Friday, February 29, 2008

AI & Bravo update


Well, it was a good week for my (current) 3 favorite TV shows: 'American Idol', 'Project Runway', and 'Make Me a Supermodel'!

American Idol
Last week I accidentally missed the guys, so this week I was really blown away by David Archuleto. Wow, what a voice! And he's cute, too. In my opinion they can just give him the win and send all the rest of the singers home at once, but I guess Fox wouldn't make a bazillion dollars from all the advertisers over the next several weeks now, would it?

There are a lot of really talented singers on the show this year. AI seems to raise the talent bar every year. Anyway, mark my words: David Archuleto is the next idol.

Project Runway
This week was the tie breaker for Rami and Chris. Both of them (and Christian and Jillian) had several months to design 12 looks for Fashion Week, and Rami and Chris were told to select their 3 strongest to show to the judges. The winner would be the 3rd designer to present their entire collection at Fashion Week along with Christian and Jillian.

I was glad to see Rami do something other than draped dresses, although the draping still showed up in different forms. I thought his 3 looks were good, but I thought Chris' were better. Chris' looks had more drama and detail. Michael Kohrs said his clothes were a little too costume-y, while Nina Garcia noted that lots of great fashion designers start out as costume designers.

The at-home audience voted to send Chris to Fashion Week over Rami. But the judges picked Rami over Chris, so Chris was sent home.

Make Me a Supermodel
Perry, Ben, and Jackie were up for the vote and I predicted Jackie would be sent home, and she was. There are now 5 guys and 2 girls remaining.

I was glad to see that Frankie did not do well in the photo shoot or the catwalk assignments, and ended up in the bottom 3! I hope he gets sent home next. Holly was this week's winner, granting her immunity next week. This week in the bottom 3 with Frankie are Ben and Casey.

Oddly, during the photo shoot Ben kept making all kinds of anti-gay "jokes" (read: slurs) towards Ronnie, who's supposed to be Ben's best friend in the house, and Casey, who is straight. It was really surprising, but it makes me think that Ben has just been using Ronnie this whole time. I think Ben feels like if he can distract Ronnie enough then he might possibly be able to win. Ronnie had a talk with Ben about it later in the day and Ben acted as if he had no idea his comments were offensive. He claimed he was "joking" and "didn't mean it like that". I don't buy it, but unfortunately Ronnie did. Hopefully Ronnie is smart enough not to get sidetracked or distracted with Ben and will concentrate on being the best model.

I was glad that the judges all-but-apologized to Ronnie last night for their earlier comments about his being "too pretty" to be a high-fashion runway model. Remember, Ronnie doesn't get to choose the clothing and make-up, so its not his fault if he sometimes appears "too pretty". But last night Ronnie's clothing, minimal make-up and hair styling, and his walk made the judges change their mind. Go Ronnie!

Crush du Jour: Chris Rockaway

Thursday, February 28, 2008

What's up with that?

Okay, this has been rattling around inside my head for long enough. I've got to ask: What's up with guys shaving their pits?I'm familiar with professional bodybuilders removing all their body hair for competitions, to better show off their musculature. But lately I've been noticing guys who are NOT bodybuilders shaving their under arms. What's up with that?

I understand that some men benefit from a little 'manscaping' to keep from looking too 'wild' or unkempt, but I'm afraid I have to draw the line at pit shaving. I think it looks feminine, even if the guy has a hot, muscular body. I think men should leave their under arms 'natural', the way God and bear lovers intended. And if you've got chest hair, don't be embarrassed. Embrace your manliness! Lots of people find chest hair attractive and sexy.

Crush du Jour: Stink Fisher

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

So...

I recently discovered that I occasionally do something that I'm pretty sure I would find annoying if done by someone else: I sometimes end sentences with the word "so". Here are some examples:

"That will be better because I'll be home by then, so..."

"You never said you were in a hurry, so..."

"I like this one better, but that one is a better buy, so..."

I don't know when I started doing this or why. Its not like me to end a sentence with a preposition or a misplaced modifier, so why am I now ending sentences with a connector? It may sound like a small thing, but it makes no sense at all!

What makes this seem even worse is that I'm quite sure I'd notice it if someone else was ending their sentences with "so...", and it would drive me nuts. So in the interest of fairness I am going to try to refrain from ending my sentences in that way.

Crush du Jour: Jon McLaughlin

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Crash!

As we were pulling up to Spouse's mother's house Sat morning, we noticed that her next door neighbor Charlotte's car, parked in her driveway, had obviously been in an accident.

"Look, Charlotte's been in yet another accident. How many is it now, 3 within the last 2 years?" I asked.

I recalled them for Spouse, in case he'd forgotten. "There was the time she mistook the gas for the break when she was pulling into her driveway, and subsequently plowed through her own fence."

"Then there was the time she swung too wide when making a right turn and began driving on the wrong side of the median. Oncoming cars were blowing their horns and flashing their lights at her until she decided to drive OVER the median, tearing up the underside of her car. I wonder what happened this time."

We needn't wait long to find out. As soon as we got in the door, and before we could get our coats off, Spouse's mother attacked us with the sad but simultaneously funny story of Charlotte's latest adventure.

Charlotte is 77 years old, which is usually not too old for driving 2-3 miles to the grocery store, hairdresser, and doctor's office which are the only places Charlotte drives. But after hearing what happened, I'm convinced the police did the right thing by confiscating her license.


Apparently Charlotte backed out of her driveway, then started up the street but somehow got confused as to where she was supposed to drive. Barely 50 feet from her own driveway, she drove up onto the sidewalk across the street and hit a neighbor's parked car - not on the street side, but on the curb side! Rather than stop, get out, and do what normal thinking people would do, Charlotte decided to keep on driving! A neighbor saw what happened and called the police.

Remember, she wasn't on the street, she was up on the sidewalk, so when she continued in the same direction she drove right through another neighbor's front yard, running over their trashcan. That didn't stop her either, unfortunately. As she got to the corner of the block she got back onto the street and turned left, then hit another parked car! Apparently on a mission, Charlotte continued down the street and hit a 3rd parked car before making another left and hitting 2 more parked cars on that street! In case you've lost count, she hit 5 parked cars and a trashcan. That's the funny part.

Charlotte made another left turn, effectively circling the block, and pulled back into her driveway. 4 police cars and an ambulance were waiting for her, and the officers escorted her inside her house to talk.

When asked why she didn't stop after hitting the 1st car Charlotte replied that she had to go to the store to get some chicken for the dog. The officer asked her 'what are you supposed to do if you hit someone's car' and she said she didn't know. That's the sad part.

So the officer took away her drivers license and told her if she wanted to get it back she would have to pass a driving test. Most likely her insurance company will drop her after repairing all 6 damaged vehicles.

Charlotte has decided she will not drive anymore. Her son and daughter-in-law live on the same street so they can take her to the grocery store and doctor's office. When her car is fixed her son will sell it for her.

I believe Charlotte is experiencing signs of dementia or Alzheimer's. Hitting 1 parked car is understandable; accidents happen. But continuing to drive after hitting a parked car, and then hitting 4 more parked cars tells me she was not thinking clearly. Hopefully her son and daughter-in-law will see to it that she gets to the doctor for an exam. I'm sure we'll hear about it from Spouse's mother the next time we visit.

So that's the sad but funny story.

Crush du Jour: Thomas Jane

Monday, February 25, 2008

Ella

Fri night we had dinner at the Miltonian with the 'usual suspects', then came home and watched "I Love You Baby", at Netflix DVD that was cute.

We left at 8:15 Sat morning for VA, and arrived at 10:45. We visited with Spouse's mom and sister and her kids for a while and then we all went out to lunch. Afterward we sat around the house for a while, talking, watching TV, and when Mary & her kids left Spouse took a nap.

At 6:00 we met up with Bugs & Roger at Urban Thai in Crystal City for dinner. We'd never eaten there, but they had and recommended it. The food was really tasty and the service was good too. Spouse & I had our favorite Thai dishes: Pad Thai and Panang Chicken Curry. After dinner we walked to the temporary home of Arena stage in Crystal City. (The original Arena stage in DC is being remodeled or rebuilt - I'm not sure which.) We went to see "Ella".

"Ella" is a musical based on the life of jazz legend and "The First Lady of Song" Ella Fitzgerald, and we loved it! The format was unusual in the sense that its practically a 1-woman show. There's a 5-piece band on stage with her and they occasionally recite lines to simulate Ella having a conversation, but mostly its like listening and watching Ella talk to herself and sing.

The singer playing Ella was Tina Fabrique, who actually looked more like Ella Fitzgerald than I expected. She has a wonderful voice and a great ability to express the unique song styling of Ella, while not sounding like an impersonator.

The musical starts with Ella recalling her difficult childhood. Her father and mother died when she was in her early teens, although her mother remarried before her death. Her stepfather was physically inappropriate with Ella, and she ran away to NY at the age of 15. The story progresses to the periods when she meets Chick Webb and others who helped build her career, and also chronicles the death of her beloved 1/2 sister Francis and her almost constant fear of rejection. All through story appropriate songs are woven in to showcase her amazing talent.

I thought Tina Fabrique did a wonderful job singing the complex, intricate runs and jumps in 'Ella fashion'. But being the huge Ella Fitzgerald fan that I am, and also being a singer, I probably noticed more than the average person that this did not come easily or effortlessly to her as it did the real Ella Fitzgerald.

When Ella sang a ballad, she caressed it, she saturated it with emotion, then wrung it out for you until the very last drop had been exposed. Tina Fabrique infused her performance with much emotion, but not like Ella. When Ella sang big band or scat, her voice floated quickly through the notes like a butterfly fluttering about on a spring day. It just sounded effortless! Ms. Fabrique is to be commended for replicating some of Ella's vocal runs, but I could tell this was due to lots and lots of rehearsal. It didn't have that effortless sound or feel. But really, who could compare to Ella? It was a real treat to see this show.

Sun morning we met back up with Bugs & Roger and the Newlyweds for breakfast at the City Diner. Although we'd seen both couples within the last month, it was great to get together and catch up on the latest happenings.

After more time visiting with Spouse's mother, his brother Louis and his wife Karen came over and the 5 of us went to lunch. We had a nice time, and when we returned to the house, Spouse's sister and her kids were there. We talked briefly but then gathered our things and prepared to leave. It was almost 3:00 and we needed to get back to DE.

I've mentioned before that it seems like every time we spend the weekend at Spouse's mother's house our dog Jordan gives us some kind of drama, and this weekend was no exception. When we returned from breakfast Sun morning Evelyn announced that Jordan had thrown up near the sliding glass doors. Not long after cleaning it up the 3 of us were watching TV and Jordan threw up again, right in front of the sofa. We feel like we do everything we can to keep her out of trouble, from moving Evelyn's dog's and cat's food out of Jordan's reach, to putting Jordan outside frequently, but she still managed to get sick and make a mess. I'm guessing she probably ate something while out in the yard. Its very frustrating.

And speaking of frustrating, Evelyn had the heat turned up so high it felt like an oven. We close the heat vent in our room and keep the door closed all the time so that no heat comes into the room. That's the only way we can sleep there. But when we're not in that bedroom, its so darn hot that it dries my nose and eyes out and is generally uncomfortable to us. We like to come and visit, but its not easy for us.

Although we were only in VA for about 28 hours, we managed to eat 4 meals out at restaurants, which we are not used to doing so frequently, and felt liked stuffed pigs on the drive back home. No dinner for us Sun night! We were glad to be able to visit with so many friends and family during our visit though.

Sun night we went to an Oscars party at our friends Paul & Steve's house. There were about 12 of us there. Ironically we had not seen any of the films nominated for best picture, but it was fun to watch the Oscars with friends. In addition to the giant TV in their movie theatre room, they had ballots, decorations, props, and all kinds of stuff in the awards show theme, and we had a good time. We climbed into bed at about 12:30 and I fell asleep almost immediately.

Crush du Jour: Jean Claude Van Damme

Friday, February 22, 2008

This week's Bravo recap

Project Runway
This week there were no designs shown. Instead, all of the eliminated designers rejoined the remaining designers to talk about their experiences on the show. It was pretty entertaining, especially the video collages they did of Chris March's laughing and Christian's over-use of the word 'fierce'.

I used to not like Heidi Klum. That silly accent, and the fact that she just seemed plastic. But this season it appears the editors of the show have kept some of her real personality in the show, so now I like her.



Make Me a Supermodel
I breathed a huge sigh of relief when Stephanie was sent home and NOT gorgeous gayboy Ronnie (pictured above)! After 2 weeks in a row of being up for the vote (in the bottom 3) Ronnie must have decided to forget about trying to help inexperienced Ben and concentrate on himself. And boy did it pay off! Ronnie was the winner of this week's episode, which prevents him from being in the bottom 3 next week. One of the judges told him "You're unstoppable."

I was hoping Frankie was going to be eliminated instead of Stephanie because I really can't stand him. That ridiculous accent, the way he says the words "man" and "you know" all the time, and that Fabio wannabe hair. But this week the stylists came in to give all the models a touch-up, which usually means trimming off split ends or generally freshening up their haircuts. But one of the judges told Frankie he had to cut off that Fabio hair, which made Frankie think they were kidding. But they weren't, so he eventually agreed. I hate, hate, HATE to say it, but the haircut looks fantastic on him. It really changes his look for the better.

This week Perry (aka: Mr. Confident) did not do well at all. He received a stern talking to by the judges who explained that "there's a fine line between confidence and cockiness, and we think that sometimes you cross that line". Perry ended up in the bottom 3 this week for the 1st time!

The temperature has warmed up a little and it began raining during the night. That means it is a royal slushy mess outside. Normally I wouldn't care, since I commute down the hall to work. Just my luck, this morning I have to go to the hospital next door for some blood work, in preparation for next week's physical. Since its so close I was planning to walk there, but with the rain falling and the slushy mess on the ground I'm now tempted to drive.

Crush du Jour: Eric Bana

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Snow

Yesterday it snowed for a little while mid day but didn't stick to anything. By the time Spouse got home it had stopped.

I decided to go with Spouse to the gym so I could do some cardio etc. while he had his personal trainer appointment. I did 10 minutes on the elyptical machine, 15 minutes on the treadmill, and threw in 3 sets of 10 bicep curls with heavier weight than usual. I'm trying to get some nice, bulky biceps before beachtime. Spouse suggested I quit my job and do nothing but work out between now and beachtime in order to meet that goal. He's a real sweetheart, eh?

By the time we finished with our respective work outs we found the ground and car blanketed in white! It was still snowing on the drive home, so when there were no cars coming toward us (the gym is in the woods) I put the high-beams on, which made it look like a million asteroids were headed straight toward us! It reminded me of when my dad did this when I was a kid. I smiled for a moment, then I thought how sad it is that I can't tell him of this pleasant childhood memory. The streets were wet but not snow-covered and Spouse cautioned me several times about slowing down and driving extra carefully.

This morning everything was clean and white. The sun shined brightly on the snow. I bundled up before taking Jordan for her morning walk because it was really cold. It doesn't appear that we will get above 32 degrees today, so the inch (or less) of snow hasn't melted. I don't mind.

Crush du Jour: Blake Harper

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Church sign generator

My buddy Stephen over at http://stephenrader.blogspot.com/ turned me onto the Church Sign Generator and I haven't been the same since!

This crazy website allows you to input text that will appear on any 1 of 5 different church signs. Its such a hoot that I had to try a few. Hope you like them.



Oh, the endless possibilities! Go ahead, try a few of your own! http://www.churchsigngenerator.com/

Crush du Jour: Vin Diesel

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

3 films

We saw 3 films this weekend. The 1st 2 were special screenings for "Another Take", a GLBT offering from the Rehoboth Beach Film Society. The 3rd was a Netflix rental.

Four Letter Word
A spin-off of 'Slutty Summer', Luke works in an adult bookstore with gay activist Zeke. Zeke obviously cares about Luke, though he tries to change the conversation when Luke discusses his constant sexual exploits. While visiting a gay bar, Luke meets Stephen with a “ph,” played by Dante’s Cove heartthrob Charlie David. They immediately insult each other but soon meet again. Romance blossoms and Luke actually starts thinking about settling down, but Stephen’s stories begin to conflict with reality.

In working to build a lasting romance, Derek and Peter start the movie as a counterpoint to Luke’s wild nature. Sparks flew when they met in 'Slutty Summer' but now they’ve moved in together, and plates might fly if they can’t resolve the growing frictions in their relationship.

Marilyn is also settling down, receiving a proposal at the beginning of the movie. Her struggle with alcoholism has led her to AA meetings and continues to complicate her life. To make matters even more confusing, her AA sponsor Trisha might want to offer something more than support. The lead characters continue to intersect, along with a well-cast assortment of supporting characters.

The movie’s title comes from Luke’s tendency to hide behind the phrase “…just another four-letter-word for…” It seems to shield him from any word that might carry an emotional impact for him and force him to explore his deeper feelings or longings. Will Luke grow at all, or remain what Stephen calls “a gay clichĂ©”? No matter what happens, the results provide fun and sexy escapism for viewers, while also touching upon some serious issues about gay life, as well as love in general.

I thought this movie was really cute. Its what I would call a "fun, sexy romp". The stories are timely, and there's enough hot, male nudity to keep you interested if/when the stories don't. I'd give it 4 out of 5 starts, and recommend adding it to your Netflix queue once this movie is available.


Kiss the Bride
When Matt receives and invitation to his high school boyfriend Ryan's wedding, he's surprised to find Ryan is marrying a woman. Matt plans to rescue his old flame from making a huge misteak.

However, Ryan's fiancee takes quite a liking to Matt. As Matt tries to rekindle the old flame, Ryan seems intent to stomping out any sparks. Ryan dismisses their old romance as a high school phase, but Matt feels that Ryan is still his one true love. All the while Matt must deal with his 'new best friend' (Ryan's fiancee), both of their families, and the depressing hometown he thought he'd left behind forever.

A funny, sexy, romantic comedy that proves the boundaries of love, sexuality, and identity are never really constant.

I also thought this film was cute. For an independent film with not many screening dates on its website, it has quite a recognizable cast that includes Tori Spelling, James O'Shea, Joanna Cassidy, Tess Harper, Robert Foxworthy, Steve Sandvoss, and Dean McDermott. The sexy leads are played by Philipp Karner and James O'Shea, both of which are very handsome and nicely built. Tori Spelling does a great job as the bride-to-be, surprising me almost as much as she did with her performance in 'Trick'. I'd give it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend renting this from Netflix when they carry it, too. Regular Guys

Chris is a macho, luckless police officer involved in a stakeout of a stolen car ring with his partner Mike. One day he returns from work to find that his fiancée is leaving him for a more sensitive, muscle-bound stud. As he walks the streets with his possessions, unsure of where to go, he bends down to pick up a lucky coin on the pavement, and a passing vehicle crushes his luggage. Abandoning his possessions, he drinks as he wanders, and finally stumbles into a gay bar, where he meets Edgar. When Chris passes out in the bar, Edgar comes to his rescue and takes him home.

Chris awakens in the morning and slowly realizes he has been sleeping naked with another man on purple satin sheets. Did they or didn't they? Chris can't recall, and Edgar refuses to tell. When Chris is unable to find another place to live, he reluctantly moves in with Edgar, a mechanic who does work on stolen cars. After Chris is unable to perform sexually with a female colleague, he begins to further question his sexuality. Edgar is falling in love with him. The guys on the force are beginning to whisper. Is he or isn't he?

I also like this film, too, and would give it 4 out of 5 stars. Its in German with English subtitles, which is fine, but I always feel like I might be missing important glances or facial expressions while trying to keep up with the subtitles. But the film had some funny parts along with the dramatic ones, and enough eye candy for most to excuse any missed editing opportunities.

What a pleasure to really enjoy all 3 films!

Crush du Jour: Philipp Karner

Friday, February 15, 2008

Bravo recap

It was an exciting week on Bravo!

On Project Runway Christian won this week's challenge to make a garment (or in his case, 3 garments) inspired by their visit to the Metropolitan Art Museum. I believe Christian will be the eventual winner. While others like Sweet P made a single garment, Christian made pants, a blouse, and a vest, all with incredible detail and craftsmanship.
Sweet P got eliminated this week, partially due to this dress. Her inspiration was a painting of a peacock, but I'm just not seeing it here. This dress looks like something you could buy right off th rack at Nordstrom. I like Sweet P but I definitely felt like it was time for her to go.
Without even telling you, I bet you could figure out who made this Grecian DRAPED dress. That's right, Rami. Rami has a passion for draping. How nice for him! But as everyone except for Rami anticipated, the judges were not happy to see him produce yet another draped dress. I liked the color though.
Jillian made this dress with short jacket which garnered her some praise from the judges. The jacket was extremely intricate and well made. I'm a little surprised no one mentioned that blinding gold lame though, or the fact that the skirt wasn't hemmed.
Chris got a little flack from the judges because his gown below was a bit similar to another gown he designed earlier. There are definitely some similarities, but at least it wasn't his 5th draped dress! I actually liked this gown a lot. The guest judge, Roberto Cavalli, said it was the best garment of them all, but he was over-ruled by the other 3 judges who chose Christian as this week's winner.
From the previews of next week's episode, it looks like everyone's coming back for a big "tell all" show, which seems odd to me since they haven't shown the final episode or named the winner yet. Guess we'll have to wait and see.

My anticipation was quickly relieved on Make Me a Supermodel when Katy, NOT Ronnie, was sent home. I didn't think their photo shoots were very 'fun' this week. I'm disappointed that they keep referring to Ronnie as being a catalog model because he's too good looking. He's got that all-American, boy next door look which they feel only works for catalog modeling, not high fashion runway modeling. But I think its a little unfair since he doesn't get to choose the clothes he models, nor his hair style or make-up. I think he's absolutely the best looking model on the show.

The judges keep talking about how beautiful Shannon is, which surprises me. She may have a fabulous runway walk, but she's not nearly as pretty as Jackie or even Holly. Fortunately, the viewers get to vote on who gets eliminated and who stays in the running. Unfortunately Ronnie is in the bottom 3 again this week. I really want Frankie to get eliminated. I can't stand him! I hate the way he talks and think he looks very 'white trash'.

On a completely unrelated topic, this is going to be a full weekend. The Newlyweds are coming Sat morning and staying through Mon, our buddies Mike & Clark from VA will be in town, AND the "Another Take" mini film festival is going on this weekend. We're going to see a film tonight, the Newlyweds arrive in the morning, we're meeting Mike & Clark for lunch on Sat, meeting the "usual suspects" for dinner Sat night, going to breakfast with Rick & Nick and the Newlyweds on Sun, and seeing another film on Sun afternoon. The rest of Sun and the Mon holiday are open for relaxing.

Crush du Jour: Jason Cameron

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Marriage and Domestic Partnership

Bill Would Ban All Civil Marriages In Maryland
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff Posted: February 5, 2008 - 3:00 pm ET
http://365gay.com/Newscon08/02/020508mar.htm

Opposite-sex couples in Maryland would be denied civil marriages under legislation filed Tuesday in the legislature. The bill, proposed by Sen. Jamie B. Raskin (D), would grant domestic partnerships to both same and opposite-sex couples. It would leave marriage to churches, synagogues and mosques to define and conduct.

The legislation would replace the word "marriage" with "valid domestic partnership" in the state's family law code.

"If people want to maintain a religious test for marriage, let's turn it into a religious institution," Raskin told the Washington Post.

Raskin's bill comes on the heels of legislation introduced in both houses of the legislature last month that would allow same-sex couples to marry.

Called the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act it would allow civil marriages for gay couples while permitting churches opposed to same-sex marriage to refuse to perform weddings.

Another bill would allow civil unions for same-sex couples. Equality Maryland called the bills exciting.

"The whole gamut is out there now," Carrie Evans, the groups policy director told 365gay.com.
"There is a menu of options for lawmakers to further the discussion."

Last September Maryland's highest court upheld the state law barring same-sex unions.

In a split ruling the majority opinion said that while the court agrees that marriage is a fundamental right, there is no fundamental right to marry someone of the same sex. The court ruled that defining marriage should be up to the legislature.

Del. Todd L. Schuler (D) the sponsor of the bill that would end all civil marriage in Maryland said the idea for the legislation came out of the dissenting opinion from the high court which suggested that the state could get out of the marriage business altogether.

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) has not weighed in on the new bill, but has said he does not support same-sex marriage but would consider civil unions.

Republicans are opposed to all three choices.

Mark says: This makes a lot of sense to me. I have always felt that marriage is primarily a legal status, to which many people have attached a religious significance. Religion belongs in churches so if "marriage" is going to convey a religious significance, then a "marriage" ceremony should take place in a church. States should discontinue granting "marriage" licenses and commence the granting of domestic partnership licenses instead, since a domestic partnership is a legal status.

Domestic partnerships would be issued by states to those who wishes to connect themselves to another legally, while churches would issue marriage licenses to those who wish to connect themselves to another spiritually. Equal treatment to all citizens - it makes so much sense!

Crush du Jour: Sean Palmer

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Road trip recap

The drive to Richmond on Sun was anything but typical. It was bright and sunny but very windy. As I crossed the Bay Bridge I had to grip the steering wheel with all my might to keep from getting blown into the other lane!

As I neared Hanover, VA I began noticing small branches and tree limbs littering the road. Most of the time I was able to veer around them. Then I began to see over-turned trees in the wooded areas along the roadside. Then I encountered a downed tree in the road! Fortunately there was no one in the oncoming lane, so I veered into the oncoming lane to avoid hitting the tree. The longer I drove the more storm damage I saw. More trees down across the roads, power lines down, traffic lights not working - you name it. Apparently a rather strong storm had blown through the area just before I arrived.

I got to the Sheraton safely, checked in, changed clothes, and met my colleagues at the cocktail party. It was fun to see the folks I don't see often, and to meet the new folks that have joined the team recently. Everyone who'd flown in had horror stories of flight delays, terrible turbulence, lots of air sick passengers, and even one aborted landing due to the wind.

After the meet-n-great I watched TV before turning in for the night. I was happily surprised that the hotel had upgraded their cable! Previously they only had about 5 or 6 channels, mostly network channels that I don't normally watch. Now they have all the channels you typically find on your home cable like HGTV, TLC, Bravo, ESPN, and Lifetime.

Monday's training began with a presentation and exercises from a "professional" sales training organization, which all of my peers agreed was a lot of bullshit. I was seated near a new employee named Peter who appeared to be jonesin' for a fix. He was fidgeting like a junkie. This guy had more ticks than a time bomb. At one point he'd crossed his leg and his foot was resting against the table leg, causing the entire table to shake like an earthquake. I tried not to stare, but really couldn't help but be distracted by him. However, after a while I realized his ticks were very likely from a neurological source, rather than a chemical withdrawal. He wasn't a junkie at all, which made me feel badly for what I'd been thinking earlier.

Mon evening was the group dinner at Olive Garden. Tues we had another day of training, but wrapped up at 4:00. We'd been hearing that the DC area was having a terrible ice storm and that traffic in that area was a nightmare from all the accidents, closed roads and icy ramps. Fortunately I was heading north on Rt 301, not north on I-95 toward DC. There was a light rain falling and I drove cautiously in case the temperature dropped and the roads became icy. All was well for the 1st 2 hours of the trip. Then I got stuck in a very frustrating traffic jam. According to the radio there was a truck accident on the Severn River bridge. All westbound lanes were closed until they could remove the truck, but the damage to the commute was irrecoverable. A portion of my trip that should have taken 20 minutes took 4 hours. The entire trip home should have taken 4 1/2 hours, but instead took a little over 7 hours. I didn't get home until after 11pm. Fortunately when I stopped for gas (before getting into the traffic jam) I'd picked up some snacks for the road. Otherwise I would have been starving.

When I got home I found Spouse in bed but not asleep. Within a few minutes I was in bed too, but was unable to fall asleep. I guess I was still too alert from driving, so I got up and checked my email for a while, then went back to bed. Of course, it felt as if I'd only been asleep 10 minutes when I heard Spouse getting ready for work the next morning.


Crush du Jour: Chris Evans

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Cured?

I'm bored stiff at my sales training session, and can't wait to go home. I'm convinced the only reason for having it is to satisfy a requirement to have an annual training. Lord help me.

Maybe, just maybe, this will help people finally understand that you can't cure someone of homosexuality. Certainly someone with as much at stake as Haggart must have tried earnestly, but without success.

Ted Haggard Quits New Life 'Restoration Team'
by Cara DeGette, Tue Feb 05, 2008


http://www.coloradoconfidential.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=3422

Technically, it only took three weeks of intensive "restoration" a full year ago to make Ted Haggard a "complete heterosexual." But on Tuesday night, the new pastor of the Colorado Springs megachurch that Haggard founded has announced that Haggard is quitting the team -- and that "the process of restoring Ted Haggard is incomplete."

The latest twist in the Haggard drama comes via a vaguely-worded letter sent Tuesday to friends of New Life Church by its new pastor, Brady Boyd. In the letter, Boyd indicates that Haggard -- the charismatic evangelical leader who was fired by his church in early November 2006 in a shocking gay sex and meth scandal involving male escort Mike Jones -- is moving on.

"New Life Church recognizes the process of restoring Ted Haggard is incomplete and maintains its original stance that he should not return to vocational ministry," according to a statement.

"However, we wish him and his family only success in the future."

After he was fired, Haggard and his family, including his wife and three boys, moved to Phoenix. Haggard agreed at the time to undergo "spiritual restoration" under the auspices of New Life Church. At the time, the church's claim of Haggard's so-termed "restored" sexual orientation status was met with disbelief from many quarters, most notably from the Christian group Soulforce, whose gay and lesbian members reject claims that homosexuality is either something that can be cured, or a sin.

Here is Boyd's Tuesday letter and release:
"Dear New Life Church family and friends,

Today, our church's board of trustees will release a statement regarding the end of the restoration process for Ted Haggard. This process may receive some media attention, and I want you to hear of it from us before you read about it in the newspaper or hear it on the evening news.

Let's continue to pray for Ted, Gayle, and their family.

God bless you,

Brady Boyd Senior Pastor New Life Church Colorado Springs, CO

-- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ted Haggard's leadership of New Life Church for many years was extraordinary and the depth of spiritual maturity that is found today in the church is in large part attributed to his leadership as the founding senior pastor.

In January 2007, Ted Haggard voluntarily agreed to enter a process of spiritual restoration. He has selected Phoenix First Assembly and Pastor Tommy Barnett as his local church fellowship and is maintaining an accountability relationship there. He has recently requested to end his official relationship with the New Life Church Restoration Team and this has been accepted by them.

New Life Church recognizes the process of restoring Ted Haggard is incomplete and maintains its original stance that he should not return to vocational ministry. However, we wish him and his family only success in the future.

Because spiritual restoration is a necessarily confidential process, the church does not anticipate that it, or its Overseers or Restorers, will make further comment about it.

Note: On Nov. 2, Colorado Confidential - which has been following the Haggard scandal since it broke, published a comprehensive summary of the ongoing saga -- including a brief return by Haggard last fall, who sent out a cash-for-heaven plea for donations.

Crush du Jour: Jason Brooks


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Hittin' the road

I'm going to be leaving shortly for my road trip/business trip. I hate having to leave at 1:00 on a Sun, but I have to get there before 6:00 when the cocktail reception/buffet starts. I feel like I'm giving up 1/2 my weekend, which is supposed to be MY time. But I'll take the time later on as comp time. Otherwise it means I'm working for free.

I won't have much computer access while I'm gone since I'll be in a hotel conference room, but I'll try and slip in a post if I can. Until I return late Tues night, I leave you with...

Crush du Jour: Mark Dalton

Friday, February 08, 2008

Friday fragments

Here are some Friday fragments; fragments too small to make up their own posts.

Convertible weather
On Wed we had some freakishly warm weather for Feb. I drove around with the top down on my car while running errands at lunchtime. When I drove by the bank the digital thermometer read 76 degrees! It was crazy, but it was fabulous.

Bonus work out
Wed evening I decided to 'switch things up a bit' and instead of sitting at home on the computer for 2 hours while Spouse was at his personal trainer appointment, I went with him. Our trainer Rick allows clients to come in and use the cardio equipment while he trains other clients, so that's what I did. I did 15 minutes on the elyptical, 10 minutes on the treadmill, and 3 sets of 15 bicep curls while Spouse had his training.
Bravo recap
On Wed night's episode of 'Project Runway' the designers had to make costumes for female wrestlers! As usual, Christian thought his design was the best so when he didn't win the challenge (Chris won), Christian's face looked vacant.
I think Christian is probably the most talented and versatile designer of the bunch, but he knows it. Some of his comments during the interviews and to the other designers border on arrogant. I wish he'd just 'play nice' while he continues the competition. Ricky the crybaby got eliminated Wed night, which suited me just fine.


Then on last night's 'Make Me a Supermodel' I was stunned to find gorgeous gayboy Ronnie in the bottom 3!!! Okay, maybe he was having a slightly 'off' week, but he's way better than Frankie, Perry, and Casey and did NOT deserve to be in the bottom 3. From his interview it sounded like it scared the sh*t out of him so I expect next week he will be back in fighting form.

Insomnia
Spouse & I went to bed at 11:00 last night, stayed awake talking for a while, had some "romantic time" (cough cough), and then Spouse slipped off to sleep at midnight. I thought I'd be close behind him, but no. I tossed and turned for an hour and a 1/2 until I got up, went to the bathroom, had a drink of water, and returned to bed. (That is not me in this photo - I snatched it off somebody's Flickr site.)

I just couldn't seem to get my mind to turn off. I thought about paint colors for different rooms of the house I want to paint eventually. I tried to remember what clothes I had clean and pressed in my closet that would be suitable for my business trip next week. I thought about whether or not we could afford a trip to Vegas this spring. You name it, I probably thought about it. Perhaps Spouse's snoring didn't help, either. Shortly after 2am I went to the guest bedroom, hoping the absolute silence might aid my decent into dreamland. Sometime later it did. And of course, it seemed like I'd only been asleep 10 minutes when I heard Spouse getting ready for work at 6:30.


Road trip
I'm leaving Sun at 1:00 on a road trip. Unfortunately, its not a pleasure trip, and its not even to a 'fun' location. I'm driving 4 1/2 hours to Richmond, VA where my company's headquarters is located. All of the Sales and Sales Support folks (like me) will be in training Mon & Tues. Since at least 1/2 of us are coming from out of town, we were asked to arrive Sun evening in time for a cocktail party/buffet at 6:00 at the hotel where we're all staying. I'm on a good team so it shouldn't be a bad time. I'll get to meet my new boss in person for the 1st time, along with 2 other new remote sales people I've not met before.

Spouse has gotten it into his mind that my car shouldn't be trusted on such a long drive, just because I told him, like 2 months ago, that I thought it needed a front end alignment and new tires eventually. To keep him from worrying I'll drive his car to Richmond and he'll drive mine to work. (Isn't he precious?) I should be back Tues night around 9:00

Crush du Jour: Zeb Atlas

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Addicted

Okay, I admit it: I am addicted to organization. I love the way organized spaces look. It just makes me happy to see organized things. I love to watch that show on HGTV called "Mission: Organization", where an organizational specialist goes into someone's place and sorts, organizes, and stores all their stuff for easy access.

Oddly, despite my adoration of organization, you probably wouldn't think it if you saw some parts of our home. For instance, right now my office has stacks of small boxes, baskets, trays, and plastic bags of various paperwork (the bain of my existence) on top of the desk/hutch. Our laundry room has a large and a medium plastic storage bin filled with various paperwork. Neither of these rooms would give any indication that I am addicted to organization, because they have not yet received my attention. But they will... soon.

In our previous house we had a fairly good sized pantry in the kitchen, in which we stored our kitchen trash can (to keep it out of reach of our dog), human food, dog food, rolls of paper towels, various assorted electronic kitchen appliances, and the large pots and pans that didn't fit under the counters. Despite my frequent attention to the pantry, to my dismay it never quite looked like this:
Aaaahhhh... this pantry makes my heart sing!

A hundred years ago when I was single and lived in my very own groovy bachelor condo, I had a super-organized linen closet. All my towels and sheets were folded to the exact size of the shelves (I hate it when stuff is bigger than the shelves and hangs over the edge), and I even had my bath towels stacked by color, darkest on the bottom to lightest on the top. Emerald green, seafoam green, mint green. I know, you're probably thinking 'Seafoam green???' but it was the 80s. My best friend Baron used to love to open my linen closet door and marvel at my precise organization. (God, we were SUCH huge queens.) Nowadays I'd prefer something more like this:
In our last house both Spouse & I had our own walk-in closets, which is completely amazing for a house built in the mid 50s. Houses built in the 50s usually don't even have 1 walk-in closet, not to mention 2 of them. His closet was attached to our bedroom, whereas my closet was attached to the other bedroom on that floor. When we 1st moved in my closet had a single rod running the short length of the closet with a single shelf above it. I took those down and installed a rod nearly 3 times that length running the width of the closet, and installed 2 shelves above. It was an awesome closet that allowed me to store all my clothes easily. No more packing and unpacking seasonal clothes. In this house I don't have a walk-in closet. It looks more like this:
I've had friends laugh at me because I alphabetized my spices. But Spouse is a good cook and uses every kind of spice and herb you can imagine. If they were simply tossed into a cupboard it would take 20 minutes to find anything. When your spices and herbs are alphabetized you know exactly where to look. Paprika won't be on top of the cardamom. Dill won't be in front of the sage. No sirree, as long as you know the alphabet you can find whatever you need right away.
When we moved to this house it was important to me to organize as much as possible when unpacking. Of course Spouse wanted to unpack all the boxes at once and toss everything into random cupboards, but I was able to restrain him. We've done a good job of keeping the kitchen cupboards nicely organized, which not only looks good, but also saves time. We're lucky to have a large kitchen with lots of cabinets.
We've also done a good job organizing our attic space. There's 1 corner of the attic that's nothing but Christmas: the artificial trees, wreaths, holiday home decor, tree decorations, lights. Its all Christmas, all the time. There's another corner for luggage. Honestly, I can not explain how 2 people ended up with 6 suitcases and 5 duffle bags. And then there's a corner for odds and ends we don't need often, like gift wrap, old record albums, and old college text books. But we can walk around in there, hunched over of course, and easily find whatever we need.

To begin working on 1 of my New Years Resolutions, this Sat Spouse & I are going to open up all these containers of paperwork, throw away what we can, and sort/organize/file the keepers. We may not finish on Sat, but getting started is likely harder than finishing. I vow to defeat the beast (paperwork) that mocks me!

Crush du Jour: Troy Garity

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Super Fat Tuesday

As everyone knows, yesterday was 'Super Tuesday'. My state of Delaware was 1 of 24 states that held primaries yesterday, and Spouse & I were excited to vote at the middle school just around the corner. It was quite a different experience from when we lived in Virginia and voted in their primary. There I stood in line for 45 minutes to cast my vote, and it wasn't even a presidential primary. Yesterday Spouse & I waited about 15 seconds for the one and only other voter in front of us to show their ID. We did the same, voted, and were out within 2 minutes max. Man, I love this little hamlet!

Yesterday was also 'Fat Tuesday', the last day that Lent observers can eat whatever they want, and also the official start to Mardi Gras. Spouse asked me "What are you doing for Lent?" to which I replied with a smile "I use a Lent brush. It works great." He gave me a look that tried to be disapproving, but I knew he appreciated the joke. Having not been raised Catholic like him, I've never observed Lent. I really don't believe in it. I believe that God wants people to be happy, so therefore He is not impressed by temporary food or fun deprivations. Whatever.


Yesterday was also our friend Nick's birthday, so to celebrate Super Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, and Nick's birthday we decided to have dinner at the Purple Parrot. Spouse & I had some delicious gumbo, and all 4 of us ordered 1/2 price quesadillas. Margaritas were also on special so I had one. And can you believe it - they served my margarita in a tumbler! I was going to make a joke about it to our obviously gay waiter, but found he was too self-absorbed to notice. Not self-absorbed in a bad way; he gave us great service and was very pleasant. He was more self-absorbed in the Jack from 'Will & Grace' kind of way. The 4 of us had a good time.

Yesterday's temperature was very mild. It got up to 62 degrees, which is pretty unusual for Feb. But today it is just crazy-warm. Its not even noon yet and the current temperature is 70 degrees - on Feb 6th!!! WTF? Its as if I woke up in June. I think I'll go for a ride with the top down on my car at lunch time.

Crush du Jour: Michael Horta

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Men shaving

Let me start by saying that I find men with facial hair to be very sexy. Notice that Crush du Jour: Steve Watson (and many others) has facial hair.
Spouse has a nicely trimmed mustache/goatee combo that's sexy as hell. He's been tempted to go clean-shaven a few times, just for a change, but I protested loudly. I also find a 5:00 shadow or skipping a day of shaving makes men more handsome than when they're clean-shaven. I loves me some facial hair!

Now, that said, I also find men who are in the process of shaving to be quite sexy too. I'm not sure what it is, but I think seeing a man shaving is hot, so I scavenged some photos from Google and Flickr to help prove my point.

Okay, and did I mention baseball caps turned around backwards are hot too?Who knew there was such a thing as a "shave system"?
Love this guy's tossled hair as he shaves.
Hope he doesn't cut those sideburns too short.
Nice body on this guy.
What IS it that's so hot about the fellow below?
I know shaving is unpleasant for some men, like him perhaps, because of skin irritation. Its not a problem for me.
Thank god he's not shaving that gorgeous, hairy chest.
He's happy that he's almost done.
Last minute clean-up.

My beard is not particularly heavy, and that along with its light color makes it so I don't need to shave everyday. Plus, I work from home so it really wouldn't matter if I did have a heavy beard.

What say you of seeing men shaving?