Thursday, May 25, 2006

All My Cares Just Drift Right Into Space

OK. I lied. I can't go to bed just yet without cranking out another blog entry. I've been too negligent lately with the blogging. Sometimes there's so much I want to blog about - I've been re-re-re-revising my Grand Theory Of Female Bisexuality so much in my head that it's booklength at this point, and it's not going to get blogged about till I'm really in the mood for it.

But sometimes the best blog entries just happen. Greg moved out a couple days ago for the summer - off to internship 8 hours away. And the sublettor doesn't come for a couple more weeks. Which means that the attic - his gorgeous suite - is empty. And it means that any time I want to, I can crawl through the tiny-ass dormer window onto our gently sloping back roof of our DC rowhouse. I sunbathed nude a couple days ago while reading a novel. A couple people drove through the alley, and maybe someone saw me. Oh well.

I got to crawl out on the roof just now and be happy. (It's the place, Carole King's song tells us, where all your cares just drift right into space). I'd had a nice, albeit brief cry for John Lennon (see post below - he deserves one every once in awhile) and sometimes crying for sad things makes me tremendously happy for good things. I had to quit taking Adderall about 3 or 4 weeks ago. I was becoming tolerant, and upping the dose was upping my heart rate & blood pressure, and I didn't want a heart attack. But the Strattera my shrink switched me to is bullshit. It's an antidepressant, basically, that is supposed to help ADHD, but of course it doesn't really work. People who truly have ADHD need stimulant medication. I'm going to have to go back sooner than planned and try to get something Ritalin-based. It's supposed to not give people heart attacks, and it's known to work.

Going without the medication that changed my life irreparably for the better was a reminder of the dysfunction that my life can have when I'm in my non-medicated state. Yeah, I've had a lot of dysfunctional fun while medicated - drugs don't make you do everything "right" - but the type of unwanted dysfunction that you have when you are severely hyperactive and impulsive isn't fun. I need drugs (specific drugs, not the fun ones per se) to keep me regulated, and I'm A-OK with that. I took Adderall the last two days and it was like being fully myself - the real myself, really - again. But I can't stay on it, and I pray that some form of Ritalin will do it for me.

But being able to think again - to function again in a non-head-in-the-clouds way - makes me elated. I love having full mental powers. Anyone who's had successful pharmacotherapy for depression, bipolar, anxiety, ADHD, whatever - knows what I mean. Psychotherapy is soooo important for mental illness, but sometimes some people have general chemical issues that need general chemical cures in addition to psychotherapy. And it feels good when it works.

I miss Greg already - he's such a mellow, stable factor in our Real World house of madness - and above and beyond our friendship, I also feel like we have a lot to teach each other what it's like to be us. I've had a handful of straight black male friends over the years, but none that were terribly close. And I don't think he's had any close gay white male friends before. And we can all be loveydoveytouchyfeely liberals that are so enlightened into the pathos of other collective groups of The Oppressed, but how can you really understand what it's like to be a unique person in a labeled/pigeonholed group unless you actually have friends who are unique people within those groups?

I didn't understand Judaism for shit until I moved to DC. Being against the Holocaust/Inquisistion/Jerry Falwell is like being against pedophilia. Who's going to take the other side of that argument outside of debate class? But being against the Holocaust has very little to do with knowing Jack Shit about the lives of people who are Jewish.

You can intellectualize all you want to about same-sex sex, but if you don't know anyone who's gay, how do you have any idea what it's like to grow up with crushes on your canoeing merit badge counselor at scout camp and not being able to tell anyone because of the sex of who your crush is on? Or what it's like to go to third base with a girl to realize that despite what you've been told, not all men - for example, yourself - don't actually want to be there doing that? You have to know people, and love people, to understand where they've been and what they've been through.

And I can't say all this without thinking of the amazing woman who's been one of my best friends for almost a decade. She's had sooooo much in her life that she's fought through for the better. Such a strong - and fundamentally, phenomenally good person - who has taught me again and again the power of empathy for others. I can't think of a single other person on this planet who's taught me more through experience how important it is - and how good it feels in the long run - to really pick yourself up, put yourself in someone else's shoes, and get to work (to paraphrase Bob Dylan) knowing their world, knowing their kind, understanding their pain.

She'll laugh when she reads this. She knows that everything reminds me of song lyrics. It's the way my brain is wired. But I'm not listening to Dylan's "Is Your Love In Vain?" although I'm thinking of its truth-under-the-schmaltz. I had to put on yet another gorgeous gem of truth-under-schmaltz (don't wince) - The Hollies' "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother." True, they admitted in their name an embarrassing level of worship for Buddy Holly, and my boy Graham Nash had taken his credibility with him when he left for CSNand/orY a long time before they cranked that puppy out, but it's the kind of cheese that resonates with my worldview. We gotta be here for each other. Helping those in need never hurts, but it might make you cry.

I will get to bed in the near future, but as I'm going through a nostalgic cheese-music-scored journey through lovin' the world, I'll leave you with one last musical thought that sums up my mood right now. There's a bootleg recording (an amazing one) of buddies Carole King and James Taylor from 1971 where they run through a bunch of songs that Carole wrote for Doo-Wop groups in the Sixties. I'm not a fan, in general, of the music industry's semi-shameful history of forcing black groups to record music written by whites. This kept the money in white hands and stifled actual black voices in music. But Carole King wasn't responsible for larger sociological trends, and the anthem she gave Aretha screams sisterhood. Even if you need a man to make you feel inspired, at least he's inspiring you to be natural. If anyone told it straightforward time and time again that you needed to be yourself, it was Carole. So she and James are at some concert, and his guitar is unfortunately under-mic'd, but her piano is dead-on, and the two of them can really harmonize at the S&G/BeachBoys/CSNY level. And they start singing "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" which is one of my favorite songs ever. Anyone who hasn't felt that song, directly, personally, and immediately hasn't had the same human experience as the rest of us. But - Will - My - Heart - Be - Brooo-ken... when the night [when the night] meets the morning [meets the morning sun?]

But that's not the end of it. Really - get this mp3 from me if you don't have it. It's eight minutes long. They touch ever so lightly on "Some Kind Of Wonderful." Not the also-great Grand Funk song, but the one Carole wrote for the Drifters. And then they soar into drenched harmony for "Up On The Roof."

At night the stars put on a show for free / And darling, you can share it for me / I keep on telling you, right smack dab in the middle of town / I've found a paradise that's trouble-proof / So if this world starts getting you down, there's room enough for two.

Up on the roof.

Everything is all right, up on the roof. Come on baby, come on honey, come on now, come on now, darling, up on the roof. Everything is all right, Everything is all right, Everything is all right.

Up on the roof.

I Get Melodramatic About Dead Musicians

You can ask my ex if you want. I cried when Nina Simone died.

It was kind of random tonight - I was digging through Wikipedia looking for some dates & cover art for some Paul McCartney singles from the '70s that were sitting around under-labeled in iTunes (a sin considering my anal-retentive devotion to iTunes), and wouldn't you know it, pretty soon I was reading up on Brian Epstein, Beatles manager and a minor personal hero of mine since high school, and of course before you know it you're re-reading the gory details of John Lennon's life.

You know that there was mamadrama going on, and that she (Julia) died young, and he knocked up Cynthia, named son Julian after dead mom, ignored wife & kid to tour with the Beatles, was the best straight buddy/unrequited love interest of genius manager Epstein, weathered the bigger-than-Jesus storm, became enmeshed with unattractive/bad singer-yet-provocative/intellectual-feminist/artist Ono, had painful public fights with Paul, was harassed by the Nixon administration, did the Elton John concert thingy, became a housedad to son #2, returned to music 5 years later & gave us the gorgeous "Watching the Wheels"... you know the history... and then you just have to read up on the details of 12/8/1980. It's a date that's been stuck in my head since high school. John Lennon was 40 years old. That's been stuck in my head for over a decade, too.

It is melodramatic, on some level, to really mourn the death of famous people that wrote music over the death of, I don't know, servicemen in Iraq that were 19 and died. Or crackheads who got hit by cars and died. John Lennon was himself a junkie (though technically only a junkie in the truest sense for a couple of years, but you knew that too). His life was hardly a model for greatness: flunking out of art school, knockin' up bitches, doing every drug available, writing petty (and yet terrific!) songs mocking McCartney, etc...

To sit around 25-1/2 years later and mourn the loss of someone who died when I was a toddler, whose death has been a fact of life for my entire walking life, is a little silly at 2 AM on a weeknight. Lennon didn't die yesterday, and when was the last time I actually sat around listening to a John Lennon record end-to-end? There's so much music to listen to out there. There are so many dead musicians to mourn.

I intentionally didn't write a eulogy for my man, Wilson Pickett, who wrote one of my 2-3 favorite songs of all time, a couple months back. In the pre-blog years I wrote lengthy eulogies for Nina Simone & Johnny Cash. By the time Ray Charles died, I felt like I'd eulogized enough. Then Wilson Pickett died a couple months back and I tore the shit out of "In The Midnight Hour" at karaoke a couple times that week. Mostly at gay bars where the two-to-three non-Aryans in the bar were surprised/impressed/embarrassed (take your pick) at the farmboy belting out Memphis soul, while being thoroughly ignored by the rest of the crowd who had no idea what was going on but knew it wasn't a Cher cover. But I just couldn't find the nerve to draft up my own from-memory-Wikipediaesque entry & send it out to the world. Pining for dead musicians is just so lame or something.

But it occupies a strong place in my psyche. People who have given me great music but suffered so much pain (and maybe it's not that shocking for the two to co-occur so often) get a lot of empathy from me. Sometimes when they die, I cry. I can't imAGine what it will be like for me when Bob Dylan dies (he almost went a few years back after breathing some bad airborne fungus at Bonnaroo). And fucking John Lennon. He died before I was toilet-trained. The dude's been dead longer than I've been sitting on the crapper pinching out turds, and yet I'm still capable of feeling profoundly sad about it, at 2 in the morning. Well, he gave us "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Imagine," not to mention countless other pieces of inexplicable beauty.

Oh fuck, "Mind Games" just came up on iTunes and now I'm crying. I have got to get to sleep.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

My Love-Hate Feelings Re: My Own Writing

I'm back to posting after about 3 weeks off.

Part of what drives my love/hate relationship with this blog is the public nature of blogging. There are a billion articles out there, if you Google for them, regarding the social changes effected by the internet. People like me get to rant and rave in our underwear from our home computers and the whole world (not that the whole world cares - but it's out there) gets to read our lunacy.

I guess if I always said polite, nice, appropriate things then I wouldn't get paranoid about my blog. But I don't, and I do. And the funny part is, I'll think "oh gee, I shouldn't say anything controversial because it could get back to me" and I hide from the blog for a couple weeks. And then I come back. And the blog didn't go anywhere - it was right here all along, and people could & might have been reading it anyway.

I don't know what the solution is: do I try to censor myself more, such that I don't say things I think could bite me in the ass? Or do I just suppress that little voice that says "watch yo'self!"? Attempt to find a middle ground?

"Oh, I Don't See Color"

Don't you just love how it's become trendy in recent years for White people to "not be racist" by not ignoring racial issues? When Martin Luther King said that he wanted his children judged "not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character," I don't think he was giving White Americans carte blanche to ignore de facto racism.

I haven't read the actual news articles directly, but apparently there's a storm a-brewin' in Logan Circle. An almost-entirely Black church in what used to be an almost-entirely Black neighborhood is now in an almost-entirely White neighborhood. And its congregation hasn't run away; they just drive to church now on Sundays, and because parking is tight, they're double-parking on the block in front of the church. Apparently the people who now live in the pricey homes in the area don't like the people who have to drive to their church and double-park. However, the churchgoers probably used to walk to church - that, or they always drove but Logan Circle was less trendy and parking was easier back in the day. And now they have to double-park on Sundays.

This is the perfect moment for Whites to say "Oh, I don't see this as a race issue."

How the fuck would you see it as a race issue when you don't understand what de facto racism is? It's really great for Whites to not see issues of gentrification and church membership as race issues, even though housing and religious attendance are two of the three areas I can think of (the third being schooling, of course) in which we are most strongly segregated in America. If you don't notice that everyone at your religious institution is the same race, or that everyone you went to school with was the same race, or if you are especially cognizant of the fact that people in your neighborhood ARE of different races to the extent that you feel the need to tell everyone - you probably don't realize that gentrification is a race issue.

Greg (the roommate) recommends the following article on Whiteness (i.e. being White and "not seeing color"):

"The Boondocks vs. Jump Start"

It's pretty funny (if you are capable of finding academic articles "funny") to hear what Whites and Blacks had to say about the funniest, most racial Black comic strip ever vs. the tamest, lamest one. It's also pretty embarrassing if you're White and get embarrassed about how blind our people can be. It's probably terrifically un-shocking if you're Black and have lived in America for 7 days or longer.

Go read.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Fine, I Guess It's My Thumb

I totally thought I was that much of a badass. I thought that maybe - just maybe, in my night of drunken polyamorous debauchery - I had actually whipped it out for the camera.

My package is average-sized. I've examined enough packages to know this. My thumb is far narrower than my package ever is. At full-on I-Was-In-The-Pool! mode - i.e. its most shrunken state, it's about 3.7" circumference, and my thumb at the knuckle is about 2.7" circumference. But I managed to get a really hot cameraphone shot (or rather, a certain voyeur I know managed to get a shot) of my arm snaking into my unzipped pants, with my thumb snaking out of the fly, and looking totally like a cock. Pubic hair above it, unbuttoned fly below it, you can see about 4" of thumblength and the way-down part of my thumb that is about 4" circumference - so it looks like a dick. Also, the lighting is poor, the shot's blurry, and it was taken with a cameraphone.

I was able to get a higher-res picture off of the T-Mobile website, and it's a keeper. And although I can admit freely that I am the type to potentially let a friend take a nudie shot of me in public, I don't think I can ever admit to anyone that hasn't seen the picture that I once thought my thumb was my johnson. It just sounds horribly embarrassing.

But it's a great shot. I have some good pictures from that night.

Fuck Mardi Gras, That's My D.C. Weekend

I just got some blackmail pics sent to me tonight via the internet. Now, I've read a lot of gay erotica over the years and I know how it's supposed to work: first you get the blackmail pics of you whipping out your johnson at 4 AM; then pretty soon you're being dressed up in women's lingerie and photographed some more. From there, it's a short road till you're being urinated on by policemen while their K-9 "officer" is making you his bitch and someone's got it on video.

...er, or don't y'all read the same "literature" I do? Um, that was awkward...

At any rate, that won't be happening with me: you can't blackmail shameless exhibitionistic pervs. And the one picture - the only one that actually shows genitalia - is blurry enough in the right regions (i.e. both upstairs and downstairs) such that it's arguably some other random hipster whipping it out. Besides, it's blurry enough that you can't pinpoint my exact age. "I was young and I needed the money... sob sob" - you know how it works, you've seen Dr. Laura's nudie shots too.

I guess the advent of camera phones has created a world in which you just can't whip it out in public whenever you feel like it, because your so-called friends might take pictures of your cock. What has life in America come to? As for the rest of the "art collection," I'd say I can't believe such things occur on the street in the wee hours of the morning in the capital city of this fine nation, except that I was involved in them and it's captured in full color. And actually, I like some of the horrendously lascivious things I've done in public.

Mmmm, more stories to tell the grandkids.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

It's All Kinda Starting To Make Sense Now

I think that I'm a little bit crazy, but I'm equally convinced that things are getting better as time goes on.

I grew up with a highly active brain with an under-developed sense of self-control. That's probably as succinct as one could biographize my youth. From Kindergarten through Senior Year, I was the smartest boy in the class. There was a girl who was smarter than myself. By senior year we were both out, and that made me very smug. Ha ha, religious-right assholes on the school board, your biggest geniuses are into hot same-sex action. Neither of us, naturally, was even close to the top of the class in GPA. There's a point at which you're smart enough in the one sense to be offended by all of school itself, and yet foolish enough to go ahead and say "fuck it," even though doing well in school is a pretty fucking good idea. And yet, nonetheless, I've managed to make it to the point, where it would be difficult for me to not get my Ph.D. I've got a big head about my head.

The under-developed sense of control was always the yin to that yang, though. I could never really slow down my speech to the point where people could understand what I was saying. Not that they would have anyway, since I was reading graduate-level art history books at the age of 5. My first-grade gym teacher (I was 6 by that point) told my parents on open house night that he "had no idea that Chinese coffins were enclosed in something called sarcophagi."

"Well, Egyptian ones were too," I added.

But back to that whole pesky self-control thing. I've also never (until recent years, when I've been taking increasingly large doses of amphetamines) been able to walk at a normal pace, unless I actively think about it, and even then I get this amazing sense of frustration. This also plays out in other arenas. Don't ask me the number of cars I've owned in my lifetime. My poor parents. The first week I was on Adderall was in the winter, a little over a year ago. I was driving with some friends to go snowtubing (yawn - it sure as hell isn't snowboarding) and the journey took us through the state of Maryland. "WOW!" I shouted, "I don't feel an undying urge to ride these cars' bumpers at a single carlength!" There were parts of myself - aspects of my basic behavior that I had never thought about - that could actually occur at a reasonable pace. This was new to me at the age of 25.

And the reading. That was something I looooooooved as a kid. Started reading at age two, and by the time I was five I was reading adult books, though mostly just in art and geography. I read every issue of National Geographic that was published during the calendar years of 1974-1981 (those were the eight years that my parents had a subscription to). They got me my own subscription some time around '85, and I read the new ones, too. My dad also accumulated dozens of books on Egyptian art, and I read the kid, young-adult, popular press, and college-level ones. The only one that was actually graduate level I skimmed more than anything. It was a little dry for my taste. I also just read anythingthefuck that I could get my hands on. Didn't sleep much as a kid; just read all night, every night. I'd go to the public library and practically get armfuls at a time.

Something unfortunate happened though, and that's that around the age of 8 or 9, I just couldn't read anymore. After a paragraph or two, I'd just start drifting. Decided I didn't like to read. Now, I always liked computer and video games, but around 3rd or 4th grade, they started being about all I liked. Nothing else held my interest much. I played Tee-Ball one summer (the summer I turned 8, between 2nd and 3rd grade) and I loved it for the three-week season. Then my mom signed me up for a second three-week season and I hated it. Learning the game was fun, but once I knew the rules and I had done it for a little while, waiting to bat was boring! I was smart enough not to torture myself in outfield, and usually took 1st or 2nd base when we were fielding. But still, I just didn't want to be there. And I had loved it just days prior. That was really the summer when ADHD started to kick in. Basically, a good deal of recent research is starting to suggest that the hyperactivity and the impulsivity is there from preschool, but the inattention either doesn't kick in, or isn't noticed, until some time in elementary school. Well, it happened to me.

I try to avoid the maudlin approach to looking at it all. Oh, poor me. But in a sense, it's a mini-tragedy to be a bright kid who loved to read and, over the course of elementary school, turn into a videogame addict who got enough bus referrals, conduct slips in class, and in-school suspensions that I could still be wiping my ass with them if I didn't throw them away on the way home from school every day. Wasn't my "fault" (though I think if you wanted to analyze the semiotics of "fault" you could fill volumes, so let's move on) that I couldn't sit still, keep my goddamn mouth shut, do my homework, control myself when I disliked my peers. Really strict parenting, the absence of siblings, and a small private school probably would have reduced some of the problems. However, I had none of these. I also didn't have the parents who put their kids on Ritalin. I had the "my kid's smart and he's bored with the material in school" parents. If eight-year-old kids had insight into such things, I imagine I might have said, "No, mom, YOU were smart and bored with the material in school, yet you got straight As from K thru 12. Have you noticed that you're driving me to school every morning because I can't ride the bus anymore, because I've gotten five bus referrals this semester?" But kids - although they do say the darndest things - seldom actually state things in such a darndest way, and I was no exception. And I continued to do poorly in school.

Anyway, I'll try spare you the whole sappy book at this point in time. This post is getting awfully long and isn't even proving my point yet. My point is in regard to the big head. The only thing I had as a kid was the undying belief that I was an unqualified, and yet brutally oppressed, genius. There's a reason why A Confederacy of Dunces is one of my top 2 or 3 favorite books ever written.

What's funny is how my ego grew so completely enormous around the idea of "I Am The Smartest Thing Alive" and how it shriveled, like George Costanza in the pool, around most other aspects of my life. As my childhood chaos spiraled - I was just about the worst-behaved student in elementary & middle school - I was pretty convinced that I was a piece of shit in most areas. Depression grew in middle school, abated in high school, came back senior year of high school (and then came psychotherapy and pot smoking to bring me out of it). But by the time you're a smart-but-low-achieving college student, no one seems to realize that you might have that Hyper Child Disease or whatever it's called. You're just called a slacker. And as you grow older, you do get better at suppressing the external behavior - so instead of pacing around, you sit there with the miserable urge to jump on shit and you know you can't. So again, people don't really believe that you have a natural mental deficit to pace yourself and focus your attention. Plus, depressed people can't concentrate, so ADHD got missed by my senior year of high school-freshman year of college shrink. But anyone who talked to any of my teachers ever would have had a clear picture instantly. I'm sure even my college teachers found me too much to handle.

At any rate, I do believe that when I get neurotic as an adult, as I've been the last couple of weeks, it seems to come from the ego gap: I'm trying to believe, to understand, to remind myself that there are actually some things I don't know and some times when I'm wrong. And I'm desperately trying to believe, acknowledge, and grasp that I'm not a total outcast. It ain't middle school any more. It's just tough when you're a kid who develops such extreme beliefs in two directions - "I know everything" + "I can't do anything right." Because neither is true, but if you believe them both for long enough during your formative years, it's hard to remember all the time that they're both wrong.

So that's my deal. That's my tell-all open therapy session for today.

I'm Not The Only Tease Out There

St. Patrick's Day, if you'll recall, was yet another night caught in the Bizarre Mack Triangle. A nice young lady asked me if I had a girlfriend, and a gentleman and I were flirting all night. (Meanwhile another intoxicated young man told both myself and the lady that he'd transcended sex. Does that just mean that he's really, really good at masturbating? Because that's what I think it means).

Anyway, the guy was flirty all night and then was a little odd at the end of the night, and was odd when I called him (he did give me his digits, after all, so it was odd that he was odd). Then I ran into his roommate at a 'mo bar later in the week. "Hey, Hipster!" he yelled and I turned around. "There's something I need to tell you. My roommate's not gay!"

"Why did he flirt with me all night then? Why did he give me his number?"

"Well, first off, he really liked what you were wearing and he really did wonder where you got it. And, he's a really nice guy and makes a lot of eye contact with everybody. Plus, by the time the dope finally realized you were (A) gay and (B) flirting back, he was probably flattered. And he said you two had a great conversation. Anyway, he told me the whole story and we had a good laugh about it and I was so hoping to run into you to tell you!"

I think I'm the luckiest guy on Earth. Even when Karma turns around to bite me in the ass, everyone still has a good laugh.

"You're 26. You Shouldn't Be Going Home Alone."

That's what a friend of mine told me tonight as I was giving him & his BF a ride home to Adams Morgan from Halo. "Re-La-Shun-Ship." That's what a friend of mine told me two nights ago at Buffalo Billiards. What's the difference? The first friend is a gay guy; the second friend is a straight gal.

I guess I kind of feel like there only are two options, and I'm tired of thinking about both. The honest truth is that I can get good sex, and I can get a bad relationship. And the other, logically following and honest corollary, is that I'd love a good relationship with good sex.

Three friends and I got dinner tonight and then went to Halo (a non-smoking overly lit bar, for those of you not in the know) and had a couple drinks. I've had an aversion to Halo since it opened, and it's kind of silly. For someone who is good looking, well dressed, and confident (not to mention humble), the brightly-lit bar ought to be my home base. But I always feel like there's so much attitude there. A shrink might suggest that it all goes back to my teenage years, when other gay guys were so bitchy and nasty that I developed a sense of internalized homophobia that my leftist parents had made sure not to raise me with. My parents fostered a strong enough sense of gay pride in their children that their gay son came out in 11th grade, yet sadly I turned around to feel like gay men are all nasty, mean bitches. Let's be honest: in 11th grade in the mid-90s, there were two types of gay kids who came out: troublemakers who loved the fact that their innate selves pissed off those in power, and the superqueens who had been called fags since they were old enough to pick out their own clothing. Don't ask which group I was in, or I'll hit you with my purse.

I've never been into the drugs'n'dancin' scene, but its less skeezy variant - the gay bars that have drunkenness, low attitude, and lots of dancing - have always appealed to me because there's not a ton of room for attitude. Drunk people dancing is fun. And the well-lit, non-dancing places? I still have an aversion to them on some level. I have this innate assumption that the whole room is full of attitude, even though it usually isn't.

And so, when I go to Halo and I see people standing around and talking with cocktails in their hands, I instantly recoil. The funny thing is that there were about 10 attractive men whom I probably could have gone home with tonight, and I just wasn't interested. The most pressing factor was that I've been working on shit around the clock for grad school all week. Well, truthfully, I've been working all day and drinking all night this week. Not the kind of week that you want to end with having to perform for the new guy. And it's not like I wouldn't have gotten it up, gotten off, and repeated in the morning. That would have been fine. But I would have been tired, and I wouldn't have been feeling creative, and it would have ended with a digit exchange.

And that would lead to the next step: him calling me if he were more interested, or me calling him if I were more interested, or neither of us calling each other. Frankly, I'm tired of this game. I'm tired of sleeping with people and having to go through the ritual. Either it's terrible and we both bolt, or I'm interested and he's a flake, or he's interested and I am not. If the game usually worked out, there wouldn't be a lot of people on the singles scene.

Frankly, I'm a little sick of the singles scene. I was never really on the singles scene in its truest sense till the last couple years, and it's been hella exciting. But it's hard work holding out for something good, and it's hard work getting the sex you crave from randoms who are gone forever in the morning, and being called a slut by your friends if you admit that you've been getting it.

That's why I went home alone tonight.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Caught Over-Thinking Again

I have this little problem where I don't always think before I act. It generally leads to delightfully comic results, and frankly, even when you don't think before you act, sometimes your actions come out just fine anyway. Which makes my day-to-day living somewhat like gambling.

Now, it's not so bad in recent years with my amphetamine prescription, but you can't always perfectly drug-away fundamental neurological shortcomings. And I've realized that I still have that other problem, the one I don't like to think about.

The other little problem is chronic re-hashing and obsessing over past events that have already occurred. I do a lot of past-tense agonizing. My theory on this is that, if you spend your whole life doing little regrettable things, all the time, you start feeling like you can't help doing regrettable things. It's inevitable that you will fuck up a lot of things in the future. (Everyone's gonna fuck shit up in the future, but when you're hyperactive and impulsive, with attention problems to boot - you know you're gonna fuck a lot more shit up). So maybe at some point, I stopped trying to worry about shit I'd do wrong in the future - because that's inevitable - and then I started overthinking every decision I made that led to something bad happening.

Cuz that's what I feel like happens with me. No worries for the future, no worries or pride over past achievements. Just obsessive re-re-re-analysis of something that I did that led to an outcome I disliked. Maybe, I think, just maybe I can train myself to automatically make the right choices all the time.

But that's not ever going to happen. If you make automatic choices, you can't control whether they are going to be the right ones. That's why they're called automatic. What one (i.e. myself) needs to do is to not be on autopilot all the time. Stimulant drugs really, really, really help with this.

At any rate, there's no need for someone who doesn't have autopilot issues to re-hash the past. It won't do them any good. And it don't do any good for this someone to re-hash the past either. When am I going to get to the point where I just stop beating myself up over spilt milk?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Albums Of Our Lives: New Order's Substance

Welcome to part two of Albums Of Our Lives, a new series in this blog about safe-for-work topics. We now jump to the 1980s to another greatest-hits album. Some of my favorite albums are "best-of," although that's not a very hip thing to say.

Substance was a singles-y "greatest hits" album in the sense that it was all radio songs (as opposed to the "best-of" albums that have their fans' favorites). However, Substance included a second disc with the 12 best B-sides from those singles. As such, it was more like the Beatles' Past Masters albums from the same year: you got the A and B sides from the singles on the same disc, so you got all the songs that you didn't have already. I'm just going to go through the first disc, with the hits, although disc 2 is excellent as well.

1. Ceremony: This is a Joy Division song. So, after Joy Division's lead singer (Ian) offed himself, the new lead singer (Bernard) of the new Order tried to sound like him at first. He must have bottomed out his vocal chords. They got better, though.

2. Everything's Gone Green: I resisted electro-sounding music in high school, so I didn't even listen to New Order until college. And I didn't buy this CD until grad school. It's embarrassing, but we all make mistakes. I've caught up by listening to this CD a lot a lot in the last three years. This song was totally re-hashed for "Blue Monday" a couple years later, and I'm totally OK with both songs.

3. Temptation: OK, I lied. I listened to one (1) CD in high school that had electropoppy music on it, and that was the Trainspotting soundtrack. And I loved this song. It's funny that I never checked out the rest of their material, although I was clearly scared of music that sounds like a computer wrote it. Too bad I held this bias for so long. Temptation has a warm, familiar feel to me though, and I think it's because it's the song I listened to the most before I heard anything else.

4. Blue Monday: The first song on the CD that, when played in the car, your friends will sing along with. The chorus of "Temptation" can be sung, but "Blue Monday" begs to be belted out. Everyone wants to know, "How does it feel to treat me like you do?" Indeed. The instrumental music in this song is just depraved. If you haven't heard it, you don't know, but if you have, you know it just feels dirty somehow. I like that.

5. Confusion: I never remember the name for this song, and yet I always sing it. New Order is, of all groups I can readily think of, the one that tries the hardest to give their songs names that sound nothing like the songs. I think "State of the Nation" is the only song of theirs from this CD (and, of all time, "World In Motion" is the only other one), that actually uses the words of the hook in the title of the song. So tricky.

6. Thieves Like Us: Listening to this song is like breathing in the 1980s. To think that a complex melody (that sounds like it's supposed to sound like a violin but greatly missed the mark) could be played on a synthesizer. Ahh, but we were so much older then; we're younger than that now. This song could be the background to Beverly Hills Cop; it's not that off of Axel F, which came out three years later. At least New Order helped create this sound. Thieves Like Us is about love, and how it belongs to everyone but us. That's sad.

7. Perfect Kiss: One good thing about New Order is that they don't sing till they're damn well ready for it. And well, hell, Bernard Sumner might just stop for awhile too if he damn well feels like it. And let those synth-y things make some cool noises. (I'm a little dumb when it comes to describing electronic music)

8. Subculture: Close your eyes and imagine: what if J.S. Bach came back to life in the post-disco, post-jazz, post-punk 1980s? I think he definitely would have either written this song, or killed the guy from Skid Row who stole his name. Maybe both. Anyway, New Order was the first band since the Doors to really get baroque music. Fuck all those 1970s progressive rock bands: New Order made Bach rock as opposed to making rock Bach. OK, well, honestly, the only thing really Bach-y is the synth organ that starts the song strongly and then returns throughout to make the song cool. It's not really that stylistically old school. But I like to think so.

9. Shellshock: Love to sing along to this one. Fast beat, makes you want to dance to it. And that can't really happen much, except at U St. clubs, which is why I go places where I can dance to this shit.

10. State of the Nation: this has a maddeningly (in a good way, if that contradiction is possible) mid-tempo pace. It's not a fast song and it's not a slow song. And these songs are all long - most are between 4-1/2 and 8 minutes long. Yet they all remain compelling the whole way through. That's the sign of some good fuckin' musicianship.

11. Bizarre Love Triangle: This is another song that I will sometimes tell people is my favorite song. It's up there with "The Boxer" on the short list. This was the second New Order song I listened to, as it was on the soundtrack for (and this is really funny) - my favorite movie in high school, which happened to be Threesome with Lara Flynn Boyle, Stephen Baldwin, and Josh Eddy. The media was corrupting, corrupting, corrupting me from a young age. I take no part of the blame for my own decadence.

12. True Faith: There is a reason why gay dudes love indie music. All the whiny boys who end up being straight men write music that expresses the same whiny childhood neuroses as those held by the whiny boys who ended up being gay men. "When I was a very small boy, very small boys talked to me / Now that we've grown up together, they're afraid of what they see." How could I not relate to this song? "My morning sun is the drug that brings me here / to a childhood I lost, replaced by fear." The best song possible to have ended the CD with.

...and that's two albums. Is this at all interesting? Should the exercise continue, or go away?

Albums Of Our Lives, Part One Of Many

As a music snob and an obsessive-compulsive mp3 hoarder, I resist the urge to come up with lists of "best songs/albums ever." I happen to find the movie High Fidelity repugnant. John Cusack's character's repeated listing of "best breakup songs ever," etc., comes across as dull and self-important. I don't need to know what other people's exact rankings of the Best. Songs. Ever. are - but it's fun to talk about music. So I thought I'd give the whole thing a stab in terms of LPs/tapes/CDs that have been big influences for me at different points in my life. In fact, they're all still favorites. Let's start with one, and maybe I'll continue this later if y'all and I find it interesting.

Simon & Garfunkel's Greatest Hits (1972). This was the tape of my childhood that became the CD of my adulthood in high school. There are few things in this world that we like consistently from birth through the present, and never stop liking, and this album is one of them. The tracks:

1. Mrs Robinson: Actually my least favorite track on the whole CD. What I love about this song is that it cues me for the rest of the disc. No, it's true: in any other context, I'll totally skip this song, but when I put this CD in, I have to start here.

2. For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her: The live recordings of their older material is really what makes Greatest Hits such a gem in its own right. Art Garfunkel has a really, really high voice. It's almost creepy. This song has, on a number of occasions, made me cry for no good reason other than the fact that I (maybe not-so-secretly) love to cry. I especially love to cry to specific sappy types of music and gay cowboy movies.

3. The Boxer: I most frequently will tell people that this is my favorite song ever. I'm not a fan of picking any one song over any other song, but The Boxer really hit a chord with me some time around the age of 5 or 6, and it's stuck. I actually - and this is kind of embarrassing for one's favorite song - am still not sure exactly what that instrument is. It sounds like an oboe when it's at the forefront of the mix, but the same melody is played by what sounds like strings in the background. So, are there both strings and woodwinds in this song, or is it the same whatever-it-is in the front and back of the mix? Such an enigma. Oh, yes, and this song also introduced me to one of my favorite words, "whores." At age 5, I just assumed it meant manual laborers, and the "manual laborers" non-sexually-harassed the protagonist by yelling "come on buddy" or something to that effect. I was once innocent only a couple decades ago. Damn you, Simon!!!

4. The 59th Street Bridge Song: Again, the live tracks on this album are uniformly better than the originals. I would have loved loved loved to have seen my dad's favorite group for $3 as he did in college. Damn you, dad!

5. The Sound of Silence; 6. I Am A Rock; 7. Scarborough Fair/Canticle: Besides being my dad's favorite group, one of my mom's favorite groups, and the only non-classical tape that my parents ever listened to in the car, I think that Simon & Garfunkel resonated with me as a kid because they used a very childish rhetoric. There's really an "Emperor's New Clothes" logic behind a lot of their music. These three songs comprising the end of the A side of the LP/cassette are probably their best "gee whiz, why can't we all get along" tomes, hitting three different angles: first, the "everyone's yelling at each other but no one's listening;" second, "the reason I'm not listening is because I've been burned before and I'm sick of crying;" and third, "all most of us want to do is find love, so why are we fighting wars in foreign places for no purpose?" Scarborough Fair/Canticle really achieves, in much more gorgeous and poetic form, what the preacy "Where Have All The Flowers Gone?" attempted. That's one of the great legacies, in my humble opinion, of the great Simon & Garfunkel: every urban left-winger in the '60s picked up a guitar and preached to the choir, but most of them were unsubtle and unmusical. Yet these guys figured out how to do both. Using a centuries-old English love song with a subtle background message to get the point across was genius, AND beautiful to listen to in a way that Pete Seeger/Phil Ochs/etc. never acheived.

8. Homeward Bound: You can really sing the songs on this CD. It's well known that S & G had some of the best harmonies out there, but when you think about it, they started with the best melodies. Even as a one-person unit, any of their songs would still be phenomenal. Although, once you've heard their tight harmonies, you'll never go back. And for the record, these guys were most strongly influenced by the Everly Brothers. Putting "Bye Bye Love" toward the end of their last CD wasn't a fluke or a throw-away. It was a shout-out to the guys who taught them how to do what they did best.

9. Bridge Over Troubled Water: Paul Simon has had some really, really, REALLY obnoxious attempts at multi-culti crap in his career. The horrendous wanna-be gospel of "Loves Me Like A Rock" makes me cringe; and true, "Graceland" was excellent - yet "Rhythm of the Saints" is slightly yawn-y. And the more recent albums - can anyone listen to them? Especially knowing what he's capable of? But let's backtrack to 1969, when a white urban folk duo made a fucking spiritual. A. Fucking. Spiritual. One more time: this is an honest-to-God spiritual written on a piano in a New York apartment. Is that even possible? I can't imagine anyone writing a spiritual today. Kanye West's "Jesus Walks" is definitely killer, and is as close as we'll probably see to a new spiritual. And "Bridge" isn't sung by a gospel choir or anything, either, but it's definitely inspirational. It might be the last pop song to cleverly bridge the love song/friend song/God song gap ever ("You've Got A Friend," which came out just a couple years later, is pretty safely on the secular side of things). And some might disagree with me that it's even really a spiritual at all, but I get the "God" feeling from this song that church sure as hell never did for me. At any rate, it's a spine-tingler.

10. America: My mom said, when I was in high school and a good 10 years into my S & G listening, that this song summed up her entire '60s generation. If there was one song that captured the Zeitgeist of '60s America, it was "America." Well-titled, boys, well titled.

11. Kathy's Song: This was one of the first songs I learned on the guitar, sophomore year of college. It really illustrates something about Paul Simon, and that's the fact that he's a conscious songwriter (up there with Willie Nelson and Carole King). You don't really imagine his contemporaries (the Beatles, Hendrix, Dylan) sitting down and plotting out a song: "well, I want three verses that start at the end of the measure, followed by three that start at the beginning of the measure" (Check it out between the 3rd and 4th verses: it's a conscious jump in the style of the song). And in no way does the songwritery-ness of the composition make "Kathy's Song" any less heartfelt or aching. I don't doubt for a minute that all he believes in is Kathy, and that he'd die like a raindrop if not for her. (Yeah, this one has made me cry on occasion, too)

12. El Condor Pasa (If I Could): This was my least favorite as a child, but it bumped ahead of "Mrs. Robinson" in high school when I got past the simplicity of the Andean arrangement (the oompah-ish beat has never been my favorite; I had neighbors a few years back who had a Tejano band that practiced next door at 10 AM on Saturdays, and this didn't help either). What really works for this song is the vocal track. I think the ornateness-yet-triteness of the instrumentation has a way of distracting you from the fact that the vocals are really yearning.

13. Bookends: As a child (I was perhaps 7 years old), I told my mom that this song was weird because it just kind of faded in and out for like a minute and didn't say much. This, of course, became precisely why I grew to love it. One of my favorites to play on guitar (all those double stops) and also possible to play on people's doorbell pipes if they have 3 or 4 (I've done this at parties and the melody is indeed recognizable. I'm an artist).

14. Cecilia: Simon and Garfunkel had a way of making songs that everyone can love. You don't have to be into the '60s (as I was raised to be) or a folk-music person (as I was raised to be) or a perv, or anything, to love this song. It's totally pervy (and helped warp me as a child, or so I like to believe), but it's totally cute. It's anachronistic, as Simon's best attempts at multi-culti songs are: you don't really feel like you're listening to a traditional Latin American folksong, but it doesn't sound like anything else that was released in 1969. All you know is that you want to clap your hands, stomp your feet, and sing along to what a silly hoe Cecilia is and how you don't care as long as she comes back. A metaphor for life, really.

I love music.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

I Heart Threesomes

M'Lah: "Hipster, how many threesomes have you had since your divorce?"

Hipster: "Oh, if you don't count the two different bisexual ones in '04, I've had three gay threesomes in the last 6 or 7 months. So really, not that many."

M'Lah: "You realize that five threesomes in two years - even forgetting your college days, mind you - is more than most people ever have in their entire lives?"

Hipster: "No, that can't be true. Really?"

===

Apparently, there are reasons why I scare people sometimes. But it's not like I tell strangers my sexual history when I meet them. Still, there would seem to be a general personality trait in there somewhere. Something in the disinhibited-thrillseeking realm? Perhaps.

Threesomes can be hard to coordinate, and they can spell doom for a couple-on-the-brink; further, they quite often involve a lot of drama between people. And, it's exponentially harder to repeat a threesome with the same cast than to repeat a one-night-stand between two people. You're looking at a one-time shot for that exact menage.

But damn, there are just things you can get out of a threesome that you can't get out of a deux-some:

(1) Oral sex - by - deux. Fun to go down on a stranger with a buddy. Fun to have two buddies go down on you together. Do both people lick the head? Or does one focus on the dick and the other on the balls? Not to mention the rimjobblowjob, also known as the "ohmyfuckinggodthatfeelssogoodicantbelieveitshappeningtome."

(2) Synchronized fucking. If you're lying on the bed, you get a phenomenon I like to call "The Double Earthquake." Imagine two different sine waves of thrust: the first is going in and out of you, but the second is a little more distant, and modulates the first. This is like being fucked by a Bootsy Collins LP when you're used to being fucked by Pat Boone.

Now, if you're in the middle of this one, you're feeling "The Night At The Roxbury." You somehow have the most and the least control at once. This could also be called the "How D'y'like THEM Apples" position. Slap on a jimmy hat, start goin' to town. "Oh, you like that? You like that?"... and then comes Mr. 3 from behind with a big ol' HowdyDoodyUpTheBungHole. This is definitely about the most involved one can be in a threesome. Hell, if this were the only thing that you did in a threesome, those in the first and third positions of the Funk Orchestra could plausibly (and Clintonianly) argue that they've never had sex.

Being the caboose in a synchronized fuck is a blessing and a curse. You don't always get the full-on-plow because you're working with weird angles. But this is totally made up for by the fact that you're drivin' this train, goddammit, and there's something really exciting about fucking the first person by remote. (Is it a bisexual threesome? Are you fucking the guy into the girl? HOT. Is it a gay threesome? Do you get to fuck your friend/BF/stranger with someone else's dick? Oh Hells Yes you do).

(3) Voyeurism. Some people (kinky couples?) like to have other people watch them fuck. But it's much more fun when you get to be really in on it, when you can move in and out of the action to watch (or just crane your neck from wherever and whatever you're doing). Yeah, you can see the basketball game a little better if you're a few rows up. But isn't the courtside experience just a little more exciting? You're damn right it is.

(4) Auteurism. We can't all go to film school and make movies, directing actors to bring our whims and fantasies to life. But we sure as hell can tell the two people in bed with us what they ought to be doing to each other. However, this can bring about the next perk...

(5) Triadic Power Dynamics. Did you ever think bullying and ganging up on people, and being bullied and ganged up on was hot? If you've read this far, you're probably in the percentage of the population that acknowledges this and not in the percentage who pretends it's a lie. Mmmmm, by the time you're having sex with two other people, the "easily persuaded" dynamic is in the air and real fun - real, hot fun - can occur. None of this "let's stare at each other in the eyes and intellectualize about everything" bullshit. More like, whatever two people can agree on is what the third is going to do. This frees you up to get what you want from them, and it frees them up to get what they want from you, and it frees all of you up from worrying about anything but pleasing each other.

(6) The Whole Silverware Drawer. Oh yeah? You like to spoon? Like to be the little spoon or the big spoon? Fuck that shit, when you got a fork, knife, and spoon you're having a picnic of sweet dreams. Just be sure you packed enough condoments for "breakfast"...

So, in summation, it has hereby been proven by one Mr. A.H. Hipster on this day that Threesomes Officially Rock. Put that in your pipe and smoke it... with two friends, of course...