Monday, January 31, 2011

Pot Calling The Kettle What?

Mark has a great gourmet kitchen. He has all the utensils, appliances, and cookware that a chef would need to produce the fabulous meals I get to eat every day. I swear, Mark could open a restaurant with all the crap he has in there. He has mixers, blenders, knives, choppers, graters, and drawers full of weird gadgets of questionable use, but most of all he has pots, and pans. Everywhere I look in that kitchen are pots and pans. They are hanging from the ceiling, stacked in cabinets, hidden in drawers, and stuffed in the oven. Mark has pots and pans lining the hallway to the bathroom, which creates a dog awakening clatter as I knock into them on my way to the toilet at night.

Unfortunately this great kitchen Mark has assembled is crammed into an area the size of a small walk in closet. That's why I kind of went off when he informed me that I needed to go with him to pick up his new set of cookware.
"What's the matter with the Cuisinart, and the All-Clad crap in there? Where are you going to put all this new shit?"
Mark shrugged his shoulders, and let out a sigh, as if he was tired of explaining the obvious to one ignorant of his needs, "I just want it, so shut up and help me go pick it up."

I've heard straight guys refer to a friend as pussy-whipped. Technically, I as a gay man couldn't be pussy-whipped, because Mark is obviously lacking in that area. Call me what you will, but sometimes it's just easier to go along with Mark than submit myself to the whining, and screaming that would ensue if I persisted in saying no. All I know is that I had to lug those damn things from Macy's out to the car, and then from the car, into the house. God knows where he will put these new pots and pans, or where we will stuff the old ones that look just fine to me. I guess I could put the old pots and pans right next to that sewing machine I said I'd never, ever buy him.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Photo Friday

I love January. The flowers, the weather, I love it all.......



Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I Friend Bubba

For quite a while I've been a facebook hater. I just didn't see the point. It seemed to mostly be a place for young girls to find old guys who lie about who they are, and a place for teenage boys to post self portrait photos they've snapped in the bathroom. No, I didn't like facebook, that is until today.

Yesterday afternoon the phone rang, it was a neighbor. He was walking his dog on the next block over, and he explained that he had come upon a stray. He needed a little help wrangling the pooch in, so I grabbed a leash and walked around there. It was a large white and brown dog, very friendly, he came right over to me when I called him. I slipped the leash on him, and walked him around to our block. It was as easy as that. Unfortunately he had no tags, but I suggested taking him up to the nearby veterinarian, who scanned him for a chip. Turns out his name was Bubba, he came from Pennsylvania, his owner's name is Ryan, and Ryan's phone was disconnected.

This is where facebook came through for us. We called the police, animal control, and Abandoned Pet Rescue, to report the found dog. I then went on line, and searched for the name of the owner. There were five people on facebook with that name (A somewhat unusual name at that). I then sent messages to all of them. This morning I checked my email, and sure enough the second reply was Ryan, totally relieved to find out some good Samaritans had his dog.

Ryan and Bubba have been reunited, and Ryan friended me on facebook. I friended him right back, and then took a little tour of his photo page. I was curious to see if he had any photos of Bubba on there. He did. He also had some of those self portrait photos that young guys take in the bathroom. No matter, I finally see the value of facebook. Societal contacts, and self portrait photos.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Frog Porn

When I first moved to Florida twenty two years ago, I was not prepared for the wildlife. No, not the stripper bars and night clubs. I was quite ready for those. It was the critters that surprised me.

Our first home here was a beautiful townhouse right in the center of Fort Lauderdale. It had a two story wall of windows looking out over a gorgeous, tranquil patio, and swimming pool. At night though, the quiet was broken by the huge sound of some kind of wild animal. As soon as the sun went down, a roar would start. That roar was soon answered by more loud calls from all around the yard. I imagined some kind of wild cat, or maybe gigantic birds were nesting out there. I did determine that the noise was coming from up in the big tree in the yard, and after a few sleepless nights I went out with a flashlight to hunt it down. Slowly I made my way across the patio towards the tree. I zeroed in on the source of the sound, and flipped on the flashlight. There it was, staring back at me with it’s beady little eyes. A frog, a tiny little frog that was blowing up the sack under his chin, and bellowing like a cow going to slaughter. Now I knew that we had frogs, but I never imagined that they could be so loud. I would see the evidence of the frogs every morning. The swimming pool would be covered with thousands of tiny black frog eggs, and if I didn’t clean them out, by the next day it would be thousands of tadpoles.

From that point on I decided to leave the pool lights on at night. It didn’t deter the frogs from coming around, but it did allow me to watch as dozens of frogs copulated in the swimming pool. It was magical…. If you like to watch frogs fuck that is.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Rap and Music Are Not The Same Thing

 Hit the play button to hear to the shocking 
music my grandmother listened to while you read.




Saturday Mark and I tried out a relatively new Italian themed sandwich shop here in town. It seemed very nice, modern decor, a nice waitress with an actual Italian accent (she might have been just a good actress for all I know), and a very hip looking young man making the food. As I sat there eating my delicious chicken and roasted red pepper Panini, I noticed that something wasn't right. It was the background music.

♫ Sh-t’s finna get thick again
They say the competition is stiff
But I get a hard d--k from this sh-t, now stick it in ♫


Not really the mood music I’d have picked for dining in the afternoon.

What is it about each new generation that automatically attracts them to the music that is most disturbing to us older farts? I know that it’s nothing new. I’m sure my mom and dad were listening to that crazy swing music back when they were kids, and my grand parents surely ran out to buy the latest cylinder recordings of ragtime music when they wanted to piss off their mom and dad.

I did my part when I was a kid. If my mom or dad showed any interest at all in the music I was listening to, it was immediately discarded as too square. I remember one time my mom walked by while I was listening to ‘The Lovin Spoonful’, and she remarked as to how disgusting the line, Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty, was. That little comment instantly put that record into the cool column. Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, mom hated them all. I loved them.

As we finished lunch at the sandwich shop, the music was still playing.

♫ I’m high as a bitch: up, up and away♫

I glanced over at the kid behind the counter, and then to our waitress. It didn’t seem to disturb them at all. In fact I think I saw the kids earlobe plug bouncing up and down to the beat, which was all it had. No melody, no rhythm, just a beat with dirty words that kind of rhymed. It’s not like I don’t know that I’m old. I know it very well. I just hate to have it beat into my brain while munching on my ten dollar Panini.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Photo Friday

Bear Shit
Yes I know I'm a big  flaming homo, but I love football.
I like college football, and NFL football, but most of all
I love the Chicago Bears. So I've combined sports with gay.
 Also, one to salute the 1985 Bears, with a little something
for my brother and my lesbian friends.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Kitty Tales

There is something about my bathroom. I don't know if it's got sensors on the toilet seat, or on the floor, but it always seems that as soon as my pants hit the floor, and my ass hits the seat, all hell breaks loose in this house. Usually the phone starts ringing, or the dogs suddenly start barking wildly. It’s as if some kind of signal goes out, ’Time to mess with Alan, he can’t do anything about it now’.

I was enjoying my little sojourn in the bathroom today when I heard the wailing, and gnashing of teeth coming from Mark.
"You crazy bitch, get off of there! Goddamnit, goddamnit, goddamnit, goddamnit, goddamnit, goddamnit......”
At that point his voice had risen so high that it was out of the range of human hearing. All that I could make out was the clatter of animal claws on the hard floor, running for cover, with Mark stomping after them. The next thing I know, I’m standing in the hallway, pants around my ankles, with a wad of toilet paper balled up in my fist, screaming at Mark to stop.

All afternoon Mark had been working away in the kitchen, and the lovely odor of his baking was wafting through the house. A delicious aroma that promised mouth watering cookies soon. The problem at hand was partially Mark‘s. It seems that he had put his half finished cookies on the dining room table for cooling, knowing full well that Fat Kitty has the ability to get up there. A short leap up onto a chair, another onto the table, and it was cookie time. This was what had created the storm while I was engaged in my private business. I understand the distress of Mark, but Fat Kitty only devoured one of the cookies, and nibbled on three others before he discovered her indiscretion. For that I interrupted my quiet time. I hope Fat Kitty knows that she owes me for this one, I saved her life at the expense of my dignity.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Doggy Tales

I've got used to certain dog habits that mess up my house. When Chandler drinks water he will slop three feet around the bowl. I learned years ago not to walk around the house barefoot because of that, but Mark still hasn't caught on. I do get a tiny bit giggly when I hear the high pitched squeal of Mark when steps in the sloppage.

Both of our dogs are quite fastidious about cleaning up after a meal. They really don't like the little food bits, and spittle that gather on the corners of their mouths after eating. Sasha will go into the living room and start wiping her mouth on the rug, while Chandler's napkin of choice is the sofa upholstery. He will walk up and down the length of the sofa wiping first the left side of his mouth, and then the right side. This behavior sends Mark into a nervous fit, so I do try to catch him with a towel before he gets down to where Mark is sitting.

Lately Sasha has been doing the doggy butt scoot across the living room rug, so I looked that one up on the internet. Tapeworms or anal sac problems was their answer. Upon inspection I determined that it was probably the anal sac, it was swollen and red, and needed attention. On the internet they gave instructions on how to 'express' the sac, which pretty much came down to squeezing it. They also suggested that if you found that to be too much for you, to take the dog to the vet.

The veterinarian confirmed my diagnoses, so with rubber gloves, a full plastic face mask for protection, and an assistant to hold the dog, he proceeded to squeeze. Mark, who was waiting out front, says that when the screaming started other people in the waiting room headed for the door. It was the loudest, most blood curdling sound I have ever heard from a dog. The doctor said she had quite a sac full, but that was obvious from the mess she left behind. Sasha is fine now, but she's still wiping her butt on the rug. I don't know if she needs another squeezing or what, but there aren't enough rubber gloves in the world to get me to do that. I guess it's people like me that keep veterinarians in business.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Any Coat In A Storm

I was walking Chandler around the block the other morning, all bundled up against the forty five degree temperature, when I caught a whiff of diesel fumes. The combination of cold and the smell immediately transported me back to Chicago. I liked it. The feeling reminded me of what it was like when it would climb to such a scorching temperature on a Chicago January morning. Folks spirits would soar. Young men would be sauntering about in short sleeves, some in shorts and flip flops. Of course within a few days they'd be sick from such behavior, but it was fun to pretend for a moment that winter didn't exist. It's all a matter of perception. To my thin Florida blood forty five was bitter cold, but the thought of being out on such a morning in Chicago, in January, made me feel much better.

When Garrett and I first moved to Florida we believed we were moving to paradise. On the day we crossed over the border into Florida from Georgia we made a point of stuffing our heavy winter coats into a garbage can, sure that we were never going to need those things again. Ten months later, on Christmas Eve, the temperature in Fort Lauderdale dropped to twenty eight degrees. Christmas Day we drove up to my brothers house in Orlando where the temperature had dropped to twenty two, and snow flurries had swirled in his back yard that morning. This was paradise.

They say you can tell what year somebody moved to Florida by the style of winter clothes they wear during rare cold spells. You'll find some folks huddled in their puffy red Michael Jackson  coats. Older folks will be fending off the cold in hippie style fringe. If Garrett and I hadn't stuffed our winter wear in that garbage can twenty two years ago, I'd be walking the dog in an ugly, blue corduroy winter coat. For once something stupid I did years ago has had a positive result. I was forced to buy a new coat, a new coat that I will still be wearing twenty years from now.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Photo Friday

Seasquawks at the Bears, Sunday 1 PM est. 
Don't bother me until after the game, and if they lose,
don't bother me until Monday.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snort

I woke up this morning barely able to breath through my nose, snorting and gasping louder than the little schnauzer under my pillow. Usually when I can't breath it's because I've been sleeping on my right side, but this time I was lying on my left side, curled comfortably around the big dog. An allergy attack was my first suspicion so I got up and took a pill. Just an hour later, a sneezing fit added to my misery. The pill wasn't working, maybe it wasn't allergies. Into the bathroom armed with mini scissors, a flashlight, and my reading glasses, I attacked the hairs in my nose. Often the hairs in there grow at an alarming rate, and reach across the nostril to tickle the other side, resulting in uncontrollable sneezing. Snip, snip, snip, it was like clipping copper wire, and the sensation of the scissors up there kept launching me into more sneezing fits. Finally there were no more hairs in there, yet I still could feel that tickling sensation, like a feather stuck up my nose. My eyes began to water, and snot ran out of my nose.

I hate days like this. It's like my sinuses are swollen so large that they are pushing my eyes up into my brain. Four Excedrin later and I still can barely breath through my nose, and my head still feels like a pressure cooker. There is only one more option, and that's to take some Nyquil and go to bed. At least it will stop the sneezing, and runny nose, and I'll get some sleep. On top of that it has the added bonus of giving me some bizarre and truly strange dreams which might give me some good ideas for future Alicia, and Alexis videos.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dog vs. Dog

There is a very big difference between a dog you bring up from a puppy, and an adult dog you adopt from someone else. Chandler understands me. If we are out walking and I say wait, he stops and waits. If I say come, he comes. When I'm eating dinner, he can tell I'm almost done just by the sound of me scraping the last morsels off of the dish, then he suddenly pops up at my elbow. He knows that he gets to lick the dish. I can also read Chandler, like this morning, at three thirty, I awoke to find him staring directly into my eyes. He was standing next to the bed making quiet squeaking sounds, he had to go poop. He didn't have to make a big fuss, just a few squeaks and I knew.

Sasha on the other hand is a mystery. We've had her for about two months now, and I am slowly figuring some things out. For instance, at some point somebody taught her to poop and pee in the shower. Thankfully she does it in Mark's shower. Another oddity about Sasha is that she's afraid of farts. When she hears a fart she jumps up and runs away. It makes me laugh every time, so much so that I've been forcing them lately. That has created a few problems, but Mark takes care of those in the laundry.

Sasha has such a different personality than Chandler. When I say come, Chandler comes bounding towards me like a big goof. Say come to Sasha, and she just sits there looking at me. It's not a blank stare, it's more like a 'Why should I be your bitch' look. I swear I can see it in her eyes. She does like me. I can tell by the way she sleeps with me, or should I say under me. Every night I wake up and feel a lump under my head. That little dog burrows her way under my pillow. At first I was afraid I was going to suffocate her. I'd jump up in a panic and wake her just to see if she was alive. That kind of pissed her off, so now I just lay there on my lumpy pillow and listen to her muffled breathing and occasional muffled snorts.

Despite all the weird things about Sasha, she's a good dog, and I love her. She's very sweet and for the most part well behaved, except for one thing. She barks at every goddamned thing that moves, and I mean everything.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Cold Comfort


March 1989, I’m driving south through Chicago. In the car with me is Garrett, and three cats, we are moving to Florida. Behind me is a trailer filled with all the crap we should have left behind, but decided we just couldn’t part with. Hundreds of pounds of crap behind a car that can barely move itself much less a trailer full of the things we decided to bring with us. I could feel the car straining as we made our way up, and over the Skyway Bridge. The whining and coughing of the engine would be enough to make most people stop, but I just turned up the radio. We were going to Florida and nothing was going to stop us now.

Five hundred miles of trouble free driving, the loud radio doing its job, drowning out the cries of the Ford until we were almost through Tennessee. I’m from Chicago, where a rise of ten feet is considered a hill, and a hundred foot high pile of garbage with snow on it is called a ski resort. Now we found ourselves chugging thousands of feet up the side of a mountain. It wasn’t long before it became obvious that the radio wasn’t going to cover up the distressing sounds coming from the engine. Even with the accelerator to the floor, gigantic trucks were blowing past us. Elderly people driving Buicks and Oldsmobile’s were yelling at us to get the hell out of the way, and flipping us the bird with their wrinkled little hands. Finally after an excruciating amount of effort, we were at the crest. Now the car was effortlessly speeding down the other side, almost careening you might say, with the heavy trailer pushing us from behind. In just a few terror filled minutes we were at the bottom. We chugged on until just after entering Georgia where the car started spewing steam and slowing down. A smoking beat up Ford Tempo towing a trailer, with three cats in cages in the back seat, and the two migrants up front.  How very Grapes of Wrath I thought.

We pulled into a small town off of the interstate. I don’t remember the name of the town. We’ll call it Mayberry, only it was a bit more rough around the edges than Mayberry, and the mechanic at the garage, while resembling Gomer Pyle, had more of a sinister feel. Every time I talked to him I put my hand on my wallet just to be sure it was still there. The car was dead, and our only option was to leave it in the hands of Gomer until he could get it running. For three days we were stuck while parts were fetched from Atlanta, and Chattanooga. Three days in a cheap motel, with three cats, Garrett, and a television. But damn, I knew it would be okay. After all, we were on our way to Florida!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Photo Friday

So damn happy!
 (1951?)
 Sometimes I still feel this good, even without vodka.
.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Video Thursday

In case you can't make it out, at around 39 seconds she says, 'Where's Sven?'.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Joy To The World

The tree has been taken down. I dragged it out to the street after Mark un-decorated the thing. Now it's just more garbage to be collected by the city, and less clutter for me to knock into as I meander through the house. Sure it was very  pretty, for a while, then the needles started to fall off. I had been very consistent watering it, every day on my belly, reaching in between the presents to give it a drink. But, it isn't Christmas in our house any more, and for that I am happy, however I think it's the opposite for Mark. Right after the last of the crap had been put away, he seemed to turn into a shrew. Yesterday he started out with a bit of a bitchfest, and by the time we stopped for lunch at McDonalds he was going full tilt.

Mark (ordering for the two of us), "I'll have two Big Macs, and two small fries. To go."
Me, "Why not get one large fry, and we could share it."
Mark, "No, I want two small fries."
McDonalds lady, "Okay that'll be two Big Macs, and one large fry."

We weren't even out of the store before Mark lit into me, "I wanted two small fries! You cost me an extra twenty cents ordering that large fry!".
He continued screaming at me as we walked towards the car, "I want what I ordered, not what you want!"
Now I don't think I ordered a large fry. I suggested a large fry. It seems to me that the orderer, Mark, was responsible for correcting the lady behind the counter when she said "one large fry".

Anyway, I don't know how it all got turned around, but by the time we got home I was an asshole for not even thanking Mark for buying lunch. Mind you, I bought him a birthday dinner, I cook him breakfast every day, and whenever a pizza is ordered Mark's wallet is epoxied shut. Well that finally led to neither of us speaking. For three hours the house was quiet except for the blathering television in the bedroom with Judge Judy pontificating. Finally, around five in the evening, Mark came in and apologized, and I mumbled something about being sorry for interfering with his French fry order. My blissful afternoon of quiet was now over, and Mark started talking to me again. Damn it.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Just One Word Benjamin, Plastics

After ending my career as a tin can packer, I found employment in the plastics industry. I was now a plastic injection mold operator. Sounds impressive, but in fact I was a no more than a link in the chain of production for something called 'cable ties', and the entire time I worked in that factory the company was working on eliminating the human element, me.

It made sense to try to eliminate the human element. We were after all, just in the way of a machine that except for the operators, worked just fine. From a hopper above the machine little pellets of plastic would be dropped into a heated tank. The liquefied plastic would then be injected into a water cooled mold. At that point the mold would open, and the human touch would be needed to reach in and remove the product. I, as the operator, would then move that product over to the assembly machine and hit two big red buttons. Two buttons so as to be sure that one of my hands wasn't still in the machine when it came slamming down, with belts spinning, and cutters cutting.


The job was stultifying. Working from midnight until eight in the morning, I found that I needed stimulation just to make it past the first hour. Strapped across the top of the assembly machine was my boom box radio blaring full blast. You would think that would keep me alert, but I could barely hear it above the roar of dozens of machines. A little marijuana made the job a bit more tolerable, except that the pot would wear off a quarter of the way into the night, and from that point on all I could think of was going to sleep. I experimented with amphetamines, and it worked wonders. The speedy little pill made work fun, for a while. For one thing the job was piece work, meaning I made extra money if I went over my quota. The speed made me think I was going faster than ever, but in the end it would always turn out that I had barely made my quota. When my shift was finally over I'd want to go home and sleep, but the amphetamine kept me buzzing along for hours, barely able to even blink.

In the summer of 1970 I lost this primo job. No more moving from the injection mold to the assembler machine five thousand times a night. No more begging for permission to go take a leak. The boss had determined that I had missed one too many days of work, out 'sick'. Also, the fact that I sabotaged my injection mold once too often just for a short break didn't help my cause. My life as a factory worker was over, and I have to admit, losing that job made me sad. For a few hours at least.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Let's Drink to the Hard Working People

Back in the day (the day being 1968), a young man graduating high school, if he didn't want to go on to college, and didn't get drafted, could go out and get a good paying job. In 1968 there were a lot of  factory jobs. Factories were everywhere in Chicago, and they always had help wanted signs out front. My first job out of high school was in a can factory where they paid me three dollars per hour to pack cans. Not bad considering gasoline was .34 per gallon, cigarettes were .35 a pack, and my 1962 Ford only cost me five hundred dollars.

I think the folks who ran the can factory figured a strong, young guy, with good eye-hand coordination would be a natural on the most complicated of tasks. Too bad I wasn’t that guy. The first job they gave me involved taking a long stick and moving aerosol cans off a conveyor belt, onto a huge sheet of cardboard. When the sheet was full, the machine would drop down and another layer would be put on top of those cans. The trick was to not knock any cans over because just one can tipping caused a domino like catastrophe, jamming up the line, and stopping all work. It also drew the foreman's attention. After a couple of messy incidents I was quickly pulled off that line by the foreman as he muttered something about stupid white boys.

I was then put at the end of a conveyor belt where I had to take a flattened box, open it up, grab the cans as they came rattling down the line, and put them into the box. Easy I thought until around the hundredth time I had to do that maneuver. My arms ached, and I swore my ears must have been bleeding from the non-stop sound of cans clattering around me. Remember, this was the sixties, and the can company had no requirement that we wear ear plugs. The third time I hit the big red emergency button, the foreman angrily took my arm and escorted me over to the shipping department.

The shipping department involved the loading of trucks, and railroad box cars with cans. I was given a large wooden fork, about four feet across, with a dozen tines on it. I was then put inside a huge box car with a little metal ramp that cans would roll down. I had to stab a dozen cans with my fork, spin around, and stack cans until the entire box car was full. I was surprised at how hard it was to keep those cans on the end of the fork as you spun around.

My final job at the factory, before my employment was terminated, was the lowly job of sorting the large cardboard sheets that were used for the aerosol can stacking station. I was alone in a warehouse sorting cardboard, and had managed to work my way from the top shitty job, all the way down to the bottom. I was truly beginning to regret not getting the grades I needed to get into college. I felt pretty bad, although, I was able to take a nice nap among the cardboard before the foreman came looking for me.