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2013/11/26

TMI Questions: Happy Thanksgiving

Gratitude is an easy thing to forget.

So many of our emotions demand more room.  Gratitude is rather reserved, so it has a hard time competing with those flashier feelings.  But that’s what keeps us humble, and in touch with reality. 

So I think it’s great that we have a national holiday focused on giving thanks.  Sadly, few people get the true meaning of Thanksgiving – despite its somewhat too-on-the-nose name. We get caught up in the turkey and side dishes.  The football and family dysfunction.  Yep, been there.  Oh, so guilty!

This year, I hope everyone finds a moment for quiet contemplation in order to truly get in touch with what it means to be thankful and to count our many blessings. 

Here’s wishing you all the very best this celebration has to offer.

TMI QUESTIONS:
Questions designed to reveal Too Much Information

Link: http://tmiquestions.blogspot.com/

TMI Questions: Happy Thanksgiving

Do you travel or stay local? Family or Friends? Host or Guest?

It depends.  Typically, if one of my younger sisters and their families will come to the cities, then I will be elsewhere.  I don’t like my folks to be alone for any holiday.  Otherwise, if no one else can make it, I feel the need to be there.

This year will be an exception.  I will be driving a friend of mine to his mother’s house.  He recently had one of his feet reconstructed and cannot drive.  His mother is 84 years old, so I think it’s important that he be there. 

Unfortunately, neither of my younger sisters or my other siblings are making the trek to my parents’ house – and this could be my Dad’s last holiday season (he is not doing well).  So, while it pains me to leave my folks alone, my Mother pretty much demanded that I drive my friend and celebrate Thanksgiving with her and my father on the Friday after the holiday.

I consider my friend part of my family, and my family is on board with that, too.  He’s the business partner that I had a 17 year open relationship with.  He’s been a part of all our family functions forever.  He only has his mother, and she has been a part of most of my family’s gatherings, as well.  Family is very important to my friend, (he is my Mom’s adopted son, and a brother to all of us) so I will honor that for the rest of my life.  His mother is not very mobile, so that is why we are travelling to her neck of the woods this year.

Since my Dad has been diminished by Alzheimer’s, it has typically been me and my folks, plus my friend and his mother.  Christmas, my youngest sister and her husband will typically join us.  But, in light of my friend’s mother and her immobility, I am not sure what we will do this year for Christmas.  One holiday at a time…

I have hosted only one Thanksgiving.  It was a gas.  I crammed my parents, my friend and his mother, and my three sisters’ families into my basement – which has this room that looks like a church basement, complete with the 1950’s style linoleum.  It was hectic and crowded (six small kids, eleven adults, and two Chihuahuas).  The food was your basic Thanksgiving fare and went off without any snafus.  I did a drawing at the end, giving away prizes for the kids (all toys).  So whenever the kids started to act up I simply reminded them about the prizes at the end of the day. Worked like a charm.

Parade: Love it? Leave it? Never let it go?

Leave it. 

It was a distraction on the tube when I was younger.  Holidays always brought the worst out in my Mother, so she was usually seething about something or other the morning of.  If you were smart, you stayed out of her way and kept a low profile.  That wasn’t always possible.  But that televised parade sure served as a diversion.

When I was in L.A., it was tradition to go and look at the floats up close, at the end of the parade.  It was so cool.  I had no idea the floats were made out of flowers.  The amount of work that went into those floats boggled my mind.  I also thought it was an incredible waste.  But it sure makes a lot of people happy, so who am I to judge?

It sure made my life a little more bearable when I was young. 

Favorite Food?

Squash.  Love it.  Bake it, and whip it up with a tiny bit of butter or make soup with it.  And yams, too, but no brown sugar or marshmallow crap.  I like my veggies fairly straightforward.

Second favorite food is mashed potatoes.

This will be my first Thanksgiving minus Turkey – so I am not sure what I am going to do.  Fortunately, we are going out on the actual holiday (Asian food or Perkins), so I will have some choices to make. 

As for the day with my folks?  I will just fill up on the potatoes and squash.  Maybe bring some hummus for protein.

Or a nice grilled cheese.

Favorite holiday movie or do you watch football?

I don’t watch football.  I was addicted to watching it live when in high school.  It was fun then, because you actually knew the players.  But televised sports bore the crap out of me.  Too much commentary, too many commercials, too many pauses during play.  I’d rather wash the dishes or sit in the kitchen and gossip about our extended family members (lots of skeletons in those closets).  And the gossip goes both ways, I am sure (lots of skeletons in our closets, too).

Movies?  My favorite?  I take a particular delight in watching ‘Home for the Holidays’, starring Holly Hunter, Anne Bancroft, and Robert Downey, Jr.  Directed by Jodie Foster (!), this ensemble production about a Thanksgiving celebration in the life of a wonderfully dysfunctional family is a hoot.  There are wicked laughs galore to be had, but the heart is there, too.  Cynthia Stevenson delivers the best performance, but the whole cast is top notch.  I totally recommend checking this one out.

But, honestly, I would rather take all the dogs for a walk.  I like the cold air.  And there’s something about walking past all those houses full of family cheer, dysfunction, food and alcohol that make me sad/happy. 

That’s me.  Always enjoying things from a distance.

If you do holiday decorations, for which holiday and when?
                                                                                                                     
Gosh, I have kind of kept things to the bare minimum for years now.  Even Christmas. 

I have this tiny tree with the lights and decorations on it that sits in a garbage bag in a store room for most of the year, only to be plucked out to sit on an end table in my living room for the season.  Other than that, there is this rather baroque looking angel/tree topper that sits on atop of my grandfather clock year-round, looking down upon me, passing judgment throughout the year.  She’s so pretty (if a bit of a prude).

And then there’s the yard décor.  I have a plastic snowman that sits in my front yard until spring.  I just like him.  Sometimes he is joined by a little tin soldier and a tiny, fat Santa.  I don’t plug any of them in.  And the soldier and Santa always go away the day after New Year’s.   

But that snowman?  He’s there for the whole of winter. 

He makes me smile.

Black Friday. Thoughts?  Feelings?  Soapbox?

I don’t participate.  I don’t care. 

I figure this is something that corporate greed and the breeders have born out of a need for ‘more’.  I could care less.  I no longer see Christmas / The Holidays as a reason to spend a great deal of money.  Possessions don’t make us better people.  And giving the perfect gift does not buy one love or excuse all our lousy behavior the rest of the year.

And Black Friday does bring out the worst in people.  Just read some of these stories: http://thoughtcatalog.com/charlie-shaw/2013/11/35-retail-workers-share-their-their-most-wtf-black-friday-horror-stories/

All of which I believe actually happened because… I read it on the internet.

I think it’s madness.  But it’s not for me, so what I think doesn’t matter.  Much.

I know this is wrong, but I do get a kick out of reading all the horror stories about people getting trampled on their way to getting an $11.99 kitchen gadget or stupid popular toy.

Does that make me a bad person?

Probably.

Bonus
People traditionally give thanks on Thanksgiving. What are you thankful for?

A lot this year.

Second chances, in particular.

My recent rebirth has shaken my life to its core. I’m sort of amazed that I did not require a 12-Step Program or numerous sessions on a therapists couch to turn myself around, but I didn’t.  And while I am still scrambling to put things back together and still trembling in the aftermath, I am doing really fucking great.   

I haven’t been myself for well over twenty years. Some of my early interactions with humans had left me so fucking damaged that my soul had turned sour and I stopped believing in the promise of hope and the power of love.  I tear up just writing about it. 

I’ve been numbing myself for so long – not with alcohol or drugs, but with sex.  This blog is sort of a testament to that part of my life.  I frequently have joked about my multiple personas, but the fact is, I have been living a dual life for so long, one robbing the other of any pure joy to be found in any situation, that I’d forgotten who I really am. 

Instead, I put on a brave face and tried to reconcile the dichotomy that my life had become.  It was a constant battle – robbing Peter to fuck Paul.  I’d become so dishonest, so untrue to myself.

So, to have a second chance, to reclaim myself… that is the greatest gift the universe has ever given me.

And the amazing thing?  I know deep in my heart that I am worthy of it.

I will spend the rest of my life honoring it. 

Since the day the scales fell from my eyes?  I have never been happier or more joyful. 

October 26th will forever be a very special anniversary for me.

And if this all sounds like some kind of religious transformation, well, it’s not.  I don’t believe in any of that stuff.   I’m pretty much an agnostic or an atheist at this point. 

Nor do I really believe in judging the actions of others.  We all have our own paths to walk and to quote my beloved Melissa Manchester: “We need gardens to grow in.  And there must always be room enough for all of us.”

So, no worries. 

I still stand in awe of the many sexual warriors I have met in person or via blogger. I will still enjoy reading of your exploits or looking at the pics you post.  Those of you who enjoy sex for the sake of sex?  You fucking rock.  You’re helping to tear down the walls of sexual oppression that have ruled Western civilization for far too long.  So rage on.  Shine on.

But, for now, I need to explore something else.  Something more. 

I’m super excited about all these changes and I have no idea what’s to come.  I have hopes, for sure.  But if things don’t work out the way I want, I am sure that something wonderful is waiting for me to arrive.

I have been waiting my whole life for ‘me’ to arrive.

And I can’t wait until all this turmoil that I’ve created in my wake calms.

It’s going to be a good, good life.

As always, thanks, Sean!











2013/11/25

Kristine W’s Latest, ‘So Close To Me’, at #21!

Kristine W’s latest single, ‘So Close To Me’, moved to #21 on Billboard’s Club Play/Dance Chart last Thursday (Thanksgiving Day), after having bowed at #39 as the Hot Shot Debut on that chart the week before.

‘So Close To Me’ is the second single off her 2012 release, ‘New & Number Ones’.  

The first, ‘Everything That I Got’ peaked at #4 on Billboard’s Club Play/Dance Chart last year.  

Will ‘So Close To Me’ top that?

When I first heard ‘So Close To Me’, I sort of dismissed it as filler, but with the new remixes out I’m starting to feel where Ms. W is coming from.  

It’s hella fun on the dance floor.  So check it out below and then visit her website to check out all the other music she has available for purchase.

Kristine currently has had 16 number-one hits on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart and has more consecutive number one dance hits than Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson.

In 2010, Kristine W was voted by Billboard Magazine as ‘Dance Artist of the Decade’, behind Madonna and Beyoncé!

Kristine is a huge supporter of gay rights and equality for all.  The lady works hard and puts on a hell of a show.  If you ever have the opportunity to go see her in concert - do it!  

Support those who support us!

Check out her latest below: 












2013/11/19

TMI Questions: Ya Gotta Have Friends…

That wonderful Buzzy Linhart song, as sung by the Divine Ms. M!  Doesn't that pretty much sum up everything there is about friendship?

In my lifetime I have been blessed with having made many.  But very few have stuck around for very long. 

And that's okay.  That's the way it's supposed to be.  

People enter your life for a reason... and exit when that lesson is either learned or goes right over your head.  Ah, yes... lots of  'a swing and and a miss' for this guy, here. 

Still, I keep trying.  And who wouldn't?  What's the alternative?  Sad sack alone on an island. Boo hoo, hoo. 

I used to believe there was something incredibly valiant and brave about being alone.

But now I see that the real brave ones put their hearts on the line every day, spending time with the one they love. Yeah, relating to others?  

Now that's brave.

TMI QUESTIONS:
Questions designed to reveal Too Much Information

Link: http://tmiquestions.blogspot.com/

TMI Questions: Ya Gotta Have Friends…

Did you have an imaginary friend growing up?

No.

I was a loner at a very early age.  Always wandering around observing.  I didn’t need company.

During adolescence, I developed an arsenal of diverse personalities to sub for me when faced with situations that made me uncomfortable or required skills I didn’t/don’t possess.  I was part of a tightknit group of friends (we played in various bands together) and they thought my personas quite entertaining.  A favorite was The Gutter Rat, who would appear whenever a little crudeness or menace was in order. 

I was a good Catholic boy, so no swearing was allowed.  But The Gutter Rat was obsessed with the seamy side of life.  He was the lead singer in a punk band called The Jokes.   He would prattle on mid-song, the band vamping behind him, spinning tales about Grace Slick giving Marty Balin a blow job backstage, as a means of demonstrating just how pathetic and sad corporate rock had become.  Yes, Johnny Rotten move over, small towns throughout the Midwest had… The Gutter Rat.

Eventually all the personas were absorbed by their host and now… well, it’s hard to tell who is in control.

Are you still friends with your BFF or anyone from your youth?

Only my two younger sisters.  BFF with the youngest.  I know all her secrets and she knows some of mine. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for either of them; they have both been very good to our parents. 

And to me. 

I lucked out in the lil’ sis department.

Who is your best friend now? (SO's excluded)

That would be my youngest sister.  She is my ‘person’ and I am hers.  Not in a sick way, but we are very close.  I can tell her almost anything and those things I hold back she would probably accept, too, but I try not to burden others with my follies.  Although I must say, she is a survivor of several stupid things I have done. 

She was one of the financial backers of a rather terrible original musical I foisted upon the public back in the year 2001.  She never saw a dime.  Not that she expected to.  Still, it would have been nice if the damn thing hadn’t sucked monkey balls.  She was so good natured about it, taking the entire cast and crew out for drinks and appetizers at Nye’s Polonaise after opening night. 

She’s quite an accomplished woman – a real winner. 

She’s loud.  And clever.  And smart.  Smartest person I have ever met. 

I adore her.

Do you have same sex friends of the opposite orientation?

Yes.  Always have. Examples:

My friend John has known me since the mid-eighties.  He married an actress I was quite fond of, Beth.  He is one of my biggest fans and to be honest – I don’t know why.  But he has been incredibly loyal through the years and always eager to pick up where we left off after I would allow our friendship to wane.  He’s very handsome – dashing, even – very matinee idol. 

I am also friends with my former boss.  A tree-hugging vegan with a Dylan fetish.  He writes music.  We’re the same age and share many of the same political views.  He came to rely upon my gut feeling about people and situations.  And I miss him.   

Ex's as friends?

Yes.  I have one. 

After seventeen years “together” we decided we were better friends than lovers.  Turns out our whole relationship was built on a minor misconception, one that I was appalled to learn about at the seventeen year mark.  I was already heading out the door when  he told me a tiny truth about our union.  It took me three days to process exactly what it all meant and I was floored that anyone feeling the way he did would have been in a relationship with me. 

For seventeen years I put up with his controlling behavior, OCD, hypochondria, and excessive detail-ridden way of getting to a point.  Three weeks before we broke up, I had taken a survey about how I viewed our relationship and how being in it made me feel.  I ended up being categorized as ‘Little Unhappy’. 

Huh?  That phrase stuck in my craw.  I even wrote it on a post-it note and hung it in my cube at work. 

‘Little Unhappy’.

Our lives were so enmeshed that I am still, to this day removing bits of the brain fodder that he planted.  I have to be ever vigilant about maintaining boundaries with him and he frequently asks me questions a mother might ask her nine year old child.

But he’s also one of my business partners and has always long been my best advisor.  We have breakfast almost every Saturday morning.  

And I will always love him.

I’ll be there the next time he falls in love and hold his hand as his heart breaks over the last one.  His next foot surgery, his next colonoscopy, his next heart attack?  Yep, that’s me at the hospital, clinic, or emergency room.  I’ll help him navigate what it means to age alone in an indifferent society. 

And I’ll be there the day he passes from this world. 

There are all kinds of love and all kinds of relationships to experience in a lifetime.  I’ve made a vow to stop being careless with people and consider having him in my life a blessing and a privilege, not an obligation. 

Do you have any non-human bffs?

I love my dogs, Atula, Millie, and Hercules.  They are my kids.  Before they came on the scene, there were three others, all equally special.  But there was one…

Beau was my first new BFF, post L.A. I credit him for giving me the focus and will power to recreate a life here, in Minneapolis.  There were several years when it was just the two of us and he got all my attention.  I was fiercely protective of him and he rewarded me with his sweet smile and boundless unconditional love. 

Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him.  I was so grateful for the time we had together.

Are you friends with any relatives?

Other than my sisters?  No.  

Well, my Mom, in as much as one can be friends with your Mom.

Other than that?  Acquaintances?  Yes.  Friends, no.

Friends at work?

I have one.  My friend Mellissa.  She’s sort of my writing muse.  We’ve known each other for five years and have lunch at least once a week.

We had a huge falling out last year and didn’t speak to one another for nine months!  We reconciled shortly after Gay Pride this year.  Things are good, but not the same. 

Whatever I thought the rift might have been about turned out not to be correct, or so she tells me.  My feelings got hurt and when that’s the case I find it hard to trust again.

We’re working on it.

What's your Face Book number?

Zero.

I tried Face Book.  All I wanted to do was play that Sims game they have on there, but instead, all these people from my past came out of the woodwork and started contacting me.  Ugh, no thank you.  I have enough trouble living with my past as it is, I don’t need aging reminders sending me pics of their fucking kids and asking me ‘What’s new?’ 

Fuck that.

What's the worst thing a friend has done to you? Are you still?

One of my longest BFF’s – Brent, suddenly stopped talking to me.  He moved to St. Louis and I went for a visit.  He’d been living in Miami before that and got messed up with the wrong boyfriend.  So, St. Louis was a safe place for him to regroup and get out of the life. 

I must have done one too many things wrong that trip.  For it was the last straw.  That, or his therapist and AA buddies convinced him I was a toxic fuckhead (guilty). But shortly after I got through a little medical emergency (I crushed half a lung), he stopped talking to me.  My life went into a mini-free-fall (changed jobs, ended a relationship, ended a professional relationship, went back to school) and I never heard from him again. 

Yet another person who avoids me like the plague.

I loved him.  No one made me laugh the way he did.  We could riff for hours, improvising scenes in the cadence of Edward Albee and Noel Coward.  We’d devastate each other.  Swilling ice cold gin, we were oh, so clever and a tad destructive.  For the longest time (twenty years) we knew one another inside out.  He’d call me on all my shit and I would attempt to make him own his.  Our love for one another was proclaimed often, our loyalty ensured.

He taught me so much.  In many ways, he was my Auntie Mame.  And maybe my Gay Mom, too.  He was there to soften my fall when I finally stumbled out of the closet. 

And you would not believe how much he hated me when we first met.  He was absolutely vicious.

I don’t think he hates me now.  I bet he’s just relieved. 

Most people are… once I leave the room.

Bonus
Friends with benefits?

Oh, yes, please.  Good health insurance is so hard to find.

Oh…. You mean… oh.

Yeah.  That doesn’t work.  At least not for me. 

Not anymore.

October 26th will always be a very special day for me.

Honestly? 

I have never been so happy in my life… ever.