Change is afoot here in the Rumpus Room. You'll notice that I didn't make that a link, because I’m not talking about the web site. I’m talking about my bacheloser pad, the actual Rumpus Room.
- The most obvious change is the shocking drop in overall temperature. One of the nice side effects of living a large, damp, basement loft is that it's nice-n-cool all summer long. One of the bad side effects is that it's bone-chillingly icy during the winter (when the obnoxiously loud industrial heater isn't on to send the temperature skyrocketing all the way up to 60°F). Now is the start of the awkward in-between period when it doesn't make sense to turn the heat on yet, but I realize it's time to keep piles of sweatshirts lying around, and time to get the down comforter out it's plastic bag. Geez, I was at the freaking beach last week.
- And even though it's time to break out the winter clothes, I’m going to have to wait until they're sanitary enough to wear. I’ve learned that old cardboard boxes tucked away in a forgotten corner do not make a good place to store leather jackets during the summer. I took out all my coats the other day and found all the leather coated in mold. Eeeeeeeeeeeew. And that stuff just ain't cheap to clean.
- On the lighter side, I finally ordered my new computer. Yay! Treats! It will be a delight to do away with the old beast that can barely keep up with me anymore. And I’m getting all the fixin's with the new machine, too: new scanner, new CD burner, new Zip drive, and — to my relief and yours, no doubt — a digital camera so I can finally add some more visual stimulation to the sites.
- And because I’m a nerd who doesn't already have enough to do, I picked up the Linux distribution for Power PCs so I can totally wipe the ol' 6500 and turn her into a Linux box so I can play around with it. Thank you, Neal Stephenson for filling my head with such ideas. (Did I mention that I recently read Cryptonomicon and got my world rocked?)
- I also unearthed so many tabletops while cleaning for my birthday party that the whole place looks organized, which makes it feel like I’ve done a lot of redecorating. Most of the space is usually pretty orderly, but the small, tax-deductible corner where I sit and work most of the time usually looks like a twister hit it, so this is a pretty significant turnaround. It'll never last.
- I’d love to say that the last change is that my DSL has finally been hooked up, but six months into the process and I’m still waiting for the various vendors involved to coordinate and get their collective shit together.
- [Use of the unordered list is to make P.J. feel better about giving up blockquotes.]
At the risk of offending all my vegetarian fans out there, I have to say that I often wonder how a person could give up meat when there's such a miraculous, tasty, and versatile thing as bacon out there in the world.
Much to my surprise, I haven't actually been very horny all this week, despite all the free time on my hands. When I’m busy my urge to fool around is usually a welcome distraction that often motivates me to actually get the hell out of my desk chair and leave the house (often with very constructive results, if you know what I mean). In those rare moments when I have a bunch of free time on my hands, it usually just gets a bit more intense. I remember the week after I left my job in Connecticut and started loafing around the house again, I almost went off the deep end I was so self-indulgent. That back-and-forth between being kinda horny (and perhaps not taking advantage of it) and really horny (and giving in to it) has pretty much been a constant for the last year-and-a-half.
Part of the explanation this week is that I’m exhausted, and I just don't have the energy to do that much at all. My body, realizing that for the first time in a while it can just shut down and sleep whenever it needs to, is making sure it gets its rest while it has a chance. It seems to have sent a memo to its various parts making sure I don't get all worked up.
There's also not a lot of stimulus here on the island. For one thing I’m here with an old friend who's more like a sister. And it's off-season, so it really is a ghost town — all the hot surfer boys have gone back to Rutger's or wherever else they go to school. I mean, the garbage man I saw yesterday was pretty hot, but that’s about it. The Olympics are serving up an impossible bevy of chiseled jaws, gorgeous arms, and and firm buttocks, but in sort of an abstract way that’s not worth getting too hot and bothered about.
Also, I’ve been realizing for a while that I’ve been more interested in settling down again. All these months of lots and lots of sex have been fun but have reminded me just how much more satisfying I find it when I can really get to know someone and care about him. A little variety is fun and all, but tricks are for kids. Or at least for kids who don't get as turned on by guys' minds as much as their bodies. When I don't meet guys who stick around for long (and I’m as fussy as anyone else, so this is no "woe is me" cry), I don't get to experience that deeper, more holistic variety of attraction. And I’m jonesing for it.
But there's always hope, right?
Even though I’m only two hours south of New York, it feels like I’m a universe away. After doing a quick matinee double feature at the Hoyt's over in Manahawkin (Bring It On and Space Cowboys, Miki and I were walking though the parking lot to the nearby Big K and I confessed to each other that we had this overwhelming sensation of being incredibly far from everyday life. I guess that’s good, but it's also a little weird.
Also, I can't stop napping. I think I’ve developed narcolepsy.
Wow, I’m loafing around the house watching TV, eating french toast, and there's nothing else that I’m suposed to be doing. Perfect.
For the first time in almost three years, I am actually away on vacation. My pal Miki and I, who always splurge on something for our birthdays each year, have rented my Aunt Lee and Uncle John's guest cottage down on Long Beach Island, along the Jersey shore. It is suh-weet! This is also the first chance I’ve had in quite a long time to just kick back for a bit (really kick back, not just collapse and do nothing because I don't have the energy to continue working or thinking anymore). Even my last trip — Brazil back in '97/'98 — was more of an example of traveling than vacationing, an important distincton in terms of how much of a chance to relax you actually get while on the road. Usually when I get away, I travel — I stay on my feet, I do exciting things, I go interesting places. It's very rare that I vacation — just go somewhere to nap and read and swim and chill out. It's a nice change of pace.
I’ve been coming to this same place on Long Beach Island my whole life, and renting the place by myself or with friends for the last eight years or so. It's great to come to a place that’s different from my everyday routine, but where everything is soothingly familiar at the same time. There's no awkward adjustment period where I try to learn my way around and settle in: I just drop my bags and let the relaxation begin.
My back has been having muscle spasms all day as it struggles to stay tense. Bastard! I'll show those shoulders that they won't keep me down. I'll be like Jello by the end of the week.
It's also a good time to veg out and spend some time soaking up the Olympics. I'll grant that the Olympics may not be as pure and noble as people often like to think, but they are head and shoulders above regular professional sports. I truly enjoy watching the Olympics, because there's a lot more spirit on display. The summer Olympics, in particular, are a lot of fun, because they include my two most favorite, most hunk-tastic events — the men's gymnastics and the men's swimming. They're a wonderful combination of my normal appreciation for yummy male beefcake, and my desire for the world to have actual superheroes. These lovely gents at least dress the part.
And can I have a shout-out for all the cute and sexy nerdboys out there who are rocking my world? You know who you are.
OK, if you want to laugh your Ass off (and you're not the squeamish type) you owe to yourself to catch I’m the One That I Want, the film version of Margaret Cho's one-woman show. Like some of the best humor, it's a fantastic blend of laughs, fun, and pathos. Just when you're recovering from some bladder-busting irreverance, Margaret (who is fab-u-luxe) will switch to something incredibly personal and serious, and then wrap it up with a sassy one-liner. she rocks the house!
Although I’ve heard some bad reviews of it, I finally watched Cradle Will Rock and thought it was fantastic. Like a lot of films that try to bea little epic in scope, it relied on developing some characters in broad strokes and schtick (although Bill Murray did wonders within that), but the overall effect was wonderful. Just watch it some time, OK?
It poses an interesting question: At what point do you become a prostitute for your work? I’ve wrestled with that one a lot over the years — it's hard to avoid in graphic design. I can't say that always made the noble choice, but I’ve at least tried to be pretty selective about my bedfellows and choose, whenever possible, to do work that I felt good about in the end. It's a tough one.
One of the toughest realizations I ever made was about the nature of my work: I’m not interested in pure artistry as much as I am in good craftsmanship and good communication. Even when I’ve worked in more traditionally artsy media, I have always been more interested in exploring the medium or fine-tuning my skills than in making art for art's sake. There have been times, and there are sure to be more, when I have become my own client and chosen to use my skills to communicate some idea of my own, but that’s not the reason I work. When my own agenda and my work come together, that may be art, but I’m not so interested in pursuing it by that name. Let someone else decide if what I do is art or not: I’m more interested in knowing if I’ve solved the problem at hand. Maybe that makes me a whore once in a while, but at least I’m a whore not trying to convince himself he's a paragon of virtue.
As for Bill Murray, before I completely forget, I’d like to know when his comic antics crossed that line into sublime performance. Watch Cradle Will Rock or Rushmore and you'll see that he's not just a goofball, but that he's also capable of some really subtle, underplayed brilliance. I would recommend watching the Criterion Edition DVD of Rushmore so you can see Murray's wry smarts in full effect on an episode of Charlie Rose.
I’m listening to one of my birthday treats, Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach's Painted from Memory. Although I’m fond of them both, I never had much of an urge to get the album until I rented Grace of My Heart, a sort of dreadful movie filled with wonderful music. God Give Me strength, the big showstopper penned by Elvis and Burt, gives me chills whenever I hear it. I like the Kristen Vigard's movie version better (get it here), but the album one is also sublime, very well suited to Elvis voice.
I want you all to give a big, internet-style hug to my pal steve, who recently had The Talk and came out to his folks. I’m glad to hear that things haven't been as rocky as they first seemed after Steve dropped the bombshell, and I hope they continue to go well.
I was pretty worried when I first read that Steve had made the announcement and that his folks seemed upset, because I have been one of the people encouraging him to tell them, and I hoped I hadn't made a huge mistake. A lot of the advice I ever give on the subject of coming out always draws from my own experience, which was pretty good, and from the reaction of my parents, who love their kids enough to get used to almost any new idea, it seems. There was this fear, though, that I hadn't been a sterling example of the benefits of coming out to your parents and friends, but rather that I was just meddling in the life of someone I liked chatting with but just didn't understand at all.
Those worries aside, I still believe it's better to come out than not. Even if the process is fraught with anxiety, in the end I think it's better to give people the chance to know you in a more complete way. When I came out to my folks (and basically everyone else at around the same time), it was just the first step in a larger effort to have them get to know me, and to get to know them — an effort to relate to my parents as friends and people I respected. It was good for all of us. Certainly it was good for me to be more open about the person I was with my folks, my other relatives, and with all my friends, and the world at large. It was good for them, too, because once they had a chance to think about it, to think about how being gay fit into a larger context of who I was, then they realized it wasn't a tragedy, it was just another detail. It wasn't some terrible thing that happened to other people's kids — it was just another way to go about living one's life.
that’s the value of coming out that I don't see people talking about as much: the benefits for the people you tell. When you come out to the people you know, you give them a chance to reconsider how they have felt about relating to someone who's gay. You give them a chance to grow a little, and to develop a fuller understanding not only of you, but of other people in the world. Yeah, it may suck if your mom breaks into tears right away or your dad gets all stony, but what happens later? that’s the important thing: What happens after you've given people a chance to really look at their preconceived notions and decide whether or not they're valid? You give people one of hopefully many opportunities to develop a fuller, more open-minded understanding of how the world works, and of how people can live their lives. I think that’s good, even if the short-term results aren't so spectacular. When someone really freaks about you're being gay, it's not only a tragedy for you, but also for that person: that’s someone whose mind has been locked down, who won't let in a new idea, or who won't care enough to let you choose your own path in life.
Granted, I have a pretty obvious bias on this subject, but can you blame me? I know lots of incredible people who like a little man-man or gal-gal lovin'. And I bet each of us has, at some pooint or another, made that light bulb appear over someone else's head that siginifies, "Hey, it ain't such a big thing after all, is it?"
God help me, but I bought a new TV yesterday and invested in an antenna, so now I’m watching TV at home for the first time in over a year. It still sucks as much as ever, but it's still as hypnotic. My old TV, inherited from a pal who moved out of Boston on the spur of the moment, has been dying for a while now. The remote started getitng screwy last year and lately there have been some blank pixels appearing and ruining the rest of the picture. When I couldn't display a picture from the DVD player sunday morning, I just got up, got dressed, and went out to Circuit City and dealt with the problem like any middle-class American ought to — I just bought a new one. The new antenna was an added bonus.
Some nice things I have seen since rejoining the ranks of the opiated masses:
- A Simpsons rerun I hadn't seen before, in which Apu must go through with his arranged marriage. The highlight was Homer, dressed as Ganesha, up in a tree getting poked by a stick, and whimpering, "All will die."
- Well, that’s about it, actually. But I can't wait for Buffy, Angel, and a few other treats.
I hate to be the one to break it to you, PJ, but my cute and messy hair is the direct result of Murray's superior Hair Pomade, not despite it. I was initially drawn to Murray's because of its hypnotic illustration of a happy 70s couple with afros and its bold orange color — not to mention the wonderful typography — but there was no turning back once I realized (after the last time I cut of my longish hair) that a two-dollar waxy pomade would be the best way to cut my morning beautification ritual down to a 30-second chore. I’ve been sporting this shiny, messy 'do for six or seven years now, smearing a tiny daub of Murray's through my cowlicked locks every morning. It does a wonderful job of making it look like I don't actually have thin, mousy hair, even though it dulls the color and makes it feel a little greasy. If I had the right hair to make into a pompadour (I don't think I’ve ever even mentioned here how sexy those rockabilly boys are and how much I envy their hair), Murray's would be crucial to sculpting it properly.
Relaxing my months-long spending freeze, I went on a minor shopping spree at H & M (where one must forcibly ignore mental images of all the slave labor that must be required to produce such super-cool but dirt-cheap clothing) yesterday to relieve tension and try to have some new duds available for the upcoming birthday (yes, you're still invited). It's a good thing, too — if I’m going to be one of Chris Paul's Boys du Jour, I better be able to dress the part. Gosh, it's amazing what you can achieve if you just flash a little skin. All sarcasm aside, thanks for the esteem boost, Chris!
I have nothing entertaining to say. I work too much. sue me.
I’m writing this entry on my trusty Palm V, just because I can. This little client is cool as hell, but this is likely to be a pain in the butt until I can get myself one of those sexy collapsible keyboards.
Here's a fun tidbit that’s been hanging on my refrigerator for months: The Periodic Table of Rejected Elements. I can just imagine the filmstrip explaining the industrial uses for Delerium.
I haven't been in a great mood lately, what with all the work I’ve had to do and the recent discovery that a misunderstanding between my friend Simon and I has screwed up his and his boyfriend's summer vacation, so I’ve just shut down and slipped into passive, therapeutic, media-consumption mode for the last few days. Not so exciting socially, but great for blog content!
Luckily, my Amazon Wish List has finally provided me with some new books to read, so I’ve had a nice break from my daily AvantGo news feeds and those periodic issues of Wired and Wallpaper* (like the good little fag I am). After rereading David sedaris' Barrel Fever, one of my all-time favorites, I was finally able to satisfy my thirst for new material with his latest, Me Talk Pretty One Day, which was the tiniest bit uneven but still funny as hell. After plowing through that little gem in a day or so, I was able to dig in to the copy of Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon that my mom gave me, which is rocking my world and making my head explode, just like all stephenson's books do. Aside from his charming flair for pop-culture detail and his sharp sense of humor, I think what really sucks me in to his writing is the way he writes about science and technology as a cool, vital part of the story, not just a cheap, science-fiction hook to propel the story along.
On the movie front, I caught (as I occasionally do under circumstances which I will not explain here) some absolutely awful late-night movies on cable — the half-assed thriller Natural Enemy and the ludicrously comic-booky The Loveless (the costume design for which seems to have been inspired by Tom of Finland and The Wild One and then put through a sanitizing, revisionist, heterosexual filter). Today, after sleeping very late (due to the same unexplained circumstances) I dragged my butt out to run a coupe of errands and wound up spending all day at the four-dollar movie theater, hiding from heat, humidity, and ennui by catching summer flicks I hadn't managed to see yet. Mission: Impossible II, the completely inane action cartoon starring Tom Cruise's jawline and Dougray Scott's accent, was ridiculous but not without a cheap thrill or two. I don't think I was supposed to laugh out loud as much as I did, though. After that (and a quick walk outside the lobby to check the heat and remind myself that I didn't want to go back outside) I went to go see Road Trip, during which I was supposed to laugh out loud as much as I did. It was exactly the bawdy, goofy teen romp I was hoping it would be. Not great, and perhaps not memorable in the long run, but definitely fun. I have to give props to a movie that fills its happy-ending wrap-up with heterosexual anal stimulation, chubby-chasing miscegenation, and groundbreaking pot research.
Earlier in the week, I posed for a photographer I met who wanted to shoot my tattoos. I haven't seen all the shots, but here are the previews he sent me afterward: