Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Feel The Burn

The sound from the kitchen was chilling. A high pitched, angry caterwauling that sent Chandler slinking off to hide in my office. "Dinner is ruined! It's fucking ruined! Why didn't you tell me you smelled the beef burning? Goddammit, goddammit sonfabitch!", the he-witch in the kitchen screamed out to me. Well, the simple answer is that I didn't smell anything burning, and I happen to know better than to wander into the kitchen while Mark is cooking and get in his way. I have learned over the years, that to get too close to Mark while he is creating one of his masterpieces, is like messing with a rattle snake. Before you realize it, he is spitting and snapping at you, demanding you "Get the hell out of my kitchen!" So at this point I couldn't figure out if I should run, or go in there and try to calm things down. "Oh sure, you asshole, just sit out there and ignore me!", Mark yelled. I realized I should run.

I know that it sounds like Mark walks on water in the kitchen from the way I write about him, but he does stumble once in a while and screws things up. That's how he learns. His bad mood today was brought on earlier this afternoon by Paula Deen. For the second time Mark had followed a recipe from one of her cook books, only to have it fail miserably. He was making some kind of super fattening, sugar and lard filled cookie, and instead of turning out like the beautiful photo in the cook book, they came out of the oven as flat little patties. That brought on his first tirade of the day, where he cursed "that stupid, hillbilly, bitch", and swore she never baked anything that she put in her cook books. So by the time dinner burned, Mark was on a hair trigger, and since Paula Deen doesn't live with us he decided to take it out on me. The funny thing is that even though he burned the beef for the stew he was making, it still came out even better than the beef stew that he usually makes. It was delicious. You know, maybe he can walk on water in that kitchen.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Movie Night

Tonight is movie night. Every Tuesday Mark runs up to Blockbuster at ten in the morning to make sure he gets the latest release. Usually he gets a pretty good movie, but once in a while I have to sit through some weepy 'chick flick' or inane kids cartoon. Mark will also occasionally bring home gory horror films, and other genre filled with blood and guts. I don't have too much of a problem with those, except that the guy who rented it and brought it home, covers his eyes at the gory scenes, or simply runs out of the room screaming if it gets too bloody or scary.

Up until I was fourteen, I never knew that movies had an actual start and finish. You see my dad had a problem getting his brood to the theater when the movie actually started, and we would almost always walk in halfway through whatever John Wayne movie he had brought us to. There we would sit watching the big climatic battle scene, where John Wayne would save the country from the Confederates/Indians/Japs/Germans without a clue as to what led up to it. We would then sit through the first half of the same movie, figuring out what connection each scene had to that finale we had already watched, knowing who was a dead man, and who would live. Just when things were all falling into place, and we were gearing up to watch that big battle scene again, my dad would pop up out of his seat, and announce, "Well, this is where we came in. Let's go!"  That's why I love my DVD player, and Blockbuster. I get to watch the whole movie right from the start, including all the previews, and I can pause it when I need to take a leak, or refill my cocktail.

So it's off to Blockbuster this morning for Mark. I hope he doesn't  bring home 'Alvin and the Chipmunks; A Squeaquel'. I'd have to pause that one quite a few times to freshen my cocktail, just to make it entertaining.

Monday, March 29, 2010


Twenty two years ago I was in the middle of twelve weeks of chemotherapy. It seems as though my life has been divided into two halves, B.C. and A.C.  Before chemo, it seems that I had a very good memory, and despite my years of pot smoking, I could remember what I did when I was five years old, and what I did five days ago. After chemo, I haven't had quite as good a record of remembering things. I have learned to write stuff down, and my computer has been great at reminding me of shit, just as long as I remember to enter it into my calendar.

Last Wednesday I was at the Abandoned Pet Rescue shelter, and they asked me if I would like to take a dog to the neighborhood dog walking party on Saturday morning. "Sure!", I replied. Coffee, donuts, and the company of a bunch of dogs, what's not to like? Later in the day, back at the house, the tree cutters came by for the annual  trimming of the trees. When they were all done, the old guy who owns the tree company came over to me and told me that if I paid in cash, he'd give me a fifty dollar discount. "Sure!", I replied. As long as he could wait until I went to the bank the next day, I could do that.

Saturday morning, I'm laying in bed, half awake, when the dog starts barking wildly. Someone is at the door. It's the tree guy, "You got the money?" How embarrassing. I never forget to pay my bills. On more than one occasion I have had to knock on a tenant's door, five days past when the rent was due, and ask for my money the whole time thinking 'What an asshole'. Is this what Mr. Manley Tree Company was thinking of me right now? What was worse is that I had totally forgot to go to the bank, so I didn't even have the cash to give him. "I'm sorry, I'll have it by this afternoon."

Three hours later, after Mark and I had made a run to the bank, and done some shopping at Lowes for my new bathroom, I am riding along in the car. Out the car window I see somebody walking a happy, tail wagging, big, black Lab. "Shit!", I shout out, remembering much too late, and startling Mark. Over at Abandoned Pet Rescue, a poor orphan dog has had his bath, and is all dressed up in his cute little bandanna, waiting for some schmuck to take him to the dog walking party. But the schmuck never showed up. Now I really feel bad.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Photo Friday

Abie and Laura know what it takes to get a meal from Mark.

So what kind of wine did Chandler bring?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

When Relatives Drop In

There are two good reasons why Mark loves it when my family visits. First of all, I clean the house, and nothing seems to give Mark more of a sense of pleasure (outside of shopping) as seeing me vacuum. Secondly, Mark gets to show off his culinary skills to an audience that he knows will appreciate them. Tonight my niece from Milwaukee is coming to dinner, and Mark has been all atwitter planning and shopping for this since one second after I told him she was coming. Making dinner for guests is to Mark as directing a movie is to Martin Scorsese, and the results are usually just as spectacular. As far as I know, nobody in my family could be considered a good cook, not counting brothers in law who can grill the crap out of a piece of meat. So when one of my relatives comes to visit, Mark's aim is to knock their socks off with one of his 'food-tacular' dinners.

As for me, I am just glad to see family visit. The best part about my family is that they all drop in quickly, and disappear after a reasonable amount of time. What more could you ask for. In fact I usually spend more time cleaning up the house than they actually spend visiting. I still have more cleaning to do, the bathroom is still dirty, so I'll have to end this here. If it was a nephew visiting I could probably blow off cleaning the bathroom, but you know, a niece, a girl. I'll probably have to clean it up as well as I did for Dennis.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Touch Of Gay

Okay, I have to expose some truths. My whole life I have been confused about exactly how old my mom was. It wasn't until about ten years ago, that I finally nailed it down. To be fair to my mom I will not disclose her true age here, but suffice to say if she were a piano, she'd have all of her keys.

A few months back my mom casually said to me, "Alan, I wish you would let your hair grow a little longer, and maybe put a little 'Just For Men' in there to darken it. You look so old with the short hair and grayness." Well, I figured it out immediately, "You want me to look younger so that you will look younger, right?" My mom let out a little chuckle, and agreed "I can't have such old children, besides I like your hair a little longer." Who is this lady? What did you do with the woman who hated my long hair forty years ago?

So the truth is that yes, I used some of that stuff called 'A Touch of Gray', on the hair that I've been letting grow out a little longer over the past few months. Mom was right, I do look better and have got a few positive comments on my upgraded look. Now if they only had something called 'A touch of Abs' to smear on that jelly belly I've been nurturing.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Russellgate Affair

A week ago, while we were in Chicago, I had left my friend Russell to watch over Casa Alan. We have done this before and have never had any problems, so when I saw his incoming call I was concerned. "Bad news!", he informed me. 'Holy shit' I thought, the dog is sick, one of the cats is hurt, the house caught on fire, all sorts of scenarios flooded my head. Breathlessly Russell told me, "The front gate fell down!". "We've managed to prop it back up, and wire it to the wall, but I don't know if that will hold! We're giving it all we've got Alan!" Well maybe that last part isn't true, but it's not like my house is the Enterprise, and it's going to be sucked into a black hole if the gate isn't up and working. It's just a gate. All it means is that I'll have another little chore to do when I get home.

So this weekend I dug two new post holes, put in two new posts, poured concrete around them, and re-hung the gate. I think I did a pretty nifty job, and for all the half-assed jobs I've done around here I think this one turned out pretty good. After all, I was only one eighth of an inch off, and the gate almost closes perfectly if you give it a good shove. The big problem came later. It seems that my actually doing some physical labor out in the front yard inspired Mark to go out and do some landscaping.

Here is how our home is divided. Mark has full say on how the inside is decorated, and what the back yard looks like. I get to take care of the front yard, and I get to pay all the expenses associated with maintaining the house. Fair enough, so when Mark started screwing with my front yard I kind of went nuts and yelled at him. "What the hell are you doing? Quit blowing all those leaves out into the parking lot!", I shouted. Mark ignored me and continued to blow crap all around, creating a huge mess out front. Well, from there things went down hill fast, and within minutes we were cursing at each other, and making disparaging remarks about each others physical abilities. The argument finally came to a head when we got to the point of locking each other out of the house, and screaming insane insults at each other. At this point, despite the neighbors clamoring for more entertainment, we finally calmed down and went inside.

I have to confess, Mark did a nice little job out there. He planted some flowers, and cleaned up most of the loose leaves laying around. My only problem is that now I have to water those flowers, and the leaves I allow to gather under the trees that serve as a mulch to keep down the weeds, are gone. So I guess Mark could say he won that argument because now the front yard looks nice, but I'll never admit it.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Video Thursday

 A wedding is usually a showcase for the bride and she is the star. Not this time. The star of this wedding was little Kellen, the bride's cousin's son, and ring bearer. By the way, the bride was beautiful.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Calling The Pot Black

Mark is what you would call, high strung. Things that you or I would just accept as part of life, Mark takes to a new level and turns them into a scene.

This afternoon I took Mark out to lunch, in part to apologize for a perceived insult I threw his way yesterday. Apparently telling someone they don't have a pot to piss in is considered one of the worst insults ever meted out, according to Mark. Now mind you, I meant it as an all inclusive, not having a pot to piss in, meaning I don't either. After all, if Mark is piss pot-less, so am I. Anyway, it made for a frosty ride to the airport yesterday, and a quiet plane ride back home. Just for the record, Mark does have a pot to piss in, and in fact has more than enough pots to piss in. That was the gist of my 'insult'. You don't have to shop for any more crap Mark, you have enough!

So back to Mark and his being high strung. While sitting in our favorite little French cafe waiting for our lunch, Mark was sipping his iced tea and chatting away. What Mark forgot to do is stop sipping long enough to let the constant cascade of words out. Suddenly while yakking away, Mark's face turned red and he jumped up out of his chair, coughing and hacking. He had literally inhaled his iced tea. As Mark danced around the table, spewing iced tea all over me, the lady sitting behind us, in the most sincere of ways, asked "Is he alright?" "Yes." I replied, "He's just a big drama queen." It turns out that calling Mark a drama queen is also an insult. I'm not sure where I'll take him out tomorrow to make up for this one, but I guarantee it won't be the same restaurant where we went to lunch today.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spit on It

I guess that I started out with a negative view of the airline we took to Chicago last weekend when the red ink ran out on my printer. After printing out our boarding passes the airline logo looked like Spi it, and I started calling it Spit Airlines.

Years ago, when I first started flying, all tickets were the same price. Nobody who paid $400 was sitting next to someone who only paid $98, and once the plane was in the air, you were showered with free sodas, water, and a meal served on a nice little dish with real flatware. Of course, back then I would have been writing this on a clunky old typewriter. Times have changed.

My first inkling that Spit airlines was going to nickel, and dime me to death was after buying the low cost ticket that was advertised. Immediately after purchasing the ticket online, a screen came up that asked if I wanted to choose my seat now. Sure, let's get to it, and I clicked on two seats. $64 was immediately added to the price of my airfare. Welcome to the new age of air travel where buying a ticket to the plane doesn't buy you a seat. I wondered, do they have straps hanging from the ceiling like on the subway? After giving in to the fact that I was going to be charged for sitting, I decided I might as well go ahead and buy one of the most comfortable seats up front. After all, I was just getting over the boil on my ass, and I figured if I have to pay, I might as well be comfy. It was when we got on board that I realized just how greedy and petty Spit airlines was. They not only charged me six dollars for a little bottle of vodka, if I wanted a vodka/soda I had to order a separate can of club soda for another three dollars. The real shocker came later when the guy across the aisle asked the flight attendant for a cup of water. It seems that after waiting three hours on the ground for our flight to take off, and the actual flight taking an hour longer than advertised because the pilot had to fly around weather, the poor guy was thirsty. "I'm sorry sir," she told him, "I can't give you water. We're only allowed to give a passenger water if they have to take a pill."  I watched in amazement as everyone within earshot suddenly had to take a pill. I of course chimed right in, except I let her know that my doctor wanted me to wash it down with some vodka. The final bill for this flight to Chicago was $628. I could have flown a real airline for more than $100 less. No more Spit for me, ever.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Squirrel ! !

If any one of you have seen the movie Up, one of the funniest scenes in that film is when the guy says "Squirrel!", and the dog goes nuts. That is exactly what Chandler does when we are out walking and I point out the squirrels to him.

Mark is constantly amazed at the fact that Chandler knows words, and is always showing this off to our friends by shouting out "Squirrel!". He does it just to make Chandler run around the house, looking up and under the furniture for the little rodent while Mark laughs and giggles. If Mark is still feeling he needs to point out our dog's knowledge of the English language, he will shout "Lizard!", which basically will elicit the same response, or "Walkies!", which makes Chandler run over to the door and do circles. Despite my objections that this will only dilute the meaning of those words to Chandler, Mark keeps on teasing him this way. I guess it's only fair. This morning while walking through the mall with Mark I yelled "Sale! Fifty percent off!", Just to watch his head snap around.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Photo Friday

Tomato Shortage
 I was reading about the tomato shortage up north because of all the cold weather down here in Florida. The funny thing is that Mark had given up on his garden and has neglected it for the last three months. I thought the whole thing was just a dead mass of weeds, but surprise! The hardy little bastards that wouldn't give up a single tomato last fall, started producing tomatoes. They hadn't been watered or given any attention whatsoever for over three months. Apparently benign neglect does work sometimes.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Gay Old Party

South Florida

State rep’s proposal would exclude gay-themed productions from tax credit

The Associated Press
7:43 AM EST, March 8, 2010

Movie and TV productions with gay characters could be ineligible for a tax credit being considered in the state House. Current state law grants tax credits on productions considered "family friendly" — with no smoking, sex, nudity or profane language. The proposal by Republican Rep. Stephen Precourt of Orlando would increase the credit and expand the field of disqualified productions as those that include any "exhibit or implied act" of nontraditional family values and gratuitous violence. Precourt says he's not targeting the gay community but that shows with gay characters would not be something he'd want "to invest public dollars in." Florida Together director Ted Howard says "instituting 1950s-style movie censorship does nothing to support real-life families."

Roy Ashburn: "I am gay"

| Monday, Mar 08 2010 12:05 PM

Roy Ashburn State Sen. Roy Ashburn

State Sen. Roy Ashburn said he was feeling "numb" mid-morning Monday after announcing to his constituents that he is gay. Ashburn, R-Bakersfield, came out Monday morning in an interview with talk radio host Inga Barks of AM 1180 KERN. The veteran Kern County lawmaker was similarly tight-lipped about the circumstances surrounding his drunken driving arrest early last Wednesday morning in Sacramento.

A Sacramento television station quoted unnamed sources last week as saying Ashburn had been at a gay night club. The California Highway Patrol reported a man it didn't identify was in the state-owned, black Chevrolet Tahoe Ashburn was driving when he was pulled over.

Ashburn has taken heat in the last week for having been both closeted and a consistent vote against gay-rights related legislation. In the interview, Ashburn repeatedly argued he voted the will of his constituents in his conservative 18th Senate District, which includes much of Bakersfield.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Wedding Drinker

I have ten brothers and sisters, of that I am sure. What I am a little cloudy on is how many nieces and nephews I have. I have tried to add them up in my head on more than one occasion, and each time the number comes out different, so I will give a ball park figure of twenty. Twenty nieces and nephews. Add on to that the fact that they are now reproducing, and you can see why I am often in a fog when it comes to family matters.

This month I am attending the wedding of one of my nieces, and although she lives in Florida, I have to schlep all the way up to Chicago for this one. I guess I should be thankful she didn't have it back in January. This wedding is another in a long line of weddings I have attended over the last forty plus years, and will add another layer to the confusion I have as to who got married when, and where. In my mind they have all blended into one jumbled pile of churches, wedding chapels, and reception halls. I do have some clearer memories of the ones I attended in more recent times. That's mostly because I slowed way down on the marijuana and vodka as I got older. This time I don't plan on drinking hardly at all, and I may even take some photos. That's another strange thing, I have very few photos of any weddings that I have gone to, and I think it's because I was too busy drinking at the time. I'm sure if I ask around, my sisters all have pictures of me at their weddings with bloodshot eyes, and a drink in my hand.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Alquitrán Niño

When I lived in Chicago, after a long and brutal winter, that first nice sunny day with the temperature over sixty degrees was like a holiday. Hoards of people would be out walking around the city in shorts and flip flops, acting like it was Florida even though there were still those occasional dirty piles of snow melting into the grass. And even if every square foot of grass along the sidewalk was filled with freshly uncovered, defrosting dog poop, everyone was in a good mood. On days like those I couldn't wait to throw open the windows and let the fresh air blow through the house and push the stale, dry, winter air out. Unfortunately I almost never got to keep those windows open. Invariably somewhere in the neighborhood, somebody was getting their building re-roofed and the noxious fumes would fill my apartment requiring me to close the damn windows again. I don't know why, but it always, always, happened that way.

This has been the coldest winter in my memory here in South Florida, so when the temperature finally climbed towards seventy degrees I ran around opening windows. 'Ahhh, fresh air', I thought. Within minutes the house filled up with the choking, sulfuric fumes of hot roofing tar. I went outside to see where the smell was coming from, and up on the roof of the building directly behind me were a dozen Mexican men busily spreading tar. Three days later, they were still up there working just as hard as the previous two days. In my swimming pool was a thick oil slick floating on top of the water, the two outdoor cats were hacking up tarry fur balls, and inside the house Mark was having terrible coughing fits. Yes, I thought, it’s springtime. There are two bad smells that actually trigger good feelings in me. First there is the smell of diesel exhaust, that mentally brings me back to the streets of Chicago, and all the fun I had there. Then there is the horrible, gagging smell of hot tar, that always reminds me of beautiful sunny spring days.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Alan and Dennis Go To White Castle

I don't mind product placement in movies and television. It's kind of comforting to see my favorite product in a movie. To know that Brad Pitt and I drink the same beer somehow brings him closer to me, and not in a dangerous stalker kind of way. One product that I always look for in old movies, and television shows are Studebaker automobiles. I can always remember Mr. Ed, the talking horse, selling Studebakers on TV when I was a kid. Studebaker isn't in business any more, but you still see them pop up in movies once in a while, mostly because of their peculiar looks.

I just got done watching a program that I had recorded from Sunday night called Undercover Boss. It featured one of the owners of White Castle working undercover at various locations. I really didn't pay that much attention to the tear jerking stories in the show, because all through the program all I could think about was, 'I need a bag of sliders!'. This is genius product placement. An entire one hour show with constant close-ups of those greasy little burgers. At one point in the program they showed a White Castle that I used to go to in Chicago. That was when my eyes glazed over, and I started drooling uncontrollably. Yes I know they are disgusting, and bad for you, but I love them. Unfortunately the closest White Castle to my house is 860 miles away, so I will have to settle for the frozen ones that they sell here in the super market. But all is not lost. We have a trip to Chicago planned for this month, and I’m sure at some point I can convince Dennis to make a slider run with me. Later I’ll be doing the slider runs in Dennis’ bathroom, but that‘s another story.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


It was pitch black, I was laying in bed and this is what I heard.

Mark: "Get the hell off me kitty!"
Carlotta: "Meep?"
Chandler: "Snort!"
Carlotta: "Hssssss...."
Mark: "Goddamnit, that little bitch scratched me! I hate that cat!"

This was followed by the lights coming on, revealing the dog at the end of the bed, the cat skittering out the door, and Mark with a bloody little scratch on his arm. I have had Carlotta for seventeen years, and she has never hissed at me or scratched me. For some reason skinny little Carlotta, and skinny Mark just don't get along. She loves me, that's why she was curled up in the bed to begin with, but she and Mark barely tolerate each other.

It seems that when I raise a cat from a little kitten, they take on an obsessive personality about me. Before Carlotta, it was Nina. Nina didn't like anybody but me, and everyone who visited our home knew not to try and pet her because all they'd get is a loud hiss, and possibly some cat scratch fever. On the other hand, every full grown cat that I have adopted or rescued, is sweet as pecan pie. Fat Kitty is an all around lover, and the two girls outside will crawl all over you if you sit down out there. So is this a reflection on me? Am I an anti-social loser who projects his personality onto his kittens, who then grow up to be she-devils? I don't think so. I think it is because I am so sweet and lovable that Carlotta and Nina don't want to share me with anybody. And if you don't think I'm sweet and lovable, you can just go screw yourself.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Don't Get Cheeky With Me

Did you know that Rush Limbaugh got out of the draft, and thus out of serving in the Viet Nam War, because he had some kind of boil on his ass? If I had known it was that easy, I'd have never told them that I was gay. Although, I think my way was less degrading.

About a month ago I noticed a rash on my buttocks, and despite using every cream I could find in the medicine cabinet, it continued to grow and increase in itching. I finally went to the doctor, and he told me it was a fungus. A fungus? All I could conjure up in my mind were a bunch of little mushrooms growing on my butt. It gave me the creeps. The doc gave me an antifungal cream and in just a few days the rash disappeared. Then last Wednesday something else popped up on my right ass cheek about the size of a potato. Reaching back and giving it an inspection by hand, I immediately thought to myself, "Holy crap, the fungus is back and this time it's huge." I figured it would go away with the cream, but within twenty four hours it had doubled in size, and every time I sat down it was like a knife jabbing me in the butt. Once again I was off to the doctor. "It's a boil, and has nothing to do with the fungus.", He advised me. So now I am on antibiotics and have to sit in the bathtub three times a day. The doctor told me it would come to a head and drain out, and if that didn't happen I should return and he'd lance it. I hope it goes away soon. I can't sit, I can't walk, and right now I am kneeling on the floor in front of the computer writing this. Maybe the draft board should have looked for guys with boils on their asses instead of deferring them. It would make them really mean and nasty. Just ask Mark.