Tuesday, April 30, 2002

April...We Hardly Knew Ye!

So here we are in the last few minutes of the month of April 2002. Big freakin' whoop!

Actually, it has been rather an eventful month. The Spring Fling. My first formal Fifth Step with a new(ish) sponsor. Mega shopping. The Miss Gay Marin Pageant. Taxes. That whole nasty Israel/Palestine thing. HSN bracelet obsession. New website under construction. Hmmm.

Well, I tried one more new thing to get Blogger to publish to my new Mannersism.net, but it was still a no-go. The thing is that I think my FTP space just doesn't want to accept new HTML files from outside publishing sources. Maybe I am using the wrong FTP pathname, or maybe it's a security feature that I could possibly get rid of. I don't know. I just don't know enough about any of this coding stuff to really be a true blog-head (or whatever newfangled thing you kids are calling it these days). Pretty soon I am going to start pestering my few blog-buddies to help me out. But for now I'll keep trying to figure it out on my own...if I haven't gotten anywhere by this time next week, I am calling in the experts...any experts reading this had better brace yourselves.

So here comes May! May is always an exciting month. School is winding to a close, which means lot of work for my office...we have to get the Budget passed, we have to send out the Hudson Report to all the nonmembers, we have to counsel all the part-timers on how to get EDD benefits during the summer break, we have to get all the Executive Council business wrapped up, and so on and so forth. Then the whole thing comes to a crashing halt for three months and we all start taking our vacations (my vacation: take the Grandmother to Texas to visit her sister...oh, West Texas in the Summer, I can't wait).

May is also the month of my sobriety date. Seven years ago, I was winding up my Community College education, getting ready to transfer to San Francisco State, and though I didn't know it until the end of the month, I was hitting bottom with my alcoholism. The day after graduation, the day of my last final (Statistics, I got an A, of course), I went down to my favorite early-in-the-day cocktail dive and had some champagne to celebrate (Friexenet, a surprisingly classy brand for a shockingly tacky bar). After a while the champagne got tiring so I switched to wine. Then I went to another bar and switched to peppermint schnapps. Then eventually I reverted to my "usual," vodka tonics. Then I went home...on the way, I was kicked off the AC Transit bus, I threw up on the sidewalk, then threw up in an alley closer to home, then passed out on my own front porch. The next day Grandmother was very unhappy with me (to say the extreme least), and told me, after screaming at me and my hangover for two hours solid, that I either had to quit drinking or I had to move out. Well!

I'll show her, I thought, I'll move out and then where will she be? Where will I go, though? Get my own place? With no money, just student loans and a student-aide job? I guess I could move into the dorms at State...a 27-year-old fag living in an apartment with a pack of straight 18-year-olds...or...or I can just pretend I've quit drinking and let Grandmother think she's won...or I can stop drinking until I get out of school...oh, hell, let's get honest with ourself...I'm about to get kicked out of my family home, about to completely alienate the only person who's ever looked after me, about to lose everything I have and cherish and value, all for drinking...is this a fair trade? No, it's not. I guess I do have a problem. This is actually only the barest summary of my thought processes that day, but you get the idea. Later that evening, I went to an AA meeting, and my life started changing for the good. I've never looked back.

So anyway. Here comes May. There goes April. My other Farewell-to-April activity today was uploading more beefcake to punctuate my posts with. So have a gander at this one:

Monday, April 29, 2002

Bracelets and Broken Hearts...

Still can't figure out the publishing thing. I even broke down and sent an email to Customer Support at my hosting company...so humiliating! It's like having to ask directions at a gas station. I loathe having to ask for help. And then to make matters worse, I got an email back saying that they're backlogged with service questions and will be somewhat delayed in getting back to me...backlogged service requests do not bode well for my choice of web-hosting providers. I get the distinct feeling that I've bitten off more than I can chew, and leapt too precipitately into this project without waiting to consult knowledgeable friends.

On the other hand, I got two more bracelets from HSN today, and though they don't go with what I'm wearing today, they are quite a pleasure to look at. The pearl Suzanne Somers bracelet is most entertaining, since it has a magnetic clasp...no clipping or shoving or folding, I just let the ends get near to each other and it snaps shut with the most delicious little click! I was going to link to a picture of it, but the item is gone from the website...it was a clearance sale and I guess they're out. But here is a link and a picture for the other bracelet, which is a very soothing color and makes me want to go lay on a beach in Hawaii.

I've been reading a number of blogs lately where people are discussing dreams they've had. I am always amazed at the clarity and organization of these dreams...my dreams, if I bother to remember them, are most notable for their meandering confusion and the fact that I am usually quite confused in them. Last night, for example, I dreamed that I was at this very strange sort of drag conference, and I didn't have my wig on though I had my real hair tied up in four Pekinese-like tufts as I usually do when I'm going to put on a wig; I was sitting at this big white Rubbermaid table in a white plastic lawn chair inside a large circus-tent, trying to get my makeup on and eat spaghetti at the same time, and the judges and audience were all watching me and other Galaxy Girls as we ate and made up. Then I was crowned Miss Gay Marin 2003, though it was still only 2002 and Candie Swallows (who is Miss Gay Marin 2002) was happy that we could all be concurrent Miss Gay Marins. I couldn't get a straight answer out of anyone as to how we could crown future Miss Gay Marins without having a proper pageant, and could not figure out how I could possibly have won when I hadn't performed and didn't even have a wig on. When I did finally find my wig, it was very long and cheap-looking and blonde, and I then discovered that the silver dress I was wearing was all torn. And no wonder I don't remember much of the dream...it just didn't make any sense. Or maybe it did, to someone who understands dream analysis.

But one of the highlights of last night's dream was a recurring item...I keep dreaming about running into my old friend Kevin.

Kevin and I were very close, constant companions for about eleven or twelve years, from the time we were nineteen until about three years ago (you do the math). I was very much In Love with him, but I didn't dare tell him for fear of ruining what we did have, which was a very close camaraderie, a sort of coupledom...he was very much like a boyfriend to me, except that he had other boyfriends and we never had sex (well, once when we were very drunk and I pretty much hectored him into it...it was utterly pathetic).

Well, I'm not sure just how common such relationships are, so I can't tell how much I need to explain about it. I mean, I was in love with him in this very confused manner, and I was actively drinking by the time we got to be close, so it was (in retrospect) doomed from the start. I think I fell in love with him because I knew it couldn't work out that way, but that we had so much in common and enjoyed so many of the same things that we could remain close friends virtually forever--and my sick little self-destructive mind latched onto that instead of keeping that part of my emotional life open to new experiences...better the pain one knows than the pain one hasn't experienced yet. I would become interested in other people, but I never felt anything near the Sturm und Drang passion I felt for Kevin.

That is, until I met Shiloh. When I fell for Shiloh and started pursuing him in much the same (gutless and impossible) way I had pursued Kevin some ten years previous, my relationship with Kevin started to deteriorate. Even when Kevin and I were alone, all we could talk about were a) things Kevin and I had done/said/seen in the past and b) Shiloh and how frustrating my pursuit of him was. At the time I didn't see how this was different from conversations when Kevin was involved with someone...this third person, his boyfriend, would become part of my life, and when Kevin and I were alone we would talk a great deal about that third person.

But I see now that the difference was that when Kevin was romantically involved with someone, it didn't change his feelings toward me. But since my feelings for him were different from his for me, and yet were quite similar to what I was suddenly feeling for Shiloh, I took away the interest and affection that had once marked my relations with Kevin and gave them to Shiloh. And as close as we were, he could not have failed to notice that reduction of affection and interest.

But this is all the wisdom of hindsight. Not quite four years ago, when I was hot in my cowardly, unspoken, passive-aggressive pursuit of Shiloh, Kevin started taking offence at things I said quite offhandedly. We started fighting a lot...well, actually, he would get mad at me for some imagined slight, and I would get mad at him for getting mad over such a silly thing (and more often than not yelling at me in front of other people). At the same time, my mood was rather sour, to say the least...aside from my romantic frustrations with Shiloh, I quit smoking and was insanely bitchy and negative. After a few such dust-ups, Kevin and I pretty much just stopped communicating with each other. I called him a couple of times and left messages he didn't return. But over the previous years, we had often gone months at a time without speaking, not out of anger but just because we were busy or occupied with something or someone else, so I didn't really make much of it.

Enter the go-between. Caroline wondered why Kevin wasn't around so much lately, and in her curiosity decided she'd call him up and see what was going on. He told her that he had been avoiding me because I had been so negative and unpleasant lately; he went on to say that he thought I had been treating him badly for some time, perhaps trying to punish him out of some vague subconscious resentment. When pressed, he couldn't say what had turned me against him, but that he had felt it for the last year or so. When Caroline reported the conversation to me, in hopes of facilitating a reconciliation, I did a little math in my head and realized that the time frame he stated was not as long as I'd been sober, but longer than I had been smokeless...and aligned exactly with how long I had known Shiloh.

Well, that pretty much decided me that I wasn't going to call him anymore, either. I considered it an out-and-out betrayal that he would avoid me because I was being bitchy and negative...or, as I saw it then, that he would cut me off at a time when I was suffering blinding mental and emotional pain...after I had stuck by him in all his bad moods and times of turmoil over ten or eleven or twelve years. I further felt that his accusation that I was taking out my resentments on him was mere projection, since I still couldn't see why he was being so thin-skinned and flipping out over my merest utterances. And that if he couldn't deal with me when I was deeply in love with someone else, after I had sat through his being deeply and confusingly in love with at least two other guys, I figured that our friendship wasn't so great and close as I had thought, and maybe it was time for it to end.

Well, that was three and a half years ago. I haven't heard a peep out of Kevin in all that time, nor have I made any effort to contact him. We still have one mutual friend, from whom I heard that Kevin had graduated from college; I don't know if he has pulled away from that mutual friend or if the mutual friend doesn't want to get involved in our split-up, but she never mentions him to me anymore.

Since then, I have learned a lot about myself and grown a good deal emotionally. In dealing with Shiloh over these last few years, I have really seen where I went wrong with Kevin...because Shiloh and I have been able to discuss our disparate feelings with each other and come to a resolution on how we could deal with that issue and remain friends. Shiloh is an open, honest, communicative person (perhaps, sometimes, too much so, but that's another topic altogether), and from him I learned to be open, honest, and communicative about my feelings...something that Kevin and I never did. I knew from one of his boyfriends that Kevin had always been aware of my feelings for him, but he and I never once discussed it or even hinted at it out loud. And that kind of glossing-over of home truths, the ignoring of our deepest tie, is what, I think, ultimately destroyed our relationship.

Since learning all this about myself, I was finally able to see where I was wrong and what I had done to Kevin--he was quite right, after all, that I often acted out my dissappointments and unconscious resentments by being unneccessarily cruel to him, but I had been doing it all along...not just after I got involved with Shiloh...and I guess he didn't notice it so much then because I was always trying to make it up to him...which I didn't feel as compelled to do after I started in on Shiloh. Since all of my emotions were tied up in Shiloh, I did not feel guilt toward Kevin anymore, and did not do those special little grovelly things I used to do to propitiate him after I did something I thought was unpleasant. Yet I still did the things, but habitually, off-handedly and without intention.

And now I think it has come time for me to try to resolve this problem with Kevin. The fact that he has been popping up in my dreams means that our broken friendship is still rattling around in my head, no matter how much I rationalize why our wildly disfunctional relationship had to end. If I don't get this out of my system, it will probably become worse and start coloring other aspects of my life, as an untended sore will fester and spread over other parts of the body.

The first step in getting this resolution was to admit that it was not all Kevin's fault, that I was indeed wrong; the next step is to bring it all out in the open, make a public admission of my wrongdoing, which I am doing here in my blog. The next step, I think, is to get in touch with our mutual friend and see if she is willing to act as liaison between him and myself. Of course, she might not be in touch with him anymore, either...so I will have to think of another avenue. But I just don't think I can continue to live with this situation without doing something about it. Even if we can't be friends again, and even if he doens't want to talk to me, I need resolution of some sort for my own peace of mind...closure, if I may borrow a bit of psychobabble.

Well, this has all been very cathartic. Thanks for listening! As a reward, here's something pretty to take the bitter taste out of your mouth:

Sunday, April 28, 2002

Oy gevalt!

Guess what I've been doing all day? Laundry and web publishing! They go so well together...just when I'm about to pick up the monitor and chuck it across the kitchen in a frustrated rage, the dryer buzzes and calls me away from the fracas to fold my pants; in between loading the washer and resetting the rinse cycle, I have something else to do besides go watch TV all the way across the house, where I don't hear the washer and dryer and often forget all about it being a laundry day. This is what we like to call symbiosis.

So, anyway, I can't for the life of me figure out how to publish my blog to my new webpage (Mannersism-dot-net). Either there's something about my FTP space that it doesn't like being published to, or else I'm not using the right FTP pathname in Blogger. I'm beginning to be inclined towards the first possibility, as for some reason Front Page (which I'm using to publish) won't replace the 'index.html' file when I click Publish to Web. It copies the images and directories, but not the actual '*.html' page. It doesn't make any sense to me. I want to go hide in a corner and play with my jewelry, y'know?

Well, whatever. Yesterday I went to a lovely party at Min-Jung's place, at the invitation of Bill...both of these blogiverse luminaries celebrated a birthday this last week (along with a few other of their friends), and a vast party was thrown here in the Oakland Hills. The theme was Cocktails & Fuzzy Slippers; I attended alongside the Ds, who were forced by theme-nazi moi to go out and get fuzzy slippers just for the occasion. I just stuck a pair of matching rhinestone brooches on a pair of black terry slippers. There was fascinating music, delicious food, a variety of exotic and peculiar drinks, captivating Japanese anime projected on the wall, and seeming hundreds of interesting-looking people scattered around the multilevel hillside home. A good time was quite apparently being had by all.

However, though I had a lovely visit with Bill, nice chats with Philo and Min-Jung, interesting meetings with other very charming bloggers, and of course a lengthy visit with my pals the Ds, I felt somewhat...out of place. Lost, a little. I had the impression that the party was largely made up of interlocking circles of friends and acquaintances who already knew each other, and that these circles were, for all their interlock, closed systems.

Now I may have been projecting (I usually am, after all), but I just never felt that I could sort of lash out and talk to any of these interesting-looking new people at the party. Each group seemed quite self-contained...and I probably am projecting, because the group I was in certainly was self-contained, with David and Dalton and I huddled into a corner of the dining area looking out over the living-room area (a capacious chamber built around the first 'conversation pit' I've seen since 1978).

We talked about that particular phenomenon when we were driving home shortly after midnight. I guess the thing is that I have become rather ghettoized in my social activities...I can't remember the last time I found myself in a large group of people who were not all gay and sober. I really can't! And when I have been in situations where there was a mixture of gay and straight, sober and normie, it was always in a smaller party, usually in the daytime, often among people older and more established than myself, and I was 'on the arm' of one person who knew most everyone at the party. Last night wasn't like that at all. They were all so young, and so many of them were so obviously straight...not that I have anything against straight people, mind you...I just don't like being around too many of them at once.

Oh, well...I still had a good time. I just felt like my performance was rather lacking...I'm so accustomed to meeting lots of new people at parties; I pretty much feel that it's my duty as a fairly-well-bred queen and social butterfly to meet new people and chat charmingly with strangers. I hope everyone else had a good time, and weren't disturbed by the quiet trio shoved up against the dining room rail talking amongst themselves in a closed circle.

Well, darlings, the dryer just buzzed again...time to sort socks. After which I am off to beddie-byes...where I shall be concocting an elaborate fantasy concerning someone who looks something like this:

Now this one looks like he knows how to hoe a row!  Or vice versa.

Friday, April 26, 2002

The Friday Five

Here we are back in survey-land! The mega-vast survey from last week will probably drop off the page after this entry. I am probably going to put it up as it's own page in my AOL space, and keep on adding to it. Or maybe not. It's so hard to tell what I might do next.

For example, I've been researching getting my own personal domain and webspace. I mean, I love getting the freebies, or at least the cheapies from Blogger and AOL and uigui (my grandfather told me when I was five years old that there's no such thing as 'free,' and subsequent experience has failed to prove him wrong), but it would be nice to have more control over my content and services. I mean, the uigui comment system is very nice, but to have a more reliable system I have to have access to my own FTP space, which I don't have outside of AOL. And then my AOL pages are censored by AOL, for fear that someone under the age of eighteen might see a (gasp) penis, or read a naughty word. So though I don't really want to post porn or even straight-forward erotica, it sort of galls me that a bunch of busybodies can delete any graphics or page titles they consider 'risque.'

Well, anyway, I have narrowed my choices down to three web-hosting companies, and all I have to do is make up my mind what I want and how much I'm willing to pay. I mean, it comes down to a year's worth of webhosting and domain name registration or two new Suzanne Somers bracelets. Which do I want more? Then, of course, if I do get my own domain, I'll want to do a major redesign of my whole homepage network, which I don't really have the time or expertise to undertake. 'Tis a puzzlement.

Oh, well...advice from the peanut gallery is most welcome; if the comments aren't working (uigui is running out of bandwidth...the price of 'free'), send me an email.

On to this week's survey:

1. What are your hobbies? Well, I consider my collecting a sort of hobby, but that's covered in the next question. I guess my writing is sort of a hobby. Does porn-surfing count? Shopping? How about complaining? I think that drag is probably my only real hobby...it's what I spend most of my money, time, and attention on, and I don't get paid for it (tips and door-percentages are nice, but don't even make a dent in the expenditures), so it must be a hobby.

2. Do you collect anything? If so, what? Jewelry! Costume jewelry! I started off with vintage rhinestones, then focused on colored vintage rhinestones, then on clear vintage rhinestones, never really abandoning one for the other; more recently I'm getting into collecting new cubic zirconium pieces. Also, whenever I travel, I always bring back a refrigerator magnet, playing cards, and coffee cups from each place, which makes up another collection. I used to think I collected books, but I realized that I mostly just consume them.

3. Is there a hobby you're interested in, but just don't have the time/money to do? When I was a kid, I always wanted a dollhouse. I think if I had the money, I could get into collecting miniatures, but I don't know if it's because that's the only thing I really wanted to do in childhood that I never did get to do, or if I really am still interested in them. I would really like to take up photography, but have never had the impetus to spend the time or money and get started on it.

4. Have you ever turned a hobby into a moneymaking opportunity? ...I don't quite understand...make money? What ever do you mean? The only thing I know how to do well is spend money.

5. Besides web-related stuff (burbs, rings, etc.), what clubs do you belong to? Does AA count as a club? Probably not. I do work with Living Sober, which is an AA-related service organization. Other than that, no, no clubs. I was never much of a joiner, anyway.

And speaking of joining, here's a hobby I wish I had the time and money to undertake:

Thursday, April 25, 2002


I just got back (actually, I got back an hour and a half ago...Blogger went offline for a bit while I wrote this) from a most satisfying lunch with my co-workers at Ratto's in Downtown Oakland. I had my favorite lunchmeat, mortadella, on my favorite sandwich bread, Dutch crunch, with all the fixins (dijon, mayo, thin-sliced red onions, pickles, romaine lettuce, tomato), and my favorite soda, Stewart's Key Lime. Ah, utter, actual bliss!

So anyway, I am feeling a lot better. I'm just sort of getting used to the allergies, rather enjoying the light-headedness, my brain is finding quicker routes to get from Thought A to Thought B, and my general mood has improved greatly. Then, also, yesterday was Secretary's Day (now "Aministrative Professionals Day"), so Joanna bought my lunch and Barbara brought me a beautiful bouquet of yellow and pink lilies (the polleny stamens were thoughtfully snipped off) with purple and yellow tulips. The Boss Lady didn't do anything...but then, I didn't remind her, and if I don't remind her of things, nothing happens.

Later this evening I am going to San Rafael to see History Is Made At Night, with Charles Boyer and Jean Arthur, at the Rafael Theatre; beforehand, dinner at The Broken Drum; afterward, dessert at Max's. So this looks like it's going to be pretty much a banner day!

On the other hand, I just reconciled my bank statements with Quicken last night, and discovered that I spent well over two thousand dollars so far this year on drag clothes and jewelry (about a third of my total income). I'm going to have to institute some budgeting measures here, or I am going to bedeck and bejewel myself right into the poorhouse. I'll be the best-dressed woman in the soup kitchen! The glittering centerpiece of the Welfare office! I'll stake out some territory on a freeway offramp and stand there with a sign reading "Will Work for Diamonds and/or Valentino." Or maybe just get myself a rich boyfriend.
    Only-occasionally-fabulous drag queen, 34 yo 6'3" 211lb, with unpredictable mood swings and fierce sense of independence seeks socially presentable wealthy gentleman to pay her bills and leave her the fuck alone when she's in a bad mood in excahange for weekly necrophile-style sex and periodic dominatrix fits...
Any takers?

Oh well...in the meantime, I can at least console myself with this sort of thing (online beefcake is one of those Best Things in Life that actually is free):

If you wanna ride, don't ride the white horse...

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

Acacia Allergy Aggravation

Huh? What? Um. Who? Oh, yeah, I'm blogging. Hi! Welcome. What? How are you?

Okay, the Allergies are here for real this time. The acacia pollen is so thick I can taste it in the back of my throat every time I breathe...that is, when I actually manage to draw a breath into my poor clogged-up lungs. Then there are the roses in front of the office, and in front of my house, so I have to hold my breath when I run between the car and the door...which struck me as funny today, since if I "Stop to Smell the Roses," I would spend the rest of the day in a sinusitic coma. I'm sleeping badly because I can't breathe very well, so I'm having all sorts of nightmares about being in close places or not being able to scream.

So in order to breathe, I have to take Sudafed to keep the passages open. Unfortunately, this medication also makes it difficult to sleep, being somewhat of a stimulant and also a diuretic, so I have to get up in the night to pee a lot. It also makes me very stupid...people talk to me and I don't really understand them, the phone confuses me, I can't find anything, and I feel like my whole head is about to float away. But I guess that's better than the pressure and pain that would come if I didn't take the pills...I flipped a coin, and Stupid won over Miserable.

Of course, being stupid just puts me on a more equal footing with my fellow man. It's rather pleasant to answer the phone and think that the caller's questions are perfectly reasonable. I have more sympathy with those people who get to the front of the line at the lunch counter without having any idea what they want to eat. I feel a great kinship with those people who drift across three lanes of traffic without using their turn signals (I am only driving the three miles to and from the office while medicated, and it takes every ounce of concentration I have). Even TV ads make sense now.

On the plus side, either the light-headedness or the clogged-lungedness is keeping my appetite supressed, particularly my appetite for sweets. I just gave my coworker some chocolates from my bottom-drawer stash, and felt absolutely no compunction to eat any of them myself. I barely ate my dinner last night, and didn't want any cookies at the meeting later. When I was at the store, I walked by the Jelly Belly display and didn't even slow my stride. Maybe if this goes on for a while, I might just get out of the candy habit...so this might be a sterling weight-loss opportunity in disguise.

On a completely unrelated topic, my hair looks great! I just started using a new leave-in conditioner, Aussie brand, and my hair is so manageable and silky!

Hey, maybe I can be stupid and thin and pretty! This allergy thing might not be as bad as I thought it was...I may even go back to being blond, just to make a complete package!

And speaking of blonds with complete packages:

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Still Pouting a Little...

Long, pointless day...wasting time because I have a project to do that I hate doing—to wit, stuffing envelopes. I was supposed to start the process on Thursday, but I put it off until Friday, then put it off until Sunday, when I finally got the labeling portion of the task done because Caroline sat down with me and we just zoomed through it while we gossiped and chattered. Then today I was supposed to do the stuffing and stamping, but I pretty much just zoned in front of my computer in a sort of dazed manner, being pulled against my will to buy two more bracelets from HSN. Then I brought the whole mess home again and sat staring at the boxes of envelopes and stacks of stuffing, hating the whole idea of it. Then Shiloh came over and he, Grandmother, and I sat down together and stamped and stuffed the envelopes while playing the Alphabet Game with topics ranging from Movie Stars' First Names, Movie Stars' Last Names, Movie Stars with Double Monograms, Animals, Plants, Fattening Foods, Cities Not In America, etc.

The whole thing with envelope stuffing is that it's fine and fun to do with people, but unbearably tedious to do alone...and I always have trouble asking people to help me do things. Fortunately, most of my friends know me well enough to offer rather than waiting for me to ask. Otherwise nothing would ever get done.

Now that's over, and it's a huge load off and I'm unspeakably grateful to Shiloh and Grandmother and Caroline for the help...but something is missing. I still feel like something unpleasant is looming on the horizon, either before me or behind me. I'm still worn out from visiting Mother, and I'm suffering from allergies, but it seems more than that. I'm also terrifically horny, I keep seeing these cute guys all over the place and I just want to strip 'em down and start chewing on them right there in the drug store. It's like my body, from the medulla on down, just doesn't give a rat's ass that I want to be celibate.

So I guess it's time for some introspection. What's going on in my emotional life that is causing me to wallow in this vague malaise? It's not the Depression, that's an entirely different and more severe feeling...this is just an ephemeral sort of dissatisfaction, un peu de tristesse, a nagging inertia that I can't quite put my finger on.

Oh, well. Big Deal. Maybe I should do as Daisy suggests and go to my room and think about what I've done. I'll be pouting in the northwest corner if you need me.

Sunday, April 21, 2002


Why does rain fall from up above? Why do fools fall in love? Why does my mother's house smell so bad that the smell followed her to my car yesterday and stayed there until I Febreezed the entire interior this afternoon? Why is my Grandmother's church so incredibly irritating and terrifically tacky? Why do otherwise intelligent and attractive people waste their lives and intellects justifying their own self-destructive behaviors with drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, and worthless violent stupid partners? Why can't I find a copy of Stephen Fry's Moab is My Washpot on the shelves on any of the bookstores I frequent? Why did I post that incredibly long web-survey on Friday? Why do I leave it up? Why isn't there a better word for "fabulous"? Why do hot dogs come in packages of ten while hot-dog buns come in packages of eight? Why does the government artificially stimulate industries instead of fostering new ones? Why do people destroy their happiness by harboring unrealistic expectations? Why does my right wrist hurt? Why do I care about any of the above?

Because. Just because.


Friday, April 19, 2002

Survey Says...

TMI! TMI! TMI! (last updated at around 11:30pm, for the VERY last time, and now I mean it!)

Someone I read almost daily was once taken to task by another regular reader for altering his blog posts after the fact; now, I tend to go back and edit my posts seven or eight times, as I am a little bit of a perfectionist and am always finding little errors in syntax, grammar, and spelling after I post-&-publish, or realize that I was on my way to making a very important point but got lost in my parentheses and ellipses so I have to go back and clarify the point.

But this is the first time I have purposely altered my blog post after posting it. I not only added to it during the course of the day, but I changed the actual content to match with the new information. Yes, I suppose I could have just kept adding the info as separate posts, but that wouldn't be nearly as much fun, would it? And this way, I could even change my survey answers as I went along, which will give you a much better idea of exactly how psychotic I really am.

If you're joining me for the first time since I started this, here's what happened: I was getting behind on the Friday Five again, and I was wandering around looking for other surveys and found some interesting ones; plus I'm getting bored with these voluminous self-historical progressions one after another. And if I'm getting bored with my writing, you, my faithful reader, must be absolutely comatose.

So what I decided to do is this: last night I posted this week's Friday Five, just after midnight; then last week's Friday Five; during the course of today I followed with selections from a survey I created for the Galaxy Girls' Yahoo Group; after that, I started adding survey questions from other places until I had the Web's Longest Survey (Oh, my God, 172 Questions!). This is going to take a while, so you might want to go get a nice beverage and make yourself comfortable.

The Longest Web Survey Ever

Ready? Set? Go!

The Friday Five for April 19, 2002

1. What's your favorite TV show and why? My "public" answer would have to be Six Feet Under; it's beautifully written, compellingly portrayed, cinematically shot, and just quirky enough to keep my attention. However, my real favorite is my guilty little secret: Queer as Folk. Yes, it's usually badly written; yes, it tends to be unbelievably trite; and yes, it is almost impossible to believe in (there is no social structure in the world in which these people would even know each other, much less be friends). So why do I love it? Three words, honey: nekkid boy bootie. Plus the music is good. And the people are pretty. Everyone dresses so nice, and lives in such cute homes. And there aren't currently any TV shows that I like better and come on at a time I can regularly watch (though I am occasionally out on Sunday evenings, I am always home on Monday night, when they encore the week's episode).

2. Who is your favorite television star? Uhhhh...let me go look at my TV Guide...there are a lot of TV stars I'd like to sleep with, one or two I'd like to partner at a dinner party, but a favorite?...do you mean people-currently-in-production on TV? uhhhh...you know, that guy, the one with the head...uhhhh...how about Jon Stewart of The Daily Show. He's awf'ly cute, and funny, and seems intelligent. I'd date him. I'd even pay for dinner.

3. What was your favorite TV show as a child? Bewitched. I watched it every day, religiously. I wanted to grow up to be Endora. And I kind of did, too.

4. What show do you think should have been cancelled by now? Sweetie, if every show I hated were suddenly cancelled, there wouldn't be enough left for two channels of programming. But in general I hate trashy talk-shows (Jerry Springer, Jenny Jones, Montel) and reality shows (Cops in particular, but also all these new Survivor/Temptation-Island-esque travesties). They corrupt the morals of our citizenry more surely and insidiously than all the sex and violence Hollywood could ever invent.

5. What new show do you hope escapes the axe this season? None of them. Cancel 'em all and start fresh, I say! Oh, but if they ever finally got rid of Once and Again, my Grandmother would never stop complaining about it. And for God's sake, don't take her ER away, I'll never have another moment's peace!

The Friday Five for April 12, 2002

1. What is your favorite restaurant and why? Pasta Pomodoro on College Avenue in Rockridge. It's cheap, the waiters are usually cute, it has a really nice patio, it's in a great people-watching neighborhood, and the food is invariably good...not exciting or exquisite, but dependably good.

2. What fast food restaurant are you partial to? I consider Boston Market to be fast food (love their rotisserie turkey, their baked meatloaf, oh that macaroni & cheese!), but I also like to swing by Wendy's when I'm in the mood for a burger and fries.

3. What are your standards and rules for tipping? Generally, double the sales tax and round up to the nearest dollar (in California, our sales tax is 8.25%, so that works out to more than standard). If the service was exceptionally good, I do 20% (double the total and knock one digit off the end).

4. Do you usually order an appetizer and/or dessert? It really depends on where I'm eating and how many people are with me. If I can share an appetizer, or if the desserts are special, then definitely; but on a general basis, restaurant meals are so big nowadays that by the time I finish my salad, vegetable, and entree (I seldom eat my potatoes), I don't have room left for yummies.

5. What do you usually order to drink at a restaurant? I generally order iced tea, it goes with everything; in cooler months I'll order coffee and a glass of ice-water; if it's a fancy restaurant with gourmet food, I don't like to cloud up my palate so I usually have mineral water with a slice of lime.

Questions Culled from Other Sources:

(I'm starting with the 15-question version of the Galaxy Girl questionnaire, but I am following it with questions from other email and online surveys...so many of the questions are the same, after all...but I am not going to pause and note the provenance of the question, but props to Tracy, Tom, LeRoy, and William for positing the questions in the first place)

1. Your Stage Name: Marlénè Manners (née Martini-Dahling)

2. How did you come by that name? I have the same birthday as the fabulous Marlene Dietrich, December 27 (she would have been 100 this year...I am slightly younger), which is how I chose my first name (though I had to change to the French spelling to maintain a degree of originality); my old surname came from what I always said to the bartenders..."Martini, dahling, very dry with a twist"--my new surname came when I couldn't use the old one anymore, and had to think of something that started with an "M" and somehow suited my personality...Martini, Marquetry, Marzipan, Mandolin, Mandarin, Mannerist...Manners!

3. Do you have any favorite sports or hobbies? Hobbies: I collect...costume jewelry, sweaters, books, videos, magazines, tchotchkes and bibelots...pretty much anything I can buy. But sports I do not like, none, not at all...however, I do rather enjoy athletes....

4. What's your favorite kind of...
    Candy: Dark chocolates with orange creme centers.

    Ice cream: Rocky road with Hershey's syrup.

    Cake: Sacher torte (that's dark chocolate cake with raspberry jam filling and dark chocolate ganache icing).

    Pie: I'm torn between Apple and Strawberry-Rhubarb.

    Soft drink: Stewart's Key Lime Soda.

    Coffee beverage: Coffee. Just good bitter black coffee.

    Entree: risotto del mare (rice in cream sauce with vegetables and shellfish...but not crab, I have developed a punishing gastrointestinal intolerance for crab).

    Vegetable: sugar snap peas.

    Fruit: peaches...especially Freestone peaches, sliced and slathered in clotted cream.

    Cuisine style: Chinese or Italian

5. What's your favorite flower and/or plant? Alstromeria lilies for flowers, willow trees for the non-flowering fave.

6. What's your favorite color? Red...no, purple...no, green...no...okay, aubergine with a slight mauvey cast.

7. What's your favorite gemstone? Diamonds, dahling! Especially colored diamonds...most especially big fat champagne diamonds from Harry Winston...though I do have a certain fondness for Cubic Zirconium, too.

8. What's your favorite animal? Elephants!

9. What are your favorite three...
    Books? The Persian Boy (Mary Renault), Auntie Mame (Patrick Dennis), and The Movie Lover (Richard Friedel).

    Movies? Auntie Mame, The Women, and Wilde.

    Magazines? Vanity Fair, W, Architectural Digest.

    TV shows?Six Feet Under, Sex and the City, Queer as Folk

10. Where is your favorite vacation destination? Hawaii!! Aloha, darling! Victoria BC runs a close second.

11. What is your favorite swear-word? Sheize (I think I spelled that right...it's German for shit).

12. What is your very favorite thing to do on a Saturday? Lay in bed reading and watching television.

13. Who is your favorite recording artist? Ella Fitzgerald

14. What's your favorite song...
    To perform? "The Lady is a Tramp" by Ella Fitzgerald

    To listen to: "Dunq'io son" from Rossini's Barber of Seville with Maria Callas and Tito Gobbi.

    To dance to: "Groove is in the Heart" by Dee-lite.

    To have sex to: Sex? What's that? Oh, now I remember ... Strauss' "The Emperor Waltz."

15. Who is your favorite cartoon character? Cruella DeVil (if she doesn't scare you, no evil thing will).

16. Cherry or apple?: Do you mean pie? Or fruit? I love fresh cherries, but I prefer apples for pie.

17. What's your favorite holiday?: Thanksgiving

18. Does size really matter?: Yes, it does...although we who are possessed of an average-size phallus (and those possessed of the smaller "sample-size") would like to pretend that it doesn't. But I find there's nothing more sexually impressive than a big dick.

19. Do you wear pajamas or sleep in the nude?: Nude, unless it's really cold, then I wear a t-shirt to keep my shoulders warm and socks in case my tootsies peep out.

20. Candles or incense?: Candles are nice, though I prefer electric illumination; and I absolutely loathe incense.

21. Car or truck?: I drive a car...I wouldn't have a truck if you gave it to me. Just a little too butch.

22. Laugh or cry at a funeral?: Neither! I stand there very quietly, smile encouragingly to the grievers, and hope it will be over soon.

23. Do you believe in chain letters?: Chain letters are evil.

24. Do you sleep with your stuffed animal?: Yes, my teddy bear Antinöus Bill.

25. Do you love anyone?: I love everyone...except for certain people. And I am not currently in love.

26. What's the worst thing you have ever done?: When I was sixteen, I stole my Grandfather's wallet and tried to make it look like he'd lost it; I then spent all his cash and charged up his cards on makeup and drag and stuff; stealing is bad, stealing from family is really bad, but stealing from an Alzheimer's and Parkinson's sufferer who can't talk and can barely walk and probably doesn't remember his own name is utterly reprehensible. I got caught, incidentally, by shoplifting while I had a load of charged loot on me.

27. Obsession?: My current obsession is with cubic zirconium bracelets from the Home Shopping Network.

28. How often do you clean your room?: Maybe three times a year.

29. Number 1 on your list to have sex with?: Brad Pitt. I don't know why, but he turns me on somethin' fierce. There are men I find more attractive, hotter and sexier, even...but I just really want to have sex with Brad Pitt.

30. Sexiest person you know: James. I'm not sure why, he's rather short and balding, but he's cute and kind of vulnerable somehow, and his jeans suggest somewhat voluminous contents. God, I hope he doesn't read this blog.

31. What do you wanna name your kids?: _____, _____, and _____. I have no intention of infesting the world with my own offspring.

32. Pepsi or Dr. Pepper?: Dr. Pepper. Wouldn't you like to be a Pepper, too?

33. Is Vanilla Ice cool or does he still suck?: He always sucked. He always will suck. He's a talentless dweeb who never had the sense to get out of the spotlight.

34. Rather eat at home or out?: Oh, definitely out. I love eating in restaurants.

35. Favorite cartoon?: In the newspaper? The Norm. On TV? It's a toss-up between Spongebob Squarepants and Dexter's Lab.

36. Where are your piercings?: On my earlobes...just the two standards.

37. Drugs?: No, thank you, I'm in recovery. I was never really into drugs, anyway. A little pot in high school. I tried acid once (loved the high, hated the hangover). A brush with Vicodin recently. That's all. I was always terrified by drugs, because those would make me like my parents.

38. If you could be reincarnated, what would you come back as?: A gay porn star, or someone who looks and acts like one.

39. Have you got any pets?: Not at the moment. And if the SPCA finds out about me, I never will.

40. Brownies or cupcakes?: Brownies...Duncan Hines dark chocolate mix, to be precise.

41. If you had 24 hours left to live, how would you spend it?: Writing down everything I've learned. And eating.

42. Cat-person or dog-person?: Dogs, please...I especially love little tiny dogs. I hate cats. HATE THEM!

43. What's better, bass or guitar?: You need both, don't you?

44. Is your writing messy or neat?: It looks neat, if a bit curly, but it is in fact quite illegible. That's why I type everything.

45. Where do you want to live?: Here in Oakland...but in a large apartment near Lake Merritt.

46. How many kids do you want?: Zero. Zilch. Negative integers, if possible.

47. Habla español?: Sorry, no. Je parle un peu de française, and parlato pico d'Italiano, but I only know as much Spanish as one can pick up from Sesame Street and Mexican restaurants.

48. Have you ever run away?: Yes. I wrapped a few belongings in a bandanna and tied it to the end of a bamboo rod, and set off to find adventure in the manner of cartoon children. I got to the end of the block before I realized that I looked fairly stupid, that I didn't know where I was going, that I was going to get hungry soon, and might have to go to the bathroom in the near future...so I went home.

49. Does anyone owe you money?: Yes! Uncle Sam! HAHAHAHAHA! I'm getting about $500 back from overwithheld taxes.

50. Are you happy or sad right now?: Neither. I am content, amused, and interested. Besides, I can be happy and sad at once.

51. What do you think you will die of?: Neurological disorders run in my family, so I'll probably be taken out by a stroke or aneurysm.

52. Worst smell in the world: Ammonia.

53. Favorite place to go: Shopping. Anywhere.

54. What do you want to be when you grow up?: A novelist. A demigod. A good person.

55. Do you go to church?: I escort my Grandmother to her church, I don't consider that "going to church" except in the most technical sense. I have an extreme dislike of all religion.

56. What do you do when you're bored?: If I was doing anything, I wouldn't be bored; if I am bored, there must be nothing to do.

57. Book or magazine?: To read? A book...I don't read magazines, I only look at the pictures.

58. Ever seen a ghost?: No. At least I don't think so. I saw something I thought was a ghost at the time, but I was really really drunk, so it was more likely a hallucination.

59. Do you believe in witchcraft?: Sure, as far as I can believe in anything I haven't seen or done myself.

60. Do you sleep with the music on?: Yes.

61. Do men suck?: A lot of them do, God bless 'em!

62. Do women suck?: I've heard such, but that some of them don't like to.

63. Ever been arrested?: Yes (see above). I was at Emporium buying drag with my Grandfather's stolen credit card, and I wanted to buy this really cute snakeskin purse; but nobody was coming over to wait on me, and I was getting impatient, so I just slipped the purse into my shopping bag and made for the exit; little did I realize that the security station was right there on the other side of the counter, and they nabbed me the second I touched the exit door. They didn't press the charge, though; they just called my Grandmother to come get me, which was much much worse.

64. Craziest thing you've ever done: Fall in love with a straight boy. And I'm so crazy, I did it twice! Actually three times, but I don't count the third, since he later came out.

65. What's the band you hate the most?: I don't hate bands, I just ignore them.

66. Worst TV show?: The O'Reilley Factor. OH! I hate that guy!

67. Have you ever cheated on someone?: No.

68. Have you ever been cheated on?: Yes, by my first "official" boyfriend. I realized that it was time to break up with him...not because he cheated, but because I didn't care in the least.

69. Beer or wine?: I have always hated beer; I no longer drink wine (though there was a time I fancied myself a connoisseur...when in fact I was just a sot with a vocabulary).

70. Favorite number(s): Eight, and One Million.

71. Horoscope sign? Capricorn with Gemini Rising and Scorpio Moon.

72. Favorite word or name? Two different things, darling: Word, rodomontade; Name, Aloysius.

73. Hometown- Oakland, CA.

74. Place of birth- Fort Ord, CA (now decommissioned, turned into a college and absorbed by Monterey).

75. Have you ever gone skinny-dipping? Yes, and in embarrassingly cold water.

76. Do you make fun of people? Why else would I bother to get up every day? But only if they deserve it.

77. Have you ever been convicted of a crime (traffic tickets don't count)? No. I've only had two traffic tickets, anyway.

78. Do you get along with your Mom? If I don't have to see or talk to her too much. I love her a lot, but our personalities don't always mesh well.

79. Most humiliating moment? Throwing up on the cock (and in the pants) of a gorgeous Czech I picked up in the bar...he was quite large, I was quite drunk, and I couldn't control the gag reflex he triggered.

80. Most memorable moment? Seeing my niece being born. I was definitely at the wrong end of the activity, holding a camera of all stupid things, and there is something quite simply yucky about seeing your own little sister from that angle and in that circumstance. It was wildly unpleasant, and I don't think I'll ever forget it no matter how hard I try. And yes, it was "magical"...but only after they cleaned the screaming little bundle.

81. What do you look for in the opposite sex- I only want to make sure she won't fit my clothes...get away from that garment rack, you bitch!

82. Favorite toothpaste? Crest Tartar Control with Peroxide and Baking Soda.

83. Croutons or bacon bits? Both, please. And don't be stingy, baby!

84. Shoe company? Giorgio Brutini

85. Cologne/Perfume? Obsession for Men; White Diamonds for Women.

86. Website? Mine! And this one; and this one...oh, hell, go look at my links column!

87. Search Engine? Google.

88. Subject in School? English, History.

89. Least favorite subject? Gym...I think it's dreadful that these muscle-headed, pot-bellied ex-jocks should be allowed to terrorize and demerit innocent children. I had to take an equivalency exam to get out of school because I had flunked seven years'-worth of gym.

90. How many pillows? Four, at least, as well as Antinöus Bill.

91. Swimming pools or lakes? Pools. You never know where that lake water has been!

92. Who is your best friend and why? Dalton/Daisy. He's always there for me; he makes me feel good about myself without demeaning himself; he's cute as a bug and sweet as pie; several other reasons I can't write about without getting all teary-eyed.

93. How big of a family do you come from? Two parents, three step-parents (in shifts, mother divorced her second husband, is currently with her third, my stepmother is deceased), five separate pairs of grandparents (mostly now deceased, two grandmothers left, I live with the Paternal GM, and the Maternal GM forgot I exist); one sister, two step-sisters, one half-sister, two half-brothers, a niece, a nephew; three aunts, two uncles; five first-cousins...let's not get started on the other cousins, who number in the hundreds. Let's just say I come from a small nuclear family and a vast extended family.
Whoo! I'm getting tired! How about a beefcake break?!

Ah, very refreshing...shall we resume?
94. How old were you when you got your first:

    Kiss? 12...it was very cute.

    Boyfriend/girlfriend? Boyfriend, 20; Girlfriend, 14.

    Car? (oh, the shame) 30.

    Broken heart? Sweetie, I was born with a broken heart. I really don't remember the first time.

    Sexual experience? Full-on erect-penis nudity-involved sex? 19. But get this...the first mutual orgasm experience came three years later. And people wonder why I'm not so crazy about sex.

95. Parents' names: Kathryn Marie; Robert Eugene, Sr.

96. Number of candles that appeared on your last birthday cake: My last cake had thirty...but I'm 34 (I don't celebrate single years anymore, I now only age in lots of five).

97. Date that you regularly blow them out: I've never regularly had birthday parties. My birthday (I believe I mentioned above, a long time ago, that it is December 27) is in that social dead-zone between Christmas and New Year's.

98. Height: Six feet, three and one-quarter inches.

100. Eye Color: Grey-blue

101. Hair color: Brown-grey.

102. Tattoos: None. The very idea! I can't handle pain, and could never commit to an anything of such duration.

103. How much do you love your job: Not so much as I once did. But I have time to sit and waste doing this, so I guess I like it fairly well.

104. Been in love before? Yes, several times. It never worked out. It was never even reciprocal.

105. Been to Europe? Not yet...

106. Been toilet papering? No! How rude!

107. Been toilet papered? Of course not.

108. Loved someone so much it made you cry? Is there any other way?

109. Been in a car crash? Yes, once...it wasn't very dramatic, nobody was hurt, but Fred's car was never the same again.

110. Dumper or Dumpee? I've never really been dumped, and never dumped anyone else. The shamefully small handful of brief relationships I've been in just sort of fizzled out.

111. Salad Dressing: Caesar.

112. Color of socks: Whichever goes with my shoes.

113. Lucky Number: I have no luck. But when asked to choose a number, I usually pick seven.

114. Place to be kissed: Wherever you like, sweetie! But I love a kiss on the hand...so Continental!

115. Day of the week: Sunday.

116. When Was Your Last Hospital Visit: Almost twenty years ago, when I had an infected lymph node removed from under my chin, leaving behind an ugly scar and a lasting hatred for cats (a cat scratch is what infected the node with tuberculosis).

117. What Color is your Bedroom Carpet: It's Persian, grey background with indigo, burgundy, ivory, and black in the pattern.

118. How many times did you fail your permit and/or drivers' license test?: Once. Most humiliating.

119. What do you think of Ouija Boards? Stupid, but don't screw around with that you can't control.

120. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? I don't look into the future, because I can't see there. If I could, I'd probably never get out of bed.

121. Which single store would you choose to max your credit card? Saks Fifth Avenue (but not my credit card, mind you...I don't have one).

122. What words or phrases do you overuse? Fabulous! Darling! Fuck!

123. Most annoying thing? People getting in my way, especially on the road.

124. Best thing: Sparkles.

125. Bedtime: Around twelve-ish.

126. What color pants are you wearing right now? Tan.

127. What was the last thing you ate? A Pepperidge Farm cookie (since then, I've had red grapes, and clam chowder, and prawn scampi).

128. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Mauve.

129. Where would you like to go for a honeymoon? Kauai. It's beautiful, and there's nothing to do there but screw and swim.

130. Do you wear contacts? No...I used to, but they itched too much and always bothered me and required too many accessories and didn't make me look any younger.

131. Siblings and their ages? Suzie (sister), 32 until June 9; the rest of them I really don't remember. Stepsisters...I know Quinn is older than me and Heidi is younger than Suzie; the others...Becky, LeRoy and Nathan are all in their early twenties I believe. I'll ask Mother tomorrow.

132. Last movie you watched In the theatre? Gosford Park. On TV, I don't remember.

133. Are you too shy to ask someone out? "Shy" doesn't even begin to describe my terror of rejection. I've never in my life asked anybody out.

134. Do you like scary or happy movies better? Hmmm...I don't really like either. I like a comedy, and a pleasant ending, but I hate those fuzzy-sentimental type of "happy" movies.

135. Summer or Winter? Winter.

136. Hugs or Kisses? Do you mean Hershey's? I prefer Hershey Kisses; but in real life, I like hugs.

137. Relationship or one night stands? Both! Neither! Much unhappiness is caused by making that choice.

138. Chinese Astrology Sign: Ram, or sheep, or goat, or whatever it is...there doesn't seem to be any agreement.

139. Weight: More than I was and less than I eventually will be...oh, okay, I'll come clean: 211 lbs as of last Saturday.

140. Sexual Position: I'm a bottom, but mostly because I'm lazy; I prefer to just lie there and let the other guy do whatever he wants (except talk...I hate that).

141. Sound: A soprano hitting and holding a high note for a really long time.

142. Thing to do when alone: Watch television. Drive. Masturbate. Read. Almost anything, really, except eating. I hate eating alone.

143. What is your fondest adult memory? (not adult xxx, but that could work too) My first standing ovation, after performing "Something's Gotta Give" at the Living Sober Fall Follies, 1999. I hadn't been on stage in years, and I had never before received a standing ovation. It was quite thrilling! There's nothing finer!

144. If you could spend the next 48 hours doing anything with anyone, anywhere, with no monetary worries at all, what would that event be? Shopping-trip to Manhattan with Bill Gates' credit card and some hot hired boy-toy who looks like Tom Welling in the biggest suite at the Waldorf Astoria.

145. When you were a kid, what did you wanna be when you grew up? A butler, a supernatural immortal, and/or a woman.

146. If you could have 3 wishes, but none of them could be based on money or love, what would they be? 1) The Power to Smite at Will, and from a distance (not for money, just power); 2) Shattering physical beauty, with all the trimmings (not for love, honey, just plain old vanity); 3) a sixteen-hour orgasm.

147. What do you look for in a guy? Totally give me the Classified Ad skinny. Nice face, but not too nice (only slightly better- or worse-looking than myself); Height (preferably taller than me, but not freakishly so); Intelligence and humility and humor. In reasonably good shape, but I'm not picky (though I do have trouble with obesity and excessive body-hair). Kindness is very very important. Easy-going attitude. Similar tastes in movies and music. That's about it.

148. When was the last time you locked your keys in your car? At John and Nick's wedding in Guerneville, October of last year. I put them in my overcoat, then later decided I didn't need my overcoat because it wasn't cold enough, and locked it in the trunk. Fortunately, the trunk lock is controlled from inside, and the rear window was open just enough for a fellow guest to get in there with a wire hanger and open her up.

149. The worst drinking experience you've had? The thing with the Czech and the puke, above, was pretty bad; but there was the time I got kicked off an AC Transit bus because I was so blitzed, then I threw up on the sidewalk (before witnesses) as I was walking the rest of the way home, and then passed out on my own front porch because I couldn't find the key (it was in my hand), where Grandmother found me at 9pm (I'd been drinking since 11am). That was the last time I drank, and I was in an AA meeting the very next day.

150. When did you come out? I was never IN! But the time I realized that I was indeed a homosexual, not just a queen, and what exactly that meant, and then told someone, I was sixteen.

151. Do you know the way to San Jose? From my office...go up 8th to Madison, turn left, then left again on 4th, get on 880 South, drive about 45 miles, and voilà! My aunt Terry lives in San Jose, I go there fairly often.

152. What's the WORST Xmas present you've ever received? A GI Joe doll. I specifically asked for a Big Jim doll, the bodybuilder who came with a fake bronze arm-band that popped off when you made his plastic biceps flex...and I got this desert-gear GI Joe with a velveteen beard, so painfully butch, and I pitched a fit. I was six or seven, I think.

153. What do you do with all of your change? I usually drop it on the floor when I take off my pants, and then leave it there as an enticement to get other people to clean my room.

154. Have you ever shaved your armpits? Quite recently, yes. It always itches the next day, but I really like not having the hair there. If I had the time and energy I would depile my entire body.

155. Have you ever shaved your own head? No. My mother once shaved my head as a punishment for cutting off my sister's bangs (nipping my cosmetology career in the bud). I was so vain, even as a child, that I wore a stocking cap the rest of the summer.

156. Do you love yourself? Almost nightly...but seriously, most of the time I do, though sometimes I don't.

157. How did you get into blogging? Rula! Rula did it! S/he is a blogger from way-back, and when s/he launched the Galaxy Girls weblog, I was addicted immediately, and soon had to have my own blog. So here we all are.

158. If you were cheese, what kind of cheese would you be? Cheshire...expensive, very white, a little crusty, a trifle dry, a bit bland, kinda salty, not very well-known, hard outside but crumbly inside.

159. Besides members of your family, who was your greatest influence as a child? Liberace. Seriously! My step-grandmother had a big glossy commemorative book from the Liberace Museum in Vegas, with pix of Lee lounging around his deliciously gaudy homes in a variety of pixilated outfits and loads of jewelry. I wanted to be just like him! And I kind of am...except I can't play piano, and I don't pretend to not be gay, and I do have some taste.

160. First record you ever bought with your own money? Wham! Make it Big. And yes, I am suitably ashamed of myself.

161. First kiss: boy or girl? Girl...I was twelve. She was twelve. She thought I was cute. I found the experience strangely uninteresting. For the first boy...I was nineteen, he was seventeen. I learned then exactly what all the fuss was about.

162. Have you seen either of them in 10 years? No...and I don't think I'd want to. Hell, I don't even remember the girl's name...and I want to remember Joey as the hot little seventeen-year-old slut he was, not the thirty-three-year-old bitter queen he probably is now (if he's still alive).

I am done. No more surveys. Promise! Until next Friday, anyway!

Thursday, April 18, 2002

O! How I Hate Allergies

When I was a kid, I wished I had an allergy...but only to compete with my dramatically sickly stepsisters, who were allergic to everything, who had strep throat and bronchitis and ear infections whenever they could manage it, and who milked every little twinge and pimple of its Oscar-worthy sympathetic potential. My sister and I were grotesquely healthy by comparison, and often felt very left-out because of it. I decided to be allergic to pine cones and gerbils (I wanted something that wouldn't come up a lot), and would scratch at my arms and 'sneeze' in a very cartoonish manner whenever I encountered such objects. I didn't get any sympathy, in fact all I got was impatience and angry admonitions, but I enjoyed the performance nonetheless.

Later on I discovered that it is actually a good thing to be healthy all the time, and dropped the charade on the pile of useless childhood affectations along with my fake English accent, my stated conviction that my stuffed animals would one day come to life (and then we'll see who's boss), and my oft-aired belief that I would be a much better person, son, and student if only I could fly.

I wasn't really aware that I had sinuses for most of my life. Even when I had a head-cold, my sinuses never bothered me. But around the time I was in my late twenties, they started acting up. I got a sinus infection when I was 26, and that was the beginning of the end for me. At 28, I discovered from a doctor (to whom I had gone for relief of the throbbing, shattering migraines I was suddenly suffering) that I had allergies. He prescribed pseudephedrin (Sudafed), and told me that I had allergies and should go to an allergist to find out exactly what substances were triggering the allergic reactions.

I didn't do any such thing, of course. I don't trust allergists; in fact, I don't really trust doctors in general...I only went to the school clinician because it was "free" (I had been paying a small fee with all of my tuition payments) and I was beginning to suspect I was having strokes (that's how bad the pain had gotten after six months of migraine headaches). Since then, I have simply studied my own reactions; I find that, once I'm aware that something external is causing the problem, it's fairly easy to discover which things are doing the damage when introduced to my environment...all it takes is a little scientific observation.

The first thing I discovered myself allergic to was the usual plant-related stuff that I found around our own garden, dried grass and other airborne seeds, fruit-tree pollen...but particularly fern spores. Then I discovered that there was something in either latex paint or paint-remover that was absolutely killing me, after stripping and painting some cabinets in my bathroom and having to spend the next three days in a dark room with a cold washcloth over my eyes. After I started going around to nurseries and plant shows with Shiloh (have I mentioned he's a landscape horticulturist? Well, he is, and a very good one), I started adding to the list: freesias and lilies (the perfumey kinds, anyway) have immediate sinus-swelling results, as do most kinds of fertilizers (mold spores), a lot of insecticides, and the more heavily-scented roses.

Quitting smoking helped a lot...I'm still allergic to things, but my sinuses don't get infected as much, and it takes me longer before I am in actual real-live agony. Quitting yardwork helped even more, I refuse to ever paint anything as long as I live, and politely refusing when people enjoin me to "smell this flower" is always helpful. The funny thing is that I have a very highly-developed sense of smell, and I love sniffing at things. Now I just have to do it more carefully...if the first sniff gives me a little tickle in the back of my throat, I just have to back away and forget about it.

A more recent discovery is that I am allergic to lavender. The Ds once gave me a gorgeous silk eye-pillow for my birthday, designed to reduce stress, filled with chamomile and lavender for aromatherapeutic relaxation. Well, I was having a bad sinus day (the roses outside my office were blooming full throttle, and it was acacia season), so I laid back and slid the cool mauve silk pad over my eyes and went to sleep. When I woke up I couldn't open my eyes, I thought my teeth were going to crack under the pressure in my skull, and my tongue felt like I'd been giving the sofa a rim-job. After that, I found that I am allergic to something in one of my favorite men's colognes, Acqua di Gìo; later experiences with a particular boy wearing essential oils led me to suspect that the substance in question is Hawaiian blue ginger (whatever the hell that is), but it might very well be heliotrope, which has a similar smell.

But that's not the worst of it. I discovered a while ago that not only am I allergic to all sorts of plants and such, I am also allergic to certain allergy medication! I had been taking Sudafed all along, and it wasn't doing enough for me, so I switched to Benadryl; after a couple of days of that, my heart went off rhythm! Well, cardiac arrhythmia is not something to laugh about, so I went to the drop-in clinic at Summit, where they took an EKG and left me in a room next to a weeping senile woman for a couple of hours (Lucy, don't leave me here...why can't I go home?...I don't want to be here...I feel so poorly...why isn't the doctor coming?...where is Lucy?...it was very depressing). By the time a doctor came and looked at me, the arrhythmia was gone, but he asked me some pertinent questions and decided that it was the Benadryl that was doing it. A fairly common allergy, he told me. Why would it be common for people to be allergic to allergy medication? That doesn't make any sense to me. (Actually, it's not doctors I distrust so much as I distrust the pharmaceutical industry, and suspect doctors of being the willing dupes of that industry. Allergenic allergy medications, indeed. And don't even get me started on the insurance industry! But back to bitching about myself...)

To cap it all off, I started developing food allergies. Crab and lobster, to be specific. It took me a long time to discover that one, since I seldom eat crab and almost never eat lobster. I will assume that crawfish will be included, but I don't know for sure since I've only eaten that once. But it occurred to me eventually that my midnight diarrhea attacks had something in common...on each occasion, I had eaten crab or lobster for lunch or dinner that day. So now I have something else to avoid; and since they're closely related, genetically, I'm almost afraid to eat shrimp as well. What if I develop an allergy to other shellfish? Oh, please don't take oysters and clams and mussels away from me! Why can't I be allergic to something I don't like? Take the squash, the celery, the avocadoes! I'll happily avoid lima beans and collard greens!

Oh, well. At least I'm not allergic to chocolate. That would be a real shame. I would just have to be sick all the time, wouldn't I?

The reason I bring all this up today is that I am beginning to think that I might be allergic to my co-worker's new perfume, Lancôme Trésor. It has that blue-gingery smell about it (a smell I really like, by the way), and my teeth are getting that strange crystalline feel that presages a sinus attack. And I feel very stupid, having great difficulty forming sentences when people are talking to me (another famous allergy symptom).

I hate to ask her not to wear it, she enjoys it so much...just as I hated to ask my other co-worker to not bring the scented roses into the common areas of the office. I feel like such an ass making requests like that, just because these pleasant smells make my face ache. I can take a pill and ignore it, can't I? That's what I hate most about allergies...the very idea of having 'special needs' absolutely galls me. I've always been offended by people who start gagging and coughing at the first whiff of perfume or cigarettes or dust, or who ask people to please not wear deodorant or hairspray or shoe polish around them. It seems so damned nit-picky, y'know?

So it seems the upshot is that I can either: a) suffer martyrdoms of pain; b) exist in a plastic bubble; c) be a complaining bitch all the time; or d) become even more dependent on an evil pharmaceutical giant. At the moment, I'm sort of mixing it all together in a fairly useless sampler. I guess it's better than being dead...at least, I hope so. I have this sneaky feeling that when I do eventually die, I will be very angry that I didn't contrive to manage it sooner.

Anyway...here's something to which I'm really glad I'm not allergic...yet:

Just say YES to crack!

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Music Media Medicine Miloslovich Mylar Mitochondria...

Another example of my bizarre word-relating mind. I was thinking about music, and trying to think of a good title for a musing about music (well, there's a good title, Musical Musings), and came up with the above string of pointlessness. Who is Miloslovich, anyway? What is a mitochondria? How is it that I can remember and spell words when I don't know what they mean?

So I was reading over some posts here and there having to do with music and the enjoyment and/or collection thereof, and I became confused. I don't know who these people are talking about (...excuse me, I need to stop being lazy about my participles: "I know nothing about the musicians and musical pieces of whom or which these people wrote." Oh, never mind, I'll go back to my original statement). It made me feel woefully uninformed, uncultured, provincial even.

Now, I have never been or tried to be on the cutting edge of the music scene, so there's no reason I should have heard of these performers or performances. But I love music, I listen to it all day long, I don't like to be anywhere without music of some kind happening somewere, even when I sleep. But as much as I love music, my collection of CDs is negligible, my knowledge of music is scattershot, and my attendance at live musical performances almost nonexistent.

When I was a kid, I listened to the songs preferred by whoever was driving the car or operating the stereo (Mother preferred Folk/Hippie Rock, Daddy liked Country-Western, Mom (step-mother) loved Barry Manilow and anything that had been in the Pop Top-40 during the previous thirty years, my sister and stepsisters had a proclivity towards Osmonds and any boys featured in Tiger Beat); but while I had certain favorite songs ("Delta Dawn," "Disco Duck," I had an early fondness for alliteration), I never really judged or preferred any kind of music...I just listened to it.

When I got a little older, my fifth-grade teacher (Mr. Polton...classic Stonewall Clone, though I didn't know it at the time, with his porn-star mustache and knit silk ties in 1978...he was understandably my first male hero) turned me on to Classical music by playing Beethoven's Fifth and Ninth symphonies for the class and making us talk about how it made us feel; they made me feel supremely happy and peaceful. I immediately requested copies of my own from Santa Claus (and, much to my surprise, actually got them from said mythical icon, even though I was on record as not believing in him—Eugene Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra on the Deutsche Grammaphon label with it's super-classy yellow-framed titles). The next year, I got my first transistor radio for Christmas, and I promptly tuned it to KDFC, where it stayed until I lost the radio some years later. I am listening to that station right now, here in my office, as I type this ramble (Georg Friedrich Handel, or so the guy says).

My love affair with classical music never led me to want to know more about it or have any particular piece...I just wanted to listen to it. After a few years, favorite composers and styles started to emerge from the mess, such as a predilection for Baroque over Modern, chamber over orchestra, Romantic piano concertos, a distaste for too many violins in one place, an enjoyment of minor keys and bass strings...but in general I was perfectly satisfied with whatever they played, so long as it was old and beautiful. To this day, I have the most indiscriminate collection of classical music, "greatest hits" albums of Beethoven and Mozart, period compilations (Best of Baroque, Romantic Interlude, etc.), mostly on the super-cheap Naxos label, with performances from Eastern Bloc orchestras recorded during the Soviet regime. I figure so long as KDFC is around, I don't need to buy my own disks.

Well, eventually Puberty steamrollered right over me, and I got caught up in Popular Music for the first time in my life. This was the early-middle Eighties. The Eurythmics first grabbed my attention at this juncture with "Sweet Dreams"; then followed Duran Duran, David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, Katrina and the Waves, the Go-Gos, Bananarama, Spandau Ballet, Haircut 100, Sheila E, the B-52s, Human League, Prince, Wham!, Culture Club, et cetera...oh, yeah, and Madonna. I don't remember the order, or which song came out when, or even which songs I particularly liked (and I don't feel like trudging down Memory Lane, not even to simply look up links). But every time one of those songs comes on, I am instantly transported back to a time of acne and raging hormonal emotions, painful experiences and exciting adventures, tragic asymmetrical hairstyles and hard-ons that hurt, dreary schooldays and the life-or-death niceties of teen social life, whitebread dance-steps and sneaking beers during big parties, jellie-bracelets and topsiders, zebra stripes and skinny ties, Dynasty and American Bandstand...ah, my youth! It was a big hodgepodge mess, and I loved it!

But I never went to a concert (even at that age, I couldn't take loud noises or dense crowds). I owned perhaps five professionally-produced cassette tapes and a handful of pirated party tapes culled from my friends' LPs and 45s. Mostly I listened to the radio, twenty-four hours a day with the exception of being in school (we didn't have Walkmans back then, remember...I graduated high-school in '86), KITS Modern Rock 105 and some other stations I can't remember now. I've forgotten most of the 80s, really. And the 90s. I wasn't paying the slightest attention in the 70s...basically I'm a queen without a past...or more specifically, I have a past, but it's just a big ol' blur.

The Eighties started bleeding into the Nineties when I reached man's estate and started going to the gay bars and dance clubs. I remember loving the dance music of that period ("Groove is in the Heart", "Vogue", and "Power" are all I can remember now, as I was drinking quite a lot), but the popular music started going to hell...I started listening to Oldies stations on the radio...all the music of the 50s and 60s suddenly became quite fascinating to me, and I listened to it all the time, mostly at work...at home I had reverted to Classical, since all I did at home was sleep.

It was during this period when I discovered Movie Musicals. The house where I was living had cable, and American Movie Classics was a new station just getting started, with Musicals and Women's Films as their mainstay. I started watching every and any musical that came on TV, loving every minute of them all. Then I discovered an AM radio station that played that music, the Standards of the 40s through 60s; "Magic 61" they called it (previously known as a Top-40 station, 610 KFRC). Now this was music I could get behind: tuneful, happy, well-enunciated, easy to remember but not painful or discordant in any way. Like the frivolous bubblegum music of the 80s, these Golden Age Standards were nothing but happiness and fun, not admitting the darkness of the world (a darkness that was fast becoming the norm in popular music, which was just then entering the Grunge Era...I weathered the screaming ascendancy of Heavy Metal, Gangsta Rap, and Acid Rock on a cooling wave of Frank Sinatra and Eydie Gorme).

When I started doing drag, I became quite thoroughly immersed in Big Band music. Ella Fitzgerald was my first and greatest icon, soon followed by Billie Holliday, Peggy Lee, Lena Horne, Helen Merrill, and so on. Judy Garland and Liza Minelli, of course, and Julie Andrews, too, as I hadn't yet learned to make the distinctions between Jazz, Big Band, and Showtunes. This was music that really spoke to my soul...unlike all the Eighties music, I remember the words and music to almost every song I've ever heard from these ladies. It sticks to me. All I bought in this era was Ella Fitzgerald tapes (I still didn't have a CD player) and fairly jazzy musical scores like Kiss Me Kate, Cabaret, Victor/Victoria, etc.

Thus passed the first half of the Nineties.

In 1995, my life changed quite a lot, I quit drinking and graduated from Community College to State University and everything was topsy-turvy; one day I was sitting at a friend's house watching VH1 and found a song that spoke to me in a way contemporary music had not spoken in a long time: Joan Osborne's "One of Us." Though just a silly pop song, I was at that time deeply involved in finding a spiritual path, and the question "What if God was one of us?" was rather profound and helped me over a lot of my "God Isssssues" (Anne Rice's vampire novel, Memnoch the Devil, was also helpful...I was pretty desperate). Anyway, I started listening to the radio again, and discovered that Popular Music had moved past the angry, discordant hoop-dee-doo of the early 90s and had become, for lack of a better word, Lite. It was quiet and slightly sad, full of angst but not anxious, aimed at the insecure and the weary with the message that it was all going to be OK. Still, I didn't actually buy any music, I just listened to it quite passively on the radio.

Then I discovered opera. I was in University and Recovery all at once; my sponsor was a bit of an opera queen, and so was my favorite professor...so it seemed the most logical next step. I bought the Maria Callas La Divina series, and enjoyed the hell out of it. Those arias crept right past my intellect and caught at my heart...the voices pulled my soul right up into the upper scales (if you'll pardon an unpardonably corny metaphor). Then I bought all the other Callas recordings I could get. Then it was all about Madama Butterfly (love the Mirella Freni version), and the old favorite Lakmé (which I learned about from The Hunger, one of my favorite movies), then I had to have La Bohème, and then it was Don Giovanni and Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Tosca and La Traviata, not to mention Die Zauberflöte.

For some reason, Opera started getting really popular again at this time (around 96 or 97), so there was a lot out there to see and to hear. I bought my CD player with my second student loan check, and then spent as much money as I could on CDs right then and there. While I was at it, I started getting Ella Fitzgerald (she'd just died, so the selection was amazing) to replace all my worn out tape cassettes. Then it was soundtracks, mostly from not-too-old movie-musicals but also from B'way and older stuff. The Soundtrack, Opera, and Vocals sections of the record stores were my magnet; I bought a lot, quite indiscriminately, whenever I had any money.

But eventually opera defeated me by its sheer scope. Like with Classical, there's just so damned much of it! And with soundtracks, it's the same thing. I never had a plan, a discography, a theme, never even a real committment to learning about or collecting music...just my shopping addiction getting started. I think if I added up all of my CDs, I still have fewer than a hundred. About half of them are cheap crap that I bought because they were on sale and I wasn't willing to try new things at full price. I've got almost all of Ella Fitzgerald's stereo studio recordings (mono recordings and live concerts don't interest me much); a fair sampling of Maria Callas' work, but mostly compilations; five complete operas and seven or eight collections; I've got the soundtracks to most of the major queen-oriented films of the last ten years, and now some more Broadway musicals since I've started running out of drag material. Not much else of interest.

When it comes to concerts, I simply never ever go to any. The only professional-type concerts I've ever attended were the Osmonds in 1979 (entirely against my will, it must be noted), Yma Sumac in 1997 (she was oooooold, but thrilling), and Bette Midler in 2000 (I have only one word: Epiphany). I went to a few small club concerts when I was living with a pair of demented sisters who suddenly decided that they liked local bands, particularly those with cute bass-players. Loved the cute boys, hated their god-awful racket and ear-ringing amps. And that's all. I've never been to the opera or the symphony. Ballets, I've seen The Nutcracker and The Merry Widow. The only B-way musical I've ever seen live was Cats...and it sucked even more than the score would suggest. I've seen plenty of school productions of musicals (Anything Goes and like that), even a student opera (Acis and Galatea if you can believe it), but I don't count those...I was only there to support my friends.

So while I dearly love music, particularly stagey music like Opera, Big Band, and Showtunes, I don't really participate much in music; though music is part of every waking and sleeping moment of my life, I don't expend a lot of effort learning about it or even thinking about it. It's a puzzle to me. I mean, is it just my native passivity, or is this a fairly common attitude towards music? Am I feeling "less-than" just because I find myself surrounded lately by music mavens? Or am I really just not as into music as I think I am or should be? Would I get more out of music if I concentrated on a proper and coherent collection? Any thoughts?

On your way to the Comment button, feast your eyes on this:

Brrr...aren't you cold, honey?