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October 2001

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Just so no one panics or anything, I'll let you know now that I’m taking off to Denver fo a couple of days to do some work stuff, and then I'll be doing my usual it's-the-weekend-and-I’m-too-lazy-to-post routine, so don't think I’ve succumbed to anthrax or anything just because things are quiet 'round these parts, OK? Great! Keep those cards and letters coming! (that’s just a figure of speech. I mean just e-mail me once in a while in case I’m bored.)

A Nod of Appreciation

Despite all my whining about boys, sometimes they can really come through in a pinch. Earlier today, someone who really rocks the house made me feel a lot better about something pretty big that was troubling me immensely. I think he was just being honest, not just trying to calm me down, which made me feel that much better. That rocks.

Now if I could just find someone closer than 500 miles or so to do stuff like that once in a while.

No One Is Innocent, But I’m No Squealer

No one is innocentI finally decided to admit that the old slogan at the left, "Names will not be changed, because no one is innocent" was something of a crock, so I decided to remove it. Sure, no one is innocent, and I have no intention of ever using awkward pseudonyms for anyone, but the simple truth is that if I don't thinks it's appropriate to be direct about something or someone here, then I just don't bring it up at all. It's a little evasive, sure, but they're my stories to tell or not tell, right?

If I were to speak more regularly about the featured players of my mind, you would see pseuodonyms such as My Dream Love, Fated Not To Be or The Parasite or Edgy Zine Boy or The Jackass or Sensitive Straight Boy or The Indecisive Spouse or Taco Stand or any number of people who figure into whiney stories I have to tell but just don't think are right for this forum.

Who are you? I’m BatDan.

When inspiration fails me, I find that any ol' online quiz making the rounds works for a quick entry. This time aorund, I figured I’d see what sort of animal I am. Dave, this is going to kill you.) Apparently, I am a bat. Ugh, I’m not even inspired enough to say anything clever about that.

Grrrrrrrrrr

My bad mood defies description. It also defies logic, considering I had a pretty fun weekend, and even found myself watching the two best movies I’ve seen in ages in the middle of my wandering around depressed and half-blind with unfocused ill will.

Hollywood Copycat

I may not be 100% punk, but I have proof that Seth Green is copying my look. See for yourselves. Obviously, he knows that he's my Buffy Dream Date and he's trying to score brownie points.

Whoops! I Did It Again

I’m beginning to realize that in all the fuss with the disaster and stuff last month, I pretty much forgot to pay most of my bills. What I need to figure out now is where all that money went. Why am I even allowed to look after myself? Maybe instead of looking for a sidekick I should be looking for a mysterious benefactor to fund my crimefighting career.

Up and Around

I live, mostly. I dragged myself to work Friday, and managed to make it through the day without passing out. I managed to make it to Northside to have lunch with Tin Man, but the stroll we took wore me out. I mostly slept through this morning, but had another day of strolling around the East Village which at least did wonders for my mood, if not my constitution. It was a gorgeous weekend, perfect for wandering and boy-watching and having tea and snacks and seeing where your nose takes you. But it's time for a nap again. Also, I need a tissue...

Health Watch

Day 5 of the World's Worst Cold and I’m still getting woozy every time I stand up. Worst of all, I’ve been housebound long enough now to be bored out of my skull. I’ve already watched the entire season of Queer As Folk on tape (hoooooooorrible, a total train wreck), I can't concentrate enough to read (even comic books are proving to be a challenge), and we all know how little solace there is on daytime TV. Ick. Of course, I also have no sweet and tasty snacks around the house, so I want to weep every I see a candy commercial. Oh well, looks like I may as well have some more applesauce and tea to console myself.

Breaking Bread with Brad

Behold! A very sick Sparky, Mike, and special out-of-town guest star, The Brad. I wish I could relate amusing stories, but I was too close to death to remember much more than one story from Brad's public TV days that was a lot better than any of mine.

Groggy

There was a time when I was much more of a delicate hothouse flower, catching colds and strep throat or anything else if someone so much as looked at me cross-eyed. An overall improvement in my general well-being during the last year has made me forget all that, since I’ve hardly gotten sick at all for a while now. Thing is, now that I have the first stage of this horrible head cold, I’m completely miserable because I’m just not used to feeling this groggy and gross. Blech. I wanna just curlup into a ball under the covers and enjoy some rest in my magnificent new king-size bed. (Thanks to Charlie, whose flight from NYC has made my new furniture possible.)

Coming Out Again and Again

In the spirit of National Coming Out Day, I would just like to confirm all your little suspicions: Yes, I am a big homo. Ladies, I’m sorry to disappoint, but it's true. I like to give it and take it up the butt and in the mouth. (Mom, I’m sorry you had to read that.) In the sack (or behind the shack), I like chest hair and Adam's apples and external sex organs and chests without soft, fleshy protuberances. And, well, I don't think it means much more than that. There may be ancillary effects, but I don't think any of them are direct results of my preference for man-man lovin'. But still, there you have it.

The Great Debates

Prompted by the season premiere of The West Wing, we had a great debate in the Rumpus Room last night about the pros and cons of presidents relying on speechwriters instead of their own extemporaneous speaking abilities. (Ralph opposes the practice of professional speechwriters, and thinks a leader should not mouth words drafted by someone else. Andy and I saw the merits of having someone take the president's ideas and shape them into lucid and articulate prose, especially with the current president.) As a follow-up, Andy sent over this fascinating article from the Times about how Bush's responses to the WTC/Pentagon disasters were put together by Bush, his advisors, and his speechwriters.

A Different Kind of NYC

One of the things that was readily apparent when I was in San Francisco the week before last was that this whole World Trade Center/Pentagon disaster may be a tremendous news item elsewhere, but it has not necessarily produced the kind of fundamental changes that it has here at home. Yes, people are concerned about the attack, and now the war, but I never got the feeling out there that people are as completely altered as they are here.

Of course, daily life has resumed for the most part — don't get me wrong about that. We're shopping, we're going to the movies, we're working, we're having sex, we're worrying about money. The thing is, we're all kinda scared and agitated, too. that’s what is unusual about this. Everyone expected New York to keep going, and we have. We always do. Usually, though, things roll over us once we get used to the idea. There's too much that keeps happening, though, to let us take September 11 and the following weeks for granted.

For instance, I was waitng at an above-ground subway station in Brooklyn the other night — one I hadn't been to before — and I was staring at the night skyline, all confused because it wasn't readily obvious which part of the skyline I was seeing. (The skyline of New York has two major peaks — the downtown financial district and midtown — and you could always tell the difference immediately because of the World Trade Center looming over downtown.) There are cops all over the place, but no one is really assuming anymore that they're just waiting to harass anyone for public drinking or anything. There have been cops stationed at the end of the platform at the First Avenue L-train station, and I was wondering why until I was waiting for a train last night and saw them checking the IDs and work orders of all the transit workers heading into the tunnel that goes under the East River. They're making sure no one goes into the tunnel to blow anything up! It was spooky, especially a half-hour later when the train I was on finally began to move after being stuck in the middle of the tunnel for twenty minutes. Normally, that kind of thing pisses people off like crazy. Last night, we all just sat down on the floor and waited until everything was clear, thankful that we weren't suddenly finding ourselves swimming to safety. (This was also the second night in a row I was stuck in that tunnel, making it extra unnerving.)

The attacks (on us, on them) are still the first (maybe second) topic of conversation with friends you haven't seen yet since before. We're still making sure we're all OK, all managing to keep it together. Sure, we can make jokes about it now, but they're nervous jokes that you can only make with your friends who already know that you're not taking it lightly.

Playlist

Over the last fifteen years, I’ve seen a huge number of bands from al over the map of musical genres. Here's as much of a list of people I’ve seen as I can reconstruct from memory and a handful of ticket stubs. Have you ever seen any of these people? I mean, surely you can find someone here representing a common taste. Share an anecdote in the comments: This is all about swapping old stories with yer pals here at the Rumpus Room.

1986–2001:

808 State
The Afro-Cuban All Stars
The Allstonians
Laurie Anderson
Ariel
The Authority
The B-52's
The Balanescu Quartet
Barenaked Ladies
Shirley Bassey
Sandra Bernhard
The Beta Band
Björk
Black 47
The Bonedaddys
Book of Love
BOP (harvey)
Brassy
Brave Combo
Bullet
The Busters
David Byrne
Candy Butchers
Cherie Curry
Chucklehead
Church of Betty
Circle Jerks
Colon on the Cob
Consolidated
Elvis Costello & The Brodsky Quartet
The Creatures
The Cure
Terence Trent D'Arby
The Dead Milkmen
Depeche Mode
Digable Planets
D'Influence
Dresden Dance
The Dueling Bankheads
Duran Duran
Echo & The Bunnymen
Elva Snow
El Vez
Cesaria Evora
Fishbone
Lisa Flores
Diamanda Galas
Galaxie 500
Gang Green
Gang Starr Posse
Gene Loves Jezebel
The Go-Gos
Go West
Guadalcanal Diary
PJ Harvey
Heart
Imogen Heap
The Hi-Hats
I, Gingko
The Indigo Girls
The Jack Rubies
Joe Jackson
Kid Koala
Kiki & Herb
Killing Joke

The Klezmatics
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Let's Go Bowling
Lyle Lovett
Man or Astro-Man?
The Manta Rays
Manufacture
The Maul Girls
Meat Beat Manifesto
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
Moby
Monopuff
Morplay
Mr. Cranky
New Order
The NY Citizens
Paxton
Pere Ubu
Phranc
The Pixies
Poi Dog Pondering
Pop Will Eat Itself
Potato 5
The Power Station
The Proclaimers
The Promise
Public Image, Ltd.
Radiohead
The Rain Dogs
Anthony Rapp
R.E.M.
Royal Crescent Mob
The Scofflaws
John Sebastian
The Selecter
Shadows of Dreams
Shy Five
Sigur Rós
Siouxsie & The Banshees
The Skatalites
Sleep Chamber
The Smiths
Jill Sobule
Special Beat
The Spin Doctors
Stephanie St. John
The Sugarcubes
The The
They Might Be Giants
Think Tree
Toad the Wet Sprocket
The Toasters
Too Much Joy
Tribe
T.S.O.L.
Russ Turk
Ultramarine
The Velvet Mafia
The Violent Femmes
Rufus Wainwright
The Who
"Weird Al" Yankovic
Yolanda & the Plastic Family
Zog

Guest Perspective: Jessie Deisher

Once again, I'll turn the spotlight over to a guest. This time, our esteemed contributor is Jessie from contrasts.net (yeah, that’s him on the right), who's got a much sharper eye for the interesting details of everyday things than I do. Jessie's got lots of other photos on his own site, so if your interest is piqued, feel free to indulge.

Random Shallowness

My hair has achieved optimum length again — short enough to avoid being a problem, long enough to achieve the tossled scruffiness I prefer. This means I’m about halfway between cuts, and that there's no way I will have a decent haircut when I get to England in November. UK Bloggers consider yourselves warned — I will not have characteristic Brooklyn hipster hair when you meet me.

My hair-care regimen has one basic rule: I must be able to deal with my hair in less than 30 seconds after showering. This rules out the constant trimming required of a crew cut or a shaved head, or the combing or other styling required by longer hair (which I don't have the hairline for, anyway). Basically, I just like to get out of the shower, smear a fingerful or two of cheap product into my hair to keep it under control, and then leave it in a sort of controlled mess. If I have to take the time to be careful about this in anyway, I shave my head and start to grow it all out again.

In other news, a rigorous regimen of calisthenics and stomach crunches, along with efforts to eat less (we will ignore the pastries with Charlie on Saturday), have already begun to have a visible effect. I don't have to concentrate as much about holding my stomach in. I remind you all that this is all about getting rid of extra weight that I put on recently so I can back into the stuff I already own. I have not become obsessed with body fascism to any degree, so stop telling me everything's fine and I’m worrying about nothing. I already know that, and I’m not obsessing about what you keep assuming I am. Chill out.

[This batch of random shallowness is sponsored by the ongoing state of things in New York City in the wake of the WTC disaster, and the current bombing of terrorist camps in Afghanistan. I have been freaked, and continue to be freaked by this entire thing, but I’m just tired of articulating my distress. Suffice to say, it was nice to go to California where people are definitely not as affected as they are here, but I’m back now and it's still spooky to see all those posters and candles and cops and National Guardsmen and the empty skyline. Thank you, that is all.]

Wood Dolls

Ghetto Sunset

Taken around the corner from the Rumpus Room on October 5, 2001:

Fatty, Fatty Two-by-Four

I was going to follow Jessie's lead and use public humiliation to motivate myself and get back down to my "fighting weight," but luckily my camera's batteries gave out this morning as I was getting ready to document the horror. "Horror?" you cry, in shocked disbelief? Yes, horror. I try to camouflage my gut with good posture, careful selection of shirts, and vigilant clenching of my abs (I’m assuming there are some down there somewhere), but the sad truth is that I’ve gone to seed lately.

Over the winter, I trimmed down more than I had in years and began buying clothes to fit the svelte new me. Apparently, I let Spring's Big Bout of Melancholia get to me, what with all the laziness and the ice cream and the sulking, and now nothing fits quite right and I’ve got this visible paunch again. I nearly passed out last time I got weighed at the doctor's office — I’d put on about 15 pounds since last March or so. Granted, I’d gotten so lean because of recurring gastrointestinal problems and not any kind of rigorous exercise regimen, but it was still nice to know it was possible.

Still, I think it's better that I draw on my shame privately in my quest to slim down again. After all, I’m not only flabbier than Jessie, but I’m also way more single, and I don't want to scare away potential suitors too easily by flashing my spare tire for all the world to mock. After all, my sparkling personality can only get me so far.

SF Wrap-Up

San Franciso, yeah. All in all, it's been a pretty swell trip. I didn't get to do that much except do nerdy conference stuff and have food and drink with an assortment of old and new pals, but that’s not such a problem. I’m not much of a tourist anyway, and I’m not nearly the urbane party animal that people think I am, so dinner and dumb jokes are actually a fine way to spend an evening. I’m disappointed that I didn't get to squeeze in all the social calls I’d hoped to, but I guess I’m only human.

There was one storybook/bleak-indie-film night that started out with a sunset-lit ride through the hills in a Porsche convertible, and ended with a rogues' gallery of mysterious, tragic drunks in a Tenderloin dive bar. The night was punctuated with the likes of smug cyclists doing a Critical Mass thing, hot waiters, cute boys, and an odd recurring motif of Shirley Bassey.

There was another night that was tremendously fun and happy, but in ways that made me incredibly sad in all sorts of complicated ways that I don't want to get into.

It was magnificent to get some more time with West Coast people I love like Jessie, Ayla, and Heather, although it makes me sad to make do with such short bursts of q.t. On the upside, I was able to forge new diplomatic ties with Chris, Ernie, and Camper. I also had chances to turn the fridge up with Ricky, Reese, and Mark. I never got to hang out with Victor, but we managed to pass each other on the street repeatedly.

In fact, that kind of everyday sort of thing seemed to set the tone for this trip. Not only was I following a regular work routine during the week, but San Francisco is beginning to grow on me and seem familiar (not as if I’m still way too East Coast to really deal with it, though). It seemed perfectly normal to run into someone now and again, or have an impromptu lunch with Jessie and his (cute) friends, or ever wander around running errands. Lord help us all, I started to adapt.

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