Monday, January 30, 2006

DC Reflections

Despite plenty of DC detractors, and in light of my recent weekend trip to NYC, I've come to realize something: DC is my home and joy, and probably will be for the foreseeable future. This in response to DLR's observation that he saw himself perpetually in transition for years to come.

First, let me be clear that NYC is better to live-in rather than visit. Its vibrant and chaotic world is best navigated in small doses over an extended stay. I wouldn't trade my three years there, and I'd jump at the opportunity to return for a year or two if work were to take me. But it lacks what I love about DC--people and events that fit my interests. Most of the people I still know from New York, god love them, are worlds different from me. In contract, DC fills my time with civil servants, non-profit hipsters, and indie scene groupies, plus free museums, intellectual town hall meetings, and twenty-something gays as far as the eye can see. All of this is in NYC, to be sure, but I lost what little connection I may have had with it, and instead return to upscale lounges and corporate high rollers.

This leads me to point out that if given the opportunity, there are half a dozen cities I'd take a work detail to for six months, just for a change of scenery: New York, Boston, Philly, Chicago, San Fran, Seattle. I'd jump at the opportunity to go abroad as well, although ideally it would be as part of a program, so that I could have a potential group to socialize with--Budapest taught me all to well how isolating a foreign city can be without friends. And for a significant career advance, I'd go just about anywhere for a time, from the Green Zone to even Omaha.

But in the interim, I'm happy to be here. And despite offers and intentions to visit NYC more often, just about every weekend (and weeknight) here in the District is packed with concerts, exhibits, national museums to explore, new bars to try, new social scenes to infiltrate, and exiting new people to get to know. My platonic crush of the week is on a hot engaged straight couple I just met--attorney transplants from Oakland by way of Manhattan--who are cultured, inquisitive, have similar full-back tattoos, and decided to ask wedding guests to give to Lambda Legal (who is fighting for gay marriage rights) rather than gifts. What's not to love!?

With my family, closest friends old and new, affordable living, vibrant city life, and that hot new boyfriend I'm sure to meet this weekend ALL in one city, how could I possibly consider leaving?

Friday, January 27, 2006

Best Package

NYC Rouge mentioned my late night texting in her blog today, and so I imagine she expects some recounting of my activities. I don't have a stellar story here. I left work at reasonable hour (following the online solicitation to blow some straight guy), and headed to a happy hour for a volunteer organization I just joined. That was three drinks. Then on the way home, one of the other volunteers asked if he could buy me a drink, which turned in to two. After I parted ways with the sugar daddy, I went home and promptly passed out from exhaustion.

Realizing that Grace had absconded with my contact solution the night before, I mustered energy for a 7-11 run. A text message from New Gay lead me to meet him on the corner on my way to 7-11 for a night cap. Well, the night cap at Cobalt turned out to be a $1 rail drink, which turned into another $1 rail drink, which lead to dancing upstairs, which lead to the Best Package contest. Yes, in an ultimate display of trash, a drag queen MCs a contest in which each gentleman strips in silhouette behind a screen down to the buff (shriveled member peaking out like a scared turtle), then puts his briefs back on, and comes out in his skivvies to dance for the crowd. If that weren't bad enough, all four then came out to dance in unison, and if you put a buck in their briefs you got a raffle ticket. Trash. But highly amusing trash, especially when there aren't more than a few dozen people in the audience, several of the contestants our appalling in their belief that we wanted to see them naked, and the bitter drag queen is extra catty. Her best line of the night came when one guy did splits backwards and, for lack of a better term, "presented" his hind side to the crowd. "Oh, he's showing his ass to you boys; not like any of you care you bunch of BOTTOMS!" I howled.

More drinks, and soon New Gay had found his distraction for the evening, while I found myself dancing with the only girl there (of course) until we were kicked out and I headed home... sans contact solution.

Total bill for the evening: $11
Level on the intoxication scale: 6.5
Time arrived at work: 12.15pm

Thursday, January 26, 2006

"Sometimes you just want to play with another guy"

Today's title is for fabulous Ms. NYC Rouge, who, as I said before, treated me to a wonderful walking/drinking tour of Brooklyn and lower Manhattan this past weekend. She's radiant. Even the crappy camera phone appears to love her.

Her blog, Post No Bills, usually has non sequitur titles that are quotes from her life. Mine comes from, and I am not making this up, a "straight" guy who propositioned me on Friendster a few minutes ago. I'm at work, mind you. The window pops up, he says I'm cute, and soon there after asks if I want to leave work and meet up. I finally figure out how to open his profile, and I see he's in a relationship. When I inquire, I learn that its not even with a guy. WOW. I thought these people were just fairytales. I mean, Jimmy up in NYC always tries to pull the "I'm straight" line to see what he can get other guys to do, but he's gay as the day is long. He's GAY gay. So who was this guy? When I called him "straight," he confirmed that he was, indeed, straight, and then delivered the line above.

This lead me to add to my list of "Things I Don't Like": Blowing Straight Guys. [Reciprocity is key, people.]

All this is to say that I intend to hold my promise to have a no-holds-barred blogging lifestyle. Senate nomination committee be damned.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Bad Moon White Again

I'm blogging mid-night from NYC. Today, I woke at 5am and took a 630 chinatown bus to the city. NYC Rouge was nice enough to wake with me and get an awesome brunch in Brooklyn.

I'll tell more of the story later. Right now I'm babysitting a man much larger than I and trying to keep him from leaving for a cab. So, in the spirit of full disclosure, thanks to NYC Rouge, I'm telling it all, from here on out. And I am a drunk mans babysitter.

Love, Mr. B.A.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

No Dice? No, Dice.

Know what's funny? Its not so late, but I'm trying to go to bed, because I'm planning a god awful early trip on the Chinatown bus to NYC tomorrow morning. And outside my window, on the corner, are eight gentlemen playing dice. I kid you not. Not that its keeping me up, per se, but I'm that kind of "good" citizen to call 311 and report it. Eight people means its pretty loud, anyway.

These are the entries that make me realize that reader of my blog probably usually end by saying: "Gosh I'm glad I live in the burbs." And you'd probably be correct. But in my defense, the city is pretty cool, its just my block that ghetto as all getout.

This experience leads me to ask the question: HOW is playing dice fun? Each guy holds a wad of cash in one hand, throws it down per various rounds, and then dice is dropped and you win or lose cash. There can't POSSIBLY be a strategy here. This is a game of mere chance. But go at it they do. Now, I'm not one to gamble much anyway, I've been to Vegas four times and moved perhaps $200 total. But still, how is this entertainment?

Now that I've sufficiently disparaged the subculture of my block, I'm going to go watch as the cops break it up, then get a good nights sleep.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Sometimes, I think that I might be an idiot savant – or at least that I have some substantial genius (somewhere) to compensate for my utter retardation of mental capacity in other areas.

In December, I had a mild cold that came with a cough. The cold subsided; the cough did not. For three weeks, I’ve figured it would go away. It was not until the night before last that I was laying awake in bed when I realized: “Oh! I have bronchitis!”

You see, the same thing happened last winter, and it took me a month to figure out something was wrong and to see a doctor. Instead of remembering that this year, I remember January of 2002 when – guess what! – I had a never-ending cough. Of course, I now realize that was bronchitis, too.

So now I’m on meds, plus I have a cold that started yesterday, so I’m none too happy. Next October, the Vitamin C regimen beings in earnest… if I can remember.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Fat Autobahn

I've become a bit of a Neil LaBute fan of late. Or at least a connoisseur.

First, there was Fat Pig, which I saw earlier this month at a pay-what-you-can performance with Grace, TrannieLuver, and Ms. Write Again Soon. Check out Ms. W.A.S.'s review.

Here is the summary:
This bitingly funny modern romance kicks off The Studio Theatre's Neil LaBute Festival. In a culture obsessed with beauty, can love ever be blind? Tom feels a magnetic attraction for the bright and witty Helen, but his coworkers are committed to saving him from himself. Cast: Kate Debelack (Helen), Tyler Pierce (Tom), Anne Bowles (Jeannie), and Jason Odell Williams (Carter).

This was my introduction to Neil LaBute and his direct, if a bit uncomfortable, treatment of subject matter meant to make you squirm (or at least shift in your seat). But that wasn't what left me so satisfied. Neither was his exploration of how we treat weight in our society, despite its refreshing candor.

No, there were two very specific (and more universal) reasons I enjoyed Fat Pig:

1. The acting and the script -- which was so good that the first half of the play left me positively beaming. The chance encounter of the overweight librarian and the corporate yuppie in a food court was replete with chemistry and comedy. I found myself giddy at their burgeoning relationship. The characters were also refreshingly real, even two superficially obnoxious office mates, who were given an opportunity to explore their motivations and provide depth.

2. The example of weight as a limitation to a relationship, served surprisingly well as analogous to other relationship pitfalls and death knells. It was saddening yet comforting to see a relationship strain under both external and internal pressures that threatened to overcome the clear joy the characters brought one another (or more accurately, that Helen brought Tom). I was surprised to see a reflection of my relationships, including when Tom implied that Helen lose weight (my first boyfriend, near the end, suggested that I gain weight -- and I resented my second boyfriend near the end when he didn't watch what he ate more closely) and when Tom told Helen he loved her for the first time in almost the same breath that he used to end it with her (this was my second boyfriend this time).

With that energy, I returned for autobahn:

"A tantalizing cycle of short plays full of edgy humor and shocking revelations all set in automobiles, autobahn explores the confines of this truly American space."

Unfortunately, autobahn was everything Fat Pig wasn't. The stories were creepy, the shocking revelations were implausible (if not at least hard to relate to), the comedy was strained, the characters were shallow, and none of them seemed to connect with one another (although in many cases perhaps that was the point). Its not a place I regret going, given the price, but its not terrain I'm anxious to cross again.

I'm going to return at the end of the month to close out the LaBute festival with readings, and perhaps that will be the determining factor of whether LaBute gets my sung praise, or just Fat Pig.



Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Travel to Kent, OH, for work.

Me: I decline, thank you.

Boss: Wrong answer.

Me: Doh!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Liver Failure

I have a coworker who is dying of liver failure. Its taken me my full 2 and 1/2 years of working in this office to figure it out.

I noticed the blood shot eyes, the shaking hands, but thought it might just be age. A temp this past fall was the first to point out to me that he reeks of alcohol in the afternoon (I'm not one known for my sense of smell). Last month he announced at a staff meeting his displeasure with the holiday season. Then there was some discussion of a "medical condition" by the office director when I approached him. My co-worker is in a different subject area, so I don't work close wit him. When I do, he proves to be incompetent. We took a new employee today, who has to work on that area and this time he was unable to complete coherent sentences. His supervisor, who was in the meeting, stopped by late this evening and mentioned it in passing. She's remarkably glib about it, even for a poor manager. She apparently doesn't expect him to last much longer. I tried to nudge the "your his supervisor" part, expecting her to demand good work from him, and intervene when it isn't (supervising is hard work, and you shouldn't be one unless you're up for it!). Hell, she commented on him being locked in his office this afternoon and that wing of the office smelling of cheap liquor. She also told me about his breaking down in front of her after a medical appointment.

So, it took this knocking me over the head to "figure it out." Apparently we're just waiting for him to die now? This should make going to work fun.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Blog Failures

I'm having trouble deciding the purpose of my blog.

It can be a chronicle of what I'm up to, but I don't want to be droll.
It can be anecdotal vignettes for your amusement, but I feel too pressured to be witty.

Finally, it can be an electronic diary, but I feel too embarrassed or ashamed to share my most deeply felt emotions and struggles.

So this is a crossroad I am at. I have written off the first option. I crave the third option right now, but can't bring myself to wear my heart on my sleeve. The second option will be elusive until I get over the latest emotional struggle and can muster the strength for wit.

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