Tuesday, April 29, 2008


yeah, I know, it's Tuesday. It just feels like a Monday.

I thought I was having a bad day yesterday - I was slammed with permit applications (does my boss hate me?), most of which were poorly written and so will take extra time to process; I had two fuck-ups with court hearings; and the general public whom I am being paid to serve are being extra slow and dense this week.

I went home and read that Hawai`i just lost 85% of her cargo capacity. Just like that. Boom. This would be the third economic earthquake this month. Things are going to get ugly. And I wonder, is it just us? Or is it the world, and we are all so caught up in our little provincial dramas that we aren't noticing the connections as the system collapses around us?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Recovery, Finale

Somebody needs to put together a Men's Guide to Circuit Recovery. We push our bodies to the limit; it takes some time to return to normalcy.

It's Friday afternoon, just under a week since the music began and 4 1/2 days after the dj spun the last song. I feel normal. I've felt pretty good since last night. I still feel a residual glow from the weekend, and have a feeling that this one might last awhile.

Day 1 - Sleep, Eat. We wake up after an impressive six hours of sleep. It's the most we've had in days. There's no music thumping in from windows and shaking the room. The hall is quiet. The pool is empty. The New York boys get on the plane; Gary and I drive back to Long Beach. The theme of the next 24 hours is: nap. eat. nap. eat. nap.

Day 2 - Sleep, Eat, Think About Sex. Still napping and eating, with a twist. Now I want sex. Badly. I think of all the men I flirted with over the weekend. I want them. Now. Too late, though; I'm on a plane. I land in Honolulu and text every lover I've ever had who still lives on the island. Suddenly I'm ravenous. I go to St. Louis Drive Inn and order a Japanese Bento Deluxe. I devour it in seconds. And want more. I raid the fridge. Cheese. Yum. Gulp. Ice Cream. Gulp. And, temporarily satiated, I fall asleep before anyone returns my texts.

Day 3 - Work, Daydream. Back to work. I feel like I'm under water. My hearing is still a bit shot. I'm too lethargic to get much done. I wonder if I'll ever feel normal again. I skip the gym. I discover DJ Alexander's podcast. He's my new favorite DJ, by far. His set was amazing. Let the Music Use You Up ... the sound track in my head won't stop. When I get home I refuse to rest until I've downloaded Rosabel's mix of Tamia's Me ... and I can still see my mec singing along to it on the dance floor. The image makes me happy.

Day 4 - Thursday: I piss off a bunch of Hillary Clinton supporters in an online discussion, and and earn a lecture on the rules of civilized debate from the moderator. Canoe practice is hard. The air is smoky with fumes from the volcano, it's our first day of sprints, and I can barely breathe. I feel like I'm on a mountain and there's not enough oxygen in the air. I'm gasping like carp in a hyper-trophic pond. I haven't smoked regularly since mid-January, and haven't even touched a cigarette since the end of February. Is this pay-back for the weekend? Don't know. We go to Varsity for Roz's birthday after practice. It's ... so not the glamorous scene I just left. It's cement floors and crappy bathrooms and drunk college kids and bad music. This is not my beautiful life. Two beers later, however, I'm having a great time. Beer. That's all it took. That was easy.

Day 5 - Friday: All systems are functioning and back to normal. Yeay!

So the big question is, can I handle both Miami and Rio Va`a? I think so, though I might have to pace myself a bit better the final Sunday in Miami. So: Yeay!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Here it is Wednesday afternoon, and it feels like the weekend just ended yesterday. I'm slowly remembering how the real world works.

Hopefully I'll recover soon. I'd like to do this all again in Miami before Rio Va`a, but only if I know I'll recover soon enough for the race. I won't practice or hit the gym today, though I guess I could if I really needed or wanted to.

Backing up, this was my weekend:

For those who don't know the Circuit, it's a series of nationwide, perhaps international, weekend long gay dance events. The number of parties exploded a couple years ago, and it seemed that every hodunk village tried to have their own event. It didn't work. There were too many. The music got too repetitive. They started to attract to many meth users, predators, and general freaks. They stopped being fun.

The Circuit was dead.

Or not. The main events - Black and Blue in Montreal, White Party and Winter Party in Miami, Southern Decadence in New Orleans, and Black Party in New York, among others - are still going strong.

I haven't been to one in over two years, so was interested in seeing how the scene was doing. Last weekend I went to Palm Springs for White Party Weekend to find out.


It was fucking fantastic.

I lucked out in that we had a perfect storm of friends. Gary and I drove up, and met Drew, John, and Neil from NYC. Drew and I knew each other from Montreal a few years back. We later went to Orlando for Gay Days together, where I met his friends Neil and John (whom he had met on an Atlantis Cruise ... and this is how the Circuit Works; it's a self-contained movable party where years can pass in the real world yet we rendezvous on the dance floor as if no time has passed). Our larger party was filled out by their friend Steve from LA. Steve seemed to know everybody, including a pair of Cuban hotties and lots of younger twinks whose names I've forgotten.

The crowd was a good mix, mostly Latino and Caucasian, all ages. It was a decent cross-section of ages and types, from skinny things to roided-out muscle boys to tattooed tough looking boys. There were also a fair share of porn stars, models, and even a minor celebrity or two. Some of the men were hot beyond belief.

Gary and I started the weekend with dinner at Le Vallouris. We went as French as we could; I had a big pile of sweatbreads, he had the roast duck in orange sauce. The staff was incredible, and we caught a glimpse of the producer of Dynasty and her colorful entourage.

I posted my review on Circuit Party Insanity, so I won't bother repeating it here. Just that, it was an amazing non-stop adventure in an alternate universe. There was a bit of bullshit (high priced drinks, some false promises by the promoter, a "VIP" pass that wasn't VP, and a tragic crash-and-burn show by RuPaul - it's the first time I've ever seen a performer die on stage), but nothing that could dampen the spirit of the weekend.

I didn't take photos, though I'm kind of worried that I might be the subject of a few. Two guys thought I was some actor from Scrubs. Not sure who, but ... I might have just ruined his reputation. Or made him one.

I met three guys who I'm hoping to stay in touch with. One who I'd be hoping for more with, but (as usual) there's an ocean and a continent between us. There were a couple others I'd like to see again, but I never got their names or numbers. Maybe next time.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I'm in LA, living beyond my means.
I wonder how many other people do this, live simply for most of the year and then blow it all on a weekend or two with the jet set.
I kicked the trip off right by using all my miles to upgrade to First Class on United. I was excited when we were called to use the red carpet to board the plane. I was almost worried that I would be outed as an imposter - he doesn't belong, he's not one of us! - and kicked back into coach.
But when I saw First Class I thought there must have been a mistake. This was not the beautiful First Class of my dreams. This was actually a step below coach on Lufthansa and British Airways. Or Royal Jordanian, for that matter. Our country has fallen so hard, though we are not allowed to admit it.
The seats were comfortable enough, the wine passable, and the meal easily digestible. The movie was some awful Nicholas Cage tragedy, and I never put the earphones on. I'm glad I didn't actually pay for this. I drank a couple glasses of red wine, read a few more chapters of my book (Com Toibin's baeutiful The Master,) and after two hours I called it quits and popped an ambien.
Which did nothing, so I popped another.
I woke up in LA a few hours later, and quite appropriately high as a kite.
First stop, breakfast with Gary. Second stop, the beauty salon. My first. Had the massage / facial / manicure / pedicure special combo. It was overkill. The massage was bad, the facial nice, and the pedicure ... well ... I said I was high, right? I thought I was sober, but not sober enough to engage my brain before my mouth. The girls asked me something I couldn't understand, I said "whatever you think is good," and I now have bright shiny opalescent nails.
Apparently this stuff doesn't come off naturally, or with time, so I will need to find someway to remove it before I show up for paddling next Thursday.
On to the tanning booth. Long Beach was full of trash in town for their Grand Prix, so it's a good time to be somewhere else. Evening came and we headed into LA proper to meet Gary's new boyfriend, W.
He's a wonderful guy. And the kind of guy I would never meet in my normal world. We drove through Fairfax to ??? (Hill something; a neighobrhood with big houses and lots of Hasidim). We turned left at a mansion built for Hearst (a smaller mansion, one he built while waiting for the big one to be finished), and arrived at his bungalow.
It was an ocean and a world away from my nighborhood. We exchanged stories of Mexico. I went south of the border and had great food. He went and stayed with the woman who inherited Telemundo. He's oil money, flats in Paris, random tours of Europe and Asia for work, and celebrities subletting units from him. He designs furniture based upon classical Italian inspirations. His master bed looked like a miniature Baldachinno, but it was Cornelius not Bernini who inspired the spired posts (look! My Master's thesis just paid off!)
He poured us an amazing Margarita (95% Patron, with just a splash of orange liqueur and lime juice), and I looked out the window to see the principal from Ferris Bueller walk by. He still looks the same. I didn't yell Save Ferris!, though the thought crossed my mind. That would have been both trashy and cruel, and I would have probably had to sleep on the sidewalk instead of the guest bedroom.
But we got along, though our world's could not be more different. Whew. I was worried, to be honest. One tequila more and my roots were showing. We had dinner at El Coyote, where Sharon Tate had her last meal and Gary and I had our second to last. And now it's an early night, and W's off to Hong Kong and Gary and I are off to Palm Springs at the crack of dawn.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ahead of the Curve

It's always nice to pick up the New York Times and read things that you've been saying for months.

I went to Munich on a whim, and knew nothing about it beyond "Oktoberfest." It was a layover, one day out, one day back, nothing more. I loved what I saw. A few weeks later, NYT mentions that it's been named, repeatedly, as the World's Most Livable City. And this past weekend they call it Germany's Hot Spot of the Moment.

I knew that!

From Munich I went to Cairo. From Cairo I went over the edge. And today the NYT gives us A City Where You Can't Hear Yourself Scream. From the article: Noise — outrageous, unceasing, pounding noise — is the unnerving backdrop to a tense time in Egypt, as inflation and low wages have people worried about basic survival, prompting strikes and protests. We’re not just talking typical city noise, but what scientists here say is more like living inside a factory.

And I kind of feel validated, 'cause I caught a bit of grief for stressing in Cairo from some of the holier-than-thou travelers. As if, somehow, I were at fault for thinking that Cairo presented a particularly unhealthy way to live, or that the government would and should fall soon for allowing such conditions to occur.

All this is leading up to this: Istanbul was another city I stumbled upon before the papers started writing about how cool and hip it suddenly was. And Istanbul has been on my mind a lot lately. I want to go back. It'll be some time, probably over a year. But this time next year I want to do a good two weeks in Turkey. If I can get a couple guys together to split costs, I'd even want to rent a car and tour from Ephesus to Cappadocia along the Silk Road via the Aegean resorts, Greek and Roman cities, and lake country.


Number of things on my to-do list for today: lots
Number of things done: one

That's about par for the course for Sundays this year. Perhaps this decade.

Right now I'm packing for White Party, which involves emptying my closet and treating my studio like a catwalk. I wish I had it down to a science - and for all I travel I ought to have it down to a science - but packing is still more an art for me. As in, I experiment with dozens of combinations of outfits before I finally settle on one combo that I think will work.

It never does. I will end up wearing the same things over and over, and never touching most of my clothes. It's the same story, no matter how little I pack.

And what do I need this weekend? We'll be dancing all night and most of the day. I need two outfits for dinner, comfortable jeans to dance in, and a few t-shirts to wear when I go on coffee runs during the day. I won't even be wearing a shirt 90% of the time.

But I know these damn LA Boys, and I know they've all bought new designer clothes for every day of this weekend. It's one of the gay high holy days.

I know guys who've done this weekend over a dozen times, and they've given me a road map of when to sleep, what time to arrive at the events, when to relax, and when to rage. Circuit Weekends are funny like that. You really do need to approach them like a marathon, complete with the training and the carbo-loading and the self-pacing. It's all worth it, though. I love the transcendence you can find on the dance floor as the sun starts to rise after you've been dancing all night. It really is a different level of existence, and it's one you have to work for. Some guys can feel it, and understand. I've never been able to explain it to guys who can't.

This weekend I'll be with 10,000 men who understand it instinctively.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Windward Kai Iron

The Masters Crew: Rod, Phil, MC, Ole, Lance P, Rudy

It was a good crew. We took 2nd in Masters - finally, we get some points for Kamehameha.

For me, it was a return to form: hyper the night before, nerves the morning of. We went from the Magic Island buoy to Honolulu Harbor, back upwind to near the Diamond Head buoy, then back downwind again home.

We had a strong start - but the top tier canoes still shot ahead fast. It was unreal; we were going fast, I thought ... but they just disappeared into the distance before the first turn. I was a bit sore, a bit thirsty, but alright. We were in the second pack, of about six canoes. Don't know how many were behind us.

Running to Diamond Head most canoes went outside, so it was us and Lokahi inside. We'd creep up on `em, but never managed to pass.

And downwind felt great. It was a nice change after the last race, where we just could never get a glide.

Still was sore, though, and tired. I slept most of the rest of the day. We ate bento and drank at Kamehameha afterwards. Roz agreed to let us race as masters next week in Hale`iwa, which we weren't scheduled to do originally.

But arrgh, there's no I in us ... I'll be dancing in Palm Springs. Which will be awesome, but ... I hate missing my team. I joked aroung that, whoever takes my seat is only renting it ... but the sad truth is that the race after (May 3) I'll be in Ann Arbor for Jeff's wedding. There are races at Ke`ehi and another in Hale`iwa that we're not signed up for; we'll have to sweet talk coach into letting us go, and I'll have to sweet talk my way back into the canoe after missing so many practices in the next two weeks.

I'm glad we're out of Yacht Club. It was nice pulling the boats up, then being able to grab a beer and chill right there. It felt more like, eh, we're one team on our turf and not the bastard children who have to go play out back and out of sight.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


Our clerk is out, so we've been answering the phones all day. And it was a day full of extra-special callers. And by special, I mean "rode the short bus to school."

So tonight I work late (I'll sleep in too, it's not like I'm a martyr), and try to pump out as many permits as I can so that I can leave to Palm Springs and play without guilt.

And it's shaping up to be a lovely, decadent trip.
  • Gary made reservations at a spa in LA for us Thursday. Massage, facial, pedicure, manicure ... I've never had all those all at once.
  • Then we'll head to the store and stockpile our wine for the weekend.
  • Next up, dinner with his boyfriend and his hairdresser (he asked me not to laugh when he told me this, but ... I laughed. Sorry G) at el Coyote. El Coyote looks like a LA-Mexican dive. It's tamales and top shelf margaritas, not pechugas con huitlacoche or tequila completo. But it's where Sharon Tate had her last meal. I can drink to that. And the hairdresser? Also cuts Dita von Teese's extensions and parties with her at the Viceroy. And yes, I had to google Dita to see who she was. Had to google the Viceroy to. The internet makes it so much easier to fake hip.
  • Thursday we crash at the boyfriends. Who's a designer, and has designed the furniture in the guest room. Nice.
  • Friday: Hit the outlet mall, then head into the desert. We join Drew and the fourth member of our party, Richard, at the Wyndham. Gary and I dress up nice for dinner at Le Vallauris.
  • Then we hook up with the rest of the New Yorkers, and strip down for the first party: Joe King at the Wyndham Ballroom. It ends early, at 4am, so we'll get some sleep the first night.
  • Saturday it's Tracey Young at the pool, the official White Party with Rosabel at the Convention Center (with RuPaul, Flava, and Jeanie Tracey ... and us in white berets. I look like top chef more than cool French guy in a white beret, but I'll do my best to project some attitude), and Alexander at the afterhours. The night ends at 10am the next morning.
  • Sunday it's Manny Lehman at the Park, then Tony Moran at the closing party.
  • Monday we sleep. Tuesday I fly home. Wednesday ... this time next week ... I'll be back at work.
I'm exhausted already! The last trip I took I ended up sleeping on the ground in the Sinai desert, huddling under a blanket trying to shield myself from the cold desert wind. This desert trip might be the polar opposite of that one.

Friday, April 04, 2008


I've been having a love affair with Campari lately. I had ordered one out of curiosity at Tapas Christmas night. Dave C, Jose, and I had eaten a fatty (and somewhat disgusting) meal at Senor Frogs while, in the background, tourists and their children to act like they were at a wild party rather than at a family theme restaurant (the theme being, Spring Break! - minus the wet t-shirts and desperate frat boys).

So I needed a drink (not that we hadn't been drinking since noon, but we hadn't had anything after dinner yet), and all my usuals didn't sound right. Bitters sounded right, something to settle my stomach - and so Campari and Soda it was.

And so it was again. I wasn't even sure if I liked the first sip - it's a bit eccentric. I definitely liked the last sip.

Had it again, with orange juice, in Munich. And again on the plane ride home.

And that was all she wrote, homeboys. It's been my drink of choice since. I still like my Manhattan's and Old-Fashioneds and Martinis (assuming they're made properly, with gin and vermouth) - but these days I'm more likely to make a Negroni at home (gin, vermouth, and Campari, garnished with a burnt orange peel ... I haven't dared order it a bar yet for fear of what I'll get), or a Campari and soda, or even better, a Campari and Orange. I splurged once and bought a bottle of Gavioli Blood Orange soda, and that was beyond good - and beyond my day to day budget, unfortunately. My kalamansi is full of fruit, strange little oranges with bitter flesh but a sweet peel, and half of one is the perfect garnish.

SO okey-dokey. I went to Safeway instead of Tamuras tonight, and they wanted thirty bucks for a bottle of Campari. Which: fuck off, Safeway.

And so I met Campari's evil twin, Fernet-Branca. I knew nothing about this beyond that it was made with lots of herbs, it was from Italy, it's popular at Argentine barbecues, and San Francisco consumers more than any other city. It's a cult favorite there, apparently.

The San Fran trivia should have warned me. Sometimes that City tries to hard. But I've been curious about Fernet-Branca, & tonight seemed the night.

The bottle says Fernet-Branca si beve liscio, con ghiaccio, nel caffe, oppure con acqua natural, minerale, cola, soda o altre bibite gassate.

I can understand enough of that to get the gist of it: add it to anything you want.

I look up Fernet-Branca cocktails online. There's not many, though I learn that it's made with in Milan with a base of gape alcohol and 40 herbs and spices, including myrrh, rhubarb, chamomile, cardamom and saffron. I also learn that people compare their first taste to rubber bands, listerine, or ... my favorite ... Catholicism. It must be the myrrh.

Or the sense of penance that you get while drinking it. I was worried I'd just wasted some bucks, but I poured half a shot.

I tasted burnt oil.

I tried half a shot with lemon soda. I tasted burnt oil with lemon. A dash of cream didn't help. I tried a quarter of a shot with coffee - the most popular on-line combination. Still wasn't working. I did the dishes, and then tried the tiniest of sips. I started to taste some background flavors. Mint, I think. Maybe anise. And definitely radiator fluid.

Friends, this shit is rough. Maybe it's good for you. I'll give it a few more shots (heh) ... but I don't think that this is going to be one that I'll learn to savor and enjoy. I think it'l be more like cheap tequila: a quick shot followed by a quick chaser.


Good Things: Our merger with Kamehameha is going well. The guys there are cool, though so far we've only met a few of them. A lot are in Hilo for Merry Monarch. I'm not sure which halau they're part of. We meet in the park near the McCully Bridge, and it's nice to be in a low key setting. No more worries about offending the yacht people, or keeping our voices down. Of course, no more hot showers and clean bathrooms - but I think we'll all take freedom over comfort.

To a point. The canoes need some love, and now. Some of the seats are weathered plywood that have been screwed in to the boat. My ass won't survive a long run on those.

Stupid Things: Too many to count. The governor has appointed a guy to direct the Office of Planning who says things like I am extremely excited about working with Governor Lingle and her Administration to meet the needs of Hawaii's people and future generations through statewide, collaborative, long-range and strategic planning efforts. I am fully committed to protecting the environmental and cultural resources that are so unique to this state, while carefully planning for our continued economic well-being. I am honored to be entrusted with such great responsibility and I thank the Governor for her confidence in my abilities in these matters.

I'll never be appointed to higher office. I can't even listen to people talk in such outlandish cliches, much less speak them.

Our local ""alternative" paper, the Honolulu Weekly , has gone over the deep end. I think they're hiring writers who have no concept of who's who here in the islands. Their recent articles on the environment are more opinion pieces - and they're presenting minority opinion as established fact. Their latest issue includes a cover story about why beach nourishment is bad for the environment and will destroy our surf breaks (it isn't, and it won't, and it's my office that works on it); another attack on light rail (which environmentalists everywhere else in the world support, just not here); and a lawsuit here by a science-fiction author challenging a particle accelerator, claiming it will create a black hole that will swallow the earth. Or turn the earth into anti-matter. One or the other.

"Alternative" shouldn't mean "lazy journalism." Nor should it mean that we sacrifice all critical thinking and promote every issue that isn't mainstream. The Honolulu Weekly has always been sub-par; now I think it must rank near the bottom of the nation's weeklies.

Bad Things: Aloha Airlines is gone. ATA is gone. Those are two pretty big hits for a single week. Once upon a time we had a strong economy - though I suspect it was a house of cards, built by building condos for rich Californians. Our population is dropping, but they keep paving the countryside and putting million-dollar condos up in the city. The feeling in Honolulu right now is, we're fucked.

Best News: Two weeks from now, exactly, I'll be dining on French food in Palm Springs. That might be our last meal, as the parties start Friday night and don't end until Monday morning.