Friday, June 30, 2006


So, I just got done watching the movie Shopgirl, which I found to be rather wonderful in an endearingly quirky kind of way. It had a lot of very true things to say about the nature of relationships in today's world: How they can be unpredictable and how people can get hurt based on how much you are or aren't invested in those relationships. It got me to thinking about my life and all my friendships over time.

My life has been changing again for me lately. Bigger changes around the bend; I can feel it coming on. I usually get into this kind of pensive mood and really just want to be alone and chill out with myself (and my devoted kitty -- the love of my life) and really be present in the moment and enjoy life as it happens around me.That's something I haven't been very good at in the past -- being present. I'm always thinking ahead, or wondering how people think of me.

I have been noticing that as I get older I have these profound moments
of examining my life about once every year or so. I take stock, examine my faults, and then get on this "I must change" kick that lasts for a few months and yields some very cool results.

I finally got off my butt and signed up to take this weight training class over at Los Angeles Community College. I've been feeling very insecure about my body for a while now, especially living in L.A., Land of the Ken Dolls and Barbie Babes, but mostly, I just want to feel better about myself. I've always had what I refer to all "gym phobia" -- a fear of being laughed at, not fitting in, not being cool enough. It goes back to being that scrawny gay kid in high school that all the jocks made fun of. Gay men can be even more cruel and dismissive, always sizing each other up and seeing how much potential is there for sex. That's why I wanted to do this as far away from the gay community as possible. It's not about me being "hot." This is something I'm doing for myself, to feel better about myself, not to get more guys to sleep with. I'm kinda done with that, too. More on that below. Mostly, though, apart from the getting into shape thing, this has been more about just taking stock of who I am as a person and what kind of a friend I've been to people. And I sometimes wonder, "Have I been a very good friend?"

I think that I have. I've always been such a recluse in some ways. I think this came from holing myself up in my bedroom for long periods of time just escaping into television and HBO b/cuz my childhood was too depressing to think about. I missed out on friends and social techniques that would have aided me in my adulthood. This is evidently common among gay men. We spend so much of our younger years hiding who we are that we don't experience "adolescence" as straight people do until we hit our 20s and 30s.

I think that's true for me, and I think it has a lot to do with my failings as a friend.. I feel like I'm still only 17 or 18 in some regards, like I'm just now unlocking some of these secrets about dating and having friends that everyone else was privvy to much earlier in their lives. Obviously, everyone has it hard. We all go through these things in our own ways. I know it's not really a "gay" thing at all, but I do think it's common among us homos.

Anyway, I've really made an effort to open myself up to people lately, to really reach out to them and make an effort. At first I wondered if it was b/cuz, as I looked around my life and took stock of all the friends I had left, the list was rather short and skimpy. But again, as I've said in the past, that is something I am OK with. What I realized is that the reason I have so few friends at this stage in my life is that I've realized that most of my friendships have been built upon superficial foundations. I don't know that I've honestly given of myself to a lot of the people I've known along the way. I was always so concerned with things like "Are they going to think I'm cool enough?" to "Are they going to think I'm masculine enough?" to "Are they going to think I'm hot enough? that I never really lived in the moment with any of my friends, even the women. I was trying too hard to be liked, instead of just being myself.

I have made some great friends in the last couple years, some of whom stuck around, some of whom did not. I've really tried to step up to the plate and invovle myself more, to let go of my insecurities and just be myself. Sometimes when I feel myself letting go and really having fun with them, I get tense and start to retreat into my old ways, then I have to smack myself around a little in my head and force myself to get out of my head and get back into the moment. It's kind of funny how it happens, but I'm discovering that I'm much more aware of my actions that I have been in the past.

Taking responsibility for my failings as a friend and as a lover has really had an interesting effect on me. The other night, I met this really cool guy who I was instantly smitten with. As it turned out, he was a little taken with me as well, and at the end of the night, he asked me to go home with him. For a moment, I considered it, but then I thought, "I really need to get up for work tomorrow, and I know if I come over there we're going to be up late." In truth, while that was part of it, the bigger part was me thinking, "This guy seems like he's really 'in the zone' of wanting to have sex with me b/cuz he's intrigued by me right now, but I know that if I give in to this right now, chances are the mystery will be over before I've put my pants and I'll never hear from him again. And who knows what I might have helped kill by not allowing myself to want more than that?"

So far, the guy has been in touch, which is cool. Maybe we'll even go out. Maybe we won't. The cool part, though, is that I didn't dive right in and sabotage yet another possiblity. It was a grown-up moment for me. I only hope I can continue discovering these things with my friends as well, as I begin investing myself in the relationships I have with people more fully.

So there you have it. A stream-of-consciousness rambling from yours truly. Kinda long, I know, but that's what stream-of-consciousness ramblings are all about, right? Taking apart the thoughts in your head and trying to make sense of your life.

Here's to me being a better friend, and a better person in general.


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The 10-Second Madonna Review

I posted this in a thread on Madonna's Icon message board as a way to encourage some dicussion of Madonna's music. Everybody started chiming in with their own reviews of Madonna's albums, and it's pretty funny to see what folks have to say about her stuff. I know some people are gonna scream over Erotica being at the bottom, but oh well... it's just what I think...

Anyway, here's my critical rundown of all her CDs... with * ratings, 5 (*****) being the highest.

First Place and Sentimental favorite: Like a Prayer -- no frickin' contest! It's still her strongest and boldest artistic statement ever. ****and 1/2 out of 5

A Close Second: Ray of Light - Revisionist Madonna, claiming spirituality and growing up. ****1/4

Third Place: Confessions On a Dance Floor - Madonna as disco queen, never having so much fun. ****

Fourth Place: Madonna - The one that started it all. Simple, sometimes dated, but oh-so-lovely. ****

Fifth Place: American Life - Madonna becomes a folksinger and makes her strongest emotional impact yet; too bad folks just didn't get it. ****

Sixth Place: Music -- Wildly uneven, but shows Madonna having FUN again for the first time since Bedtime Stories; responsible for two of her best, most mature singles: "Don't Tell Me" and "What It Feels Like for a Girl". ***1/2

Seventh Place: Bedtime Stories - Sexy, sensual R&B; like American Life, often sorely underrated. ***1/2

Eigth Place: True Blue - Madonna's first stab at social commentary and reinvention; pure nostalgic fun - especially the title track. ***

Ninth Place: I'm Breathless - Silly, nonsensical, and seemingly throw-away, this is one of Madonna's biggest risks, and the gamble pays off in spades. Her vocals on "What Can You Lose" are some of the strongest of her career. ***

Tenth Place: Like a Virgin - Uneven, overly simplistic, and with few standouts (save for "Angel" and the title track); probably her silliest -- and most dated -- record ever. **1/2

Eleventh Place: Erotica - "Revisionist" faux disco too obsessed with sex and Shep Pettibone's ho-hum "the songs all sound the same" production; often leaves much to be desired; still, "Erotica," "Rain" and "Bye Bye Baby" are enough to (almost) sustain it. **1/2

Friday, June 16, 2006

In Praise of the First Kiss

OK, I'm sorry, but is there anything hotter than kissing? I mean, really.

Today something really hot happened. Someone I've known for a while--several years, in fact--who I've been friends with during that time, has recently gone from casual friend to sexual acquaintance. And today we had our first kiss. Hot!

Now this is not something I saw coming. Not in the least. "J" and I have palled around each other for the past two years, going to events and having lunch and whatnot without any trace of sexual attraction. Or so I thought. And then, just the other day, I saw him again and there was this DING! DING! DING! in my head, like some switch had been flipped all of a sudden, and I saw him in a whole brand new light. Suddenly he was HOT, and I wanted to go mouth-to-mouth with him in a big way.

I suppose to be totally honest, there had been some kind of vague flirtation here and there, but maybe I just wasn't in the right head space to see it. Who knows? Oh well. I suppose I wasn't ready for it.

Anyway, today, finally, after a few days of flirtatious banter back and forth via IM and text messages (yes, I'm a text message freak!), we sealed the deal. And it wasn't one of those romantic "let's build up to it" moments; it was a full-on, passionate, "we've been dying to do this for days" kiss. You know the one: it's the kind that is both amazing and anti-climactic, because there's been so much heat building up to it that you have all these expectations, but at the same time it's not what you expected and you don't realize until a few seconds later--when you do it again--how good it was.

And it was niiiiiiiice...

It's so funny how the sensation of two mouths together can be such a beautiful, erotic, sensual experience. Like who thought of that? How did the very first people who ever kissed figure out that if they put their mouths together, it would create this amazing sensation in your body? Did the cave dwellers of prehistoric times partake of this? When did it become the "in" thing to do? I just think that it's quite possibly one of the most revolutionary inventions in human history. Amazing how industrious we are as a race, iddn't it? We just figure these things out in our heads and go for it. Gotta love human ingenuity.

Well, sometimes anyway.

Now I don't know if this little occurance between my buddy and I will amount to anything substantive. He's kind of embroiled in an on-again-off-again thing with someone, and me, I'm just off in La-La Land right now not really in the market for anything (though God knows my options are open), so it's anyone's guess where things go from here. But at the moment, my head is buzzing and I'm a little bit dizzy from the excitement of what just happened not more than 40 minutes ago, and I just felt the need to come on here and type out an ode to kissing.

Kissing rocks! :)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

A Great Recipe!

Don't worry; I'm not turning this into a cooking blog or anything, but I did happen to make my not-so world famous biscuit and baked bean casserole this past weekend for a Memorial Day picnic I went to, and people always ask me how I made it, so I thought I'd go ahead and post the recipe here in case anyone wants to try it out. It's easy as hell to make, and people go ga-ga over it. This dish is not for those who are on a carb-conscious diet, but they will LOVE you at family picnics and barbecues if you bring this:


3 half-sized cans of Bush's baked beans
1 lb ground hamburger (or meat substitute of your choice)
1/2 medium sized red onion
1/2 red pepper
1/2 green pepper
1 cup barbecue sauce (hickory brown sugar is best)
1/2 cup shredded cheese of your choice
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
2 containers Pillsbury Flaky Gold biscuits

Sautee hamburger, onion and peppers and chili powder (I use olive oil; sometimes I add a bit of nutmeg or cinammon), then mix into large casserole dish along with baked beans. Add barbecue sauce and stir.

Arrange biscuits on top as a "crust," then sprinkle with cheddar cheese to desired amount and bake at 410 until biscuits are golden brown on top.

Serves about 10-12 people. Yummy!

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