What Are You Doing

Happy 2012, folks.


Martha and David

Friend David is having an amazing 2011. Here he is on Martha Stewart.

Merry Christmas Eve!


Concert Venue Fail

UPDATE: The sign got fixed for Saturday night. Such drama!

A warm welcome for the Denver *** Men's Chorus.



I've seen the headlines, but I have not read the President Obama's directive on "International Initiatives to Advance the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Persons," nor have I watched the video of Secretary Clinton's speech to the U.N. Looking forward to it.


Reversal of Fortune

Last night: White House holiday party. Red-letter day.

Tonight: left my keys in New Jersey, locked out of the house, 12 degrees. Thank God for late hours at Safeway and the Blogger app.



At My Most Beautiful

Just 'cuz a magazine recently named this the best song on a bad REM album.


November: Catching up on Resolutions Month

Jenn, Becky, and I ran the 5K Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning, and I believe the preparation for that counts as 'get back into running.' I have been documenting on Map My Run and on the Twitter. This has been helpful.

I gave up Facebook for a month, minus 3 exceptions: 1) I had to look up the address for Brandon's gayversary, 2) I had to check out the POOPS/May God Heal Your Pain Incident, 3) something forgettable. This experiment did not provide any revolutionary conclusions.

It's Time

This adorable Australian marriage equality video is blowing up on Facebook.


Quote of the Day

I won't promise
you'll never go hungry
or that you won't be sad
on this gutted
but I can show you
enough to love
to break your heart

--Diane di Prima, from "Songs for Babio, Unborn"


Was It

Was it Stephanie's or Jessica's mom who was offended by "What If God Was One of Us"?  "We're not slobs!"



“Spa-GHE-tti!” Andrew said and shook his fist for emphasis. “James, you’re Italian; am I doing it right?” James showed him it was all in the wrist. We piled into a stunning BMW and we belted out “I Have Nothing” and we went to watch Owen and James.

I sat on the lip of Casey’s bathtub and drank beer while she applied her makeup and when we left the apartment she said she was glad it was just us tonight. “I don’t even need to pretend to be cool.” And then I said she looked hot in her jeans and she told me I didn’t even know.  “A single gal in New York? You have to bring your A game every time. There ARE NO DAYS OFF!” This she tried to say without laughing.

Courtney still had her Christmas wreath from last year up and her air conditioner on and Julie came in from Philadelphia. We had cheese, olives, Ryan’s apple butter, and healthy doses of champagne.

It’s getting harder and harder, he said, and that was all.

Eliot said his default reaction to any idea that doesn’t originate in his own brain is NO.  We had crepes and saw the orchestra and stopped at the piano bar and Allison said we were the definition of liberal.
I loved the flowery goodwill of Diwali greetings.  Ro is in love. She wrote that she thought of me and it goes both ways.

And in The Waves it was like they were all facets of one person and when I think of Erin making eggs for breakfast it makes me happy.

We talked in a courtyard and winter seemed so far off but now not two weeks later it’s snowing and I’m reading under blankets.

He said tequila was the devil’s drink.  You need to know what you’re in for.

I had dreams again of alternate lives and God I love the laugh lines at the corners of your eyes so it always feels like flirting even though we never go for drinks.


Hey, Grrrl

There's a new blog in town, http://like-seriouslygrrrls.blogspot.com.  Check it out!



From Tom and Lorenzo, before the Project Runway finale (I know the outcome but am still catching up):
It’s time to start asking the question of why, after nine seasons, the winners of Project Runway (with the notable exception of Christian Siriano) don’t have post-show careers distinguishable from the designers who don’t win, or even from many of the designers who never made it into the finals at all. We’re not gonna lie: we hope Viktor wins it, because if he does, it’ll be because the judges recognize his professionalism and the potential for his work to sell well. No, he’s not “fashion forward,” but the tagline is “The Search for the Next Great Fashion Designer,” not “The Most Fashion Forward Designer.” And when you’ve got a Marie Claire editor, a Victoria’s Secret model, and a designer who made his name by churning out well made classics, all this talk of “fashion forward” comes off like a lot of bullshit.
What is the point of this show anymore?

Running Commentary #9

I had a look at my new year's resolutions, an urge I get around this time of year, followed by depression that most goals have fallen by the wayside.  So this review, coupled with Becky's suggestion that we do the Turkey Trot at Thanksgiving, made me bust out a running plan.  I ran 5 slow miles today.  That's the farthest I've run in 18 months.


That's My Jam

Damn, I think I love that boy.  Enthralled by the frenzy and wordplay of Countdown.


Best Regards

File under: fantastic e-mail closings. I received this gem today.

"Sorry for the incontinence."


Hopes and Dreams

Where will we be next year? New York? Boston? San Francisco? Los Angeles? Chicago? San Diego? Seattle?

I think I'm going to have daily rankings.  Let the fun begin.



Please enjoy "4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)" in the absence of any new updates from me.  Why this song? Aunt Joanie and I drove to Boston, and I was pleasantly surprised by her car's CD collection, which was awesome and included:

  • The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle
  • Simply the Best (Tina Turner greatest hits)
  • Taylor Swift, as polarizing as ever
  • I Am… Sasha Fierce
  • Whatever Whitney Houston album has "Million Dollar Bill," favorite of our Denver friends at MST


People You May Know, According to LinkedIn

I don't know how LinkedIn comes up with its suggestions for "people you may know," but I have found it impressive bordering on creepy.

"You're my boyfriend's cousin's boyfriend. How are you on there? I didn't even know your last name until LinkedIn told it to me."

The successful one-up:

"I had sex with you in Paris!!! That's the ONLY connection!"


Retellings Inspired by Life Events This Week

1) No Exit: Four diners find they cannot leave a restaurant.  They have ordered a souffle that will never arrive...because they're in hell! "We're locked in to dessert!"

2) Moby-Dick: The chronicle of a man's obsessive attempt to fish a lemon seed from a glass of iced tea at the Brookside Diner.


  1. Say Something Nice
  2. Hearing Herself for the First Time


This Week's Thoughts

I'm betraying my ignorance, but I did not hear of Wangari Maathai until she passed away this week. When she won the Nobel Peace Prize, she said she went outside and planted a tree. "That's the way I do things when I want to celebrate. I always plant a tree." She sounded beautiful.

Phrase I'm tired of hearing: "In This Economy..."  We've been in this economy for a while.

And another addition for the "words I hate" section of the bitchlog: mouthfeel.  Gross.

I read that New York subway platforms will soon have cell phone service.  I wish they wouldn't.  Mystery seems to die a little every day.

Then something restores your faith.  Two words, two words I would never think to combine, but the result is delicious: Pumpkin Regatta. Look at the last photo!


Jessica Stein

"You know, I've been hearing about 'the one' for I don't know, like 20 years. I guess I thought it would be a guy."

"I know, I know, but look, I don't even believe that any more. I don't believe there's just one person. I think there are, like, seven."



He had a friend who told him to write in the third person.


Internet Roundup

Here are things I read on the interwebs this week:


    Fourteener V2


    We hiked Mount Democrat, outside of Alma (site of Maryann's future hybrid consignment shop and yoga studio called "Alma Look So Good!!!"). If you read the fine print, you will understand this: the round-trip hike is only 4 miles, so only about a 1/3 of the length of the Harvard hike. The elevation gain is 2,150 feet, so still no walk in the woods.

    We camped outside of Leadville, and while on paper, Mount Democrat is not far away, it took about 1.5 hours to get from the campsite to the trailhead, because you had to drive around the mountains.

    View Larger Map

    Here are some pictures.

    View from our car.

    From this vantage point, Heather said, "Oh, that's why it's called Kite Lake, because it looks like a kite." I would not have  made the connection.

    Break time. The peak in the background is what I thought we were aiming for, but I learned a new outdoorsy term: "false summit." In other words, that looks like the highest point but it isn't. The true summit is not visible from our line of sight. Mother Nature is a bitch.



    How do I get into this?

    TRUE summit as seen from the FALSE summit.  Not too far away, thankfully!

    On top, looking back at the road we drove in on

    Summit of Mount Democrat, 14,148 feet above sea level



    More summit, looking east.  One of the bluish mountain blobs in the background is Breckenridge.

    Whiskey makes the hike grow fonder.



    "But I can't keep no secrets
    I wish that you would always stay."


    I Liked the Stencil

    At St. Andrew United Methodist Church, between the afternoon and evening Mass for Peace.

    On September 10th

    On September 10th, I didn’t write. I was still trying to navigate everyday life in a stranger’s house in Lyon, France. Yulia and I landed there on September 8th. I had grand plans to write my journal in French to help practice while studying abroad. On the 8th I wrote about going to see the Peter Sellers movie, The Party, at the Institut Lumière. I listed all the American music I heard on the radio: “Angel” by Shaggy, Nelly Furtado, Dido, Eminem. I noted that by the second day I had already used milk from a Tetrapak box.

    On the 9th, my host family took me to a “festival des fruits” in Thurins. The village was not far from the city, but we got lost on the way. My host dad said “c’est la route touristique." I thought that was such a dad joke to make regardless of language. Everyone remained in good spirits, and I thought it was kind of the family to invite me on the trip. On the road, my host mother pointed out the neighborhood named “Etats-Unis”, because of a collection of high-rises like those in the States. I didn’t know exactly how to write that in French. I wrote “bâtiments qui sont des tours.” She said that kind of architecture was not popular in Lyon.

    It was a great comfort to have a bunch of school friends there with me. Mike, Raina, Yelena, and I all lived together the previous year. We quickly assembled to compare notes and ponder how we would make it through the upcoming season. “My shower is on a stick,” Yelena told us. Raina’s host mother had a live-in boyfriend. “I can’t think of a polite way to ask how long she and Christophe have been together…or a grammatically correct way, which is more my problem.”

    On the 11th, we went to check out Raina’s neighborhood, which was closest to the heart of the city. We ran into Christophe on the street. He was very friendly, but what he was telling us didn’t make any sense. In English, the best we could piece together was, “Something happened. Something like a war.”

    We tried to figure out what that meant, but actually laughed it off. We thought maybe those crazy French were overreacting.

    When I returned to the apartment, my host mom asked me if I had seen the news. She had me sit in the living room and told me I should watch. It was late afternoon in Lyon; it was late morning by then in the Eastern U.S.

    Later I wrote:

    The United States was attacked today. The World Trade Center no longer exists because terrorists hijacked planes and crashed them into the building. The buildings fell this morning. A third plane crashed into the Pentagon, and a fourth somewhere in Pennsylvania. No one knows who did it. The U.S. is a mess. I can’t call there, no flights are leaving or entering, the borders are closed. I spoke to Jenn, who said Mom and Dad are stuck in Staten Island because you can’t get over any bridges or through tunnels. Manhattan and D.C. are being evacuated. And this is all very disturbing because I’m not able to contact anyone.

    I remember the apartment being still, and quiet, like the host family was trying to give me space. I remember dialing phone numbers over and over. I remember the awkwardness of trying to remain calm in a house that wasn’t mine, in front of a family that I had met days before.

    I remember picking up the paper the next morning with the headline, “Nous Sommes Tous Américains.” We are all Americans. I remember believing that.


    Camping Soundtrack

    Allison beat me to the punch on this, but get your Labor Day groove on with these essential tracks from the weekend's camping adventure.

    1) "Blow" - Ke$ha

    2) "Party Rock Anthem" - LMFAO

    3) "Hold the Line" - Toto

    4) "Never Gonna Give You Up" - Rick Astley

    5) "Give Me Everything" - Pitbull ft. Ne-Yo, Afrojack & Nayer

    6) "Black and Yellow" - Wiz Khalifa

    7) "Poor Unfortunate Souls" - from The Little Mermaid

    8) "Run the Worlds (Girls)" - Beyoncé

    Hidden track, a.k.a. voicemail from my sister and pals once I got back to the land of cell service, a.k.a. inspiration for last Brooklyn dance party:

    9) "Another Night" - Real McCoy



    Dear coworker I don't know well,

    You are sharing your desktop with me for our "net meeting." For future reference, you might want to close other tabs you have open in the background. Or maybe not. I, for one, would like to know you better because your browser tab indicates that you have YouTube open to Bryan Adams' "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" at 10:00 AM on a Wednesday.

    Best regards,




    But music and singing
    Have been my refuge,
    And music and singing
    Shall be my light.

    --"Earth Song," Frank Ticheli, a.k.a. what I am currently singing

    People worry about kids playing with guns, and teenagers watching violent videos; we are scared that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands--literally thousands--of songs about broken hearts and rejection and pain and misery and loss. The unhappiest people I know, romantically speaking, are the ones who like pop music the most; and I don't know whether pop music has caused this unhappiness, but I do know that they've been listening to the sad songs longer than they've been living the unhappy lives.

    --High Fidelity, Nick Hornby, a.k.a. what I am currently reading


    The Lost Continent

    He skipped Denver. He skipped New Jersey.

    Speaking of which, if you have a recommendation of a book that encapsulates the New Jersey experience, please let me know.

    He wrote about some places I have been (New York, colonial Williamsburg, Newport, Gatlinburg), and some places I would like to go (Grand Canyon, Jackson Hole, Yellowstone).

    Dream, 8/26/2011

    Becky and I are in a bike race. (Sidenote: if I flip through the "dreamopedia" tag, bicycles feature rather prominently. Where is a dream dictionary when you need one?) Then we are watching someone's baby boy and trying to navigate him through a crowd of people. Then I am napping in a chaise longue, and I open my eyes and there is a giant dog, a Marmadukish dog, lying next to me. A woman screams outside, and I go to look. I am on a terrace of a monstrous high-rise, and there are similar buildings all around. The buildings rise out of the ocean. On the other buildings people are jumping to their deaths. A mother and daughter stand on the ledge of the apartment beneath me and do the same.


    Thank You for Being a Friend

    Happy birthday, Andrew!


    It Is Good

    August has been great for a variety of reasons, but the main idea I've been pondering...

    It is good to spend time with someone for whom every airplane, every motorcycle, every ant, and every moonrise is an event worthy of small celebration.


    Thursday Night Diversion

    Google Correlate for the analytics geeks in the house. Check out the drawing tool that lets you draw a trend and finds a search term whose indexed search volume matches it.


    On the Origin of the Espresso Cups at Shirley

    "You must have bought these," I say, looking at the white cups and saucers with black trim.

    "These? No," Dad says.

    "They all match," unlike most things in Shirley. This is the reason I thought they were purchased.

    "You know Victor?" Dad asks, referring to his cousin that I've known my whole life. "I swear he is the only person who could open a business at South Street Seaport and not make money. He used to run a cafe. You could get espresso and sandwiches...He gave us these. We all have them. Aunt Joanie has them, Linda has them."

    Sunday Diversion

    90's Dance A Capella Medley, by Local Vocal.


    Inside Jokes

    Aunt Joanie: "Who are you two laughing at? Do you know this woman?"

    Mom: "No, but she's holding this purse like it's the treasures of Iran."

    Is that a saying? It is now.


    A Dream in Time Gone By

    "Yeah, when I was a kid my dream house had an in-ground pool."

    "Well, what happened to that dream?"

    "I no longer have a stuffed animal seal that needs to live in it. OBVIOUSLY."



    Things I've been doing while not writing blogs:
    • Going to see Robyn and Katy Perry in concert!
    • Watching Wilfred.
    • Watching So You Think You Can Dance? (And rooting for Melanie...did you see the "Total Eclipse of the Heart" routine? And the routine she did with Sasha, who is also amazing?)
    • Taking advantage of Denver by visiting Black Crown Lounge (finally a piano bar! One Yelp reviewer likened it to going to your gay uncle's house who loves antiques), hitting up Tracks as always, eating at the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival, and going to Red Rocks (actually this occurs tomorrow. The Flaming Lips do The Dark Side of the Moon.) I also took the bike Davis gave me to get repaired.
    • Reading The Girl Who Played with Fire. It took me about a year to come back to this series because the violence in the first book made me uneasy to read the second one. But the trailer made me interested again. Plus, Salander's photographic memory reminds me of Jennifer "Cam" Jansen. Those books are some of the first I remember enjoying reading in elementary school. (I read Cam Jansen and the Mystery of the Gold Coins and Cam Jansen and the Mystery of the Babe Ruth Baseball.)


    Thinking About

    "What you want, what you want. Well, that shifts with the breeze. How can you steer life by what you want? Hold to what you believe!" --Angels in America, Tony Kushner

    We're rarely asked to articulate our beliefs. People make personal statements when they apply to schools, but those are more about what they want to achieve, where they want to go. What do I believe? Ridiculousness in Washington triggers this kind of thinking for me.



    I have a fascination with movie trailers. We often complain when they put the best parts of movies, especially comedies, in the trailer, but that's their job! They want you to see the movie.

    I am partial to previews that alternate between giant font and running/explosions. The trailer for the Hollywood remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is IDEAL. I want a ticket to this movie tomorrow. "The feel BAD movie of Christmas?" Someone give that person a raise!


    Making Your Own Days

    A while back JM wrote about five books that changed her, inspired by a post here.

    I revisited Kenneth Koch's Making Your Own Days and would classify this as a book that changed me. It made me realize(?), recognize(?), remember(?) that I love poetry.

    I read first two parts of the book as coursework in college. Koch takes Paul Valéry's idea that poetry is a "language within a language" and runs with it. Poetry is a language in which the sound of words is as important as their meaning, as important as syntax. It is a language where the music of words is important. It's a language inclined to comparison, where people talk to the moon and winds and Death, it's a language where people are encouraged to lie. Um, awesome.

    The first part of the book deals with "the language of poetry," and I think this is the strongest section. It seems like a better introduction to poetry than any textbook that tried to tackle the subject in high school. Later, Koch shoots down the "Hidden Meaning assumption, which directs one to more or less ignore the surface of the poem in a quest for some elusive and momentous significance that the poet has buried." You can enjoy a poem because the language is beautiful. That was an important lesson. In school they always focus on what it all means and how many syllables there are and what the rhyme scheme is. No wonder we get turned off.

    For me, the weakest link was the chapter on inspiration in Part II on writing and reading poetry. The conversation is vague. I feel like other books on writing cover the subject better.

    The third part of the book is an anthology of poems. The book introduced me to Frank O'Hara. (In fact, the title of the book comes from "A True Account of Talking to the Sun at Fire Island.") I couldn't help falling in love with him. This time around, I was attracted to Wallace Stevens' "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird."

    The book was a jumping off point. It introduced writers I'd like to read, it made me think it's okay to respond to poems in the same way I respond to paintings or other art: I can enjoy it for its own beauty, even if I don't "get" it.

    Reading inevitably recalled Dead Poets Society:

    We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.

    I agree.

    Beautiful Swear Words



    Best Actor in a Supporting Role

    "I ordered a cup of clam chowder, not a Tony Award." - Doug, on our enthusiastic waiter.


    Modern Family

    "For years and years, everyone's desperately afraid to be different, you know, in any way. And then suddenly, almost overnight, everyone wants to be different. And that is where we win."

    Mitchell says that to Manny in an episode of Modern Family. I liked it.


    It Happened One Wednesday

    I read the writing on the floor. I saw your name; I saw my hand: blocky, postcard letters. I started, I sighed. The Brandenburger Tor leapt from the refrigerator.


    My First (Incomplete) Fourteener

    I didn’t know the term “fourteener” until I moved to Denver. Wikipedia validates this: “In mountaineering terminology in the United States, a fourteener is a mountain that exceeds 14,000 feet (4,267.2 m) above mean sea level. There are 546 fourteeners in the world. The importance of fourteeners is greatest in Colorado, which has the majority of such peaks in North America.”

    Last weekend, we hiked Mount Harvard, a fourteener in the Sawatch range. Someone neglected to tell me it was the third highest mountain in Colorado. The route was 13.5 miles (You can get an idea of it from the photo at 14ers.com). We started out at 6:15 AM and got back to the trailhead at 6:45 PM. I did not reach the summit.

    We camped overnight at Cottonwood Lake nearby. In order to be able to finish the hike in daylight, we woke up at 4:30 AM. I’ve learned that many worthwhile activities in Colorado—skiing, hiking—involve rising at ungodly hours.

    Cottonwood Lake on Fourteener Eve
    Cottonwood Lake way too early in the morning
    Hiking is an odd enterprise because you spend a prolonged period of time with your own thoughts. You might be hiking with other people, but I find that you don’t talk much. If you’re like me, it’s because you can’t—you’re out of breath.

    This was taken at a wooden bridge that will become important on the way home.
    On the past two hikes I’ve thought of the line from The Satanic Verses: “Everything will be required of us, and everything will be given.” This is to say that I find the surrounding natural beauty rewarding, but fuck, it is physically and mentally exhausting.

    The initial leg of the hike was chilly and pleasant. We ran into two older women who were aiming to hike nearby Mount Columbia. One rule of the woods is you always greet passing hikers. For someone who grew up with East Coast Elevator Etiquette, this still requires effort. The women told us there would be snow at the top, but that we would make it.

    The best part of the hike was when Edward Cullen slung me on his back and climbed this tree.
    This was the first hike I did wearing actual hiking boots. Proper footwear makes a huge difference! The trail was muddy, with the winter’s snowfall not dried out yet. The boots helped with stone jumping and monkey walking. Hiking requires a lot of ungraceful movement, particularly around “technical crossings.” Remember how I told you I learned many things on my last camping trip? For example, technical crossings are crossings of streams or other obstacles that usually ends up with you getting wet, clinging to a bush, and/or jumping like a jackass from one bank to another. This hike had one notable technical crossing. We avoided getting wet on the ascent by crossing a snow bridge slightly upstream of the trail.

    Technical Crossing

    I have very little conception of time or distance traveled on the hike. On flat ground, I know how long it takes me to cover a mile. On a climb that I knew would take half a day, I tried not to look at the time much. I guess it’s about a mile an hour all told, but the up miles take a bit longer than the downward ones.

    What I was thinking about: food.

    After about 2 hours (?) the trail led out to open space and we could guess at the goal. Overall the trail was well marked, but there were parts, especially with the snow, where you could lose it. We met a couple (and their DOG!) who had veered off course and climbed the wrong ridge for a while.

    That peak in the background is where we are headed.

    I took pictures of the hike with my phone, but they do not do justice. It was stunning. I wouldn’t do this otherwise.

    I go to the hills when my heart is lonely.

    What I was thinking about: I sang “The Sound of Music” in my head about 800 times. I sent out some prayers of thanks.

    The upper half of the hike got interesting. It required rock scrambling, which was fun. It required tromping through snow, which was not, because you don’t really know how deep the snow is and you want to avoid falling in to waist level. Thus you step where you see others have stepped.

    The altitude can be a problem. At this stage I found that my breathing was normal, my legs felt good, but my heart was pumping like it would fly right out of my chest. I had to slow down as the climb got steeper. This leg of the trip could be titled:

    Keep Your Shit Together, Part 1
    I would count ten steps under my breath, and break for ten seconds. It was my hiking application of the “run-walk” method of race training. This pace put me far behind the rest of my group, but I was perfectly fine with that and knew it was the only way I had a chance of getting to the summit. (JP’s sister and Farzad had completed two 10-mile runs in the past two days. I would not put our abilities at equal.)

    This happened.
    Looks can be deceiving. Sometimes you think you see the summit, but it turns out it is a crest. My breaks got more and more frequent. Everyone advises you to keep moving because restarting is always the worst. I know that from running, but my pulse was at DEFCON 1.

    We had climbed several rock fields and snow patches and passed an “unnamed peak” of 13,500 feet. I got to a point where I saw another hill of snow to contend with, and all desire to go further left me. I had pushed through the feeling about two or three times before. This was it. The distance to the summit was not far, but at my pace, I estimated it was at least another 45 minutes. At this time we had been hiking for 8 hours. The summit would not happen on this trip. I found a large rock to sit up against and took a snapshot.

    Not bad, Colorado.
    I ate a lettuce, tomato, and cheese sandwich. Food is the best.

    I could see the summit from where I was sitting and guessed at which people might be JP, Nina, and Farzad. I tried to determine when they were leaving so that we could meet back up. I felt refreshed after lunch, but I always find the hike down to be more difficult. Or, it’s difficult in a different way. The climb up requires more physical exertion, but the trek down requires more focus to avoid things like tripping on a rock and spraining an ankle. Alone, starting the descent is a segment I like to call:

    Keep Your Shit Together, Part 2
    One lesson learned very quickly is that as the day goes on, the snow melts. Do you know what is fucking terrifying? Trying to traverse a mountain in melting snow, slipping every few steps, and seeing boulders below you to welcome you should you lose your footing. This was the worst part for me. I began that ragged, panicky breathing and instead of walking I mostly crawled with hands and feet in the snow to try to advance. I stopped, trying to gain composure, and talked to myself, out loud. (This indicated that shit was serious). “Brian, you have to relax! You didn’t make it up here by freaking out.” This helped marginally. I continued crawl-walking across the snow. When I made it back to solid rock, I looked up and saw JP and the crew on their way down.

    The advantage of snow still being on the mountain was soon revealed. The next segment of the trip was the best part. We had seen others doing it on our way up the mountain, so when we got to a long slope of snow, we slid down, as you would on a waterslide. The man from the couple we saw earlier put the dog on his lap and slid down. (The dog made it all the way to the summit.) It saved a lot of walking, too.

    That shape is me getting a frozen enema!
    The dominant thought at the start of the trip down is to avoid getting injured. It is scary to think what happens if you get hurt when you are still five miles away from the car in an area where phones are useless.

    The snow bridge we used to cross the stream in the morning collapsed by the time we reached the stream again. JP and I talk off our boots and stepped through the stream. Freezing!

    The ending phase of all hikes for me is the same. You scour the area to see if you recognize any landmarks, something that will communicate that you are almost finished. You become obsessed with reaching this point. I knew we crossed a wooden bridge about a mile into the trail. I plodded on, silently angry, seething, eventually just a sweaty ball of rage with one thought: WHERE THE FUCK IS THE BRIDGE?!?!?!?!

    We reached the bridge. I was elated for about a minute. It meant we were close to the end! The end was only a mile and a half away! Only. Hiking miles and real miles must be like dog years and human years. I picked up the pace, thinking the trail would end at every corner. Each time the trail kept going the anger would build back up. There is absolutely no talking during this leg of a hike. If you’re like me, it’s because if you open your mouth you would breathe fire (dangerous to do in these surroundings). At the end of the trail, I half-heartedly raised my arms and gave a quiet, weary variation of the Victory Fist.

    I want to finish a fourteener before I leave Colorado. It will never be my favorite activity, but having come so close and missing means there is work to be done.


    Oh, This Weather!

    Denver has had violent thunderstorms for the past week. I'm over it.


    Which Songs Make You Cry?

    Which songs make you cry? Wow, probably a lot, especially depending on my mood, but off the top of my head, more often than not "Silent Night" the Christmas carol and "The Luckiest" by Ben Folds. A few weeks ago playing the piano in NJ the Beatles' "In My Life."

    Everyone is Special/Everyone Except You and Me

    A worthwhile Saturday morning read: "How to Land Your Kid in Therapy", by Lori Gottlieb. My friend and I have talked about the sense of entitlement exhibited by younger coworkers. I thought some of our observations stemmed from a "kids these days" mentality, but, still, I have seen this story play out:

    “People who feel like they’re unusually special end up alienating those around them,” Twenge says. “They don’t know how to work on teams as well or deal with limits. They get into the workplace and expect to be stimulated all the time, because their worlds were so structured with activities. They don’t like being told by a boss that their work might need improvement, and they feel insecure if they don’t get a constant stream of praise. They grew up in a culture where everyone gets a trophy just for participating, which is ludicrous and makes no sense when you apply it to actual sports games or work performance. Who would watch an NBA game with no winners or losers? Should everyone get paid the same amount, or get promoted, when some people have superior performance? They grew up in a bubble, so they get out into the real world and they start to feel lost and helpless. Kids who always have problems solved for them believe that they don’t know how to solve problems. And they’re right—they don’t.”

    Thanks, Mom and Dad, for equipping me to deal with failure and assholes and life not being fair. And even if I blog like I am, I'm sensible enough to know I'm not the center of the universe.


    The World Map of Useless Stereotypes

    By Christoph Niemann.

    Missed Connections

    My brain: I wouldn't kick you out of bed.
    Your brain: I wouldn't look you in the eye.


    Showtune Tuesday: Surprise Edition

    This doesn't provide the best view of my lederhosen-clad legs, but that's me on the left.




    On Friday, the marriage equality bill passed in New York. "Elation" best describes my feelings, and thankfulness for supportive friends and family. I compulsively checked my phone for news updates while I sat drinking wine with Julie and Ryan in Philly. I didn't have to worry because Yvonne and Andrea both sent me a message when the bill passed. Erin said to "set the date" and she would be my groomsmaid. Becky sent me a note that said, "Happy happy brother bear." Facebook was filled with congratulations to New York, and I wondered what the pages of marriage equality opponents looked like--was it all sad-face emoticons and business as usual?

    JP was in airports and on planes for most of the day and did not pick me up until 1:00 in the morning. He didn't know about the news until I told him. We had not seen each other in several weeks, so I asked him one of my regular serious questions. (I have to schedule talks about feelings and other serious topics, otherwise I would never discuss them.)

    "I haven't seen you in forever. Tell me your hopes and dreams."
    "I want to get married."
    "Me too!"
    "And have babies."
    "Me too!"
    "And have puppies."
    "Me too, a little bit."
    "Maybe just one puppy."

    That is what is "detrimental to the common good." That is our gay agenda. I wouldn't mind carrying it out in New York.


    Practical Dactyls

    The wedding tour ends Saturday with Meredith's in Delaware.


    Dear Michael (Y.)

    Dear Michael,

    Yesterday you asked, "How's your crisis of faith going?" (It was one of many funny things you said.)

    Today upon ascending from the depths of Penn Station, I came face to face with three Southern high school boys, a quiet but courteous trinity, the tallest of whom asked awkwardly, "Excuse me, sir, we've set up a prayer table here today. Is there something you'd like to pray with us about?"

    I smiled and said, "Not today, thanks."

    They wore black socks with white sneakers, the way kids do nowadays. They had a table on the corner!

    Surely this presence a day after your question means something. All I know is I was happy.

    Your friend,





    "What Big Media Can Learn from the New York Public Library." Michael Lascarides' quote is a good one: "Digital is becoming the horseless of our age."

    "Charting the Beatles:" I heart Beatles, I heart charts.


    House Made of Dawn

    I should start documenting how books make it to my 'to read' list, because I no longer remember where I heard about House Made of Dawn or why I wanted to read it. This mystery made me keep reading even though I struggled through Part 1. I had no idea what was going on.

    After finishing, I confess I don't know if I grasped the whole story. I wonder if I marked it to read because the writing about the setting is beautiful. I wonder if I marked it because it is very much Western. I wonder if I marked it because it's a poem-ish kind of prose.

    I had a hard time with it initially. You have to be okay with a certain level of confusion, but several "WTF" moments get explained in future pages. I loved Part 3, told from Abel''s friend Ben's point of view ("He left today. It was raining, and I gave him my coat. You know, I hated to give it up; it was the only one I had.") I liked how characters' memories would creep into the narration and then take over.

    All in all, my reasons for reading are hazy, my understanding is hazy, my feelings are mixed, but I'm okay with all of the above.


    Calming Myself Down

    With the NJ Transit poetry wall.

    To Do

    Yesterday I googled "leave church" to figure out how to officially do it. Because, Archbishop Dolan, I'm tired of this. And I'm tired of this. And I am so, so angry. My thoughts and feelings are scattered, but what I know is this: no person, event, or circumstance has made me feel more worthless than the leaders of your Church. This line of yours, "detrimental to the common good," burns me up.

    It is all sad and very confusing. There are so many good things I learned. When you are a kid in Sunday School, it is all about Jesus and love and being kind to people and being made in God's image and loving your neighbor. And then when you grow up you learn that God's love has important stipulations. And I'm sorry if you call it "Cafeteria Catholicism," but I sincerely believe you're wrong about that.

    An atheist web site, the first link I clicked on, sent me to an Irish website, which then provided some interesting information that I followed up with on Wikipedia, "Actus formalis defectionis ab Ecclesia catholica".

    The motu proprio Omnium in mentem of 26 October 2009 removed from the canons in question all reference to an act of formal defection from the Catholic Church. Accordingly, "it is no longer appropriate to enter attempts at formal defection in the sacramental records since this juridic action is now abolished. "

    In late August 2010, the Holy See confirmed that it was no longer possible to defect formally from the Catholic Church.

    Great. Just great.



    We were dancing at a wedding, and I said,"Julie, my heart is breaking," and you said, "Brian, mine is broken."



    Part of me
    will always be
    in Whippany
    sitting on the
    kitchen counter
    kissing you.
    Part of you
    will always be


    Convent Boys and Girls

    1. My guy is more kissable, but I approve this careless-haired, pouty-lipped way you have at morning.

    2. Lesbians at Convent! Irrational exuberance, I know. They brighten a lonely day.



    I covered a lot of ground this weekend, flying from New York to Denver and then driving into the heart of Colorado. I learned many things which I will have to fill you in on later. My body is still recovering, but it better do so quickly because Friday I'm heading to Boston!

    View Larger Map



    Is the seat
    In which I'm crying happily
    At a tiny screen
    With a photo of a newborn niece.
    E is for Eleanor.


    Wedding Photos

    Best wishes to 'moskateer Samantha and her husband, a.k.a. 'Dear Michael' in these parts.

    Jane Eyre

    Don't hate me, Jane, but I think my pleasure in having finally finished reading you outweighs the pleasure of actually reading you. (One definition of a classic?)

    This book had me at the beginning. Ever since *SPOILER* Jane had that book thrown at her head, I was on her side. Thumbs up for the moorland. Yay for supernatural-ish occurrences and brooding men! Jane is good at arguing with boys. Those are some of the best parts. After I lost my copy I started to lose steam. I would definitely like to read Wide Sargasso Sea soon while this story is still in my head.

    Here is an unimportant line that I thought was great. Jane is about to leave to visit Gateshead and tells him she will advertise to find a new position. Rochester doesn't say, "Like hell you will!" (as my mom might say); he doesn't say, "In Macy's window!" (as Mike's mom might say); he doesn't say, "Advertise your FACE!" (as JP might say). Instead he goes with, "You shall walk up the pyramids of Egypt!"



    Kicking ass and taking names. Haters gonna hate.


    What I Wore

    I caught a snippet of CBS Sunday Morning, interviewing the Ephron sisters about their adaptation of Ilene Beckerman’s memoir Love, Loss, and What I Wore into a play. I think it was Delia who said that women remember what they wore, and men remember the car they drove, or the music that was playing. It’s true that there are very few outfits that I remember wearing and would probably forget many more without photographic evidence. There are some exceptions.

    The night I was kicked out of a bar my freshman year of college I wore an orange shirt and black pants from Urban Outfitters, because that was the day I declared, “Orange is a dangerous color.” (Sidenote: how has that quote not made the blog before?) However, that outfit borders on costume because it was for Bacchanal, and costumes fall into a separate category entirely. (The three guidelines for Bacchanal, an annual end-of-the-year performing arts party, were 1. Dress to Impress/2. Wear comfortable shoes/3. Cover your ass.)

    Thanksgiving in the year 2000, my sophomore year of college, I wore the coat with the fake fur collar that I bought at a thrift shop. I have always loved jackets/outer layers. Vy called that my “pimp coat.”

    When Hannah interviewed me for her coming out photo project, I wore my red t-shirt that said “Fiji” on it.

    I wore khaki suede shoes purchased at Zara in Lyon and Gap jeans to the main Penn commencement on Franklin Field. That was probably the fourth graduation ceremony I attended, and we were going to have the gowns on anyway. I waited to see whether my father would comment.

    The year I went to the Christmas Dance with Cristine (junior year) I wore a silver tie because she told me she was wearing silver and I wanted to match. I still have that tie (it has even made it to Denver) but have not worn it since.

    The year I went to the Christmas Dance with Andrea (sophomore year) I wore a dark green suit which I dug at the time, but in retrospect it probably made me look like the driver of a Peter Pan bus.

    When the g5-minus-Katie went to New Orleans, my “Swamp Tour Outfit” consisted of white khaki man capris (2005, people! I tried to validate that this was something men wore, and Google gave me this.) and a light blue t-shirt with brown ring collar and sleeves. This ensemble would be entirely forgettable if not for the fact that when we unpacked our luggage Courtney and I spent time deliberating what we would wear on the swamp tour.

    Of course, over the years, I have a good idea of what my favorite clothes were, even if I can’t recall the specific occasions when I wore them:

    Middle school was a magical time filled with nylon track suits. You may be able to find a picture of my family all in track suits in front of the Eiffel Tower. The French heard us coming from 500 miles away, because those things were damn loud. Swish, swish! I had one flannel shirt that I really liked when we were all grunge. I was partial to Rickie Vasquez-esque vests, and I had a colorful one that I would pair with a purple silk shirt. Basically, the gayest I ever dressed was when I was in seventh grade.

    When I was a sophomore in high school I had a chocolate corduroy blazer that never fit very well but I adored all the same. I wore corduroy a lot.

    I wore a bright yellow windbreaker with a wide reflective horizontal stripe. It was from Old Navy. We had to write autobiographies during our junior year in high school for Mr. Lamb’s class. I made mine a comic book. I drew myself wearing that windbreaker.

    I wore red Doc Marten boots and thought I was as cool as my sister.

    I wore a maroon sweater with one central argyle pattern that was a hand-me-down from Marc S. At first I hated it, because I thought it was weird to have clothes that used to be my neighbor’s. Eventually it became one of my favorite things.

    I bought Rohini a button-down military style shirt for her birthday one year, and I bought myself the same shirt. I wore it till it died.

    I hated wearing ties when I was a kid. Eventually that changed. I would borrow from my dad’s endless inventory. I especially liked a maroon tie with dragonfly silhouettes in blue and green.

    I like cardigans. The brown wool one I love has a hole in the left shoulder, and it’s about time to stop wearing it in public. I have a dull dark green cardigan in New Jersey that is truly a grandpa sweater: zipper, front pockets, not remotely fashionable. It was a gift from my parents to my grandfather the Christmas he passed away. I asked to keep it and am happy to wear it.

    I bought a German field jacket at an Army/Navy store in London that lasted for about 12 years. I’ve been keeping it in the closet for a year even though it’s time to part with it. You can fit a paperback in the pocket! I haven’t found a suitable replacement.


    Poem and Epilogue

    I lost Jane Eyre
    to an airplane.

    TV: "If you don't have an iPhone, then you don't have iBooks..."
    E: "You have an iPhone. You can read books on your tiny little screen."
    B: "Ooh, I can zoom in on this page and see what that word is. Let me tell you, if they have fucking Jane Eyre on there, I will download it."
    E: "What if they only have normal Jane Eyre but not Fucking Jane Eyre?"
    B: "Fucking Jane Eyre is a brilliant novel that I am going to write."



    Dear Bitchlog: That Noise At The Airport

    Dear Bitchlog,

    I have been traveling frequently for work. I could rant about so many aspects of air travel, but let's focus today. You know how they have those elongated golf carts/trams to help transport people around the airport? Well, at Newark, and maybe other airports, those carts do not have horns. So when the drivers of those carts--who always drive like they own the place--want you to get out of the way, the drivers mimic the sound of a vehicle horn with their voices. "Beep Beep! Beep Beep! Beep Beep!!!"

    That would make me laugh if it didn't drive me fucking crazy.


    The Rhythm of My Heart

    We listened to The Suburbs on the way to the Arcade Fire concert, and I said I was fifty-fifty on "City With No Children", but that I liked the line "city with no children in it", because I tend to like when there are so many syllables that they feel like they won't "fit" in the rhythm allotted to them in. JP and Erica pressed for clarification, so I cited a few moments from other songs:

    1) The other Arcade Fire song, "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)": "Well, whatever happened to them?!"

    2) "He's A Rebel": "'Cause he never, ever does, what he should."

    3) "It Hurts To Be In Love": "...not in love with you!"

    JP then asked if The Darkness' "I Believe In A Thing Called Love" counted. "Just listen to the rhythm of my heart." Exactly!


    Dear Nana

    Dear Nana,

    I am listening to the Met's broadcast of Die Walküre live on Colorado Public Radio as I blog. I don't think you were ever into Wagner, but I thought I'd tell you. It's like the modern-day equivalent of your standing room tickets.

    Much love,




    I think this Google Chrome advertisement featuring the It Gets Better Project is nifty. My initial reaction was, "Now is an exciting time to be alive."


    Conversations In Cars With Parents

    "I can't wait to get out of this tie," says my father. Or out of "these shoes." He always says this as if he has no control over it.


    My mother is talking about about adding some kind of stone to the front of the house, because what a house looks like on the outside is important for selling it someday. "And our house looks...it's okay. But it's not the house I ever pictured living in."


    Guys With briPhones

    Last month, trying to locate a restaurant in NY:
    "Look it up on your fancy phone."
    "I can't believe you still don't have a smartphone."
    "I'm not an early adopter."
    Then I laughed at myself and added, "The iPhone came out in 2007!"

    Naturally I'm going to use that nickname.


    Where Were You

    I was at chorus rehearsal. We were running through the concert and finished "Wheels of a Dream," which kicks me in the junk/makes me cry sometimes even during practice. Jesse told us that bin Laden had been killed. There was something of a collective gasp. Ben asked us, "What are you doing on your phones?" Earlier in the night, MJ and his husband brought in their newborn daughter, Phoebe.


    Birthday Presents

    The grad school kids gave me a tambourine for my birthday! (I said, "We need a tambourine in this house.")

    They had to get JP's approval first.

    Erica called a music store and asked, "Do you have tambourines?"

    "Yes, let me transfer you to our Tambourine Department."

    "No, no! That's fine, I'll come in."

    Note to self: always get transferred to the Tambourine Department.


    Allison made me laugh with her teaching stories, and the attempts to suppress bewilderment/disapproval/etc. in her face when students respond to questions.


    Skee Ball, Buck Hunter, and a gathering of friends in Denver, and the cherry on top was Andrew's comment about Winona Ryder: "If you loved her in Little Women, you'll love her in Reality Bites!"


    A birthday card from JP: "I love you a little less than last year." (Inside: "Statistically, that's to be expected." Also tickets to Flaming Lips performing Dark Side of the Moon.)


    Not really sleeping on a Friday in New York, but napping on the couch next to Erin.

    Sharing pizza for dinner with Dre. Laughing at her story of ordering paella from the wrong Don Pepe, and the first question you ask when late to work: "Did you have problems with the D, too??" And a visit to the 'Old Man Bar' with her and Becky for happy hour.

    Returning with Matt and Leslie and Raina and Jonathan to a bar we visited back during Tuesday Night Outings when I first moved to New York. Many bars I love in the city were chosen by either Matt or Raina back when I was a twenty-something!

    The wider reunion with friends I met in Denver, NYC, Philadelphia, and (to be accurate) Valhalla. Cav planned his bachelor party and drew Staten Island and as a pile of poop and Queens as a cock. He explained the vague itinerary for the night but said it was not set in stone: "Women need plans; men need joie de vivre!" I drank Dark & Stormy's, and a Bee Stinger with Honey Bourbon and some other deliciousness. Samantha sat with Derek and explained her hypotheses on men's talents. Courtney said maybe I was really good at boob touching but never needed to do it. Samantha said my boob felt like the end of an Angel Food cake. Samantha and Alexa danced in the dancefloor-less room. A card, shoplifted, that asked "What Would Scooby Do?"


    A multitude of messages, phone calls, and even a blog post.


    Dinner with Becky, Mom, Dad, and Nana in Hoboken. Becky and I went to a bar down the block, downed a beer and watched a few minutes of Jeopardy while we waited for Mom to park. We went to a Mexican restaurant where they make Sangria from red wine that you bring. Mom brought cupcakes. I had the Strawberry Shortcake one. Becky brought macarons. I had the raspberry.


    Now I head to Florida for a few days. It was a very good week.


    Poem in Your Pocket Day 2011

    This year I picked an excerpt from Anne Carson's Autobiography of Red. In return, I got Wole Soyinka, Yusef Komunyakaa, and my friend's dad.


    Quote of the Day

    "But what's stranger still is how something so small can keep you alive."

    I enjoyed the Arcade Fire concert last night.


    The Three Fists

    "But what is a Victory Fist?" you may ask. Allow me to give you a brief tutorial/history.

    First of all, everything I learned I learned from Hannah and Elena, who showed me these useful expressions of body language to convey emotion.

    (Secondly, I hope my gif-making experiment works.)

    1. Happy Fist

    The Happy Fist is your default, we hope. Although if you're like me, you might use its sibling, the Angry Fist, more frequently. The Happy Fist is, in fact, all in the face.

    Common uses:
    Learning your friend likes one of your favorite movies; unexpected upgrade to first class; making your niece laugh (Two-Handed Variation)

    2. Angry Fist

    The Angry Fist is the Happy Fist's doppelganger. Notice the only real difference in the two is the facial expression. Out in the real world, this is the key to distinguishing these.

    Common uses: computer problems; those darn kids; Frajer! (Thwarted-By-An-Enemy Variation)

    3. Victory Fist

    The most important feature of the Victory Fist is movement along the vertical plane of the body. Some people prefer a fluid swoop, as Erica did when she suggested our catch phrase, but I prefer two distinct points of articulation, as shown below. We might consider this the Eureka Variation. It has also been questioned whether the movement must be upward. I say no: there is a practical application for a downward sweep, often close to the body, to communicate triumph over an opponent (see: baseball pitchers).

    Common uses: Your state grants you and your partner the legal rights and responsibilities of marriage; finding a parking spot on 89th Street

    The Last Barnes Dance

    One of Denver's pleasant quirks is coming to an end. Grace told me that the diagonal crosswalk is called a Barnes Dance.

    Goodbye, people I awkwardly avoid collisions with in the middle of the street. We'll always have Denver.



    After checking out Twitter for a few days, I have concluded:

    1) The internet is vast and fast.

    2) This is still my favorite.

    We Should

    E: In the words of Justin Bieber, "Never say never."*

    B: We should have a catch phrase. What what it be?

    E: [Does a dramatic Victory Fist.] "Brunch!"

    *Sorry, tweens, this doesn't make me think of the Biebs. Rather, it makes me think of Henri, that French pigeon in An American Tail.


    The Month Without A Resolution

    I didn't really do anything with March.  The February resolution to dine at home during the week worked well, up until the last week when I had to travel for work.  In April I am thinking I will stop watching TV, mainly to see if I do something fun with the time that is made available. (Let it be known that Easter vacation is an exception.)

    But seeing as I work in media, and since I'm dropping TV for the month, I thought maybe it would be an opportune time to test out a new one. I confess, I don't understand Twitter yet, so no time like the present, bitches.  Also, if you have any tips, let me know.


    Where's Brian?

    Answer: On a lot of trains.



    "Your grandparents will never understand," my mother told me flatly during one argument.

    Most of my extended family met JP at Jenn's wedding many years later. His hair was long then and always fell in his eyes; Becky called it "the Rihanna haircut." We had breakfast in the hotel the day after the wedding. My grandmother, who met JP the day before, stood behind him as we lingered around the table. She used her hand to sweep his hair over and out of his face.

    That gesture told me not to underestimate anyone's understanding. It made me wonder about all the things that she has seen that I have not and never will.



    I was sick with a cough in elementary school, and my mom took me to the doctor. On the way home, she drove us to Fort Nonsense nearby, and she said that on clear days you could see the World Trade Center. That was cool.


    Rolling In The Deep

    Based on her YouTube views, Adele doesn't need any help from me. But this song is so good!



    Today I had an "undergrad" kind of day: a bubble tea at lunch and visit to the book store after work.


    Catch Phrase

    Overheard during a game of Catch Phrase with the DGMC:

    Hint: "Oh! Gays love this...it's on the ceiling...all in a line..."

    Answer, shouted by a bunch of people: "TRACK LIGHTING!!!!"

    I didn't know.


    L.A. Song

    Becky is visiting this week, and I know she appreciates this song as much as I do. I totally need to try this at karaoke.

    Also, the best voicemail I ever got.


    Another Quote of the Day

    "My feelings about politics and literature and mathematics and the rest of life’s minutiae can only be described through a labyrinthine of six-sided questions, but everything that actually matters can be explained by Lindsey fucking Buckingham and Stevie fucking Nicks in four fucking minutes." --Chuck Klosterman, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs



    One afternoon when I was sixteen I lay down on the floor, at the foot of the piano, among the heaps of unfolded laundry, and repeated the only three prayers I knew to pray she wasn't pregnant. The room wasn't redone yet. The carpet was scratchy against my face.


    Quote of the Day

    "The question should not be 'What would Jesus do?' but rather, more dangerously, 'What would Jesus have me do?' The onus is not on Jesus but on us, for Jesus did not come to ask semidivine human beings to do impossible things. He came to ask human beings to live up to their full humanity; he wants us to live in the full implication of our human gifts, and that is far more demanding." --Rev. Peter J. Gomes



    That month was a mountain. Raina always said it was the hardest. Did some calendar-maker recognize this fact and make it the shortest?

    Assess the validity of these statements:

    1) In most of those years, I was attracted to self-confident women and men uncomfortable in their own skin.

    2) I always found a way to insult everyone.

    3) “Every kind of love, or at least my kind of love, must be an imaginary love to start with.”

    4) I walk faster than everyone in Denver but run slower.

    Bob ignored my request for address. Screw the digital age; I still want to write letters.

    In January I looked for Danielle’s Strawberry Shortcake story and found the goals we had to write down during our sophomore year in high school. Short-term, medium-term, long-term goals that we stuck in a self-addressed envelope and our teacher mailed to us later. Go to the Shore after prom with my friends. That was one of my short-term goals. Ski in the Rockies, that was a long-term one. Most of the goals were about traveling, things I wanted to see. I don’t know if there were any that were about accomplishing something. I would have written him about that, if I had his address.

    I had two crappy poems in our school’s annual “literary magazine.” Her Shortcake story was good. I thought these poems were dramatically different, one romantic, one ominous, and then Mrs. Doll said she read them and thought it interesting that they were both about forgetting. I didn’t know I was writing about forgetting until my gym teacher pointed it out.

    I loved how Eulynn wrote under a pseudonym.

    It was a month where I felt disconnected.

    We went to the top of Breckenridge and fell into a trail called George’s Thumb. It was a whiteout. Maryann and I got dizzy, and people were only gray shapes. We couldn’t tell which way was up or down, and I clung to the only two things I know about avalanches. Don’t panic. Spit to determine which direction to dig out: if the spit lands in your face you can tell which way is up, I guess. That morning was the first time I heard the dynamite setting off controlled avalanches.

    I felt like visiting Pittsburgh.

    I read The Hunger Games trilogy and questioned the strength of my instinct for self-preservation. February will do that to you.


    Buntport Theater Company

    Davis first told me about their production of Moby Dick. Then Colorado Public Radio did an interview about their tenth season, where they are remounting past productions. Last night, we saw Buntport Theater Company's original production (well, they write and produce all of their own work) of Kafka on Ice. It depicts the life of Franz Kafka together with scenes from The Metamorphosis. All on ice.

    It was the most imaginative play I've seen in ages. The actors were outstanding. There's a hilarious scene with an English teacher using a lesson plan downloaded from the Internet to talk to her students about symbolism. There's a remote control insect used to wonderful effect. And a sheet from a sanitorium bed is transformed into a rippling sea. There are reviews of the show on the the Buntport website.

    I look forward to seeing these guys more often.


    Pirate Radio

    The movie Pirate Radio makes me happy. There is great music, Bill Nighy, and lots of people dancing around, the way humans do. I need that soundtrack.


    Don't Say I Never Gave You Anything

    http://www.priceisrightlosinghorn.com. I hear it has punctuated some conference calls this week.


    Dear Brooklyn Girls

    Regarding an earlier correspondence,

    Is this a Smart Car I see before me?


    You're Free

    Need help getting over the hump?This was on the 90's mix Becky made for me.



    January Resolution Review

    I wrote for a few minutes every day in January. (Actually, I started on January 3rd, so I extended it until February 2nd.) Also, I organized my clothes closet.

    For February, I'm abstaining from takeout for dinner 5 nights a week. Week 1 was a success thanks to a giant pot of lentil soup that J.P. made last weekend.


    The Dream of the 90s

    is alive in Portland.

    Zach Attack

    Zach Wahls, 19, spoke at the public hearing on Iowa House Joint Resolution 6, a resolution proposing an "amendment to the Constitution of the State of Iowa specifying marriage between one man and one woman as the only legal union that is valid or recognized in the state."

    The House voted yesterday. The resolution passed.


    Big Gay Links

    The New York Times today has "Gay Marriage Lawsuits May Force Obama's Hand." In case this topic is of interest to you, I must say that Ari Ezra Waldman on Towleroad has been doing an excellent job of making legal analysis interesting and understandable. Here is his analysis of the DOJ's defense of DOMA in appealing Gill v. OPM and Massachusetts v. HHS earlier this month. (For example, I already knew about the two types of tests mentioned in the NYT article, rational basis and strict scrutiny, from his breakdowns on Prop 8, even though I knew nothing about them before.) Here is further detail around the rational basis test.

    Denver friend Mia has started a blog, http://samelovesame.blogspot.com/ where people can write in with their big gay love stories. The header explains what inspired her.

    Born This Way is "a photo/essay project" where people submit photos from childhood that may reveal the first inklings of their "innate LGBT selves."

    They R Who They R

    Listening to the Katy Perry album:

    "What's with all these songs featuring 'glitter'? Do people really wear glitter anymore? Hers and Ke$ha's..."

    "Well, now they have shimmer. Which is, like, smaller glitter."


    Showtune Friday Sneak Attack

    Because it's our anniversary.


    The Positive

    Delta Sky Magazine recommended spending time each day "journaling about a positive." This is what happened the day after. I was sitting on a plane waiting for it to push back from the gate, looking out the window. One of the aircraft marshalers was standing outside with his two orange wands, but he wasn't busy. He caught me looking at him, so he waved the wands in the air and made a "Y" shape. I smiled and gave him a thumbs up, and he smiled back.


    For Whom The Bell Tolls

    I lost my Hemingway virginity. This was part of the "project" where I ask friends what their favorite book is, and then I read it. (I've only done that twice, but it has worked out well both times.) I was enjoying the book just fine, but I fell for it around p. 84 of my Scribner paperback copy when Pilar tells the others what Valencia is like. There are two pages talking about what she saw and did in Valencia, and I could read those pages over and over.

    "The melon of Valencia is for eating. When I think of those melons long as one's arm, green like the sea and crisp and juicy to cut and sweeter than the early morning in summer. Aye, when I think of those smallest eels, tiny, delicate and in mounds on the plate. Also the beer in pitchers all through the afternoon, the beer sweating in its coldness in pitchers the size of water jugs."
    "And what did thee when not eating nor drinking?"
    "We made love in the room with the strip wood blinds hanging over the balcony and a breeze through the opening of the top of the door which turned on hinges. We made love there, the room dark in the day time from the hanging blinds, and from the streets there was the scent of the flower market and the smell of burned powder from the firecrackers of the traca that ran through the streets exploding each noon during the Feria. It was a line of fireworks that ran through all the city, the firecrackers linked together and the explosions running along on poles and wires of the tramways, exploding with great noise and a jumping from pole to pole with a sharpness and a cracking of explosion you could not believe."

    There are several stories within the story, like the Valencia tale, and all of them are great.

    I liked the line about snowstorms: "In a snowstorm it always seemed, for a time, as though there were no enemies." I liked the line about "lasts": "But last nights are never any good. Last nothings are any good. Yes, last words were good sometimes. 'Viva my husband who was Mayor of this town' was good."

    I told my boyfriend I would name a cat or dog "Robert Jordan" after reading this.