Saturday, June 30, 2007

Books Wormed: "Michael Tolliver Lives" by Armistead Maupin

Back in the day - this was right after I came out, so I'm going to say the late Cretaceous - Armistead Maupin showed me the way.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketI don't mean he gave me directions, per se, like to the nearest supermarket. But he did show me that the easiest way to be the best gay man I could be was to be the best person I could be. This was sort of a revolutionary ideology, especially in an era fraught with identity politics and the kind of militancy that tends to erode manners.

I could have very easily fallen into that trap myself back then, and become an activist with a vengeance. Hell, I already had the vengeance, and there are days even now when I find myself idly contemplating what Queer Nation and al-Qaeda could offer each other. Fortunately I got good counsel early on and instead emerged from the outrage of youth as more or less a humanist, if a cynical and misanthropic one.

In the Tales of the City series of books generally, and in the character of Michael Tolliver specifically, Maupin's own humanism is key in helping his characters to overcome whatever rage or frustration needs to be overcome. Not knowing the man, I can only conclude from his writing that he must be a very warm, caring person indeed, since every page he's ever written seems to radiate compassion and kindness.

When I found out about this book being published, the bulk of my elation at the news was that it would be about Mouse (as he was known); maybe it was because we had the same name, but Mouse was always my favourite character. Over the course of six books, which I first read one after the other in 1989 and have reread in the same way half a dozen times since then, Mouse goes through a lot, yet doesn't ever let himself get down for long. This in itself is a feat that I have until recently felt was possible only in a work of fiction.

In Michael Tolliver Lives Maupin is still showing me the way. Now, though, instead of how to be young, the lessons to be gleaned from him are more related to being old. Youth, as difficult as it was, seems easy when compared to ageing, especially in a gay context.

I don't yet have the vocabulary to talk about growing older without sounding negative, and it'll take more than a single novel (no matter how great) to change that. In this book Michael's new boyfriend Ben is depicted as something akin to Apollo carved out of cream cheese. Maupin's real-life husband is of a similar vintage, so I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he knows what he's talking about.

But I am now and have always been skeptical about chubby chasers and Daddy's boys and bears of all kinds. While I've seen plenty of evidence that they exist, they've been darned reticent towards me, especially lately. They may exist, but nevertheless I won't believe in them until they make themselves more obvious.

While the world in which I live has given me a share of kindness and loving friendships, the gay community within it seems content - pleased, even - to see me die of unrequited love.

Then again, if Michael Tolliver can survive, maybe I can too. All I need to do is find a way to write myself a middle age with the same generosity of spirit as one Armistead Maupin.
share on: facebook

The Sound of Silence

Hear that? No? Ain't it grand?

The rhino upstairs - you know, the one who likes to tapdance in roller skates and never did learn to juggle those bowling balls despite all the practice - just moved out. As I am writing this I can see all her noisy stuff being loaded into a noisy van by her noisy relatives.

Maybe now I can get back to the sensation of not having any neighbours at all, just like it was in the old days.


Previously, on the Pop Culture Institute...

A Spot of Gratitude - Good Neighbours
share on: facebook

On This Day in Pop Culture (2005)

Spain legalized same-sex marriage.
share on: facebook

Friday, June 29, 2007


Just in time for Canada Day the Dominion Institute has released the results of a survey conducted by them, and it ain't pretty.

Apparently 60% of Canadians born in Canada would fail the same test given to new Canadians.

Rather than being disappointed by this finding, I tend to think of this as a challenge. The Pop Culture Institute has always featured Canadian news and history, and will continue to do so.

Enlightertainment to the rescue!

[S O U R C E]
share on: facebook

Order of Canada Recipients Named

Former Prime Minister Jean Chretien was among the 74 Canadians honoured for their public works with an Order of Canada this year, as announced by the office of the Governor-General.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Also on the list: golfer Mike Weir, veteran broadcaster Pamela Wallin, politician Preston Manning, and rocker Robbie Robertson.

Created on July 1, 1967, the Order of Canada is being marked this year by what a statement from Rideau Hall calls "a celebration of 40 years of outstanding achievements and excellence in all sectors of society."

Alas, my name was not on the list. Oh well, there's always next year.

[S O U R C E]
share on: facebook

Another Milestone!

Did any of you see "The 300"? Yeah, well triple it and you'll get a sense of how I'm feeling right now.

900. Shit. What have I done?

Well, whatever it was, it's pretty well unstoppable by now. I almost feel the need to put the brakes on, so as not to feel too overwhelmed. I'd like to take some time to bask in what is essentially the most minor of successes, so that I might nurture it and help it grow.

After all, isn't growth what summer is all about...

Next Milestone - Post # 1000 - August 5th

share on: facebook

WTF: A Picture Of Me?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Wednesday, while on the way to work, I spotted this handsome fellow on a wall in Gastown.
share on: facebook

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Bald Eagle Flying High

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The word on the street says that the bald eagle is about to be taken off the endangered species list.

Never really hunted (although poachers will take them for their feathers and talons) the bald eagle was originally endangered by things such as pesticides, which rendered their eggshells too fragile to hatch.

The near-extinction of the bald eagle was a real wake up call to American industry, as its declining numbers were always linked to pollution, and pollution is always due to greed. Legislation in the Seventies such as the Clean Air Act did much to preserve this noble species.

Now if only they can hold on long enough to get Bush and his contempt for the environment out of office, it should be clear skies for the bald eagle from now on.
share on: facebook

Mea Culpa

I know the blog hasn't been quite right the past few days. I've gone way off topic, and suddenly I don't care about the ongoing development of my brand quite like I did last week. I'm sure at some point I'll snap out of it and things will go back to normal, but until it does, can you please just humour me?

My life has changed so much in the past week, I barely recognise it myself. I was unaware that the trip to Seattle would have this effect on me. In addition, though, I have had a few very unsettling (in a good way) days on Facebook.

I must have found and contacted half a dozen people from my past, including my best friend from Grade 2, not to mention the long-lost Matthew. (You remember him; he's the one who made the stripper political.) I joined a group related to my birth name and have managed to purge alot of hatred of it in the process.

I've even gotten an ecstatic response from an ex. I believe it may be the first one ever, so I'm still learning how to deal with it.

Plus, there's nothing like a new iPod is there? Especially when the old one hadn't been right enough to listen to for many months. I'm sure that a certain amount of the week's elation is related to the narcotic properties of the iPod Effect. Try going from Edith Piaf to the B-52s to Joni Mitchell with various surreal stops in between and I guarantee eventually your widdle mind go boom.

Throughout April and May I felt like I was trapped in a rut, only the rut felt more like a trench. Today I feel like I'm walking six inches off the ground.

The funny thing is I must have read twenty horoscopes in the past three months that said something like this was coming; I can remember thinking "Oh sure, that'll happen." Meanwhile I'm running from store to store trying to find a plunger that works on backed up Qi.

Which is when the blockage just sort of... Unblocked.

I guess 48 hours of undiluted Gagne-fication really can work miracles.
share on: facebook

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Blair Is Dead, Long Live The Brown

Gordon Brown paid a visit to Buckingham Palace today, during which the Queen invited him to form her government.

Tony Blair, meanwhile, begins a high-profile job as an envoy to the Eastern Mediterranean. As long as the situation between Israel and Palestine isn't as fractious as a New Labour caucus meeting, he should be fine.

share on: facebook

R.I.P. Liz Claiborne

In the late Seventies and early Eighties, the name Liz Claiborne was synonymous with sexy working women. Over the years her licenses expanded into fragrance, accessories, and even cosmetics.

She died today, aged 78; no cause of death was given.

Although Claiborne retired from managing her empire in 1989 it will live on after her, as long as there are career women looking to be stylish with just a soupcon of sexy.
share on: facebook

The Curse Is Broken

I'd been wracking my brain, looking for something that wasn't there, a simple name. The last name, in fact, of my last boyfriend.

Two hours I spent trying to remember it. In vain...

That's just the omen I'd been waiting for; proof that I've finally moved on.

* * *

The last relationship curse I was under was broken when I received a kiss from a straight guy.

Ed was a totally hot straight guy - tall, lean, a redhead - who got so drunk at a party one time he let his girlfriend divulge the fact that he'd always wondered what it would be like to kiss a guy. I was a little tipsy myself, and since I was the only guy at that particular party who was into being kissed by guys, I stepped up.

He was an amazing kisser, so I went for it in a big way. I'd been dying to grab his ass for months, and so I did. He responded by grinding into me, and I won't tell you what I felt then, but it was nice. For a moment it was so intense that even the sound of our friends roaring with drunken approval fell away.

When it was over I whispered in his ear: "Curiosity sated?" To which he replied: "Yes, thank you." Imagine a gay guy saying thank you for a kiss. I could have been greedy and asked him if there was anything else he wanted, but I didn't. For once in my tacky life I was tasteful.

A week later I met the man who would be my longest-serving boyfriend.

* * *

I wasn't sure what it would take to break the curse I've been under, but I knew it wouldn't be the same as the last. This is the main reason I didn't spend five years trying to finagle another kiss out of a straight guy. That and the fact that all the straight guys I know whom I consider even remotely snoggy all have fabulous wives.

Otherwise, I'd have been all over Barrett like an Episcopal vestment. IsallI'msayin'...

It's all over now but the in-depth analysis. I felt the curse's power weakening during (and even just before) the Seattle Sojourn; what remains is to determine the extent of it, and then repair any of the damage it caused before...

Well, before I shout "Next!" and the line at the deli counter of my sex life inches forward.

share on: facebook

Why Do I Do The Things I Do?

Okay, so given that the past week has been especially photo heavy I thought it was as good a time as any to bring the focus back onto the words. Words, after all, are what a writer is all about. I was a writer first, and I'll probably be a writer last, so it's a writer I should be foremost.

That, plus the Interweb is really slow around here lately. Opening Photobucket takes forever, and there's some problem at Wikipedia that won't let me get in at all. No doubt there's a fierce battle raging behind the scenes over an ill-chosen adjective; whatever it is, I ain't getting involved.

So I forge on, undeterred. Perserverance, after all, is my motto.

The Seattle Sojourn is still percolating. I definitely feel different today than I did the day I left Vancouver, even though it was a mere five days ago; this may, in fact, be the broadening effect which is famously the result of travel. Suddenly this blog seems like a quaint little travelogue documenting life inside my own rut. In other words, not at all the effect I was going for.

It's possible that self-absorption (the ultimate provincialism) has been keeping me from a wider readership, when in fact what I've always intended is to personalize pop culture, to make it accessible, relatable even. Not for nothing do I call it the People's History.

So in the meantime I continue to reach out: to friends both immediate and long-lost, to strangers even, to anyone that is who'll help me to understand the swirling chaos I'm forever trying to make sense of called life.
share on: facebook

Facebook 'Em, Dano


It's not very often I fall into a website like I've just recently done with Facebook.

I'm using it to investigate various mysterious figures from my past, as well as to keep tabs on those slippery little guppies I like to call my current friends. It's so cool, I may get it installed on my mobile. Because I can.

Okay, you caught me. I'm really using it to procrastinate. But at least I got this blog post out of it, so HA! And at least it's better than Tamagotchi, so HA HA!!

Actually, for someone who's as socially impaired as me, Facebook feels more like a video game. One designs a profile, and with that attracts the attention of others. Every day it seems I'm adding friends, and it has a nicer interface than email.

In addition to the valuable therapy of composing a profile, there's the added benefit that I think it's bringing me out of my shell in a way. Ah the Internet! The patron saint of the socially inept. Let's you get over the awkward bits without having to be face-to-face when they happen.

After years (my whole life really) of driving people away I may be about to find out what effect (if any) my actions might have had.

[Join Me!]
share on: facebook

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Playing Catch-Up

It seems strange that I was really only gone from 4:15 PM Friday until noon on Monday. There's so much to do it's like I was gone for a month.

In addition to blogging I have a house to clean, what feels like two loads of laundry a day for the remainder of the week, a cat to de-neuroticize, and a million other things as well, most of which I have yet to find out about.

I guess it's only shocking to find my life has momentum because for the past few months it's had none to speak of. Part of my intention for going to Seattle in the first place was to jump start myself.

I think it worked. I was up before my alarm this morning, and I've been going steadily ever since.

Oh well, only a few more years of this and I'll be caught up to where I'm supposed to be.
share on: facebook

Monday, June 25, 2007

Announcing: The Pop Culture Institute's Anthem

Enjoy at your leisure this stirring rendition of the Pop Culure Institute's anthem, "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien" by Edith Piaf.
share on: facebook


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I doubt I'm the first person to ever document the condition which I've just named.

Symptoms include: light-headedness, the inability to stop smiling, and a keen desire to return later, to do and see more.

Of all the places I went, and things I saw, though, the best part of the weekend was spending quality time with friends laughing and eating and just generally having fun.

No Seattle, you have definitely not seen the last of me.

Not by a long shot.
share on: facebook

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Seattle Sojourn Sunday: How To Get High in Seattle

After what was a pretty low-key Pride Day all told, our little group was looking for a place that would pick up more than our spirits. Mr. Gagne, Mr. Davey and I met up with Mr. Barr, who'd made a special trip down for our friend's birthday party that evening, and that picked up our spirits some more, but being the reckless thrill-seekers we are, we wanted more.

Where, we wondered, could you go in Seattle to get really high?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The Space Needle of course! Why? What did you think I meant?

41 seconds it takes, from the ground to the deck. 41 exhilarating, butt-clenching, ultimately elevating seconds.

While up there I got to revisit all my favourite old haunts from Saturday, but was given an entirely new perspective on them. Let me tell you, 600 feet in the air is a whole new perspective indeed.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Plus, for people who don't like the Space Needle - aka jerks - it's one of the few places in the city where you can't see it.

So we wandered around up there for awhile, until the enjoyable air conditioning got to be more oppressive than the humidity we'd left on the ground. I was given the rare opportunity to pay $1.37 for a small apple, which is the sort of thrill I can readily do without.

Then it was 41 seconds back to the ground, and off on our next adventure...
share on: facebook

Seattle Sojourn Sunday: Pride Is...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Pride is queens, whether coy

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Or brash

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Pride is camping it up

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Or cute guys mellowing out

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Pride is costumes, whether well-felt cocks

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Or canine couture

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Pride is cutting-edge cute

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Pride is community

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Pride is corporate

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Pride is cute guys of all kinds

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Pride is campaigning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Pride is caring

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Pride is commitment
share on: facebook

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Seattle Sojourn Saturday (Part Two): At The Zoo

I realise that the issue of keeping animals in captivity is a contentious and emotional one. Once, at an election time meeting of Vancouverite lefties, the Vancouver Aquarium t-shirt I was wearing made a woman cry.

Now, I'm not entirely insensitive, but some people need to get a grip and realise that not everyone is always going to agree with them. Especially radical lefties who favour the overthrow of everything just for the Hell of it. You know who you are.

Are zoos ideal? No. But there's only so much a person can learn from
National Geographic and the Discovery Channel. At some point it helps to get face time with an actual animal. I can credit the time I spent at zoos as a child with my current interest in ecology and habitat preservation.

At least at a zoo the animals aren't being chased across the savannah by a Range Rover full of tourists, and until the mindset that allows poaching to continue can be overcome, all the habitat in the world isn't going to save some species from extinction.

* * *

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
With that in mind, I found the Woodland Park Zoo's enclosures rather humane, especially given what they were like just thirty years ago. Compared with some of the apartments I've lived in, they're downright palatial. They're large enough, in fact, that if the animals aren't feeling particularly social they can go off and hide.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Such was the case with the gorillas, most of whom stayed out of view. This female, however, was up for a bit of tree climbing followed by a light snack. For an encore she turned her back to the humans watching her, pinched a loaf, picked it out of her ass, and made a tidy little present on a nearby log. All the children watching (and I) found this hilarious in the extreme.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Leaving the gorilla enclosure it was onto the ever-popular penguins, who are as entertaining as any animals I've ever seen.

This particular group were all clustered at one end of their pool, looking like they were about to dive in. When an audible murmur arose amongst the gathered crowd they withdrew, and waddled over to the other side of their pool. The crowd dutifully followed, and again they poised themselves to dive, the faint sound of whoo arose from the humans...

And again the penguins balked!

For all I know, they could have done that all afternoon. I swear I saw a couple of them laughing, except that would be anthropomorphism, and that's wrong. Unless, that is, it's in a movie or a book or... Well, any pop culture really. In which case it's often hilariously right.

A n y w a y ...

For some reason, not a few of the animals were being shy. It may be that, like me, they prefer to snooze in the middle of the afternoon. It may have been the chilly wind blowing, or it could have been the scores of ill-behaved and shrieking children running about not being parented by the stroller jockeys they came with. Who can say?

All this means, for my purposes, is that those animals who chose to make an appearance today get to be stars, while the rest get to keep going on auditions and waiting to hear from their agents.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
This zebra, for instance, posed beautifully for me, unlike the pen full of antelope who scampered around her as though spooked by the sight of each other's scampering.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Entering one of the bird enclosures, I found this beauty sitting on a branch not an arm's length from me, utterly unafraid despite the nearby flitting of weaver-birds who, contrary to their name, were not weaving but pecking at each other and swatting anything that moved with their wings.

Nothing they did, however, frightened off my little friend.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Rounding another corner Mr. Gagne and I came upon the most ferocious of the African mega-fauna - the hippopotamus. Three of them, in fact, just a laying there, acting like it was an inconvenience to flutter their ears at flies. I guess nobody thought to tell the ducks floating past them what danger they were in.

I'm ashamed to admit, I was rooting for one of the hippos to yawn and swallow a duck, if for no other reason than it would have given me a blog post.

Cruel, maybe. Selfish, obviously. Hilarious, definitely.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
I warned Mr. Gagne that, once we made it to the giraffes, the rest of the afternoon was going to be all downhill. While not entirely true, they are my favourite animal after Colin Farrell, and just a few minutes in the presence of one brought the day's excitement to a gentle close.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
In addition to providing a home for numerous foreign species, the Woodland Park Zoo is also home to many crows and other birds and what can only be described as a bevy of squirrels. Under normal circumstances, I understand a squirrel does not belong in a post about zoo animals, especially when said squirrels are utterly tame and inured to living off human leavings.

This one, in particular, went in and out of garbage cans like he was on some kind of pub crawl.

Besides which, I will take any opportunity to publish a picture of a squirrel. So there.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
So that was the Woodland Park Zoo. An amiable and leafy place to spend an afternoon to be sure, but I looked at it as a training ground. Tomorrow I will be encountering animals more fierce than any I saw today...

Tomorrow it's Gay Pride Day. Yikes!
share on: facebook

Fatwa II: The Reckoning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketSir Salman Rushdie, recently knighted by the Queen, is once again in hot water.

A group of Muslim "scholars" in Pakistan have offered an 11.5 million bounty on his head. Not only that, his Wikipedia account has once again been locked, due to vandalism.

I cannot condemn this dismaying turn of events in strong enough words, for all the good it'll do. It's not like these imams will rescind their offer because it's met with the disapproval of the Pop Culture Institute.

Murder is still murder, and I doubt it's condoned by any holy book anywhere.

[S O U R C E]
share on: facebook

Seattle Sojourn Saturday (Part One)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

At last I have my very own photo of the Seattle skyline! Hopefully this soon-to-be iconic image will be adorning a great many of my posts, because I do love Seattle. Oh, I love it alot. I love it so much I may, in fact, start singing.

The day began late, due to a particularly virulent summer cold I seem to have picked up from someone (cough, cough, Doug, cough) but that was okay. After all, this is supposed to be a vacation. It simply won't do to be dashing about like I do at home. Yeah, right... The only time I ever dash in Vancouver it's to avoid being squashed by some coked-up Yuppie in a Range Rover.

Nevertheless, despite the late start it was a full day indeed. In fact, the only reason such a late start was even possible was because of the knowledge and efficiency of my guide, Mr. Gagne, whose name my readers will recognise from his numerous useful and insightful comments.

After a tasty and nutritious brunch, we set out. The day's sight-seeing started at the Admiral Way lookout, for a western vista of the city.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

This will now serve as my Seattle banner, as it covers the entire area from the Space Needle on the left to the Smith Tower on the right. It has everything great about Seattle in it except Mount Rainier and Kathi Goertzen1.

We continued on to the charming neighbourhood of Alki, which resembles a fishing village built by hippies which is rapidly gentrifying. I decided that Alki is my favourite neighbourhood in the city. It's also famously the Birthplace of Seattle, as proclaimed on the monument at Alki Beach.

I was probably most fascinated by this monument because embedded in it is a piece of Plymouth Rock. I got to touch it and everything. For a history buff such as myself, this was almost erotic. Either that or I really need to get laid.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

After Alki, my guide and I made our way back through downtown and then to Queen Anne Hill, where the top photo was taken. This neighbourhood has long fascinated me, and not just for its name. The hillside is chock-a-block with gorgeous houses of every style - French, Italianate, West Coast. I decided that Queen Anne is my favourite neighbourhood in the city.

By this time it'd been nearly sixteen hours since I'd spent any money, so I was beginning to get a little antsy. Mr. Gagne pointed the trusty Iseabail2 down the hill to the north of Queen Anne in the direction of Fremont.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

By the time we arrived in Fremont my head was ready to explode. As charming as Alki and as posh as Queen Anne are, I decided that Fremont is my favourite neighbourhood in the city, since it is all this and more.

Here we stopped for a little light lunch, at a lovely Thai place called Tawan Thai. Mr. Gagne had a chicken satay with Pad Thai and I had my usual green curry chicken with a coconut smoothie, which was so good, I've already made plans to be buried in the stuff.

After lunch I bought North River, the new novel by Pete Hamill, and finally found a copy of Midnight's Children by Sir Salman Rushdie. My consumerism having been temporarily sated the rest of the day was like a walk in the park.

Which, in fact, it was. As amazing as the day had been thus far, it turns out the day's piece de resistance was yet to come, a stroll through the Woodland Park Zoo...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

* * *

1. Local TV personality, widely reputed to be an angel in human form.
2. Pronounced "ISH-bell".
share on: facebook

Seattle Sojourn: It Begins

Now that I've taken the train, I will be hard pressed to ever squeeze myself into another bus.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Having rectified the problems it once had in the 90s (namely, keeping its trains on the tracks) Amtrak is once-again poised to become the only way to travel. In fact, I may become a regular visitor to Seattle. That's how convenient, affordable, and glamourous my trip was.

Plus, the train was chock-a-block full of Vancouver homos, and not one of them threw anything at me. Progress!
share on: facebook

Friday, June 22, 2007

Xtra West Is At It Again

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

In the couple of years or so since my arch-enemy Gareth Kirkby was demoted from the editor of Xtra West to the backwater publication Capital Xtra, I have watched a series of subtle changes unfolding at Xtra West with a wary eye.

For instance, occasionally now there'll be a woman on the cover. A couple of times the guys on the cover have been over the age of 25, and some of those even kept their shirts on. Despite this, they still seem to be in business, in defiance of the usual gay publishing credo that states "twinks rule all and no one else deserves to live".

Story ideas that I first pitched to Gareth Kirkby over five years ago are beginning to turn up in the pages of the paper, which is another good sign. Would I have liked to be the one who wrote them, five years ago? Of course. I was never twink enough to work for Gareth Kirkby, though, which made that an impossibility.

Still, the issues of meth abuse, life outside the ghetto, and celibacy are important ones, so ultimately I don't care who brings them to the public debate, as long as they are brought. Especially after having been suppressed for years by Kirkby as "too depressing".

Don't get me wrong: despite these cosmetic changes the paper still doesn't depict me or my life in its pages. It's a gossip rag for the gay ghetto, and the rest be damned. Yet in this they are at least remarkably consistent. It's this consistency, however, that has robbed me of the opportunity to be offended by them, which I used to rather enjoy.

Until, that is, the current issue, the cover of which is shown above.

I can't say what, specifically, it is about this cover that makes me angrier. Possibly it's the implication that this is now what gay poets are supposed to look like. No matter the heart and mind, which are the two component parts of a poet. The message is clear: if I want to be a poet, and gay, I have to look like this. No more heart and mind, it's all abs and arms now, like everything else in the life.

Used to be it didn't matter what you looked like to be a writer, which is part of the reason I became a writer in the first place. That and the solitude. Since looking the way I do requires a great deal of solitude, it seemed a perfect fit, and it beats the hell out of living under a bridge and pestering goats.

Now, thanks to these fucking twink-mongers, even that option is under threat.

I'd better sign off there; I have to go laugh now or I may start to cry.
share on: facebook

Seattle Pride Rocked By Horny Foreigner

Yes, you have read that correctly.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I'm off today to test a theory I have that gay guys are friendlier anywhere in the world than they are in Vancouver. First stop: Seattle.

Due to some massive oversight on the part of my company, I was actually given nearly a week off, so I've used it wisely. The last couple of days I scheduled a) a depressive episode (see In Search Of... Pride), b) a cold, and c) a huge boil-like zit on the side of my nose.

All have now passed, and it remains for me to pack my meagre possessions into my trusty knapsack and make my way south for the festivities.

I've been feverishly planning ahead, so there will be blog entries for you to enjoy all weekend long, and who knows what kind of surprises. Stay tuned...
share on: facebook

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Newest Member of the Family

My last iPod was a 1 GB first-generation iPod Shuffle, which was a gift from my most generous benefactor.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketI named it Soundtrackr, and for the first year and a half it was in service it performed a yeoman duty, making bus rides bearable and even the longest walk seem like a stroll around the block.

Alas, its headphones went, following which so did its headphone jack. Nowadays, Soundtrackr sleeps with the fishes.

Enter L'il Freek, the second-generation I GB iPod Shuffle which just this morning followed me home from Best Buy. Isn't it cute?

Shh... It's in its cradle now. We don't want to wake it.
share on: facebook

Rebuttal: In Search Of... Pride

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Honestly... Sometimes I just blog without thinking.

If I told you I felt better having made the post, would that help explain it away? How about if I said that less than twelve hours after I'd posted it I reread it and discovered it rife with disordered thinking? I may be a head case, but I'm a pretty self-aware head case.

Yeah. The only good thing is, seeing my disordered thinking written down like that seems to be the only way to put it back into the correct order.

Thanks to my regular readers for not taking the bait and commenting on it, and may I apologise specifically to Mr. Gagne and Mr. Davey for any damage I may have caused to those tiny tendons that make the eyes roll.
share on: facebook

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

It's Coming... The Odd Ball!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

You'll be hearing quite alot about this event in the coming weeks, mainly because I plan to attend.

Given how out of the loop I am, I always seem to keep missing their events, but I'm absolutely determined not to miss it this year. From what I've been able to determine, it's a queer event that's for the rest of us who aren't circuit-party queens. Aside from the fact that it seems to have earned the endorsement of my old nemesis Xtra West it does look promising.

Click on the above poster for a link to the Odd Ball's own blog.
share on: facebook

In Search Of... Pride

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The past five years have been especially trying ones for me.

The end of my last relationship was particularly horrific; even though it has helped me to come to terms with the most major of my issues, with each passing day the last relationship I had feels more and more like the last relationship I'll ever get.

Being single for the rest of my life - while not ideal - wouldn't be so bad, but it's not like I'm even dating or anything like that. Aside from a couple of sloppy kisses from a drunk guy 14 months ago and maybe half a dozen compliments a year (usually from people in faraway places via email), I remain an uber-affectionate guy with no effective means of expressing it.

The thought of having to spend the next forty years of my life like this is almost more than I can deal with.

No matter how specious my reasoning, I have come to blame this situation on the gay men of Vancouver, who have only broken their pact to ignore me recently to insult me. In the non-gay world, there are very few gay men; Vancouver's gays are heavily ghetto-ised, and the ones who aren't are so thoroughly married and assimilated they might as well be straight.

As usual, I'm willing to accept my share of this dire turn of events. Mr. Barr has referred to it as my "roosting", and I plead guilty. It's almost more than I can take to spend all that time to get ready to go out to be referred to as "Fatso" or "Grandpa" even before I've had a chance to introduce myself.

When guys who are older and heavier than I am talk to me like that, I honestly don't know what to do. Laughing won't help, since laughter only enrages bullies. Getting mad is never a solution, and trying to defend myself (no matter what it might do for my self-esteem) will always fall on deaf ears.

As such, it's increasingly difficult for me to feel that upwelling sense of Pride that I know I'm supposed to feel since, for all intents and purposes, I have been rejected in all corners of the gay community. I've had a dozen attempts at volunteering with gay organizations rebuffed, I get insulted whenever I try to enter gay clubs (usually by the doormen), and I won't even go into my experiences with the personals (since the scars have only just healed).

All those things the gay community is supposed to provide it has denied to me. Since there's nowhere else to go for validation as a gay man, I must look within, and that well is pretty dry. Validation as a person is remarkably simple to achieve; I am surrounded by reminders of the skills and abilities I possess.

Gay-wise, though, I feel worthless: old, fat, and ugly. I know my regular readers don't like me to talk that way, but not talking about it doesn't make such feelings go away, it only makes me more ashamed of myself. Not to mention that, even if self-loathing is untrue, it feels as real as fists.

My forthcoming trip to Seattle is, in part, about my quest for that lost sense of pride. I am unable to cast aside my community simply because they've done it to me, so it's time to go looking for it. I had it once and I will have it again, even if it means doing a thousand crunches a day just so someone will notice me.

I feel this blog does its bit, and so ultimately this blog may be the vehicle that brings me back my pride.

I can only hope.
share on: facebook

Bloomberg Quits GOP

Things are looking worse and worse for the Republican Party. Hee hee hee...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketToday their best bet for the White House in 2008 quit the party. Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, will continue to serve as an independent; his actions have further fuelled speculation about a possible Presidential bid.

Recently, Bloomberg has been highly critical of DC's political culture.

"We have achieved real progress by overcoming the partisanship that too often puts narrow interests above the common good," he has said. "Any successful elected executive knows that real results are more important than partisan battles and that good ideas should take precedence over rigid adherence to any particular ideology. Working together, there's no limit to what we can do."

I dunno. You're sounding pretty Presidential there, Mike...
share on: facebook

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Saying Goodbye To Sammy

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

It's alright. Sammy's not dead or anything. It's just that my company has moved me from the site I've been at for the last three or four months, so yesterday (my last day) I went around and said good-bye to all the places and creatures on the site that made working there bearable.

Sammy was my favourite of them all. I met her the first day I worked there, and in those days she wouldn't come anywhere near me. It took several weeks of my most wheedling cat voice to get Sammy (who you probably can't tell is a Siamese) to warm up to me at all. In the past two months, though, she agreed to let me pet her and even let me pick her up a few times. Despite her willingness to pose for a few photos, I was unable to capture the blue of her eyes until yesterday.

Naturally, I will miss this cat more than the dozen people I had regular contact with on that site, probably because she let me pick her up and pet her. More likely, it's because I am a misanthrope. To be fair though, there were a few hot men working on that site, and if any of them had let me pick them up and pet them I'd be missing them too right about now.
share on: facebook

My Current Wallpaper: "Dirty Beauty"

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I will give away, absolutely free, this lovely image to anyone who emails me. In its full-sized incarnation it's 2.5 MB, making it ideal for your newfangled hi-res LCD screens.
share on: facebook

A Garfield Milestone

Hard to believe, but the cartoon strip Garfield was first published on June 19th, 1978.
share on: facebook

Monday, June 18, 2007

Visit Langston Hughes' Apartment

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketFrom Gothamist comes word that an apartment long-occupied by Langston Hughes has now been turned into a museum. Hughes lived in the apartment from the late Forties until his death in 1967, at the age of 65.

The writer was a major figure in the Harlem Renaissance, and throughout his life used his art to agitate in favour of greater civil rights, not just for blacks but for gays as well.

In life he was known as "the Poet Laureate of Harlem".
share on: facebook

In Memoriam: Grand Duchess Anastasia

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketWhether she died in Ekaterinburg on July 17, 1918, or many decades later, was for years such a mystery that it generated a whole bevy of films, books, and many many column inches. As many as ten women claimed to be the Grand Duchess in the years after the death of the Romanovs, the most famous of whom was Anna Anderson.

Despite the discovery of the Imperial family's mass grave in the early 80s, and its exhumation in 1991, the matter has yet to be sufficiently settled.
share on: facebook

RIP Gianfranco Ferre

Italian fashion designer Gianfranco Ferre has died of a cerebral hemorrhage. He was 62.

His emergence on Italy's fashion scene coincided with Giorgio Armani and Gianni Versace in the late 70s, which itself coincided with the rise of star designers Yves Saint Laurent, Emmanuel Ungaro and Pierre Cardin in France.

Ferre trained as an architect, which fashionistas love to say is what gave his clothes such impeccable "structure". God help us all (and especially the Duchess of Cornwall) if Frank Gehry decides he'd rather be a milliner.

[S O U R C E]
share on: facebook

Sunday, June 17, 2007

What Are Your Seven Wonders

The campaign to elect the Seven Wonders of the Modern World draws to a close on July 7th, when the winners will be announced in Lisbon.

In the meantime, I thought I'd post my own seven.


To select your own, leave a comment or, better yet, vote here.
share on: facebook

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Now Showing: Trooping the Colour

Every year on the Queen's Official Birthday, troops from around the UK and throughout the Commonwealth are paraded in front of Her Majesty at Horse Guard's Palace in London.

Until 1986 the Queen actually rode in the parade, which made an indelible impression on me at a very young age. I suppose it was the Jubilee Year - 1977 - and thereafter the sight of her there in that red tunic astride Burmese never failed to impress me.

Nowadays, of course, she rides in a carriage. In this clip, from 2004, she appears at the 2:20 mark.
share on: facebook

Queen's Birthday Honours Announced

Cricketer Ian Botham, novelist Salman Rushdie, and Dame Edna Everage creator Barry Humphries were all honoured by the Queen on this, her official birthday, for services rendered in their respective spheres. Botham, already an OBE, today appends the honorific Sir to his name. Same for Rushdie, whose novel The Satanic Verses caused such an uproar in 1988.

Honours were also bestowed upon Michael Eavis, who founded the Glastonbury Festival, Jane Tomlinson, who has advocated for people with cancer, and Peter Sallis, the voice of Wallace of Wallace & Gromit fame. No word yet from the chap who voices Gromit on how he feels about that.

Also in the list: celebrity hairdresser Nicky Clarke.
Not on the list: David Beckham. Aw.

[S O U R C E]
share on: facebook

Happy Official Birthday Your Majesty

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketRain fell on today's Trooping the Colour ceremony, in honour of the Queen's official birthday, but didn't dampen the spirits of the crowds at Horse Guards Palace to witness the historic tradition.

Here Her Majesty is joined on the balcony by (from left) Princess Eugenie, Prince William, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the Prince of Wales. (That thing behind the Queen that looks like a wicker room divider is Camilla's hat.)

Outside, a protest by Fathers 4 Justice was thwarted.
share on: facebook

Friday, June 15, 2007

Courtney Cox Dishes Dirt

I don't think it's ever been established how much I love Courtney Cox, but it's alot. She was my best Friend, and I am eagerly awaiting Dirt on DVD.

Here she dishes with Jimmy Kimmel, this past January, about motherhood, Jennifer Aniston, and just how unsexy she is...

Happy Birthday Mrs. Arquette!
share on: facebook

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Queen Mourns Falklands Fallen

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Her Majesty The Queen today led mourners at a service commemmorating the 25th anniversary of the end of the Falklands War, in which 255 British and more than 600 Argentines lost their lives. She was joined by hundreds of mourners including the Duke of Edinburgh, Baroness Thatcher, and Tony Blair.

While there the Queen placed the final stone on a memorial cairn made from rocks brought back from the conflict.

Meanwhile, in Stanley - the capital of the Falkland Islands - the Queen was represented at a similar service by her youngest son, The Earl of Wessex.

[S O U R C E]
share on: facebook

Sledd Inks NBC Deal

It's a great day for anyone in new media toiling their way out of obscurity the hard way.

William Sledd, host of "Ask A Gay Man" on YouTube (with 51,000+ subscribers!) will apparently be developing content for one of the many arms of NBC/Universal, possibly Bravo.

So you tell me... Is this a new star being born or just another bitchy fag for straight people to laugh at? Either way, it's cool, as long as a bitch is gi'in paid.

One thing is clear: it's time to take my claws out of cold storage and teach this twink a thing or two.

The story, from
share on: facebook

In Lighter News: Fig Leaves For Everyone!

It seems Judy "Fig-Leaf" Fenton is opposing Sally "Responsible Legislator" Clark in Seattle's upcoming City Council elections, running on a no-penis platform.

Apparently, the Olympic Sculpture Park has a statue with a little nudie-nudie going on, and Ms. Fenton is seeing head. Er, red.

Hm. Running for public office, and the only reason is to take down a... Statue?

Something tells me that statue has a better platform than you lady.

[S O U R C E]
share on: facebook

Kurt Waldheim's Dead

I suppose, in order to be a credit to my community, I should be sombre and respectful when reporting the death of such an uber-Villain.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketBut I don't wanna.

The man was clearly a Nazi and an anti-Semite; because of it he tainted the office of Secretary-General of the United Nations and the chancellory of Austria.

Yet, each figure from that period who passes on brings us closer to closure on the entire mess of World War II. Of course, we shouldn't ever forget it (and thanks to the History Channel we won't be able to) but its ability to polarise us needs to end. Today's problems are far more important than yesterday's, and dealing with them will make tomorrow's easier to manage.

I like to think that it was press scrutiny which kept Herr Waldheim in check throughout the final half of his life. If there was ever a better case to be made for a strong press, that's it right there.
share on: facebook