Oscars

So a few weeks ago Sam and I stopped at the Potrero Safeway to get, I don’t know, milk and avocados and emery boards, and on a lark, I ran into the Radio Shack next door figuring I’d spend $50 on an HDTV antenna because it seemed a rather cheap way to try to get a few HD signals into the house.

Of course, as we walked in the door, I remembered that one needs an HD tuner and not just an antenna. So the antenna sat in its box until a couple of weeks ago, when I ordered—also on a lark—the eyeTV 500. I did this because a) we already had the necessary TV & Dual G5 PowerMac and b) after July of this year, you won’t be able to buy ATSC-to-FireWire converter without draconian “copy protection” hardware in it.

RigI also did all this because months ago, my constant tinkering with our DirectTiVo ended up in a working box that could “dial out” over a network, could be programmed via webpage and was expanded in capacity and speed—except that we could no longer get local channels.

And it’s Oscar night!!!!

So I got the antenna, the eyeTV 500 and the PowerMac G5 set up next to our TV, and now we’re watching the Gay Super Bowl in glorious, glorious HD.

Beyoncé looks even more impossibly beautiful, Robin Williams more cuddly and grizzly, and Annette Benning substantially more elegant as she continues to both glow and resist plastic surgery (you GO, girl!).

I think this HD thing is actually going to catch on! Next up, we’re going to try out the TiVo-like features of the eyeTV 500 and its accompanying software.

We ♥ the Big 

Gbnyc2Knowing that this is going on, Sam and I are hoping to get our asses back to NYC to visit our most beloved friends, especially Jennie, Michael, Crash and Walt, my former next door neighbors Bill & Edgar, and a whole bunch of others.

And linking of Homer, by the way, and thinking of late about Richard, I have to say that I miss being in Tucson every now and again. Last time for me was when we moved Sam here back in June. Homer had posted a picture of the Catalina Mountains and it made me nostalgic for the area’s particular majesty. Maybe we’ll make it back to AZ before my brother and his betrothed move back East from Phoenix.

We’re also talking about going to LA for a party, and several other travel destinations. But hell, if my professional situation changes in ways I’m hoping for, I think most of our plans are kaput.

Oh, well. Here’s to hoping. Maybe Crash, et al will keep a couple of seats warm for us at GB:NY2 just in case?

Update: for those non-Safari folks, here’s what this entry is supposed to look like

Self-acquitting Acquisitive Acquaintances

Northern California is a strange place. Speech is slower, at least a bit, than in other urban areas. The rate of social change is significantly higher in our more rural areas than in other urban areas. Voices are softer, burnished. Talk goes to areas most would deem ‘radical’ with ease, but the gift of directness is an elusive thing.

I have talked often—at at length—about how I’d taken to San Francisco like a fish to water, but there are, of course, aspects of it that elude me. I’m too trenchant, even too brusque, for many here. My expectations, even insistences sometimes, that others cast aside the politesse and just be honest and be candid are serous.

That’s gotten me into big trouble, as one might expect. Gravitas is not always welcomed: I come across as blunt, not direct. I come across as churlish, not candid. I guess too much of my developmental years were spent not in San Francisco, specifically in a more East Coast/Midwest setting.

That’s not an entirely satisfying explanation, either. Perhaps it’s one of those “Is Life too short to put up with shit, or is Life too short to care?” scenarios. I generally come down on the side of not wanting to be the source of that kind of shit, and of generally wanting to keep at a safe distance those who do generate that kind of shit. Maybe it’s an avoidance tactic, but I’m not so sure it is.

I think it’s more of a preventative. It’s about taking care to be a good social citizen, and gathering together with others to provide a sort of nucleation site for good will. And along those lines, it turns out that it’s a pretty good litmus test for gauging friendships. I mean to say, friendships vs. those you just happen to see out and about.

It may seem like a no-brainer, calling this one a friend, and that one merely an acquaintance, but the lines are forcibly smudged here in San Francisco. You meet people you’ve happened to see around a few times at the same times in the same places and a dialog is struck. Pleasantries are exchanged, topics are shallow—it is just at a bar, after all—and a nice time is had by all.

But before you know it, these people are calling you their friend; people are speaking about you in glowingly praising profundities, calling you one of their favorite people.

Uhhhh, what?

Sometimes it feels merely weird; other times it feels forced; still other times it feels like a setup. A setup, as if they’re wrapping up an alterior motive in warm-fuzzies, in wait of some future payoff.

It’s all so tedious, having to set aside the incongruous overtures, having to set aside the quest to uncover the real motives (if any), feeling somewhat a lonely despair that you’re the only one who still remembers the difference between wheat and chaff, between pleasantness and pleasantry, between friendship and base familiarity.

Maybe there’s a quiet desperation that personal worth can only be calculated by external metrics: how many friends do I have, how many people know my name, how many people have I fucked, and so on and so on. Maybe people really are that shallow, or at least only truly comfortable at that lack of depth, that acquaintance and friendship are actually one and the same.

No one is immune from wanting external corroboration at least, most especially myself—I mean, I do have a blog and I am writing here. Different people do have different depths, however, different comfort levels at different depths—and even different comfort zones on the geography of each level. Some of us can resolve the differences, some of us cannot. Some of us choose not to notice the differences.

The vigilance to keep a watch out for the differences isn’t something that can be done fulltime…otherwise, you’d have no time for anything else. So sometimes mistakes are made and the declarations of ‘friendship’ are taken to heart, taken as real. But this comes back, always bites back. That’s an eventuality, a certainty, if friendships (acquaintances?) last for time intervals considered by mammmals to be signficant.

But then again, I suppose, not all mammals are created equal.

There’s a positivity to it all, too: those people who never plant a flag to declare a friendship, whose first utterance of friendship is one of cognizant of an existing truth instead of predictive. Those are the people who value what they already have instead of—or yes, in addition to—despairing over what they may not yet have. Those are the people who make sure you know you can count on them, instead of just assuming they can count on you. Those are the people who are there for you and not just there around you.

Those are the people who talk less and say far, far more.

Those are the only people who I call Friend.

Golden Gate & Tank Hill

Allen's TreeToday was fucking cool. Started off not so great, arguments—old ones—and sullen moments and silent moments, but a nice day and our natural affinity for one another won out. We spent the whole day together, starting off with walking around Golden Gate Park, through the Fern Tree Grove, through the AIDS Memorial Grove. Allen’s tree is there. Back in July of 1996, a year after Allen died, I sponsored a Workday in his name. I was one of two people who had sponsored the day, and after several hours of uprooting cyprus seedlings and blackberry brambles around what is now the western end of the Grove’s Meadow, there was a little ceremony where we planted a seven-foot redwood tree in Allen’s name. I was still in a funk during that Workday, and come to think of it, it was a day much like today. Though since it was July, it was much colder than our February spectacle today. His tree now stands three times taller.

There was a Parks maintenance vehicle right near the Grove’s Circle of Friends monument, and Sam suggested playfully that we steal it. I laughed, said no, then went quiet again. I commented to Sam that this grove was the only real church for which I still had any natural or instinctive sense of the sacred.

Sany0033-3“So I guess I shouldn’t talk about us going into the bushes to do it, huh?” Sam asked.

I laughed again, told him that I thought the place wasn’t so much about being quiet and solemn as it was about still being alive to enjoy it, “so, it’s ok to talk about that kind of stuff.”

Sam wrapped his arms around me and we kissed. Ok, ok, we made out.

We did that a lot today…in the Fern Tree Grove, near a pond. Near the Conservatory. On JFK Drive. Later on top of Tank Hill.

We drove around Golden Gate Park for a while, then headed over towards Parnassus Heights, because it snows there every year, around this time of year, for a couple of days. We were a few days early, though.

I wanted Sam to see a few different houses that I’ve always loved, and we ended up above Cole Valley at the end of Belgrave Street. That’s when we discovered Tankhill Park. Who knew it was even there?

It was good to have found it together; together is good, whether in the park this afternoon, or greased up like pigs going at it in the shower this evening.

Sany0040-2

Bitchiest Show Ever!

Tonight I randomly caught the show called Project Runway.

OH
MY
GODDESS
(that bitch)

Forget Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and even Queer Eye for the Straight Girl, this is the show that makes the Bravo Channel the gayest network EVER.

Watch a bunch of fashion designers try to work together, all the while bitching about the lack of leadership qualities in the designated-for-the-week leader. Cut to the fashion show segment. Watch the one woman be honest and complain about the leader’s lack of, well, leadership.

Watch the rest of those bitches leave her twisting in the wind by being spineless and saying nice things about the leader.

Truth: the complainer was spot-on. Truth: the leader wasn’t one. Truth: the palace intrigue of it all was faaaaabulous

Oh, and one of the guys on there, Jay, is from my home town of Dallas, PA.

You bet your ass I added a Season Pass to the TiVo for this one.

WWPRS?

Pat Robertson has the Ear of God. ‘This is notable!’ one might say. But plenty of people on the sunset-side of the American political day seem lay claim to God being on their side of the cosmic dodge ball team.

And God speaks back, apparently. But shhhhhh! It’s a secret! Like the US getting messages to Iran through Jordan, or relying on the Swiss or the Canadians to pass notes around in class the world, apparently God won’t just ring someone up on the phone to tell him. She, apparently, is a big fan of Pictionary, or even good old fashioned charades.

This is all well and good. Perhaps God’s Direct Voice isn’t bearable to human ears, like in Dogma when Alanis Morisette unhinges her jaw and the most torturesome sound comes out. [Word has it that that was Alanis’ own unadulterated voice—Eds.] Maybe on the off1,000,000,000,000 chance that there is a god who takes precious time away from her cosmic badminton games to talk to her zoo creatures, maybe being so circumspect and introducing so many degrees of freedom in interpreting her words is her way of testing the good-faith of her followers.

So where is Pat Robertson when it comes to Phucket Island and the 25,000+ dead? Did god punish them for being non-christian? Or maybe the name of their island, like condoms, just encourages young people to fornicate?

And where is he on Reggie White’s death? Punishment for saying awful, categorical things about his fellow human beings?

Say what you will about the capital-A Atheists (who, in my opinion, are just as crazy-dogmatic as their theist counterparts), but you won’t find them doing any teleological finger-pointing.

Give the Ear back, Pat.

The Gays #001

to DIE forThere’s always been gaydar. I think the straight folks who either can’t learn it (Christian Extremism and voting Republican are in that same locus) or won’t learn it (irony-impairment travels on the same gene) treat gaydar with the same kind of paranoia that makes people go to Epcot instead of going to the real countries.

It used to be that you could get around this ghastly lack by singing “Clang! Clang! Clang!” to a potential Matachine and if they respond with “Went the Trolley”, well, you have a bonafide (hehe, I said ‘bone’) homosexual on your hands (so to speak). But that’s an old song that most people probably don’t even know anymore.

There is a new hope, however: The KitchenAid Stand Mixer.

Got one? Then you’re a Big Ol’ ‘Mo. Sorry, you just are.

Bed Bath Beyond

We never made it to the second floor and still spent over $800. It would have been $900 if we didn’t have a coupon.

Sam gasped at the checkout when the total appeared, but I leaned over to him and said, “These are heritage purchases.” Which is supposed to mean something you keep for a thousand years, like a good old well-seasoned cast-iron skillet that you pass on to someone else. I just take it to mean, “how I make myself feel better about a $200 food processor”.

Seriously, it feels good to buy stuff together that’s meant to last a long time. Awwwwww.

I’ve never bought my own pots and pans—inherited those from Allen. Never bought my own flatware—gift from Mom and Dad one year. I’m a gadget geek in the kitchen, too, but Sam talked me out of one of those 500 HP KitchenAid standing mixers.

Next time, for sure.

The Fine Art of Outing

Like a lot of things that the stolid, staid, “moral values” sheep voters find “icky”, the concept of outing (as gay) has been taken from its original concept and perverted into something that serves both their xenophobia and their “compassionate” conservatism.

Michelangelo Signorile is largely—and rightly—credited with bringing the concept of outing into the mainstream. Since then, of course, the perception of what it is, what it was meant to be, has become something else. Something that has caused divisions even among gay people.

I think it’s time again to remind people what outing is all about. In a world where we know too much about Britney’s corroborative efforts towards straight marriage and see far too much of Tara Reid’s plastic surgery scars and hear far too much of John Ashcroft’s chanteusing, people still screed “respect their privacy!” when it comes to homosex.

And by ‘people’, I don’t mean “also journalists”, I mean especially journalists! This is exactly the beef that Mike Signorile had with the supposed objectivity of journalism and other news reporting: the double-standard when it came to homosexuality.

Anyone remember Malcolm Forbes? Anyone remember his place in the History of Outing? I’m not going to launch into an entire history here, because you can check that out in the bio at Mike’s site. And while I have every confidence that Mike’s take is accurate, go google it and read more. Here’s a relevant quote:

Signorile contended throughout that time that the homosexuality of public figures — and only public figures - should be reported on when relevant to a larger story (and only when relevant).

That’s it, folks. That’s what outing is all about. It’s a call for journalistic integrity. It’s about ethics. Many might consider integrity and ethics dead concepts, especially in the media and even moreso in the proliferation of Bread and Circuses blogs, but I don’t. Even though ethics rarely wins over making a buck and even though integrity never makes the headlines, what do we have if we don’t have those?

So in any case where a public person’s sexuality is relevant to a story, that person’s sexuality, priorly openly stated or not, should be reported. And if I have anything to say about it (and I do, from this modest-sized podium, at least), it will.

So when you hear of Congress members talking about abridging my rights, implying that I am less and that people like me are less because we’re gay, well, how much more relevant can you get?

I welcome the return of outing. Thank you, Mike, for drawing that line in the sand 14 years ago.