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This is true. Yesterday, I

This is true. Yesterday, I bought an acre of land on the moon. I have always wanted to go to the moon, although I have been putting it off because I wanted to travel in greater comfort than would seem to be currently possible. Now that I am a property owner, there is more incentive to visit . . . although I also own an acre of land somewhere in a distant rainforest, and I have never been to see that, either. Come to think of it, when I was in college, Viki and I sponsored a girl named Mirna through Save the Children; not only did we never meet her, she never could be bothered to write those touching letters of thanks you hear so much about in the marketing campaign.

So my track record is not the best, but I will attempt to do better. Apparently, there is an upcoming Constitutional Convention for all of the people worldwide who bought property on the moon. We will hammer out a Lunar Constitution and get things off on the right foot. I volunteered to represent the United States, and since I have not yet decided whether I am a communist or a monarchist, things could heat up pretty quickly if I am selected.

In related news, I also saw a poll online which questioned whether schools should teach Evolution or Creationism. Last I checked, it was 55 percent to 45 percent.
And people wonder why I want to move to the moon.

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Two things: 1. First things

Two things:

1. First things first. Never use Expedia.com. Ever. Picture it: Chicago, two nights ago. Weary after a day of meetings, I drag myself through the American Airlines check-in queue at O’Hare International Airport. It is the only time in recent memory I am not using an e-ticket, and I have arrived early to check in and eat dinner. Or so I thought. I present my ticket to a lovely agent named Virginia, who informs me that it is not a ticket after all; it is the receipt for a ticket, distinguishable from a ticket only by small type that reads “not valid for transportation.” The ticket itself seems to have never been included in the ticket booklet sent to me by Expedia. This fact is verified by Virginia and her supervisors, who also claim that this is a frequent problem from Expedia. We contact their customer service only to reach a harridan who claims that my signing for the FedEx proves the ticket was originally shipped, and that even if it had not been, I am at fault for not catching their error sooner. When I tell her that I was not the one who made the travel arrangements or signed for the FedEx, that it had been the assistant to my client, she implies that the assistant steamed open two sealed envelopes, tore out the ticket and removed any evidence it had been there, closed the envelopes again to eliminate any evidence of tampering, and sent the whole thing along to me as some sort of sick joke. In the end, after over an hour on the phone with the Expedia customer-“service” harpy (most of the time on hold), I get no satisfaction. She gives me a claim number and says that they will look into it. I have to pay American $100 to reissue my ticket, and I make it to the plane with moments to spare.

Never use Expedia.com.

2. In infinitely happier news, yesterday was my birthday. Some who read this (particularly those who gave birth to me) will be surprised at that news, as I was myself. Rob decided that, since I was actually born on 24 December and since, consequently, my birthday celebrations have been traditionally obscured by the whirlwind of activity surrounding some other stupid holiday around that day, we should move the observation to another, less cluttered, time of year.

Happy birthday to me!

To further the surprise, my amazing boyfriend took me to see Hairspray on Broadway, which was a most delightful and entrancing spectacle. We then returned to my apartment for the homemade cake he had baked, and then it was off to dinner at a certain dog-themed restaurant, where a certain good friend of ours served up free drinks and delightful conversation.

I may not (thanks in part to Expedia.com) have two cents to rub together, but I am the luckiest son of a bitch I can think of.

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Last night, Rob and I

Last night, Rob and I were walking home from seeing Barbershop (a truly delightful movie) when we encountered a Massive Man. Rob said, “Oh my God,” or something like that, and I said, “What?” And then I saw he was looking at a guy hanging around outside the Crunch gym, one of the most muscular men I have ever seen in person. As we passed, Massive Man began walking down the street behind us, and we could hear him speaking on his mobile phone in one of the most mind-numbingly dull conversations ever conceived. To paraphrase, Massive Man went to the gym that morning, went home and drank a protein shake, went to sleep, woke up, drank another protein shake, and went back to the gym. I could not imagine what sort of person would be interested in either learning or imparting this information. Rob is my boyfriend and (in my impartial opinion) one of the most fascinating people ever, and I still do not wish to know how he spends every moment of his day, nor does he wish to tell me. Further, Rob’s activities vary daily, and from the looks of him, Massive Man does the same thing every day.

There is a lesson in here somewhere, but I am not quite sure where.

After this encounter, we went to the grocery store, where Rob bought steaks and potatoes; then we went home and he cooked them for us.

The whole thing made me glad to be who I am.

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Rob has just seen the

Rob has just seen the entry in which I faithfully recorded the following tender scene and would like to set the record straight:

“‘I love you,’ I said.

“‘I love the Mach III razor you bought me,’ [Rob] said.”

His side of the story is that he had just used the razor for the first time and was just about to tell me how much he loved it when I blindsided him with an “I love you.” When he opened his mouth, what he had been going to say before just came out.

I choose to believe him.

Actually, it was Mach III Turbo razor that I bought him, and his face has never been smoother.

While I do not advocate Gillette products because of their animal-testing record, at least all of those poor bunnies contributed their time to something worthwhile.

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I get the idea that

I get the idea that there are people who feel I am too judgmental, that I sit around with a list of standards against which I measure all activity that catches my eye. Nothing could be further from the truth. Anyone could look at me and tell I do not have any standards at all. In their absence, I merely hold people up to their own standards, a tactic that causes me no end of trouble.

On the other hand, I have suddenly become enamored of Judge Judy, who is judgmental in the extreme. I do not seek to emulate, but I am in awe. In the face of her hostile analysis, no lie can prevail, no responsibility can be shirked. She is Justice with a baseball bat.

Why, then, do I get the sense that, underneath that severe black robe with the dainty lace collar, she, like everyone else who casts him- or herself in the role of punisher, is desperately unhappy?

I am a happy person, and I am going to stay that way.

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Maybe I am imagining things,

Maybe I am imagining things, but there is something a trifle insidious about TiVo. There is no doubt it is a wonder machine: I instructed it to record a few shows, and it has done so without a hitch. Thanks to TiVo, I have been able to watch multiple “Judge Judy” episodes I would otherwise have missed.

What disturbs me is the things it does of its own volition. What also disturbs me is that I had to rewrite the previous sentence several times to make sure that the subject and the verb agree, but I think I got it right. “The things it does of its own volition” modifies “what disturbs me,” and since “what disturbs me” is singular, the proper verb is “is” even though “things” may lead us to believe otherwise. Right? Because otherwise it would have to be “What disturb me are the things it does of its own volition,” which is grammatically correct but misleading because it is really doing only one disturbing thing multiple times. Oh good Lord, see how flustered I am?

Here is the problem: TiVo is recording things on its own, without orders and without permission. Sitcoms, mostly. Every day, I find more and more that I did not sanction, as if TiVo’s 60GB hard drive is hungry and demands to be filled with junk food. Worse, it seems have paid careful attention to what I have recorded and is now saving shows that it thinks I might like. Ever since I programmed “Will and Grace,” it has been serving up daily helpings of “Designing Women” and “The Golden Girls.” It knows I am gay! Last night, Rob caught it trying to record “Married, with Children,” which would seem to run counter to my hypothesis unless one considers the rumors about David Faustino (what ever happened to him, anyway?) and the revelations of Amanda Bierce.

There is also the matter of the red light that flips on in middle of the night, a glowing eye that watches me pretend to sleep. Sometimes, the light turns amber, and sometimes it starts out amber and turns red. What is it doing? What is it thinking? And whom is it calling on the phone? I would call the police, but I know what would happen: after I voice my concerns, they would run a quick analysis of the line and cry, “Get out! It’s calling from inside the house!” Then I would run out and find a bloody hook embedded in the roof of my car.

Or, worse, a “Married, with Children” episode.

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I attended psychotherapy for the

I attended psychotherapy for the first time yesterday, and I will not pretend it was anything other than exhilarating to spend fifty minutes locked in a small room with a man whose only apparent interest was in learning more about me.

This has never happened in all of my days.

We talked about a number of things and made another appointment so we could talk about more things at a later date. I have a feeling we have only scratched the surface because, on my way out, he asked me if I ever remembered my dreams. I do not, but given his interest, I can probably come up with enough to keep us both entertained for weeks to come.

One may ask what has prompted my decision to begin this process, and the answer is threefold:

1. It is covered by my health insurance, which has such an unreasonably high premium that I want to get my money’s worth.

2. It will get me out of the house and make TiVo feel useful if I manage to schedule my appointments during “Judge Judy.”

3. It is one of a series of experts I have lately consulted to bring my life to a new level of joy, health, and enlightenment. Dr. Wright, Ph.D. joins the ranks of my physician, Dr. Saltzman; my acupuncturist, Roberta Mittman; my one-time spiritual advisor, Becky Gorman; and my personal trainer (and possible future boxing instructor), Kirk Benjamin, with whom I have three remaining sessions.

One day soon, I would like to get all of these people in a room to really work on me from all sides, but I am afraid of what would happen if they talk amongst themselves. It would be the end of the world.

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Yesterday, I used the money

Yesterday, I used the money I am expecting for selling my old computer to buy a device I have craved for the past eighteen months: TiVo. This was no doubt an extremely stupid thing to do. TiVo is a dream come true for someone with a hectic schedule who would like to record a lot of television programs. I neither have a hectic schedule nor watch television, but this did not stop me for a microsecond. Further, as I could have used the same amount of money to pay off some of my extensive debts, I can no longer afford to leave my apartment and might as well stay home to watch television live, which eliminates any lingering pretext for using this machine.

Nonetheless, I adore it.

TiVo connects to my computer, cable box, VCR, stereo receiver, DVD player, and phone jack using such a complex system of wires and plugs that it would have given MacGyver pause. After I spent over an hour on the installation and programming (with Rob and Goblin napping in the background), TiVo informed me that it would be unable to operate fully for eight hours, until it had oriented itself to its new surroundings. This is perfectly understandable as far as I am concerned: it must be extremely bewildering to spend so much time in an orange box, and anyone (or anything) might be excused for taking some time to get his (or its) bearings.

TiVo has also insisted upon full and unfettered access to my phone line, which gave me pause until it promised not to call its friends overseas. It also requires an allowance of $12.95 per month, which is reasonable given its immense capacity for making my life easier. Tonight I came home and found three “Judge Judy” episodes waiting for me. The possibilities are endless.

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The wedding was lovely to

The wedding was lovely to look at, I think. I would have preferred to be in the audience, gazing up at how stunning I was in my tuxedo as I flanked my youngest brother at the ceremony. I am quite certain I also looked stunning as I escorted my mother to her seat and an anonymous bridesmaid with coiled hair up the aisle.

One does not like to steal attention away from the bride, but in this case, it could not be helped.

I do not know what to make of weddings. The fact that I cannot officially have one certainly has some bearing on my ambivalence, but there is more to it. While I am sure the whole thing is very nice for the bridal couple, who use the occasion to have their loved ones jump through rather unreasonably sized hoops, I am left to question the culture that has transformed the event into a miniature coronation. I was also stunned (while remaining stunning) to learn that, as a member of the bridal party, I would be announced over a loudspeaker as I entered the reception. Everyone applauded as if I had just crossed Antarctica in rented formalwear, and I kept expecting to see Jay Leno waiting to interview me..

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Last night, as we drifted

Last night, as we drifted off to sleep in the house I grew up in, I was overcome with emotion for Rob, who is accompanying me on this trip for my youngest brother’s wedding. “I love you,” I said.

“I love the Mach III razor you bought me,” he said.

It was as touching a moment as I had ever hoped to have.

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Chirping birds. Frolicking bunnies. The

Chirping birds. Frolicking bunnies. The first time I kissed a boy. My trip to New Zealand. Sleeping with my arm around Rob. The way Goblin smiles with one tooth sticking out. Dressing Viki’s Felix the Cat doll in lingerie. Climbing the pyramids of Mexico. The clat. La mujer de cien aƱos. Space Mountain. My cute baby nephew Andrew. The X-Men. Alien puppets. Muir Woods. Queen of the Park. Winning design competitions. The House on the Rock. The Paula Young Wig Catalog of Damocles. Playing hide-and-seek with Zoe. “Land of the Lost.”

Fuck.

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The first time I went

The first time I went to Canada, when I was a child, someone I met walking along Lake Ontario said I talked like Jimmy Carter.

The last time I went to Canada, a year ago, a number of people decided to crash airplanes into two large buildings in the city I live in, one large building in a city near where I grew up, and a field in Pennsylvania.

I liked the first time better.

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My first day of kindergarten,

My first day of kindergarten, my mother dropped me off. There was a mirror in the classroom. I looked in the mirror and cried.

In first grade, Mark and Amy were the class darlings. I hated them. I stole chalk from the art room and wrote “Mark + Amy” on a brick wall. Mrs. Shepherd the principal knew I did it and gave me a stern lecture. I do not know if she ever called my parents about the incident.

In second grade, I had Mrs. Dixon, who also belonged to our pool.

In third grade, I learned how to write cursive, which I called script. I collected stickers, which I kept in a photo album and traded with the girls in the class. Once I tried to play soccer with the boys; they named me “Powerhouse Junior,” but not because I did anything spectacular. They had all given themselves nicknames and were trying to be nice. I forget who Powerhouse Senior was, but it sounds like someone I would have had a crush on.

In fourth grade, I almost failed math and they wanted to put me in a class with dumber kids. There is a part of my brain that can do any sort of math perfectly well, but there is a larger part of my brain that has suppressed the first part for over twenty years.

In fifth grade, Mr. Nordfjord took me aside on the playground and told me that I was pathetic and that all of my classmates hated me. He told me to check a book called What Every Kid Should Know out of the library, which I did. All I remember is a chapter about opening a bank account.

In sixth grade, my best friend was Billy, who has likely progressed to a career in female impersonation. My teacher, Miss Sonnenberg, moonlighted in a seafood restaurant called The Chesapeake and read out loud from The Outsiders. I read 1984 on my own, a book I have read at least twenty times and seems to have established its content approximately twenty years too soon. I am probably older now than Miss Sonnenberg ever was.

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When I was young, attending

When I was young, attending one of my brother’s soccer games but not observing it, a strange man hid behind some trees and watched me play with my action figures. He was fat and sloppy and had strange eyes, and when he realized I knew he was there, he began to walk toward me. Terrified, I fled around the school building and back to the playing field where my family was. I did not see him again, and I never told anyone what happened.

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Goblin and I feel the

Goblin and I feel the crushing weight of responsibility wrapped around our shoulders like a mink stole. After sporting merrily as renegade advice columnists out to impose our particular form of order on an ignorant world, some misguided soul has actually written to us for guidance. Directly to us, I mean to say: we did not, this time, rummage for scraps in other people’s inboxes. Imagine.

Naturally, we are thunderstruck but prepared to have a go at it. Goblin is out whipping up new batch of entrails for prognostication, and I have some nice green tea steeping in the kitchen. When this is all over, I will add a glug of something to the cup to calm my poor nerves, which are all aquiver with the burdens of great wisdom.

Dear Goblin (and David):

I have felt adrift lately. I have tried to interest a friend in some social activities like going out for a chai tea latte or a meal at one of the many fine local restaurants. We don’t have Ethiopian eateries, but we have some adequate Mexican places.

I didn’t find my suggestions well received. Am I too dense to take what might possibly be a rather obvious hint or should I keep trying to let this person know his company is valued and appreciated? -Adrift in Tennessee

David responds:

Already, we are off to a bad start. To be relegated secondary, and then to parenthesis! Well, that certainly is not going to serve you very well, is it. Any fool can see that, while I may not be as cute or even as interesting as my dog, I am certainly superior in the realm of advice giving. I mean, honestly.

Equally obvious to any fool is that you are barking up the wrong tree. You do not elaborate on “well received” or “obvious hint,” but I will assume you mean that this “friend” has indicated disinterest in chai tea lattes and fine local restaurants in a way that also suggests, without quite stating, a more global disinterest in your company. In other words, you have proposed a number of activities, and your friend has rejected them without suggesting alternatives, leaving you to believe that the common denominator of these rejections is your own self.

You could be right.

What is more interesting is that, whether you are right or not (we have no way of knowing unless you ask), you have allowed this conclusion to affect you more broadly than is necessary. You say you are adrift, which indicates a general emotional condition rather than a specific emotional response. What is it about this situation that has affected you so completely? Identify the connection and start taking positive steps to neutralize it.

For example, if you do not have many friends and are afraid of being alone, why not go out for a chai tea latte by yourself and strike up a conversation with someone you meet there, or ask someone new to join you?

You ask if you are dense, and I cannot possibly answer that question without more facts, but in parting, I do have a question of my own. If this person is shunning you entirely or, at best, sending very mixed signals, what exactly is it about his or her company that is so “valued and appreciated”? Surely, you have politer and more appreciative friends to accompany you on activities, and if indeed you do not, I would suggest making some.

Goblin responds:

Yow yow yow!

Daddy was vacuuming vacuuming vacuuming and now everything smells different! No more crumbs! It’s like Uncle Bobby was never here!

*lick lick lick lick lick lick lick*

Ethiopian food. Yum! Daddy loves it and brings it home and eats it cold but won’t let me have any. Only dog food for me until Uncle Bobby comes back and drops stuff. I licked three kinds of sauces off his shirt the other day.

*snork*

Oh yeah. Advice. Give your friend another chance. Maybe when you ask him to do stuff you are not being specific enough. Like you say Let’s have a chai tea latte sometime and he says Okay but then you get sad because he doesn’t pick up on the momentum and suggest a time. Maybe he is busy or waiting for you to suggest a time since it was your idea. Maybe he wants to do something but does not like chai tea latte.

Latte latte latte!

Here is what you can do. Call him up and ask him if he wants to have a chai tea latte at a specific place and time. If he says no suggest another specific place and time or maybe switch to another activity. If he still says no you’ve done all you can do. The ball’s in his court.

Ball ball ball!

*lick lick snork*

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Some movies I could watch

Some movies I could watch over and over:

Steel Magnolias
Goodfellas
Lilo and Stitch
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Moulin Rouge
The Talented Mr. Ripley
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
All About Eve
The Anniversary
Lord of the Rings I: The Fellowship of the Ring
Mommie Dearest
El Ley de Deseo
Gremlins II
Chocolat

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Time for more advice from

Time for more advice from David and Goblin Foo:

Dear Annie:

My son will be celebrating his 6th birthday soon, and I have scheduled a party for him and 10 of his friends at a local children’s party place. I sent the invitations two weeks ago and put an RSVP number on them.

So far, one person has confirmed that her son is coming to the party. What should I do about the others? Is it OK for me to call these people and ask if their kids are coming or not? I don’t want to do anything tacky. — Mom in Delaware

David responds:

You will note we swiped your letter from “Annie’s Mailbox,” an opportunistic sequel to Ann Landers perpetrated by her former editors, who have yet to make any sadistic comments involving wet noodles. Perhaps it was tacky to do so, but no more tacky than scheduling a party for eleven six year olds at a “local children’s party place” (a.k.a. Chuck E. Cheese). Or perhaps insane is a better word. Who is going to supervise all of those children? Believe me, you are much better off with only the two (your own and the one who was polite enough to respond), and the two of them will be happier to have all of the goodies you had planned to lavish on the larger group.

Here is what you do: call the other mothers and tell them that, in case they had planned on delivering their children to the party after all, that it has been cancelled. When they ask why, tell them pointedly it was from lack of interest. Then tell them, “My son plans on sitting in his room with the lights out on that day. He will spend his time praying to God for friends who are polite enough to answer invitations.” That will take care of those mothers.

Then, on the day of the party, break the news to your son that nine of his ten friends have suddenly died from whooping cough. Console him by giving him an Xbox or a Playstation. Or let him drive the family car to Chuck E. Cheese. That will distract him, especially if it is a sports car. If he seems confident behind the wheel, you can even spare yourself the ordeal by staying home.

Goblin responds:

Party party party!

*snork*

Am I invited? Chuck E. Cheese looks like a giant nighttime squirrel. I saw two nighttime squirrels in the park tonight. They were playing. They have tails and I don’t. Daddy says that they are rats and rats are dirty dirty dirty and keep walking Goblin and don’t pull on the leash Goblin.

*lick lick lick lick lick lick lick*

I wish he spelled my name Goblyn instead of Goblin or maybe I should call myself Phoebe.

*hack* *yawn*

Oh yeah. Advice. Call up the other mothers and ask them if their kids are coming. It’s not rocket science.

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I had a very gay

I had a very gay Labor Day weekend.

Sunday, Rob and I (gay couple) had a fabulous (gay word) brunch (gay meal) with my dear friend Mark (could not be more gay). He served, among other things, bloody marys, mimosas, tea, chopped fruit, cream cheese with bits of scallion in it, and olives stuffed with almonds, and we spent the entire meal discussing musical theater (gay gay gay gay gay gay gay).

Monday, Rob and I (still a gay couple) went to brunch (still a gay meal) with some good friends (two other gay couples) from Minneapolis. The establishment, called Popovers, is not strictly gay but is trendy to the point where lines are blurred. At least two other tables featured large groups of males who laughed just a bit too jovially, if you know what I mean. One just knew they were talking about Martha Stewart (gay icon). Our table, as usual where Rob is concerned, discussed musical theater (gay), a topic one would think is not broad enough to sustain two separate brunches, but one is often surprised (and bored senseless) on matters such as these.

Later in the day, Joe (gay) and I went down to the Bed, Bath, & Beyond (gay destination) near the West Village (gay neighborhood) so I could buy a TV cart and tray tables for my apartment. Fighting the sale-day crowds (including a million other gay couples), I decided not to bother with the investigation of window treatments (!!!!!!!) that I had originally intended. In this, at least, I feel very butch. Very few gay men have postponed the purchase of window treatments for as long as I have since I moved to Manhattan.