Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Marriage's Hidden Consequences

I was engaged in an e-mail string with my fellow Resident Assistants from back in college, when I had to stop and count up the stats. Of 16 of us, at least EIGHT are now either married, engaged, or in a Domestic Partnership (silly gays). 3 of those are with child. WOW. Meanwhile, of my group of 13 from high school, today SEVEN are married or engaged. At least there are no babies there.

How did this happen? These are the people I used to stay up late at night to watch TV marathons with. Now there lives are devoted to their marriage, their children, and their burgeoning families. Marriage's hidden consequence is that the marriage of others tries to make ME grow up! Spouses and children are now of primary concern (not to mention mortgages) before we abscond for an unplanned ski trip or stay out all night tagging post office boxes with our gang sign.

How did this happen!? We JUST got old enough to have good salaries and be able to afford such Tom Foolery! Why did it have to end? And why did every Christmas card I got come from a couple? Not that I'm offended by any of those couples, in particular, because I am not. I just miss the self as the identified unit. What were all the singles out there doing that was so much fun that they didn't send Christmas cards? Why didn't they invite me? [Okay, maybe they did.]

I won't deny that I haven't surrounded myself with a cadre of others to keep me company. There's Grace, TrannieLover, Ms. Blue Like Mine, NYCRouge, and so on. Sigh, all girls! Wait, Mr. A Prize in Every Box!

I have no real purpose here, just a rant. This morning my ex sat down next to me on the subway train. That was a shocker. It was good to see him. We had only time enough for a brief exchange of pleasantries, so it was ultimately uneventful. It reminded me of my future home on the Island of Misfit Toys with Grace, where those that time forgot can live out their last years happily -- hopefully with a mild barbiturate.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Just Perfect

Christmas is ending in mere minutes, and I'm here to report that it went just swimmingly. I got useful items for my new apartment, including knife block and bamboo pressed cutting boards. I also took away quite a few gift cards, to augment what has already been a glut of self-driven shopping that overlapped with my Christmas gift shopping. Books were a hot topic this year, which was great. I've never been much of a reader this past decade, and I'm still having trouble getting in to fiction, but I'm all over non-fiction right now. Perhaps I'll start reviewing books like Ms. Write Again Soon.

It was almost going to be a 1960s christmas morning, as Poppa opened up a massive train set, modeled after the Polar Express book (and movie that Momma got as a DVD for us all to watch last night). Alas, when we opened the box, every train car was missing. They sold us the floor model box! At least it was my father and not some 5 year old who might forever by scarred by a cruel jilting Santa.

Time to pack up and head home. Merry Christmas all!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Exit Dating, Stage Left

Last night I had a second date with the professor. [He's not actually a professor, but on his way to being one, so we'll just give him that moniker.] The first date was a bit awkward (for me), because while we went to the same college, when we were set up by mutual friends and started chatting over Friendster, I didn't realize that he actually knew me, whereas I didn't remember him. At the end of the night I got his last name, and that hit me as familiar, but I still can't recall how I know him from college.

Regardless, a second date was offered and accepted. The professor is the fifth (and last) guy I've been on a second date with this season, each of which I don't have a strong attraction to (that spark, you know), but are interesting people whom I want to give a second chance. Besides, I suggested we go see Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic, a movie I have really wanted to see, and he eagerly concurred.

I was supposed to be at his place last night at 8:30. He called at 8:00 to confirm, so I quickly went to shave and get changed. He called back about 10 minutes later, hoping that I hadn't left yet. Now, I can't seem to put together what happened, exactly, but the short of it was that he had left his truck in Georgetown, then forgot about an appointment across town and grabbed a bus to it. He called me at 8:00 on his way home, but had forgotten about his truck, which was still across town. So when he called, he stated that he needed to "postpone," and explained what he was doing. I asked if we couldn't still make the movie, which was 2 hours off, but he replied that his truck might be towed. Oh the joys of car ownership! So I chuckled, and asked him to call me when he worked it out.

When he called back at 8:45, I asked how it had turned out. Not towed, but a $100 ticket. Sucks. He then proceeded to express dissapointment in me for laughing when he said it might be towed and not being sympathetic enough. WHAT?! This is clearly not the man for me. If someone was overly remorseful for me every time I lost my wallet/keys/car/Hindenburg/job, it would be a dreary world. I prefer people leave that for medical ailments and injury. Just last week, Grace and I were at the DMV, where she realized she had previously unknown $400 worth of hidden camera tickets. All we could do was laugh. And last night, while waiting for the professor to call back, my roommate and I discovered, for the 5th time, rotten vegetables in our refrigerator's "crisper," and again laughed. What else could you do in such a situation?

So I explained this to him, and he laughed at those stories. I also did my best Bad Apology that sounded like an actual one. I went on to share my disappointment in his postponing our date with no apology. This was, after all, the gentleman who picked me up 25 minutes late for our first date, with no apology or explanation. I had taken him 20 minutes to alert me to the fact that he was even late, and that was by text message. So I wasn't very impressed with this pattern of behavior. He apologized, and I thought we were heading to some reconciliation, but then he said he wasn't really interested in seeing the movie that night. I said "ok" and waited. After a pause, he ended with a "talk to you later."

Again, I say: WHAT!? I imagine it was his combined distress over the truck and then my reaction. But mind you, we were headed to see Sarah Silverman's movie, a woman who is crass, offensive, irreverent, and foul. And he really wanted to see it! How could he want to see this, but not be able to laugh off leaving his truck in a two hour parking space for the bulk of the day?

He called back at 9:00, but I missed the call, and since he didn't leave a message, I wasn't interested in calling back.

By this morning, I have realized that this got me off the hook, and it was a happy ending. I still hate when people don't like me, especially when I don't like them FIRST! Oh god, I am definitely back in the 7th grade.

The biggest tragedy? I once again didn't get to see Sarah Silverman.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Dirty Dessert Patrol

I am feeling good and generous today! This morning, I went to get a breakfast sandwich and had no cash. I went to the ATM, and it was out of order. I looked sad I guess, as the teller simply rang it up and gave me the receipt, with an implicit understanding that I would come back and pay it.

On my way to an ATM and then to grab lunch at the same establishment, I saw a man on the sidewalk who was picking up desserts. I imagine he had dropped the tray and a half dozen had toppled out. Well, I watched him pick them up, and then drop them on the rest! Not wanting to jump to conclusions -- maybe he was returning from an event -- I lingered at a distance. He methodically laid them back out, and then re-wrapped the tray. Finally, a colleague of his joined him, and then walked into an office building. I followed them, but then turned back. Twice, actually.

But I finally got so outraged (I mean, scrap the 6 dirty desserts already!) that I went back, went inside, and found someone in the office. I told him, and he found where the caterers were setting up and beckoned out his colleague. I explained again, left my business card, and went on my way. He didn't ask me to confront them, which was fine by me. At least they knew. "A breath of fresh air" said the first gentleman. I should have said something cliche like "Pay it forward!" LOL.

Now I'm thinking I want to report them to the Health Board or something. Should I go back and find out where they were catering from?

**UPDATE: APCBM - Anonymous Posters Can Blow Me.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Love Is A Force Of Nature

I got to see Brokeback Mountain last night, Ang Lee’s epic love story between two cowboys who meet on the sweeping vistas of Wyoming in 1963 and whose love, seldom spoken of, brings them back together over the course of their lives.

Happy Birthday to Jake Gyllenhaal, by the way, and kudos to he and Heath Ledger for taking on such an important and pivotal work.

And what a packed house! The Dupont movie theater was sold out for the night by 4pm, so we had to reserve tickets out in Bethesda for the 9pm. I'm troubled by its still limited release, but hope that this surge of interest spreads it to more screens across the city and country.

I had already read the short story, and was pleased to see that the screen adaptation stayed true to the original. The short story was indeed so short, that there was an opportunity here to further develop the characters, especially the wives, and add additional scenes to that end.

Of course, there were two Ang Lee hallmarks that I must recognize. First, the images were beautiful. Who knew scenes of thousands of sheep being herded through the mountains could be so beautiful, romantic, and mesmerizing. Second, he did well to capture nuances of a culture far from his own (the great west), making it more real and approachable for those of us to whom it is also foreign.

Finally, it is an epic gay love story. But so nuanced, so subtle, so different, as to both challenge those of us who have seen dozens of (mostly bad) gay love stories, and those of us who hadn’t approached the subject matter before. The acts and emotions expressed in the movie that do tread close to a preconceived stereotype do so in a way that causes the viewer to intimately understand the motive and see past the cliché.

I couldn’t help but walk away feeling pain for almost every character, especially the women. Here’s hoping that this movie adds to shifting tides, that such pain isn’t so deeply suffered in the future.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Gulag Lite

Here it is, my delayed indictment of the National Conference Center in Lansdowne, VA. Owned and operated by Xerox, and potentially designed by MC Escher, its a 1970s prison located in what was once the countryside and is now a sea of new starter castles along non-descript 6 lane roads. When we first arrived, it was a chore just to find our rooms, as we walked through tunnels and hallways and elevators, each looking just the same as the last. The rooms appeared to be on their own Dewey Decimal System, as I was looking for n.3.2119, which is supposed to be code for where to go, but left me finding Ms. Blue Like Mine's room instead and dumping my baggage there.

The classrooms were set up in a central grid system, with 5 living towers situated around them, one with a cafeteria in the center and another with a bar. We headed to the cafeteria, which confirmed for good that it was our first night at Big State University. Take the tables out of the 3-story cement space, and we would have been in "the yard" on Oz. Our rooms were tiny and dorm feeling. I expected my RA to come by and remind me not to take lounge furniture and that the poster sale would be running late in case I wanted an art print or a periodic table of shots. Thank god for the bar, which we found next. Walking the hallways, it seemed like a socialist approach to a conference center, with each hallway exactly the same as every one else, so that none would feel inferior. God forbid there be a central hallway around which to build the rest of the space. Instead, we used color coded sections, in red, yellow, and orange. It felt like when you saw the crew on the Starship Enterprise walking down a narrow little hallways -- presumably thousands lived on those ships, but the hallways were no wider than the ones in my house; like it was one massive rat maze.

Once the training started, it was actually an enjoyable two days. It was apparently a blizzard outside - even the federal government opened 2 hours late - but we were oblivious as our complex was short on windows. Inside we didn't learn a lot of leadership, but learned to challenge our own perceptions about who we were, where we were going, and how we got there. Pictures to come!

Friday, December 09, 2005

"YOU work for the Federal Government!?"

From the mouth of a Kennedy School of Government student, straight to you. Yes, I'm not going to lie, I love that I am a living contradiction. I am writing from my "dorm room" at the National Conference Center in Lansdowne, VA. Or Hellsdowne, as I like to call it. But more on the Gulag that is the NCC tomorrow. Tonight I simply want to report that I can "shake it" like no bureaucrat's business. :)

Monday, December 05, 2005

Bachelor Party Weekend

This weekend I hosted a bachelor party for a good friend, Plizzba, down from Connecticut. The boys all came out, with pre-drinking starting at my place. We actually went for a good while, finishing off a couple of pizzas and partial bottles of liquor in the process. Then off we then went to Camelot, a gentleman's club in midtown. As a gay man, I love a good female stripper.

Trying to catch a cab there, a station wagon with a passenger already in it tried to stop and pick up all five of us. FIVE. DC law allows four, and we thought we'd get away with one cab for sure, but the woman in the cab already was NOT happy. Not much I could do at that point, as he had already locked Plizzba and I in the trunk. Well, we ended up bailing, and after someone let us out, we got a new cab.

Once at Camelot, and I am not making this up, they would not let us because we were "too drunk." IMAGINE! US! The bouncer, after checking 1/2 of our IDs and asking two of us how much we had had, technically said: "We might not be able to let you in. You might be too drunk." Turns out that was the most direct statement we were going to get. I'm sure you can appreciate my indignation for this less than precise communication, since the English language has more direct words like "No" or "Leave."

In our defense, Special R looks "too drunk" after he's had 1/2 a beer. Its not really a good measure of his actual intoxication. How many text message he's sent that don't make sense is a much better one. We decided that we were turned away because we're in our 20s and have small bills. This seemed to be an establishment for the wealthier man. I had been only once before, and a friend who was a waitress there got us right in.

Thus, the night was a simple one, with three more bars and a turn as Wrecker's wingman to distract whichever woman seemed less interested in him at the moment. I'm a good wingman, guys. Just so you know.

Saturday the girls were invited out to help Plizzba celebrate. We sat in my apartment again, talking until after midnight. Then the energetic among us, meaning me, Plizzba, and TrannyLuver, headed to midtown for a simple bar. A simple bar we found, and it sucked. But it was right next to Camelot, and so for kicks we thought it would be fun to be turned away two days in a row.

But surprisingly, we were let in. And we were given a table directly in front of the poll. And it was mostly pathetic guys in their 20s like us! [Meaning age, not level of patheticness. Although I'm sure we would have been a sad sight if we had made it in the night before. But what fun we would have had!] So we drank, and we gave out singles, and we critiqued the various alluring techniques of each dancer. It was quite a scene -- Plizzba was finally in a strip club, not entirely comfortable, and accompanied by a homo and a chic.

I will say that the ladies at Camelot are gorgeous. I was mesmerized watching some of them. Even went up and gave a $5 to the most beautiful one, whose smile melted me just as much as the first wink from a boy. But don't worry, she didn't have the appropriate equipment for me to fall for her trap, and I knew this because I could see her equipment. I tried to find her picture on their site, but it seems to be a bit outdated (although complete with every pro-military animated icon imaginable - how mid-90s!).

Verdict, I'll take Plizzba and a straight strip club over a gay one any time.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

What Acronym is Right For Me?

My life in acronyms continues. As I believe I shared once before, I work for TCR. This past summer I went on a detail to DRS, and asked them to keep me. They energetically said yes, and then sat on the paperwork for 3 months. After that, someone above them sat on the paperwork, then the people above them misunderstood the paperwork, only for the paperwork to finally be lost by yet another level of bureaucracy. So recently DRS asked for my paperwork again. *sigh*

In the meantime, I applied for a job in CRE. This is just upstairs from DRS, and could be interesting. Plus, the people upstairs always seem to be pulling the strings anyway, and I'd LOVE to pull some string for once. So the interview with CRE was this week. I thought I was sly by wearing a suit on Monday (not my interview day). On Tuesday, I left my suit coat in a different office. On Wednesday, I wore a suit as well. But instead of throwing them off, my office director asked if I was interviewing for jobs. *doh* So I told him yes. As if I wasn't stressed by being one of 26 candidates for a position, now my boss knows about it.

Well, if that wasn't reason enough not to blog, today the shit hit the fan. My direct supervisor, the Team Leader, got another job. Absolutely awesome for her. Not so good for me. I am already backlogged with work, and now I get to be the Acting Team Leader, except at half the pay. This also means that I could apply to be Team Leader -- and who knows, maybe get it!

So, I have several irons in the fire, but I also have the work of at least two full time people to now shoulder on my own, meanwhile "leading" a team of which I am the youngest and, except for one, newest member.

Oh yeah, there'll be LOTS of blogging in the near future.

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