Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Take My Number, Please

File Under: Going for it

My previous post reminded me of something I did this morning.

Every day, my morning starts at Starbucks. I have been a customer of the Starbucks at Clark and Berwyn in Andersonville for (at least) 10 years. Monday thru Friday, I walk in at about 7 am, hand the nice person behind the counter my washed stainless steel mug, and they fill it with the magic elixer known as coffee. On those mornings when I'm working at my office in the neighborhood, I have time to sit. I see many of the same people every day.

One customer is a handsome guy who comes in and orders an iced coffee drink. After seeing him enough times, I started making eye contact and he would return it. Then it became eye contact and a smile, also returned. Some mornings I'd throw in a nod and/or a "hi." But I knew nothing about this guy. Was he just some polite guy who was comfortable with these exchanges with a stranger? Was he gay? Was he single?

A couple weeks ago when my friend Dave was in town, a bunch of us went to Jackhammer, a local drinking establishment. Dan and I met there 6 years ago and have spent so much time there, we should have a section of the bar named after us. But I digress...back to the night we were all out with Dave. I looked up again and iced coffee drink came in with someone. At least I was comfortable in believing that he's gay. I was near the service area so he saw me as he approached to buy a drink. We both smiled and said hello. I was a bit tongue-tied so I think I tried to make some sort of small talk. Later, he returned to where I was and stood by me so we chatted a bit. He said "I see you at Starbucks, don't I?" I said "yes, and I was going to say that's not coffee you're drinking!" We laughed (nervously, perhaps?) and talked a bit. His friend came over, I turned away a bit to chat with Patrick and Dave and turned back as iced coffee drink was kissing his friend, who then walked away. We continued to chat and I said something like "So your boyfriend had to leave?" He said "Oh no, that's just my best friend, he's leaving with someone and I was telling him to have fun and be careful." (YAY!) So there was more chatter, then he looked at his watch and said it was time for him to go.

The following Tuesday I saw him at Starbucks and we chatted a bit more than our previous morning encounters. Later that day, at work, I wrote on the back of one of my business cards "Let's have coffee, a drink or perhaps dinner sometime." I included my cell phone number. I didn't see him for over a week.

Today, he walked in while I was ahead of him in line. This meant we'd be at the cream and sugar station together. I took my time opening sugar packets and pouring cream. He approached, we chatted and I handed him the card and said "You know, you should call me sometime. Here's my number!" He said "oh, thanks!" and then proceeded to spill his coffee (he was attempting to swirl the cup to stir his drink but the lid wasn't on). It wasn't a full spill, but he sloshed some on his pants (yes, the front) and down his leg. I felt horrible but he quickly said "isn't the first time I've done that, guess I need to clean up." I helped tidy up the counter and he thanked me. I then went to sit down and he went into the bathroom to try to get some of the coffee off of his pants. When he left, he shrugged and smiled.

I feel a sense of accomplishment that I gave him my number, but he probably will associate me with spilled coffee and never call. never know.

Sometimes Technology Sucks!

File Under: Back to paper

Recently our corporate office upgraded our Kronos Time and Attendance software. The version has some great bells and whistles but it's beginning to show some compatibility issues with our time clocks. The clock at one of my locations was "timing out" (no pun intended) and it made it so people could not punch in or out. I called corporate I.S. to have a look at the configuration.

I got home from work a little after 4 and sorted laundry. At 5 I got a call from our staffing coordinator, informing me that the clock was not functioning at all. I grabbed a quick bite to eat and went over there (luckily it was at my office that's close to home), and tried the fixes that I'm familiar with (open it up, unplug it and plug it back in), then repeat. It didn't work. I called corporate I.S. again and was told "oh, the people who handle those issues have already gone home." Fuckers!

So they offered to page someone. I waited. Finally I got a call back and they said "oh, there's nothing we can do from here. Sorry." Yay. Fuckers!

The next few minutes were spent hanging a sign on the clock and instructing employees how to record their time, on paper. Of course, NOBODY will be late for work, in fact quite a few people will be early. Fuckers!

Tomorrow, my first stop will be at that office, even before I get my coffee. They'd better get it working or I'll be a royal munt, especially without coffee.

Makes me want to go back to the old fashioned time clock and time cards. Insert card, push, then remove. Time is recorded on the card. Done.

Still "Heaven-ly" After All These Years

File Under: Donkey Sanctuary, Aliens and Leprechauns

Belinda Carlisle is part of a summer package tour called The Regeneration Tour and it stars ABC, The Human League, A Flock of Seagulls, among others. Unfortunately the show won't roll through Chicago so I won't be seeing it. To promote the tour, Belinda appeared on "The Late Late Show" last night. Here's a link to her interview. Her interview skills were never anything to write home about but if she's comfortable with her host, she can be engaging and fun. This wasn't a bad little interview and in typical Belinda style, she tossed out some sound bytes that just make you scratch your head and say "huh?"

Reptilian aliens, Leprechauns, and Faeries? Seriously Belinda? Oh well, she looks pretty damn good for 50, huh?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Just for David

File Under: Too Much Booze


July, 2006.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

What's Going On?

File Under: Summer is flying by

So it's been a few days since I've checked in with a substantial post. Well, the time has come.

A couple weeks ago, I was paid a visit by my friend Dave. Dave is one of my Go-Go friends, he lives in Tampa. We first met online back in 2000, we were (and still are) members of a message board devoted to everybody's favorite all-female band from the 80's, The Go-Go's. We finally met in person in 2001 at a show in Florida. We've had the opportunity to get together on numerous occasions since then and I consider him to be one of the absolute nicest people I've ever met. He's a good guy, and everybody should know Dave.

The above picture is from Dave's visit. Our friend Vahona met up with us at the Park Grill bar in Chicago's Millennium Park, home of "The Bean" (aka Cloudgate). It was nice to visit with both of them and it was great for Dave to get to visit with Vahona, they haven't seen each other for close to 4 years.

The following evening, a bunch of us gathered at one of the local watering holes, Jackhammer. It was a long, fun night with lots of laughs and important life lessons. We learned that you don't look a pimp directly in the eyes or they will own you and turn your shit out! We witnessed it. Luckily, the unlikely victim got away, narrowly escaping being run over by a CTA bus. Oh the drama! A perfect end to Dave's Chicago weekend.

Last weekend I gathered with my usual cast of friends for a show and dinner. Dan, Luis, Tina, Polo, Denise and I went to see Cirque du Soleil "Kooza." It was a fantastic and exciting show and it gave us much to discuss at our dinner that followed. So much fun was had by all of us.

Yesterday, was my Block party. The weather was beautiful and the block was ready to rock (yeah, that sounded horriblyy corny). Friday I took the day off from work to shop and prepare for the event. The most dramatic of my preparations was the assembly of my new grill. I live in an apartment and don't have much space for a grill so I bought a cheap grill from Lowe's.

The instructions said that assembly would take less than an hour and required a wrench and a screwdriver. It took me 2.5 hours, it required a hammer, a wrench, a screwdriver and a vodka lemonade. It doesn't fold like the instructions say but it didn't collapse when I backed away from it so I deemed it ready for grilling.

The grill, in my living room. Yes, I took it outside before attempting to cook with it.

Guests arrived for the party at 3. The first drinks were poured at about 3:10. I know, bad host, they should have been poured about 9 minutes sooner. Aside from the late start with the beverages, everybody had a really nice time. It was never too hot to be in the sun, and it was great people watching. Here are a few pictures from the day...

The fire department arrived and proceeded to play ping pong.

Dear friends Dan and Luis were sorely missed. They got away for the weekend with Luis' family. A much needed for the two of them as they gear up for a very busy week. Thenkfully, their beautiful bulldog Ozzie represented them, he was chaperoned by our good friend Polo.

Ozzie was deemed "the coolest dog EVER" by this nice guy. Ryan is not looking at Ozzie.

Party guests Denise, Polo, Ozzie, Tina and Tina's mom.

Carla, Zelda (aka my Mom), Karen, Georgette (aka my Sister)

Leslie, Gillian, Patrick, Ryan and Paul:

And look, it's ME, with Denise and Polo and my apartment building, looming behind us. We just came back from a visit to the Margarita bar. FREE Margaritas. YAY!

The guests dined on skewered chicken (marinated in lemon, olive oil , garlic, salt and pepper), served with a yogurt sauce (greek yogurt, sour cream, chopped sweet onion, cucumber, dill, salt and pepper) and on bratwurst. I also made a pasta salad (whole wheat pasta, grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, tossed in olive oil infused with minced garlic). Dessert was a tray of blondies, purchased at Costco, as well as some delicious cookies brought by Tina.

Entertainment was provided by 3 bands. The second band was a bunch of lawyers who just like to get together and play music. I hope they're better lawyers. One of them is Ozzie's new best friend:

Ozzie grew bored of his new friend and his music.

(not dead, just really tired)

My neighbors Joeseph and Naira were out for the party, too. (photo taken last month at Andersonville fest)

They brought their Gnome, after seeing my Gnome party lights. This called for a Gnome party!

Things wound down at about 10, I had everything put away and spent another hour just sitting outside chatting with Joe and Naira until we all decided it was time to call it a night.

Thanks to all my friends who attended and made it such a fun day.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


File Under: Just passing thru

Still here, just haven't sat still long enough to blog. I would blog from work, if I could get onto this site. It's blocked. :(

Not a whole lot to tell, just random events that have happened over the past couple of weeks. Full report by week's end, pinky swear!



Wednesday, July 16, 2008


File Under: The Neighborhood

If you aren't busy on Saturday July 26 and are in the neighborhood, c'mon by!

Please just give me some advance notice so I'll have enough food. Then again, apparently it's being sponsored so who needs food when there's going to be margaritas! OLE!

(edited because I just realized this post was all out of order!)

Friday, July 11, 2008

I Don't Read

File Under: Observations at Starbucks

I'm off from work today. My good friend Dave from Tampa is visiting so I scheduled off so that we could hang out. We went out for a while last night and had a lovely time. This morning I got up and decided I wanted my morning cup of Starbucks so I showered, shaved (ON MY DAY OFF!!), dressed and walked over to Starbucks. I'm typing this from the store right now. As I'm sitting here, there are people around me doing their thing - sipping their drink, talking, scurryinng in and out of here. Then there are the newspaper readers.

I have been known to pick up the paper from time to time. If I have an appointment and I'm early, I'll buy one, especially if I'm trying to impress. An example of NOT impressing would be if I brought my TV Guide or a copy of Juggs to read while waiting. Okay, I don't really read TV Guide. That was an embellishment. Right now, there are 4 people sitting in here actually READING the paper. They are staring at the pages, turning them slowly, taking in the news of this city and the world. The guy across from me is reading the "Chicago Homes" section of the Chicago Tribune, but he's reading it. I get a paper and the first thing I do is flip through it, reading headlines and looking at the pictures. I like the Tribune because there are lots of color pictures. Color is's pretty. RARELY do I actually read articles. Mind you, I'm not inept when it comes to the news, I listen to public radio, I watch television newscasts, and I read Dan's Blog which is rather newsy from time to time.

I've never been a big reader. I go through fits where I'll read two or three books in a row, then go months without picking one up. I'm a slow reader, and for someone who is impatient and wants instant gratification, the two don't mix. Reading tests my patience.

Another guy is reading the auto classifieds right now. Hmm...

It would be noble of me to say "I'm going to read more, I'm going to start to take the time to read the newspaper." I won't lie, that probably won't happen.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Throw Me a Curve

File Under: Micro-thin is way too in

We're constantly bombarded with images of "perfection" - men with sculpted chests, 6-pack abs, flat stomachs, etc. Women are stick figures with tits. Reality is, it's far from perfect and not normal. Yet, we accept it as normal because that's what we see on TV, in the movies, on the sides of busses. For some, it's not a reality and it's frustrating because we try to make it reality, sometimes it's dangerous and the results are disasterous.

Go-Go's reference follows, bare with me, please, this is relevant, I promise.

Back in 2001, The Go-Go's released a CD, their first after 17 years. Much hoopla was made about it (relatively speaking of course), the band did the usual round of press and gave interviews. Probably the most unusual bit of promotion was the appearance of lead singer Belinda Carlisle in the pages of Playboy. Years ago, after she left the band, she was approached to pose and turned down the offer. In 2001, at the age of 43, she was asked again and agreed to do it. They gave her the cover and the centerfold. When questioned about this on the talk shows, she told those who asked "I did it because I wanted to prove that you don't have to be 20 years old, blonde, and a size zero to be sexually viable and viable as a woman." The layout was done as a tribute to the 1950's pinup girls. With that said, she will be the first to tell you that she was unhappy with the layout. They airbrushed the heck out of her. She was proud of the original photos but still glad she did it.

To further the point, the band wrote a song called "Throw Me A Curve," an ode to women who are curvy and beautiful because of it. In concert, as they would introduce the song, they would ask the audience "How many of you gals are smaller than a size 14?" The crowd would cheer, and Belinda would scream "FUCK YOU!" This is for all the girls size 14 and up! Here are the lyrics:

(from memory -Vahona will correct me if I messed up)

Clothes hanger lollipop
Magazine photo-op
I'd rather be a pin-up girl than zero size

Throw me a curve, you look so fine.

Wishing there was less of you
Are you really sure, just how much less is more?
Girls are shapely by design
Exactly what you've got is so easy to adore!

Clothes hanger lollipop
Magazine photo-op
I'd rather be a pin-up girl than zero size

Throw me a curve, not a straight narrow line
Throw me a curve, and I'll show you mine.
Get the message - it's devine!
Throw me a curve, you look so fine!

Micro-thin is way too in
And i'm not so sure, I'd rather just be me
Seems everybody in this world
Thinks that X-Ray girls are the only way to be - NO!

Clothes hanger lollipop
magazine photo op
I'd rather be a pin-up girl than zero size.

Throw me a curve, not a straight narrow line
Throw me a curve and I'll show you mine.
Get the message, it's devine!
Throw me a curve, you look so fine!

- - - -

So, a shout out to all of my friends who aren't size zero, who don't have rock-hard abs. I love you just as you are.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Ladies, Please!

File Under: Fashion Don't

I'm a gay man. I'm not the most stylish gay man but I can hold my own. I know what looks good on me, and I know to ask if I'm unsure about something. I also own a full-length mirror.

It's July in Chicago. It's hot, it's humid, I understand. I'm a bit jealous of the women who can wear these little skirts and dresses only because I think it would be nice to feel the breeze blow up my skirt. Heck, I enjoy feeling the occasional draft up my shorts. I guess guys have an advantage in that we can wear shorts without underwear and not have too much fear that our junk is going to be seen. Oh sure, some guys like having their junk on display (see Dan's blog for prime examples). Yes, some women like having their bits on display too (right, Britney Spears?).

Tonight I saw a prime example of a fashion DON'T. I was out doing laundry, I do my laundry in Lakeview (aka Boystown). Besides seeing all the cute boys coming home from work or going for their evening run (SHIRTLESS!), the women feel like they've got to step it up a bit to be noticed (or they're just puss-teases for the lezzies). Tonight, I saw a few women in their cute little summer dresses. Some did it just right - not too short, good footwear, good support on top (lift and separate those girls!). What I did see that disturbed me were two separate occurrances of the same faux pas. Women wearing their little swingy clingy dresses that moved great when they walked but clung enough to their asses that I could see their baggy granny panties bunched around their asses. LADIES - if you're going to work those cute little dresses, invest in some better fitting drawers! Please!!

Thank you.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

My Left Foot...update

File Under: Blogs are Magical

So last night, I posted about the pain I was experiencing with my left foot and ankle. Also last night, Dan posted about the severe weather headed our way.

We had no severe weather last night, even though it seemed as though we were in for a wild night of storms.

This morning I woke up and my ankle was better. It ached a bit but I didn't run for my boottle of pills. By about 10 this morning, my ankle felt as though nothing had ever been wrong with it.

I think blogging makes things better.

So let me tell you about my sad, empty wallet and my poor little bank account...

Monday, July 7, 2008


File Under: My Left Foot

Perhaps it was the margaritas and purple slushy drinks that caused me to be a bit careless but I don't recall a stumble or misstep during our celebrating Friday night. However, I woke up Saturday morning with pain in my left ankle. I'm used to pain, to a certain extent. I've got ahthritis and disk issues in my lower back. I've got issues with my right wrist (thankfully it's been a while since it has acted up but I have a brace that I wear on it when it's really bothering me). Up until now, I've been okay with my feet. I limped around most of the weekend. I didn't let it keep me down, though it did slow me down.

Today I decided its tendonitis. I'll treat it the way one treats tendonitis (anti-inflamitory pain relievers) and ice and if it's not improved by the end of the week, I'll call the doctor, who will then tell me that I'm doing the right thing but to be patient.

I can't be patient. Anybody who knows me knows how much I like to walk everywhere.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Random Acts of Lunch

File Under: Wieners with friends

So this afternoon I was out and about wandering my neighborhood looking at the pretty sights (boys with shirts off and stuff) and my cell phone rings. It's Luis. He says "Where are you?" Thinking that perhaps they have spotted me I replied that I was walking on Clark street. He replied "turn around, bitch." Low and behold, Dan and Luis were standing about 5 feet from me, both had just gotten out of Dan's car. They were just out wandering around and decided to have some lunch at Huey's, a favorite hotdog/hamburger place in the neighborhood. I decided that sounded good so I walked over with them. Dan bought me lunch. :)

So the discussion came up, do you put ketchup on your hotdog or not? A true Chicago hotdog does not have ketchup on it. Sometimes I will sneak some on one but I generally do not. Do you put ketchup on your hotdog?

After lunch, I went and watched Dan buy shoes and Luis buy shirts. I had a 4 pm appointment for a manicure and pedicure so I bid them farewell.

My nails look very nice and my hands and feet are soft.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Coffee Cake Muffins

Joy commented on my muffins (giggle) so I thought I would share the recipe and give credit where credit is due. I found the recipe on Martha Stewart's website (link above). I was looking for something simple and a recipe that did not contain nuts because Dan doesn't like them. Ironic, huh?

Here's the recipe:

Coffee Cake Muffins
(courtesy Everyday Food)

These moist and flavorful coffee cake muffins can be enjoyed any day of the week.
Prep: 30 minutes Total: 55 minutes

Makes 12 jumbo muffins

1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature plus more for pans
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pans
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sour cream
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
Confectioners' sugar, optional

Prepare streusel topping: In a medium bowl, stir together brown sugar, flour, and salt. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles large coarse crumbs; refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffins: Butter and flour a jumbo 12-cup muffin tin (or two 6-cup muffin tins). In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.

Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together butter, sour cream, granulated sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well combined. With mixer on low, beat flour mixture into butter mixture.

Divide half the batter among prepared muffin cups. Top with half the streusel mixture, then remaining batter, and top with streusel. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with confectioners' sugar, if desired.


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Fall TV Season


I love summer. I enjoy being outdoors, wearing shorts (sometimes without underwear - GASP!), opening the windows and moon roof on my car and playing loud music. Summer only lasts 3 months or so in Chicago. PLEASE STOP REMINDING ME ABOUT THE UPCOMING FALL TV SEASON! Every 15 minutes, the CW Network is running commercials for the return of 90210. It's bad enough they're bringing back the show, but why must they tell us more than 2 months ahead of schedule.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Weekend Full of Pride

File Under: Chicago Pride 2008

The last weekend in the month of June in Chicago is when we have our Gay Pride celebrations. Pride Fest is a street festival held in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood and it happens on Saturday, then on Sunday the big parade is held. I attended both and this is my recap of two fun days worth of events.

Saturday June 28 was a gorgeous day in Chicago. The weather was sunny and warm, with an occasional breeze. I arrived at the festival in time to see the first performer, Kimberly Locke, finish her set. I was surprised at how good she is. She engaged the crowd, was gracious and funny and sounded really good.

Afterwards I wandered a while, taking in the sights and some pizza. I made my way to the other end of the festival and saw the Chicago Spirit Brigade perform. They’re a cheerleading troupe who perform at various events around the city. They raise money for charitable organizations. Someone was dropped but I don’t believe they were injured.

The skies began to change a bit, clouds were forming and the wind was picking up. I wandered back to the first stage and saw Frenchie Davis perform. Some protestors gathered in the parking lot adjacent to the stage. She paused and decided to give them a piece of her mind. The crowd cheered!

A while later, local band Cat Fight took the stage. They were fun but their set was cut short due to RAIN. All of a sudden, the adjacent Whole Foods Market became overrun with wet homosexuals. Since it was the place to be, I went in too. I bought a cup of coffee and wandered the aisles. The storm ended quickly and I ventured back outside. I found my friend Anthony, he and I took pictures for a while. Dan found us and we wandered around for a while until it was time for another local band, Sixteen Candles. They are an 80’s cover band and they’re so much fun.

By the time the day was over, I had heard Martha Wash sing “It’s Raining Men,” saw Tiffany perform some songs I never heard, and watched Martha Wash take pictures with fans. Dan and I then walked home, and my evening ended. I decided to have an early night in anticipation of a busy Sunday.

Martha Wash!

Sunday began beautifully. It was sunny and warm. I met up with Dan and Denise and Ozzie…sitting outside of Dan and Luis’ Uptown residence. Their place was being shown so we had to wait outside. We passed the time just enjoying the weather, playing with the dog and chatting. Tina soon joined us, then Luis. Paul, the owner of Soggy Paws, a business in the building, came outside with his purple dog, Pickles. Mind you, Pickles isn’t always purple, she was just showing her pride. Please note, the product used to dye the dog purple is vegetable based and sold
specifically for pets. We all enjoyed the muffins I brought for us to eat before going to the parade, I just didn’t anticipate eating them while lounging on the sidewalk.

A purple dog, named Pickles!

Coffee Cake Muffins - Delicious!!

Finally we were able to get into the loft, grab our beverages and go. We found our spot and soon the parade began. Typical parade, politicians, great costumes, scantily clad men, dykes on bikes. Similar to the previous day, clouds rolled in and we were soon being rained upon. Some fled, some made the best of the situation and danced. Only then did we notice an exceptionally long pause in the parade, longer than the usual “drag queen broke a heel and we’re waiting for the glue to dry.” As it turned out, someone fell from a float and broke a bone in their foot. Just so happens that Dan and I know this person and we both decided that they should have just dragged her ass to the curb and kept going, or…just kept going. No big loss.

Assorted floats:

Random guy on rollerblades showing his butt.
Random fun with friends:

Luis and Tina
Denise and me
Luis and me

Random cute guys:

Random penis:

Various friends found me in the crowd. Patrick joined us for a bit until he and his crowd had to get Gillian home. Another friend, John found me and we enjoyed the festivities for a bit.

Vince and John


But alas, the weather, the disorganization and the alcohol got the best of us and we decided to call it a day. We packed our bags and Luis folded up his chair and we set off for our next destination, Crew. The five of us ventured north like 5 kids, jumping in puddles and splashing each other as yet another gentle round of rain fell upon us. Finally at our destination, we ordered every appetizer on the menu and we were soon surrounded by cheese sticks, French fries, mini-corn dogs, popcorn chicken and chips and salsa. Fed and feeling satisfied, we all went our separate ways. In all, it was a great day of celebration, rain or shine.
Coming in August - Market Days! Stay tuned.