Saturday, September 30, 2006

Sertab Erener

Just a reminder that Turkey isn't entirely fascist [that, and an excuse to show some Turkish wrestling]:

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Betty La Fea

Apparently Ugly Betty shows are now an international phenomenom. For no reason at all this amuses me. Globalization isn't all bad.

1999 - Yo Soy Betty La Fea (Columbia)
2003 - Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin (India)
2003 - Esti Ha'mechoeret (Israel)
2005 - Verliebt In Berlin (Germany)
2005 - Ne rodis krasivoi (Russia)
2006 - La fea más bella (Mexico)
2006 - Lotte (Netherlands)
2006 - Yo Soy Bea (Spain)
2006 - Ugly Betty (US)

I hope it's good - it makes me happy that Thunder Monkey has her own tv show. That and it would be nice to finally see something funny on US television.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Nervous Generation

I watched another friend slide into madness this week. She's ready to get married, and she's ready to get married now, and the lack of a boyfriend is not going to stop her.

Sure now that story is older than Jane Austen. There's nothing new there, either in the gay or straight worlds. Almost everyone I know outside of the big cities over the age of 35 is hanging onto their mates come hell or high water. The way one buddy [male, gay, 39] put it on his new relationship: I have to make this work. This is my last chance.

That one hits hard. I want to feel bad about life, all I have to do is hum a few bars of there ain't gonna be no love from here on out. Which is, of course, bs. But damn if it isn't coming in from all sides now. Apparantley things aren't any better for the rich and fabulous. Here's Rupert Everett in last week's Telegraph:

Unfortunately, I am single, yes, but I'm too exhausted for anything else and being gay is a young man's game.

Now no one wants me. Being gay and being a woman has one big thing in common, which is that we both become invisible after the age of 42. Who wants a gay 50- year-old? No one, let me tell you. I could set myself on fire in a gay bar, and people would just light their cigarettes from me. I don't want to be carried out of a club wearing a tie-dye T-shirt and a cap on the wrong way around when I am 70, but I would like to settle down a bit. Maybe with a partner. In some ways I do feel more settled, but now I want to take part in things.

Great. I've got two years left to live.

When I was 20 I thought our generation was so brave and daring. Now look at us - shacking up not out of love but out of feear of loneliness. Going into debt to pay for outlandishly priced condos and houses because that's what we're supposed to do. Putting every last dime into retirement accounts [and, I've learned, into plastic surgery accounts] so that we can enjoy our golden years, and all the while forgetting to enjoy the day. Douglas Copeland needs to take another look at his Generation X. Maybe it was coming of age with the threat of crack and HIV and Reaganomics and Nuclear Winters, but we must be the most nervous generation in American history.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

War in the Heartland

The New York Times compared these kids in Jesus Camp to Mao Zedong's Red Guard. I'd like to think that that's far-fetched, that these people live on the distant fringe. And then I remember that they've already managed to get one of their own elected president [and on a side note, I might be the only lefty who thinks thank god for Dick Cheney. Without him the fundies would have total control of this administration].

Back on topic, click below - and meet the people who want to kill you.

Video from Medecins Sans Frontieres

This is one of the more awesome videos I have seen in awhile. The world needs to see this, so pass it on.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

El Aventurero

In anticipation of our trip to Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta:

I figure I should learn a few mariachi songs before hand, since I hate to be left out of a party. Luckily, the Mariachi Publishing Company posts mariachi lyrics online. This is what they gave me for the above song, El Aventurero. I haven't tried to sing along yet.

<Y lara la! Ay! lara la! Ay lara la lara la!
Ay! lara la! ay lara la! Ay! lara la lara la!

Yo soy el aventurero
El mundo me importa poco
Cuando una mujer me gusta
Me gusta a pesar de todo.

Me gustan
Las altas y las chaparritas,
Las flacas, las gordas y las chiquititas,
Solteras y viudas y divorciaditas,
Me encantan las chatas de caras bonitas.


Yo soy el aventurero, puritito corazón!>

<Y lara la! Ay! lara la! Ay lara la lara la!
Ay! lara la! ay lara la! Ay! lara la lara la!

El mundo me importa poco
Y hago de mi lo que quiero
Soy honrado buen amigo
Vacilador más sincero.

Yo juego
Baraja y se parrandear
Lo mísmo les tomo tequila o mezcal
Yo le entro al pulquito, también al champán'
Lo mísmo les bailo que tango que un vals
Lo mísmo un jarabe que algún cha cha chá.

y hasta lo que no han inventado compadre.>

Que si traen a sus hijitas, me las cuiden o no respondo!

<Y lara la! Ay! lara la! Ay lara la lara la!
Ay! lara la! ay lara la! Ay! lara la lara la!

Yo soy el aventurero
El mundo me importa poco
Cuando una mujer me gusta,
Me gusta a pesar de todo.

Me gustan
Las altas y las chaparritas,
Las flacas, las gordas y las chiquititas,
Solteras y viudas y divorciaditas,
Me encantan las chatas de caras bonitas
Me gustan las suegras que no son celosas,
Me encantan las chatas poco resbalosas
Que tengan mamáses muy buenas señoras
Me encantan las gordas retejaladoras
Que tengan hermanos que no sean celosos,
Que tengan sus novios caras de babosos,
Me encanta la vida, me gusta el amor
Soy aventurero revacilador.


Yo soy el aventurero, buenas tardes y ahí nos vemos!>

<Y lara la! Ay! lara la! Ay lara la lara la!
Ay! lara la! ay lara la!

Aventurero yo soy!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Southern Road Trip


I love Asheville! the drunk girl from Ohio told me. It's so diverse! And I looked around, and I saw: white people in dreadlocks, white people with pieces of twine in their hair, white people with dirty unwashed greasy hair - all I saw, wherever I looked, were Caucasians who didn't know how to comb their hair. I saw them in the bar, trying to dance. I saw them in the park, banging on drums and doing that arms-akimbo look at me I'm free! dance. I looked for the other queers, because Asheville is supposed to be an alternative gay destination. If they were there they blended in quite well. It wasn't any kind of diversity I recognized.


This was a different Applachia than what I saw when I volunteered with the Church. Tom picked me up and we through the Blue Ridge Mountains on our way to Atlanta. The mountains were gorgeous, and the towns were a decent mix of hillbilly kitsch, tourist draws, and native beauty. It was a far cry from the soul-crushing poverty I saw in eastern Kentucky.

Tom and Wes

I missed getting a pic of them together. Too bad. They are handsome as all hell, successful at their careers, and have a house and pool in the nice part of town. It was all enough to make me want to curl up in the corner and suck my thumb. I got over it, and I had a fun time with them.


I was half-hoping that Atlanta would turn out to be my fantasy town. No such luck. It was nice enough, but the segregation and the car-dependency would stop me from moving there. There were some good sites for tourists - the Cyclorama is interesting, and the Aquarium has some excellent exhibits. I liked the people we met. The Beltline is a planner's dream project. But overall I don't think I could make the move. I can fight segregation. Fighting cars is harder.

The Food

Yikes. I was looking forward to some soul food. Didn't really find it. The first night we stopped at Cowtippers. I had a meatloaf sandwhich. They served in on white bread with Heinz ketchup and mustard. I've had hotdogs with more soul. Day 2 we went to Whole Foods, and the spread looked damn good. I chose chicken pot pie, field beans, collards, & grilled corn with lime butter. I was salivating by the time I sat down. Too bad the food turned out to be inedible. We went to Daddy Z's for barbecue, and it looked authentic and I loved the vibe but ... I like my mom's pulled pork better. We cooked at home, and Tom made fried green tomatoes that were pretty awesome. We finally scored the last day at Agnes & Muriel's, a retro 50's diner that should be on everyone's shortlist of places to try in Atlanta.

The Men

I need to caveat this: My big night out was a Wednesday, and this was after the Labor Day weekend. I'm sure I saw a twisted version of Atlanta after dark. The kind of guys I like would have played hard on the weekend, but been back to work and behaving [from being too tired to misbehave, I'm sure, but the outcome is the same]. That left Wednesday to those who worked on the weekend, those who had friends in town, and those inclined to tragedy. The tweaked and the tragic outnumbered the others 99:1. From the masseur who went into a g-hole [that's a drug overdose, ma] in the middle of my massage to the fat man who bear hugged me in the leather bar and wouldn't let me go, I met 'em all, and they were all fat and all on GHB [except for Brad, who I lost track of around 4am]. It was not pretty. Glad I did it. Won't do it again.

Now to be fair, I met some of Tom and Wes's friends and they were great. We climbed Stone Mountain one evening to watch the sun set and the moon rise, and the guys were smart and funny and kinda handsome. They told me Atlanta was known for it's sports groups - gay hikers and kayakers and river rafters and tennis teams and the rest. That all sounds pretty cool. They were all obviously hiding from me Wednesday night.


This is the most segregated place I've seen outside of New Orleans. There was the standard physical segregation - poor blacks lived in the Fourth Ward, middle class white in Morningside, service workers are always black [I'm not sure where poor whites work], and no one could tell me the name of the middle class and black neighborhoods. And I'm sure they have them - Atlanta is well known for it's black upper class. In my fantasy world all the workers at McDonald's in their 'hoods are white.

But it was the psychic segregation that frustrated me the most. White and black follow a script in the South. It's morning baby and how're you doing and here are your ribs sugar and it all sounds pretty but it's all pre-scripted and no one varies from it. Even at the bars you got the sense that mixed couples were acting out some Mandingo fantasy rather than actually connecting. I didn't feel any real communication between the peoples. There's a wall there. Most white guys I asked didn't understand what I was talking about. I finally cornered a brother on the dancefloor [he had rescued me from the bear earlier in the night] and asked him wtf was going on. And he said it was like this - you reach a point where you get tired of being rejected and snubbed for being black, and so you put up an automatic wall around white folk - and in time it becomes second nature.


I took the night train to DC, hoping for an adventure. It was. Amtrak in the south is primarily for poor and working whites and blacks. One of the amazing things was that the psychic segregation that existed in Atlanta at large was entirely absent inside the station. I met a host of great characters. It was like wandering through a Faulkner novel. It felt good, until I realized the reason for this new equality. I had joined them in their oppression, because many - not all, maybe only half - Amtrak employees in the South treat riders like shit. We were all on the back of the bus together.

We were yelled at, snapped at, and lectured. It started to feel downright abusive. And then midnight came, the lights went down, and they pumped all the heat out of the car. I don't know how they did it, but it was freezing inside there. Most folks knew to bring blankets, but I had no idea. I shivered for awhile before my seatmate - a musician from Tennessee on his way to New York City to help cut a record - offered me his sweater to use as a blanket. Later he started shivering too, so I passed it back. It could have gone brokeback, but my ambien kicked in and the moment passed.


I arrived in DC with swollen glands, a low grade fever, and gas. I wasn't feeling so pretty for my last chance at American men. M. picked me up at the airport, and it was nice hanging and cruising with him again after so many years apart.

I'd forgotten how monumental the architecture of DC was. It was really quite incredible. And I didn't realize how extensive the yuppie areas were. We didn't see a single ghetto! Either they cleaned it up, or moved it, or something, because I remember living in a very dangerous city back when Reagan was president. And I certainly had never noticed how incredibly gay it was. There were preppy little boys holding hands all over the place.

So we hung out, ate a lot, drank too much, and explored Roosevelt Island, Georgetown, and Adam's Morgan. It was all good, though I was drained the entire time thanks to Amtraks hellacious midnight train from Georgia. Still managed to stay up until 6am Sunday morning, now - I only get so much vacation time, and I wasn't about to let some silly fever keep me down.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Home sweet (stupid) home

I want to blog about Atlanta. I actually took notes. I have some adventures to tell about DC. I still need to clean up the wedding photos. But what's on my mind is - why does Hawai`i attract such dumb-ass people?

I used to get mad when I heard mainlanders go off on how dumb people were in Hawai`i. I heard it a lot. But the sad truth is, we don't attract the best and the brightest. Most of them flee. Today I've been told by a now-former friend that I'm ignorant for not accepting the Celestine Prophecy. A co-worker became worried when I told her a neighbor was HIV+. I almost lost my shit when she asked what would happen if we drank out of the same glass. A top gov't official gave me his pastries at lunch. He couldn't eat them, he said, because he was diabetic. He kept the plate of greasy noodles, spam, hotdogs, meatjun, and other fried things that he was working on. No worries there, mate. I asked.

There's a lot to love about the islands. There was a lot that I don't like about the mainland [the casual racism in Atlanta, the lack of rhythm in anyone in Asheville]. But I got to meet a lot of smart, interesting, and handsome men ... and they seem to be in awful short supply these days in the islands.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Random Stuff

It's close to noon on Labor Day, and waiting at my folks' house for Tom to come down from Atlanta. We'll muck around Asheville a bit then head back to ATL.

From here on out anyone I date needs to meet my family before things get serious. Or at least my brothers. I can point them out and say look, this is the way we are. We can be moody and you better not take it personally 'cause it's not about you. Maybe it's genetics. Or maybe it's a cultural thing, some residual trait carried over from Ireland or Norway or France or one of the other half-dozen countries our ancestors wandered over from. Whatever. Back off and it will pass quickly.

I used to think Dark Irish was a mood, not a skin tone - and I still like my definition better.

The weekend is already forming into a series of images rather than a coherent narrative. That tends to happen when all you do for three days is eat drink and smoke.

Anne and Jeff stayed at the Lesbian Lodge the first night. It wasn't really called that - the actual name was the Magical Mystery Mountain Lodge of Mystical Hearing Arts. I think. The new-agers say that Sandy Mush is a power vortex, so there's a dash of Marin County in this corner of Appalachia. Magic Mountain became the Lesbian Lodge when Anne read in the guestbook that Cathy and Trina danced naked under the moonlight last night and they have never felt so accepted.

My family really isn't the type to dance naked under the moonlight, so most of us ended up at the Wildberry Lodge, a huge country home on the side of a mountain. The lanai looked down into a picture-postcard cove full of grazing cows and goats, and surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains. We spent some long pleasant nights drinking on the porch and looking out over the hills.

I wasn't sure what to make of the crowd. There was a pretty even division between the Cain/Laughna side of the family, the Ann Arbor crew, and the Ohio crew. Ron's family was small in comparison. My first reaction was that I didn't even want to meet any of the Ohio gang. There were too many blonds, and too many guys who looked like extras from the Sopranos. Which was wrong on my part, because not everyone who works for Italian-owned construction companies is mob connected. Not at all, and I'm sorry I even brought it up.

The beauty of alcohol is that it helps you to drop your defenses, and in the end I got along pretty well with everyone. Almost. A few must have thought they were at a club, because I got that cold-shoulder I'm not talking to the likes of you attitude that only suburban Midwestern girls can give. I didn't really understand it, given that I'm gay, I'm family, it wasn't a nightclub, and I wouldn't have been interested even if I were straight and we were at a meat market rather than my sister's wedding reception. Since I am unlikely to ever see most of them again I wasn't too worried.

So: Friday was rafting, then we had a reception at a restaurant in downtown Asheville. The food was amazing, and it's always fun to have our whole family together. This was the first time in years that everyone could make it. Most people went home after, but Tim, Michelle, myself, Ron's brother, & Emily and Jason from A2 ended up escorting Beth on her last bar crawl of her single life.

I got my first taste of Asheville nightlife. People told me that they love Asheville for it's diversity, but to my eyes everyone looked the same - thin, a little grungy, unwashed hair, very white, and completely lacking in rhythm. I only think that I live in America, but then I come here and I'm not so sure. There were drummers in the town park going thump thump thump on the drums & tho there was no syncopation and most drummers weren't even able to keep a beat there was a crowd of hundreds dancing with wild abandon. Later we heard some really awful music at a couple bars. I had the same mixed feelings I always have when I'm around a scene like this. One one hand I admire the freedom the little hippy boys and girls have. I like the way they let it all hang out. One the other hand I can't stop thinking: stop smoking so much pot, comb your hair, and please at least try and move to the beat.

Saturday morning we had a lazy breakfast, went to my folks to pick up supplies, and then back to the Lodge for the wedding. The rain held off long enough for Beth and Ron to get married outside. A swarm of yellow jackets added some excitiment, and overal it was a very pretty ceremony.

The reception went on until ... some late hour. I was in bed by 3am, I do know that. It was nice being in the lodge, as there were endless rooms to explore and you never felt like you were stuck in one large banquet hall.

Sunday morning was lazy again for awhile, then went to my folks for a barbecue. I started to fade hard by mid afternoon, and didn't think I had it in me to be social. A five minute nap, two cups of coffee, and a stiff Mai Tai brought me back to life.

The dogs are barking, so I guess Tom is here. Time for the next adventure!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Day Three

It's four p.m. on day three of Beth and Ron's wedding. I'm taking a quick break to post some pictures and hopefully grab a catnap.

Beth and Ron

The Minister

Waiting for Mr. Soprano

The Bride goes upside down

The Family

Friday night

Sunday morning

Sunday afternoon

Friday, September 01, 2006


It's Day One of my sister's wedding. Yesterday was a bit rough - I was still jet lagged, and I forgot how loud kids can be. Fatigue and screaming rug rats are a rough combination. Luckily there was a lot of whiskey around.

It was raining this morning, and a bit cold, but we kept to the plans of going white water rafting on the French Broad. It was hella fun. The other rafts used the professional guides, but we decided to go without for ours. It seemed like it would be a bit more of an adventure, yeah? I volunteered to guide, mostly because I wanted to flirt a bit more with the pros. I didn't bother to tell my raft-mates that I had never actually been in a raft before until we were already past the first rapids and it was too late to switch. So given that, I think we did pretty well.

I uploaded the rest of the photos on photobucket.