Friday, January 30, 2004

The dumbest movie title ever.

I just sent Jenipher this e-mail to show my displeasure with the grammatically-improper title of the breakdancing-in-a-boxing-ring movie that opens this weekend.


Hey Jenipher,

When you went to a nice restaurant, YOU GOT SERVED!!!
When someone handed you a subpoena, YOU GOT SERVED!!!
When you asked for an oil change, YOU GOT SERVED!!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2004


My father, who is not dying any faster than the rest of us, and I were talking about funerals over lunch today. He told me that he had never thought about his funeral, when I told him what I wanted at mine.

He said he wanted to be cremated because he didn't think it was important for him to take up space. When I asked him what he wanted done with the ashes, he said to put them somewhere on the golf course or at Woody Gap in the North Georgia mountains.

He said he wanted some kind of party held at the golf course, with people telling the story of how he shattered a window there once with a golf club.

When we talked about music, he first said he wanted "The Lord's Prayer" sang - but sang quickly. He said he didn't understand why a 20-second prayer takes forever when someone sings it.

Then, when we were riding in the car together as he drove me back to my office, he listened to the radio and then told me that he thought Isaac Hayes' "Theme from SHAFT" would be a good song to have at his funeral.

I asks him, confused, "You mean, 'Who's the black private dick who's the sex machine to all the chicks?'"

He said, "Yeah, that one. People will like it."

So I told him that he would have that at his funeral - if I didn't die first. He told me that "maybe" he was kidding.

My funeral song is "Dedicated to the One I Love," originally done by The Mamas and the Papas. I'm going to be cremated. And everyone who knew me who attends the party after I die, because I figured people would have one anyway and I'd beat them to the punch, would have to tell a story about me. I figured that would be apt because I'm a storyteller.


I was pressured by my friend Ms. Davis into giving her my opinions on Steven, even though I told her I didn't want to overthink things after one not-quite-a-date.

Her reasoning was that I was just presenting her with opinions that I surely had, so it was OK to tell her about him. So I did.

I wrote this to her.

Fine, I'll talk about Steven. I just want to handle it well. I tend to overthink.

He's nice. I like him. I hope he's not too nice, though, because I'm edgy and sarcastic - and I wouldn't want to have to cushion that.

He's 29 - but he tells people he's 30, just so that he can get used to the idea of saying it. I told him he looked like he was 27, which was a lie because, from far away, he looked like he was 24.

He used "looking at my cerebral palsy" - checking the dexterity in my left hand - as an excuse to hold my hand.

He doesn't like his own nose. I thought that it was a good nose.

He doesn't like it when people call him cute. He says he doesn't see it.

He's got dark brown, spiky hair and great eyebrows. I think he sculpts them, but I couldn't really tell. His eyes are either blue or green, the more I looked at them ... the less I could be sure.

He's 5'11, and he weighs 145 pounds, he said.

He's religious, apparently, and I'm not - though I understand the comfort that thoughts of God and faith can bring. I was able to talk about that with him.

He's sex-positive and HIV-negative, which is good. He's not interested in having a boyfriend, I don't think, but he's not against dating, which is neat.

He's a clean person. And his apartment is cool and in a great location.

He's got a decent selection of books on his shelves - including one by an author I once interviewed, and his music collection was decent and revelatory, like he likes good, quirky music and yet can indulge in the likes of Josh Groban. When I mentioned Rufus Wainwright and he knew who that was, that was a definite plus.

There wasn't a DVD player in sight, though his computer could double as one. The art selection on his walls was interesting, particularly one great black-and-white photo.

He had a marble chess set on his coffee table, but, when I moved a pawn, he told me that he himself didn't know how to play. He just told me it was there to be pretty.

When he talked on the phone with friends while I was there, because he was upset over his parents' impending divorce, I rubbed his shoulders and then got him a glass of water from his kitchen - because he got choked up talking about his parents to his friends.

We kissed goodbye seven to nine times.

House of Ash and God.

OK, this is why I don't like Ash. I sent him an e-mail asking him to contact me if he needed anything.

This was his reply.

I need... nothing and no one! I am superhuman! I am a GOD!!!

But thank you ever so much for asking! I wish I had a phone # to give
you, but I don't even have a cell phone right now. Order will come
eventually. For now, if you need me, call my work phone and leave a
msg there. I try to check those msgs every day (even Sunday).

Ash claiming to be a god, even when it was a joke or some kind of ridiculous, philosophical stance, led to our breakup eight years ago. I don't know why, but this sort of mocking, false, egomaniacal bravado - and his equally annoying "I will not be governed by your morality" excuse for sleeping around, running red lights and robbing bookstores - just irks me. I can't tell if he's delusional or if he's just convinced that his running schtick is funny.

I mean, his house burned down. It's OK to be vulnerable when your house burns down. Or, at least, if you want to put on a brave face, put on your own brave face - not that of a god's.

If he was a god, couldn't he have controlled that? Beyond that, couldn't he have used his powers as a deity to assure that the cat remained warm without the use of an electric heating pad? Would a god really find much use in a plasma-screen TV set?

If Ash continues to jokingly or seriously refer to himself as a god, I think I'm going to excommunicate myself from our - whaddya call it - bad-weather friendship.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Down on Jump Street.

In celebration of Johnny Depp's Oscar nomination, my friend Jenipher sent me the following e-mails.

I’m glad to see Johnny Depp was nominated. I am still waiting for “21 Jump Street” to come out on DVD. I wish I still had the Sassy Magazine poster of him that was over my bed for much of 7th and 8th grade.

Then, she sent this one:

It was similar to this, except it had him holding his head in his hand, looking up...and it said, "Sassy." I loved Sassy Magazine.

Then, she researched the issue of Sassy and sent me this e-mail:

I just found it! April 1988 issue! The cover stories read, “My Best Friend Has AIDS,” “What to Wear on a First Date,” and “Very Cool Johnny Depp Poster.” Whoo-hoo! I might have to get this off of Ebay.

But then, she sent me a follow-up e-mail:

Ok, I just read the fine print…magazine does not still contain Johnny Depp poster. That sucks.

I wouldn't normally do this kind of thing.

I hooked up with a really nice, cute guy named Steven whom I met in a bar called Miss Q's. I was there with Larry and David, and I was playing trivia. And he walked in, and he was really cute. And I looked at Larry, and I said, "He has great eyebrows."

And I looked at him like five times. And he was looking at me.

And Steven walked right up to me, but this guy broke in front of him - though Steven wasn't walking to the empty seat next to mine - and asked me if the seat was taken. I said no to the guy who wasn't Steven, and guy who wasn't Steven sat next to me.

And Steven goes and sits next to David, and I use that as an excuse to include him in a giant chat with Larry and David. And Steven starts talking about New York and how he doesn't play trivia.

Then, I talk to Larry and to the bartender. And I see Steven ask David questions, and I hear Steven say to David, "Your friend is cute."

I looked at Larry and said, "I'm ignoring that. I'm ignoring that."

And I keep playing trivia, but Steven and I keep talking.

So, it's me sitting next to Larry, who's sitting next to David, who's sitting next to Steven - who's 29, an undergrad student at Georgia State in public relations. I told Steven that I graduated in journalism from UGA. And we keep talking.

So Steven asks David and Larry to move down one seat so that he can sit next to me. And I'm still acting cool - even though he essentially moved my friends to give himself space next to me.

Cute guy. Really cute. He smokes, but, omigosh, he was cute.

And we're talking about drinks. For some reason, he was doing shots of Goldschlager. Apparently, he'd been having a bad night.

Steven starts to tell me about why he's still an undergrad. It turns out that he's on assistance because he has a disability called - get this - cerebral palsy. And he starts to caution me, saying, "It's really mild."

Oh. My. God.

"I have the SAME THING," I said.

"Huh?" Steven asks me.

"Cerebral palsy," I said. "I have a really mild case of that, too."

He just sorta pauses. And then, and this was great, he says, "Prove it. Walk."

And I show him how my arm won't straighten, how my left hand fingers have little dexterity and then I do the walk.

So then, I have him do the same thing.

And the people in the bar, not all of them aware of what we're talking about, start watching us as we walk for each other.

Anyway, we're talking, and I'm being understanding. And he's upset about his day, but he feels comfortable talking to me. So he says I should give him a ride home.

But I didn't drive. So he asks me if he can drive me. And I make sure he's finished with the shots of Goldschlager. (He'd had two.)

And Larry and David get up to go, and I said, "I'll see you guys later."

So they leave me there with Steven, who lives two minutes away from Miss Q's. He asks me to go home with him for chat - and to have coffee.

I got home at 1:30 a.m. - and I felt bad because I had to wake Steven up so that he'd drive me back to my car. But I wanted to talk to him about stuff, tell him more of who I was.

And I had to work in the morning.

But Steven still owes me coffee. And he told me to call him sometime in the next two days.

Oscar nominations.

All right, the Oscar nominations were announced this morning, and I have to say that - aside from Scarlett Johannson not getting nominations for either LOST IN TRANSLATION or GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING - I'm very, very pleased about it.

No major BIG FISH nominations. (Hee hee. I just got word that my college film prof hated it, too. So that makes four people who I know didn't like it, including myself.) No screenplay, director or picture nods for COLD MOUNTAIN. (Hee hee. If you haven't seen my Renee Zellweger impression, you're missing out.) No ridiculous William H. Macy nomination for SEABISCUIT, though I would've been cool with a nomination for THE COOLER for he and Maria Bello.

When the first name read was Shohreh Aghdashloo for HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG, I knew this was going to be a good day.


My Top 10 List will be available later today.

Here is a list of key nominations:

Best Supporting Actor:
Alec Baldwin – THE COOLER
Benicio Del Toro – 21 GRAMS
Djimon Honsou – IN AMERICA
Tim Robbins – MYSTIC RIVER

Best Supporting Actress:
Shohreh Aghdashloo – HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG
Patricia Clarkson – PIECES OF APRIL
Marcia Gay Harden – MYSTIC RIVER
Holly Hunter – THIRTEEN
Renee Zellweger – COLD MOUNTAIN

Best Director:
Clint Eastwood – MYSTIC RIVER
Fernando Meirelles – CITY OF GOD

Best Original Screenplay:

Best Adapted Screenplay:

Best Actor:

Best Actress:
Keisha Castle-Hughes – WHALE RIDER
Samantha Morton – IN AMERICA
Charlize Theron – MONSTER
Naomi Watts – 21 GRAMS

Best Animated Film:

Best Documentary Feature:

Best Picture:

Monday, January 26, 2004

Ash to Ashes.

My ex Ash, the poet with the book that includes poems about me in it, got a cat for Christmas, which was the day after I spoke to him last on the phone. Since Christmas, we've exchanged maybe five e-mails.

So, the day I needed a ride to pick up my car, I e-mailed him to ask him if he could drive me. And he wrote back, saying, "I'm sorry I haven't called you. I lost your number. My house burned down - with my address book in it."

Now, a couple years ago, I referred to this sort of blunt, point-blank statement as an "aplomb bomb."

Of course, Ash is a imagery-heavy poet and - over the course of the eight years I've known him - he's occasionally proven himself to be a temperamental, melodramatic, scheming liar and a medicated psychotic. So I asked him if his house really burned down or if he was "speaking in metaphor."

He wrote back and told me that he wasn't trying to be funny.

Apparently, he put a heating pad in his cat's bed on his recessed porch sometime since Christmas. And it caused a fire. And it destroyed the top floor of his house. And it's caused $100,000 worth of damage, and his insurance is maxed out already.

And the gaggle of roommates that he was letting live there had to be relocated. And I don't know where he's staying - with his kitten - but he wasn't really sleeping all that often in his own house prior to the fire.

I don't know why I'm writing about this on my blog. This, after all, has nothing to do with me, so I find myself criticizing the details of the fire. (Why would you put a heating pad in a cat's bed? Wow, this makes Ash's name really ironic.)

If we were better friends - or in love - or something like that, I think I would be torn up about this. This is the last person I slept with, after all, and I slept with them in November.

But he didn't keep my number. And he didn't e-mail me about a fire.

So I think I'm caring about this just as much as I should - and not any more than that.

Friday, January 23, 2004

The Curse of the Literary O

So yesterday, I told my friend Vic some news that she was going to hate, and I enjoyed delivering the bad news so much that it made me smile and laugh about it when I called her.

No, I was not calling her about the latest, most decidedly permanent Ben Affleck-J. Lo breakup.

I asked Vic if she'd ever read ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. She told me that she had and that it was really, really good. But, when I told her that I'd bought it, she told me that it wasn't the sort of thing that I'd find interesting.

Vic says I only like books with gay characters or books that are about to be made into movies.

"Everyone in college told me I'd like it," I said. "And now, there's another reason why I feel I should read it."

"What's that?" Vic asked. "Are they making it into a movie?"

"No," I said. "It's worse than that."

"You're reading it because a guy you like recommended it?" she asked.

"Worse," I said.

"What is it?" Vic asked.

"Oprah," I said. "It's the new book from Oprah's Book Club."

Vic paused for a minute, then said, "You're KIDDING ..."

I giggled and said, "Yep, housewives have started asking for it at the bookstore."

"DAMMIT, why did SHE have to go and do this?" Vic asked me. "She takes perfectly good classic books - my FAVORITE books - and RUINS them."

I remember when Vic vowed to me, at the outset of Oprah's Book Club, that she would never read an Oprah book.

When Oprah started to pick books that Vic had already read and recommended, Vic felt personally violated.

"Why did she have to go and pick DAUGHTER OF FORTUNE?" Vic asked. "THAT'S A GOOD BOOK ..."

I don't know what Vic's particular issue is with Oprah, but I think it has something to do with Vic trying to be anti-mainstream, avoiding books that are popular. If she takes the time to seek out something brilliant, fascinating and unknown, she feels like she's discovered something. I mean, the girl devours books. Reads three novels a week. It's crazy.

She avoids bestsellers. She trusts instincts over reviews.

And when Oprah gives a seal of approval to one of Vic's beloved, unknown novels, it makes Vic angry.

Oprah's recent focus on classic literature, like EAST OF EDEN and ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE, made Vic feel like Oprah was invading her territory.

I don't know why, but I always found Vic's beef with Oprah to be really, really funny. Once, I got Vic to read THE CORRECTIONS - even though it was once an Oprah book - because I told her that its author, Jonathan Franzen, changed his mind about Oprah's endorsement and got himself kicked off her show.

My personal thoughts on Oprah's Book Club are different. I think she picks good books. I think she encourages reading. And I think she makes difficult books, like Toni Morrison and the classics, seem suddenly more accessible to general people.

I don't often buy Oprah books. I don't read deeper novels very often - maybe one a year.

Yet I picked up ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE after Oprah recommended it because, for some reason, it felt like something I could grasp, rather than not.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Marley goes to Sundance.

By the way, my friend Marley Angel's taken a trip to the Sundance Film Festival this week, and she's updating her brand new blog from there.

Though she's doing networking for her screenplay, she's also attending screenings, writing some reviews and - in the piece I just read - complaining about how she can't type a new blog message from a handheld because of her fabulous, new fake nails.

It's fun stuff. Check it out.

On my way out.

I put my sweatshirt on and was walking toward the door of my office. I've been here 11 hours, except for the half-hour I spent getting my car.

Looking around, I saw someone put this quote up in their cubicle, which I put on the corner of this page.

The quote, which I'll repeat, says, "Have faith. Things fall apart so that things can fall together." It's one of those cheery, sunny, somebody-put-it-on-a-kitten-poster statements.

But the statement's right, nonetheless, and I need to snap out of this mood right now.

While here at work, I've already spoken with Jai for the first time in months, and she talked to me of her money woes and other doubts.

I talked to Lupo, and I said something sucky that I shouldn't have said to him, something about hating my life. "What am I supposed to do with that?" he rightfully asked me before hanging up the phone. I was being a shit.

I talked to Larry and, in a surprise twist, Brad, and Brad said I sounded like I was throwing a pity party - since I said that my choices for dinner were between cold pizza and holding a sign up on Cheshire Bridge, begging for people to give change so that I could buy food. Again, I was being a shit.

I have been disastrous at work today. I have had an attitude problem, a focus problem and a motivation problem.

And it all stems from a necessary car repair that it's good that I had done. I solved my own problem. I have my health. I have my jobs. I have a place to live. I'm going to London soon.

Most importantly, I have friends - a gaggle of really great, really understanding and caring people who are there for me whether I'm a shit or not.

I've been having a bad day. Tomorrow will be better. And the day after that will be better. Or, if it's not, I'll cope.

My problems have been worse than this. My problems are fleeting.

So, seeing the statement, I turned around, sat down at my desk again and decided to type myself a lesson. And I think I just did.

Something else.

I want to think about something besides money. I want to write fake stories. I want them to make me happy. I want to create a world that I can escape to. I want to not have to compartmentalize the things that require worry, then take them up one at a time and face them. I want to escape worry.

I want to work today. I want to be able to concentrate - but I've not been able to do so. I mean, I picked up my car and drove it back to the office. I am now the only one here.

I can't escape. I can't get out. I can't leave. I have stuff to do. I'm not doing it. I'm freaking out.

I have laundry to do. I have books that I bought and haven't read. I have my apartment that isn't clean.

I'm going to Europe, but I have no money to go. I have rent to pay and bills to pay and stuff to pay. And everyone has that. So it's not as big a deal as it seems when it hits us over the head on days like today.

I want to escape.

Broken brake. Fixed brake. Fixed me. Broke me.

OK, so I'm thinking that maybe I shouldn't have gotten my brakes fixed. Maybe it would've been easier if I'd just left them squeaking, then gotten a new car at the point where the old Saturn became inoperable.

Because today I spent over $700 - money that I don't really have right now - to fix a problem that apparently was far worse than I thought it was. And now, though my brakes no longer squeak, I feel like I have to floor the pedal if I want to stop the car. What's up with that? I mean, I'm no mechanic, but shouldn't there be resistance when I put my foot on the brake?

This stuff happens. Life is wonderful and terrible like that. It's like I didn't have a car payment, then suddenly had to pay two of them at once.

I have two jobs. I have stuff that I can return and sell back. I can pick up hours at the bookstore. This will solve itself. No, this won't solve itself. I'll solve it.

Some good news though.

Van, the editorial assistant for "Southern Voice" previously mentioned a couple times on the blog, read my essay, "The Domino Effect," and he told me that I should submit it as a potential op-ed column for SOVO.

I then showed Van "Anti-Christ Love Song," which is titled that way incidentally because Lupo told me that I sounded like the Anti-Christ if I was scaring tiny dogs and turning straight men gay. And Van told me that I may want to submit columns to SOVO regularly.

I told him that I'd edit "The Domino Effect" through, then resubmit it. I mean, I have no problem with getting my stuff out there. But I think if I keep in the "Fuck gay pride" sentiment in the piece, a bunch of queens might just lynch me. I'm thinking instead of the softer, nicer sentiment of "Screw gay pride."

Anyway, if you call me today, I may be out returning items I bought yesterday at a store ... or standing in line for food stamps. I don't know.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Anti-Christ Love Song.

So one of my heterosexual friends said he was attracted to my personality. And I was both giddy and kinda freaked out about it.

I understand the concept of emotional and intellectual attractiveness, and I know that's what he was speaking of. He's not physically attracted to me. Still, I was a little confused about all this.

I think I may actually be too conservative, as the straight guy suggested I was, because I worried for a day about what he meant.

I guess I'm more comfortable in a black-and-white world where straight guys are hot, closed-minded and completely unobtainable.

When we get to the point where I like a straight guy and he says that he finds me attractive, the open-minded aspect of my personality goes, "OK, cool. I can handle this. I'm an adult. He's a nice guy paying me a good compliment."

But another side of me freaks the hell out because my mind starts going wild, brainstorming consequences. I start wondering what exactly's going on, what I did to him. The freak in me wonders whether I've hurt or tempted this incredibly kind, funny, intelligent heterosexual, propelling him into a state of sexual confusion that may take years of therapy and seedy one-night-stands to overcome. I wonder if I've somehow, through charm, introduced him into a hell of dark corners, dangerous strangers and a lifetime of difficulty.

Why can't I just be cool with a compliment from a neat guy who happens to be straight?

Because I don't trust myself. Maybe I don't trust compliments. Maybe I don't like a sliding Kinsey scale. Maybe I misunderstood him. Maybe I don't like possibility. Maybe, if something good looks like it's about to happen in my life, I have to nip it in the bud right away. I don't know.

Maybe I'm more comfortable when straight people are straight, gay people are gay and bisexuals say up front, "Hey, I'm bisexual. So, watch out, I might just up and mack on ANYBODY!"

In this specific case, I'm attracted to the hetero's personality. I think he's neat. I'm very, very glad that he's my friend. I care about him. I care about his happiness. I want the best for him. When we began talking, I was scared that I was going to smother him with creepy advances and endless, confused phone calls. (You know, like I do with most of the promising guys I meet.) When I didn't scare him away, I felt more confident in my ability to meet strong, non-psychotic people. He's a friend I want to keep.

I had a mild crush on him, which I admitted ages ago and tried to let go. And I didn't think much past it. But, he told me he thought I was attractive, and the dreamy, stupid kid in me lost restraint in moments and thought, "Oh my God, this isn't in my head. This is happening!"

And, allowing myself that thought, I unfortunately was unable to control further, ridiculous thoughts that stemmed from that one. (I'm on anti-obsessiveness medication to control these, but, to my own embarassment, I will give you a glimpse in my head.)

In my head moments after he made his kind comment, the straight guy and I were holding hands, traipsing through fields of marigolds and daisies while flutes playing a variation of the "Little House on the Prairie" theme echoed from the heavens. Then, in a flash, it's 10 years later, and the straight guy and I were bottle-feeding our adopted Mongolian refugee children. Then, we're celebrating the 14th anniversary of our tasteful, black-tie-event, invitation-only commitment ceremony held in a posh hotel ballroom. Then, further into the future, the straight guy and I were giggling with delight over thoughts of women and how he used to find them interesting.

In addition to those thoughts, though, came the ideas that I had the amazing, god-like ability to convert anyone's sexuality at will. I imagined snapping my finger in the direction of any random person and being able to control their sexual preference. BOOM, you're straight. BOOM, you're gay. BOOM, you're attractive. BOOM, you're a duck. I had power. I snap my fingers, and Michael Jackson becomes a believeable heterosexual. I snap my fingers, and Rush Week isn't the only time that muscled, drunken frat boys are naked and violating goats. I snap my fingers, and I forgive Jude Law for being in "Cold Mountain" and let him into my house - the house I share with the straight guy and our Mongolian orphans.

These thoughts, which start at "ridiculous" and end up "somewhere beyond reality," happened within moments of him telling me this compliment. I felt foolish having them, and I now confess them as penance. I don't like where my mind goes when it runs around off its leash.

I am already in therapy, and now you all know the reasons.

I don't like being able to have free range over these thoughts as plausible realities. I don't trust myself to love anyone. I become selfish.

I like my heterosexual friend. I don't trust myself enough for there to be any sort of "attraction" possibility there. I don't want to hurt my friendship with him, so that's all I want it to be.

Actually, I want more from someone, but I can't have what I want with the straight guy. I want to meet someone new and love him. And I want to keep my other friends straight.

We apologize for the delay.

I was supposed to finish my film Top 10 of 2003 two weeks ago, but I became involved in working two jobs, writing the second season of BUFORD HIGH SCHOOL REUNION - THE SERIES, getting my passport, worrying about money, learning to sleep properly, saving my job at McGraw-Hill and dealing with the ripples of potential in my mostly-lacking personal life. So I've not written it yet. But I know what films are supposed to be on it.

I promise. This week. Before the Oscar nominations.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

The poodle's scared of me.

I’m at my father’s house, sitting with him while he watches the Colts-Patriots game on TV. We’re watching Charlie, my brother Dan’s girlfriend’s poodle. Or, rather, my father is petting the dog, trying to stop it from being scared of me. It isn’t working. I horrify the poodle.

Knowing my father wanted to watch football, I brought my laptop and a couple DVDs to keep myself occupied. I figured that I could visit with him during the commercial breaks, and I could knock out an episode of the REUNION in the meantime. But every time my father hears the keys click, he looks over at me.

I’m listening to RealPlayer, so I can’t hear the keys. I should maybe go into the other room. But I don’t know.

This is a weird visit. This is a weird weekend. I keep thinking about my office and my job. And I have a sick feeling in my stomach about it – not everything feels all right.

I’ve somehow made tentative plans with Vic, Kacoon and Marley for tomorrow. But nothing’s set. The only thing I know I’m doing tomorrow is going to see my therapist tomorrow, and I owe him money.

I was thinking of going into my office for an hour or so – cleaning up my already-clean workload a little bit more. I thought I could do all the Internet-based work possible – the stuff that doesn’t require me calling anyone.

But I’m not sure. Maybe that’s a panic move.

The game has 11 seconds left in the fourth quarter. OK, seven seconds now. And New England’s in the lead. And they have control of the ball. They’re letting the clock run. They’re the AFC champions.

The NFC championship is next. My dad’s preparing for that now.

The poodle’s staring at me. He’s not happy.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

The Domino Effect.

Larry, two of the Davids and I went to the bar Red Chair and played a game of dominoes on one of the round tables there in a corner. The lights flashing around us, the music videos playing, and we were playing a variation on dominoes called "Chicken Foot." It was the sort of game my grandpa would teach me. It was fun. We were all but ignored by the crowd of young, gay people, and the domino game felt like clever subversion.

Because I'm in my twenties, I occasionally feel doubts about who I am. I think sometimes that I should be gayer. Or more into gay things. Drag shows. Bars. Magazines with shirtless, oiled men on the front of them and articles advising how to give a better blow job. But I hate that stuff.

In the bar, I read an editorial tonight in one of those magazines, written by a guy I used to know in college who's now the mag's editor. He spent his editorial waxing nostalgic about how the Armorettes Drag Show on Sunday nights at the Armory "used to be." My old friend's editorial said that, by naming off the drag queen roster from his days of yore, he was "showing his age." I couldn't relate. It seemed like only a narrow, gay-as-hobby group of people could. And he was talking about post-college/pre-thirtysomething days.

Was there an aspect of my gay 20s that I missed? Like, an entire portion of my youth that, feeling uncomfortable in bars and not wanting to be primarily known as "that gay guy," I intentionally skipped. When a group of my friends began to design their own porn site, I stopped going by their apartment so much. If a stripper is at a party I'm attending, I'm the token giggler/sarcastic remark guy. If I get hit on in a bar, usually I dissuade the guy by criticizing his methods of approach.

"You've been staring at me for a half hour," I said to one. "I walked by five times. Why did you have to WAIT until I said hello to say hello back?"

Not knowing my name but still talking and smiling at me minutes later, that same guy asked me to fuck him. I laughed and said, "Dude, I don't even KNOW you."

Nowadays, I still feel uncomfortable in bars. I have no friends with gym bodies. I can hold full conversations with gay friends of mine without reference to "tricking out" or "popper usage." If a drag show is going on in a bar that I walk into, I avoid it. The last time I intentionally attended a drag show was for my friend Kate's bachelorette party about two years ago. And there was a kitsch factor involved in that.

I don't think I much like being gay. It's annoying me. I'm a damn good writer. I'm a damn good movie critic. I'm a damn good bookstore clerk. I'm a damn good friend to people. I'm a damn good conversationalist. I'm smart. I'm funny. I'm interesting. I'm attractive. I'm self-supporting and decently well-off.

I'm fucking lousy at being gay.

Red Chair, where I also spent a few moments during my birthday last June, puts me in a mood. A bad one. I enjoyed playing the dominoes there. I didn't enjoy walking around in circles with no real destination, surrounded by techno bullshit music and softcore pornographic videos and looking at all the pretty people. I lack the confidence. I lack that look.

I lack the ability to give a shit anymore.

Fuck bars. I'm not going to meet the love of my life in a place where the music is so loud and pervasive that conversation isn't possible or likely. I'm a talker. I NEED to talk to someone. I like art. I like movies. I like reading. I like my interests. Being gay doesn't interest me the way being a movie fan does.

Fuck gay pride. I can't adopt my lifestyle choice and flesh it out until it becomes a hobby - as others do. I can't watch gay movies and seek out "gay role models." I subscribe to OUT Magazine, which I did because it was less than $15 a year - and I was trying to adapt and be more accepting of my lifestyle-as-hobby. But I can't read the mag. I throw it across the room in frustration.

I wrote Wes Culwell from BOY MEETS BOY an e-mail once, and I asked him how he felt when someone referred to a date of his as "Mr. Right Now." He wrote me back, surprisingly, and said that publicity was publicity. Reading his website, though, the man has nothing to say - except about being gay. And he has nothing new to say about that.

Fuck gym looks. I can't do the stand-and-pose. My legs are uneven, and I'll fall over.

When we started playing dominoes at Red Chair, the crowd of apparent catalog models from International Male, at first, wasn't there. They kept the lights up, and the music, though loud, wasn't ear-bleed.

When the game of dominoes ended, I tried walking amongst the beauty crowd. I got pushed to the side. Seriously, someone pushed me. Beyond that, I couldn't see anyone who was really my height beyond all the broad shoulders and such. There was no one my height there - and I'm 5'8". I don't usually feel short in a crowd.

I'm not an unattractive man. I'm not an unintelligent, anti-social man. I just don't really like being gay. I never quite found out how I fit in with the rest of them. I know I wasn't the only one playing dominoes at a stand-and-pose bar, but I was the only one of our group under 40.

My friend Jennifer once told me that Atlanta Gay Culture was going to suck me in and transform me into some sort of gym-bodied club kid. I didn't know, at the time, whether I wanted that. So I tried losing weight, and I didn't at first. Then, when my dad got diabetes and I tried looking at it as a health matter, I lost 15 pounds. I no longer feel chubby or as chubby. But I don't go to a gym, so I'm not rippled abs, bulging chest, broad shoulders guy.

I've never had a long-term relationship with a guy, and I want to learn from one - if it happens. I want to learn how to have someone else around. But I can't "put myself out there" into places that I wouldn't otherwise want to go - because the people I'll identify with most there are also the ones who won't be comfortable and don't fit in. So I'm going to stick to doing stuff I like doing. And I don't like being around young gay men. They make me nervous. They make me angry. They frustrate me. They abandon me and find my friendship useless. Just like I can't deal with someone closeted and unable to admit they're gay, I can't deal with someone gay who's only good at being gay.

I've still only ever been to Backstreet once - and I found it annoying because I spent the entire time talking to this closeted kid who told me his name was Chet Vandergelder. Seriously, the guy claimed to have a name out of HELLO DOLLY! Meanwhile, the friend I went to the bar with was getting a handjob from some kid laced on Ecstacy in the bathroom. I tried dancing at Backstreet. Someone pushed me. Someone else offered me drugs. I felt like I was in a Bret Easton Ellis novel.

My only real gay friends are Larry, David and their crowd of other Davids. And we stay home and talk plays, politics, cooking, television, movies, writing and, yes, being gay.

I'm not a member of a gym. My legs are bad. Instead, I got a part-time job. I see movies. I read books. I fucking write books - in which my homosexuality is not the only topic nor the prevailing topic.

Honestly, this is beyond me "just not getting it." This is beyond me "not finding my niche." I'm never going to fit in the way other people are able to make it work, but that doesn't mean that I don't want it to work. It doesn't make me a self-hating gay. I want it to work, and I want configure it to work within my guidelines.

I'm hoping that my argument here makes sense to people. I'm hoping that I'm explaining better than Van did at the bar to me last week, when he complained to me about guys and not fitting in. I hope I'm explaining this better than I did to Lupo last week.

I'm interesting in being me more than I am in being gay. Is that a workable situation that will still allow me to have and learn from relationships? Because I've seen gay culture, and some parts of it I'd rather do without.

Friday, January 16, 2004

More follow-up.

Oh God, this just gets funnier and funnier. He doesn't realize I was kidding. Now he probably just thinks he hallucinated the whole thing. Is it wrong of me to find this funny? He was apologizing without knowing what he's apologizing for.

I wasn't carrying on about them, like upset? I thought I was talking about them that way, because I'd been doing so with a couple of people earlier. I was perty out of it, so I kind of forget.

When I mentioned my sometimes being excessively friendly, I was just further illustrating how I can be when I've had a few too many. Lol. Earlier in the evening, I saw one of my coworkers (who I think is sweet on me) and we kissed a greeting, something he and I'd never done before, then we did it again just to do it. Was funny.

And I TOTALLY appreciate your driving me home since it was cold. That does come back to me now, probably because it was such a kind gesture. I really appreciate that!!!

Have a great weekend!



The guy who pity-kissed me, placing his drunken forehead against mine, on Sunday finally wrote me back. Reading this, I laughed out loud, almost to the point of falling out of my cubicle.


Hi. I got your message, just been a busy week. Yeah, I'm all good. Those are just drunken episodes for me, overindulge myself and inhibitions are lowered, so I talk about and do things usually best reserved. I also tend, in those states, to be excessively "friendly" when it's not always appropriate to do so.




I wrote back and lied, saying I had no idea what he was talking about - that I just drove him home.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Another new poster.

Vic gave me this movie poster, so I'm going to start decorating my bedroom using the posters, too.

I think I'm going movie-poster crazy, but it's a really good poster from a movie that Vic and I both love.

Upside, downside.

Upside: Things are generally good.
Downside: I need to have my brakes fixed, and I need my oil changed.

Upside: I'm going to see "Girl With a Pearl Earring" tonight with my new friend Marley.
Downside: I couldn't shave this morning because my skin is on fire from some sort of annoying razor-burn.

Upside: I've written two new episodes of REUNION - SEASON TWO.
Downside: I can't share them with anyone because I set the premiere date as Jan. 30 because I like making it an event AND so that I could write ahead, and people are annoyed about that.

Upside: I'm going to Britain.
Downside: I'm poor.

Upside: Gay culture is all over TV, even though I'm not being about Mr. Gay Guy.
Downside: The term "metrosexual" is annoying and becoming far too mainstream.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004


I ordered a pair of boots from Banana Republic last night that kinda looked like this, except my pair had thicker soles. (I wrote "souls" at one point by mistake. Can a shoe have a soul? That sounds like the topic of a children's storybook.) The boots I ordered were marked down from $135 to $29.99, so I went ahead and had a pair of 8-and-a-halfs shipped to me.

I read about these boots in this month's issue of ESQUIRE in an article talking about how the revival of ALFIE was going to spark interest in mod-looking British suits again.

The fact that these shoes are boots is, in its own way, fascinating enough to me. (I just hope, when I get them, that they're not too rugged or that I'm unable to wear them with dressier pants. I mean, I've seen the boots, and they don't look like combat boots - so I shouldn't worry about my attempt at markdown-priced trendiness.)

I started pricing blue and/or black suits last night - just for the fun of it - to see if I can find something swank to wear when I visit Miss Gibson in London in the spring. (We discussed hitting Paris for one day if funds allow, dressing well for the train.)

I got a haircut last night, and I got my passport photos taken. I received my birth certificate yesterday, and I've already filled out the application. So, now, I just have to go to the post office, I think, and I'm doing that at lunch.

Everything's falling into place regarding my passport. I'm getting cool boots at markdown.

Things are good right now.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Someone kissed me, sorta.

Last night, after seeing Vic, I went to this gay bar to see a friend of mine. And I'm there, like, five minutes before I run into Van, this friend-of-a-friend guy. And he's bemoaning being single and not having the guys he's attracted to be attracted to him.

I asked him who he's attracted to, and he says clean-cut, attractive, younger guys. He's 33, unshaven, a bit disheveled and says he doesn't dress like the people he's attracted to because he's not some poser fake. So I asked him if the people he was attracted to were poser fakes. And I asked him why he's attracted most to guys with whom he doesn't think he'd ever have a chance. And then I told him about the self-fulfilling prophecy my friend Lupo accused me of doing - that if you feel nothing will happen so you do nothing to change it, you're assuring nothing will happen.

And I talk to Van, tell him to keep up his hopes, and he tells me that he has to go - because he has to go catch a bus.

Well, it was cold, and my car is now clean and able to carry passengers. So I drove him home, and he continued to talk about how his loneliness was bumming him out - some times more than other times. And I tell him that it's like that for everyone.

And he's all drunk and depressed, and he says good night and kisses me on the cheek. Then he tries to kiss me again. And I, you know, like Van a little - but not when Van's talking all depressed and stuff or talking to me about how hot other guys are.

So I kissed back mildly - not aggressively - and told him that I would e-mail him today.

I didn't work at the bookstore this weekend, due both to scheduling and coincidence, so I was able to get a lot of sleep. But I need a haircut still, and I need to get my brakes fixed somehow.

Oh, and my mom called me this morning and asked me if I wanted to see "Oklahoma!" at the Fox one Saturday. I told her OK.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Not quite an insomniac.

I just checked my reviewer rank on, and it's happened.

I am one of the site's Top 1,000 Reviewers!

Jenipher will be incredibly proud of me, for she thinks obsessively writing Amazon reviews on anything - even my George Foreman Grill - is the dorkiest thing I've ever done.

I saw that I was ranked 982 now, which means it just happened. I just moved up. I mean, I was on the cusp for the longest time, but now those folks at Amazon have deemed me worthy!

"I learned the truth at 17, that love was meant for beauty queens ..."

And now, at age 27, I feel just like a beauty queen! Yay,, yay!

I must maintain my title, though, so I'll have to keep writing reviews. Review after review. I mustn't let myself get a big head over this. Or let my desire to write useful, amusing reviews wane. I must hold this up as the important accomplishment that it is!

Gandhi's calling was for peace. Mother Teresa's calling was to feed homeless orphans in destitute areas. Princess Diana spent the majority of her life campaigning for humanitarian causes, like ridding the world of landmines that harmed and killed small children.

My calling is to write Amazon reviews. I provide a service. The public NEEDS me at my keyboard.

I am so proud right now that I could cry.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Insomniac yet again.

Ronald's birthday party is today. I think I'm going to get him a gift certificate.

I finished writing the first episode of the REUNION REALITY SHOW's second season, which doesn't even premiere until January 30, and I'm very excited about the twisted plots I've got cooking - even in the first scene. I was fearing a sophomore slump, but I'm guessing that the show's four or five fans will be pleased at exactly how fucked up I've made things for the characters. (I would say more, but I'm actually trying to stay spoiler-free. God, that's so obnoxious when you're talking about your own work. Now I know how George Lucas feels - and why people rightfully hate him.)

I've made goal at work both days this week. My intention is to make goal everyday for three months to save myself from my own disastrous performance in November. My performance review is due this week, and my December scorecard should arrive any moment. I'm a little scared. My supervisor Ethan told me that it was my job not to worry about the larger picture and instead to keep plugging away at daily good results, which I've been doing.

I can't sleep. I can't find my Luvox, which just yesterday my therapist told me to put in a place I frequented during nightly routine. I moved it from where it was, and now I can't find it.

My therapist also told me that I should write a love story. And one of the fans of REUNION REALITY SHOW - my kickass 8th grade algebra teacher Ms. Davis - agreed with him.

She told me that one way to remind yourself about the feeling of real love is to write down a story of real love. Romantic love.

But I don't know anything about fulfilled and fulfilling love. I know unrequited love and unrealistic longing. I know relationships that you destroy because you're scared to move forward. I know bitter loneliness and walls and boundaries and wrong choices. And I know tricking yourself into thinking that love is really that way, not the romantic and fulfilling way. I know love is work either way - and I've seen others in love before.

Someone asked me why, if I didn't feel I knew anything about love, someone thought it would be a good idea to write about it.

I think I should write about love because I don't know anything about it. And I'm curious. Write about it to ask myself questions about it. To visualize it. To create it as an actual emotion or segment of hope within me, rather than just picture it as fantasy.

Can you create feelings of real love within yourself out of nothing? If love isn't offered to you, can you create it anyway? Is it something you can dream up? Is it something I can understand enough to eventually know it?

I read John Irving's A WIDOW FOR ONE YEAR once, and it dealt with that kind of situation. Of course, since it was Irving, the situation was less real than the emotion within it.

My greatest love story lasted five minutes. My second greatest one lasted two weeks. Nothing lasted. I wouldn't have known what to do with a relationship that lasted. I still don't know.

OK, I'm going to try Kacoon's suggestion of masturbation as a sleep aid again.

And, ahem, I'm going to find my Luvox.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Insomniac again.

OK, so this morning I woke up, and, scared out of my mind, I realized it was 10:30 in the morning. I was supposed to be at work at 9.

They were as understanding as possible, but I'm an unreliable worker. Luckily, I managed to reach a production goal, so I redeemed myself somewhat.

But I need to be in bed now. And I'm not.

I can't sleep. I'm watching my "Sex and the City" DVDs, and I can't sleep.

But, before going to sleep, I'm turning up the volume on all my clock radio alarms. And, ahem, I'm setting the timer on my television set.

Kacoon and I went to La Madeleine tonight, and we sat around and talked about sex for a couple hours. She and her husband are, apparently, having great sex. The last person I had sex with was Ash, whom I don't have and don't want a relationship with. But we do have chemistry. But it's not all about chemistry. There's not a satisfying future there, which is not a surprise to me.

I'm not meeting new people. Am I waiting for my life to start? How much do I need to meet new people, or do I just need to deepen my relationships with the people I already know - both socially and potentially romantically?

My apartment isn't clean, and I'm not cleaning it. I should, but I'm watching DVDs.

If someone comes to visit, I'll do it then.

I'm going to try and go to sleep now. And, hopefully, I'll wake up at the right time tomorrow morning.

Monday, January 05, 2004

New Year's memory.

At one point during New Year's, I remember Larry putting his feet up on the coffee table, and someone commented that Larry's feet were big. Then, they joked about his feet indicating the size of other things.

Holding a glass of single-malt scotch, I believe I yelled out, "Please! His feet LIE!!!"

That's all I remember post-midnight - other than walking unsteadily into the other room and collapsing on the futon.


It's 2004.

I'm no longer interested in the guy I met at the hair salon because he likes the movies "Trick" and "Love! Valour! Compassion!" Thus, he doesn't get that most gay movies are bad. I told him that I didn't really own many gay movies, and he asked me who my gay role models were. I asked him why my role models had to be gay.

I rang in the New Year by drinking too much at Larry's, making some crude jokes to amuse That One of the Davids (whom I may just like because he's the only other single one and the one closest to my age) and passing out alone in a futon. The telling of the jokes and the use of the alcohol, I thought, made me seem Dorothy Parker-ish, and I felt proud until I remembered how many times she tried to kill herself.

I kissed no one on New Year's. And even though I understand the point of it, I'm going to feign dumb and say that I can't figure the point of a New Year's kiss.

I cleaned out my car with my mother, so I now have a backseat and room for actual passengers. (I'm assuming that, since I said my dirty car was a means of keeping people away, I'm expected to now fill it with people because there's space. Otherwise, what's the psychology?) Now, my apartment is an atrocious mess.

I bought the anniversary issue of PLAYBOY because I'm guessing it has retrospective articles and fiction in it. I haven't looked at it yet, and I bought it at my own bookstore - which mildly amused my co-workers. ("He says he's reading it FOR THE ARTICLES!!!") I'm a secure man. I'm an adult. Why can't a gay man buy an issue of PLAYBOY?

Miss Gibson, in the country to attend a funeral, had a layover at the Atlanta airport, and I talked to her for a couple hours over coffee. We talked about my impending trip, my friend Black, the music of Rufus Wainwright, the difference between life in England and America and how cool and cheap the clothes from Old Navy are. It was a good visit. I miss her.

On the train back to my apartment from the airport, a Friendster friend of mine - someone I knew from college - stepped on to my train and didn't know who I was. Contrary to my own impulses, I said nothing to him about it on the train. The next day, I wrote a "Saw you on the train" e-mail, and he apologized for not speaking to me. Why is this a notable occurrence in my life? Why did I - at four different points during the weekend - check movie times just to see if ANYTHING I hadn't seen was playing?

Why did I occupy HOURS downloading music on to my laptop? Why didn't I go outside more? Why am I not writing more? Why am I only writing easy stuff?

Why is it that, in the fifth season, I can no longer identify with Miranda on SEX AND THE CITY and now must identify, sadly, with Carrie - the somewhat immature, self-centered writer-paranoid character? I want to be Miranda.

I've gained weight. I had cheese fries this weekend, though, and Oreo cookies. I think that, according to my internal diet-watch guilt impulse, that's the only junk food I'm allowed to eat this year.

My body is revolting against me. I think my face has gotten bigger, and the skin behind my underarms is all wrinkled and saggy. I feel like Bette Davis in RETURN TO WITCH MOUNTAIN.

And I think I worked every day that wasn't a holiday, with the exception of the day after Christmas - when I mourned for my lost savings as I paid an American Express bill.

I still haven't gotten my passport.

Lupo talked to me on the phone today, and he sounded all chipper and happy. I'd pose with him in one of those photo booths at the mall if he was around. I would smile, and he would smile. And I would look at the photo and say to myself, "This is my friend." But, you know, he probably wouldn't want to pose for a bunch of silly photo-booth photos with me. He'd probably say that I was channeling AMELIE, then he'd tell me how much he hated that movie and hated its ridiculous overuse of sentiment. And we'd get into an argument. And that, in itself, would be fun.

Vic, who once did pose in a photo booth with me, has been trying to arrange a meeting with me for two weeks or so. She was finally available when I was available this weekend, but she's come down with some sort of horrible illness, which just started improving today - enough time for her to return to her job and its schedule that conflicts with mine. I miss her.

Kacoon has put in her two weeks' notice at her job - and she reported her lax supervisors to her store's regional managers. So cool for her, I guess.

I was looking in MEN'S HEALTH magazine about new fashion trends, and it says that the latest craze involves a dark suit that makes you look like Michael Caine in ALFIE. The suit they showed looked good. It made me want that suit.

But I don't think I'm cute right now, so I should go to sleep.

My PAYCHECK review.

John Woo's "Paycheck" takes its intriguing "Remember the Future" premise from a Phillip K. Dick story and turns it into a rather humdrum, by-the-books action movie with a terrible, terrible ending that feels like it was tacked on to the final reel.

Trying to echo "Minority Report," "Paycheck," with the exception of one twist, instead echoes every movie with a chase scene about a wrongly-accused guy running from the law. Yeah, it's boring.

Our generic hero in this one is Ben Affleck, who seems bored and uninspired in his performance as a "reverse engineer" who steals and copies trademark-protected programs. Early in the film, when Affleck creates a program involving a portable porn star, the audience is shown that he has his memory erased after breaking copyright law for companies so, that way, he can't testify against them.

(As a side note, Paul Giamatti, playing Affleck's brain-erasing sidekick, should REALLY stop taking these parts. I mean, after revealing his genius in AMERICAN SPLENDOR, he shouldn't do this wacky sidekick kind of work anymore. His scenes are PAINFUL - only because it feels like he's pandering.)

After that early set of scenes and pointless, chemistry-deficient scenes introducing his character to the capable-of-much-better Uma Thurman's wacky biologist love-interest, Affleck agrees to work with Aaron Eckhart's character, an evil and slimy millionaire.

Once the real plot of the movie kicks in, a memoryless Affleck tries to figure out how trinkets he sent himself in his past will help him survive the future. And he knows the future because the evil millionaire had him build a machine to see it.

If this movie had been at all inspired, it would've cast Eckhart as the guy wrongly accused and Affleck as the smarmy, evil billionaire. The actors would've better fit the roles, and the film would've, frankly, been more interesting.

If this movie actually cared enough about its plot to create an interesting film around it, as "Minority Report" did, then there would be more to say. But there isn't, aside from the usual.

As in every John Woo film, things blow up. There are car chases. People get shot, and white doves show up for no reason whatsoever. (What's with the doves, anyway???)

"Paycheck" is no "Minority Report." It's no "Kill Bill." It has all the resonance of "Daredevil." And you won't need a memory-altering machine to forget it.