August 31, 2007
Tag body spray banned on school playground
Opening the newspaper this morning, I was almost thrown and overblown with bliss* when I read this:
But then I read the article and found out that it's a story about the increasing wussification of our children. Wussy peace-loving daisy-eating parents think that the game of tag harms their kids. These kids will then never be able to play rugby, because they'll grow up to be unaggressive flower children. I remember Homer mentioning that some younger guests at his annual Easter egg coloring and hunt did not want to participate in the egg hunt because it was 'too competitive'. That's pretty retarded, in my opinion. Sorry to sound like a crusty old grampaw, but I think recent generations have been so oversensitized, coddled, and their asses wiped for them so much that they won't be able to function in a real world. In my day we played 'dodge the shrapnel' and 'last one poked with a pitchfork gets gangrene' - and we liked it!
What's worse is they'll all be wearing Tag body spray so they won't be able to smell trouble coming either.
Anyway, I've been thinking a lot lately about how much time I spend flirting with or diverting energy towards guys who are partnered. It is my energy to divert as I choose, however wise or not. I'm not talking about hanging out with a partnered gay person (TJ, Martini, OMGDJTM, etc.) in a friendship capacity - I'm talking about reckless flirting or going further than that with partnered guys who are (or are not!) in open relationships. A friend told me I might be doing it because partnered people are safer to flirt with from an emotional perspective. They're probably not going to leave their partner for me, and I don't risk anything emotionally flirting with them. As long as no one gets hurt. But then I wonder if I'm spending more emotional energy than my buget allows on these endeavours. In other words, if I spend all of my limited spare time flirting with or having fuckbuddies who are partnered, where is the time for dating single, truly available people? That's assuming I want a relationship of my own, and assuming I don't consider partnered people in some way available. It's a time management issue where priorities must be made, I guess. But then again I haven't had many dates with single people lately, so it's not a very pressing issue at this time. And Gurl says that between work, rugby practice and matches every Saturday, and grad school, I'm too busy anyway. It also seems easier to ask partnered people out on a date than it is to ask single people - or at least my success rate is higher with the former. Isn't that fucked up? I try, I fail, I keep trying. Perhaps single people are more guarded, or I'm braver with partnered people. Then some asshole tells me "Oh, it will happen when you're not looking!!!" and I want to poke their eyes out with a dirty chopstick. STFU.
I don't have much planned for Labor Day weekend, and that's a good thing. I'm going to the Terps vs. Villanova football game with a work colleague, which should be fun. I'm not really a football fan, but I got a free ticket and I think the experience of going to a game is fun, if only once a year. The halftime field show featuring the marching band is fun.
* Name the song from which this phrase originates
August 30, 2007
The Invasion: just not the same without pods
There's something creepy about pods - milkweed pods, okra, pea pods, alien pods. Sadly, pods are absent in the film The Invasion, and so is any discernable accent between either Daniel Craig or Nicole Kidman. Plus it's directed by Joel Silver, so it sucks. But of course the film has plenty of unnecessary explosions and a car chase. The only redeeming quality of the movie was to try and spot where the scenes in DC were filmed. "OMG that's my MetroRail station where the crackhead pees every morning!"
In reference to the Larry Craig scandal, Patrick asks: "I'm sometimes a little behind the times...why is bathroom crusing called "tearoom?" I forwarded the question to tearoom historian JoeMyGod, who responds:
"Some say that "tearoom" originated in England as a polite way of not saying "toilet room" and that the proper way to write it would be "T-room". That's sort of right, but while the expression IS English in origin, it comes from the archaic English reference to urine as "tea", therefore a place where one urinates is a "tearoom."
Thanks for clearing that up, Joe!
I think the inclusion of both Scary Spice and Marie Osmond on "Dancing with the Stars" is totally unfair to competing rap stars, football players, and people like Jerry Springer who have no previous professional dancing experience. But I'm gonna watch it anyway.
August 29, 2007
August is Trolltastic!
What's going on around here this month, a Creepy Lying Troll Festival?
"I am not gay. I have never been gay."
- Senator and Lying Troll Larry Craig, (R) Idaho after being caught cruising for sex in Union Station and in a Minneapolis airport bathroom
Either on the Internet or in public bathrooms, it has been a virtual blizzard of creepy troll drama this month.
I'll have to admit, when I was about 19 and just coming out, the cruisy bathroom in the basement of the college library was where I had my first man-on-man sexual contact. In lonlier areas of Wisconsin, those kinds of cruisy spots are the only place where some closeted people know where to get it on with another guy. But I suspected there were healthier outlets, like bars, campus support groups, and counseling if need be, and checked them all out instead of choosing tearoom cruising which I consider a soulless way to get some sex, completely devoid of identity or intimacy. 16 years later I live in a fairly tolerant city with healthier options for socialization with other gays like me. DC is a city filled to the brim with educated, well-traveled, intelligent gay men where you are able to fall into a like-minded group of true friends who are out and [relatively] mentally healthy. It doesn't have to be all about sex, and friends will take care of you when times are down, be a good sounding board for you when you need advice, or otherwise do the things friends do.
But for others, gay sex is only about the act, and they disassociate that act with their identity. But they still can't resist that biological call, so they retain that minimal view of what being gay is.
Brendan made a fascinating comment on the topic yesterday:
"I had a friend who worked at the Crew Club in the mid 90's. He said when the Republicans took over congress in '94, they had a whole new crowd of customers (mostly young staffers, lawyers, etc) in their establishment, many of which had to be taught the basics of safer sex."
In other words, a clique of white men in power no different than brothers on the down-low here in DC. They have sex with men, but don't associate themselves with a 'gay' identity, and don't do the research on issues that affect gay men (safer sex, etc.), and think they are immune or outside of issues that affect gay men.
So I guess Larry didn't have the right group of friends, being on the down-low. He got caught once in Union Station and the news made it into several blogs, but seemed to get passed over in the mainstream media, who are beginning to catch on to the cognitive dissonance of a man in power who legislated consistently against issues affecting gays.
I'm guessing he does have a group of gay peers, all of whom shared his same values and beliefs - do what you have to do on the down-low, but do what you think others think you should do with your legislative acts.
Weatherwoof has similar sentiments with more froth on top! I'll have to admit, after thinking about his public denials about his tearoom behavior and denying being gay, I have reason to be just as pissed off as anyone. Larry Craig and his fucking hypocrite buddies are gay, but working hard against any issues that would help those gay men who are out and far more mentally and emotionally healthy than he is.
August 28, 2007
And it went wherever I did go.
I found this dessicated carcass of a platy behind my aquarium when I moved offices yesterday:
The danios also have a suicide pact. Moving is very stressful for fish. But I accomplished it in a day, which was good.
Oh my - another closeted Republican - Larry Craig (R-Idaho) - caught being naughty in a public restroom again. There seems to be an endless supply of naughty closeted Republicans in this town. Are there any truly straight Republicans out there, or are they all self-loathing closeted gays? What's up with all that? Is it a secret gay cult or something?
I have a theory: for those gays of a certain age (or not), coming out and being honest about themselves to friends and family as a deliberate effort is just too daunting of a task to do consciously. So they do reckless things like tearoom (public restroom) cruising that will most certainly get them caught in the act, especially in this post 9/11 age when everbody knows airport security has been ramped up. I think deep inside, people like Craig, Ted Haggard or Bob Allen want to get caught. It is in an irrational way a step out of the closet, albeit a harrowing one. How else can you explain the stupid things they do that are so easily found out? Or maybe they're just stupid closeted self-loathing Republicans that do stupid things, and I'm looking too deep into their psyches.
Martini Gurlatalova was in town this weekend and it was fun to hang out. We explored the Big Bear Cafe at 1st and R Streets, NW. Like some other new establishments that shall not be named but are fabulous but need a little polishing in the service department, Big Bear was endearing but despite the staff of 6 behind the counter, they just couldn't get out a cup of coffee very easily.
Martini is a rice queen - that is, she is a gay man with a Ph.D. in crop genetics. While I was in Wisconsin I spotted some sorghum ("Broom Corn") growing, and Martini pointed out that they are drought tolerant. The plant is originally from Africa, and is used to make a kind of molasses. I think sorghum looks kind of cute, like a mini-stalk of corn, but with a colorful top tassel. So I'm going to try growing them as an ornamental plant next summer, in small, decorative clusters. A Google search shows my idea is not unique, and the plant can be planted with amaranth and sunflowers as a natural and pretty source of free bird seed.
August 27, 2007
Well Monday has turned out all right. The coworker who has been helping me paint my new office came in Sunday to work out at the campus gym, his gym was closed, so he decided to get his workout in finishing the painting job. Here's to a good workout ethic - props to my man D.B. So I'm a day ahead, and it's a tight time of year for publication deadlines, so I could use the extra day.
Crimeny, it was hot on Saturday. The storm rolled in during the rugby match before I was purportedly supposed to play, bringing cooler temperatures, but lightning as well, so the match was called off early. Still, it woulda been nice to get some play in. I may be comparatively old, but the match wasn't a World Cup prelim.
The above photo a testament to my fabulous gay lifestyle. Here's me, OMGDJTM, Jon, and Mark at Checkers yesterday.
So 'Steve' has an e-mail, that still doesn't prove he's not faking a persona. This weekend when I was at Nellie's with a friend, I met the hot guy in the MetroWeekly photo "Steve" from Baltimore said was him. The real person's name is Ken. He does not live in Baltimore, and is not in a band. And he is not Steve, and I informed him that there is an Internet Troll in Baltimore claiming to be him. I've recieved a number of testimonials from people in Baltimore who claim that this guy 'Steve' flirted with them using other people's pics, and then a no-show in every case, usually with excuses ranging from hives to the Hanta virus. Typical Internet Troll behavior. I don't need to e-mail anyone or respond to anyone who is a liar and a fake. Go back to your troll-hole, 'Steve'. If there was any credibility left to real, personal blogs, you undermine anything that's left. And for those of you who still wish to believe in the tooth fairy, don't stop believin'.
What is so wrong about this guy is that he's working hard to get pity from people, now playing the vicitm to the hilt. While he is indeed pitiful for many reasons, the truly evil part is that not only is he faking a persona, he's using the death records of someone he doesn't know in one of his fake stories. I'm guessing the parents of this deceased person wouldn't be amused that he's doing this, nor would the person whose photos he's using appreciate that either.
August 25, 2007
Returning to work wasn't so brutal, but there were 600 e-mails to check or delete, all of which had an 'OMG' flag attached to them, but ended up being unimportant. I have to move offices. It's not a problem, other than the stark government white that was in my room:
I have never painted any place I've ever lived in, so I consider this good practice. But painting is really, really tedious. Many thanks to the makers of iPod, and apologies to those in the office next door who have to hear me sing along with Stevie Nicks, Whitney Houston, and the Spice Girls.
It's only Noon and it's already hot as...well, it's really frikkin' hot outside. There's a rugby match today and I really don't mind if I don't play. No one needs to see me puke.
The match was hot, but a cooler front came in, bringing lightning with it, so we had to commence the match early. I think we were ahead. Here's Phil, John, JB and Jason (foreground) lining the pitch out at Gosling Farm before the match. I became so sweaty that I could not take any more photos, as I did not want to get My Precious camera sweaty and greasy.
August 24, 2007
silly mammalian labels
Uff da - my legs ache mighty bad today from last night's practice. I was on the opposition of a 15-man team, and we only had about 7 providing defense. That meant me stopping a lot of big fat bears as best I could. We have a lot of new recruits though, which is nice. People are starting to buzz about the Mark Bingham Cup in Dublin in June 2008. It's going to be a pretty penny to get there, but their fields (pitches) and facilities will certainly be better than the last tournament, which was basically in a circuit party format, replete with lube stands at pitchside. I didn't get that part.
I didn't mean to imply in yesterday's post about genuine Midwestern friendliness that any behavior south of the Wisconsin/Illinois border is necessarily rude. I was talkin' about the I-95 'tude that you get around here. I LOVE good Southern boy charm, opening doors for people, being polite to your mamma and all that. I hear tell it's an act, but it works on me, hook, line and sinker. Southern gentlemen are an exotic species in the Northern states. Midwesterners are friendly, Southern boys are polite (usually). Then when they move here something sucks out their souls and makes them unfriendly and impolite. Heavy metals in the water, perhaps?
I thought this was funny:
Llamas make a very nasal hum of concern when they're annoyed. Then they spit green goo on you. I didn't think they were worth the wool, I prefer my goldfish who don't spit on me.
Yes, I have viewed the YouTube video link and website for the new Bear band sensation BearForce1. Thank you for notifying me. I don't think this is the last we'll hear from them, as I think the breeders are gonna eat that shit up like they embraced The Village People. Not that I mind, as that act of acceptance will be the deathknell of both BearForce1 and the entire Bear scene. Then we can all brush off our hands and be who we want to be - sans silly mammalian labels.
August 23, 2007
keepin' it real
Oh jeezus, who ever thought declaring jihad was so exhausting? Truth is hard work. Anyway, moving on...here's a real picture of me, taken with a real camera. My real barber Tina did a real extreme job when all I asked was for a clipper fade on the side:
I did not want to end up looking like Sgt. Jimbo, 2nd Mate in the Blog Gestapo Legion of Truth, but some things can't be helped I guess.
Anyway, to wrap up that drama , it was another blogger who e-mailed me recently that best summed up how to sniff out bullshit on the 'net: make sure you establish a 'chain-of-trust' map of people you do know, whom you have met, who you know to be reliable and trustworthy. Anything else is suspect. And depictions of tragedy and drama are always seductive, and good reading! But too much gives reason for skepticism.
No, I do not think Vladimir Putin shirtless is hot. He's pale and hairless. But I applaud his shirtlessness for just being shirtless. The political analyists don't need to go any deeper into it other than shirtlessness is next to godliness. Gays have known the joys of shirtlessness for years. Vladimir Putin: you are awesome, but pasty and hairless.
My luggage arrived yesterday. I'm afraid the cheese curds aren't as fresh as they could be, but I'll bring them into work tomorrow since there are some unbelievers here. I'm glad I took yesterday off - sifting through e-mail took a lot of time yesterday.
First rugby scrimmage of the season this Saturday, on a weekend I had hoped to keep free of commitments. But the field is at a fabulous farm out in Poolesville, on the banks of the upper Potomac. It's quite idyllic so I can't pass it up, and I hope to take some good photos then.
My post-Wisconsin thoughts about living in DC remain the same - I am not a crazy person for saying hello to people here, for being outgoing to strangers, and expecting to converse with people right after meeting them, because that's really how people behave where I grew up. But you start to feel crazy here when you keep behaving that way, and get such mixed reactions from people - usually shock, sometimes complete ambivalence. In Wisconsin, there are no expectations with starting up a chat with a person, and people say hello to you in almost any circumstance, just to be friendly. Returning to the subdued and comparatively unfriendly Mid-Atlantic is always a shock.
That, and I'm reminded every time I visit back home why I like the kind of guys I'm attracted to: big, scruffy rugged guys turn my crank, because that's what I grew up with. I was imprinted on what is 'woofy' at an early age. It is too bad guys are so clean-cut here in DC - more guys need to have goatees and wear camo pullovers, in my opinion.
August 22, 2007
fraud, she wrote
A new fake blogger has been ratted out, or maybe he's just another avatar of the Bent Collective. Thankfully, there's detectives Matlock, Magnum, and Angela Lansbury on the case, among other contributors to the investigation.
Real bloggers who put their real lives out there aren't asking for much in return, so when they come upon a wierdo with a fake blog and multiple fake personae, they get more upset than usual. Especially when semicolons are abused so badly and the guy claims to have a writing degree. Poor TJ crawls into a corner and shivers when he sees semicolons abused so much. He's been a wreck for weeks.
To those who write the truth, lies are intolerable. It's sad, but there's a lot of room for deceit on the Internet, and there are many who take full advantage of that opportunity, and full advantage of people's trust and time.
The biggest mistake that many fakes make is that they think the Internet is wholly anonymous, a vast ocean where they can hide an identity or two and not get found out. Well, the Internet is more like an ocean with buoys and efficient sonar/radar systems. Even my mom can do a pretty thorough Google search. And there's good 'ol word of mouth to help things add up to nothing.
So when you're messing with people who should be private investigators, or those who have access to detailed historic and mortality data, you're gonna get found out. All I had to do was compare notes with a few people in person to start smelling a rat. Real people don't sit behind a computer all day, they meet up, and they talk.
Real people don't spontaneously emerge from the ether with no reference point, and real lives don't have that much drama. Death and crime records can be located, band information is out there (did you play the tambourine, "Steve"?), and legal processes tend to follow the same procedures, no matter what the crime.
But most of all, when you abuse semicolons, people will get upset.
August 21, 2007
back safe and somewhat sound
I made it back to National in several pieces, as my luggage went lost somewhere along the way. I'm hoping it wasn't the 2 cans of LaCrosse Lager I tried to smuggle in my shoes. If I don't get it back, some people aren't going to get their official Lake Pepin Laura Ingalls Wilder tee-shirts for Christmas!
The Chicago waterfront on the way out of O'Hare airport:
The death toll from the flooding and mudslides around my hometown reached 22, with more storms to come, yet all I saw on the news in the airports today was how a hurricane was somewhat near Texas, threatening oilfields. I guess if it isn't happening on the coasts, it's not important.
August 20, 2007
Many communities just across the river have been severely flooded, or have experienced landslides. It's basically been raining nonstop since Saturday. Photos from the LaCrosse Tribune here.
Today I drove my brother up to the Minneapolis airport. I took the river roads back home, and snapped this photo of a barge on the Mississippi in the mist, from Lake City, MN, birthplace of waterskiing:
Korn Fest was fun, albeit wet. Photos from the whole weekend here. I'm flying back to DC tomorrow. I hope some of this wet makes it to DC at least.
August 19, 2007
August 18, 2007
Beer: it's what's for dinner
Today was supposed to be the KORN FEST parade, but it's raining.
I had not received any voice mail messages or text messages from friends nor from work. Then I noticed I couldn't connect with my voicemail on my cell phone. So I called technical support, and she told me how to do it (Verizon Wireless is a LOT better than the rest of the Verizon services). It turns out that I've simply trained work and friends well to not contact me when I'm on vacation. Either that or I'm a total loser.
Beer, it's what's for dinner:
I went for a hike yesterday down at 'the bottoms'. Here is a photo of 'the bottoms':
I saw a bunny rabbit down on the swamp dunes (we call them 'sand bars').
Is it Muad'dib, Bunny of Dune?
August 17, 2007
OK, I might have sounded harsh yesterday when I said in haste :
"There were lots of soldiers on my flights who were going to Fort McCoy, then eventually to their doom in Iraq."I do not wish ill of the people who are sent to Iraq, but I fear for their lives and feel bad for the soldiers. I still don't understand what we're doing there, but I have my theories as to why we are there. Let's just say there are a lot of Republican contractors in DC who have done their noble 'development tour' there, with a secure protection force of several humvees arond them, who are now livin' large on what they billed to the project. A Gucci Peace Corps if you will, but with a much more lucrative readjustment allowance. Such 'tours' are very expensive, in lives and in financial cost. The soldiers are there for the Bush Republicans, for those who make money on war, and for Bush, but not for Iraq nor for the U.S.. And I feel bad for those who signed up to help the U.S. who are currently not doing that in Iraq. And the spending is outrageous. Again, it will be Gen-X, and these war veterans, who will be working to pay off this massive national debt, just like we did for Reagan's expenditures. I am a fiscal conservative, and I don't like debt, and war means debt, and so do Republicans. Simple math.
Anyway, there is a vole plague in Wisconsin, but Jilly is on patrol:
I remember reading that there is a vole infestation in Spain or Italy or somewhere. Worldwide vole populations are up, honeybee populations down.
August 16, 2007
The Coulee Region
There was a couple who were quarrelling at Ronald Reagan Washington National (whatever) Airport, all the way to Chicago O'Hare. Like they were making really hateful, mean faces at each other, all the time, while their 1 year-old baby was peacefully asleep, unaware that her future is going to suck because her parents really shouldn't be married. It made me reconsider my current pro-relationship opinion. Marriage isn't everything, and if you don't get along, you shouldn't be together.
Anyway, the air is fresh and the sky is clear here. They have the doors sealed shut and the air conditioner on when it's 85 degrees with no humidity. I started an open-window rebellion in the house. We had king crab and tender steak. I am full and will probably remain so until I return to DC.
Korn Fest starts tomorrow. Fasten your seat belts...
August 15, 2007
we apologize for the inconvenience
This blog's server was getting an upgrade/enema the past couple of days. Sorry for the inconvenience - but I'm sure you were more productive at work. We don't want the server to get moldy like my ceiling tiles at work:
Moldy ceiling tile is positioned directly above my desk. I work in an old building. During hot and humid weather outside, water condenses on the air conditioner in the room one floor above me, drips down to the tile, which absorbs the moisture, providing a great place for mold. No wonder I'm always phleghmy. The official solution by work control is to replace the tiles. And my basement's moldy too.
Last Sunday I didn't quite know what to do with myself with no homework to do that evening. No classes until September, and it's nice to have that time for me.
August 14, 2007
echoes from the void
We got our grades back from my Financial Management class, and while I bombed the final and mid-term, the paper I wrote (or pity) got me a final grade of a 'B'. I passed and won't have to take that goddamn class ever again, for which I am thankful.
I wrote a while back about some 'possible changes' that were on the horizon for me. Well, that didn't pan out I am sad to say. I interviewed for a new job on campus where I work. It would have been an upgrade in pay and responsibility in a field I'm more interested in. I got a phone and in-person interview, but I was sick as a dog a the time and did not have my game on as much as I could have. I left out or did not mention a lot of things I could have contributed to the job. I keep forgetting that I can do things that other people can't do very well.
The disappointing part is that since then I've gotten no word at all from the interview committee about whether or not I was considered after that - nothing, not a word, except for an envelope of the interview materials I handed out during the interview. The envelope had no cover letter or any information at all included with my returned publications. The next day I happened to go to a meeting of my peers and got word of their final decision from another person's announcement during the meeting. She got the job, is qualified, and I'm glad for her, but hearing about the search committee's decision by word of mouth was kind of disappointing. I guess if my only function in the interviews was to serve as the token guy (or gay) of selectees, they don't need to inform me whether or not a selection had been made.
With this summer's move and resultant busyness, to be honest I was not in the mood for another major life change, and a new job would have been just that. But I was excited about the possibility, and to just get dropped out of the loop without a word was disappointing. I might expect that from a crappy date, but not from a purportedly professional organization. A form rejection letter will get the message across, but echoes from the void is just cold.
Chin up, I will be OK, and will keep trying. This October marks my 4th year in a single position - the longest I've been in a job to date. But it's time to move on as the plant is growing out of its pot. I have to stay in the institution where I work to continue getting reimbursed tuition, and I think I have three classes left to go, so I'm sorta stuck here until 2008.
August 13, 2007
I'm goin' up the country, baby don't you wanna go?
Later this week I take off to Wisconsin to visit the family for a week. It's much nicer to visit in August when the weather here is harsh but much nicer there. I gave up on going home over the Christmas holiday season as the weather there is awful and travelling that time of year is no fun.
I think the departure could not come a moment too soon. While I did get away to NYC to see Xanadu on Broadway earlier this summer, I was sick as a dog at the time and of course any trip to that city will never really feel restful to me. I need a break from cities. Cities can drive you crazy if you don't leave them on a regular basis. Anyway, there hasn't been many vacation trips this summer, and one is long overdue, if even to Wisconsin. Besides, it's Korn Fest weekend there and there will be batterfried cheese curds at the beer tent. And there will be a lot of classmates from high school to catch up with there as well.
Some people get a little anxious about seeing old classmates or going home. I missed my 1, 5 and 10-year class reunions, but had a great time at my 15th class reunion. It was interesting who had changed, who didn't, and who I ended up having really engaging conversations with. One guy was an outstanding football and track jock who I never hung out with who dropped out of school early, but I ended up chatting with him about all sorts of things. Anyway, both of my older brothers will also be in town, and I'm looking forward to going fishing, riding on the bike trail, and taking the dogs down to the river bottoms (northern word for 'sloughs' or 'swamps') for a hike. I hope to take a lot of photos of places and things while I'm there.
I'll have to review my old high school yearbooks, as I'm terrible with names, and did not recognize a few people last time I was home. Early-onset Altzheimer's I believe, or the wages of my time as a party boy. I'll also have to remember that people there will call me 'Jimmy'. People spontaneously started calling me 'Jimbo' as soon as I moved here, and I still have no idea why. I neither encouraged the practice nor promoted it, but got used to it eventually.
At this weekend's party, Gurl, in another fit of drunken honesty, pointed out that my hair and beard looked darker, and asked if I had dyed either. (I think it was just that I was sitting in a dark corner.) While I loves swooning at the Just For Men beard models every time I pass that section in the grocery store, I plan on embracing my Daddyhood when it comes, and do not and probably will not dye my beard. There are a few grey hairs on the chin and temples - you just have to look close enough.
Gay men tend to freak out about aging, but all it takes is a tubing trip down a river to see that our perspective is a bit skewed, probably by all the marketing targeting the gay community showing young, emaciated men who look like they need a decent meal. While waiting in line for the bus to take us upriver for the tubing trip, I noticed that heterosexuals often have body fat, and that not everyone is ripped and cut like a Colt Model. And it wasn't a problem from my perspective.
August 12, 2007
grifting, termites, and OMG housewarming parties
On Saturday I busted a cashier at the 7-Eleven on Rhode Island and 14th Street, NW trying to grift me. Grifting is a petty merchant crime that depends on the customer to not pay attention to the transaction. It's happened to me about four times here in The District, usually at quickie-mart type places.
With a cashier merchant, it can happen in a couple of ways. It is attempted usually when the customer is drunk, not paying attention, or appears to be in a hurry. A simple way to attempt the crime is when you purchase a low-price item and pay for it with a larger bill. You give them a $10, and receive change for a $5; or give a $20 and get back change for a $10. How often do you count your change? When you call them out on this way of grifting, they can always claim they made a mistake.
In this weekend's instance, I was buying two packs of spearamint chewing gum, and was alerted to the con by the fact that the LED transaction display was not showing any totals. And/or they will try to conduct the transaction without a receipt. The other indicator that you can watch for is if the register till is not closed at the beginning of the transaction. The cashier is basically trying to charge you a little bit more for the item on his own without recording the transaction. It's never a large amount of money, and he is depending on you to not notice, but by the end of the day it adds up for the shady cashier.
Knowing that he was trying to do something sly, I waited for the final total, then I said, "That seems a bit high. Can you ring it up so I can see the total, and can I get a receipt?" Sure enough, the next total for the transaction was about $.40 lower than what I was quoted the first time. This ain't a bazaar, honey, and I shouldn't have to haggle the price at a 7-Eleven. And this ain't my first time in a 3rd world market. Just like a large transaction, a customer has the right to request a receipt of the transaction. The cashier was notably flustered, which filled me with glee. Whether you are a adjudicator of the law or just like catching thieves in the act, it's something to watch out for on occasion. Basically, count your returned change, make sure you know the prices, and get a receipt, and you can avoid it.
Later on I stopped by my old place to see if the owner was in and whether or not there was any mail for me there. There was not much mail, but the owner wanted to show me something inside. I had spent over a year at that property, and noticed small termite swarms every spring. I never counted more than a couple dozen critters, but I let the owner know because it could be bad news for the building structure. I didn't realize how bad it could be.
He was working on gutting the place, and since I had told him about the termite appearances, had gutted some parts of the house to inspect the potential damage. And damage there was: the middle of some major joists, up to 6" in width, had been riddled through entirely with tunnels. He pointed out some areas where a joist should be, but were missing entirely. He said there was nothing left but dust and nails in some parts. I pity him, but at least it's not my home! More good renter experience that will potentially help me in the future: if you see even a single termite, you should freak out if you own the place. They do some serious damage to a house's structure.
We had a housewarming party tonight. It was a smashing success, especially judging by the cleanup and beer smell that now permeates the house. Some pictures are here and here. Here's my favorite photo, a closeup of some Bear's chest fur:
August 9, 2007
'Ring of Fire'
This heat makes people cranky. Even my aquarium fish are cranky and are picking on each other. My coworkers are cranky and the critters upstairs are cranky. Our air conditioner is struggling. It was acting odd last month, and is barely chugging any cool air around the house. Maybe it's a wussy or aging air conditioner, maybe it's just struggling in this weather. It wouldn't hurt if they stopped cooking and running that oven 24/7...if only for a few moments. Ever heard of making refreshing cool summer soups?
I don't think it's any hotter than other horrid weeks during a typical DC summer, weeks like this just always comes as a shock. This July's weather was incredible, so the Catholic part of me somehow believes we deserve this. I don't understand this since I wasn't raised Catholic.
Last night someone said "woof. woof!" to me while I was playing online on City of Heroes. The odd part was that I was playing El Pollo Rico, my new chicken-man mutant superhero. He does not resemble a bear or a wolf, or even a human - he's a chicken-creature with barbed wire wrapped fists and chicken wings. I thought being 'woofed' was odd, but maybe all the bears are going berzerk this weekend and woofing at anything that moves.
I can predict there's going to be a lot of smelly bears running around this Bear Invasion weekend. Just remember, guys: there's a big difference between a guy's scent, a smell, and a stench. I recommend most of you shower daily in this weather so your scents don't build up to a stench. I'm sorry I have to explain the process, but it seems that I must.
On a related note, the humid August air really amplifies that tacky Tag (Gag) body spray smell. It's a trend I hope does not continue. Fortunately the 'mos aren't guilty of body spray abuse too often - the fad seems to be restricted mostly to breeders who go bowling at Gallery Place/Chinatown. One time when I was exiting the MetroRail station on the way to my gym, a couple of guys thought they needed to apply the body spray while going up on the escalator. When trains leave a station, the air gets sucked into the station from the outside. Unfortunately I was downwind of the wannabe studsters, and was hit by a huge cloud of Gag body spray. Better than a Bear into mansmells, I guess.
August 8, 2007
'W' is for Wednesday
Wildenstein photo courtesey of (c) Ann-Eve Grace Cunningham .
August 7, 2007
And the 10,000th commenter is...
"I can think of lots of ways to honor me as your 10,00th commentor."
I will try to accomodate his request(s) as they come in and within geographic possibilities.
One of my favorite places to eat, El Pollo Rico (formerly in Arlington), is under some financial and immigration scruitiny, but thankfully still in business. When I worked in Arlington I visted El Pollo Rico at least once a week for their trademark pollo a la braza, or spit-roasted chicken, chased down with a can of fine Inca Cola.
DC has it's own pageant, fyi: 50 Most Beautiful People on Capitol Hill. You might vomit, so don't look at it while you're near your keyboard.
August 6, 2007
Who will be the 10,000th commenter at jimbo.info?
We are fast approaching the 10,000th comment here at jimbo.info. Who will the 10,000th commenter be? Will the comment have anything to do with the entry, or will it be comment SPAM? I wish I had some schwag to give out to the 10,000th commenter, but all I can give you is my love. The 2,000th entry will probably happen in September, so that means about 10 comments per blog entry, fyi. Y'all are Chatty Kathys.
My keyboard at work is disgusting. My fingers almost stick to the keys. Time to do some office cleaning.
I had a lovely weekend with CrumbleFur Matt. On Friday we went out to Nellie's. The upper deck on the third floor is sorta at the exhaust duct level of nearby Ethiopian restaurants, and you can smell that spice they use in the food. And when I get drunk, I CRAVE Ethiopian food sooo bad. But the problem is that no matter what you order at an Ethiopan restaurant, it takes them forever to get it to you. If there was an Ethiopian restaurant that catered to the "drunken pizza slice craving crowd" with fast order turnaround I think they'd make money hand over fist.
On Saturday we went tubing down the Upper Potomac from Harper's Ferry. It was a steamy day and the trip hit the spot. I wore my Teva sandals - and I liked it. Lots of furry shirtless college kids too - good to see the body hair trimming plague that has gripped the gay community hasn't taken with everyone else. I spotted a gay couple accompanying one group on the tubing shuttle - they were the only ones with John Basedow abs, posing a lot like him too. I tend to favor more natural torsos. Hon, there's nothin' wrong with a little something to grab or rest your head on, you know?
Fortunately for all of us there is still TJ, who hosted for a high-definition viewing of the film Breach later that evening. I rarely go to the theatres to see political thrillers, but it was a good film to watch at a home.
Frikkin' financial management final due on Tuesday - it's a take-home, but will still involve a lot of fact checking and number crunching. I will be happy when this course is over with. I realized why it seemed so intense - it's a condensed summer course so the homework was indeed time consuming. It doesn't help that all these concepts are alien to me - my biology and communications background never touched on balance sheets and cost variances. Two more days of cash flows and costs of good souls and I'm done and free of study until September.
August 3, 2007
popped collar crime wave in Arlington
It's official: Crocs Cause Chaos on Metrorail Escalators. If only the escalators would eat those who purchased the crocs too. Just a reminder, when you see someone wearing Crocs, they are discreetly telling you something about themselves.
Crime Shows Signs of Waning in D.C. Region. Umm...yeah, whatever. Crime has waned maybe in Arlington, where the worst crime is the popped collar. That constitutes a crime wave in my book.
A photo that I took this week:
CrumbleFur Matt is in for a visit this weekend. We may go tubing as it's going to be gawdawful hot this weekend and that would hit the spot.
August 2, 2007
the lily pond saga is now over like 17th St. is over
Yeah, like Bob said, our tagline could be this:
Washington DC - If I can't have anything nice, neither can you.
UPDATE: oops, the lily & its pot was actually still there, just concealed by the muddy water. It had been overturned, however. So the plant wasn't stolen, but that goddamned varmint is still on the loose! I still stand by my statements that passed-out drunks should be removed from 7-Eleven premeses, however. Read on:
Our neighbors got their bikes stolen last week, buncha shootings this weekend during the silly heightened security media stunt, a rash of recent break-ins, and a robbery at the market a block from where I lived a few years ago got held up. The owner of that store is really nice. Once when I forgot my money, he said I can pay him back later. That was nice.
At my last place the upstairs neighbors got robbed too. So far I've been lucky and have only gotten small things stolen. But basically if you can't nail it down to the floor or ground it's fair game in the city.
Why can't these people envision a better world, and participating in improving this world? Why do they know only to take and never give? I generally like to believe that people are inherently good, but some people just don't seem to have the imagination to visualize a better environment for themselves and those around them. As you learn early in your childhood - there are people who build snowmen, and those who knock them over. Sometimes it's futile to create something that will eventually melt away, but other people just see what you're doing as an opportunity for advancement or idle destruction.
If I may continue to bitch - aren't franchises and chain store business owners in any way responsible for maintaining aesthetics around their businesses? Nearly every day at the 7-Eleven on Rhode Island and 7th, there is the same homeless guy passed out on the corner, laying in his own piss. Isn't there, or shouldn't there be, a law that penalizes the property owners of these businesses to take responsibility for this? The same stories can be told of other businesses throughout the city, including CVS, Safeway, Rite Aid, McDonald's and Starbucks. I'm not on an anti-chain rail here - the truth is that if there is panhandling or a passed-out crackhead on the sidewalk, it's always in front of one of these businesses. Some stores even have their own resident panhandler, much like a club has a resident DJ. I say propose a law that penalizes franchise owners for not maintaining a standard of aesthetics, including panhandling, passed out crackheads and general loitering.
At the moment I'm still glad I'm renting. It seems like certain problems never go away. One day when I no longer need to feel that a certain level of social activity is as important as it used to be for me, I'll be content moving to a less densely populated and better managed urban or suburban area. For now the benefits outweigh the shitty parts - for now.