August 31, 2006

Oh Canada

Who knew the best weather of the trip would be in Toronto? It's spectacluar here. The moose and beavers are frolicking, the lumberjacks are shirtless and the Canadian Mounties are oh so willing to be mounted.

Hopefully it'll hold out for the wedding on Sunday.

Typical first night at Mother Young's last night ... the usual suspects drinking the usual margaritas reminiscing over the usual stories while going through cartons of the usual DuMauriers In bed by 4am. Reconnected with AC after how many years? *sigh* It's all good.

Same old same old ...

August 29, 2006

Tuesday 200 - #8

“I have some bad news,” I said to my groggy sister. It was early in Vegas, but I’d waited as long as I could before waking her up. I was babysitting her kids while she and her new husband were honeymooning.

Specific instructions had been left. Keep the door to her 8-year-old’s room closed to avoid any cat-eats-gerbil drama.

“What happened?” she asked.

“I think Gerbie’s a goner.” I’d heard a crash and saw the cat fly down the stairs, something in its mouth. “The Habitrail’s on the floor. Empty.”

“Where’s the corpse?”

That was another problem. No evidence of the crime. The cat had hid her would-be lunch in the basement.

I was told, in no uncertain terms, rodent remains in the cellar were unacceptable. I had to find Gerbie, and then tell Max the news when he got home.

“I’m so not qualified for pre-teen grief counseling. Can’t I just go to Pet Smart and get a new one?”

“Nope. It only had half a tail. Even if you found one the right color and amputated, it wouldn’t heal in time.”

“I’m fucked.”

“Yup, but not as bad as Gerbie. Now get to work,” she said.


:: :: ::

Last week's Tuesday 200.

Tell Nine People

Last time I was here I saw The Drowsy Chaperone and, you may remember, totally fell in love with it. It was fresh, funny, original and made me laugh till I cried. I’m still not sure if it was the monkey or the pedestal, but I sorta fell in love.

Last night, four new stalkees stole my heart. And, oddly enough, they sang about monkeys too. Doth a pattern emerge?

I would like to give Hunter Bell, Jeff Bowen, Susan Blackwell and Heidi Blickenstaff a big hug. I think I’d like to give Jeff more than a hug, but that’s a procrasturbation fantasy I’ll keep to myself for the time being.

A couple months ago, MAK sent me an email that said something to the effect of “come home right this minute and see [title of show]

Last month, on the boat, I was talking with Bob and he told me how much he loved it.

It’s just so good. Not only is it witty, warm and wise … it’s a wee bit inspirational. It make me want to do push ups (did you see Jeff’s chest?). It makes me want to kill my vampires and be more creative. It reminds me that if you just sit down and let the monkeys drive the speed boat, good stuff can happen along with the bad.

Don't you just hate it when a review steals all the show's material and makes it indecipherable to anyone who hasn't seen it? Tough. If you're near NY, go see it. If not, go buy the OCR.

The show rings especially true for anybody who's ever tried to be creative ... in theatre or otherwise. And it's a completely enjoyable way to be reminded of the process.

Well done to the cast and creators. Each of you are just adorable. When you’re done at The Vineyard, let’s bring y’all to London.

“I’d rather be 9 people’s favorite than 100 people’s 9th favorite.”


August 28, 2006

Karr's Story Out of Gas?

So the JonBenet guy isn't the JonBenet guy.

Do you reckon he just wanted a free flight back to the States?

What a waste of time, money, and media coverage. I guess everyone can go back to covering the Middle East. Or Euan Blair's belly.

Live, From New York ...

Yesterday's journey was perhaps the easiest international flight I've had in the last 7 years. If the rest of this week's flights go half as easily, I'll be a lucky, lucky boy.

I didn't think that there'd be much of a problem at LHR, especially given that it was very early on a Bank Holiday Sunday. Security was a breeze and then we hung out in the Admiral's Club, which (if I can get all Tyler Brulé for a minute and crawl up my own ass), pretty much a much sucks compared to the BA Executive Club lounge.

... and we digress ...

Does anybody read Tyler’s column in the Weekend FT? Missy’s getting awfully pre.ten.tious of late. Although his call on Flat White was right on the money.


Anyway, we made it to the gate in plenty of time and didn’t have to go through the secondary screening. We played “find the air marshal” but were unsuccessful. I’m still convinced it was one of the three Orthodox Jews (it'd be an excellent cover, no?) who asked if they could board the plane early for their morning prayers.

The bemused gate attendant’s answer was concise. “Not a chance.”

So they headed to the wall, as if they were kindergartners told to stand in the naughty corner. They paced and rocked, wrapped their arms in tefillins, donned shawls, and went about their ritual.

I wonder if Southern Baptists holding a mini pre-flight revival would be equally undisturbed.

At least one family in the lounge had clearly not seen such a practice. Mouths agape, they couldn't draw their attention back to their previously compelling Sudoku books.

I leaned over to one of the curious kids while the old man was binding his upper arm and whispered, "keep watching, once his vein pops he'll take a nice injection of heroin. But it's for Jehovah, so it's cool."

And that was the only excitement. No turbulance, decent food, a good movie, restful naps, and some entertaining reading. The luggage handlers at JFK were on the ball ... we were only in baggage claim about 10 minutes when the conveyor belt started rumbling. Our bags were in the first dozen out.

So all's good. It's muggy as fuck, but that's why air-conditioned cinemas were invented. Our hotel room is teensy but trendy. Got to have an all-too-short visit with the always-demure Jodi last night and am seeing a bunch of old friends tonight. Not that I've known them a long time, they're just old. Not entirely true ... I've known them almost a dozen years now.

The second half of the Emmy's were boring. The blonde chick from Grey's Anatomy did an excellent Charlize Therzon impersonation. Mariska Hargitay is best actress ... really?!? Was anyone else surprised about that one? I guess I need to watch the US version of The Office. I think I might have a little crush on him.

Television commercials are, for the most part, so much better on this side of the ocean. But not worth moving back for.

Saw Little Miss Sunshine this afternoon (to escape the humidity) and really liked it. Had heard nothing about it, and it was a very simple, pleasant surprise. "Jesus Was Wrong."

So there's the news. Live from New York, it's Monday afternoon. Oh, Amy Poehler called. She couldn't get Dan Rather, so she wants me to stay and do Weekend Update with her.

August 27, 2006

Happy Birthday, Mom

"Who are you? Who am I? Why is that cake on fire?"*


Help! Someone quick! Blow out the candles before my blog catches on fire.

Y'all send some love out to the crazy lady who made me.

:: :: ::

Early flight to New York tomorrow, so we need to be at LHR for 6am. Yikes. Very excited to see everyone back in the City, as well as getting to see [tos] *and* a second viewing of Drowsy Chaperone.

Fed the masses tonight with Chicken Carbonara and garlic bread. Marathon traveling requires carbohydrate loading, yes?

I stocked up on available-only-in-UK treats and they're all packed away, so those who ordered should finally have their mailboxes (and stomachs) full by mid-week. But hey, if I'd mailed them from here, you still wouldn't have gotten them so it all works out. Well, unless customs gets hold of the luggage.

Oh! I was concerned about the ailing Blair and just checked Euan still seems to be doing okay. The Pepto Bismal has darkened his stool a bit, but we're told that is normal. Cherie's hair hasn't held up too well. Tony is well relieved.

BBC also reports that "Euan hit the headlines as a 16-year-old when he was arrested for being drunk and incapable."

Incapable of what? Can you really get arrested for that? I run into incapable people several times a week. Can one make citizen's arrests in the UK? So much to find out when I return.

But for new, over and out till we get to the States. Wish me luck on my strip search.

:: :: ::

And once again, Happy Birthday, Ma.

* There will about 6 people I know who'll get that reference. And to each of you I say, "keep your eyeball on the highball."

August 25, 2006

International Friday

Had lunch at my new favorite, Mestizo, which was lovely. The carnitas were perfect. The margaritas were on the mark and the añejo was worth its weight in oro. Venue was Peter's idea. Nice tequila was mine.

We skipped coffee there, opting for mint tea and an apple hookah/shisha/nargeela (po tay to, po tah to) in Soho. Such a civilized way to smoke through an afternoon. Edward suggested the water pipe .... well, actually he suggested a cherry-flavored hooker, but we made do.

The joys of a democratic collective ... Brits, Canadians and Americans all coming together to sample the goods of our fellow mankind.

Perhaps we'll find an Argentine gymnast for a late dinner/dessert.

And now, after a brief respite, we head off for after-work pints with those poor sods who work.

:: :: ::

Oh, and the BBC assures us that Euan Blair only had gas. Surgery is not required.

News! We've Got News!

BBC News has been oh so informative this morning.

1. Guitar sales are at an all-time high.

2. Spring's coming early. Could be global warming. (Does that mean it's going to be a short autumn/winter?)

3. A policeman was found guilty of reckless driving, after being clocked at over 150 mph. The judge levied no fine or sentence, saying the 2+ years of investigation have been punishment enough.

4. People are getting fatter. The anchor asks the expert (LIVE from Plymouth), "Why do you think more children are becoming obese?" Um, eating too much and not exercising? "Parents don't seem to be aware of their obese children."

Maybe it's because they're drinking too much Coke and playing too much Grand Theft Auto?

Grand Theft Coke

Sorry, Dude


I guess he'll get moved to the back of the Disney parades, relegated to likes of Cinderella's bibbidi-bobbidi-boo fairy godmother.

Goofy must be in orbit. He and Pluto never did see each other as equals.

August 24, 2006

This Must Be the Place

Been reading/writing/cleaning most of the day. Tired of the modern stuff and poppy playlists in my iTunes, I went a little retro. Surprise, the Talking Heads can provide some refreshing background music.

Took a shower and decided to take a 15-minute break. Purposeful relaxation rather than a crash on the sofa, even though I'm dead tired. I must get out of this napping habit before I turn into one of the cats.

I put Mary Chapin Carpenter on shufle. He would be so proud.

It's a need you never get used to, so fierce and so confused

I've been listening to that song on and off for almost 15 years now. And every time it makes me sigh. That particuloar lyric means something different almost every time I hear it. Sometimes it's about a boy. Sometimes it's about family. Sometimes it's about running away planning an escape.

Sometimes it's about just sitting on the sofa, relaxing and letting the day just wash over you.

So beautiful.

:: :: ::

Not so beautiful was the amateur strip contest last night. I'm told it was one of the better turn outs, with 6, count 'em, 6 contestants. I kinda liked Ralph, the Polish boy whose English wasn't nearly as developed as his buttocks. He ended up co-winning with a cocky lad from Essex. I don't think last night was Paul's first night naked on a stage.

We thought for a bit that we wouldn't make it to the Swan. Nothing's ever easy, is it? The DLR was all locked up at Bank. Turns out this was the problem. I'd heard on the train that the delay was because someone was on the tracks. I immediately thought it was a suicide attempt. Turns out to be a seizure.

What's that say about me that I go right to the last act of desperation rather than an accident caused by a medical condition?

I hope the poor guy's okay.

:: :: ::

Okay then. Time for a cup of tea and some hoovering. It's glamour 24/7 here in bob's world ... from naked immigrants to cleaning litter boxes.

MCC's still warbling out words of wisdom.

Call it chance baby, call it fate
Either one is cause to celebrate
And the question now is why would you wait
Don't be late for your life


August 23, 2006

Cheeky Drunks

You have to love an office party where one of the senior managers shows off the tattoo on his ass. Twice ... once on the terrace and once in the living room.

That was just one of the highlights of the fête Larry hosted at ours last night.

After an afternoon of softball in the park, he brought about 30 of his employees over for cocktails and canapes. I haven't had so much unexpected fun since the night those Swedish Siamese twins showed up at the Pleasuredome with a fanny pack full of ecstasy.

August 22, 2006

Tuesday 200 - #7

“I want to start over.”

J’adore do-overs. “Okay, where from?”

“Um, without you. Sorry.”

Thus begin the seven stages of relationship grief. Denial. Pleading. Stalking. Jealousy. Rage. Homicidal Fantasies. Bitter Acceptance.

It wasn’t the healthiest of relationships. We flashed on and off so often that epileptics couldn’t watch. Friends replaced the hearts around our initials with bio-hazard symbols.

During the pleading stage, I tried the “destiny” card. No go.

“I’m tired of the ups and downs.”

Me, I like the ups and downs. I’d rather ride the roller coaster than sit and watch it twist, climb and dive. Even if it’s a ride I’ve been on before. Sure, you know where the hills are, but your heart still ends up in your throat. Like being in love. The jolt at the end of the fall, the one that made you scream the first time, it still sneaks up on you. But now it makes you laugh.

Sometimes, coming out of a corkscrew, I find myself looking for him — alone in the crowd, holding a box of popcorn for us to share. Stupidly hoping destiny will put him back in the seat next to me. It’d be the best ride.

:: :: ::

Last week's Tuesday 200.

August 21, 2006

What's Welsh for Ear Worm?

We were walking home from dinner a couple nights a go, stuffed to the gills with Lebanese food, too full to have a proper conversation.

I hear a faint humming, "ah hmmmm, ah hmmmm" coming from Larry's direction. Was my tinitus playing tricks on me?

"Are ya humming a Glyn song?"

"I think I just might be," he said, blushing a little.

August 19, 2006

Flight 420

I haven't smoked grass in a really long time. Crack, well maybe just the once with Whitney (it would've been rude not to) ... but grass notsomuch.

I think, however, this all needs to change. Because really, what better way to spend an afternoon than to get high and watch Snakes on a Plane?

And then, maybe if I'm extra good, they'll show Starship Troopers.

See the Tree, How Big It's Grown

You know how sometimes everything just fits together, like a carefully designed movie scene? Then there's the time when everything is so incongruous that you couldn't possibly make it up.

The other night we were sitting in Windsor Castle, a perfectly quaint English pub just around the corner from us. It's decorated in old china plates and souvenirs of the monarchy.

They only serve, of course, Thai food.

We were drinking a bottle of Australian merlot, waiting on our spring rolls, while four elderly gents next to us enjoyed their meal and shared critiques of opera recordings.

Another gent came in and walked up to them. I thought he would join their table, but instead looked at their curries and Pad Khing, pulled a face, sneered "What a stench" at us, and then left the pub.

All the while, Bobby Goldsboro is on the muzac, singing "Watching Scotty Grow."

I think I'm going to have to start hanging out there more often.

August 18, 2006

Waiting for Steam

So it's lunchtime on Friday and I'm sitting here waiting for the steam cleaners to come tidy up the carpets. One can only Cilit Bang Larry's red wine spills and Cab's vomit/hairballs so often before it's time to call in the trained professionals. I, of course, don't leave stains. At least not on carpets.

It'a always with a nervous excitement that I sit waiting for the day laborers. You know it's true for you too ... hoping they're kinda hot in 70s porn scuzz-husband kind of way. Then they turn out to be an overweight yet terribly friendly pre-pensioner from the wrong side of Sussex complaining about London traffic and then leaving skid marks in the toilet.

Which brings us back, full circle, to Cilit Bang.

So, you know, it's my birthday coming up (September 13 ... not too early to be sending cards, letters, parcels, and real estate deeds). Fahty Fahr, as our pal Marge would say. Weird. Lately I feel either 17 or 77, but not like a middle-aged man who, if I were my father, would have a 22-year-old son and a 20-year-old daughter.

Actually, I wouldn't mind having a 22-year-old, but that's another story. Or a birthday gift, if you're stuck for ideas.

Maybe I do feel a little old. But hell, it beats the alternative, and I really am more comfortable in my skin (except for the skin tag on my neck that's grown into a 3rd nipple ... but that is being addressed) now than I ever have been. It's not that the neuroses have all gone away, I've just become more a home with them.

In other birthday news, I will be stag that evening.

SLarry's got a business meeting (see, I keep saying jobs just get in the way) so I'm flying solo. He's making it up to me though. My birthday dinner from him will be the next night. In Rome. I'm tagging along on a business trip.

Well, maybe his job isn't such a bad thing.

So whoever wants to play on the 13th, let me know. It is a Wednesday night, and there is a certain weekly event at the White Swan I've yet to attend.

Sickies for all on the 14th.

:: :: ::

Carpet guy's here. Cute in an amateur straight porn way, but not for me. Maybe if he had a slightly more fit brother.

August 17, 2006

So Easy, So Satisfying

The above title refers to:

a) MAK
b) Me
c) Chicken Carbonara
d) all of the above

Thanks for the newest recipe from the barn. It was so gooooood.

LHR - JFK - LGA - YYZ (and back again)

Barring any unforeseen appendectomies, we'll be heading off on a North American tour a week from Sunday.

Lovely young Monica, who is Larry's first cousin once removed (aka daughter of cousin) is getting married in a suburb just north of Toronto. It's gonna be a blast, and a good chance to catch up with TO friends and family.

As part of the ex-pat package, we get "home leave," which is an annual trip back to the States. We've been planning on using the home leave tix to get us to the wedding. Only glitch is the bank recognizes NY as home, not TO, so we have to fly there. Given the recent UK-US flight restrictions, I'd much rather fly directly to Canada, but we make do.

The good news is, we're going to have a few unexpected days in New York. Larry wants to see The Drowsy Chaperone – apparently my countless singalongs to "As We Stumble Along" have whetted his appetite.

I've also heard a lot of good buzz about [title of show], so that's booked as well.

Very exciting.

So if you're in NY from Aug 27th-30th or TO from Aug 30th - Sep 1st and wanna hook up for a drink, give a shout.

Hopefully the airlines will be back to some semblance of normalcy by then.

I Hope the Scar is Sexy

If last night's dreams are any indication of the future, I'm going to have my appendix out very soon.


August 16, 2006


These are entertaining if you've been watching BB UK, especially the animation of Pete ....

About Time

Still doesn't mean I'm moving back.

Sorry folks.

Bring Your Own TiVo

Shall I share my new pet peeve?

A crusty muttering of “Oh joy, another one” is drowned out by thunderous reader applause and shouts of “Indeed! Huzzah!”.

I have taken against audience members who use their gadgetlicious digicams to capture snippets of theatrical shows.*

Case in point. I was trying to watch Chanbara — The Samurai Sword Show last week in Edinburgh. There was this cute hipster guy in the row in front of me, just to my right. Scruffy blonde beard, green military cap.

Before the show started, he snapped a few photos of the set. Fine, it was nicely designed and maybe he was a student. As the opening tableaux was presented, he took a few more shots. Fair enough. It was a cool set, and the lighting was genius. I wasn’t too sure about how the pictures would come out with only the theatrical lighting, but that really wasn’t my problem.

What was my problem was that, for most of the show, he held his camera, now set to film rather than still, up to record the fight sequences and drumming bits. So while I’m trying to watch the show, I’ve got a mini color tv screen in my field of vision, along with a flashing green light to let us all know that the camera’s rolling.

So. Very. Annoying. If you're going to steal, at least be clever about it and turn off the display and get a camera that doesn't blink.

He took another still shot, for which he accidentally had the flash on. I assume it was an accident because he quickly put the camera under his leg and then looked around to see if the camera police were coming to get him. But then, 3 minutes later, he was unscolded and back to filming. He wasn’t alone. There were at least 5 other cameras up during the show, LCD screens providing illumination for anyone who wanted to catch up on their reading.

So what to do? Rather than wating for his battery to run out, I guess I could have tapped him on the shoulder and said, “Sorry mate, could you turn that off?” But that would have involved reliving several session of “assertive vs. aggressive” therapy. And who wants to risk confrontation when there are Samurai swordsmen only a few rows away?

At the back of the house, the tech guys had a big light/sound board and were running the show from there. I think they should hire an extra person to sit up there and scout out the offending paparazzi pirates. They could then text the seat locations to people in front of the house, who could in turn pinpoint the distracters with laser beams, pointed right into their eyes. Not so bright as to distract the performers, but just bright enough to shame the digital degenerate.

I suppose wiring the seats so that they receive electric shocks might be deemed severe by some, but really … why not be a little aggressive to thwart our threat to freedom? (If it’s good enough for W ….) Yes, freedom I cry — the freedom to enjoy a performance as its designers conceived it.

Or maybe people just need to be trained. Would it be wrong to pack a water pistol and give a quick squirt to the offenders? It works on cats.

* Okay, I suppose there might be a skosh of hypocrisy here in that I sometimes enjoy said snippets when posted on YouTube. However, in these cases, I wasn’t being annoyed by the LCD of the photograhper’s camera.

:: :: ::

The show itself was iffy. While well-lit and smartly staged, the choreography was rather benign. The swords appeared to be plastic, and were lacking the "clank clank" and sparks of actual swordplay that we expected. There was a bit of "comedy" that suffered SNL sydrome — a clever concept that grew grating after 2 minutes, and then lasted another 10.

That said, the drummers' arms, both male and female, were amazing.

I still fail to see what was so compelling about it that would warrent multiple viewings from a 3.2 megapixel camera.

A far better show was The Family. I am not a fan of clowns, but this troupe, Licedei from St. Petersburgh, was brilliant. Funny, silly, surreal, and amazing physical comedy.

August 15, 2006

Tuesday 200 - #6

Arlene sat on the floor playing with her bag of treasure. Daddy brought it home from a magical land she believed was named after her. It was a place of fairy tales, where kings and queens tossed jewels to their costumed citizens. Where people danced in the streets, and ate food with funny names. It was so far away it even had its own money, enchanted coins called “double loons.”

She draped a particularly shiny set of purple, gold, and green glass beads around her neck. “I’m going to be queen there one day,” she told her father, and crawled into his lap.

A decade later, Arlene moved south and uncovered her soul. Jazz drifted through the thick, magnolia-scented air. Desire coursed beyond any streetcar route. She thrived on a gumbo of voodoo zydeco, draped in swirling white linen.

Eventually, the real world lured her back. Katrina ravaged her pseudo-namesake city and cancer stole her father.

Those first doubloons surely retained their powers. How else could she hold them today, close her eyes and be eight years old again? Wrapped safely in Daddy’s arms, breathing in his lost aura of Brylcream and Old Spice, aching to start life again.

:: :: ::

Last week's Tuesday 200.

August 14, 2006

Safety First

Dear Passenger,

Here at Air Afraid, our concern is, first and foremost, your safety and comfort. Due to recent government regulations, we will be making a few minor adjustments to our boarding and carry-on luggage policies.

Effective immediately, we ask that you report to the airport no later than nine (9) hours prior to your flight. Upon arrival you will undergo a preliminary pre-flight interview by one of our Wal-Mart greeters TSA agents. Upon successful completion of this screening, you will move on to the first round of check-in. Here you must present your tickets, travel documents, and letter of reference from your local Congressman or MP. All luggage must be checked to your final destination at this time

Once you have received your boarding pass, please move on to the security screening area. You will be familiar with Stage One of this process. It is similar to pre-panic procedures, and you will remove coats, belts, shoes, etc. and pass through a metal detector.

Once it's clear you’re not carrying any concealed objects in your clothing, you will be directed to Stage Two. This is new and might be unfamiliar to those passengers who have not been previously incarcerated or seen prison porn. At this point, we will ask you to strip, leaving your clothing in the plastic bags provided. These bags will be tagged and a corresponding wristband will be attached to your arm. Please do not remove or tamper with this wristband, as mutilated bands will not be valid for redemption of your personal belongings.

Once banded, you will undergo a basic cavity search. Please note that to ensure expedience (as well as hygiene), we ask all passengers to have a thorough douche and/or enema at home 2-3 hours before arriving at the airport.

You will then be provided hypoallergenic, flame-retardant flight pajamas. These will be stickered with your home country, religious preference,and fare designation. You will wear this uniform until you arrive at your final destination. At this time, your wristband will be matched with your clothing bag and your personal items will be returned to you.

As you may have heard, no hand luggage will be allowed in the aircraft’s cabin. Most important change here is no liquids or gels, in any form, may be brought on to the aircraft. We will attempt to provide adequate water during the flight, but recommend that you arrive fully hydrated.

For those of you who are trying to enter or maintain your status in the mile-high club (the flight suits are quite fetching), you will have to resort to the time-honored lubricant which saw most of our flight attendants through high school … spit. For those traveling in Premier Class, we will have limited supplies of personal lubricant.

Once on board, passengers will be required to take one muscle relaxant and one Xanax. Premier Class passengers will have the option of limited variety of additional pharmaceuticals to make your flight more enjoyable, including, but not limited to, Ambien, Halcion, and Seconal.

We realize that there are some passengers whose religion forbids them from taking any type of medication. We have researched these religions, and found them to be outside of recognized Christian mindsets. Therefore, we cannot honor these requests at this time. Please see our website for refund procedures if your travel plans are disrupted due to religious concerns.

Please note that we are working to have individual anesthesiologists for our Premier Class passengers, thus ensuring a smooth and more tranquil flight. Not a Premier passenger yet? Visit our website to find out the fastest way to upgrade.

For those of you who have a higher tolerance to our tranquilizers and require in-flight entertainment, we will provide government-sanctioned reading materials. These include excerpts from Readers’ Digest, the homespun hilarity of Erma Bombeck, and selected poems of Donald Rumsfeld.

We are certain you understand the importance of each passenger mindlessly accepting abiding by these new standard operating procedures. It is our God-given right to fly across these skies, and if the terrorists keep us land locked, then we have let them win.

These new policies will be in effect for the foreseeable future and, of course, are for your safety and convenience. We realize there will be some delays and, perhaps, some minor inconveniences to you, our valued customers. In light of this, will we be entering each fully-paid passenger into a raffle to receive 100 extra air miles.

With your help and vigilance, we can continue to let freedom fly.

Yours truly,

Air Afraid
Customer Service

August 12, 2006

Read the Small Print .... If You Can

I'm trying to help CB sort his cancelled flight to Frankfurt tomorrow.

Here's the web page that BA has put up describing their disruption policy.

I love 4 point fonts.

No Theatre, No Problem

The main reason for this week's trip to Edinburgh was to see my friend David's show, Dark North. He had written a short, twisted thriller for a group of kids in his theatre program at Slippery Rock University.

We arrived at Venue 45 about a half-hour before the show. Seems there was a glitch. One of the light fixtures in the space had come undone and it was unsafe to perform there. Although crashing lights in an eerie basement might have added to the macabre setting.

The Festival tech guys (cute and helpful) offered two options: move to another venue down the road or use the lobby. We checked out the other space and it turned out to be perfect if we they were doing Easy Bake theater (small and overheated by a couple of light bulbs). So they opted for the lobby. The kids in the cast and crew rallied, and put up a show in a way-too small space, no lighting and no backstage.

Bravo. It was proper Fringe ... theatre on the fly in an unrehearsed space. I went to see the show in its original setting the next night. While it admitedly works better with the planned staging and lighting, there was a certain vibrance to the unplanned show. And a very cool reminder that the best storytelling needs words and storytellers more than technology.

Well done to everyone from SRU ... cast, crew and faculty. You were all a delight and I wish I could've spent more time with you.

How cool to be in your 20ish and at the Fringe. Not only was this some of the guys' first trip abroad, but they get to deal with new carry-on restrictions for Monday's flight home. Bless. I'm sure there are some very worried midwestern parents back in PA, but all will be fine.

I've been wanting to go there ever since I first heard of it, doing plays in college. Only took me 20 years, but I'm glad to say I've finally been. And to know that I'll be back.

Who wants to do a show?

Tuesday 200 - #4

“Excited about meeting Roger?” Artie asked, sucking down the last of his mojito. He loved showing off his successes. A “career reinventor” Artie wouldn’t just discover the color of your parachute, he had enough hot air to blow it up and send you on your journey.

“Frightened, actually. That scar under his eye looks like DIY with fishing line.”

“It was, but that was only the before photo. And please, when did you join the face fascists? You dated that albino carnie for almost a year.”

“Casper,” I sighed. “His pink eyes would light up a dark ….”

“Shh, he’s here.” Artie bolted up and waved across the room. “Remember, he’s not mean, just misunderstood.” A raven-haired, 6’ 3’ Adonis waved back. Smoldering hot, even with the parrot perched on his shoulder.

He swaggered towards us. Getting closer, I discovered it was more of a limp, hearing a subtle thwamp each time his left foot hit the floor.

“Ahoy mates,” he said, smile gleaming almost as much as the silver claw he extended across the table. Was I supposed to shake the hook or merely acknowledge it with a light touch?

That’s how I met Roger, my ex-pirate boyfriend.

:: :: ::

Note: This was supposed to go up last Tuesday, but technology failed me. And we move on.

The previous Tuesday 200.

August 7, 2006

The Case of the Missing Story

I'm gutted. I wrote and (thought) I posted a Tuesday 200 last week and I just realized it's not up. And now I can't find the Word draft. Makes me think I hit post and then just delete/don't save in Word thinking it had been posted to my blog. I've searched for a couple of words that I know were in it, and Spotlight's giving me back a big zilch.

The wi-fi on the boat was a little hit and miss.


Was in a hurry to get out of the cabin and back in the sun, I guess. I wonder how much I can remember, and then edit it back to 200 words.

I remember bits of it, but it won't be the same, will it?

Damn. Damn. Damn.

50 Things about my Summer Vacation


It's over.

My narrative skills are non-existent today. Vacation has left me drowsy. So here’s a random list of memories/thoughts.

  1. A day at sea, under full sail, beats any port of call.

  2. It’s never too hot to lounge in a hot tub.

  3. The Windsurf crew is brilliant. Friendly, attentive, professional. And oftentimes very cute. It was my second Windstar experience. The first was in French Polynesia, more than a dozen years ago, on the now defunct Windsong. If you ever have the chance to experience a trip on one of these ships, jump at the chance.

  4. We no longer buy cigarettes at Duty Free. Instead, we stock up on L’Oreal men’s skin care products.

  5. Miss Coco Peru is wicked funny. Her alter-ego is one of the most lovely men I’ve met in a long time. If only all drag queens could be so real, and have intellegent witty conversations when the wigs are off. Her manager's adorable as well.

  6. I used to be afraid of missing something and would try to do everything. I did very little on this last trip and don’t feel like I missed a thing. The streets of Saint Tropez will be there another day.

  7. If you’re a “host” of the travel company sponsoring the ship, you should make an effort to introduce yourself to each of your guests (especially if there are less than 300 guests). This goes double for the owner of a relatively new company who’s trying to build a repeat business. Good PR is more about personal contact than putting up rainbow flags (and a big shout out to the captain of the boat, who sailed rainbows on his masts for a week).

  8. Even the most mediocre of dives is one of the best ways imaginable to spend an hour or two.

  9. I would love to hear a cabaret piano player who can actually finish an entire song. And know "Stars and the Moon". Or "Meadowlark." But he did have a fine set of buttocks (which he gladly showed off during the toga party) and loved to be spanked. So ... it's all a balance.

  10. The two Roberts from Seattle should live closer to London.

  11. I want to take art classes from Alan in Lauderdale (who used to live in Washington).

  12. Ben the water sports guy knows every word to every camp gay anthem and is really eager to don a toga. His girlfriend of many years refers to him as her “dancing queen”. Several of us think she wears the trousers (or at least the field hockey shorts) in the family.

  13. Whatever was going on in my throat / sinus never really went away, so I lived on cold medicine and the occasional codeine. Made for a fairly mellow trip.

  14. Chocolate buffets are overrated but delicious. I guess everyone doesn't have a chocolate fountain in their bedroom? Keep up, y'all.

  15. All that food and booze and I ended up losing a few pounds. I think it must be drinking vodka and wine instead of pints of beer.

  16. Things overheard at dinner: “In the last 36 years, I have never gotten out of bed in the middle of the night to pee.”

  17. Things overheard by the pool at 2 in the morning: “Have you had sex on the cruise yet? Well you’re about to.”

  18. Met a couple Dublin boys towards the end of the trip … they’re a riot.

  19. DC boys on cruises are like Boston boys going to Ptown. It takes them awhile to wash off the starch and become friendly. But once they do, it’s almost worth the wait.

  20. There were a LOT of DC boys on the trip. Second only to Fort Lauderdale. An interesting demographic.

  21. It took a while to get used to a ship full of passengers with American twangs. I don't mean that to be mean, but it's just weird once you haven't that many of them in once place (especially in Europe) for a long time.

  22. Most of the Americans I talked to said I didn’t sound like I was from America. Talked to a couple of Brits and they said, “where in America are you from?” I’m a man without an accent.

  23. You know the singer of the disco classic “Coming Out of Hiding?” Me neither. Her name’s Pamela Stanely. She’s now a gay cruise ship entertainer who lives in Lauderdale. They love her.

  24. There were two guys from Tampa who had the exact same bodies (and wax jobs, complete with treasure trails from navels to well-groomed bush). I called them the Jean-Claudes, in reference to their dual resemblance to Mr. Van Damm. They dressed the same (or at least clothes with contrasting colors … e.g., white shorts/blue trim, blue shorts/white trim), 24/7. Matching yellow spandex and cowboys hats make for subtle shore excursions. How many of you are in couples where you make a conscious effort to dress alike? How many wish you were?

  25. They brought the most fabulous white satin for the toga parties and looked really hot.

  26. An Australian boy (of Arab descent) did an authentic belly dance for the toga party. Were there belly dancers in Rome?

  27. We met a couple from New Hampshire, in their 50s, who’d been together for 5 years. They both were previously married and each have grown children. They met in a gay men’s support group, are each others 1st and 2nd relationship with a man, and are an amazing couple.

  28. Bob Smith makes me laugh. And he’s excellent dinner company, although I felt like a stalker when we ended up unexpectedly eating with him a second night in a row.

  29. There was a hot French guy on board with the best jeans ever. Who knew he was the ship’s magician and does amazing tricks with his hands?

  30. Who knew that Miss Coco Peru would be the opening act for a magician? (Um, not Sra. Peru, to be sure).

  31. I took a walk through the city of Capri. It would be so much nicer if only there was some money there. Jeez, it's like Rodeo Island.

  32. Ended up at the Natural Arch on Capri. It was beautiful, but not where I expected it to be and I had to walk back another 45 minutes to get the tender back to the ship.

  33. A forced march through the hilly paths of Capri is beautiful, yet exhausting.

  34. Ponza is probably what Provincetown would have been like 60 years ago. Really lovely.

  35. I want to go back to Sorrento and spend a few days there, and have the time to properly enjoy Pompeii.

  36. Most all of the wait staff was Indonesian/Malaysian. They were the friendliest, happiest guys I’ve ever seen in a work environment. Surprisingly, some of the gay passengers brought wigs along. There was one particularly adorable crew member, Aladdin, who couldn’t have been more happy to be wearing a big black afro. He loved his disco dancing as well, even with a tray of drinks in his hand.

  37. The fresh-baked cookies on board every day were the best treats ever. I think Larry had them for several of his meals.

  38. There were a number of solo travelers on the boat. When I saw them eating alone, half-way through the cruise, I wondered if they were lonely … but I didn’t want to impose and ask them to join us. So now I’ll never know.

  39. can get you laid in Nice and Rome, and get you a lovely companion for a morning in Almalfi.

  40. I’m intrigued but a little too scared to register with and see the profile for the passenger who told me about it.

  41. The same playlist will work for “seamen’s tea” (original branding to be sure), “70s Studio 54 party”, and the “retro tea”.

  42. If you’re going to hold a “retro tea” and invite guests to wear tie-dye, platforms, and wigs, you should tell your passengers before they leave home for their holiday.

  43. Never underestimate the power of Mylar as a decorative tool.

  44. The guy who hung the most Mylar mentioned his new career numerous times. He’s just gotten his degree in Interior Design. “Did they teach you about Mylar at Design school?” I asked. He said no, but “we’re gay men and have a reputation to live up to.”

  45. I vote for a new reputation.

  46. Ships casinos should have craps tables.

  47. Italian boys are hot, especially when they don’t try.

  48. It’s a long, dreary bus ride from where the boat docks to the actual city of Rome.

  49. It was worth the wait, despite the fact I was exhausted.

  50. Looking forward to proper couple of days in Rome in mid-September (a tagalong to L’s business trip). It'll be a skosh cooler, and there are so many more hidden streets to explore after we wait forEVER to get into the basillica.

It’s good to be home. As we were landing over Gatwick last night, I thought how easy it is coming home to London and how hard it would have been to be coming home to New York. Have I mentioned lately how much j'adore living in London?

Off to Edinburgh in the morning to spend a couple of days with an old college buddy who has a play being performed there.

August 4, 2006

Just Another Day of Sun, Sails and Gelato

I can't believe we've only got two more nights on the ship. It's been so amazing. Here's our home away from home from the Almafi coast this morning.

It's prettier with the sails up, but you get the idea. The other day we were cruising at 10 knots with nothing but wind power. The captain was giddy ... just a few mph short of "full speed" if we'd been under engine power. So cool.

We're anchored off of Sorrento right now and sail to Capri in the morning. I'm not writing as much as I thought, nor taking that many pictures. On the other hand, neither of us have been more content or relaxed in months.

Ah, la dolce vita.

August 2, 2006

Naked Sticks

Nudibranches. That's what I saw yesterday on the wreck. Two yellow ones and a white one with purple doohickeys.

Turns out nudibranch is a fancy name for sea slug. Interesting ... one can pour salt on a slug to make it shrivel up and die, not unlike the Wicked Witch of West once Dorothy tossed that fateful bucket of water. But these slugs are different. They live in the brine, so salt doesn't make them fizzle. Okay, maybe not so interesting.

I went to bed before there was any nudie fizzling last night. The toga party was fun. Larry couldn't be arsed to go because he thought the whole idea was ridiculous. Which, in fact. it was but still it was a good laugh. Tonight's a 70s-style Studio 54 party. He wouldn't put on a toga, but let's see how quickly he'll transform into Liza.

August 1, 2006

Windsurfing Along

I started my day by penetrating an old wreck.

Then I got off Larry and went for a scuba dive.

I'm not much for wreck dives, but you take what you can get here on a limited diving menu. It was lovely. Only about 40 feet deep, the boat was 140 feet long and totally in tact. Lots of plant life has grown on it since it sunk 10 years ago, just off the eastern coast of Corsica. Not tons of fish, but I did see a good-sized yellow scorpion fish and a couple of .... grrr, can't remember their names. Little things that look like gobies but each have a flower-like growth on them. I'll consult with Ben (our Canadian dive master who loved wiggling with all the boys at yesterday's tea dance, singing along to every word of each 70s camp disco classic the DJ managed to find) and get back to you.

The clear blue water was just over 80° and the visibility was about 100 feet. Amazing. Not the most remarkable dive we've ever had, but still so good to be weightless and just drifting underwater.

Tomorrow is an "at sea" day, although we haven't left the boat yet (except for the dive). Why wander the alleys of St. Tropez when there's a pool and bar service on the boat? Besides, we were parked (anchored?) next to P. Diddy's yacht (apparently he's in the hood for one of Pam and Kid Rock's weddings), and I was afraid I'd run into on the street and have to tell him how horrible he was in "Raisin in the Sun" a few years back.

Most of the ship is exploring Porto Vecchio today. We came back from the dive, read a little, had lunch and then practiced our napping skills. Nice.

Tonight we sail out of France and into Italian waters. In honor of this event, we're having a late night toga party and midnight skinny dip. Be afraid. There's maybe 6 men on this boat you'd want to see naked in (or out of) a pool of water, and odds are they're not going to be the one's doffing togas.

Last time I went to a toga party, I used a tablecloth that had a circle cut out of the middle (to allow for the table's built-in centerpiece). We made "peek-a-boo" togas. They were quite the attention getters. I doubt I'll be that creative or festive this evening. And I'm older now ... I'm not seeking that much attention these days. But then again, I haven't started drinking yet.