Monday, April 28, 2008

ELECTION 2008: A divided house...

I said this a long time ago: that a protacted and extended presidential primary for the Democratic nomination will be good for the Democratic party. In fact, as the numbers are turning out, my guess was correct -- that it would allow us to organize and fuel Democratic grassroots organizations in states we had long termed "lost" or are "losing" -- ie, North Carolina, Virginia, Indiana, Colorado, New Mexico, Iowa, New Hampshire, etc. etc. etc.

And all this bickering will go away, and I'm not alone in this feeling:

"Most families -- loving families even -- have fights," said Robert Rankin of
Carson, a leader of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party. "As they realize
what the greater good is, most families come together. Whatever happens,
[Democrats] will come together. I just believe that."
(That's from this LA Times article)

Even though some are screaming doomsday for the Democrats... is anyone really paying attention to John McCain???

MIAMI UNIVERSITY: Office of LGBT Services and it's future

The piece below from the Facebook Group Get Your Asses in Gear for Leslie Morrow (tell me if this link doesn't work) -- written by TY. Leslie is my dear friend, and I love love love her to death. And anyone in Oxford or at Miami who even strokes the gay community (ha, the double entendre is intended -- she gets all the gossip) knows Leslie and knows what an amazing job she does.
For all the time, love and support Leslie has given Miami University, we owe her at least our support to keep her job.

The Situation: Miami is conducting interviews for the Coodinator of LGBT Services THIS WEEK. After working years to create the momentum and organizational structure for an inclusive campus with services and support for LGBTQ students from the ground up herself, Miami is repaying Leslie by offering her position to three other candidates.

What You Can Do About It:
1. Attend the candidate interviews and participate by asking questions. (Monday 4/28 @ 3.45pm in 336 Shriver; Tuesday 4/29 @ 3.45pm in 336 Shriver; Thursday 5/1 @ 3.45 Leslie will be interviewed in Shriver MPR-C; Friday 5/2 @ 3.45pm in CAB room 50).
2. Share your experiences of Leslie and support her THURSDAY @ 3.45PM IN SHRIVER MPR-C!!!
3. WRITE A LETTER explaining how Leslie has already embodied all of the criteria for which the interview committee is searching. Share an anecdote. Spill your heart. Tell them how Leslie has let you ring! Address and forward it to the head of the committee, Christina Rene' Carrubba-Whetstine ( or send it via campus mail.
(QitC addition: the snail mail addy is
Rinella Learning Center
Campus Avenue Building, 16
Oxford, OH 45056)

For a friend, mentor, adviser, and kick-ass woman! Silence is deadly on this one guys -- we're going to bat for Leslie because you KNOW how many times she's been there to bat for each of us.

She has been an inspiration to me in everything I do, and I know that she not only loves her job but has a great passion for the work. And she does it with it purpose. Without her, I would not be here today, and Miami would be a far and distant and fading awful memory. I was one of the many many many alone gay kids who sat in the corner of the Spectrum meetings (crying quietly) who she reached out to. The moment she shook my hand, I knew I had found home.

And I know I don't speak alone on this one. If you are Miami alum or current student or know anything about Leslie, please please please write immediately. It's very important.

From the letter I sent (I'm not posting off of it, but I wanted to make sure that you knew how important this woman is to so many of us):
Six years ago, she shook my hand and made me feel welcome. Ask anyone who comes into her office and says "I just need someone to talk to." Despite any drama or event going on that day, she will shut the door and talk. To this day, she is allowing so many young LGBT persons finally have a reason to call Mother Miami home.
(Oh, and, yes, I did create a new category. We're going to be keeping up to date with Miami from now on)

Leslie and Kristy/QitC at one of the Oxford shows

OHIO/CINNKY: New Stage Collective

In my desire to become more involved with my city, I learned one of my coworkers at the hospital, in addition to being a season ticket holder to several local arts organizations like the Cincy Ballet and CCM, volunteered for the New Stage Collective. I've always been impressed with this group, along with other local theatre organizations like ETC, so I asked her to shoot me an email with information on how to volunteer. She takes the information and tells me that the season is almost over, but let me see, they were doing something this summer...

I don't think she expected the QUEENY response, the twitching, jumping, and gasping, I gave her. I tried to express to her the importance of the song I Don't Want to Fucking Dance, especially to a drag queen, but it looks like that is on my plate for the summer. Info from the New Stage Collective website about the event:

NSC is thrilled to present the regional premiere of the sensational, award-winning musical Jerry Springer: The Opera. The only work in British history to win Best Musical in all of their major awards: Olivier Awards, Critic's Choice, Evening Standard, and What's On Stage - along with many other awards, Jerry Springer: The Opera is a fascinating mix of the highest form of art and the lowest form of culture - opera and daytime television. By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Jerry Springer: The Opera presents a series of unusual characters that each are desperate for their “Jerry Springer moment." In Act 1, we attend a particularly dramatic taping of Springer’s show. In Act 2, we find Jerry hosting in a very different place as he is forced to experience the worst day of his life, and his guests take the level of debate to operatic heights.

“I remain convinced that this is a musical with a touch of genius about it. It’s filthy, it’s funny, it’s brilliantly original and, taken all in all, about as much fun as you are likely to have with your clothes on. A unexpectedly moving, thrilling, truly ground-breaking hit.”
-The Daily Telegraph

“Richard Thomas and Stewart Lee’s rhapsodic look at talk-show trashiness has the power to exhilarate that you associate with old-style Broadway musicals. Caricaturing or condemning reality television is easy; finding the emotional hunger behind the same phenomenon and translating it into witty, oddly moving music is genius.” -The New York Times

Show goes on June 26-August 13. I'm going, and I'll probably be volunteering. Who's with me???

And, for the uninitiated, this is the song:

(And no, the movie bits are not part of the stage show.)

ELECTION 2008: A Challenge

I want to interview Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

I'm not joking. If anyone of my few readers out there can make this happen, make it happen. I want to interview the candidates and genuinely ask them questions that no one else has asked.

Why should QitC interview?

1) I'm fabulous and fun, so you know it won't be boring.

2) I feel like calling them on their bullshit.

3) I have readership in three of the upcoming primary states -- Kentucky, Indiana, and North Carolina.

4) I am not a professional blogger, nor am I a trained journalist (excepting, of course, my two years on my high school newspaper -- whoo, freaking, hoo).

5) I like them both, and I have respect for them both -- ie, I'm trying to destroy either of them, I want them to answer questions that I think people are genuinely feeling.

6) Barack has turned down any more debates. To be fair, 21 is enough. I think this will be more fun.

And, so they know what would be coming, I'm going to list off a couple of questions I want to ask.

To Barack:

  • Do you think that race has played a role in your super-stardom? In 2001, you made a mention that you believed it does, but you've played that statement and that sentiment down during your presidential bid. Yes or no -- how has race played into your candidacy.
  • You talk pretty, and I think you have the ability to get adults to talk to each other as adults about important adult topics. How does that make you qualified to be the president?
  • Why did you go negative? You had everything going for you; why did you sully it with negative attacks on HRC?
  • You talk about hope a lot. One of my favorite mantras is "When you pray, move your feet." How does hope translate into action? How do you plan to help this country move their feet rather than pray?
  • Tell me about "the gays." You were interviewed by the Advocate to a cool response. Why have you not spoken more eloquently, more fully about this very divisive issue (gay marriage, equal rights, etc) in this country? And, more importantly, do you feel it's fair to liken the gay rights movement, and its heroes, to the civil rights movements of the 1960s, including to great black leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X?
  • Does AIDS make you uncomfortable?
  • Would you be Hillary's Vice President? Let's assume that, somehow, she wins the nomination. Would you accept the role? Could you get over everything said and done?
  • You told Pastor Wright that one day you may have to disavow him; you knew that one day you may have to throw him under the bus. In criticisms of the Clinton, the interplay of loyalty and vengeance for the disloyal is a common theme -- why did you throw your friend under the bus?
  • Blind loyalty and evangelism of an ideal brought us W. -- twice. Why is it different if it's coming from the left? (And, by extension, how liberal do you view yourself? How does it feel to be viewed as the most liberal Senator?)
  • If something like 9/11 should happen again, if you should get that famous 3am phone call, what would you do? I'm still fighting this -- as, at that moment, I felt safe with George W. Bush telling me the world would still be alright after 9/11. He squandered my, and most of America's, trust after that. How do I know you, with your complete lack of experience, wouldn't do the same?
For Hillary Clinton:

  • Why are you still in this? You've spent millions of dollars that could be used towards the general election, at beating John McCain, why do you continue onward? (And don't give me the answer about "continuing the fight" -- you know how far behind you are, you know the extraordinary extent you would have to go to win, and you the comeback kid history will not save you -- what are you thinking?)
  • You're viewed as a bitch. Does that help you or hurt you? Do you own it or do you reject it? And, really, are you a bitch?
  • You're also viewed as a cold, calculating, do whatever needs to be done politician with a sketchy rise to the top. In this election, it is not the Republicans you're up against painting you poorly -- it is your own people, the Democrats. Why didn't the rhetoric change? Is it, perhaps, true?
  • The policies of your husband, and, by extension, yourself, helped lead us into our current recession. How could we possibly trust a Clinton again when Bill, essentially, created the housing crisis?
  • And, as an extension to the above, how are you different than Bill? Where does Bill end and Hillary begin -- or is it just Billary? What policies, what issues separate you two? What do you fight about at night in terms of policy and where do the two of you diverge?
  • By extension, is it fair to say you have experience when you were First Lady? Isn't that just like saying "don't worry, Bill will be there too?"
  • Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton. Is this the path to madness; will it destroy the very notion, or perhaps the last vestiges, of a democracy (in our form) in America?
  • Would you be Vice President to Obama? Would you be the right choice for him?
  • Why aren't you a Republican? You've called yourself progressive, but a lot of your foreign policy and fiscal policy screams Republican. Can you really label yourself as a progressive, and would you ever be so bold as to call yourself -- gasp -- a liberal?
  • AIDS is a huge issue for your husband and you've got a great record on it. Why haven't we focused more on serious issues that are still driving American HIV -- mental health, drug abuse, poverty, etc.?
  • How is New York treating you? Do you think you could still win Arkansas?
  • I love Gerry (Geraldine Ferraro). Personally, how did it make you feel that 20 years after she had the chance to be the first women to have either of the "P" positions, she had to leave your campaign, effectively destroying the only official connection you had within your campaign to the feminist movement of the 60s and 70s?
And to both:

  • How does it make you feel that you can't convince, unilaterally, the Democratic party to of you are giving. But, in your quietest momenvote for you? I mean, not the silly "everyone should have a vote" produced line that both of you are giving. But, in your quietest moment, when the advisers and the supporters are gone, and when you're watching the world go by on your campaign bus, what are you feeling.. what are you thinking about?
Anyways, it's a pipe dream. But if you can, leave a comment and some method of contacting you. Hell, if anyone leaves a comment that they could honestly get me a real interview with one of the two above people, I will publicly post my email address.

BLOGGING: Blogger Back-up

I have about six blogs that I've begun to write, and a couple more in my notebook.

It's been a hectic few days, but I promise that, in order to form a more perfect blog, I'm trying very hard to actually write something with meaning and value instead of just throwing up every last thing that pops in my head -- HA!

So, we are in blogger back-up, and I'm going to attempt to remedy a couple of those right now.

Thanks for hanging in! :-)

Sunday, April 27, 2008


AH! My camera takes awful pictures, for some reason.

Briefly: GLSEN's prom was a blast. We had a great time, and the Contemporary Arts Center (where it was held) was PERFECT. And the food, well, I felt like I was at Top Chef: Cincinnati. At one point, SJ and I were talking and he was pointing out the various delicious foods on the tables (which I didn't eat -- I'm afraid of new food -- LOL), and I heard the words "watermelon-tomato gestapo" (THE GOOD BOY and I are still debating what a gestapo is, but now we have a point of reference even if we don't know what it is) and "tomato-feta martini," and "split pee soup shot" -- well, though there was a lot of food that I did enjoy, I was impressed by the quality that was being served.

And, of course, the funniest/cutest moment was when the Jazz singer -- Saba Smith, who was excellent -- started singing a Sarah McLaughlin song, all the lesbians -- and I mean, all the lesbians -- got up and started dancing together. I tried to get a picture of the wonderful moment, but my camera sucks. Of 35-40 pictures I took, only about 6 came out perfectly clear, and only 10 (total) were salvageable. :-( I'm sorry.

But let me share some:

On Left: Josh Wagoner, Doug Meredith, QitC, Dan Mees -- the fabulous fabulous GLSEN boys who do

At Right: Jill Benavides and QitC -- my dear friend with her parasol, who also planned the event

Congratulations, it was a good time.

PS -- And we ended up at Club BronZ afterward, where LH was exploding drunkenly around the bar. LH came up to THE GOOD BOY and, within five minutes, had used these most fabulous words: "Look, my ass is a disco ball! And my dress is see through in sunlight!" Oh, goodness. I love my life.

Friday, April 25, 2008

OHIO/CINNKY: Breaking the addiction

The Kristymobile has been dead for 7 days and 21 hours. I have been an official bus rider for 7 days and two hours. Today marked a small anniversary -- this time last week, I was rolling up into work nearly an hour late due to my inability to know which bus, exactly, to take, and finding myself out in Western Hills as opposed to the lovely Government Square I had expected.

I took the same route today and got here spot-on time. It was a liberating experience.

But it was my morning "commute" that changed my life. I had made plans with the ever fabulous and long-standing local community activist and self-proclaimed "cheerleader" (I still think she's a lot more organizationally minded than she ever gives herself credit for) -- JB. JB works out 71, in one of those little suburbs that I have never been to and probably will never visit. I work in Clifton/Corryville. The plans we made included a car to meet at the IHOP off Ridge Road "out there" on the Eastside beyond Hyde Park.

For the uninitiated to Cincinnati, the Eastside/Westside divide is severe in town and you rarely find someone crossing the border, much like a Cincinnatian will rarely cross the river into NKY and vice versa (except for must's -- cigarettes and Newport-on-the-Levee, for example -- funny, my 4 movies for $20 Blockbuster habit is actually quicker fed over the river in Covington, but I always insisted on driving the extra 10 minutes to go out on Glenwya). For the unitiated to my life, the Eastside is a vast world of unknown's punctuated by a few places I can get to: Hyde Park Square (barely), my gym, and Adonis the Nightclub.

Our breakfast plans were for 630am, made when the Kristymobile still lived, but I changed them to 7am when she died so that I could account for bus time.

I know this all seems silly and kind of minute to the rest of the world: but I made to the IHOP and was hugging my dear friend at 704am, the lateness due in part to a brief layover at the ATM. In short, I made it miles out of the way of my normal life, into unfamiliar territory, on a public transit system I am barely familiar with, with a dead phone in my pocket, and got their on time. This little feat amazed and stunned me.

I can do this, I thought as I left breakfast around 815am, I can survive without.

I half-heartedly joked with my brother on the phone the other day about not buying a new car yet and his text message is still very clear -- Do it, break the addiction. This morning I made the decision to break the addiction. For the next month (at least), I will not own a car. I am not going to buy one... not yet, at least.

Cincinnati is a mid-sized, Midwestern city with a mediocre public transit system. The amazing thing about public transit in a city this size is that everyone bemoans the lack of effectiveness, with local advocates (in their cars) whining that the idea of a large, interconnected, multi-use system is ineffective and impossible in a mildly sprawled and car-friendly city like Cincinnati. To those people I say: bullshit.

Thousands of people ride the Metro every day -- to the tune of 22 millionbus rides in the course of year, over 60,000 bus rides a day. So it's not ineffective, it's not "in need of some changes," it works for thousands upon thousands of people who rely on it as their only means of transportation. And, today, I join their ranks. I am challenging the public transit, city planning, environmental, health, (anti-war), etc advocates to join me. I am challenging the very idea that you need a car here; that, somehow, to be car-less is to be at a disadvantage. I just don't think it's true.

As the 43 glided up Reading Road this afternoon, the minutes ticking by and I finishing my book (I read 650 pages on the bus this week, btw -- which is time better spent that sitting at home and watching reruns of A Shot at Love 2 on VH1), the gas prices struck me, and I saw, get this, 3.62. All of us have been making excuses throughout this whole process of rising gas prices, and the question still remains: at what point do we stop bitching and alter our habits to take into account this exorbitant change in our very system? Don't give me any slack about the idea of a subway, and the ongoing local debate about light-rail is still, IMHO, a pipe dream.

We have the busses and no one uses them.

Long ago, when I was a young and impressionable Urban Planning student at Miami University, we discussed the problem of busses. People just don't think they're cool. They are the transit system of the masses, of the poor, of minorities, of druggies, and of XYZ. They aren't hip like a subway would be, or a train system. They're just there, and they just aren't cool enough for anyone to ride.


Get over your high-minded classism and hop on the bus.

That was a rant and highly de-personalized, so I apologize. I'm part of all that people feel as well, and I very much own up to the fact that I felt the same way. However, my mind has changed this week, and I'm enjoying myself immensely. I really like the time I get to spend reading or writing or talking to passengers or just watching the world pass by, all the time not worrying about traffic or lights or any of the minutiae that bother us when we drive. Somewhere along the lines, I had become a terrible driver. Lighting a cigarette, changing the music, talking on the phone all left me, probably, a huge liability on the road. And, what's worse, is that I spent all this time spending money on gas, leaving at the last moment (so that I could watch as much of my TV show as possible), and drunkenly attempting to get home in my car, that the freedom I found when I got my license at the old age of 19 was gone. I had always loved driving, but I was taking advantage of the privilege -- for a lot reasons, because I didn't view it as a privilege.

Fountain Square is now one of my favorite places in the world. It's busy, it's filled with life, and it's the center of the city. I spent so much time attempting to turn my city into a suburb by ducking through the streets on a car that I forgot -- I'm in a freaking city, and one that is nearly five times bigger than the one I grew up in. In Charleston, I always felt like I was connected to everything, like I constantly had the opportunity to see everything that was happening in the world because the world was aligned on a few streets and those were the streets you stumbled on after a night at the bar, or the streets you walked down to get simply to the grocery store. But Cincinnati is so much bigger and I find myself somedays thinking that there is nothing to do. But when did I ever stop and find something to do? It is not the city's job to bring my life to me, it is my job to take my life into the city. And with the windows rolled up, the music turn up on high, a cigarette in one hand, a phone in the other, and controlling the car with my knees... well, there was nothing for me to see.

I'm sure I'll get tired of all this, but I'm enjoying the newness. And that's why it's only a month. I'll adapt, I'll learn -- I'm already changing some of my habits and finding freedom there -- and then maybe I'll go back.

Maybe. But I'm going to try and break the addiction.

GAY STUFF: As the World Turns

This is, apparently, the "long awaited" gay kiss on the popular daytime soap As the World Turns (which, btw, is apparently owned by Cincinnati local Proctor & Gamble -- I was not aware... hm).

Does the conversation preceding it seem a bit like the conversation that preceded the highly expected "gay kiss" on Will & Grace's faux gay drama, Along Came You. And for your cultural reference, here it is...

Nine minutes? That's the entire episode???

And you're right, Debra Messing, gay sex is so hot. However, I have to say the kiss was underwhelming and seemed really matter-of-fact on ATWT for the huge blow up it's gotten (ha -- gay, blow up, gay sex... that was a great random string of ideas).

Oh, and apparently there's a lot of quasi-porn on YouTube. You should check it out. HA!

Oh, and in the interests of being fair and balanced, the nutjobs of the world are turning on Proctor and Gamble for allowing this "repulsive" display. I mean, it was kind of weak, and I've had better kisses with women, but I wouldn't call it repulsive. A sample from the Action Alert put out by the American Family Association:

Procter & Gamble promotes explicit open-mouth homosexual kissing

Procter & Gamble has resumed using explicit, open-mouth homosexual kissing in their soap opera, "As the World Turns." P&G decided to include this type of content as a commitment to "diversity." P&G stopped showing such scenes some months ago, but has now decided to again help promote the homosexual agenda which includes homosexual marriage.

Gay activists are hopeful that the P&G effort will desensitize viewers to the homosexual lifestyle and help make the unhealthy and immoral lifestyle more acceptable to society, especially to children and youth.

One of my dearest friends in the world, MXC, is often cited as being the first "openly gay" homosexual that worked at P&G, and he has regaled me with tales of his experiences of the world of corporate America -- he had appeared on the cover of a newspaper kissing another boy, at one point, and the staff was in a twitter the next day over whether or not this was just too much for the staunchly conservative Proctor and God. Although still staunchly conservative and still, apparently, unable to support little events like the annual WALK TO STOP AIDS, they are now the host of one of the most active LGBT employee unions in the city -- GABLE -- or, at least, were last I hear. A quick internet search turns up little on the once active organization, so I wonder if it has gone the way of so many other great organizations in our city.

via the Joe. My. God. blog

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Ha! I'll post my analysis of these later, but I have to say that I really really really like these commercials from a purely amused place...

I will say this: the singing and dancing thing makes me disappointed because I kinda half-hoped these were young activists.

Nope, kids, they're actors.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

ELECTION 2008: How to become the Democratic Presidential candidate

1) Threaten nuclear warfare.

What? Did you expect there to be a step two?



I am officially placing a complaint in with Speedo's new LZR Racer, the new bathing suit -- of sorts -- for the Olympic swimming team.

First of all, I think it is unfair that if we cannot allow disabled people with prosthetic limbs to compete simply because the limb gives them an "unfair advantage," then I think this kind of body modification should be wholly and completely wiped from the competition. Beijing is allowing the Speedo suit, but baring Mr. Pistorius???

And besides, this is probably the unsexiest outfit of all time. For the love of god, we have relied on Speedo to provide us sexy nearly naked swimmers for years. This one, at least, provided us with some contours:

(Ha. Someone just pointed out that this is clearly a Nike suit -- Thanks for that :-))

What is this new suit -- if I wanted to watch a track runner, I'd turn the damn channel. I watch swimming for the near-naked boys. Does it seem, though, when comparing the women and the men in the new suits that they are striving for -- *GASP* -- androgyny? Are we trying to de-sexualize sports?

I object, Speedo. And to object, I'm going to post some pictures of men in speedo's, and let the copyrights be damned.

I mean, really, how can speedo give this up.

But seriously folks I think the double standard between the runner and the swimmers need to be called into question. It is unfair and silly that we would allow this kind of body modification, and not the kind that is required for the normal, everyday living.

Especially when the LZR Racer (that new speedo suit) has been proven to shave off time.

PS And I'm really really excited that I got to make a Speedo's tag -- HA! -- but it's also the first Olympics tag, which I feel will be coming up more and more... really, I do think we'll be talking more, especially with all the supposed controversy. GASP! Did she just say supposed? But what about Tibet? We'll talk later kids.

Monday, April 21, 2008

HIV/AIDS: Alcohol + Drugs + Sex = Infection


This is the most anticlimatic news story on the planet...

Express Gay News Online

...but it bears repeating.
(via the Gay News Blog)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

PERSONAL: Earthquakes shake more than the ground

I had a really bizarre experience today, and without telling too much, I wanted to write it out quickly while it's still relatively fresh in my head. It's affecting me deeply, and, I think, it's part of the growth that I have to feel. My co-worker blames it on the Earthquake. She said that the earthquake was the combined force of thousands of peoples lives coming to a point and then shaking the earth and bringing everything back down... like a giant boggle board. Everything was strange and confusing for everyone, and now... it's settling back down into place.

Like the Earth said to so many people, "You're lives are fucked, so I'm going to shake shit up and make it ok."

I got a call from a dear friend of mine whom I have seen once in the past year and a half, since his DUI. This friend of mine -- and I'm masking even his initials, XX -- and I used to do a lot of bad things together. I mean, we had a great time, but alcohol was the least of our worries and there is a lot of darkness, now, surrounding our friendship. But, you must understand, he was still a dear friend and I still love him.

For anyone who has been through their own form of darkness, you know that there are people that you pick up and then cast away as nothing more than trash as you muddle through it. But there are people that despite their own darkness, you know are your dear friends. And you know that, one day, you will be part of their light. I believed that XX would be both... he would be part of my darkness and part of my light, and I still do believe that. However, he disappeared from my darkness before it spiralled out of control in the last year as he, himself, was being forced into his own attempts at reconciliation with his life.

Thus, we'd only seen each other once in the last year and a half, but we had kept in touch via texts and phone calls, and that was kinda ok since we were going in separate directions.

But he called me today, and he sounded despressed. Though I usually ignore his requests to come to the bar with him, as I know where those end or I simply can't make it, I decided to go because he sounded down and I wanted to be a friend. I had not set my eyes on him in a while, and I believed that things were getting better for him. I had to see him, and I wanted to see what was up, be his friend.

I arrive at about 715 or so, he's been at the bar since 500, and he's sloshed. I mean, sloppy sloppy drunk and falling off the bar stool. He shouts my name and runs to me and throws his arms around me and I am genuinely happy to see him, though I am disappointed that I was unable to connect his depressed state on the phone with what is clearly wastedness to the highest degree. He's had a whole six pack in two hours and he's wasted. Immediately, I wanted to throw myself out of the bar. I push him away for a moment and hug a few friends in the crowd -- to the point of telling some people that I've deleted their phone numbers, apologized for the late night calls/texts, and I now feel I'm on better terms with than I was before. Thank you, RA, for understanding. I really appreciate the forgiveness. But I went to go sit at the far end of the bar with XX and his friend. Upon a request of the definition of their friendship, the explanation for this really unattractive, dumpy looking guy is not surprising -- "oh, we go out, get some party, get fucked up, mess around, and he drives me home."

Oh. I know that guy. I have been that guy. My head says "get the fuck away from my friend," but my mouth says "nice to meet you, thanks for getting him home safely." (Fucker. But I'm not being judgmental... we've all been there.) That is the extent of the conversation dude at the end of the bar and I have.

I'm a social person, and I flitter around a bar saying hello to everyone, dispensing witticisms, kisses and hugs with reckless abandon -- my friends say it's an annoying trait, but it's really useful on a good night out, you know? In fact, that's why XX and I were such good friends. The few of us would go out, meet lots of people, meet up occasionally at the bar or on the patio, but, essentially, not really see each other throughout the night. But I came to hang with my friend this time, to see how he was doing, and I had a water in my hand, and he was wastedly careening through the bar.

Which was OK, because sitting next to him was depressing.

We make a break for the door for a cigarette. I joke with the cute couple next to me, with whom I have been lightly flirting and both of whom have been lightly flirting back (this is, I understand, an experience unique to gay bars -- the ability to flirt with couples and expect a positive return on your investment), not to go through my shit but please watch my bag. XX and I are out the front door and cigarettes in our hands in minutes. Mind you, we are not alone out here, but he begins to bring up the darkness. Some serious darkness, memories and emotions and actions and situations that I think I have begun to contextualize as my history, but in this setting do not appreciate.

I try to bring something else up, and he mentions his sling. I change the subject, and he comments that it's a shame I'm not a top. I try to talk to him about some of the things going on with him, and he makes the comment that he hasn't been laid in a while. And around and around and around it goes... I text CF the simple message: WOW -- and then I make back for the inside, where at least I think the other people will distract him.

Mind you, it's been thirty minutes, and this is, formerly, one of my best friends. I can't be here, I decide, but I hang on a few minutes longer. I am trying. He sits back down next to me and our discussion, after he shares a few photos from his recent trip, turns to ... the weather. That's right, kids. Best friends for years, god knows how many joint experiences and life changing events we've been through together, and we have absolutely nothing to talk about. It's empty and it's cold, and I'm sitting in a bar on Sunday evening with a wasted friend next to me, a glass of water in my hand, and I see myself.

That was me. At one point, I was in that bar stool. Regardless of whether I went through the same actions or anything, I was with him, and, therefore, that was me.

And I knew, then, that I didn't want to be him anymore, and, for the sake of my own sobriety, I couldn't be around him anymore. So I left forty-five minutes after I walked in the door.

Do I feel like I abandoned a friend? Mildly. Voltaire's words -- ringing of karma -- came to my mind: Every man is guilty of the good he did not do. But I was not there to berate him. I know I had to leave, for me this time. To stay is to perpetuate, because he ordered another one thinking I was going to hang around. Had I stayed longer, he would have kept drinking. Hell, he might still be drinking. But I wasn't going to stick around and find out. It was painful to watch and it was too much... the whole scene was bizarre and comical. I needed to get out, and I did. I left XX alone in the bar with that guy and his favorite past time -- running around and being a sister to everyone.

And I made the decision I couldn't be a part of that anymore.

I hugged him before I left and planted a kiss on his cheek. I told him I loved him, that he was my dearest friend, and to call me if he ever needed anything. I squeezed him a little tighter. I think he interpreted it sexually because he grabbed my ass, but I hope that, in a moment of clarity, he'll know what I'm talking about. And I'm not saying that I'm going to always be the best person to come to. But, you know what, TM&J have been two of my strongest and most stalwart supporters, and they fuck up just as much as I do.

So, XX, should you ever read this, which I doubt you will, I hope you know who you are and I hope you heard what I meant when I hugged you.

I do love you, with all of my heart. I just don't want to be a part of that anymore.

And I'm sorry.


Thus, the Earthquake shook up my life. Moments after, I reconnected with an old friend whom I met randomly on the street who let me retell this whole story to him -- and he genuinely listened and genuinely heard and offered the most amazing analysis ever: you need more boring friends. It was a beautiful thing. I feel lifted by that interaction. I've been riding the bus all weekend, and the meditative moments I get on the bus make me feel calmer, though I am exhausted.

The Earthquake picked us all up, told us our lives were shit, and said "here, try again... find the meaning in these scrambled letters."


To be fair, I was asked to post about this, but I was planning on it anyways. I just thought I'd give a heads up so that I remain, as much as Fox News, fair and balanced.

A few years ago, I read a great article -- back when they had good articles -- in OUT magazine about gay kids going to prom with their same-sex date. (This is not the article, but I think it's fairly well done and it originally appeared in OUT's sister magazine, Advocate.) It made me kind of sad because this was one place I never really "acted out" in high school. I came out at the age of 12 as bisexual, and then again at 14 as homosexual to my entire school. Both attempts were supposed to be on the small scale... however, I ended up rocking my high school and being the out gay kid that everyone knew.

When I was a sophomore, I made a half-assed attempt at starting a GSA with me and a few friends. Approaching the principal, who was on his way out, he refused it, saying he was concerned about the community reaction. Knowing what I know now, this was illegal and I could have challenged it and won, which left me with a great deal of guilt in the coming years. Regardless, except for being the out kid and a few minor explosions here and there (my newest readers from my high school will remember a few), my high school activism ended there. I think, to this day, I wish I had done more, but there were moments I was glad for what I did. I have gotten called over and hugged at Charleston's one gay bar... a few mumbled thank you's or notes have been passed to me. I've taken them with a grain of salt as people would have come out anyways, but I know the feeling. Welcome to the life, I tell most of them.

My high school prom experiences were disasters -- my junior prom was spent at someone else's school, and my senior prom was coming off a disastrous social explosion that ended many many long term relationships but began many many more (it was probably for the better, in the end) and I ended up going with this gal who ditched me. But I didn't really date in high school -- in fact, the entire four years, despite being heavily involved in theatre, were only marked by a handful of quasi-relationships with inappropriate partners and a boat load of inappropriate sexual relationships with otherwise appropriate partners (this, of course, is prelude to a lot of what has happened in the rest of my life).

Fast forward to senior prom, as there is an interesting story there. I asked a boy out... he would, btw, eventually come out as gay later in life, and he later followed me around the 2000 SC pride festival like a puppy. He refused at the time, but his girlfriend (then) would later take my mother's history class at Trident Tech and tell her that I had asked him out. This marks my mother's final acceptance of who I was (and it's only been uphill since then -- even though we disagree on when I came out).

There is not a lot for gay kids in Charleston, SC. At least, there weren't at the time. It was small community and the one outlet I had -- We Are Family Foundation, though still running, struggled at best, though I would later get back involved and find myself amongst friends I never knew I had -- was really really weak and far away and in a bad neighborhood to boot. I wished there was something like gay prom or some sort of young gay outlet where we could learn to be gay together. Where we could learn the social coding and the dating and the cultural contexts that are so important in growing up to be a health human being; these things, I believe, straight people take for granted but are missing in so many young gay people's lives.

Cincinnati has offered a great wide open world for me. I know, many local disparage our home town, but I have to say this: what we have here is heads and shoulders above where I was. More gay bars than I know what to do with, more openly gay people everywhere, so many social outlets. It really is amazing here, and I don't think we give it enough credit.

But a lot of our local organizations and events are being ignored because they are so commonplace here. It's an interesting trend -- and there is a sociological theory behind all this -- where, in its infancy, movements and events start small because people are afraid to join. They grow and they grow and they grow every year, until they start to make an impact, and then they start dwindling off again. Few movements or events die suddenly -- the suffragette movement, for example, did die suddenly, but the overarching feminist movement, I think, is in this very decline and has been for at least two generations.

Cincinnati has a gay prom. No, really. And, from my brief experience with it, I believed that it was in this very decline, but I will hand it to the current organizers that they are breathing life back into it. The current leadership of the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN) here in Cincinnati has done very smart things to bring back the life to this amazing event that has benefited so many and could continue to do so, so long as it changes with the time. What did they do? Open it up to adults. It becomes not only an activism/fundraising event for a great organization, but they have been able to separate out space for adults so that there can be that safety, and so that the "kids" can have their own special prom and the rest of us can have a great deal of fun in a health environment. They've also been intelligent enough to not only put in social networking sites like Facebook (but not Myspace, though Myspace events are not paid attention to as much, I think), and they've tagged people to make sure others are coming. I'm 100% supportive of the event, but I have to say this: getting a phone call from a friend (and from someone I dearly respect) and asking why I haven't bought my ticket is far more effective than a generic invite on Facebook. I mean, the only thing I'm really unhappy with about the whole approach and advertising thing is that it's referred to as an alternative prom, but I can understand where it comes from (and I'm not really upset about it, I am always amused about how the LGBTSQI community refers to itself, and how seriously we take referring to ourselves as if being queer isn't campy enough, we have to fight over how campy we get to be when talking about ourself).

And now? I'm really excited about going -- which, I'm sure, has nothing to do with having a date :-). I mean, really excited.

I have been before, but only as an exhibitor. I've never been as a participant, so I am a little nervous, but I'm finding myself thinking of all the little things I get to do that are going to make it a great prom for someone else -- where do I buy a boutinierre (sp?), should I rent a limo, and will anyone spike the punch. Of course, this time around, we can drink alcohol (being over 21 is nice), but I've given that up, so that will still be an experience I'll miss. I'm reverting to my 17 year old self and wondering if I should rent a tux, as well, and my roommate is asking if we get to do the whole pre-prom picture thing in someone's back yard.

I've narrowed the reason I'm so giddy down to one thing: this time, it's on my terms. I'm choosing to go -- the last times, I felt like I was being forced to because that's something you do. I'm choosing my own date -- the last times, I was the gay kid that would be ditched at the chance a girl got an actual date. And, it's going to be a real date... not the silly "these are the conventions, now follow them." I've done a lot of growing since the last time around and though I appreciate the prom conventions we are expected to follow and understand they are the basis for a heterosexist dating community, they aren't me.

So, as an adult, I get to go to prom and really enjoy myself. Yea, yea, it's a little pricy -- $50 a ticket for us old people over 21 -- but it's going to a good group. And I'm encouraging all of you to join me, too. We'll dance, we'll listen to bad music, we'll take goofy pictures, and we'll have a whole lot of fun.

And, btw, we don't have to hang out with the kids all night long. We get our own dance floor. :-)

Who: Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN Cincinnati)
What: Spring Fever -- 2008 Prom
Where: Contemporary Arts Center /
When: Saturday, April 26th, 7p-Midnight
Why: To shake a tail feather and have a GREAT time.

Oh, and I promise I'll bring the camera and we'll post something fabulous about it the day or so after :-).

A quick story about GLSEN that ties into all of this: Once upon a time, I had a volunteer who was in high school and was trying to start a GSA at Boone County High School. He asked me if I could, possibly, get a couple of people at one of the school admin's meeting to support him after a few months of being stonewalled. I put in a lot of phone calls, as Nick had done so much for me and for AVOC, but there were two organizations that turned out people like you wouldn't believe. One was the, at the time, nascent Kentucky Equality Federation run by the fabulous Jordan -- whose blog, you'll note, has now been added to my blogroll -- and the other organization was GLSEN. In a city where the usefulness of certain organizations can be called into question many many times, GLSEN is admirable in their dedication to purpose. Check out some news reels on that event two years ago here and here and here. Personally, I had said that this was my opportunity to right the wrong for not fighting the lack of a GSA in my high school so many years ago.

And this also should be noted, a list of how to take your same-sex date to your prom. It's short and to the point, but it's a good survival guy.

BLOGGING: New bloggers!

You'll notice, if you're paying attention, that I've added three new blogs to the blogroll on the left side of your page. A brief description:

  • Divas Never Die -- "The life and times of a middle aged D-list diva." -- A local blog, based out of Mainstrasse in Newport, KY, written by a drag queen "getting on in years." :-) She's funny and delicious -- and the flicks of all the pretty boys she's got going on, well... to quote a dear friend, "I'm all juicy."
  • Trevor Hoppe -- mentioned him in a previous blog. Some people around me will read his bio and immediately think of another local pretty boy whom I have often commented that his looks are getting him everywhere because his actions sure aren't -- HA! -- but Trevor seems to actually have something to say.
  • Texas Liberal -- former Cincinnatian who has me on their blogroll -- YEA! -- so I went over and checked it out and it seems to be right up my ally -- I love it! And it seems that he and I blog similarly. :-)

Anyways, you know me, I'm a big softy for being linked from other blogs, so I got giddy when I saw Locavore, Queen City Survey, and Texas Liberal had added me to their blogrolls. I appreciate it, guys. :-)

BLOGGING: I don't get it

I realized that I'm a little behind the times on a lot of things. I'm trying to find out how people go from 0-->8000 readers in little to no time. I'm sure many local bloggers are dealing with the same issues, but I don't understand this whole concept of "readership."

I don't know how to do it online, and I guess I'm a little confused. I tried to read technorati articles on it, but I thought I was pretty cool when I was set up over there. Now, apparently, I'm also a member of AtomFeed or something like that and I don't know what that does. AH! On top of that, I'm being told I should use RSS -- which I have yet to actually see in action -- and And there's something called social marketing or something silly like that... And then Jackie over there is going into Qik and Twitter ... I mean, jeez, I'm not even on flickr, nor do I understand how something like photo-sharing could ever make money (I'm still amazed a free service like Yahoo! or Google could be a multi-bllion dollar endeavor).

I have no freaking clue what any of you are talking about.

It's sad when, at 25, I look at this whole world of the blogosphere and think -- most of these "top blogs" are crap and I have no interest in them, so why are they getting thousands of viewers a day? I mean, really, who cares about technical gadget blogs? They all seem so esoteric to be of that wide of interest to anyone.

I wonder, sometimes, how this whole internet ... this Web 2.0 ... thing is working (the video is a really interesting one I found a little while ago that finally explained to me Web 2.0, although I think it leaves a big open question of whether or not we are in the throes of creating the first AI by teaching this theoretical "Machine" how the human mind works). First of all, is all this readership authentic? There are conservative and liberal bloggers who claim 10,000+ unique hits a day. I'm a pretty avid internet user, but it seems unusual that there are so many people out there using the internet as much, if not more than me. I mean, it seems almost bizarre, because 10,000+ unique hits a day assume a couple of things:

1) That there are that many people interested in your topic. (Ok, mildly believable)
2) That there are that many people interested in your topic who would search out the topic online. (Ok, I'm still with it)
3) That there are that many people interested in your topic who would search out the topic online and then land on your blog (Ok, it's getting a little colder)
4) That there are that many people interested in your topic who would search out the topic online and then land on your blog above and beyond the thousands of other blogs who also claim that many hits or more -- not including those blogs and sites that rake in the hundreds of thousands and millions of unique hits a day (Really cold)

AND THEN, some more almost unbelievable things...

5) That there are that many people interested in your topic that would then "RSS" or some other silliness your site
6) That there are that many people interested in your topic that understand the complexities of Web 2.0 but can't grasp basic supply/demand economics
7) That there are that many advertisers that don't give a shit about your topic but somehow are drawn to post on your site and pay you -- to the tune of thousands of dollars a month -- for the amount of unique hits you have, believe somehow that that many people actually go to the site and consume the information rather than just glance over it.

I mean, I just don't get it. And then you add not only the layer of e-commerce on top of it -- GEEZ! I mean, I get places like who gain money through sales of something definitive. But exactly where are the billions coming from for Google -- which, btw, is a really empty site and, I don't know about anyone else, I ignore all the advertising, and especially the "yellow linked" sites at the top of a search? Or Yahoo! -- same situation? Or something less used and maybe a little more complicated like photbucket or flickr or qik?

Am I missing something here? I think there is a great separation in my head from understanding what exactly an "economy of ideas" means -- as I just don't understand where the money is coming from? Where has this all happened and who is making money and how?

But, back to my blog... I think I'm going to continue to try to build readership the old fashioned-way. That is, writing pretty decently about subjects people may or may not be interested in, building relationships with other bloggers (who, I've noticed, read blogs more than anyone else), and hope for the best. I think this is a lot like my whole decision to be a nurse -- if something awful happens with the world and this giant secret of "shhh, no one can actually put their hands on the billions that Google owns because ... sh... it doesn't really exist" gets out, I want to be sure I have something solid to base my life on, rather than living in the cyber-reality that I think peolpe are getting sucked into.

Like on facebook, I find myself my best reader, because at least I like what I'm writing :-).


Blog Directory - Blogged

POP CULTURE: America's Next Top Model

America's Next Top Model. I don't know what to say about it except that I am obsessed with the damn show. (Check out this really funny blog over at the strict shenaniganist about the themes in the show... it's really funny and anyone who has watched more than one marathon will appreciate her words.)

If anyone else sits and watches the marathons they have every weekend on MTV and VH1 -- please tell me and comfort me to let me know that they are out there. For the love of God, Cycle 5 is on right now -- one which I've seen 100 or 200 times before (seriously, I've seen cycles 2-5 again and again and again... oh, and the season where Jaslene wins... I know there are two or three I haven't seen), but I'm stuck on watching it.

Why? Because some of these pictures are fierce, and some of them suck and I like to watch the stupid girls who think they rocked it out cry when they realize just how pedestrian they are.

What's sad is that I tried watching the most recent season -- Cycle 10 maybe? or are we on 9? -- and I just can't sit and watch it every week. Unlikr other reality shows that I may be interested in, I just don't care that much to be emotionally invested from week to week. In fact, it makes me feel stupid watching it every week, mainly because, one by one, the show can be summed up in one word: stupid. It's inane and silly, but as a marathon... well, I just can't keep my eyes off of it.

This is also one of those shows where you have to wonder: what the hell happens to these girls?

Per the blogosphere, and despite some anecdotal examples (Sarah VonderHaar, for example, who was the model-cum-photographer just released a CD, photographed a shoot for Forbes, amongst other things, is very successful; as is Elyse from Cycle 1), most of them kind of disappeared into oblivion. It seems, though, that a lot of them continue to model, if as a small part of their life, and rarely truly break out. But there seems to be a general concensus that the contestants try to distance themselves from reality television -- there was a show on VH1 about "where are they now" for reality TV stars and Shandi (think of the whiny crying boyfriend she cheated on) said that though she tried to model, she couldn't break off from the reality TV shackles and gave up. Sad, really. Especially since her new "passion" was karaoke.

Sorry for her.

But what's really funny about perusing the blogosphere about America's Next Top Model, some interesting things come to light about Miss Tyra -- apparently she's a big ol'bitch. Which is not surprising, I'm really tired of her talking about her career as if it is the be-all, end-all of modelling experiences (even Janice, apparently, complained that Tyra was a bit of a "tyrant" -- haha). And her little daytime talk show -- well, can we talk less about you? I'm really over her self-aggrandization. Everything she does is a publicity stunt for her.

I get it, you're a face, you have lots of money, but that doesn't make you interesting.

But, dammit, I'm missing elimination on a cycle that has been around for six years now and I've seen forty times. I must go.

Actually, as a follow-up, Wikipedia has a great list of the contestants and show some strong post-ANTM careers -- including my favorite, Toccara, and people like Jael, Eva, Anchal, Natasha, and many others. Ahh, the 100 reasons I love Wikipedia, as it also lists the 20+ other countries that have top models (including Afghanistan, Turkey, Israel, Thailand, Ghana, Aruba, and "Scandinavia" (HA!))

Oh yea, and these two men are my future husbands -- they are HOT!!!!

Friday, April 18, 2008

PERSONAL: The Kristymobile

LK just shot me a text message regarding the now dead Kristymobile: "Aw. I have many fond memories of squeezing into that bitch."

Regarding the name itself, btw, I have to credit that one to TY over at the Vinyl Polis. She referred to it as such at one point, and I didn't accept it. However, the name stuck because of a conversation I had at Union Station -- Cincinnati (how I miss it!!!) between one of the local drag queen's roommates, RM, and the then manager of the shop, GW.

RM was complaining that the drag queen roommate was constantly messy, towhit GW responds that all drag queens are disgusting pigs, and it's just something you have to get used to.

Anyone who has ever ridden in my car is well aware that "disgusting pig" is a more than accurate description of the owner of that vehicle.

So, when I get the new car (possibly on Monday), I'll post it and we'll start thinking names. The history of my car names:

1988 Ford Escort Wagon -- Chibi (it was an inherited car and it was pretty beat up -- in fact, it died while I was driving it too -- hrm -- but it made the sound of chibichibichibichibichibi as it drove)

1994 Chevy Beretta -- Entropy (because it slowly fell apart too) or "the Gun" or "that gay shit he drives" (it was purple)

2003 Kia Rio -- "Fucking Piece of Shit" (I hate Kia's)

2002 Chevy Tracker -- Kristymobile

I want another two door car. Those are so much fun, even if they are absurdly impractical.

I am well aware that, technically, you cannot name a car until it is at least 10 years old, but I like to push the envelope and break rules. So, screw all you purists out there.

OHIO/CINNKY: A day on the busses

The Kristymobile died today. For the uninitiated: The Kristymobile was my rapidly deteriorating 2002 Chevy Tracker that I've been driving since April of 2005. It's my longest car ever (it beat out the much loved Beretta I drove for 2.5 years). It will take thousands of dollars to fix due to the fact there's something broken inside the engine, which means they can't even diagnose the problem without taking it apart, and probably means they have to put a brand new engine in it -- it's just not worth it at this point. What's funny is that TY was in the car with me yesterday in Oxford and I had made the off-remark that "my car sounds funny," but it was the kinda sound that you usually associate with "I need to get something done eventually." On my way to work last night, that little noise turned into a rumble, a shake, and then dead, and I rolled my happy ass down Purcell, praying I would be able to pull the emergency brake correctly and not end up a) in someone's yard, b) blocking a driveway, or c) in the back end of someone's car.

So, before I get to the point of this blog, let's all take a moment to say goodbye to the Kristymobile, RIP 4-17-08.

That said, I got to do something I have come to enjoy over the last couple of months as problems mounted with the Kristymobile... ride the Metro.

I think, unlike most residents, I kind of enjoy the experience. I feel like Lisa Simpson saying "the vehicle of the masses!" The entire rest of the bus and the rest of the world is annoyed by this, but I really do like it, especially on nice days like this. Granted, I had to ride the bus a few months ago without a hat or gloves and just a light jacket, standing at a stop at Bond Hill at 630am in -2 degree weather and with a light breeze -- that particular experience was not as much fun, but today it was wonderful. Clear, sunny day, very few clouds in the sky, and just a beautiful day to walk around.

However, I have a stiff learning curve. I managed to leave my house at 245pm to catch the at 313pm at the corner of Purcell and Bassett up near where I live. The 10, theoretically, would take me to Government Square where I would have time for a cigarette, and then I would hop onto the 43 and head out to work and be there in plenty of time to be at work at 430pm. I had my bag, my cigarettes, my mp3 player, and the book -- for the hour or so trip, I was set.

...or so I thought.

I had parked my butt on the what I believed (and know now that I was correct) to be the proper side of the rode, so when the 10 comes rolling up Bassett the other directions, I make a dart for it without thinking. The driver takes a right off of Bassett and onto Elberon... silly me, not really wanting to seem dumb about this, I just figured we were looping onto Glenway and back down. I get into my book -- now, mind you, I'm, at this point, on page 93 -- and when I look up, we've made it to Nebraska Avenue which is very far from where I needed to be. Oops. Somewhere around Home Depot -- a 15 minute trip in my car straight from my house -- the bus driver looks back at me and says "first time on the bus?" "yea, why?" "you got on the wrong side of the rode didn't you?" She was very pleasant and let me pop out for a cigarette at one of the stops she had to hang out and poked fun at me the rest of the way -- even reminding me when I should pull the little chain to get off downtown at Government Square.

I am deposited on Main Street. It is now, btw, 430pm, time for me to be at work, downtown, on Government Square, on a Friday afternoon. The place is hopping. But I shrug, find a spot, whip my book back out, light a cigarette, and settle in for what I think is going to be a few more minutes waiting.

Wrong. The 43 is there. Throwing a cigarette out at this point -- when I'm contemplating quitting and am thinking that any of these cigarettes could be the prelude to my final one of my life -- is a major sin and I feel like I should have just prodded out the light and stuck it back in the pack. But I didn't have time for delicacy... I was on the A station, and my bus was at the C. And I got onto a very busy bus with Donna Summer's Funky Town in my ear. Fabulous. I have a broken ear piece, btw, so I go around with only one bud in, but, apparently, my other bud decides to work as I'm handing over my transfer ticket and startles the poor driver of this new bus with Gotta make a move to a town that's right for me... blasting out.

I am at work now, thank god. And I am now on page 215 of my book. And, btw, I rolled up in here at about 515. That's right kids, it took me two and a half hours to get here, but I'll know which bus to take next time.
Regardless, the experience was meditative, and I think I'm going to take the opportunity to ride the busses at least once a week. I usually have the time, and it's really quite ... well, it's almost pleasant. But this may be my annoyingly happy mood creeping into my decision making process again, so we'll see, shall we?

GAY STUFF: Life or Meth

"HARM REDUCTION accepts and allows the continued and unabated use of harmful substances and the loss of people cannot be recovered. At best, harm reduction is a halfway measure and half-hearted approach that invites deceit."~ Alison Kogut [Deputy Press Secretary, The US Office of National Drug Control Policy]

This is from the or Life or Meth website -- the originator of the famous "Before and After" pictures:

Now, Life or Meth takes a very hardline anti-drug stance. It only makes sense that they would, and I'm not holding that against them, in fact, I applaud that situation. Meth is bad.

However, they, also, appear to be against harm reduction. There are two forms of "prevention" methods when it comes to drugs and HIV: harm and risk reduction. Harm reduction means taking actions to reduce the potential harm a given behavior can have -- condoms are harm reduction, clean needles are harm reduction. Risk reduction, meanwhile, means getting rid of the behavior all together -- abstinence.

Upon a question from one of the sites visitors, they pretty dramatically tear apart the idea of harm reduction in meth use -- ie, recreational use.

I'm not quite sure how I feel about it. When working in HIV/AIDS, harm reduction is the only thing that makes sense, as asking people to give up sex forever is pretty much impossible. But with drug use, I don't know.

My own crystal meth use -- and this, mind you, is one of the first times I've talked about it on a semi-public stage -- was, I think, unique when it comes to the more typical experience in the world. Cincinnati has not been hit that hard with "tina" yet -- rather, the crystal we do have arrives via a burgeoning crystal scene in Columbus and Indianapolis. It's really hard to find here. And that's a good thing. But, as Mark Twain tells us, give it time. Per our unofficial city motto: "If the apolocalypse ever comes, I want to be in Cincinnati as it's always 10 years behind." The new crystal scene really began around 2000, and, I've noticed, the demand for it growing. Quickly. Supply always follows. It's the beauty of American capitalism.

But is there room for harm reduction in a crystal world???

I don't know. I feel from everything I am that there should be, but I am starting to see what it can do and where it can take you. And perhaps there's no room for recreational use of anything. But I'm afraid I'm just placing my own feelings and own experiences onto other people.

They say I'm feeling guilty. That I represented for so many people a life and a person who was different, and found myself the same as every body else. Maybe I am guilty... but, today, I did nothing wrong.

And maybe that's all I need.

Update: In the interest of honesty, I will say this, as well. To this day, it would be hard for me to say no to this particular activity. And I'm sad to say that it was the limitation of cost and availability that kept me from doing it more. I know I would have done it more, and I'm sure I would do it again. Unlike other things that have developed into problems in the past, I have no negative memories of it... and that knowledge, and knowing that one day it will be offered again, scares me a bit.

GAY STUFF: Confessions of a Bareback Top

I've been debating whether or not to post on this website, Confessions of a Bareback Top , for a good long time now. First off -- NSFW!!!! -- you have been warned. The source of my dilemma arises out whether or not to give this guy any more attention than need be. However, he is already fairly well read and circulated, and having received the notice about it on the Gay Men's Health Summit listserv, well, I figured if "the professionals" couldn't keep it in their pants, neither could I.

My own personal fascination with it is from an HIV/AIDS standpoint. I've reported before on stories that discuss the growth of barebacking within the gay community, noticable within the porn community and websites like XTube (also NSFW), with figures quoted as high as 60% of all gay porn now produced is sans condom. This particular man has decided to make it his personal crusade to have as much as bareback topping as possible, despite "safe only" postings on sites like Craigslist and Manhunt. (To the uninitiated: "safe only" vs "bb" are options and criteria you post on hook-up sites where you get to make clear for the world your preference for a condom. Now, having worked in the world for a little while and having lived in this world, the distinctions are vague, as my friends and I have decided that, esp on Manhunt, if someone says "bb" they are HIV+, if they have "no preference" they are HIV+, and if they are "safe only" it is likely they are HIV+ as well.)

But there was also a posting that struck me recently while catching up on his goings-on that plays into this whole question of whether or not gay men are using condoms (posting dated 2-24-08):

Just for kicks...I created a fake profile on Manhunt for a week. I paid the membership, and I posted a very basic profile...which was missing the "safe only" option on my profile... Over the course of 7 days, I was contacted by 274 different guys. I contacted 44 guys (trust me when I say that I was busy replying to emails). Of the 318 men that I spoke to (in Manhattan only), 311 were willing to either fuck me raw - or get fucked by me raw - or both...Thats 98% for those still doing the math... The average age of those guys I have chatted with was 28. Tops, vers, bottoms... you all wanted it raw. 18 - 37, from Battery Park to Inwood. You all bareback.... It was a little experiment for me to see just how many of you out there love the raw as much as I do. Surprisingly, you ALL are. Which just goes to remind me of all that hate mail that I get from people telling me I should be shot for fucking raw.... Looks like there should be 311 other dead people with me...
I will grant the man this: he's right. He's so very, very right. And I'm not going to alleviate myself of guilt by saying, well, at least I'm not like that. Right. We've all made our mistakes in the past, some greater than others, and some with consequences greater than others. I'm sure he's gotten a lot of grief over what he's writing, but I'm going to grant him this:

He's not wrong.

Granted, his view of the world is pessimistic at best... hedonistic, as well. But it's true. People do this, and it's the way shit goes.

My boss and I had a discussion about "what's wrong with gay boys these days." Now, granted, he and I are queens of vastly different generational mindsets and different situations in life. It is often pointed out that those who lived through the dark days -- before the medical and care revolutions in HIV/AIDS in the mid-90s -- and those of us who have really only been "aware" after it has become 100X more manageable, that we view it completely differently and are behaviors are vastly different. For a generation who saw friends and family die and there was a constant panic over "whether or not I got it," the idea that barebacking and the active distancing from risk is almost ghastly. This disease which formed our movement, took some of our best, and killed a generation, to many, now, is no more of an inconvenience. Like diabetes, is the most common retort. There's a set of medical things you have to do for the rest of your life, but the life expectency for a diabetic and an HIV+ person at diagnosis is not that dissimilar these days -- 25 years -- and therefore it's not scary anymore.

And what's better, it doesn't ruin your sex life (see above), nor does it ruin your good looks. It's just another thing.

It's awful but true.

I think we have to believe this, those of us in this age with our mistakes and our scary histories and our ... everything. We have to believe that it's just something to deal with. We are children of a sexual revolution cut short by death, and we are dying to explode out into a world of our own sexuality, into a world defined entirely by our sexuality. That's powerful stuff and us gay boys want to explore, and we have to believe that the terrible that could kill us is just another side effect of the life. Is it a realistic viewpoint? Absolutely not. They don't see the death that's still out there; they don't hear it. HIV/AIDS has been taken up as an "everybody" disease -- which it is more of these days -- and the lack of openly positive people at the clubs drives us to believe that it's somewhere else.

And even if it is here, next to us, it doesn't matter anymore.

It's a scary thought, but by normalizing it, by abandoning the stigma, we have taken the power away from it. It's like when we started etching away at the stigma against homosexuality itself, it allowed us to become normalized, part of the mainstream. The sexual revolution fades, the edginess goes away, and we get into absurd debates about whether leather boys and drag queens should be in our Pride parades because "they scare the straight people." Instead, children and families should be the focus is the new belief. Normalizing it takes the power away. It's no longer counter culture, it is culture, and we leave everything that we were behind.

We've taken the death out of AIDS, and all we have is a part of the life. When I tell newbies welcome to the life, I don't mean this, exactly, and I'm sorry to all of you for promulgating it and not doing more to stop it. I know I could have done more.

Back Confessions of a Bareback Top, I'm not going to fault him for writing. I'm going to applaud him because it's doing exactly, I'm sure, what it intended to... to shock people. Make them aware. And when you hold up a mirror and people don't like what they see, they are revulsed by it. And that's exactly what he did.

It kinda makes me sick, reading... but, I can't stop reading it. I mean, really, what does that say about me?

Update: (I thought this had been added already) When I first found the website a year or so ago, my first thought was that it was created by an AIDS Service Organization as a way to call attention to this issue and to get a discussion going on about it.

Funny thing, I technorati'd the blog -- and Trevor Hoppe from the University of Michigan, an "academic" LGBTQI blog, called attention to a post that I had merrily skipped over and, apparently, not paid much attention to ... wherein the author had raped someone in a bathroom using (what I think -- I'm at work, I'm not opening the site LOL) GHB. I mean, come on, the man is disgusting, but this shit happens. It does. I know there have been nights that I'm sure I was drugged, as ending up on the floor of my friends van rolling around and vomiting is not in my MO -- though it's not far off. LOL

But it does continue to kinda play into my theory that it's an AIDS advocate out there. The author claims to be getting tested regularly -- I wonder at what point we'll get the blog about how he tested positive. (Although, if he's real, he would be wise not to post that, as god knows how many people could probably go after him at some point.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

OHIO/CINNKY: Cincinnati Buddhist Dharma Center

My dear friend over at the Juliet & Juliette blog decided to go to the Cincinnati Buddhist Dharma Center for their twice monthly meditation classes. This is more of reminder to me to talking about this later, but I have to say, it was kinda cool.

Although my breathing really annoys me -- but that's mostly because I've been stopped up for the past couple of weeks.

WRITING: The book

Why post a picture of handwritten pages? 112 of them to be exact.

I pulled my book back out today. It was sitting in piles around my still disastrous room. And now it's in one place with brand new, empty pages in it to be written it.

It's a small step, and I'll give you a small preview from page one:

It took just a five days for the oceans to lose their identities -- the continents of the Earth becoming over sized islands in a massive unified world of water. The oceans spread as far inland as Kentucky -- entire states, whole population buried under water. Sharks now inhabited Wall Streets -- swimming the halls of world's economies, devouring the remains of millions that just floated by. Whales were spotted spawning around the hills of Rio de Janeiro, watched by the outstretched hands of Mary as if blessing the next great flood. The Empire of Japan was no more than an archipelago, the mightiest economy in the world now just dotted the water with only the tops of the highest peaks. Word has it that the only places and peoples spared were those that inhabited the most remote and forbidding environments -- made habitable only because they were the last places on Earth. An evacuee joked that he was headed for the Amazonian rain forest -- great real estate, he laughed in the maniacal way of someone who was crazed for something. If he could find a boat to make it. He was going to make his way in a world where the dictates of capitalism were now tenuous and suspicious, a lost precept where the need for more left us wanting the very basics of survival. Every inhabitable place left was being land-grabbed by pioneers who had never expected to leave their homes. They were suburbanites traipsing through a mysterious and lost land.

Except here. Except here.

Sitting on my porch, looking down at the packed street below -- evacuees trying desperate to make it somewhere, everyone going uphill and the downhill lane empty save for a few abandoned vehicles and the occasional brave soul -- I praised my own salvation. The gun I had pilfered from a neighbor's house moments after they had left protected my acre -- a full acre! now a true luxury -- from unwanted intruders and would-be squatters.

Except here. Here, the neighbors were close, and we were watching and guarding and protecting. Together, we would hold our own and hold our hill, and we would survive.

Clearly it's a first draft, but it's not half-bad, actually. I got stuck last time. I wrote myself into a corner and I think I found a way out.

POP CULTURE: Disney for (gay) adults

I was perusing the web this morning -- I have to run into job #3 this morning and pick up my TB test -- and found this (source missed... I forgot to connect it to the blogs I had open... it's a link from a link from a link from a link).

Um, right. I always kind of thought the princes from the Disney movies were hot. I, um, never expected, um.... this.

There, now don't you feel a little dirtier today. Oh, and, btw, Prince Eric's is protected for adult eyes only....

And, no, assholes, I did not sign up to see it.

I thought about it though.

GENERAL STUFF: Carcinogens

I don't know why I've been reading so much of lately, but they had an interesting article about the causation of cancer how quickly people freak out about minor things whilst ignoring major solutions.

The obsession with man-made toxins not only reflects a small-minded view of cancer's causes but hints at a worrisome theme in American public health. Our scattershot approach to preventing cancer subscribes to the cult of personal responsibility, albeit with a recent eco-friendly twist: To really help themselves, goes the thinking, people must simply take charge of their health and avoid cancer-causing, artificial products. Somewhat insidiously, we're starting to believe that cancer mostly is prevented by informing individuals to change their consumption habits—not by proactive, broad-based public-health measures like widespread vaccination or agricultural reform.

I've been following the HPV vaccine, Gardasil (also mentioned in the article), fairly closely, for a couple of reasons:

1) It is only the second vaccine that's been proven effective against an STD (the other one being the Hepatitis A/B vaccine -- we're still waiting on Herpes, HIV, and Hepatitis C, remember).

2) It helps treat a really important aspect of women's health, but...

3) It is being maligned and torn apart in the political arena because of the theory that it will encourage the onset of sexuality.

To my mind, this encourages the ongoing stupefication of the American populace. Same thing with the anti-condom campaigns. No, condoms do not protect against every STD and they do not protect 100% for the ones that they do help with -- but they are the best we have. No, Gardasil does not protect against every form of HPV, and not even against every form that can cause cervical cancer -- but it is the best we have. And rather than own up to the positive benefits they cause and accept them and educate people about them, we would rather cover them up and pretend sex doesn't exist... and not admit to the drastic public health efforts necessary to continue developing comprehensive sexual education that treats people as adults rather than foolish children.

I am 100% for a freer understanding of sexuality, and I like the BDSM's community's idea of sexuality being "Safe, Sane, and Consensual," but part of consent is owning up to your behavior and understanding fully the possible ramifications of your actions. If consent is simply limited to saying yes to fucking, then it's not truly consent. In no definition or use of the word "consent" in the modern world does consent imply a lack of understanding of the ultimate possible consequences of an action. Think about it -- if you enrolled in a medical study and they didn't tell you, "BTW, you may die from this," they are not properly allowing you to consent. Rather, they are withholding information to prevent you from fully understanding the situation you are putting yourself into.

By learning about sex at all -- and sex/sexuality is fully imbued into our culture in a way that is inextricable -- without the proper educational background, we are, in essence, handing people guns and hoping they don't figure out where the trigger is. And by not ignoring the public health ramifications of denial in favor of a few persons morality -- which, btw, no one is arguing should be trumped -- we are just crossing our fingers and hoping nothing bad happens.

When it comes to sex and when it comes to the public health mandates that we rely on certain bodies to perform -- the CDC and the FDA -- we should choose to do what most social work students are taught their first year -- unconditional positive regard.

In other words, we should assume that they are attempting to help the best they can without political motivations. If we choose to start sensationalizing or politicizing basic public health principles, then we are leading to a path where the minor -- cell phones=brain tumors -- become the only knowledge of health that we have, rather than pursuing comprehensive health in the form of funding things like universal mammograms for women over 50 (Ohio's state program to offer them for free for the most needy is constantly fighting for more money and we used to regularly get notice that "we have no more money, please stop enrolling people in this program"). Because though cell phones may be linked to brain tumors, it would be silly to say that not using them is the only thing we can do. It is not entirely the individual's fault for getting XYZ...

...sometimes we, as a society, fail those individuals.

(And besides, shouldn't we be sensationalizing more important things, like il Papa or the homosexual menace?)

PERSONAL: Rescued Blogs

I thought I might, at least, save a few of the blogs from the other project and reprint them here so that those who do follow know at least a little what has been going on personally with me.

Published: 4/2/08

When I scheduled an appointment to go see a general practicioner — the first time in seven years — I expected my cough + my nausea + other assorted unpleasantnesses to be chaulked up to “well, you’ve got a nice little bug there, but here are the latest marvels in medication to save you from yourself.”

Six hours later, two hospitals, seven tubes of blood, an EKG, two sets of blood cultures, and an ultrasound of my heart, I finally found myself crawling into bed with the words “heart murmer” and “heart failure” ringing through my head.

I’m sure the same diagnoses are difficult for people of all ages, but I think that I’m only 25 is making it especially difficult. I took the opportunity, naturally, to be all Sally Fields about it and cry privately whenever anyone wasn’t look and generally be a bitch to anyone who was, and I kinda enjoyed the pity other people were giving me. I was enjoying the sadness in their eyes… I felt justified in my grief, and I think I wanted other people to share in it. I could imagine someone saying to someone else: “He seems like such a bitch” to which someone else would respond, “Well, what do you expect, he just found out he has heart failure… and he’s only 25.” Then they would feel bad for judging me.

But, the idea was short lived because I soon felt really stupid for feeling so bad about it. It’s not as bad as it felt at first. In fact, I think the doctor — and his annoying student — was a little surprised I started to cry. It just … is. I’ve been telling people I felt a lot more Julia Roberts after a nap this afternoon.

Whatever, I’d premised this with the fact that I’ve had a hard year.

In truth, and in the interest in not covering up genuine emotions with flippant witticisms, as per my usual trajectory, I am scared. Terribly terribly scared — and the lady at the outpatient blood-draw center in Mercy West Hospital who took 25 minutes total to perform my blood draws, barely hit my prominent veins, and kept repeating “this is a lot of blood” and “wow, they really want a lot of blood out of you” was not helping. I know that it means a lot of changes. I know that it means that I have to change habits of mine — not just because of some generic idea that it will be bad for me somewhere down the road. Rather, because it may kill me the next time.

The heart problems stem from an infection that seems to have rooted itself onto one of the left valves of my heart which, thus called the heart murmur and may have, ultimately, caused damaged to the valve itself. The question that we are still waiting on is how extensive is the damage and, if it is bad, how much can we reverse. We’re waiting on the ultrasound for those answers (and the nurse doing the ultrasound was no help — she was very cool and professional, but that’s a whole other rant against professionalism). The coughing, which has led to retching and vomiting, has been my bodies to “fix” the problem by “jumpstarting” everything in my chest. Like restarting your car after it has stalled.

At the moment, though, I have an answer for a lot of things that have been weird for me health-wise for the past year or so — the chest pains, the difficult working out, the unclear thinking, the constant exhaustion, and the overwhelming tendency to get sick.


On a very brief note, I know that these are the times that people experience great realizations about their life. I rarely, if ever, do, but my senses are always piqued in case that great life changing event occured. When I found a page ripped out of worship book in one of the toilet stalls, my heart nearly stopped (hypothetically, not really). Before I even read it, I read my life twenty years from now, a prominent Christian writer, writing about my conversion from the little leaflet I found in the stall in the appropriately named Mercy West Hospital after weeks of bad behavior. It would touch lives and lead to the desecration of many worship booklets, which the devoted would then place individual pages in hospital bathrooms.

If anyone likes that idea and decides to use it, here’s an idea: place something of greater general and more specific interest than on the school shootings. Perhaps the story of Lazarus (which seems to be recurring theme in my life these days).

On the bright side, I was nearly out of toilet paper.

Update: There is more to this heart problem we have since discovered and, after a brief surgical consult and discussion with my fabulous aunt, the problem is rooted in a condition known as Left Ventricular Hypertrophy which is associated -- briefly with a decrease in the ability of my heart to pump blood effectively out and into the rest of my body. It's functioning at something like 65-70% of normal. The original infection theory is still partly true, as I was genuinely sick, but it was aggravating the problem and thus helping to create that fabulous cough all of you had heard.

Published: 4/2/08

…all of my good natured friends have already decided to take it upon themselves to inform me of the many, many, many things I am doing wrong and the many, many, many things I can’t do from now on. All under the guise of “I’m just looking out for your health.”

Well, here’s two words I’d remember in the future that show how much I care about your health when interacting with me: fuck off.

You have the right, as a friend, to criticize my behavior once. And that’s the first time you hear about what’s going on. That’s right — once. ignore you for a few days because then you become pedantic and you’re just doing it to proveAfter that, I have every right to curse you out and something. It’s annoying, and, honestly, I know what I should and shouldn’t be doing. Don’t assume that I am so stupid as to not know that smoking is bad for me. Don’t assume that I’m under-informed and all it takes is just one person to tell me and life will get better. Now, that may be true for some things, but that’s why you get to tell me once.

My dear friends, you have been warned. Maybe I will continue to smoke, and maybe I’ll slip up and do a night where I do something stupid. But that does not give you the right to ever say to me, “You know, you shouldn’t be doing that.”

Because, in the end, I have to make those decisions for me. And they’re hard decisions.


In light of this recent annoyance, I’d like to apologize to my mother for pestering her about her diabetes.

I’m sorry, mom. If you’re vacationing with me, of course, you can have a pop or actual sweet tea, and, of course, we can get desert. On the flip side, though, I will never offer them to you.

Published: 4/8/08 (Some context: I spent about 36 days in the hospital last week due to tachycardia -- ie, my pulse was racing at about 120 beats per minute, over the usual 60-80 -- what's funny is that I have now begun to notice the little things about my heart that I've gotten used to, including times when I feel my heart beating really strong but just ignore it... apaprently, none of that is normal)

I picked up The Crazed by Ha Jin today — a Chinese author and a book I had purchased at Half Priced Books a year or so ago, but was dropped off by my roommate today. It’s not bad. Interesting, but I wanted to share some lines.

From a German poem: Who, if I cry, would hear me among the angelic order? (unk. origin… no google results)

Regarding the Divine Comedy:

I felt that my suffering was meant to help me enter purgatory. I had hope. Suffering can refine the soul. Beyond purgatory there’s paradise… I’ve never been truly religious. But at the time, under torture, I often wished I were Christian so that I could have prayed to God wholeheartedly. Religion is spiritual opium, as Marx has taught us. No doubt about that, yet once in a while human beings need some spiritual narcotics to alleviate pain. The flesh alone cannot sustain us.

The meanings and the reason they sing to me is clear, I think.

People don’t want to hear your shit; people turn to God to help deal with their shit. There is no spiritual comfort in atheism. I have always relied upon the belief that my faith in humanity would be my greatest trait. I feel abandoned, and I am doubting even that humanism. But I still feel an emptiness in spirituality, like nothing to cry out to.

Is it time, again, to resume the spiritual quest that I left behind when nothing was found? Is it time to seek something outside of myself that can help me?

Is humanism enough?


I don’t think my roommate realized what she handed me when she did.