Saturday, July 30, 2005

All grown up

For the last five years, I 've had a flimsy (yet handsome) card table in my dining room:
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And why did I live with such ghetto furniture for so long? It's not that I'm cheap (well, not totally cheap)—it's just that my dining room is small, which limits my selection, and I never really found anything I liked enough to make a commitment.

But that all changed this morning. Last weekend I stumbled on a great dining room set with all the criteria I was looking for: no bigger than 42", round with a leaf so I have room to host emergency state dinners, sturdy ... and not terribly expensive, since I don't plan to live in this shoebox much longer. And it was delivered this morning (soon after I finished my first 13-mile run of the summer, he added parenthetically in a burst of shameless self-promotion):
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I'm not WILD about the look (all those horizontal slats = way too much dusting), but it's fine for now. And the blond finish seems to fit in with the cacophany of other wood finishes in my dining room.

And finally, at 37 years old, I'm gonna be able to sit at the grown-ups table. Yay for me!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

The lazy blogger

Instead of posting real, thoughful, imaginative content, he just sends you to other people's clever sites and counts on earning points through the transitive property of cool hyperllinks.

Today's site: stuffonmycat. Stuff + cats = awesome!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The purging

I always keep a to-get-rid-of pile in the corner of my bedroom, where I slowly accumulate things I’ve decided I’ll never wear again. I typically wait until the pile gets big enough to fill a shopping bag, and then I take a trip to my friendly gayborhood Brown Elephant, where I drop everything off and return to my slightly roomier house with an always-in-style receipt that I dutifully file in my folder of tax write-offs.

This weekend, though, I played General Sherman and conducted a take-no-prisoners march through my sea of pants, shorts, jeans, shirts, shoes and even underwear—and managed to unload a good 150 pounds of stuff I haven’t worn (or shouldn’t have worn) in years.

Here are all my doomed possessions spread out on my bed:
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And here, dear friends, is an embarrassing march through some specific items in my Shopping Hall of Shame:
Image hosted by Photobucket.comNothing says I kiss my sister on the mouth. With tongue. faster than a string tank. ESPECIALLY a string tank scooped so severely that it doesn’t even cover your nipples. While I might not have had the presence of mind to leave it in the discount bin where I found it five years ago, I at least had the presence of mind to never wear it.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comClockwise from the top left: Short-sleeve button-up shirt decorated in newsprint and bold blocks of primary colors. Purchased with my employee discount at the department store where I worked during the summer of 1985. It could not be more ’80s if it had epaulets and butterfly sleeves, which, thankfully, it didn’t. Mickey Mouse baseball shirt. Purchased in the mid-1990s to celebrate a promotion at my last job. Back when I was muscular enough to wear an extra large. Short-sleeve button-up shirt decorated with little cartoon men in red underwear and blue bowler hats and carrying briefcases. You can see their nipples. Purchased the summer of 1988 in Buffalo, New York. The guy I was “dating” that summer purchased one to match, if I remember correctly.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comClockwise from the top left: Shorty-short short shorts, ostensibly for running. I got them in trade when I did some free-lance writing for a gym I belonged to around 1992. The managers were too freakin’ cheap to pay me in cash. I was too freakin’ stupid to never wear them. The sock. Yes, the sock, International Male’s celebrated jockstrap without pantylines. (For the record, either I have some freakin’ huge manly parts or the damn thing doesn’t do anything to hold any man’s boys in place. Or both.) Dish towel reading “Oh, goody. More dishes to wash.” It was a gift, people! Shiny, stripey, kinda seethrough sleeveless shirt from the house of Hot Spice. Purchased three years ago with the approval of Mark. Never worn.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comJean shorts, the hallmark of a society on the decline. Or at least a society not opposed to the idea of incestuous polygamy. But you don’t know the half of it: These jean shorts aren’t even a respectable name brand. They’re Merona. From Target. And I had five pair in various colors, including sage, sand, white and black.

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And you thought jean shorts were humiliating. From the top left: Black pleather jeans. Bought for $35 (on sale!) at Nordstrom three years ago. Worn once—to a showing of Cabaret. Gray snakeskin vinyl jeans. Bought for half price at a going-out-of-business sale last year. Never worn. Gray parachute-material jeans. Same story. (If that clerk was smart enough to sell me two pair of loser-ass jeans, why was he going out of business?)

And that, my friends, is enough embarrassment for one day. Please keep your derision and mockery to yourselves.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Not dead

Just very, very busy. Sorry for the paucity of posts.

While I haven’t been posting, I HAVE been doing lots of things. Interesting things. And some not-so-interesting things. For instance, in the last week alone I’ve accomplished all this:

• I worked two 13-hour days and one 21-hour day. That’s right: a 21-hour day. I left my office at 5:30 am on Friday. As the sun was coming up. It was like doing the walk of shame with your hair (and dignity and genital health) still intact. And then I had to be back at noon on Friday for a client call. And I’m STILL tired. And my workload has STILL not let up. ACK!

• I ran three miles on Monday. That’s it. I should be running 5–8 miles three times a week, but with this schedule I guess I’ll take what I can get. I did manage to squeeze in a nice 12-mile run on Saturday. In the rain. Which I love.

• I took a two-hour architectural boat tour of the Chicago riverfront on Tuesday as part of a company summer outing. I end up taking this tour one way or another every year, and every year it gives me more reasons to believe that Chicago is the coolest city.

• I totally copied this hot straight guy sitting with his wife and kids in front of me on the boat tour. He was obviously a runner, see, and his legs were not only lean and muscular and sexy, but they were shaved and tan. They looked totally hot, and since my legs are feeling kinda lean and muscular and sexy as I train for the marathon, I wanted in on some of that hotness and tanness. So I shaved my legs this weekend. And I put on two coats of fake tan. And now I itch like a woolen bathing garment.

• I went party-hopping like the vapid socialite I am. In the space of seven days I managed to squeeze in a good-bye party for my friend Bill in one of the funky-coolest apartments in Chicago (think Spanish art colony with a killer view), a birthday party for a guy I barely know, a small celebration of my 5-year Chicagoversary, a housewarming for some friends who’ve been renovating a grand old manse for over three years and finally moved in for good, and a client “barbecue” that ended up being a five-star catered outdoor dining experience in one of the modern-coolest condos in Chicago (think post-nuclear industrial loft with a breathtaking view of the Chicago skyline). I was invited to two more parties last week (hey, when it rains it pours), but even us vapid socialites need time to eat and sleep and shave our legs.

• I saw The Wedding Crashers (check out the younger lawyer in the first scene—he's from my home town!) and Batman Begins. The former was pretty good—and this guy is pretty hot in it—and the latter was AWESOME.

• I also went through 10+ years’ accumulation of my unworn clothing and ended up hauling a good 150 pounds of stuff in seven huge sacks to the Brown Elephant yesterday. It took me three or four hours to try on every pair of pants and jeans and shorts I owned, do a butt check and an embarrassing pleats check and an even-more-embarrassing fat-gooey-waist check—and I ended up sending over half of it all off to find a new home and fend for itself in the real world. And that was just the pants. I still have more shirts and shoes than most well-stocked department stores—all bought on sale, of course—and don’t even get me started on the coats and sweaters I haven’t worn since Dubya was fighting evil in Vietnam. Watch this space for all the embarrassing pleated pants pictures!

Friday, July 22, 2005

2:30 am on a Friday

I'm still wearing the pants, shirt, shoes and underwear (HA! UNDERWEAR!) I put on yesterday morning. BECAUSE I'M STILL AT WORK.

It's been like this for a couple of days.

I'm so groggy and unfocused I can barely keep my eyes open. And yet I'm supposed to be proofing one more concept board that gets on a plane in five hours and persuades one of our clients that we're just the alert, focused, endlessly creative team they need for a lucrative new initiative.

Fortunately, my dragon breath and my atomic pits and my swamp ass and the fact that I just said underwear (HA! UNDERWEAR!) are helping prevent me from falling asleep.

So ... very ... very ... tired ...

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

My two-year blogiversary!

I hate it when people do this, but now I'm doing it myself: I'm writing a post that says I don't have much to say today.

I just wanted to mark the anniversary of this thing that has let me get stuff off my chest, play around with writing styles and voices, tell stories, share information, and discover just how awesome—and occasionally rude—perfect strangers can be.

I may be quiet for a while; work, the marathon and some random personal things are demanding a lot of my attention right now. Plus, it's freakin' HOT here, and nobody likes to read stuff written by a sweaty blogger.

Be good while I'm gone.

Monday, July 18, 2005

I hope there's a statue of limitations

Um ... hi, everybody. My name's ... uh ... Jake ...

Hi, Jake!

And ... uh ... I'm a statue molester:
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Fortunately, I just learned I'm not alone in my perversion. And other people's photographic records are way more damning—and way funnier—than my little peek up Napoleon's robe.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Five years ago today

a thirtysomething fella named Jake stood in the middle of a charming little tree-lined Chicago street just off Lake Michigan and waved good-bye as his parents tooled off in their empty U-Haul toward what until that morning had been Jake’s lifetime home in Iowa.

Two weeks earlier, see, Jake had come to Chicago to visit a friend and watch the Chicago pride parade. He had thought it would be interesting to line up a job interview at a big-shot Chicago advertising agency while he was in town—you know: just for fun—and, surprisingly, that agency had actually offered him a job. On the spot. With moving expenses. And could he start immediately?

Jake got that “immediately” commuted to “in three weeks” so he could go home, catch his breath, quit his job, list his house, coordinate a move and try to make this abrupt, seismic shift in his life go as smoothly as possible.

One week after the job offer, Jake and his dad had gotten up at 3:00 am to drive into Chicago and undertake a one-day marathon to find an apartment he could move into a week later. Which was surprisingly harder than it had sounded. Securing an apartment takes a lot of time, and finding a clean, safe, decent apartment with no crack whores and maybe convenient parking at a reasonable price is not an easy task for people who don’t know where to look.

But it all happened. Jake quit his job, sold his house, found his apartment, sold three-fourths of his stuff so he could actually fit in his apartment, rented a truck, recruited friends to help on both ends of the trip … and suddenly there he was. Living in Chicago. Waving good-bye to his parents as they drove back to Iowa.

And then he climbed the steps to his new Chicago apartment, sat down among the piles of unpacked boxes, surveyed his new kingdom and thought to himself:


But after a reasonable period of adjustment, Jake finally came to feel at home in Chicago. And over the last five years he’s made quite a mark for himself here: he’s revitalized Oprah’s saggy ratings, helped the Cubs win the Super Bowl and starred in three direct-to-Broadway smash hits. Plus, he’s managed to keep his job and upgrade from his tiny rented cubbyhole to a dee-luxe shoebox condo in the sky.

And, as the cliché goes, he still can’t believe it’s been five years since that sunny Sunday afternoon when he stood in the street, watching his folks drive away and suddenly realizing how different his life was about to become.

The moral of the story: Life goes faster and faster the older you get, kids, so pay attention and hold onto the memories while you still have your mental capacities. Or else just take a lot of pictures.

The other moral to the story: Take a leap now and then. Change jobs. End an unhappy relationship. Move to a new city. Shave your balls. Paint something in a bold color. Buy the more expensive jeans. Say hi to a handsome stranger. Train for a marathon. Start a blog. Join a beach volleyball team. Do something outside your comfort zone. And then just wait—your life will very likely be a lot richer in five years because of it. Or else your balls will just be itchy.

Friday, July 15, 2005

No longer a virgin

I’ve lived in Chicago five years (tomorrow!), and until today I’ve never even walked by the everyone’s-been-there-but-Jake Billy Goat Tavern.

But that just changed. I was all set to head out the door for my noon workout when a guy I work with convinced me that a belly full of grease and more grease offered FAR greater health benefits than a set of pumped-up pipes. (I do arms on Fridays because when I first set up my workout schedule many years ago I figured the pythons would help me meet guys on my weekend jaunts to the bars and I wanted them to look plump and juicy and inviting. But admitting that in my blog would just make me seem superficial and slutty, so I’ll just keep that bit of information to myself. Now I do arms on Fridays because I’m too lazy to come up with a different workout schedule.)

Anyway, we grabbed our trim-ish tummies and well-fitting pants and headed off to the land of cheezborgers and no Pepsi around noon. And it was just as fun as I'd expected. The guy behind the counter yells “cheezborger!” at you the moment you butt in (GET IT? BUTT IN!), and he upgrades you from a double to a triple if you look like a double won’t adequately smother your abs in a thick shroud of goo. And the cheezborgers are pretty good—especially because they’re served on lightly toasted, perfectly textured Kaiser rolls. HOW GAY!

The best part of the lunch happened as soon as we’d gotten our orders and sat down: A busload of tourists from Stripmall, Nebraska, descended on the place with their pleated shorts and their oversized polo shirts from Kohl’s and their fanny packs and their almost-mullets and their self-conscious little smiles because they had seen the Billy Goat Tavern on SNL way back when pleated shorts were actually fashionable and now they were actually IN the Billy Goat Tavern which meant that THEY WERE A PART OF TELEVISION HISTORY.

But we didn’t make fun of them or anything. Not too loudly, at least.

And once we’d popped my greasy little Billy Goat cherry finished our cheezborgers and Cokes (I actually had a root beer, because I’m edgy and I don’t let no stupid TV show tell me what to drink), we waddled back to the office so I could blog about it all. And soon I’m running across the street to Nordstrom to check out their big-ass anniversary sale. Because that’s what the glamorous world of advertising is all about. Especially on a sunny Friday afternoon when a bunch of your meetings have been canceled. And you suddenly need to buy bigger pants.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

I take no credit for this:

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All I did was find it in some long-forgotten folder, resize it and post it here.

And giggle like a naughty schoolgirl the whole time.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Go now and vote for the bottom left 2005 Chicago Marathon T-shirt option:
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Go on! Vote! NOW!

When I wear my marathon shirt, I want people who see me on sidewalks, from passing buses, through the windows on the EL two cars away and even waving from my private Evita balcony to stop and say: THAT big homo ran a marathon? DAMN!

Last year’s shirt design was an abomination before all things right and holy—mostly because it looked gayer than a picnic on a Sunday afternoon:
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But also because the words “Chicago Marathon” were so small and so dwarfed by the cheesy clip art that wouldn’t even get a passing grade in a kindergarten watercolor class that people who saw me wearing it would just think I had on my special shirt I wore for eating spaghetti or wrestling pigs or belly-sliding through shallow pools of industrial waste.

In welcome contrast, the bottom left T-shirt option for this year’s marathon is both jock-wannabe cool and readable from across a crowded discount furniture warehouse.

And really, if I sacrifice my knees, my hips, my social life AND my ability to regulate my own poop for a couple weeks in October, the least you can do is help ensure that some loser too cheap to pay retail for a recliner sofa will look up from the handwritten tag on a plaid Broyhill scratch-n-dent, grunt to himself when he sees my shirt and think:
Now THERE is a real man. (I wonder if this comes in a beer color.)


Monday, July 11, 2005

Miracle on 7/11th Street*

Today I entered blogging history.
Today I donned the Tiara of Validity.
Today I sat at the right hand of Blog the Father.
Today I won the Tour de Bandwidth.
Today I remembered to thank the Academy.
Today I upgraded to the pleather interior.
Today I moved on up to a dee-luxe apartment in the sky.
Today posted a load o’ crappy puns and hyperbole.

Today, July 11, 2005, a day that will live in nobody’s mind but my own, I crossed the 100,000 mark on my hit counter. And I’d like to thank you, dear reader(s), for getting me there—but my compulsive need to re-read and re-write every post over and over ad nauseam combined with my obsessive need to check for new comments every time I’m in the same room as a computer probably pushed my hit counter a wee tiny bit prematurely into the six figures (seven if you count the comma).

In any case, please hold your applause. It’s easier to send congratulatory emails and order expensive online gifts with both hands on the keyboard.

*I tried to think of a less sucky more clever headline than this. Really I did. But I failed.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

I woke up this morning

in the arms of a big hunka hairy manmeat.
Jake & Jack
Sadly, today is the last time anyone will wake up in those blue sheets. I've been washing them and putting them right back on my bed (which is way easier than folding them) for more than 10 years. But the poor things have been ripped and repaired so often they're looking more than a little ghetto. They're so thin in places you can read through them. And at some point this week some clumsy homo pushed a whole foot through them:
sheet hole
So goodbye, my faithful friends. I'll be sure to observe a moment of silence when I dump you down the trash chute today.


In happier news, Scarrie–The Musical was fun last night. The show is wickedly funny, the cast is loaded with talent—and with hotties of both genders. David is as delightful as his blog leads you to believe. And Andy was the best bitter, resentful, making-out-in-public-is-the-best-revenge one-night prom-chaperone stage boyfriend I've ever had. Ever.

And in far less interesting news, I'm curiously not very sore after yesterday's twelve eleven-mile run. But I woke up with a mucho sexy wife-beater farmer burn to commemorate the event. My building also woke up this morning with no water in our pipes and no lights in our hallways or elevators. Seriously—the elevators work, but somebody had to hang glow sticks in them so we could see which buttons to push. It's kinda like living on the set of CSI: Miami, where even the morgue looks like it could burst forth in a sea of go-go boys and circuit queens at any moment. Unfortunately, none of them could take a shower because we have no freakin' water.

Oh, how I wish I'd pooped before I crawled between my holy sheets last night.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Last chance!

Tonight is Andy's and my one-night-only appearance in Scarrie–The Musical. Curtain is at 7:30. It's going to be EPIC. I'd hate for you to miss it.
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Oh—and I reached a new marathon training milestone today: 12 miles! (Actually 11 miles plus two half-mile stretches of walking off a bit of heat stroke. This is the LAST time I start a long run at 11:00 am.)

And I have to say there are some freakin' HOTTIES wandering in blessedly little around North Avenue Beach. It's enough to induce an eating disorder and a bitter case of dysmorphia. And a little private time in the shower.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

A bloody good time

So if you missed last month’s fabulous chorus show, you won’t have to wait until our next concert (in December!) to see my big gay ass on stage. Because this Saturday, for one night only (come on, big baby, come on!), I’ll be appearing with fellow blogger Andymatic in this fabulous musical restaging of the prommiest movie ever written:
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Andy and I are headlining starring passing out programs doing a custom-written celebrity* walk-on as gay prom chaperones. Gay prom chaperones who MAKE OUT.

* Our definition of “celebrity” here is less about the fact that we write mildly popular blogs and more about the fact that Scarrie–The Musical director David Cerda is skillfully flattering us into using our blogs for free publicity. I know what you’re up to, David—and I can always be bought with a tube of greasepaint, a follow spot and the opportunity to mash onstage with another married blogger. Always.

And to prove it, I offer the following shameless plug:

Break out your ruffled dickeys (HA! RUFFLED DICKEYS!), power ’fros and rayon halter dresses and join us this Saturday for the most promtastic, splatterific, man-on-mantastic piece of theater in the known universe. Because if you don’t come, we’re all gonna laugh at you.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Stop! Killing! Me!

My niece and nephew get along better than the vast majority of siblings in the three- to six-year-old range. They are best friends and playmates about 90% of the time they're together—and my six-year-old nephew shows incredible patience when his little sister follows him around and emulates and worships him as though she were the Trekkie-under-a-restraining-order to his Leonard Nimoy.

So it's especially amusing—and sometimes alarming—when they act like normal under-10 siblings and start antagonizing each other. Like this morning, when the niece decided to chase her brother around with a pair of scissors.

And like the bad, irresponsible parents, grandparents and uncle we are, we laughed our asses off when the nephew, summoning all his passive-passive powers of persuasion, demanded at the top of his little lungs: Stop! Killing! Meeeeeeee!