Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Dinner with family on the other side of the ocean.

I'm up, and it's morning. And, other than the fact that it hurts to move even an inch, I'm doing really well. My legs are getting quite a workout. Yesterday, I was having trouble with the right one and muscle spasms. Today, it appears, the right one is stronger, and the left one is difficult to lift. (Some time on it should, much like yesterday, help me work out the kinks.)

Yesterday afternoon, I went to Westminster Station and walked outside of it to find Big Ben. Then, I walked the edge of the Houses of Parliament, not taking the tour. Then, I asked someone directions, pointing out that the page break on the A TO ZED split the street we were on in half. I asked about Westminster Abbey, and they pointed right across the street, of course. (That's happened three times to me since I've been here. I ask directions for something when I'm standing right in front of it.)

I was too late to tour Westminster Abbey (and I chose not to attend Mass and try to sneak out in the middle of it), so I'm headed back there this morning. I may also go to the Tower of London - if only to assuage all those people who keep saying to me that I HAVE to see the Tower of London. Dena told me that the tour is absolutely excellent. Miss Gibson gave it props because it's old, but I'm just not keen on jewelry. Strange, huh?

Yesterday, I also went into this Dali exhibit, which was cool except for the fact that my legs decided to act up on me there. So I hobbled from melted clock to
melted clock until I found a chair - one that wasn't also sculpture - and rested. (I thought about buying Lupo a Chagall or one of the Picasso works from 1990 - even though he just wants some pin-up shot of Prince Harry and some footballer named Jonny Wilkinson kissing - because the gallery was having a sale, but I didn't have £3,000 handy.)

I saw the London Eye, but I didn't go on it yet. I'm going to wait for that until Miss Gibson can join me because it seems like one of those romantic movie kiss
moments. (Not that I want to romantic movie kiss with Miss Gibson, even though she's very, very beautiful. But I'm gay. And I suppose I want to kiss a boy while I'm here, but I don't know if I can fit that into my schedule. I'm pressed for time, as it is.)

She and I are supposed to see a play this week, too, if we can find some good tickets. Silly me, I had offers from Larry to get tickets, but I couldn't find a play
I wanted to see. Now, I want to see Judi Dench in ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL, even though everyone's telling me to see JERRY SPRINGER - THE OPERA.
Shakespearean comedy seems more fun. Maybe I'm just trying to come off better. Speaking of, in speech, I've started dropping Rs and elongating certain words since I've been here. I sound, at times, like British-accented Madonna.

Anyway, yesterday, I stopped along the Thames at a bench, looking out over the sunset. And there was this boy there - a 19-year-old student named Chris - who loaned me a pen so that I could write Marley her postcard from Westminster Abbey. Chris spoke to me about America, the latest episodes of "24" that he'd seen and about how he wasn't an anime geek. I told him about my self-hating tourist schtick and how I just needed to get over myself.

We talked about an hour, and then I asked him what time it was.

"Um, there's a big clock over there," he said, pointing to Big Ben. The most famous clock in the world. Which was across the river. Right in front of me.

It was the most idiotic thing I've maybe ever done, other than buying a ticket to THE CAT IN THE HAT.

But I laughed it off, and he walked me to the tube station.

Last night, Miss Gibson and I met up with this woman named Holly Wilson, who is a friend of ours and another Phi Kappa alumnus who happens to be on holiday here.

One of the first things we discussed was who made the best meat pies in London.

I said, "Mrs. Lovett makes the worst pies in London."

And they asked me who Mrs. Lovett was.

We ended up eating on Brick Lane, where all of these Indian curry houses are. The food was exotic and delicious, and the name of my chicken-and-rice dish is
some word that I don't know how to spell. But it was excellent. (Also, we talked more and more about other Phi Kappans - including Black. Even though we were in the middle of London, it felt like a night out at the Shroom on Broad Street in Athens, which was kinda cool.)

We chatted until midnight, then walked Holly back to the tube station. And then, after we bid her goodbye, I had Miss Gibson pick out a site in the middle of the Liverpool Street Station, and she did. So she stood there, and I kissed her on the cheek.

And Miss Gibson said, "I figured you were going to do that."

And she smiled.

"It's all melodrama with me," I said.

"Yes, but that's good melodrama," she said.

And we walked back to the flat, talking about the family you choose rather than the family you're born to.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

The Incidental Tourist.

Yesterday was EXCELLENT. I took the tube to Leicester Square, then wandered through the theater district to Piccadilly Circus. Then, from there, I explored a
couple blocks of Soho. Then I went in another direction, ended up at St. James Square. Then, from there, I went down Pall Mall and eventually ended up
at St. James Park and Buckingham Palace. Seriously. I didn't even mean to see it yesterday, and I just happened to wander right up to it. I've been keeping Miss Gibson's copy of the "London A to Zed" with me at all times, because it's one of the most useful books I've ever seen, but I suppose I should learn how to better use it since I just stumbled upon Buckingham Palace.

(The day before, outside Angel Station, I saw a Woolworth's store in central London. At the sight of that Nanci Griffith echoed through my head.)

Today, I was going to Westminster Abbey, if I can get out of the apartment within a reasonable time. But I still haven't found a way to properly sleep. (I had some green tea last night, as well as taking my pills, but I still couldn't get to sleep before 5 a.m. It was somewhat alarming, but my right leg - which I think has a cerebral palsy-caused muscle spasm that acts up only when I'm really active - began to ache while I was trying to sleep.)

Miss Gibson and I spent hours last night at this Japanese restaurant with a communal setting. I think it was called Wacamama's or something. She'll correct me if I'm wrong. It was wonderful. She and I were able to sit and have this long, meaningful chat about family, religion, relationships, work, education, the past, the present, the future, ambitions, dreams, who we are versus who we want to be versus who we thought we wanted to be, etc. And, at one point, I told her my worst sex story - the one involving my one-night-stand with the Stepford Homosexual in Augusta - and she howled.

Speaking of, my gaydar doesn't work at all here. Most every guy is attractive with trendy clothes and spiky, stylish hair and trendy framed glasses. London appears to be, moreso than Manhattan, a cute guy mecca.

Anyway, I was reminded again last night that Miss Gibson is one of the most beautiful, capable, interesting women I've ever known. And that detail is
hammered home to me every time I talk to her, write her an e-mail or regard for a moment who she is. I'm so glad she's here because, considering what I was
going through back home, it was good to have time with a close friend who understands and relates to me in addition to - what do you call this? - an adventure.

Anyway, I've got to head out if I'm going to get me to the church on time.

Bad joke. But sorry, I had to.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Upon arrival.

I know I'm not allowed, according to Lupo's rules of engagement, to even update the blog. But I do hope that you don't think I'm wasting valuable sight-seeing time (because all I seriously feel like doing is sleeping). I mean, if I were there, it would be 5 a.m. But I'm here, and it's 11 a.m. So that's very strange. (Apparently, I arrived the one week where Britain's time changes for Daylight Saving Time - but the US doesn't change time for a week so there's a six-hour difference.)

Miss Gibson's off now to edit the Letters Page for the Guardian. She's due back at 7:30.

And I'm in her room now, where she advised me to take a nap.

Thus far, in terms of the sights that I've seen, I've ridden on a double-decker bus. I've ridden on a train. I crossed London Bridge. I saw Tower Bridge in the distance and St. Paul's. On the personal front, Miss Gibson and I have already dished extensively about guys, health, sex, culture, the cool gay areas. And I've given her the Butterfinger candy bars I bought at the Atlanta airport.

Getting to her flat sorta confused me, but I'll get the hang of it.

She's given me the keys to her flat, which I think means that I'm expected to go outside at some point.

It's not like I thought it would be, upon first impressions. This place is really grimy. And the streets are crowded. And the sun isn't out. And it's cold. And there are lots of cute guys with really good hair here. All this both frightens and excites me. Is that weird?

As I said before you, you can write me at the account. I'm using Miss Gibson's account to mail my parents, for, if they start nosing around the words Riley McCarthy on a web search, who knows what they'll find.

Anyway, I'm scared and confused and excited and in a strange room in an unfamiliar land with weird money. And everyone's saying I'm going to be cheated thanks to the conversion rate.

This is really happening.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

On location.

My flight to London's at 6:45 tonight.

I've been fielding phone calls, doing packing, running errands and what-not for a couple hours.

In the meantime, I thought I would post here - since I may not post here for a week if things remain interesting.

Feel free to e-mail me, though, for I'll check that while I'm gone.

I'm excited. Wish me luck.

Thursday, March 25, 2004


Incidentally, I cannot BELIEVE that I'm finally going to London. I'm really, really excited, yet I have no real plans.

My friend Black, who used to live in London, was telling tonight about all these places to visit, and I now have a list. But, at the same time, I'm just trying to figure out what I want to do when I'm there - or if I just want to walk around and experience what it's like in its day-to-day. You know, I want to see what the people do, the ones who take the sites for granted and instead just consider London a place to live. I want to see how I would do among them, as well, to see if I would fit in or stand out.

When I visited New York a couple years ago, I went out everyday with one question posed to myself and to the city. "Could I live here?" I think I may spend some time in London just wondering the same thing. That way, you spend your time not as a tourist but as someone exploring a real possibility, a potential change or a new life. Because London is fascinating in a different way, I imagine, to the people who live there.

I thought about this first when my cousin Shannon, who lives in New York, told me that she'd never been to Liberty Island. Because, considering herself a native, Liberty Island wasn't for her. It was for the tourists.

Consider your own city and how you think of it. Think of the places that you take your guests when they're in town. Why is that the only time you visit them? What do you, apart from the sites, love about where you are? What do you find most comfortable about the place you call home or consider your temporary home? What makes it special to you?

There are sites in Atlanta that I never go to unless a friend is visiting from out-of-town. I've not been to the Laser Show at Stone Mountain since high school and see no real reason, aside from the kitsch factor, to ever see it again in my life. I last visited Zoo Atlanta when I was, I don't know, 12, even though I drive by it maybe once a month. The World of Coca-Cola is fun for a gigantic, obvious, caffeinated sales pitch, but only if you're really, really, really thirsty. CNN Center, to me, became a whole lot less intriguing when I worked there everyday and walked through the newsrooms you see behind the anchor desks on TV, yet packed tour groups adore it. I say every year that I'm going to go to the High Museum more often, but I'm amazed if I make it once a year.

But Atlanta, to me, is about getting a small bottle of Mayfield Chocolate Milk and some fresh glazed at the 24-hour Krispy Kreme at Ponce and Argonne. It's that night during the holidays I spent walking with Michael Edmondson through Centennial Olympic Park, looking at the lights and the manufactured ice-skating rink. It's riding MARTA through Five Points Station, getting out and looking around Underground, no matter how bad or how musty it smells. It's the Mall of Georgia where I work, which I find comforting and almost quaint in spite of the fact that it's gigantic and ridiculous. It's about the moments when I feel just crazy enough to run under the mall's giant water fountain - even though I'll get soaked and even though it's for the kids. The city is about the day that I spent walking through downtown with nowhere to go after I finished the GRE, having lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe and at the Brooks Brothers store just to browse. I feel the city most when I'm carrying a basket of laundry out of Larry's condo at night, looking up at the glowing tower of the Bank of America building and thinking that it's sorta beautiful.

I once rode from Georgia to Chicago with my father in a rental car. I was 12. We turned the car in at an office on Michigan Avenue and walked back to his apartment on State Street. We walked over the bridge on the Chicago River, and my father pointed out to me the apartment building from "The Bob Newhart Show." He showed me the Harry Caray restaurant called "Cowabunga." We walked past brownstones, and he told me where the first Playboy mansion was. At the same time, I looked at the people walking past me and saw how they behaved. I saw a Walgreen's on every corner. I figured out what my dad's video store probably was. My father taught me how he used the subway everyday. He told me that we were going to exercise every night by walking along the coast of Lake Michigan, and we did during that month. One night, we walked the length of Rush Street, returning only when it got really dark and the city skyline was filled with lights.

He took me to Wrigley Field a couple times before they put the lights into it, just for something fun to do during the day. He would look over at the people who lived in apartments next to the field, the ones with deck chairs on the roofs so that they could watch the game. He told me they were lucky. At the game, he taught me that it was traditional to "throw back" a home run ball hit by the visiting team. It's a rule that the regulars know - not the tourists. My dad taught me how to behave when Harry Caray himself sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh inning stretch. I felt more "in the know" at Wrigley than I ever did at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, and that's probably why I'm still a closet Cubs fan when they play. I feel like I know the hometown rules.

So I suppose I want to see Westminster Abbey. I suppose that I'll think that London Bridge is awesome. My friend recommends the Tower of London. Harrod's, of course. And the British Museum. And Big Ben. The House of Lords. The House of Commons. And the changing of the guard. And I suppose I want to see Buckingham Palace. And the Millennium Wheel is supposed to provide an excellent view of everything. And I want to see the park that was in Antonioni's "Blow Up," if I can find it.

But I want to see, as well, how Miss Gibson gets to work, who she walks past, how they behave. Black told me about a church that he attended for a couple years, and I want to see it. I want to see people shopping. I want to pay attention to how much ice they put in my drinks, as Welsh Guy did when he came to visit me in Athens.

I want to feel the city as much as see it. And the way to do that is to ask, "Could I live here?"


My friend Marley reminded me a couple weeks ago about points of etiquette when you're staying in someone's home. And since I'm going to see Miss Gibson in London, I have been trying to figure out for weeks what sort of gift would be suitable to get her.

It has to be small enough to fit in my suitcase, so I was thinking of getting her a CD. I told her when I last saw her about Rufus Wainwright, and I e-mailed her a couple weeks ago to find out if she was keen on Aimee Mann. Today, I discovered that she was a Talking Heads fan, as any intelligent, sane person would be.

But I realized a while ago that she could just as easily purchase certain CDs over in Britain, so I tried to figure out some stuff that we had here that she maybe can't get her hands on.

And, because of some stuff that I've been reading and because of recent sales around my office, I came up with something special that can fit in my suitcase - something she can't get there.

So I wrote her today and asked her if she'd be interested in me tracking down a box of Girl Scout Cookies for her. And I think the question surprised her pleasantly, for she asked me if I was serious. Then, she told me that it'd be great if I could track her down some Samoas.

I didn't know if the sale had already ended, but I told Miss Gibson that I would do what I could. (She told me that, if the Samoa acquisition proved difficult, I could instead bring her a York Peppermint Patty and a Butterfinger. I'm SHOCKED that London doesn't have Butterfingers.)

So I checked with my suppliers, a woman named Faneshia in my office and my high school friend Dena, and I told them it was an emergency. Yes, I used the word 'EMERGENCY' in big capital letters.

Faneshia told me that she had three boxes of Samoas left at her house. So I ran over to her cubicle, threw down four Sacajawea dollars that I got last night at a parking deck and secured that Miss Gibson's box of Samoas would be delivered in the morning.

Then, I e-mailed Miss Gibson and told her of my success with my supplier. (I felt like I'd just bought heroin or something.)

Miss Gibson told me that Customs probably wouldn't seize them, so, upon my arrival Sunday morning in London, Miss Gibson should be able to enjoy her special American cookies.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

My apology letter to fans of my soap opera.

I just posted this open letter on my HIGH SCHOOL REUNION parody's website to explain to them why I haven't written a new episode, featuring me and my friends, in a couple weeks.


I was going to keep this a secret, but I've decided that you all deserve to know the true reason why the episodes stopped.

It was because of Dena.

A couple hours after I posted the last episode, in fact, Dena called me on my cell phone with a complaint.

"Don't write about me being pregnant," Dena said to me. "That hits too close to home."

When I asked her what she meant by this, she mumbled to me that she was actually pregnant but that she wanted me to wait until the end of her first trimester so as not to spoil the surprise. Plus, she wondered if her new boyfriend was going to be there for her or if she was going to have to embark upon the challenges of motherhood on her own.

"But I've already written that the baby is yours from a one-night-stand you had with Officer Joey," I told her. "It's what the fans want. And your fictional pregnancy doesn't have to really have anything to do with the real one."

"I don't want you to jinx this," Dena said to me. "Just figure out a way for me to not be pregnant on the show."

For weeks now, I've been posing solutions to Dena, but she says that all of them are complete jinxes. If I have her fall down the stairs while pregnant, like Scarlett O'Hara, she freaks out at me, saying that I mean harm to her real baby. If I make her go on a horse ride to catch CJ before he gets away from her, wherein she miscarries the baby, Dena gets upset. The only thing she liked was when I proposed that she carried the baby to term and left it in the woods for squirrels to raise, but I told her that would take too long to develop. Plus, she didn't want to be upstaged as a mother by a loving squirrel.

So I'm stumped. I don't know how to just kill off this damn baby so that we can get on with the show.

If anyone has any ideas, let me know.

Oh, and don't let Dena know that I let the cat out of the bag regarding her illegitimate baby. Apparently, she doesn't want people to know. (If she denies it, the girl is lying, by the way. She told me. I know.)

Please help.


The real Dena, upon reading this, thought it was hilarious.

I've not been able to work on the show, honestly, because I've been working and planning my trip. But I like this story better.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Black moves from Tennessee ...

So my friend Black's moving to Alabama, which probably means that we'll have new and interesting things to mock him about. But, at the same time, he's closer to me, which means that I'll be able to see him, take care of him and assure him first dibs on whatever quality women I find suitable for him. He told me, as well, that he would find me all the good, available, gay men in Birmingham. (My reply was, of course, "Both of them?")

At the same time, he's moving closer to his parents and siblings, and he wants that. He's not been geographically close to them in a while, and I think he's happy about it. (Much as I would pick on anyone who actually chooses to live in Alabama, Black's already actually FROM Alabama - so it's not like he wasn't already 'affected' by that state. And he, for some reason, apologized to me, seriously, for not finding a job in Atlanta. I reminded him that this wasn't about me.)

He's general counsel for a small pharmaceutical company in his new position, as well, which means that he's their entire legal department. It'll keep him busy, which I think will keep him happy and well-paid. Plus, he'll be in control of his schedule, which I think makes him happy.

He begins the new job in three weeks.

When my friend Doug moved to Birmingham, I thought it was a mistake, too. (Dougie was supposed to go to Russia instead of Alabama, at one point, and I told him that Russia was preferable.) But Dougie LOVES Alabama. It's almost scary.

So Black will probably love Alabama too.

Monday, March 22, 2004

It takes a village to raise a zombie baby.

Lupo (who coined the phrase that titles this blog entry) and I have been discussing our favorite scenes in the DAWN OF THE DEAD remake all morning. God, that movie is so fun.

I told Lupo that my favorite scene was the chainsaw scene.

Lupo said his favorite part came when his theater erupted in cheers over the death of a zombie baby.

The movie's not scary, though the first couple minutes are surprisingly shocking, and the rest of it is just good gory fun.

Case in point ...

SLIVER, written by Joe Eszterhas, is on TV right now.

I can write something better than Joe Eszterhas.

The how.

I wrote a couple days ago about how my friend Larry told me that he felt my blog was a waste of my writing talents. He's been telling me for years to publish these ramblings I used to send him in forms of personal essays, complaint e-mails, occasionally published columns and blog entries. He's had me read things at some of his parties. (My shocking, arguably well-written account of child molestation - read with Larry's approval - left his guests at a wine-and-cheese party STUNNED, and my Waffle House story roused the drunkards at another party into laughing inappropriately, wishing that Larry had instead hired a stripper.)

When I think about being a published writer, I can't actually fathom it happening. I don't think I'm very good at it. I don't think I say anything particularly original. I think that my life is gigantic mess most of the time, and I don't think that my problems are the sort that other people couldn't easily overcome. In fact, much of the time I feel like people reading what I have to say would understandably dismiss me as some whiny, immature little bitch. But others who do read what I write say that they find me entertaining.

I don't see me having a book. I don't see me having a screenplay made. I don't see it happening. I'm scared, as well, that it won't. So I don't know what my goal is. I don't know how I just buckle down and write the damn thing if I haven't been able to do so thus far.

Larry, of course, says that my stuff is publishable already. But he's wrong. It's non-narrative, too short, self-indulgent and unfocused.

Additionally, I can't stop writing it. I can't see a movie and, if it doesn't impress me, think that I could do better. If I find out that some 19-year-old has written a book, I check it out at my bookstore and, more often than not, think I can do better.

But I don't. But I should. And I have time to either do or don't do it.

I don't like my job. I don't like doing there in the morning and sleepwalking through it. I don't like that I'm not looking for another one.

I don't like that I'm not writing something more substantial and interesting. I don't like being on the fence, even when I'm showing a moment of self-esteem, about my own ambitions.

Shouldn't I be all gung-ho about my writing if I'm going to get published? Shouldn't I be "It'll happen no matter what YOU say" to naysayers about it? Shouldn't I be Kevin Bacon to the churchgoers in FOOTLOOSE, with a "Gotta Dance!" attitude about my writing? I mean, I shouldn't be one of the naysayers, right? I should just do it.

I'm bringing my computer with me to London. I don't know what I expect from that. I know it's silly to want this trip to change my life. But I want this trip to change my life.

I want to change my life.


My HIGH SCHOOL REUNION fan base, all four of them, is going to kill me tomorrow because I chose to write on the blog rather than solve the murder that they've been waiting weeks for me to solve. But this is more important to me. And I can always solve the murder later.

After some serious and careful consideration, I've decided to transfer away from my job in Buford to another Barnes & Noble closer to my apartment. I've spoken with management about a possible transfer, and they are waiting for my decision. I'm going to give it to them within the week so that the necessary process can begin. I will not transfer if it means taking a cut in pay, but, other than that, I think it's time to move on to another chapter in my life.

Those of you with bigger jobs or those of you who are students or those of you who are young may not understand why I would sweat such a small decision so much. But the store has helped me a lot. It's felt like a home to me - when I didn't want to go home - in sadder times during the past four years. I feel like the store, in some ridiculous ways, "belongs" to me because I've been there so long. I remember when I'd told myself that I was going to only stay there two weeks or three weeks, until I got back on my feet. But the store changed me, and it helped me regain much of my confidence, which was dwindling after I left CNN.

Still, it's been four years. And I need to take control of this opportunity and move myself on to a different challenge.

Hopefully, everything will work out for the best. Hopefully, a new store will utilize me more than the Mall of Georgia store has been able to lately.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Too much information.

Ash, my college ex, just wrote me to tell me that he had crabs. Um, he never writes me. Not even when his house burns down.

Now, out of the blue, he just sees fit in saying, "Oh, I have crabs, and I don't know how ..." in an e-mail. Then, he asked me - seriously - if I wanted to come over one night because he was lonely.

Um, no.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

To transfer or not to transfer?

Linda the bookstore manager called me this morning and asked me (YAY!) if I can work a shift tonight. I told her that I could, so now I'll have a two-shift rather than one-shift paycheck in the near future.

I'm supposed to give Linda a decision after I come back from vacation about whether I should transfer to another bookstore. (Apparently, she's had them give me fewer hours, ruining my temporary finances, because she expected me to change stores. But I'm reluctant.)

Tonight should be fun, though. Hopefully, I'll be able to get over my latest bout of 'crazy' in time to enjoy it.

(Those of you who found your inboxes or comment boards overloaded because of this latest bout of 'crazy' - otherwise noted by doctors as 'depression with mild obsessive tendency,' I hope you didn't find it too bothersome.)

Bonzo Goes to the Pharmacy.

Took the morning off. Slept a little. Filled my prescription. Attempted to regain focus. I'm at work now. Feeling better.

My brain is hanging upside down.

My unmedicated, obsessive, unfocused mind stuck in my cubicle during the workday.

... decided to check the mailbox, and I knew I was supposed to fill my prescription today. Why is Marlena killing people? Are they going to kill Alice? No one's e-mailing me today. I should work. But I don't want to. I check my mail. A minute would pass, and I'd check my mail again. And then I'd go to someone's blog and read it. Then, I'd go to to find out what was new. Then I'd go to HSX, and check my portfolio. Then, I'd check my mail. And I'd refresh my mailbox. Then, I'd check my other mailbox. Then I'd make a phone call. Then, I'd think about my trip. And I'd look at my mailbox. Then my other mailbox. Then I'd sit for a moment and think about cleaning off my desk. But then I'd go back to my mailbox. Then, I'd check the blog. Then I'd write something on the blog. Or a comment on someone else's blog. Then I'd hum the Counting Crows song I've had stuck in my head since watching "Everwood" a couple days ago. Then, I'd think about making another phone call. Then I'd worry that I hadn't done any actual work. Then, I'd wonder if anyone actually noticed. Or cared. Then, I'd go back to the web to read some entertainment news. Then, I'd go to the Amateur Gourmet site I found. Then, I'd check my mailbox. Then, I'd check my other mailbox. Then, I'd read more Amateur Gourmet. Then I'd think that maybe I was going crazy. Then, I'd write about going crazy on my blog. Then, I'd realize that I'd wasted an hour. Then I realized that I still had the song stuck in my head. Then I'd think about that episode of "Everwood." Then, I'd check the mailbox again. Then I'd think about calling someone. But instead, I'd go to Yahoo. Then I'd refresh that site, just in case someone sent me mail in the last two to five minutes. Then, I'd think about filling my prescription. But I didn't bring the bottle with me. I'd look at my cell phone wondering why it hadn't rung. Then, I'd wonder just how crazy other people would think I am. I wonder if I'm at all loopy without my medication. I can't sleep at night. I can't stop thinking. I've been writing a lot. Getting off my pills makes me prolific. Then, I'd check a website. Then, I'd jump because someone walked by my cube. Then I'd check my mailbox. Then, I'd e-mail Miss Gibson. Then, I'd shift in my chair to stop my leg from going into spasms. Then, I'd pick up the phone. Then I would look at my desk again, and I'd wonder if I needed to clean it off. Then, I worried if anyone noticed or cared. Then, I'd get in a really good mood and start laughing. Then, I'd not be in a good mood. Then, I'd wonder how much work I'd actually done. Then, I'd panic because I hadn't actually done anything. Then, I'd start thinking about how much it felt like I had done, even though I hadn't actually done any actual work. Then, I'd get worried about my job. Then, I'd get worried about money. Then, I'd check my mailbox again. Then, I'd look at someone else's blog. Then I'd write a comment. Then I'd check my mailbox. Then I'd check HSX ...

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

I'll be lining the bottom of a birdcage soon!

My friend Van needed a favor, so I'm now apparently going to be in a future Southern Voice street poll about which song best reflects your current love life or dating situation.

My answer was:

"I Wouldn't Normally Do This Kind Of Thing" by the Pet Shop Boys. Because when I do date or hook-up or whatever, circumstance always turns it into some sort of random, silly, unpredictable wackiness.

Not that I wanted to sound too cheeky or anything.

I hope my grandpa doesn't see it. It's not my best photo. (Oh well, I'll be out of the country when it hits newsstands!)

I picked the Pet Shop Boys as a shout-out to my friend Doug, who is probably Neil Tennant's sole heterosexual male fan.

My day at the lanes.

I just got back from my office's Bowling Day excursion and, as usual, I was the worst bowler.

My supervisor Ethan, who's a couple years older than me and very frat boy, was the best.

At one point, though, he was about to bowl using the blue-colored, medium-sized ball that he'd selected.

And I yelled out, "GO BLUE BALL!" But only he heard me.

And he smirked. Then, he paused. Then, he chuckled. Then, he bowled a strike.

All the while, I was laughing.

I'm sure I'll be hearing from Human Resources soon.

I love you. Get away from me! No, I love you.

Sometime around 3 a.m. last night, as I finished watching a rerun of "Gilmore Girls" that I'd recorded and practically cried during (even though it wasn't sad ... I just wept for Emily Gilmore), I realized that I'd somehow lapsed into dementia due to my lack of sleep and medication.

Be warned. This is when I'm at my least pretty.

This is me at my calling-at-all-hours, Ike-Turner-mood-swing worst.

Trivia at Joe's.

The cute blond waiter at Joe's on Juniper, the one who waited on my non-date with Nick last month, smiled at me tonight. He did this while I was sitting with my friend Debi - the most popular heterosexual woman in gay Atlanta - and the gang playing team trivia for the first time since my non-date with Nick.

Apparently unsure of what to do when he smiled, the cute blond waiter says I grimaced as though annoyed and turned away from him.

He told me that this is what I did. He told me this after I said hello to him after my team won and credited me with the victory.

Encouraged by the victory, I said, "Hello," to the cute blond waiter, and he looked around to see who I was talking to.

"When you said hello it surprised me because I didn't think you would say hello to me," he said to me. "Not after you made that face at me earlier."

"What face?" I asked, asserting that I didn't make a face at him.

Then, to show me the face I made, he made this uncomfortable-looking half-smirk partial-eye-dart thing. I can see me doing that. But I would make that face if I was afraid that I'd been caught looking at someone who probably didn't want me to look at them.

"You were probably just doing something else," he said.

I told him that I wouldn't make that face at him. In fact, I told him that I just tried to make eye contact with him everytime he walked by, then I said, "Not that I was watching you walk by ..." Which I intended as an obvious lie.

He congratulated me on my team's victory. I kept talking, though, and he disappeared on me while I paid my ticket.

But he was bussing tables, so I couldn't make it up to him. Not that there's anything to make amends for. He walked away.

I got his name. Whatever it is.

I think I blew it with him, though, because ...

1) I didn't realize that I did anything.
2) I didn't realize that a communicated smile was even a possibility between me and the Joe's waiter who wasn't my official waiter tonight.
3) Not realizing that it was a possibility, I didn't realize that you could blow such a thing.
4) I was KIDDING about not looking at him. I was TOTALLY looking at him. And I would SO smile back. I wouldn't have made a face at him. Not intentionally. I just wouldn't have thought that he would actually look at me and smile. Which is probably the problem.
5) So he was looking at me. And smiled. And I thought I smiled back. In fact, I'm sure of it. He's cute and funny.

Oh well. Not a big deal. I'm letting it go ... because MY TEAM WON!!! MY TEAM WON AND SAID THAT IT WAS BECAUSE I WAS THERE!!!


All because I knew that Ray Combs was the name of the game show host who committed suicide in the 1990s by hanging himself with hospital bedsheets while he was under suicide watch at a psychiatric facility.

Debi seemed impressed, and her son Ian seemed to be having fun. And the other guy there, whose name was John or James, kept looking at me like I was some sort of freakish savant for knowing that Tom Petty was in the Traveling Wilburys and that Greg Evigan was in "My Two Dads."

(At one point, they told me that, if it ended in a tiebreaker, I was the designated team spokesman because, as Ian put it, "the rest of us haven't answered shit." Which wasn't true, but he was nice for saying it.)

We won $50 or something like that!

So Debi told me that I'm required to come back next week, when we're going to spend the gift certificate we won.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

How to fit.

I'm stuck to the chair in my cubicle and can't move. I don't have anywhere to really be tonight. I was invited to a trivia game, but I can't quite bring myself to get up.

You ever wonder how you fit in with other people? Wonder where your group of like minds is?

You compare yourself to your friends, and you see how you mesh well with them and other ways that you clash. I'm like a glaring shirt looking for anything that matches.

I feel like I'm better than some people. I can't gauge exactly what sort of person I am compared to others.

Does this seem strange? People do this all the time, right?

I need some space from Kacoon and Mike, which I think would be good for everyone, and it's my decision to take time off from them.

The bookstore hasn't been scheduling me as much lately, so the thing that used to fill the majority of my free time has now, for the time being, left me with lots of free time and less money. As a result, I don't know what to do with myself.

Last night, I found myself having a really good conversation with Nick the Cute Waiter, whose own gay experience is rather removed from my own. I'm not sure how to relate. I think about the gay people I knew in college. I don't really fit with them either, and I envy them from time to time. However, their lives are so far removed from mine.

I think about the political and religious people. I don't really know how to relate deeply with them.

Sometimes, I even feel alienated from the film geeks, which frightens me.

Everyone goes through this. I just need a vacation, and I'm going to take one. I need a direction, and I'll find one. I need new friends, and I'll find out where I fit with them.

"Passion" sacrilege.

Pardon me, but am I the only one who thinks that Jesus is really hot?

This is a photo of actor Jim Caviezel when he's not bearded, scabbed, covered in blood and carrying a cross.

Victorian era.

Aaron said during our Friday date that I had a "Victorian sensibility" because I got mildly squeamish when he related for me the "14 Safest Places to Pierce the Human Body." I also winced when he said that he'd be fine with 90 percent of the world's population dropping dead. At one point, he also talked about skinning someone alive and sealing off or worsening their wounds with bleach.

I couldn't figure out how we kept getting on those topics.

But when he called me a Victorian, I related for him tales from horror movies. Johnny Depp's bed sucking him in and then spitting him out all over his bedroom ceiling in "A Nightmare on Elm Street." The guy whose blood is drained from him during "Friday the 13th: Part II" when he's sliced across the torso with a machete while he hangs upside down after getting caught in a bear trap. I didn't get a chance to go into the whole "Sweeney Todd" meat grinder thing, but that's more suggested than visual anyway.

Aaron and I decided to be friends.

(He actually really helped me on Saturday night when I needed a ride home after I'd had too many glasses of Black Label on the rocks.)

But thinking about what he and others have said, I'm wondering if I'm too prudish.

I don't quite care for conversations about pierced genitalia. I have my share of raunchy sex stories, I suppose, but I don't talk about them during lunch or dinner because that's just tacky and unappetizing, generally. And I can't really talk about drugs because I don't really do them, other than the drinking of Black Label on the rocks.

You think you're open-minded. You realize you're not really. You think you're liberal. It turns out that you're just a conservative with exceptions.

I can be really tactless sometimes, so I'm on the fence about this "Victorian" designation.


I logged in this morning to discover that I was the 8,001 person to open this site since I added the counter.

If you were lucky #8,000, e-mail me, and let me know.

Monday, March 15, 2004

"Wonderfalls" news.

The bad news: It got terrible ratings on Friday, even though everyone I've spoken to who watched it thought it was really good.

The good news: Fox is doing an encore presentation of the pilot Thursday night at 9/8 Central!

So watch it. Or tape it. Or TiVo it. It's really, really, really funny.

So watch it. Please. Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeease.

Even though I can't really spell his name.

Marley's had "Laurel Canyon" on her Films-to-Rent list for a couple months now, and, everytime she asked me about it, I just went on and on about how hot Allessandro Nivola is in it.

And she kept asking me who he was.

So I'd say that he was the guy from "Jurassic Park 3," but she wouldn't remember him. And I'd then say, "Oh, well, he was Nicolas Cage's brother in 'Face/Off,'" but she still had no idea.

So she finally rented it, and now she's onboard with my Allessandro Nivola obsession.

If you don't know who he is, rent "Laurel Canyon." He's so hot that he upstages Christian Bale.

Old habits die hard.

Last night, half out of boredom and half because I knew he'd let me get away with it, I nuzzled up against my friend Brad's chest while we were mid-conversation and listened to his heartbeat. The other people in the room told Brad that it'd be all right if he smacked me. But Brad let me just maneuver myself under his arm, cornering him on the couch.

I've known Brad forever. (Well, OK, nine years.) Flirting with him comes to no good. In the beginning, I'd just make eyes at him as I walked past him in the drama building. Or I'd cautiously make a double-meaning comment to see if he responded favorably.

Now that I'm older and don't take it as seriously, I do everything short of molesting him. It's sorta fun to play "How Much Can I Get Away With." At one point last night while I was arched over him, I almost bit him on the neck and kissed him about five times.

His only comment about it was, "Well, you're being awfully friendly."

I may as well have been a cat who curled up in his lap.

But, on the plus side, it's harmless, and he's warm.

We were both over at Larry's house. Brad was there to see Larry. I was there to see everyone - and Brad.

While there, I told Larry that I'd written something new on the blog that he might like. Larry told me that he hated the blog.

Larry told me that he hated the blog because I was a publishable and marketable writer and, for some reason, I didn't believe that. He said that it was disappointing and sad that I "kept giving it away for free." Apparently, I'm a word slut.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Just a thought.

In two weeks, I step on my flight to London. Two weeks. 14 days. March 27.

That's surprisingly hard to grasp. I've wanted to go to London ever since I was a little boy, when my father brought back a flag from the UK after going on a business trip. The flag used to hang over my bed.

I've tried to go to Europe before. When I was in the Atlanta Boy Choir, I was too young to go, then it was too expensive for me to go.

Then, when my high school arranged a trip to Europe, I signed up to go, but, unfortunately, no other boys signed up to go, and the teacher thought I was a bad seed. So she gave me my deposit back.

And in college, the guy I had the most fun dating - the one I loved the most - was my penpal from Wales who came over to Athens for two weeks only, which I've often described to people as the best two weeks of my entire life. I was going to visit him, but that fell apart - as long-distance romances often do.

So, two weeks before my trip, I'm willing to finally accept that I am going to London. I have my plane tickets. I have my passport. I know where I'm staying. I know when I'm coming back. It's tangible. It's real. I can keep my hopes because this is happening. It's really, really happening.

I am really, really looking forward to it. I don't have plans. I think I'll wander around the city most days just amazed that I'm there. Really there.

I've not allowed myself to accept that yet. But it's real.

One sentence about my date and a TV review.

Curious about the new show "Wonderfalls" and encouraged by good reviews of it, I recorded it and the ridiculous, tacky yet strangely compelling reality show, "Playing It Straight," instead of "Joan of Arcadia" last night while I went out to dinner with Aaron.

And, of the three entertainments I just mentioned, I must say that "Wonderfalls" was better than both "Playing It Straight" and my date. (My date was fine, but he's a friend. And, beyond that, "Wonderfalls" is really, really funny.)

So I've decided to adopt "Wonderfalls" as my latest television pet cause. Much the same way I used to tout "Relativity" and "Miss Match" to strangers, I will now highly recommend the bitter, twisted comedy that apparently fuels "Wonderfalls."

The show's about a girl who hates people - yet works retail at a Niagra Falls souvenir shop. After she almost chokes to death on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, the souvenirs start talking to her, encouraging to interact with people. So she reluctantly does. And she sets into motion these twisted moments of fate. (It's like "Amelie," except mean-spirited and without an apparent heart.)

Last night's episode involved a stolen purse, a misshapen lion figurine, a delivery man's food allergy, a trachaeotomy, lesbians and the history behind a human sacrifice. It was really funny.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Someplace else.

Vic and I were talking last week, and, once again, we found ourselves at this weird little impasse that we talk about from time to time. When we're confused or disappointed about how our lives are going, one of the two of us will suggest moving away.

Now, I know that it's not easy like that. I know that you're you no matter how far you try to get away from where you're from, that you need to work through your problems and solve them.

Vic was the one to suggest it this time, though. She said that, if we were together in another state, we could find the sense of 'home' with each other, while at the same time we could tackle a whole new set of the same old problems in a different location.

I used to want to do that. I used to want to escape. Everybody does, I know.

I actually figured, once I moved to my new apartment and actually felt that I liked it, actually felt like I'd found someplace where I was comfortable, that I'd succeeded because I no longer wanted to escape. I don't want to escape so much anymore.

I'm not unhappy about where I am, though I am growing concerned with who I am.

It's like this. I wonder if I'm ever going to write a convincing fictional character if I'm indeed meant to write or, better, write fiction. I want to write a character who can convince me that he's real or believeable. I want to know what it's like to finish a book, a real one.

I want to see if I can get it published, yet, at the same time, I don't want to try because I don't want to face the inevitable mountain of rejection that would likely come with possible acceptance. Unfulfilled potential, in the short run, is easier to live with the absolute failure. But, in the long run, the unfulfilled potential will probably bother you, too.

I want to get outside myself. I don't want to get outside my surroundings so much.

I want to write stories about other people. (The stories I write now, for other people, are always about me.) I want to change my view of myself for myself, to allow other people in. I want the insecurity that helps me to build myself into a better writer and someone who constantly tries harder to remain, but I want the insecurity that keeps me from trying and always keeps me down on myself to go away.

A friend, talking about me a couple weeks ago, actually asked someone, "How can someone with such a big ego be so down on himself all the time?"

Years ago, someone else told me that I tried to attract attention by bemoaning constantly how bad everything in my life was, how terrible my childhood was, how ugly I felt, how insecure I was. They said I was like The Boy Who Cried "Wolf."

How do you open your own window and allow yourself to grow? How can you be less self-conscious while writing something about your own selfishness? Doesn't a self-analysis of your own self-centered nature kinda defeat the purpose if you want rid of that nature?

I want to rid myself of who I am and then get on with who I want to be. My friend Lupo (who never really thought I was ugly ... and I was resorting to an easy joke in the earlier entry when I said he did) asked me this week if I realized how much energy I spent on beating myself up and not getting over things.

At first, I thought he was right, yet it was a curse of my own memory. But having a good memory is not the reason that I let things bother me. It's my choice to let things bother me. It's my choice to not let things go. It's my choice, partially at least, to obsess over stuff.

Lupo said to me that, even though I found it comfortable to beat up on myself, I would be a better friend to others once I learned to treat myself better.

He's right. But he left out something.

Once I stop the old habits, I need to actually apply or rechannel that energy into actually doing something with my talent, which I have. (And, having read the works of other hopeful writers or lesser writers who've had better success, I see that I really need to refocus my energy away from comparing my life and my degree of efforts to others. I'm only really in competition with myself, after all.)

This attitude adjustment is going to take time, lots of work and a lesson in how to relax.

Consider it a relocation of attitude and focus, rather than place.

I need to do this. I need to do this for me.

There wasn't even a St. Elmo.

Today, Jenipher mentioned one of the biggest stumper mysteries in all of movie history.

I’ve been watching “St. Elmo’s Fire” the last few mornings on the treadmill. I Tivo’d it earlier this week. I haven’t gotten to the part where Mare Winningham sleeps with Rob Lowe. I’ve never figured out why that group is even friends with Mare Winningham in that movie. She doesn’t fit in at all, and they are really mean to her.

Truth be told, I've never been able to figure out that one, either. Why are they friends with Mare Winningham? For that matter, I can't quite figure out why they're friends with Emilio Estevez either. He's really, really annoying in that movie. All he does is chase around Andie MacDowell.

In my opinionation, the sun is gonna surely shine.

My friend Lupo and I met through Yahoo! Personals, though we never actually went on a date because he decided that I was ugly. (OK, that's not true at all, but that's my version of the story.)

Anyway, prior to me revealing my hideous visage to him (cue music from THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA), I remember that we were e-mailing in a passively flirtatious manner back and forth one day early in our friendship. Then, out of the blue, he mentioned to me that he had the chorus of the theme song from "Blossom" stuck in his head.

So, to help him through it, I wrote him the lyrics to the entire song in an e-mail from memory, for I've learned that a song will get out of your head if you either work your way through it or find a worse, catchier song to replace it.

The song that always rids me of other songs in my head is "There Are No Cats in America (And The Streets Are Paved With Cheese)" from AN AMERICAN TAIL, but that's beside the point.

When Lupo received my e-mail of "Blossom" lyrics, he apparently thought it was so funny that he forwarded it to all of his friends, who thought that I was either his soulmate or some kind of freaky entertainment trivia savant. (At the point I sent him a photo of me, an event later known as The Great Unmasking, it was determined that the latter was true.)

So now, anytime I have an irritating song stuck in my head like Jessica Simpson's "Take My Breath Away" cover, I think of Lupo and the theme from "Blossom."

This, of course, makes me both nostalgic and cursed.

Strange but true.

So I've tried posting something on my blog three times about the fact that I have a second date tonight with Aaron. This is significant primarily because I'd started to believe that second dates were mythical things often spoken of that didn't actually exist, like the Loch Ness Monster.

He's picking me up at my apartment tonight, which is one of another weird twist that I thought I would try. Usually, I just meet the person at the restaurant so that we can retreat in our cars once things go badly.

But I like the way Aaron talks. And Aaron likes the way I talk. So I don't know if this is the start of a romance or a friendship, but I figured it was worth a second date to try and figure everything out. (Because, hey, then I get to actually have a second date, which may be selfish but it's not unjustified. It's been, oh, two years since actually I had a second, planned date with anyone.)

This is going to be fun.

Take My Breath Away.

Jessica Simpson has done a cover of that song from TOP GUN.

So I'm riding in my car yesterday, and they start playing it, saying it's the most requested song of the hour. And I started screaming in my car.

The end of an era.

OK, I'll admit it. I used to be a manager on a "Passions" fan site. The show, in its inception, was just so wacky and intentionally bad that you had to, I don't know, love it. When a soap features a witch with demons in her basement, a possessed doll who tells jokes and a heroine so troubled that she's presumed dead once a year - and everyone on the show jokes about it, it catches my attention.

And, if pretty much everyone in the cast is hot and all the guys are constantly taking off their shirts, then the show keeps my attention.

But, with "Passions," my patience wore really, really thin. Because it just kept making things more and more complicated, even though it was always fun. So, when I started getting addicted to SoapNet, I became a fan of "One Life to Live" instead of "Passions."

Still, I'd tune in from time to time to see how things were going on "Passions." Usually, I'd only tune in if I knew someone hot like Jesse Metcalfe was going to take off his shirt. Jesse Metcalfe, as a result of the way he acted both with and without his shirt on, became my favorite one on the show.

Though it's probably wrong in many ways, I LOVE Jesse Metcalfe, who plays Miguel. (He's also occasionally playing an oft-shirtless character named Van McNulty - hee hee - on "Smallville," if he looks familiar.)

But, alas, the day has come where I probably never need bother watching PASSIONS again. TV Guide reports that Jesse Metcalfe - sigh - is leaving the show to pursue other opportunities. Other people have left the show before, but they don't matter as much to me as Jesse Metcalfe. So this is probably it for me and "Passions."

(Hopefully, he'll become moderately famous, and I can look at him on shows, like "Smallville," and yell, "Oh my God, it's Miguel!")

Thursday, March 11, 2004

I guess Satan wasn't keeping me from it.

As you might be able to tell from the previous post, last night I saw ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND and, at long last, THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST. Both films are very good. SUNSHINE's original and well-acted, and PASSION's daring and interesting, if hard to take in places.

And after watching PASSION, I picked up my Bible and wanted to know more, so I guess it succeeded in doing what it set out to do, which I believe was to make the non-believers curious and affirm the believers.

Pressing matters.

Last night, before a screening of ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND, I started to tell Marley about my deep, dark, childhood issues with ironing, but she didn't buy it. I said I thought my mother had this scary, off-the-charts ironing fetish, and it scared me away from ever properly ironing anything. Marley defended my mother, saying she probably only intended for me to never leave the house looking anything other than my best.

I fold or hang clothes when they come out of the dryer. Yesterday's pants needed a touch up, but I refuse to iron. I don't own one. Or an ironing board.

My mom used to tell me that she didn't want me leaving the house unironed because of how people would judge her. Every morning would begin with a 45-minute ironing frenzy. If I put on a shirt after it went through the proper ironing procedure and she thought that an inch of the collar looked moderately unironed, my mother would order me to immediately remove the shirt so that the whole thing could be ironed again.

We'd be late for school because of ironing. Late for dinner appointments because of ironing. Late for movies. ("There are 15 minutes of previews!" my iron-fisted mother would shout at me, partly because she's 80 percent deaf anyway. I would tell her that occasionally the previews are better than the movie itself, but she wouldn't listen.)

Marley said that my mother was right that people judge you based upon whether you iron, for they do. I know they do. Marley said that people would consider you a slob if you didn't iron.

Well, I am a slob. Kinda. So I figure not ironing is my way of coming out or voicing silent protest.

Of course, I try not to be too terribly wrinkled.

I thought maybe that it's time for a style and image makeover to coincide with my trip to London. At one point, when I bought those awesome boots from Banana Republic that are downright painful to wear, that I'd come up with an occasion, while in London, to get moderately dressed up. Or I'd get dressed up for no reason, to make myself feel good.

I want to be chic. But, you know, like low-effort chic.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Before I forget ...

If anyone wants a postcard while I'm in London, e-mail me your mailing addresses.


I made plans tonight to see "The Passion of the Christ," but something kept me from it. I planned to see it earlier this week, but I wasn't in the mood. Everytime I try to see it, in fact, everytime I even consider it, something keeps me from it.

Seriously. I mean, I even have a free pass, and I still haven't cashed it in to watch Mel Gibson nail Jim Caviezel to the cross. Usually, getting me to a movie doesn't take this much effort.

I'm tempted to say that some force is conspiring against me seeing the film.

Maybe it's Satan.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

My "reunion" show plot synopsis.

Some of my friends know that I write a fake soap opera/reality show for friends of mine from high school, a parody of The WB's HIGH SCHOOL REUNION.

In my show, I'm stuck with several of my Class of '94 acquaintances on a boat in a SURVIVOR-style game where we vote each other off. But, instead of the show taking place someplace exotic, it takes place in my backwater, redneck hometown of Buford. And the boat is on Lake Lanier.

And, instead of any of us playing to win, we all end up caught in each other's drama.

The whole thing works like one big in-joke.

I occasionally update my friends who don't read it about the plot twists, and I summarized for a couple people what's happened so far this season in the below e-mail.

I didn't realize things had gotten this complicated, though.

Read below:

The high school reality show/soap I'm writing is in full swing.

The crazy town psychic just predicted that the valedictorian girl is pregnant with the baby of the class clown that she once dated yet she says she never slept with. He was on the show at one point, but he hasn't been seen since the night she caught him cheating on her and literally threw him overboard from the boat where the show is filmed. She also beat up and imprisoned the girl he was sleeping with - her worst enemy, in fact - in a safety compartment onboard the boat.

After she threw the clown overboard in a raft, she then witnessed something so shocking that she blocked it from her memory - and we're only getting hints as to what happened.

Though she only remembers being nursed back to health by the cool jock she once had a crush on, she woke up the next morning naked in bed with a different man, who was married.

That same night, one of the reality show's cameramen ended up dead. Though the police have declared the cameraman's death an accident, everyone on the show suspects something more sinister happened.

It was also just revealed to everyone that I'm apparently the secret lover of the cool jock that the valedictorian girl has a crush on - and that the jock may have had something to do with the cameraman's death.

Another girl harboring a crush on the cool jock - a former military police officer - thinks that he's rejecting her in favor of the nice, married Christian businesswoman who somehow manages (on the show, only) to constantly beat people up.

The cameraman's former lover, the math teacher who's still on the show, tried to attend his funeral in a recent episode, but she was mobbed by mourners, who threw garbage at her.

In the meantime, the geekish, overweight, virgin girl who always harbored a crush on me in high school is planning her wedding to her redneck boyfriend, but the crazy town psychic suggested that she was actually going to marry someone else - whose name started with a "B."

It's a fun show.

Monday, March 08, 2004


I've been half-awake all day, and I'm beginning to realize that it's been hours since I took the Nyquil. I think I'm dealing instead with something else, a relapse of my on-the-job depression. It's cyclical. Sometimes, I'm an active performer at my work, and other times I'm just phoning in my performance.

I thought I was just having a bad week last week, where outside influences were keeping my focus away from work, but today indicates to me that maybe something else is wrong.

On April 9, I will begin my fourth year in the same job with the same company. Later that month, I will also mark my fourth year at Barnes & Noble at Mall of Georgia.

In my early 20s, I was just jumping around from job to job without much concern. I never stayed in a position longer than one-and-a-half years. So this four-year milestone throws me, as the three-year one did, and I'm wondering what exactly I'm doing.

Maybe it's time for a change.


Last night, I had a splitting headache, caused by one clogged sinus.

So I took some Nyquil, two Tylenol cold and sinus tablets and my regular Luvox pill.

Now, the next day, I feel groggy and practically drunk. And I'm at work. And I don't really feel like sitting up.

I was able to do all sorts of work this morning, but now I've winded completely down.

Maybe I should stand up and do some jumping jacks. I don't know.

This weekend was pretty good. Lupo came to visit me, and we spent Saturday afternoon at my practically clean apartment, enjoying the sunshine. (I bribed him by loaning him DVDs and CDs.) It was a good time.

Hopefully, the DVD consumption will fill his week in boring ole Savannah, and he'll soon write me an e-mail telling me how good the second season of "Alias" is, how bloody "Battle Royale" is and how dumb, tacky, gay yet bizarrely compelling "Voodoo Academy" is.

I've got a Nyquil hangover. This is so strange. I'm probably moving at half my normal speed, but I can't even tell.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Say a little prayer.

Yesterday, I started working on this post about God and how I feel about faith, particularly when times are troubling. But, reading over what I was about to post, I deleted it because, well, it was full of a lot of platitudes, didn't come to any definite, satisfying conclusions and made me sound like I was really wishy-washy about God. The fact that yesterday and this week have been trying times when I've wanted to ask for help or guidance or prayer made me feel like a hypocrite, and I was ashamed of that. I needed help, but it's not good to God to just use the concept of Him whenever I feel like it. I frown upon people who do that, and I didn't want to be one of them again.

I feel I understand faith in God enough to respect people who legitimately have it, and I acknowledge that I don't. I'm not saying that the possibility of God doesn't exist. I'm saying that I can't firmly grasp one choice or the other. And I feel that it's better for me if I stay on the fence about it, for I can't keep causing myself and others stress by playing jumping in and out of the God pool. And I respect the faith of others enough not to be a playful dabbler with God (or at least not an outward one).

It's not that I feel I'm above religion. It's not that I don't understand religion. It's not like I feel I'm unworthy of forgiveness, if those are indeed the rules and the request for forgiveness is required.

I just, if you get me on this, know enough to know that I don't know and won't know.

I still seek answers. I discourage most "witnesses" from coming to me in that light. I try my best to understand and respect how it works, and, doing that, I withdraw from the game.

It's like dodge ball, I guess. If you don't want to get hit with the ball, don't play.

Don't be an Indian-giver with God, either. "Today, I believe." "Today, I don't." No, if God is God, then God deserves commitment. If you come, come to play. If you're not sure, don't pull yourself in and out of the game at will.

Growing out of my on-again, off-again Christian phase, I try not to play, and I've found this stance works for me. I understand it. But I don't get it enough to really believe it.

So, when I'm curious, I ask people what I want to know. I own a Bible and reference it when I want to know something. I try not to pick and choose from statutes of Christianity, creating a "faith" that works for me. I don't think you should design your own concept of "sin" like you're picking out an outfit. "I want to be a Christian and want to be gay, so I'm just going to say that God's all right with me being gay even though, according to some people's Christianity, it's not." I don't think it works like that or should work like that.

So, last night when I was talking to my cousin Holly about some real big troubles I was having, I talked to her about how I would pray for help with them if I thought that didn't make me a giant hypocrite or Sunday morning Christian. I acknowledged that, last night, having a little faith would've been comforting.

When my cousin Holly told me to try prayer anyway - to find a way where I could both pray and have prayer be all right to me and not ring false, I admitted to her that I, who don't admit having faith, sometimes cheat and pray.

"What, like 'Rub-a-dub-dub, thanks for the grub?'" Holly asked me.

I told her that, when I want to cheat and pray, I look in the sky and talk to the constellation Orion because I can see it there in front of me, and it helps me align my thoughts and see things in a better perspective. (I don't think it's creating a false idol if I know that I'm really praying but, at the same time, don't have to admit it. The artifice of using a go-between keeps me from having to completely give in. Does that make any sense?)

It makes me feel guilty to pray, to be honest. Like I used to feel about masturbation. Where you do it and then you feel all guilty knowing that you just did what you said you weren't going to do.

My cousin Holly told me that I should maybe talk to our late, great Grandma, whom we're comfortable acknowledging as both real and as a spirit. She mattered to our mothers, and she mattered to us. And she was smart, loving, difficult, bossy and taught us by example how to be proud carriers of our family legacy. Holly asked me if I was comfortable talking to Grandma.

Grandma's favorite prayer, the Serenity Prayer, was what got me on this train of thought yesterday, actually. Faced with troubles, I recited it over and over. And I wasn't sure what I believed and what I didn't. Or if it was right to pray or not. Or if it was pride or common sense that kept me from asking for help from something a little bit unreal. I just needed help.

So I kept saying it.

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen."

Things aren't fixed. But, and it almost pains me to admit this, things are better.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Across the pond.

My mom just called to remind me that I leave for London in 24 days.

Wow, that's soon.

I'm nervous. I have no plans.

Attack of the Soft Rock Favorites.

The computers crashed here at the office, and I left to go get some coffee at the Starbucks where Jonathan works. But I got lost on the way. And he wasn't there.

My date last night was fun, for the guy gets the way I speak. It's interesting for me, when someone understands and reciprocates the proper banter. To outsiders, it sounds like an argument. But, to those of us involved, it plays like a tennis match. We're supposed to do it again sometime this weekend.

An interesting side note about last night's date is that Aaron and I, during our conversation, were consistently under attack from "Sounds of the '70s" soft rock playing over the loudspeaker. It got to the point where, instead of speaking, we just listened for the next song, waiting for it to get worse. The songs became the conversation.

It started when, while eating, I made note of the Peter Cetera singing on Chicago's "You're the Inspiration."

I didn't mean to make an issue of it, but it followed like this.

Aaron and I would start talking. Then, the Carpenters would come up.

We'd try again. Barry Manilow would interrupt us.

I'd be mid-sentence, and Cat Stevens would begin.

Eventually, determined to have a good time, we just had to leave the restaurant and walk around Phipps Plaza, which is apparently my go-to date place.

Renovations underway. Pardon our dust.

The "something" that happened over the weekend, the thing I keep referring to but not going into, has gotten somewhat better. And, as a result, my mood about it has improved, as well. Watching "Sports Night" DVDs last night after "Gilmore Girls" helped sustain my good mood, but afterward I spoke like some sort of stuck-on-himself scholar. There were non-sequitirs aplenty.

Last night, I chatted online with someone I knew in college who apparently stumbled upon the blog one day and started reading me without my knowledge. (I always assume that only six people or so read this thing, and I know all of them.) I asked him if there was anything I needed to be embarrassed about, and he said he didn't think so.

This weekend, I started trying to change my outlook on things. Though I've spent years of therapy trying to do this already, someone came along and told me that there was more work I needed to do to improve myself. I thanked them for the advice, which came in the form of an e-mail littered with angry four-letter-words, and told him that I would work on myself and my apparent melodramatic, overly critical, self-centered bitchiness. (Those words have been ringing in my head ever since that e-mail.)

But I think the e-mail that was sent marked an end in the life that I'm living, and now I'm supposed to go in a different direction as a result of it. I just don't know where to go.

How many of my sentences begin with "I"? How many of my stories are about myself? Are single people - without dependents - allowed to be more concerned with themselves than others? Am I worse at it than anyone else?

Last night, I spoke to someone who was having a real problem, and I tried to listen to her. Her problems were much worse than my petty concerns, and I think I helped her, which helped me. (Does that make the act or one of my motives behind it selfish?)

I'm confused. And I'm thinking too much. And I've been listening to too much Aimee Mann.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Another story about "me." But, hey, it's my journal.

I may have a date tomorrow with a nice guy I met over the weekend, when I wasn't looking for anyone but instead was trying to cheer myself up.

I kissed this guy, and he, sensing something was wrong, gave me a hug. He said I needed the hug more.

Over the weekend, Lupo was great to me when I called him, though he and I had a confusing moment today when I thought I was supposed to call him to discuss the general uneventfulness of the Oscar telecast and the latest developments in my life.

Someone wrote me this weekend and told me that all my stories are about myself - not necessarily just the ones in my blog. If I attempt, in other areas of my life, to move the spotlight away from me more, can I still keep my rants and attempts at personal storytelling here on the blog?

I don't know who's supposed to give me permission.

Monday, March 01, 2004

Beating the topic of "me" to death.

I'm about to go do laundry at Larry's, taking advantage once again of his endless generosity. I just finished therapy, my first appointment in over a month, and it went well enough.

I didn't go to work today. Money troubles came up, and I needed to address them. Emotional problems left over for the weekend lingered, and I needed time to just stew. And I was tired from staying up to watch the Oscars - and because I haven't been sleeping.

But I'm going to be OK. I am stronger than this.

Oscar contest results.

Here's how the Oscar contest results came out. Thank you to the six of you, including those of you I know and those of you I don't, who played the game.

1 19
2 jgm1976 17
2 17
4 grinch_47@ho 15
5 14
6 12

I'm not entirely sure who country_hoss2003 or jgm1976 (though that may be Josh Massey) are, but I appreciate them playing along.

Oh, and I won, which is kinda neat.