August 31, 2009

Not already freaked out about what is happening out there in the big wide world? Want to be scared for the future of the humanity? Read on.

Google is THE search engine for most people, so a look at their top worldwide searches from 2008 tells us what interests people:

1- Sarah Palin: really, people, #1 point of interest in the world?

2- Beijing 2008: okay it had its moments, but there were like 8 million hours of TV and coverage. It was harder to escape the Olympics then watch them.

3- Facebook login: Yes I like facebook. And i can get there without training wheels. Its url is How hard is it to find?

Also in the top ten: Obama, the Jonas Brothers, and tuenti (think Spanish facebook). Maybe now with Microsoft's Bing gaining ground, people will start to add some substance here.

And yes this comes from the guy whose top ten searches would include pizza and puppies. And Canadian politics. And searching for spoilers on Desperate Housewives. Ok, room to evolve.

August 30, 2009

And why exactly do I subscribe to OUT magazine?

In life we do little unimportant things we then look back on and wonder why: Why did I stay up all night and watch 9 hours of back-to-back of Friends? Why did I skip my run? Why did I eat that eighth slice of mushroom pizza?

For me one of these unimportant nagging questions happens once a month or so. Why do I subscribe to OUT magazine?

My September OUT just arrived. Pop star Lady Gaga poses on the cover and talks about how she loves gays. A fashion spread features a black leather belly shirt and a baseball cap with chain mail fringe. A shopping section features an $800 bbq that looks like a big green egg. Lots of beautiful ads feature beautiful men in beautiful places. How is this relevant to my life?

I love information input: books and magazines and the Internet and news and pop culture soundbites. CNN is crappy and I watch that, or at least I did before it became all Michael Jackson all the time. Maclean's is mediocre, and I subscribe mostly because it's Canadian. So I guess I subscribe to OUT because I am gay and want to feel some sense of input or connection. And it is glossy and pretty!

And then, like in life, once I look past the (oiled, waxed, buffed, coiffed) surface, there is stuff of interest and substance there - three authors talking about the future of gay fiction and a piece by food critic Frank Bruni on struggling with being gay and fat. Granted, it's not universal health care. But it's interesting and relevant.

Oh, and true to form, the September issue has an ad for a breathtaking Louis Vuitton men's bag and all-important nipple count of 31 (18 advertising, 13 editorial). When's that next issue coming?

Deep thought of the day

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."
- Groucho Marx

August 29, 2009

Guys in disguise...

What is it with gay guys and drag queens? Growing up I had all the stereotypical media images of gay men in front of me, from gym bunnies dancing shirtless to dykes on bikes leading the pride parade to leather clones to, yes, drag queens. None of them ever really worked for me, and none ever felt like they represented me. Not bad things, just not me.

Yet with drag queens I can't help but admire their, uh, balls. They enthusiastically embrace the outsider in all of us, with a disco soundtrack and a flamboyant finger snap. As I have gotten older and more at peace with myself and the world, the art of drag has grown on me. Done well, it's entertaining as hell.

Tonight we saw a holdover from the Edmonton Fringe Festival, "Triple Platinum", the totally made up final farewell reunion tour of the Boyce sisters - Nancy, Nellie, and Gaye - from Dildo, Newfoundland. They sing, they bicker, they tell stories, they make faces, they one-up each other. Most of all they charm the pants off their audience. Forget theories from me or anyone else on why the appeal of drag queens... these guys were fun and talented and entertaining, who cares why.

Towards the end of the show, the "youngest" sister, Gaye Boyce comes off stage to chat and flirt with the audience - with a guy name Luke, then Luigi, then... me! I knew she was looking at me, knew she was headed my way, knew my face would be crimson. So I smiled and turned red and played along. This was a first for me, a 6'4" drag queen sprawled across my lap asking if I like taller women with tattoos and prison records - uh, sure, tattoos are good, not sure about the prison thing or the woman thing. Having no real choice I totally let go and enjoyed it. The performers were so fantastic I was believing them as their characters. And smiling.

Ladies, this "tour" was a smash, so when is the reunion tour? And in the meantime, when is RuPaul's Drag Race coming back on the air? That show looks like fun!

Random Alfie pic

Not quite as innocent as he looks...

August 28, 2009

Coming home to Alfie

Travel can be exhilarating. Travel can be exhausting. Business travel can be all that and more, jammed into 12-hour days and late night flights with lousy food.

This time was a quick business trip. I was away for three days, and the little guy was very well looked after - home with my boyfriend K and his beagle Quinn, and days at doggie day care running with the herd of pampered puppies. So Alfie was not exactly suffering.

Three days away, and then, ahhhh, the hero's welcome a pet parent gets when we come home! Barking, licking, jumping, more barking, panting, total excitement! It's like I have been gone for months, for years, and Alfie has been mournfully sitting by the door waiting for me, not enjoying a second of life while he waits. And then woo hoo, Dad is home!

How great a feeling that reception is! Warm, loving and genuine, the dog is thrilled I am home! What a lift!

Then again, maybe I shouldn't get too excited about the hero's welcome. The FedEx guy gets about the same. And the pizza guy gets all this with higher jumps and way more barking and whimpering. Next trip, I am stopping at Pizza Hut on the way in from the airport. I wonder... do they have medium liver chicken pies for the Havanese?

August 27, 2009

Books I Will Read Before I Die

Some things carry forward from earliest childhood. I love books, fiction to escape and experience other realities, non-fiction to learn and wonder. I read a lot, and often have a couple of reads on the go at the same time. And yet there is a mountain of books beside my bed. The mountain has become a mountain range, having spread to the guest room.

So if I read so much, why is the pile of Books I Will Read Before I Die always getting bigger? It's not just the reading - its the researching about books, from following favourite authors, to cruising the amazon website, the wandering aimlessly through bookstores, where there is always something new and exciting to discover. I read somewhere that this is a Gemini thing, that we want to explore a little bit of everything, so the intake of books, newspapers, magazines, TV news, etc, is more than we could ever truly consume. Thoughts?

So the intake of books grows because I collect them faster than I can read them.

What's in the mountain? There are probably books I think I should read like that Pulitzer-prize winning John Adams biography, because it is smart and true. And there are some books I know I won't read like the Iliad, because its not really a book, it's a long boring epic poem about historic battle scenes. And some I have read and probably shouldn't have bothered, like that Tori Spelling one. And there are books I really do want to read and will get to some day before I die, like Sacred Games which got amazing reviews for its insight and interest.

So this week I started one of the bigger books on the mountain, Wally Lamb's "The Hour I First Believed". He's a smart and funny writer, and 200 pages in, it's a great read so far, crammed full of humour, life, death, marital infidelity, joy, women's prisons, the Columbine shooting, elderly lesbians, and lots of other stuff. Maybe too much, with 500 pages to go.

And the mountain will continue to grow; yesterday at the airport waiting to board my plane home, I emailed myself a list of five interesting looking books I saw at the Waterstone store. Has anyone read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo? Here we go again...

August 23, 2009

I heart Reba...

When I was living in Toronto a guy I was hanging out with (friend? date? don't remember) dragged me to a Reba McEntire concert. I wanted to seem open minded and adventurous so I smiled and declared I was excited while really dreading the redneck culture fiesta we were going to see.

Almost twenty years later, the guy is forgotten, and the concert remains unforgettable - the excitement, the music, the pulse of the crowd, the Vegas-style staging, the costume changes, the sequins, the really big hair, and most especially the powerful voice and amazing stage presence of Reba.

I loved every minute of the show, and have since collected a mountain of Reba CDs, as well as seeing her in concert again, and watched the sitcom, seen the movies, etc.

That first concert I saw was in the early 90s, and Reba had released a song about AIDS called "She Thinks His Name Was John" and it was controversial. She stood strong in the face of critics and defended the song and stood with her gay fans. And even showed appreciation for the drag queens who impersonate her. So now I liked and respected her.

Reba has a new album out -- number 8,953 I think -- which the LA Times calls "joyfully timeless". As part of her promotional tour she gave an interview to OUT magazine where she again stands strong. I keep on loving this woman. And I gotta buy that CD! Features Reba Stands By Her Gays

Shared via AddThis

August 21, 2009

Puppy in the Storm

While Alfie definitely has some Velcro in his supposedly purebred genes, the world's cutest pooch is not usually especially clingy. He is super attached and always nearby, but not usually physically on me. Except in times like now. It is 11-something at night and even though I work tomorrow am up with the TV on, on my bed with the laptop, catching up on email, jumping on and off facebook, and playing with this new toy my blog. Which a couple of days in I have finally told my boyfriend about and emailed him the URL (look when I am not around!), so now it feels alive. For better and worse.

And Alfie? Summer storm outside, rain, and now intermittent thunder. So the snoozing pooch has arisen from his latest nap, did a long leisurely stretch, and scooted over here for protection. Zap - he is on my lap. Then on my hands. Then the keyboard. Now my arms and the keyboard. Up licking my face. Back sprawled along my leg and on the keyboard. calm, then scared, not even barking. I have spell-checked this 9 times already, because 14 pounds of hair and attitude may be small for a dog but is large and heavy compared to this keyboard. He taps keys... "keyboard" spelled "keybiord". Scale up to 780%. All caps. A whole different blog? Then a faster route to spell check - how he do that? What do they teach him at doggie day care?

It is times like this that I truly feel like his dad, like his protector. Okay licking my nose and staring at my with his deep dark moist eyes... awww.... end of blog, off to wrestle with the pooch. I may even let him win this time.

"Life is infinitely stranger than anything the mind could invent..."
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

August 20, 2009

Gotta love the Crasher Squirrel!

Love love love this photo, especially now that am starting to believe is real and not some photoshop creation like those showing an alien head on a unicorn body or George Bush reading a book.

Quoting Coco Chanel...

"In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different."
- Coco Chanel

August 19, 2009

Lock that delusional wack-job up!

I admit it... I watch more than my share of TV. Some intelligent, some informative, some artsy. And, yes, a lot of it total escapist junk, from stupid mainstream sitcoms (that's you, Two and a Half Men) to much less stupid mainstream sitcoms (30 Rock) to Brothers and Sisters, Desperate Housewives, sometimes even The View (please, just shut up, Elisabeth Hasselback).

So it's not out of misplaced snobbery that I am not a big fan of reality TV, its more that I prefer my television fake. Like on Wisteria Lane. Or CNN. Still as a gay guy I do like to see myself on TV, though maybe younger and with more hair, so I do try to be at least aware of gay characters, which since Will & Grace went off the air has been a too easy task. Thank heavens for Ellen.

So somewhere on the murky periphery of my mind's awareness I do know of this Richard Hatch guy, the first winner of Survivor guy, the sneaky back-stabbing guy, the naked guy, the gay guy. I am fine with all of this, though I do think people who go naked in public should visit the gym first. Or run a marathon. Or wax something.

So why is Richard Hatch on my mind? Because he is a news story tonight. And I am embarrassed by and for him. Mr Hatch has been in prison for a couple of years, since a jury convicted him of tax evasion. And now he is out, and giving interviews saying he went to prison because he's gay. What decade is he living in? People go to the bars because they're gay. They go to Neiman Marcus because they're gay. They may even go to the bathhouse or subscribe to International Male because they're gay. In Canada or the US, people go to prison because they're guilty.

And yes there are exceptions to this, where innocent people are locked up. Rarely rich white semi-famous guys. Not rich white semi-famous guys who the facts show made millions of dollars from TV, a book deal, a radio show, public appearances, etc, and simply did not pay the IRS.

You didn't go to prison because you're gay Mr Hatch, you went to prison because you're guilty. So stop playing the gay card, you are embarrassing us. Oh, and put some clothes on.

August 18, 2009

capital city cleanup

Watching the late-night news as I crawl into bed has always been one of those things I feel compelled to do. I am an information and sound bite junkie, and somehow this gives me a sense of connection to the world - I see and learn what is going on in the real world, find out what the stock markets are up to, get a snip of pop culture, get a preview of tomorrow's weather.

The other part of my late night ritual is taking the world's cutest pooch out for a quick walk. I walk down the stairs somewhere between 10.30 and 11.30. Alfred follows. If he scoots down the stairs ahead of me and runs to the front door, the message is clear. If he saunters and meanders, I am tempted to skip the walk and go straight to giving him a greenie and putting him into his bed, though I usually take him out anyway. If he doesn't pee now, he may urgently need to at 4.30 AM. You learn that lesson after a few times. Although when it is minus 40 here in Canada's northernmost city, I can justify skipping the walk.

Tonight there was crossover between the local evening news and Alfie's late night walk. The lead story was about a pilot project the Edmonton police are doing, for the next week highliting a strip of main drag Jasper Avenue to focus on people who litter, especially with cigarette butts, and fining them $250.

So my question - why is this controversial? Why is this only a pilot project? Granted the fine seems a bit steep, but hey we live in a pavlovian world, so if you want a desired behavior, ensure you have the appropriate consequences. Right behind my house is a path with green space (the city generously calls it a park) and in spite of garbage cans every 50 yards or so I find crap everywhere, sometimes because I look for it, sometimes because I have to wrestle it out of Alfie's tenacious teeth. Tonight was a chicken bone. At least I think it was chicken. Over the past week alone we have found a burger wrapper, pop cans, a vodka bottle, a used condom, newspapers, magazine subscription cards, a key, and some weird metal thing the size of my hand. People, I scoop doggie poop, is it really that hard to toss your garbage in the can? So I say skip the pilot project and hold people responsible, we all deserve to live in a clean city.

And once the garbage thing is fixed, I am pretty sure I witnessed a drug deal going down in the "park" last week. Maybe the police can do something about that?

August 17, 2009

And so it begins...

So here I am, online, Monday night in quiet Edmonton, writing about myself for anyone in the world to see. Okay so virtually no one in the big wide world will read this. Maybe aside from my boyfriend a couple of amazing close friends who will out of loyalty and curiosity. If and when I finally tell them I am doing this. There are literally tens of millions of blogs out there, and what percentage of them get an audience? So this is for me. Good enough for me.

Why blog? Keeping a journal is important to me, it keeps me focused and centred and reflective, especially in stressful and turbulent times in my life it has been really helpful and valuable, and I suck at it. So I hope this blog will reinvigorate journaling for me, make it new and interesting. Something shiny and new – check.

Why now? I saw “Julie and Julia” last week and loved it, was inspired by it, and latched on to the idea of a blog for self expression. Easily influenced by pop culture – check.

I am going thru some wacky mid-life crisis and family stuff and work stuff and think I should organize my thoughts and feelings better and this may help me. And I just got a new laptop and finally went wireless at home so I can write in bed at night as I watch the daily show or cnn’s endless Michael Jackson murder investigation coverage – what there isn’t any other news in the whole world? Nothing to watch on TV, dont feel like reading or working, Alfie is conked out, 14 pounds of adorable Havanese snoring and sighing. Easily bored - check.

Stay tuned for more...