able to, and the NYT article about the start made me paranoid, so I took the beginning of the race very slowly. At the same time, the view of the harbor and the skyline was so overwhelming, it made you want to slow down and enjoy it.

There was a lot live music, bands playing in gas stations or right on the sidewalk. Somewhere early on, Gwen and I were running together and singing along to "You Can't Always Get What You Want."

Around mile 7 I saw Matt and Leslie. They were yelling so loudly I heard them before I could find them. Then Leslie was jumping up and down. I waved to Raina and Jonathan who were standing on an island in the middle of the avenue. Shortly afterwards, I got a banana from Samantha (I like the way those sound together).

I met back up with Dre and co. around mile 10. We ran through Williamsburg. Anthony ran alongside us for a while.

The Queensboro Bridge was tough, the spot we had been warned about. I thought of the training run at the Bluffs and how they were harder and the little chalk sign the coach had written on the sidewalk that said "Look up," followed with a smiley face.

1st Ave was more difficult than I expected. It rolled a little. But I saw Courtney around Mile 18. And the next few miles were fine because they handed out gels (I pinned 5 to my shorts, but two fell off!), and I was excited to see my family on the Willis Avenue Bridge. This turned out to be a good location to find them because they were the only people besides NYPD standing up there.

I couldn't keep up with Andrea and Nina in the Bronx. But there was Lady Liberty, a girl with a foam crown and a pale blue shirt that said "Slow and Steady" and she seemed to be having fun. When we crossed the Madison Avenue Bridge, I said to whoever was around me, "5 boroughs done, bitchez!" and Lady Liberty laughed.

Team Fox had a big cheering section at Mile 23, and I high-fived Michael J. I cut across and hugged the HRG peeps. Despite all this support, the portion of the race running south through Central Park really sucked. I was so close to being done that I expected these last miles to be easier. Mile 24-25 was my hardest. There was a lot of thinking about training runs with some mental f-bombs interjected.

I flew across Central Park South, and when I rounded Columbus Circle, I heard "Paradise City." Could I have picked a better song to get pumped for the end? Around this time, I issued a prayer that went like: "God, I could die now, and it would be okay. Not that I want to die now--I want to live a lot longer--but if it happened right now, I'd be okay with it." (In retrospect, this is funny, because I hadn't finished the race yet.) The I proceeded to thank Him for the ability to finish the race, the friends and family who supported me, the view of New York Harbor from the Verrazano Bridge, etc.

I finished the race in 5:06:22. I ran my last mile in 9:58. I found one of the gels that fell off in my underwear.


Thinking About

That Blackberry commercial telling people to do what they love and love what they do, and is there anything that makes you hate your life more than a Blackberry? Is this an exercise in reverse psychology?

Wishing JP was here.

The Time Traveler's Wife. AND the latest future failed idea: The Time Traveler's Friend, where Elena circa 2009 resides on the UES and works near Shirley, and visits Brian circa 2004 in the same locales.

What is the point of Starbucks Via? I actually liked the commercial with the Town Hall protester, but I'm trying to think of the "use case." It has to be a very specific type of coffee drinker, right? Someone who has access to hot water quickly who is snobby about coffee. If they had to heat up their own hot water, why wouldn't they make regular coffee? But the only time I have access to hot water quickly is at work, where I have free instant coffee already. So why would I pay for a Via? If I was going to pay a ridiculous markup for coffee (which I have been known to do), why wouldn't I buy a regular Starbucks coffee? My head hurts.


A sex dream about Sean Hayes. Really, brain? Really?!

The hate crimes bill passed, but marriage up in the air in Maine.


Delinquently responding to e-mails, forgetting to send cards.


Showtune Tuesday: Evita

I was skimming the Madonna Rolling Stone interview in the airport and read that working on Evita was the biggest challenge of her career. I like the musical and, by extension, the movie, but I hate how they took this song away from the original character and gave it to Evita. Thus, I've waited for the recording to become available on the ol' Youtube.

(Alas, old links are broken.)


Dinner in San Francisco

I wrote Brooke afterward, "I still can't quite come to grips with us being all spread out, but it's magic when we get to meet up." She said she used the same word, too.

In other news, I've watched more Yankees games since leaving New York than I ever did living there. I think it's my way to try and keep connected with the fam and with the city. I'm excited to see them this weekend.


"What Do You Think I Fought For"

I saw this on Elaine's facebook today and felt like sharing.


Showtune Tuesday: Martin Guerre

This week's episode of Showtune Tuesday is dedicated to Samantha. Then we were young and unafraid, and Bonnie and Doug chaperoned a trip to Europe, and Becky brought Samantha. In London we saw Martin Guerre. In Paris, Becky and Sam's hotel room had a small balcony. Sam stepped onto it, raised her arms in the air, and her voice rang out over the Parisian traffic: "Don't cry for me, Argentina..." (Last year in Berlin, in a similar move, Sue pulled "some Evita action" to direct Paula from the courtyard to her apartment. Gosh, I love an unexpected Evita reference.)


Good Weekend + Question

Friday: DGMC concert.

Saturday: 14 mile run. TAPER!

Sunday: Breakfast burritos + donuts (excellent marathon nutrition, right?), a date with the bf to see Whip It, which I think I could watch over and over and still enjoy, and: "This concert is all about bells, snow, fairies, and minor 2nds."

Last weekend on the run, someone posed the question: if you were a major league baseball player what would your at bat song be? It's always funny to be at a Yankees or Mets game against a team like the Braves (or the Rockies). The Braves players all have Southern or Classic Rock songs, and the New York teams have Reggaeton. My at bat song of the week would be "Helter Skelter."


Nine Twenty Three

"If I cried would you cry?"
"I'd probably smile."
"You're weird."
"It's just that with the negative, you don't show so much."
"Like when you're mad."
"Are you sure? Because I always think I'm angry. I think anger is my default emotion."
"Yeah. I think you're angry a lot. But you only show a fraction of it. It's like you know it's underneath."

[Then I think of a a treasure chest in a well because of Stephen King's The Eyes of the Dragon, a book I read so long ago that I don't remember anything from it except that image (and the importance of a napkin at dinner):]

People's minds, particularly the minds of children, are like wells--deep wells full of sweet water. And sometimes, when a particular thought is too unpleasant to bear, the person who has that thought will lock it into a heavy box and throw it into that well. He listens for the splash...and then the box is gone. Except it is not, of course. . . .The caskets those evil, frightening ideas are buried in may rot, and the nastiness inside may leak out after awhile and poison the water...and when the well of the mind is badly poisoned, we call the result insanity.


Showtune Tuesday: Sweet Charity

Here's a song I know from a show I haven't seen, except when iNtuitons combined Sweet Charity and Nights of Cabiria.


Running Commentary #4

On Friday I had to buy clothes to wear to prepare for the 20 mile run the next morning. When I woke up and scraped the ice and snow off Janine, her thermometer said it was 19 degrees out. It was snowing lightly. I fishtailed into the parking lot where we started and was freaked to run in such slippery conditions. The great thing was that six other people in my pace group were running 20 miles, so we had some fun and got a good amount of crazy looks from the few people that were out. Four of the women I ran with are doing NYC, so we are going to try to meet at least for the start of the race.

I'm done with the long runs now. During the marathon I can tell myself it's not as cold as the 20 miler. (By the time we finished the run, it was 29 degrees.)

P.S. One of the other runners came up and told me I run "gracefully." It is the first time in 28 years someone has described me as graceful. She said I run tall, like a gazelle. I guffawed. Like a GIANT, slow gazelle.

Dream, Around 10/7/09

It is night, and my friends and I are playing some kind of game like a scavenger hunt. It looks like we are in the commons of West Beverly High (from 90210). Bob asks, "Bri, can we go bowling?" So we leave. Mike and I get a ride with Beth A, and we both sit in the back seat. She asks us about what churches we belong to. The three of us go to a reception at the OLM chapel, but it isn't really the OLM chapel because it is closer to Route 10 and the Whippany River is flowing right behind it. The reception is in the parking lot. The party tent and the tablecloths are yellow.



I finally got around to completing one of my resolutions from 2007. I joined the Denver Gay Men's Chorus. I love it. That is all.

Our first concert is October 16th! It's free, so if you live in Denver, come on down.

Showtune Tuesday: Glee

I love this show! Although this number is not from a musical (and most of their songs are not), it is darn catchy and one of my faves so far.

(Alas, old links are broken.)


Six Hands

I'm trying out a new shower gel, Kiss My Face Anti-Stress Woodland Pine and Ginseng flavor. On the one hand, I love it because it smells like a campfire. On the other hand, smoky campfire smell doesn't make me feel so clean.

Denver's high temperature yesterday was 78 degrees with a low of 50. Today's high was 53 degrees with a low of 38. On the one hand, I hate the bipolarity. On the other hand, outfits!!!

I am almost finished with writing a recommendation letter for a co-worker's business school application. On the one hand, I despise this assignment, I think mostly because it requires areas of my brain to function that I normally never use (when do need to write anything except bullet points at work?). On the other hand, it is nice to think about someone else in a benevolent and non-obsessive way, and to use areas of my brain that I don't normally use.


Showtune Tuesday: The Lion King

(Alas, old links are broken.)


Dear Nana

Dear Nana,

How the hell do you fold a fitted sheet?

In serious need of some old school skills, your grandson,


Feelings I Don't Like

1. Looking stupid at the hands of others

I never like feeling or looking stupid, but it really pisses me off when I look stupid and don't think it's my fault! No offense, but mostly this happens at work with IT. They don't have to talk to the new client who now thinks I'm an idiot because it takes three days to transfer a file. What was that about our superior data management capability?

2. Powerlessness

I don't like to see you in pain. I especially don't like to see you in pain when I can't do anything about it.


Running Commentary #3

Yesterday, for the first time in training for this race, I ran indoors. It sucked. On the plus side, I'm sure I ran faster than I do when off the treadmill. But it was hard to concentrate. Outside I haven't been running with music, but I did at the gym. I was distracted by keeping an eye on how far I was getting from the iPod (I left it on the "dashboard"), whether there was enough slack in my headphone cord to move farther away, my arms didn't feel right...blech.

When I told JP I don't listen to music, he asked what I think about when I run for long distances. I don't know, really. That's one of the reasons I thought it would be fun to write about running, not so much to document how I felt but to try to pinpoint where my head went to during that hour or two. This has proven difficult.

This is what Haruki Murakami had to say in What I Talk About When I Talk About Running:

What exactly do I think about when I’m running? I don’t have a clue.

On cold days I guess I think a little about how cold it is. And about the heat on hot days. When I’m sad I think a little about sadness. When I’m happy I think a little about happiness. As I mentioned before, random memories come to me too. And occasionally, hardly ever, really, I get an idea to use in a novel. But really as I run, I don’t think much of anything worth mentioning.

I just run. I run in a void. Or maybe I should put it the other way: I run in order to acquire a void. But as you might expect, an occasional thought will slip into this void. People’s minds can’t be a complete blank. Human beings’ emotions are not strong or consistent enough to sustain a vacuum. What I mean is, the kinds of thoughts and ideas that invade my emotions as I run remain subordinate to that void. Lacking content, they are just random thoughts that gather around that central void.

Nothing much worth mentioning, nothing much I even remember, but I meant to tell you about how I ATE IT on Monday's run and learned my lesson that running after dark in a poorly lit, unfamiliar city is stupid. That night I was zigzagging around the city and thought: if there were a catastrophic attack (I was thinking nuclear), Denver probably wouldn't be a bad place to be. Over the week I've been thinking maybe not.


Showtune Tuesday: Swing Time

Note to self: add this one to the Netflix queue.


The Subtext, Mike

The subtext to this conversation we are having on Facebook is "And I miss you. I miss you every single day."

(It is fall. I am in the mood to listen to sad, mellow songs. I need to keep better track of things I've linked to before. I can't remember.)


Rocky Mountain Hi

I got into the elevator at work. A man stepped in and moved to press the button for his floor but found I already had hit it. We were the only two in the elevator. After twenty seconds of silence, he turned to face me and said, "I'm sorry, I haven't met you. My name is [Friendly Guy]."

"I'm Brian. Nice to meet you."

It's topsy-turvy world here! It's more awkward not to greet someone than it is to say hello.



"Do you think if we went on eHarmony we would be matched up?"
"I don't know..."
"Maybe they know something we don't know!"
"Maybe we know something eHarmony doesn't know."
"Like your big penis."

The Funniest Minute in Television

So sad I'm missing the live performance of "The Nightman Cometh" tonight. That should be in Showtune Tuesday one day.

Kaitlin Olson is awesome.


Showtune Tuesday: Spamalot

I'll sing it in your face.


Dear Bitchlog: Pronouns in Songs

Dear Bitchlog,

It's irritating when people cover a popular song but insist on changing the pronouns because they feel icky singing about a boy or a girl or something.

Daughtry, you are singing a Lady Gaga song. Chill out. Did you really need to change "he" to "she"?

The Denver Gay Men's Chorus is a group I'm thinking of auditioning for. Dudes, we are pretty sure you're gay. What exactly is the point in changing the lyrics to "Yesterday"?


Running Commentary #2

A friend from work told me about her running group, Runner's Edge of the Rockies, so I decided to go out for a complimentary run with the group last Saturday. A-MAZ-ING! They put up water and Gatorade every 2 miles, they chalk out the route for you, and they have pace setters! It was similar to the long training run in Central Park, except that they do this every week. Everyone I talked to was friendly, so the initial awkwardness of running with people I had never met before wore away quickly. One woman told me about how she ran her 6th marathon on her 50th birthday! She also talked of a coyote crossing her path on a run a few weeks ago. Say what? We ran through Stapleton, a town of new homes that I simultaneously thought were beautiful and a little Truman Show. The whole town is in fact new, because the land it sits on used to be the airport. I ran 12 miles.

Today, back in sweet home Alabama, I decided to do a 5-mile run that would take me up to Vulcan. I've (rather unsuccessfully) been looking for hills to practice all over Denver, but today I met my match. Vulcan stands on a hill. And from my hotel it was one big climb up to the statue. I had to stop a few times.

If you're reading this, you probably already know about my fundraising efforts, but just in case not, you can visit my donation page to raise money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research here.

Showtune Tuesday: The Music Man

For those devoted fans out there, happy anniversary to Showtune Tuesday! That's a technicality. If you count the Annie post, then this is issue 53.



My favorite find this week is the comic strip on Shakesville called "Conniving and Sinister." Currently digging strip ten, strip seven, and the t-shirts in strip twelve.


Showtune Tuesday: Bye Bye Birdie

For the fellow fans of Mad Men. Worlds collide!


Pop Music

Can someone tell me who sings that song where the refrain is "I wanna be on you"? Every time hear it on 95.7 The Party (great name for a Z100-like sation), I think of Anchorman, and I can't believe someone turned it into a song that we are supposed to take seriously.

I suppose this doesn't jive with my appreciation for "Love In This Club." I'm biased because I like Usher. My favorite part is when he goes, "I'm gonna give it to you non-stop, and I don't care who's WATCHING!" First of all, the words just barely fit, and secondly, do you hear that beautiful piano waterfall after "WATCHING?" The disgusting thought of having sex in a club juxtaposed with tender piano music is brilliant!


Brain Dump

Trying to keep track of all the things you want to write about without actually writing never works. And it can’t be good for you, holding on insistently to these same shreds and patches even when the feeling or the purpose is gone. Does it prevent you from making new memories to obsess about older ones over and over? It must be degenerative. Your mind makes the connections repeatedly at the expense of making others. I contemplated quitting my job this week. More than usual. Why did I take every plate I’ve ever owned with me? Everyone calls these plates the wedding china. Where are they from? Living with others I've acquired quite a collection. Blue plates, glasses with bubbles in the bottom: Raina. Tufts glass, Foreman Grill: Lauren. Mike’s pillow from a time he slept over. Derek has a lot of board games. We both have Polaroid cameras and used to have black and white shower curtains. I have a rooster costume and he has a penguin.

Unpacking has been comforting. I paused to rifle through the photo albums. This picture of us in Vermont in thrift store clothes is so ridiculous, and it makes me laugh every time I look at it. We were in Shirley. Andrea talked about how all the trips to Long Island meld into one eternal summer but there are at least some pictures or incidences to make distinctions. These pictures are from 2001, and the reason I made that educated guess was that they were in an album with other things that I know happened in 2001. There were a lot of pictures with people’s tongues hanging out, and that year Dani, Erin, and Sue loitered at 7 Eleven until a Kosovar offered to buy them Meister Brau, and those nipples are smoking! (Bob once said Long Island is where pictures go to die (the 8th grade dance photo), and maybe to retain this mystique the house itself rarely allows itself to be photographed. But here we do have evidence of what it once looked like, at least in the recipes-on-the-kitchen-wallpaper years, and the “Hi, this is me. And this is my dog, Ruff!” mirror still in the living room. There are no pictures of upstairs, though, with my favorite wallpaper in the world. And now it is gone!) It makes sense: we had no fake ids and showed determination to get beer. In 2002 I don’t know what happened except that a Polaroid was involved because there is a snapshot of drunk me and drunk Erin with my hand in her lap and I’m wearing an Australia ringer t-shirt I got from the Gap and had for a thousand years. There is one of Bob and me, and he is wearing the American Dream shirt, and his hair is long. Chronologically, that must have been the year that Raina, Brooke, Jose, Lindsay came, when Raina was scared of the prominent religious figurines, and Jose said, “That’s okay, you were just being a bitch.” But what was the year that Paul came? It wasn’t 2003. 2003 was instigated by Samantha, Hannah was there and got high-fived by Mike, Bob and I hooked up and broke the One Rule of Shirley, Mom called and asked if everything was copacetic the day after she left a howler on the answering machine, we crashed Nathan’s swingers’ party. Nancy and her sugar cookies. I’m pretty sure I was still recovering from 2003 in 2004 and don’t know if we went out. Life’s Sadness was when Hannah graduated in 2005, and teak sales taunted Erin on the four-hour drive to Montauk. We went wine tasting for the love of Lincoln in 2006, and in 2007 it seemed everyone sat around watching the Shark Week on the U.S.S. Indianapolis which I TOTALLY want to see. When I think like this I think “That’s all I’ve wanted, to walk in such a place with you, with friends…”

Now anything else I wanted to talk about is obliterated. We went camping. That equals two weeks in a row of beer and s’mores for me. It was freezing at night. Samantha makes a better teepee. In the dark I got up to pee and was freaked out to be alone. A creature stole our peanut butter and jelly. I think it was a fox.

I asked Rudy a question about books. I spoke to Rudy the very first week I was at Penn. Well, he spoke to me, because he was barking on Locust Walk to promote “No Exit.” I don’t know what he said, but he wore glasses and had some blue hair and smiled, and I went to see the play. It is a story I like to tell myself.

When JP sings sometimes it scares me because he seems to sing with this emotion I don’t normally see, like in his heart he is singing to someone else, someone better. Why should I think he is singing to me? Most of the time I’m singing for myself.

All the different ways to say how you know somebody. Yvonne was in Denver and “Tell me how you know her again?” I know her from high school theatre, and then she went to Syracuse and Jenn went to Syracuse and we e-mailed from time to time, and then I had an internship in New York and we met one day at Convent Station and then used to talk for five minutes and sleep the rest of the way, and then we both lived in New York, and we searched and searched for ice cream one night and we saw an ice cream truck drive by and then got excited when we thought we found one but it turned out to be a FedEx truck. In high school she used to wear a Circle Dress that I loved and made sure to tell her every time. Andrea used to go to OLM with Becky and they were really good friends. And then I used to visit her at Band Camp and watch field hockey games and write her postcards that I never sent. Here is one from Marseille, the Chateau d’If, and I thought she would like it because she liked the Count of Monte Cristo. Rudy told me to go to “No Exit” and introduced me to Eddie Izzard and Neil Gaiman. Rakesh introduced me to Go Fug Yourself and Project Runway, and I will always laugh when I remember how he compared the Tool Box to Brigadoon, and then later I saw him read at Tattered Cover. Hari won a bike race in a bar, and I cheered him on, because I’m a big fan.

It was a shitty two weeks at work, and every night I would get in the car and sing along: “I’m sorry I’m hard to live with, living is the problem for me.” And I suppose most people would think the song is depressing but it’s so effing good and it’s nice to sing along to that it made me feel better. Somewhere along the line I looked at a bottle of conditioner and learned that the French word for “sunflower” is “tournesol.” I think that’s perfect.

“Were you ready to see them go?”



N.J. Bishops Campaign Against Same-Sex Marriage

I don't know why this unsurprising news about New Jersey bishops campaigning against same-sex marriage should bother me more than others, but it does. Because it's my home state, and because my parents will probably get the letter signed by the Bishop of Paterson (the diocese that OLM belongs to) ...or they would have received it last weekend if they weren't out visiting me. I wonder if the issue will be addressed in churches, as suggested by the report.

How awesome is the graphic on The Advocate article, though?

Peace out, Catholic Church. And I'm taking Jesus with me.


Showtune Tuesday: Godspell

(Alas, old links are broken.)


This Weekend

I went camping!

I haven't found much time to write lately. I'll try to work on that.


I Like This Song (And I Like Olives)

And this is why you ask your friends to make you road trip CDs.


Running Commentary #1

The Non-Runner's Marathon Trainer was a helpful and interesting read. The book and the training program outlined in it are geared for people who have never run a marathon before, and they emphasize that your only goal for your first marathon should be: finish it. I'm down with that. They mix a lot of realism (worry about distances rather than time; walking is not something to be ashamed of) with optimism. Each chapter talks about a psychological aspect of training, like visualizing a good run you've had or what it will be like to finish the race, or "positive self-talk." While some of these techniques seem super corny, I could see how mental preparedness will make or break you in the last miles.

Recently I've run in Denver, NYC, and Shirley. In Colorado, I notice I get dehydrated quicker and that it takes longer to get my breathing in a good place, but I think that's partially a function of getting back into running and not entirely attributable to altitude. All the runs I've done haven't had hills! The city is situated in the mountains but mostly on level ground. The biggest hill I've run was during the long training run in Central Park. By the time I ran in Shirley, I had read the marathon book, so I got to practice some of the mental techniques, even though the first two runs I did there were only 3 miles. "It's hot and I'm being attacked by mosquitos...BUT IT DOESN'T MATTER!" Ah, it helps to keep a positive attitude. I saw a cute little deer with fuzzy antlers. Dre and I explored the Mastics with a 10 mile run on Sunday morning. The lessons from that experience were: 1)the Mastics are bigger than I thought, and 2)running after a night of hard drinking sucks.

Showtune Tuesday: The Little Mermaid


(Alas, old links are broken.)


Online Reading

"A couple of people have brought non-Condé gays and we promptly blacklist those Condé employees."

"And it doesn't hurt to be good-looking. But we wouldn't necessarily not welcome unattractive gays...But it screens in a pretty well-dressed, attractive type."

Can you read my PUKERface?

Way back when, Courtney and I used to publish an e-newsletter called the Valhalla Star Ledger Intelligencer, and by far the best feature was Opposing Viewpoints Thursday. We would take a topic and in three sentences or less argue our position. What made ours better than all other similar formats out there is that we would exchange our submissions and declare a winner. The New York Times doesn't declare a winner, but I enjoyed this "Room for Debate" on pharmaceutical advertising. It's incredible how much money is SPENT, and I lol'd at:

In fact, relying upon network news pharmaceutical ads as a cultural touchstone, a recent visitor to our planet would think that when we are young our legs can’t stop moving, that we menstruate four times a year, and we are ravaged by S.T.D.’s (despite taking great measures not to get pregnant), and we are extremely depressed; when we’re middle-aged we desperately want to get pregnant but can’t, perhaps because most men can’t achieve an erection (despite the fact that many others are afflicted with four-hour “reactions”), and we are also bald, overweight and extremely depressed; and when we’re old we are arthritic, forgetful, still depressed, riddled with cancer and either can’t urinate at all or pee so much we have to wear diapers.

Does the increased importance of statistics mean my career prospects are good? And is it sexy enough to get me laid more often? What if I wear the t-shirt?

In other news, I'm trying to label posts so I can make one of those nifty tag clouds like Mike.


More Internet Props

Threadcakes is a baking contest inspired by designs on Threadless, purveyor of fun t-shirts. Check out the fantastic entry and video by someone we love (even more than poli sci courses).

Showtune Tuesday: Carousel

I hate the story of Carousel, but I love some of the songs, particularly:


Showtune Tuesday: The Hazards of Love

Check it: I was driving home from work on Friday, when I heard The Decemberists on World Cafe describing their latest album as a "folk opera." On Saturday, I bought the album. On Tuesday I'm in love.

In its scope and its prelude it reminds me of Pink Floyd. The Queen, protecting her "innocent child" from love, reminds me of Mother in The Wall. Some of the over-the-top guitar brought a few Rufus Wainwright tunes to mind. Track 5 would be at home in Spring Awakening. The Queen's part in the song below is reminiscent of "White Rabbit." (In my dreams iNtuitons stages this, and I get to play her part.)

And lest you think we are straying too far from our Showtune Tuesday roots, reader, know that there's a trio of creepy ghosts that could eat the bitches in The Secret Garden for breakfast.

P.S. The album could probably also serve as SAT verbal prep. I had to look up what "taiga" means.

P.P.S. I'm on vacation for a week. Check back in August!



I picked up a discarded copy of the paper yesterday, and I'm glad I did because I discovered Being Human.

Coming Out at Work

The move to Denver has prompted me to come out to 10,000 people in the past month. I've had business trips to two clients, and when they learned I had moved to Denver, they wanted to know why. What are you supposed to say? "Personal reasons?" Douchey. So I just said, "Well, my boyfriend of two years lives there."

JP questioned why it would even be an issue to tell someone that, but as we talked he agreed that it's difficult to know when it is an appropriate time to come out to coworkers. (In recent weeks articles like this WSJ one have kept me mulling over this.) I told him that I fear the worst-case scenarios, where a client has a personal issue with it and requests not to work with me, or my statement somehow jeopardizes the relationhsip of the two companies. To be sure, I hesitated when a member of the Southern Bank asked why I relocated.

Fortunately my boss (and the rest of the purple people) have been supportive. My boss is always asking me to say hi to the bf, he asks how he's doing, and he has never made me feel like one of those worst-case scenarios would occur. Props to him.


Dream, 7/21/09

I was riding a bicycle along a river bank in a sunny French town, except the Tower Bridge of London could be seen in the distance. In the dream, this confused me because I thought that the town I was in was south of London. A young girl on a tricycle riding on my left got tangled up in my bike. An Italian cycler in a helmet and a blue and white jersey helped sort us out, and we realized that the girl's tricycle and my bike were attached by the same chain. I asked the girl, "Tu m'as suivi tout ce temps?" She responded in English, "Yes," and said something about being grateful (probably not to be injured). She asked where I was staying. "The Hotel Ordaine."

We rode back in the direction we had come with the intention of going to the bike shop.
"What's your name?"
"Je vous ai dit, Vingt-Sept. Like in the play..."
(Her name was 27?)
"I haven't seen this pièce de théâtre."

The Jayhawks song "Stumbling Through The Dark" came on in a shop/bazaar we were passing through, and I began singing along.


Completely unrelated, but do you think I could blog my way to Antarctica?


Showtune Tuesday: Wicked

(Alas, old links are broken.)



This weekend I had competing desires to watch a comic favorite from childhood and Jane Austen. I watched neither, but I will be netflixing Oscar soon.


Another Plug

The Real Houseboys of West Hollywood!

Still Reading: The Best American Travel Writing 2006

The delightful problem with this collection of travel writing is that I want to go to the majority of places after I read the article. I never knew I wanted to sail across the Atlantic or walk the Wakhan Corridor or run the rapids of the Grand Canyon.

This sentence alone from Pico Iyer's "Our Lady of Lawson" makes me want to go to Japan soon:

And even the smallest chocolate bar comes with an English-language inscription that, in the Japanese way, makes no sense whatsoever, yet confers on everything the perfume of an enigmatic fairy tale: ''A lovely and tiny twig,'' says my box of Koeda chocolates, ''is a heroine's treasured chocolate born in the forest.''

(It also reminds me of History of Capitalist Systems--a joke we had about a fictitious company, "Shiny Happy Lucky Stick Cookie.")

The collection includes a great essay by Ian Frazier,"Out of Ohio," and I wanted to share a snippet. Those of us privileged to grow up along the Whippanong (and many others who have traveled Route 3 to 495) know the view he is talking about:

I hadn't seen a lot of cities then, and I didn't know that New York, to a traveler coming from the west, affords the best first-time, big-city view in the U.S.A. The guy from Costa Rica and I cruised across the long and splendid drum roll of open-sky swamp up to the Hudson River. Then we swerved down the elevated highway toward the Lincoln Tunnel, and the city suddenly and manifestly filled the windshield and side windows, rising from the Hudson as if lifted by eyelids when you opened your eyes. No skyline I know of is its equal; across the windows it ran, left to right, like a long and precise and detailed and emphatic sentence ending with the double exclamation points of the World Trade Center towers.


A Few More Observations

Every morning is bright and sunny. The temperature is 80-90 degrees but with no humidity. However, you can expect a mild to severe thunderstorm once a day for about an hour. I prefer this to perpetual rain.

My internal clock will take time to adjust to living outside of the Northeast. I freaked out over e-mail to my co-workers about how long it takes to get lunch. Where is the ruthless efficiency of Village 38 and Bread Factory? There are no Subway Nazis shouting "WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE???"

In downtown Denver, they have diagonal crosswalks at intersections! I tried to take a picture with my phone. The sign in the middle is for the people crossing diagonally.


Showtune Tuesday: Cats

This ditty had another day in the spotlight. Plus I haven't posted much Andrew Lloyd Webber.


This Week's Highlights

I spent some time in Hotlanta catching up with an old friend as well as my work peeps.

The things that I've been told about Denver are true: the yellow lights are short, you often get a bloody nose, and I miss home.

On Thursday, we went to Charlie's, a gay bar with country line dancing, two-stepping, and then another dance floor with music I actually knew (sometimes). I love America!

The apartment hunt began in earnest this week. I forgot how much looking for a place to live sucks.

Training for the marathon also began this week. I might update you about this in the hopes that it will better keep me on track, but I think it might be boring to write/read about. In any event, expect me to hit you up for cash later this summer.

On Saturday, JP asked me if I wanted regular milk or vanilla soy. In response I said, "Come on..." I may have moved to Denver, but I'm not ready for weird milk.

We went hiking at St. Mary's Glacier with Erica. She said, "I come from a land where milk has two syllables: "Mee-ilk." And later when advising me to check out a coffee house: "You should go there. There are people with your kind of glasses." A bunch of kids were jumping off a large rock into the freezing water. Meanwhile, a few souls were skiing and snowboarding on the patch of snow above the lake.

St. Mary's Glacier Hike

I finally got a chance to upload pictures from Molly and Brian's wedding, from the road trip, etc. Check them out.



Showtune Tuesday: Porgy and Bess

Brian and Molly danced with their parents to this song at their wedding a few weeks ago. I went to Casey and told her I was going to talk about feelings. How if I had a baby I would sing this to him/her. Maybe I will sing it to my niece.



I love articles like this one about fireflies. I need to get a Science Times Greatest Hits book. Maybe I have a future in biology.

PostSecret France: because secrets in French sound better.

Showtune Tuesday: A Little Night Music

A Little Night Music is playing at Denver's Central City Opera, but I just learned that Central City is 40 miles west of Denver (and has a population of 515). How will I ever become a cartographer without knowing my geography??

(Alas, old links are broken.)

You can watch Stephen Sondheim discuss the song here.



[Director's note: both lines should be screamed from opposite sides of a closed bathroom door, or the top and bottom of a set of stairs, or from inside and outside a house]

Bonnie: We need more paint: Pearlized White!

Doug: Burl Ives' wife?! What does Burl Ives' wife have to do with anything?


Cross-Country Recap

JP and I left New Jersey on Wednesday, June 11. On very few road trips have I exited the state going west. When you go south, the land of New Jersey is something to contend with. Going west, like north, you are out of the Garden in no time.

Pennsylvania is green and hilly, not quite how I expected. I thought it would be flatter, like a Midwestern state. It rained. It had been raining in New York for weeks, and there was no difference through most of our trip. We braked for our first rest stop at Blue Mountain. I was overly excited by the Roy Rogers, the fast food joint of childhood (Rte 10 East Hanover) and adulthood (Shirley). After this point the hills became large enough that tunnels cut through them, and weeks later Larry told me that an abandoned railroad project served as the starting point.

JP’s friends made him a bunch of mixes for his birthday and the trip. Erica’s tastes are most like mine, as if she knew I would want to hear “Chicago” and “With Arms Outstretched” on the trip. (Sunday, while packing, I kept singing that one over and over.) Jenni’s first mix was full of reggae, but there was a cool Les Nubians song, and I clapped in happiness when M.I.A. came on because I’ve been meaning to download that track for some time. We also listened to the first few chapters of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Jim Dale is awesome. I wish Emma Watson could voice Hermione, though.

It was late in the first day when we reached Pittsburgh, and my sister, who arrived at the hospital the previous night, still hadn’t had the baby.

Mike has a house. A real house with a porch and a huge living room, three bedrooms, and a nice attic that could be a fourth bedroom! It is a big project to renovate the whole thing. I wonder how Mike will do it while in school, but I’m excited for him. I enjoyed the Death Star Window in the front bathroom.

Pittsburgh has all these ups and downs. The city seems situated in a valley and its surrounding hills. JP says that when you think you arrive at your destination, you realize you actually want to be thirty feet above where you are. Note to self: Pittsburgh has a Cathedral of Learning, a striking building that I’d like to visit one day.

We ate at Mad 4 Mex, the purported original! (I’m sorry I can’t resist including the “4”; years of ignorance in Philadelphia are hard to correct.) JP’s first childhood friend and neighbor drove up for dinner. Casey checked in with me; she heard Maroon 5 on the radio and thought of how much I hate their music. Mom gave me a status update and told me that Jenn would probably have a C-section.

Mike made me watch “Glee”, which many friends have been telling me I’d enjoy. They were right; I loved it.

On Thursday morning, we had an excellent and humongous breakfast at Pamela’s: banana walnut pancakes with whipped cream. The pancakes were light and thin, crepelike.

Meredith constructed her CD’s to start out with a New York sound and end with a Denver one. We left Pittsburgh, and I sang along with "The Boy from New York City."

JP’s cousin’s wife had a baby girl on Wednesday. We took the road to Canton, Ohio, to visit the new parents and their baby, who were still in the hospital.

When we parked at the hospital, I noticed a missed call from my dad about ten minutes earlier. Imogene was born Thursday morning. A big bubble of joy rose from my stomach. Babies, babies everywhere!

Being in the maternity ward right after hearing the news was nice but made it all the more evident how far away I was from my family. The new baby we visited did not have a name yet; for whatever reason they didn’t seriously consider that the baby was going to be a girl. The rest of the family arrived. The other two kids were adorable. Malia, the older sister, kissed the newborn on the head.

It was nice to sit and talk to JP’s aunt and his cousin Jay. Jay’s friend grew up in Summit. We had lunch at a Middle Eastern place. In the middle of Ohio, I ate a good gyro and delicious puffy bread (not that we needed another big meal).

The afternoon was a race to get to dinner in Chicago, since a group of friends were waiting for us. Ohio was more farmy, not as green as Pennsylvania. New Jersey gets a lot of flak for being an ugly string of refineries and smokestacks. The road into Chicago was no different. Once in the city, however, the view of the lake was great. The bit of Lakeshore Drive we took to Firefly was one of the most pleasing views of the whole trip.

I found out what everyone is doing. I drank martinis. I used the word “saturated” in a non-work context, and Julie rolled her eyes. Rachel told us of couch adventures, Evan told us of his former life as a food critic, Holly recounted her mistaken trek to the bar the previous night. Aaron, Marisa, and Vondrism stayed out to bar-hop in Boystown. (Sadly, our stop didn’t coincide with Wet Boxer Night at Roscoe’s). We celebrated with kamikaze shots. I chatted with Aaron while the others stuck dollars down a go-go dancer’s briefs. Mike drove a bright blue Altima coupe and led us home.

Friday morning was rough. Food was needed. We settled on Le Peep. My hangover cure was Monte Cristo crepes. Mike forgot brunch plans with Kim, but their plans were at Le Peep and we were seated outside, so when Kim walked by, she joined us. She told us her summer plans in B-school world, and she and JP swapped stories of driving solo with small bladders. Kim’s tale of donning Depends in case of emergency was worth the stop in Chicago.

We walked back to Mike’s apartment. The Mormon missionary asked us how we were. We said good, and when the young man in white short sleeves tried to engage us further, Mike said loud enough for the street to hear, “SORRY—three gay guys. You’re not going to convert us.” I laughed out loud. Mike said, “What? If you don’t accept homosexuals, you don’t get to talk to me about your religion.” It was an entertaining end to a fun morning.

The plan was to drive from Chicago to Denver in one day. Leaving Chicago was one of my least favorite passages of the trip. It took a long time to get onto the highway from Dempster Street, and then 88 West was plagued by construction and a lack of clear signage. The weather held up, though, and I watched the flat lands and farms of Illinois and thought about Imogene.

It turned rainy in Iowa. But I was excited to drive through it, because the furthest west I’d ever driven was Chicago (the memorable “You know, we’re only as far west as Tampa!” trip with Mom and Dad). The rain opened up. Iowa was hilly, unlike the west of Illinois (but just like the hills Dar Williams talked about! Maybe another reason I wanted to drive through.)

We stopped for dinner at a Panera outside of Des Moines. I talked to my sisters. I was enchanted by Iowan windmills. Somewhere in the middle of the state, I got a free state map at a rest area and cursed myself for not doing the same thing elsewhere. JP and I switched driving duties back and forth. He texted like a teenage girl. This is something I’ve learned about him. We agreed that we both liked the name Council Bluffs.

Council Bluffs rapidly turned into Omaha, and night fell. This was the point when the directions said, “Enter Nebraska. Go 475 miles.” Nebraska was the challenge state. We had already eaten, had the whole state to cross before entering Colorado, and the cities were front-loaded; after Lincoln there was nothing doing for a good while, and since it was dark out, I couldn’t enjoy the scenery. JP was concerned about fuel/bathroom breaks before gas stations closed. We took an exit that proved him right. Got back on the road and made it to North Platte, where we rejoiced at the lights. We were doing this.

We must have made it to the border around 2:00 AM and had still two hours to go to make Denver. I was fueled on truck stop coffee, mostly the sweet machine-made French Vanilla variety. Just before entering Colorado, I switched to black.

The speed limits as far back as Iowa went up to 75 mph. This was liberating for a Jersey Boy.

We were exhausted, but being in the last state was a psychological boost, and we broke out Jenni’s “THIS WILL BE YOUR FAVORITE” mix. It opened with Salt-n-Pepa and finished with Jay-Z. There was nobody on the road. It should have been more frightening, having no clue where I was, but it was less upsetting than driving in some areas of the Northeast. There, the woods are deep, roads turn sharply, and when you drive in strange places you fear someone in a blood-soaked shirt will jump out at you. Here, even though it was dark, you knew it was flat and open for miles in any direction. It was comforting to know no horror movie villains could ambush the car.

Our route into the city took us by the airport road, Peña Boulevard, and it was good to be familiar with the last few turns of the trip. We arrived at JP’s at about 4:00 AM on June 13. Now I live in Denver.

P.S. Someday I will post pictures.


Dream, 6/15/09

I am talking to someone about Google Analytics.
Mike R is sitting on the sidewalk of Whippany Road in front of Our Lady of Mercy. No cars are on the street. I ride a bike sidesaddle past him, say hello, and he laughs. I lay on the vast lawn between Lucent and Crestwood, and Mike crosses the street. Donna materializes and they both stand in front of me. Mike is training for some kind of race, and I jokingly pinch his butt and compliment him on his physique. He jiggles it.

It Is Difficult

...to update when you have no internet at home!


Showtune Tuesday: La Cage Aux Folles

I owe you bitches blogs. But all you need to know is that I got delayed in Birmingham for an extra night, was back in Denver to drink tequila shots and eat creole brunch, am now in Toronto with connection issues. In the meantime, the showtunes must go on.


First Day Observations

Clearly I've never had to park in the garage of a house before. On the way out I nick the side mirror.

The weather is sunny and clear and my paranoia about yesterday's tornado warnings (7 miles outside Denver, sirens blaring) has dissipated.

Driving to a new office in a city you've never driven in is stressful. In general I don't miss driving to work, but on the plus side, I get to listen to Morning Edition again.


I encounter no religious car dealerships on the road to work. Seriously, yesterday we passed a Ford dealership with a large LED sign announcing "BIBLE VERSE OF THE WEEK: EPHESIANS 3:20."

In downtown Denver, what the hell do these signs NO DOUBLE TURN mean? At first I think there is a a driving maneuver I've never learned that is prohibited. Later in the day I conclude the signs must mean only one lane turns right, and the others advance through the intersection.

Though we only occupy one small area on one floor of the WPP office, the office is more modern than the 5th floor in NY. Open cubes. Downside, of course, is there is no Brain Drain.

The new coworkers are friendly. One guy is from New Jersey. (New Jerseyans are fruitful and multiply.) I sit next to another Brian, but he is not here today. There are 9 GroupM peeps besides me. I will without question be the loudest person in the office.

We have Flavia.
But: Starbucks in the building: dangerous/fabulous?

At lunch I venture out. By accident I end up at a "New York" deli. Not only are all the deli employees white, so are all the patrons.

I poke around this end of the 16th St. Mall, go into the Visitors' Information Center and score a free map of Colorado. I need one of Denver. I wander into Walgreen's to see if they have one. They do not, but they do have a Chase ATM. OK!

I decline a meeting notice because I thought it conflicted with another meeting on my calendar, only to realize Im confused because of Mountain Time. Then I have to accept the meeting I declined a minute ago. I'm sure this makes me look professional.

Everyone leaves the office by 5:02 PM. One jokes, "Brian, didn't you hear the bell ring?" I leave at 7:45.

Google Maps screws me over, because there is no exit off 25 called Buchtel Boulevard, which I deduce after traveling more than the allotted 3.9 miles. I circle around and notice a sign for Washington Street, which is further along in the directions, but am too late to make the exit. I take the next one and make it successfully to dinner at Sushi Den due to my awesome instincts/sense of adventure/willingness to take the long way on the first day in my new city/refusal to ask for directions on the first day in my new city.

Showtune Tuesday: Sister Act

Kids, I'm in Denver, but no internet at the house, and thus no road trip adventures or 1st day of work observations. YET. But I thought I'd steal a moment to post the ST. Sister Act was on TV on Sunday night!

(Alas, old links are broken.)

And congratulations to MY sister on the birth of her beautiful daughter!


1,843 Miles to Denver

I will talk to you after that.


Showtune Tuesday: The Wiz

The road trip begins tomorrow!


June Itinerary

6/10: Willows to Pittsburgh
6/11: Pittsburgh to Chicago
6/12-6/13: Chicago to Denver
6/16: Denver to Birmingham
6/18: Birmingham to D.C. to Denver (no direct flight!)
6/21: Denver to Toronto
6/23: Toronto to Denver
6/25: Denver to NYC
6/26: NYC to Long Island

Another Link

This one by way of Erin. America is awesome:



Shout-Out To My Peeps

Thanks to Craig for letting me know about this: Peeps Diorama Contest 2009.


Showtune Tuesday: The King and I

(Alas, old links are broken.)


Quote of the Week

"Maybe you'll understand that when you need to express something truly significant, your mouth will revert to the insignificant nonsense it knows so well." --ZZ Packer, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere

Dream, 5/31/09

My grandmother gave me some semi-helpful, semi-cryptic love advice. But her eyes were closed the whole time as if she could not open them. My grandmother passed away a few years ago. The whole thing creeped me out something fierce, and I woke up in the night.

In other news, Manhattanhenge.


You Are A Dick

Yeah, right. You are moving, but you are not moving in. For someone who doesn't talk that much you sure haven't learned when to shut up. You joke at the most inappropriate times. You speak without thinking. You barely realize when you have hurt someone, and then you mount the defensive. You think in terms of zero sum games. If they are right, then you are wrong, and that is impossible. You are not in love with love; you are in love with lust. You disregard evidence that does not support your argument. Why don't you go blog about it.


True Romance

We were outside the Laughing Gull. Bobby asked, "You got a girl, Tommy?" (Tommy was in jeans and work boots; he did not look like a Benny.)

He said no.

I said, "Tommy, you're a hopeless romantic" and circled over to where he sat on the steps. We faced Erin and Bob. They leaned against the hood of the car. "Welcome to the club."

But my hopeless romantic status was revoked, Bob argued, because of that whole relationship business. Perhaps. But what does it mean to be romantic? I tend to think of Romantic with a capital R, emphasizing emotion,imagination over reason. (It was the first big history paper I wrote freshman year in high school, and then in junior year I did a term paper on William Blake.) Does a relationship end our romantic identities? And who among us can be called single? That's just a Facebook designation. Round up the usual suspects:

She has never given up on Disney-fed dreams of Prince Charming and true love's kiss.

She waits and waits, and what does she see?

He professed to be in love many times, but he is still searching. After every joke he tells he looks at her face to see if she is laughing with him.

She married the One That Got Away.

(The Book of Love is long and boring and written very long ago...)

He walks down the street where you live singing his heart on his sleeve after one good conversation.

He is unconcerned with obstacles like girlfriends or distance; love conquers all.

She cleaves to her boyfriend. Is she a realist who is settling, or a romantic who believes that the force of her love will one day change things?

And me, who crushes once a week and imagines futures that will never be (guy on the train reading Coraline, guy at the Jones Beach bus line, Blockbuster Movie Boy, Hot Wharton Boy, guy drinking orange juice from the carton waiting for the subway [why are all of these people in transit??], DEP Guy, Work Crush #1, Work Crush #2, Work Crush #3, etc.) Me, who once I've fallen, will bare my claws to keep you. Yes in the real world, I will probably treat you like shit, but in the fantasy world--in my head, in my heart--I will fight to keep you there always. (Cold comfort, I'm sure.) I could populate a city with all of you and then power it with swirls of emotion!

We are not hopeless. We are just in love with love. We are chasing a dream.


Dear Bitchlog: California (and Obama)

Dear Bitchlog,

California unraveled much as expected, with the Court upholding Proposition 8 but leaving the marriages legally performed prior to its passage intact. What I found baffling was this statement from the general counsel for ProtectMarriage.com, from the Times article before the decision was announced: "Mr. Pugno said his group was more concerned about the fate of Proposition 8 and was unlikely to challenge the marriages if they were allowed to stand. 'It’s such a tiny number,' he said. 'And it’s not the core issue.'"

OK, so the issue is not whether gay people can get married, but only if they can get married from now on? It's such a tiny number? Like, at what number do you start getting concerned? When that big gay storm cloud opens up? Because I'm pretty sure, statistically speaking, there's not ever going to be a huge number of couples directly affected by this. Or are you worried that by letting same-sex couples get married today, we're going to encourage future generations of kids to think that this is an acceptable "lifestyle"? I don't think you have anything to worry about. All the previous generations of straights in my family didn't rub off on me. But you know what I fear kids will learn from? Your shitty marriage, and you shitting on the lives of other people.

At least there is a glimmer of rainbow-colored hope in how narrowly the Court interprets the proposition.

Well, bitchlog, it looks like we're going to have to take care of this ourselves. Frank Rich this week:

Obama has long been, as he says, a fierce advocate for gay equality. The Windy City Times has reported that he initially endorsed legalizing same-sex marriage when running for the Illinois State Senate in 1996. The most common rationale for his current passivity is that his plate is too full. But the president has so far shown an impressive inclination both to multitask and to argue passionately for bedrock American principles when he wants to. Relegating fundamental constitutional rights to the bottom of the pile until some to-be-determined future seems like a shell game.

Iowa, Vermont, Maine, all of this California craziness. Dear Mr. President, how many times have I heard you say words matter? Can you please SAY SOMETHING? Yeah, I know you have 8,000 other things going, but it's YOUR JOB. You signed up for it, we said you were the best person for it, so do it. (I know where you stand on marriage (you are wrong), but could we at least get some leadership here? Halting DADT by executive order, maybe? What was that campaign promise?)

Tranche de Vie

By the time you leave Whippany, you'll have learned: if you get the red light at Adams Drive/Woodfield Drive, TURN AROUND AND GO HOME. The day is shot. It is like the Electronic Evil Eye.

On balance, my day didn't turn out so badly.

Where shit goes down.

Showtune Tuesday: Grease

Memorial Day marks the unoffical start of summer. Oh, those summer nights.

(Alas, old links are broken.)


Models Inc.

A mini-series about the fashionistas of the Marvel universe that also features Tim Gunn = gay nerd heaven.


Garden State

I needed to see Dani. I hadn't seen Dani since we were Golden Girls eating cheesecake around the table in Park Slope. Now she has a deli and a Pig Dog! And I laughed and I laughed and I laughed and I laughed, because I was at the Laughing Gull.

But before the Bennys went home, we stopped at Seaside Heights. Frozen Custard Skee Ball Buck Hunter Finger Trap Tons of Crap Palace. A shot of New Jersey concentrate.

This we will take: love of road as much as the city, beach, or ghost story it ends in.


Week versus Weekend

Every morning is a race to the station, then running through the parking lot, then calming down and steadying my hand to put the three dollars in the meter. I haven't been doing much of anything but work lately, though trying to schedule get-togethers for the last days in NJ.

In Denver, we saw the concert at Red Rocks, an awesome outdoor venue. We had an impressive picnic beforehand (JP's car has a stowaway TABLE!), and someone made Hiphopopotamus and Rhymenoceros sugar cookies. They opened with "Too Many Dicks on the Dancefloor." I missed most of "Business Time" with an ill-timed bathroom break, but was happy to be around for "Carol Brown (Choir of Ex-Girlfriends)." I liked "Jenny." We arrived in time to catch the last Iron & Wine song, and I've listened to it about four times today because it's so damn pretty.


Update: H Is

For hands as soft as gloves? as soft as any glove? Samantha and Jeanie think so, and that makes two. It rhymes with love, which also makes sense...

I am going to see Flight of the Conchords in Denver on Saturday! I hope they play "Business Time."


Showtune Tuesday: Showboat

I have to start keeping better track of which shows have previously been featured, hence my addition to the title.

This is a good song. And I'm on a one-man mission to bring back the dance that begins at 4:00.


Mother's Day Blast from the Past

M is for the many things you do for me,
O is for your overflowing love,
T is for the way you hug me tenderly,
H is ...
E is for your eyes that shine,
R is how I run to meet you,
'Cause Mom I'm glad you're mine!

We sang that song at a Mother's Day pageant in 1st grade or so. (The same one where we sang "I Just Called to Say I Love You." There was a spoken interlude and Janelle acted out calling her Mom from Florida. But Mr. Shirvanian wanted her to say "Flah-ri-da" (like most North Jerseyans) instead of "Floor-i-da," so we had to do it over and over and Janelle got upset.) It's so easy to remember. Except for the H!

Two of the most recent sayings from my Mom that have made me laugh:
  • We were watching the Today show on vacation in Florida, and it ended earlier than it does in New York, so I was confused. Bonstance: "Oh, that's right. Those two assholes don't come on down here." --referring to Kathy Lee and Hoda.
  • My mom is on Facebook. She was showing me pictures of one of my dad's friends from college. "You don't understand--in college he used to be so skinny. Look how fat they got!" A beat. "They're probably saying the same thing about us!" Ah, she is wise in the ways of the world.


Today's News In My Self-Centered Universe

Penn gets a shout-out in the WSJ article where they asked presidents of academia to answer an essay question from their own school's application.

Maine establishes marriage as a legal union between two people regardless of sex. (The comments are an interesting barometer of local reaction.) Speaking of the big gay storm, I don't think I ever linked to the interesting read at FiveThirtyEight on the factors that predict a gay marriage ban (modeling goes beyond marketing!) and when each of the 50 states would vote against such ban.


Dear Bitchlog: No Joke

Dear Bitchlog,

I hate when I can remember the punchline of a joke but not the setup! Barbara's Buttcrack!