Monday, February 28, 2005

Don't Mind Me. I'm Just Horny.

Steve holds a special place in my gay heart: his was the first adult video I ever purchased. My friend Dig-Doug and I had decided to celebrate my 26th birthday in West Hollywood, playing pool at Trunks and watching all the twinks and muscled hotties dancing away at Mickey's. Before we reached the bars, though, Dig-Doug wanted to take a small detour to buy some gay porn at a little shop he'd heard of called Circus of Books. I'd never been in an adult video store before and thought it would be an interesting experience just to look around to see what they had to offer. Not that I would ever buy anything.

We turned off Santa Monica Blvd. onto a side street and tried to look casual as we walked into the shop. The main section of the store was a bit cramped with many bookshelves and magazine racks. To my surprise, they were selling a pretty good selection of novels by Edmund White, Fannie Flagg, Alice Walker, Truman Capote and other well known authors. Some shelves held the large pciture books from Mapplethorpe and Bianchi and Tom of Finland; the magazine racks offered everything from GQ and The Advocate to Honcho, Advocate Men and an assortment of lesbian, gay, transgender, S&M and others. I picked up a copy of Tales of the City, and then Dig-Doug pointed to the gray swinging doors, said he would see me in a little while, and disappeared behind them. I stood for a moment, reading the red warning signs about how you must be over this age to enter that room.

My curiosity was piqued. From movies and TV shows, my image of what lay beyond those doors consisted of black walls with gaudy disco lights and a fat, wrinkled woman with too much rouge and lipstick half-smoking a ratty cigarette and sitting behind a counter, making disguting lecherous looks at the nervous men who half-heartedly looked at the shelves in an effort to hide their true cruising intent. I hesitated, watching as a few more men quickly pushed through the swinging doors before finally forcing myself follow them. The room turned out to be very cramped with shelves full of VHS tapes as far as the eye could see. Male, female, big breasts, big cocks, leather, cops, twinks, bondage, dominatrix, transvestite, transgender - videos of every flavor and style imaginable. Boxes of condoms, lube, dildoes of every size and color imaginable, dozens of handkercheifs, playing cards, matches, assorted toys and jewelry were displayed on racks and in glass cabinets near the front counters. I walked around in a daze, amazed at what I was seeing, pulling out a video and quickly shoving it back with a shocked expression on my face. Sometime later, I stood in front of the solo videos and randomly pulled one out, wondering if I would see some guy on the front sucking himself off. Instead, the cover showed a very handsome man, broad shoulders, hairy chest, great body, short dark hair, moustache and scruffy. The photo was only from the waist up, but I think I fell in lust at that very moment. Here was the very picture of my ultimate fantasy man, and his name was Steve Kelso. I stiffly hurried to the front counter and paid for the tape - my first-ever porn video! I proudly showed the tape to Dig-Doug when we returned to his car. He was impressed, and even dared to ask if he could borrow it sometime. I've never felt so gay in my life!!

Saturday, February 26, 2005


CS and I decided to fit one more movie into our Viewed List before the Academy Awards this Sunday. The movie of choice this time was one that's been receiving many accolades and great reviews from both audiences and critics: Sideways.

We had originally decided to see the movie in Long Beach, but thanks to clients calling at the last minute and the parking lot that is Adams Ave., I didn't make it home until 5:45. CS left his house in La Habra close to 4:45, but had only made it as far as Knott's Berry Farm by 5: 30 (according to his voicemail). A quick call, an internet search, and the venue changed to one just up the street from my house. We met at the theater and walked across the street to Woody's Diner, a neat little restaurant all gussied up to look straight out of the 1950s. Vinyl upholstery, black and white checkerboard linoleum, '50s surf memorabilia on the walls and a juke box on each table. The food was standard diner fare - burgers, shakes, French fries, etc. - and turned out to be pretty good for the price.

We downed our food and hurried across the street with about 15 minutes to spare. The theater is a throwback to the '80s with floor-to-ceiling mirrors on every wall in the lobby, dark wood paneling when they ran out of mirrors, neon lights, and that tacky, worn technicolor carpeting. The walls of our specific theater were draped in moth-eaten dark red curtains that hadn't been replaced since Reagan was in office. Sticky floors, seats that had lost their padding over the many years - some even with graffiti scrawled on the wooden backs - a movie screen that had been patched up instead of replaced, and many tiles missing from the ceiling. This was one of the few times that I wished I'd taken one of those Waxie covers from the men's room to place on the seat before watching the movie.

As for the movie itself, I don't understand all the hype. The four main actors - Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Sandra Oh and Virginia Madsen - are all good, but I found the movie merely pleasant. Two guys traveling through the Wine Country supposedly for one last week of freedom before Church's character marries. Sounds like something that's been done over and over before. The film had its funny moments, like Giamatti's character sneaking into a house to retrieve a wallet, but it seemed uneven. I never really got into it. In fact, it seemed more like an ABC Movie of the Week. I'm having a difficult time understanding why it was nominated for Best Picture; it's definitely the dark horse candidate, in my opinion. So many other movies were deserving of a nod for Best Picture: Hotel Rwanda, The Incredibles, The Motorcycle Diaries, A Very Long Engagement; I will never understand the movie industry.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

A Code in By Node

I just want this to go away!!! Why haven't they invented a machine that vacuums all the snot from your head? Shove it in; suck it out. All in the name of clear sinuses. Works for me. In the meantime, I need to play catch-up with what's been happening.

** On Sunday, I guess I slept through the tornado that dropped in on Huntington Beach. My parents called to make sure I was okay, but I knew nothing of it. Apparently, a waterspout appeared in the ocean by the Pier and touched land near 14th St., roughly half a mile from my house. A few trees were felled but no serious damage to homes.
** CS and I caught another Oscar-nominated film: Being Julia starring Annette Bening. This is definitely a vehicle for Ms. Bening who performs the role of Julia Lambert, aging stage actress in the 1920's, with a wicked sense of fun and humor. For the most part, it's a costume drama about a popular British stage actress wanting to take a break from it all. Her husband and theater partner will hear nothing of it so she decides to have a little fling with a handsome young American. After a while, she discovers that the American has just been using her so she finds a wickedly funny way to get even. A fantastic performance from Bening and equally good performances by Jeremy Irons, Shaun Evans and Michael Gambon.

** Monday found me back in the office after a much-needed break, albeit due to illness. I managed to get back to speed with payroll and most of the outstanding reports. I admit is was a bit eerie driving home from work with both sunshine and rain at the same time. Blue sky overhead, sun beating down on my car, and heavy rain spattering on my windshield and roof. The rainbow was a nice touch, though.

** Tuesday, I was very glad to be indoors. The deluge of rain was almost non-stop, and at times, when looking out the window, it appeared to be snowing. I've never seen nor heard rain pounding that hard in my life!

** The Pope believes that I'm evil. Let's not go into the church's lack of concern about the increasing divorce rate, their need to hide priests who sexually abuse children, the Inquisition, and the combining of fabrics made from different materials. I would like to direct the Pope to this link which discusses homosexuality and The Bible. I find it enlightening.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Meeting the Man, pt. II

When is it appropriate to call someone to whom you're attracted after he gives you his phone number? Is the next day too soon? If you wait a few days, will he think you're not interested? I didn't call Friend right away. Most of Saturday was spent running errands, doing laundry and cleaning the house, but his business card glared at me from beside the phone. A few times, I actually picked up the phone with fingers poised above the numbers yet I always set the phone back in it's charger before doing anything. CS checked in once wanting to know if I'd called him yet, and I promised him that I would before too long.

Then, I did everything but call. I watched Portrait of Jennie on TCM, a few of my favorite home improvement shows - can't get enough of Evan Farmer - and even read a little. Anything to occupy my time while deciding wether to call or not. At 6:30 PM , I finally threw caution to the wind and called Friend.

He sounded a little surprised but happy that I called. We talked for a bit, with only a few awkward silences, and then he asked if I would like to come over to his house to watch a DVD. His sister and our friend LittleJ were there already so the more, the merrier. I jotted down the directions, took a quick shower and sped to his place, filled with a happy nervousness. It'd been a while since an attractive man invited me over to his place, even if we weren't going to be alone. I'm pretty sure I was smiling as I cruised East on the 22. Friend bought his house in Orange near what's known as The Circle. It's a roundabout at the heart of old Orange, hidden amongst all the classic bungalow-style homes from the 1920's and some newer buildings and shops. His house happened to be a one-story bungalow style built around 1922 and had two porches, hardwood floors and trim, a good-sized kitchen and bedrooms, and a huge living room that also served as part of the dining room. The place was decorated with everything Coca-Cola and Anaheim Angels you could think of: lamps, bobble heads, puzzles, pennants, and on and on. When I arrived, everyone was seated around the table, drinking beer and munching on cookies and candies. His sister invited me to join them, and so I pulled up a chair and just kind of sat there. Friend gave me a quick hug hello, then kept popping between the kitchen and the living room, talking on his cell. The rest of us kept up with some small talk, mostly with me listening in and being asked he occasional question about myself. Friend sat down eventually to join in. I asked a few questoins, wanting to get to know him a bit more than just the great kisser at the bar from last night, but he gave short answrs and moved on to something else quickly. He never really looked at me either while we were talking. So I just piped into the conversation whenever it seemed necessary.

After an hour of this, Friend said he was going to get some more beer and chips and asked LittleJ and I to join him. We walked to the gas station on the corner and came back with three or four different types of chips, some sour cream, bean dip, an Arizona Green Tea for me, and a 12-pack of something. LittleJ and Friend talked quite a bit about the Angels Fan Fest happening the next day and who was going, who was taking care of the kids, etc. As we approached the house, I could see Friend's sister through the open side door smoking from the glass tube that I'd missed earlier. You could smell it as we drew closer, and what surprised me was she did it with the door wide open, where anyone could look in and see her. I didn't say anything about it, even after Friend picked it up and toked a bit in front of the door. Sister told me that's what they like to do with their time off. Umm...yeah. No one offered any to me, which was fine as I haven't used any since college and hadn't planned to in the near future. The music became much, much louder, and the conversation continued with Friend still barely including me in it. I'd been at his house for three hours wondering what the hell I was doing there when Friend finally suggested we watch the movie. He ran over to the DVD player, popped in Shark Tale, and led me to the sofa. We sat and watched the movie, nothing else. He focused his attention on the movie, and even moved his leg if mine accidently brushed against his. I think as far as he was concerned, I wasn't in the room. I enjoyed the movie but couldn't wait until it was over so I could go home. I made my goodbyes and to my surprise, he planted another full, deep kiss on me then walked me to my car. He asked me to call him again; I just kind of smiled and got into my car. And haven't called 1) because bronchitis knocked me for a loop starting on Monday and 2) because I really didn't get the impression that he was attracted to me. I felt ignored, uncomfortable and out of place the entire night. He didn't even try to get to know anything about me. I don't think he even knows my last name.

I think I'm going to pass.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Meeting the Man

Last Wednesday, my friends CS, RG and I decided to have a Boys' Night Out on Friday as kind of an anti-Valentine's celebration. We decided on dinner at the Laguna Beach Brewery followed by our favorite Diva at Main Street. On Thursday night, CS called me at home to tell me that he'd invited LittleJ, a friend of ours from The Center, and that he was inviting a Friend of his. I didn't see any problem with this - themor the merrier, as they say. Then, CS started to recite his stats to me, which I thought a little strange: 35, single after an 8-year realtionship*, owns his own house, about 5'11", hispanic, good shape, likes hairy white guys. **cue alarm going off in brain** This had to be a first; my friends had never before wanted to introduce me to anyone as a potential date. I mean, I'd heard about it being done before, seen it on TV shows, read it in books, but.... A big grin spread across my face as I talked with CS, and I decided to gowith the flow, not to hang any big expectations on anything.

Friday night rolled around, or pours in thanks to the downpour, and CS and RG met at my office. We carpooled down, knowing that parking would be at a premium on a Friday night. We still managed to make it to Laguna early and roamed around some of the artsy shops before heading for The Brewery. LittleJ and his Friend were to meet us at 7 so we found a table for five and waited. And waited. And waited. Fortunately, the restaurant tables are topped with butcher paper, and the waiter leaves a jar of crayons on each table. We drew pictures, played games, even joked about the time RG left his phone number scribbled on the table for our cute waiter. LittleJ and his Friend arrived around 8 PM and scooted into their places at the table after a quick round of introductions, and I must say, Friend was damn fine! Beautiful dark eyes, a hint of a goatee and moustache, and then he removed his jacket.... Arms and chest.... mmm.... If I were a Southern Belle, I would have swooned, claiming a fit of the vapors. He didn't talk much, but I think that was due to the music being cranked up to about "ear-bleeding" around 8:30. We asked to have it turned down, to no avail. There would be plenty of time for chatting, though, once we hit Main Street.

I didn't think it possible, but the rain seemed to increase while we were eating. We ran to our cars, and in the space of a few minutes, I must have been drenched clear down to my undies. CS dropped RG and I off in front next to Main Street, where we waited for him to find a spot and for LittleJ and Friend to arrive. Moments later, and soaking wet, we found ourselves listening to the dulcet tones of Ms. Karen Cobb inside the warm confines of the bar. Friend, LittleJ and CS ordered drinks at the bar while RG and I found a table in the corner. RG mentioned how hot Friend was and asked what I thought; I agreed most definitely. For most of the night, Friend and I talked to one another, but the music was too loud so he would constatnly lean in to speak directly into my ear. Can I just tell you how arousing it is when a gorgeous man with a deep, sexy voice, places a hand on your shoulder and leans in close to say something, and you feel his bodyheat and the faint scruff of his goatee brushing against your ear? We talked a bit about music, the Anaheim Angels, his house, and a little about his past relationship (he brought it up, not me) - mostly small talk. He seemed a bit restless, though, and when I returned from the bathroom, he was over at the bar talking to someone else. Then, hugging him and giving him a shoulder rub. I chalked it up to him not being interested, but CS and RG said that he was definitely interested as he was only talking to me for most of the night. Eh, whatever. We requested songs, sang along and talked a bit with Karen (the diva) until about 1 AM. I found Friend at the other end of the bar giving another back rub and told him that we were calling it a night. He followed me back to the group and as we were saying good night, he kept his arm around my waist, hand gently cupping my right cheek and gave me an unexpectedly long, deep, full kiss. He still held on for a while afterwards and handed me his card, saying that he would like to see me again. I took the card and told him I would call, then he kissed me again, this time rubbing his hand along my back.

For almost an hour, he showed no signs of interest and was, in fact, giving backrubs to others at the bar. Now he hands me his card and plants a couple of very nice kisses on me. Huh? I was confused and said as much to CS and RG in the car - before RG passed out - and they assured me that Friend really was interested in me. Well, I found him incredibly attractive, he has a job, a car, his own house so what's not to like? I threw caution to the wind and decided to call him the next day.

* = I misstyped this. He's been single for 1-1/2 years after an 8-year relationship. (2/22/05 GC)

Thursday, February 17, 2005


So the doctor thinks that the round of antibiotics I took for the diverticulitis weakened my immune system enough to allow bronchitis to sneak in and to wreak havoc. She prescribed yet another antibiotic but also a probiotic - Multidophilus. This little pill contains the helpful bacteria that antibiotics kill and that your stomach needs to break down foods and to help fight disease. She also prescribed liquid chlorophyll to clean my digestive tract. Sometimes I feel like a walking pharmacy. When I'm back up to speed, I'll write about the man to whom I was introduced last Friday by my friends as potential dating material. Until then, it's back to the couch and some chicken soup.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Mickey Mouse à la Sir Elton John

Mickey Mouse à la Sir Elton John
Originally uploaded by mrgregoc.

Well, I'm sick again. This time it's a pretty strong cold so I'm trying to meet with my Dr. today. Hopefully, after the visit, my day will be filled with sleeping on the couch, sleeping on the bed, the occasional snack or food substance followed with more sleep.

In the meantime, clicking here will take you to all the photos I finally had developed of the 75 Years of Mickey Celebration. Fiberglass statues of the Mouse are scattered throughout Disney's California Adventure, each designed by a TV, movie or business personality. Eventually, they will be auctioned off with monies going to various charities. So have a looksee. Hope you enjoy! I think I'll go lie down now....

Friday, February 11, 2005

The Specialist

Yesterday was my first visit with the gastroenterologist, a nice enough man who spoke very quickly and with a Persian accent thick enough to cut with a knife. I felt embarrassed asking him to repeat things, but I wanted to make sure I understood what was happening. We started with a complete history of what happened, what I'd been doing (eating, exercising, etc.), and changes in bowel movements since the diagnosis. I then laid on the exam table, and he pressed my lower left abdomen, feeling around for any hardness or oddities. He said that he didn't feel anything out of the ordinary but agreed with my primary doctor that I should have the colonoscopy. Diverticulitis can occur in anyone, but it doesn't appear that often in someone of my age so he wants to make sure that nothing else is happening inside. In one month's time, I return to his office for the details regarding the procedure and the special liquids and cleansing supplies (i.e., Fleet enemas) I'm going to need. Happy happy joy joy.
Later in the evening, I called my friend CS, and we drove to Long Beach to see Vera Drake, one of the films up for a few Academy Awards. The film tells the story of a woman in 1950s London who leads a seemingly nondescript life of paid housekeeping and taking care of her family. Unbeknownst to her family, she also performs illegal abortions, not accepting money for her work because she feels that the girls have nowhere else to turn and that she is truly helping them. It's definitely not a movie for everyone, but if you want to see one of the best performances of the year, then you must see it. Imelda Staunton's performance as Vera is understated and brilliant, especially when she learns about one of the young women she's helped. Within the space of a few moments, you see her spirit break, and she ages right before your eyes. Simply remarkable. The entire cast performs wonderfully under the direction of Mike Leigh, who allows the actors to ad-lib quite a bit of their parts, making it seem more real to the audience. Well, to me, anyway.

And that's that. A good report from the doctor followed by a fantastic film. Why can't there be more evenings like this?

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

"Belly Up to the Bar, Boys!"*
A few days ago, someone wrote a post describing a man by the type of cocktail he drinks. I found it interesting and asked in the comments about those of us who don't drink, how would we be classified. Most people ignored the question, but to my surprise, a few of the respondents gave the impression that non-drinkers are either not to be trusted or are not really gay at all. WTF?!
***slipping into Sophia mode***

Picture it: Humboldt State University. Spring 1989. My freshman year, our floor used to be one of the most popular in the dorms so it wasn't unusual to find young men and women, drunk off their asses, staggering down the hallway and shouting at the top of their lungs at 2 AM Sunday morning. I didn't have much experience drinking but wanted to fit in so I partied like the rest of them. Everclear jello shots. Wine coolers. Beer bongs. Oh Fuck punch. If it was offered to me, I drank it. One Saturday night during the Spring semester, my roommate and I were invited to a party on the women's floor below ours. Around 10 PM, we wandered down to the women's suite with a 12-pack and joined the fun. I was still inwardly questioning my sexuality and had a huge crush on my roommate so I grabbed a beer and roamed around the room, trying to look casual as I kept an eye on what my roommate was doing. An hour later, I found myself seated in front of a fairly nice young woman who was giving me a back rub. As I sat there, eyes half closed with pleasure, one of the women from the suite handed me a huge blue tumbler filled with chocolate ice cream. She then produced a bottle of peppermint schnapps from somewhere and poured its enitre contents into the tumbler. "Drink up!" she said, and I obliged, finishing the entire drink in less than 10 minutes. After that, the night became somewhat hazy and disjointed. I remember the Backrub Girl and I wandering around the school's stadium in the fog, fooling around on the pole vaulting mat, then her screaming that she was leaving town as I shouted after her along the foot bridge crossing the highway. Everything else is black. I woke up wearing soaking wet clothes and seated in the dorm's washing machine. No one would tell me what happened, just snicker whenever I walked past. I must have said something to my roommate about my crush on him because he started avoiding me and our room. We hardly ever saw or spoke to one another the rest of the semester.

I didn't like the fact that I had lost so much control and couldn't remember much of anything that happened. The way others treated me after that night made me feel even more like a pariah; whether or not my roommate said anything about what I had said, I still don't know, but our mutual friends no longer talked to me. I told myself that I would never let anything like that happen again, and while I didn't vow to give up alcohol completely,I did drastically cut down on the amount of partying I did. Eventually, I did stop drinking, except on special occasions like New Years.

After coming out, I found that at gay bars, there was a stigma associated with not drinking so I would try to disguise my sodas or water with a lime wedge or pour it into one of my friend's empty beer bottles. Nowadays, my taste for alcohol has waned. I can stomach it, but the aftertaste is almost as bad as that of the meds I just finished. It's taken a while, but when I go the a bar now, I have no problem ordering a bottle of water, sitting back and chatting with my friends or watching a go-go dancer as I drink. Sure, I get funny looks from the other patrons and no one offers to buy me a drink, but I've gotten past that.

Or at least, I thought I had. I still don't understand why not drinking has such a negativity attached to it.

* song title from The Unsinkable Molly Brown

Sunday, February 06, 2005

"We love you, Conrad!"

I finished the antibiotics. Every time my sides ache, though, I keep wondering if the meds are wearing off. Are my intestines just playing a game of bait-and-switch, allowing me to feel on the verge of normalcy only to force some gas through making me wince a bit? Maybe it's just a side effect of the meds, and my innards really are okay. But, I must wait until Thursday to find out what the gastroenterologist has to say. And yes, I am nervous about it even though this visit is just to determine whether or not I need the colonoscopy. The thought of having a camera shoved up my ass isn't a comforting one.

To get my mind off my worries, CS and I attended a local theater group's staging of Bye Bye Birdie yesterday afternoon at the Huntington Beach Playhouse. The musical is a campy look at '50s rockstar idol worship (specifically a spoof on Elvis). Rockstar Conrad Birdie has been drafted into the Army thereby running his record label out of business - no star, no money. Albert Perterson who runs the Almaelou Music Company is up in arms, but his secretary Rose feels that this is the best thing to happen to the company. Maybe Albert will now go back to college to get his English degree and then they can marry. When Albert tells her that he has no way of giving Conrad the money he will be owed per their contract, Rose comes up with an idea: have Conrad give his last kiss as a civilian to a member of his fan club live on The Ed Sullivan Show.

The company gave a wonderful performance full of great voices, good choreography (for a local production) and very comic acting. I laughed so hard at times that I was in tears. And, I'd almost forgotten that I knew some of the music, like One Boy and Put on a Happy Face. What was even more interesting, though, were some of the audience members. About two rows behind us sat a group of 8 elderly women in purple dresses/outfits and red hats, all members of the local chapter of The Red Hat Society. They were a fun group, singing along with the cast and laughing the loudest of anyone in the audience.

Afterwards, CS and I drove to Long Beach for dinner at Hamburger Mary's and for their monthly Bingo night. Good food, tons of eye candy, dozens of drag queens, and CS won a $10 bar tab! I think the highlight of the evening, though, was the rather tall, hunky gentleman wearing a white t-shirt emblazoned with a red rooster sporting the letters BIG. Everyone went gaga over him. Well, he was handsome. And a fireman.

I will admit to having some pleasant dreams last night....

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Follow Up

My appointment was scheduled for 9:30 this morning, but knowing how relative time is to waiting at the doctor's office, I managed to read 70 pages of my book before he came in to check my stomach. I haven't had any sort of fever (good sign) and the tenderness has dissipated, but the doctor still felt something hard in my left abdomen so he referred me to a gastroenterologist next Thursday. The doctor discussed my having a colonoscopy to determine if there were any scar tissue or anything that would require surgery. **gulp!**

So I asked about the surgery. He told me about the two types associated with diverticulitis. The first is called a Primary Bowel Resection in which the diseased portion of the colon is removed and then reconnected in a process known as anastomosis. This is the main type of surgery, used for very minor cases in order to prevent further recurrence. The second - and what I consider the worse of the two - is a Bowel Resection with Colostomy. This one is reserved for the very severe cases and, as with the first, requires removal of the dieseased section of colon. Instead of re-attaching the colon ends, though, one end is re-directed through a stoma, or opening, that the surgeon creates in your abdominal wall which is connected to a bag outside your body. I blanched at that, but then he said something worse: the bag is normally in place for 6 months. On rare occasions, it's permanent.

I had to ask. Well, I guess it's better to know now in the off chance it should come to that.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Thank you!

I just wanted to write a quick Thank you for all the nice comments re: my tummy troubles. I'm following up with the doc tomorrow and should know what the future lies in store by the afternoon. In the meantime, since I'm not supposed to eat nuts anymore - a gay man who can't have nuts! - I want each and every one of you to purchase some chocolate-covered macadamia nuts and to eat them in my honor. Savor those nuts!