Friday, June 29, 2007

June 29th: the Day I Blogged About Nothing

It would figure y'know. It's Friday. The day before the long weekend. Our office is closing at 4pm. I have nothing terribly pressing to work on. But can't think of much to blog about either.

I could talk about Eak's birthday coming up on the 4th, and the really cool present I got for him, but I can't say what it is y'know. We are going for some DELICIOUS Thai food to celebrate. It's difficult to get attendees for his birthday gatherings though, being so close to the first significant long-weekend of the summer n'all. So far we've got 6 friends coming, which is less than half of who was invited, but oh well. I'm sure it will be a good time regardless of numbers... everybody loves Eak. Seriously. I know I wouldn't ordinarily know if anyone didn't, but Eak's one of those people that others can't help but like instantly. (and not just because I'm biased) Poor guy's sick right now though. :( Nothing worse than a cold in the summer.

Well, until inspiration hits me... I think I'll just go Facebook for a while to bide my time. Did you know that "Facebook" is a verb now?? Yeah, just as of this moment. God I hate Facebook. I'm thinking of closing my account now that I've reconnected with a bunch of people. It's good for that if nothing else.

Anyhoo... happy Canada Day to you n'yours. Take a moment to appreciate being a Canadian eh?

Chicane "Don't Give Up"

Don't worry if the sun don't shine
You've seen it before, you don't need to worry
Everyday's an uphill climb - nothing has changed
Believe me when i tell ya

Don't give it up - Don't give it up...

Don't give up - ya know it's true
Gotta do what you wanna do
Don't give up - you don't have to
Gotta do what you wanna do
don't give up - ya know it's true
gotta do what you wanna do

Monday, June 25, 2007

Big Gay Weekend

This past weekend was officially my 3rd time experiencing Gay Pride in Toronto. And by far... this year was the best yet.

There once was a time when I would have told you that I didn't understand the point of "Gay Pride". At that time, I also I would have told you that the Pride parade and all of it's trappings was merely a spectacle that reinforced negative stereotypes and justified the opinions of people who wrongly assumed that all gay people were men in drag, and dressed-up like the Village People, and all lesbians were axe-toting lumberjacks who ride motor cycles and bare their breasts.

It kind of shames me to admit that. Because not only have I missed out on years of celebrations, but I also spent way too much time spouting off that rhetoric to people who would casually ask me if I was going to Pride. God knows, I had my own reasons for not wanting to go. The whole experience can be intimidating when you're insecure about the way you look and if you're not comfortable with your own identity. Hell... people can talk themselves out of anything with fear or insecurities. But the older I've gotten, and the more comfortable I am in my own skin, the more I've realized the reasons behind Pride.

Yeah, it is a spectacle, and it's political, and yeah, for many it's an excuse to drink your face off and party til you're physically unable to continue. But beyond that, it's also a demonstration of one of the most basic human needs: to feel loved, and accepted. And when you live your life being made to feel like you're an anomaly, or an evil pariah by birthright... finding an event like Pride, where hundreds of thousands of people are just like you, can be a very uplifting, spiritually edifying occasion. And when I say "just like you"... I'm generalizing of course, but there's something to be said for mingling/fraternizing/being among people who you might not identify with outwardly and celebrating their diversity right along with your own. 'Cause chances are, they've got some similarly painful experiences of being ostracized or discriminated against for just being who they are - just like you. That... is humbling... and endearing. And you'd be surprised just how many freaks, like-minded freak-loving people, and individuals of every colour of the rainbow (obvious tie-in there) can convene peacefully and celebrate, and abide without violence or incident. That in itself makes a great statement of solidarity and enlightenment - to me anyway.

At any rate, we had a really great time. Friday night, Ted, Rob, and Steve had their official "Girls Nite Out". It's a Pride Friday tradition for like 8 years running now. And every year I drop Ted off and pick him up at some ungodly hour like 3 or 4am. This year I almost tagged along, but I had other stuff to do. But needless to say, I waited up and brought the boys with me to pick up Ted at 3am. There was an accident on the Gardiner Expressway sooo... it took us well over an hour to get home. blah!

Saturday was supposed to be a cleaning/laundry day, but since we didn't get up til close to 11:30, we did S.F.A. 'cause we also had plans to go to the Dyke March with our friend Summer and her friends from Ottawa, then drive to Waterloo to meet up with Ted's sister Ali who was in town for a seminar for work. Time just got away from us so we didn't end-up going to the march. We just went to Waterloo, and had a really nice visit. Then booted-it back to Toronto to meet up with Summer and her friends, and our friends Rob & Jay, for the Indigo Girls concert. -'Turns out, Summer's friend Dawn reads my blog. That was a cool surprise! (Hi Dawn!)- Ted and I knew nothing about the Indigo Girls music before the concert and we were just blown away by the whole experience. It was truly beautiful. Their lyrics are soooo poetic and poignant to being gay in today's society. I think it's only the second time I've ever been moved to tears at a live concert. Once again, I was given the opportunity to just be with my Ted, and be myself, in an atmosphere that was so warm and accepting. The energy of that concert was so heartfelt and deep... you could just feel that everyone there was hanging off their every word at times. I also have to mention, that we really enjoyed the sign-language interpreter that performed the entire concert in the corner of the stage... He emoted every lyric with such passionate movement, it was just beautiful. Also... at the risk of sounding trite... there was this inflatable, flailing-armed tube-man attached to the roof of a building beside the stage that moved in the breeze, adding his own joyful little dance to the festivities. It was cute and celebratory without being a distraction. So, two new Indigo Girls fans walked out of that concert on Saturday. I've made two attempts to find some of their CD's to no avail, but I will. Mark my words.

Before I forget; let me also state that this is the most expensive-looking Pride event I've ever been to. They must've had one helluva budget considering all the stages, security, lighting, free concerts, decorations, and graphic projections on buildings etc. Pretty amazing. Not to mention, it could just be my perception, but I've never seen so many people EVERYWHERE. Who knows? I haven't seen an official count yet. (and upon a quick Google search it would seem they don't take a count, so there you go - I'll just say there were a BILLION-TRILLION people there and you have to take my word for it.)

Anyhoo... after the concert we waited in line on Church street to get into this little restaurant. Everybody was a little tired, and the place was LOUD so the conversations were a little difficult. But towards the time we were getting ready to leave, doesn't this 19 year old cutie named Eric show up at our table with a pitcher of beer and a stack of glasses. Yeah, he was just looking for a perch to drink, but he was very intelligent and funny. In a very short span of time, we learned that he lives near the African Lion Safari, and has his very own pet Llama named Chop Chop. He even had a picture of himself with Chop Chop on his cell phone. He entertained us with a couple of stories and then we bailed on him. At which point, he literally took off out the window with his pitcher of beer. (not one of us took him up on his offer to have some.) He was so adorable though, he probably would've had an audience for a great deal longer had it been just the four drooling men at the table. Anyhow. Good times that night. (didn't get to bed til 3am incidentally)

Sunday morning we were up at 9:30am to make it downtown to hook-up with our friend Arran at the home of one of his friends. There was a rather large group of us there for a hung-over, hazed brunch of sorts. We had Mimosa's (or as I like to call them: Homo-sas) and quiche, and pizza, and all sorts of oven-heated treats. We'd stopped at a bakery beforehand so we brought fresh danish, and Cinnamon bagels, and an apple strudel. Mmmm... food. It was a good group of people too. We just kind of hung-out and then wandered down to Yonge Street to watch the parade. The weather was great, but y'see, I'm a pasty ol' Irish boy. Direct sunlight makes us melt. Luckily SPF 30 does the trick for me and even though I spent 2+ hours in the broiling solar flare conditions, I suffered nay any burns. It was enjoyable. I like being able to see the names of the organizations as they pass by. Groups like PFLAG really warm my heart, so I make sure to cheer extra loud when those proud parents walk by. They deserve it.

I know I'm skipping a lot of detail about the parade right now, but as with any event like that, you really do kinda hafta be there to experience it... the wall of people... throngs of beautiful and freaky people, normal people, families, kids, the elderly... the smiles... the polite and respectful nature of the whole thing... it is something to be proud of.

...AFTER the parade, we hit a shitty little pub called the Village Green. Shitty little pub... no further description required, trust me. But then we made our way over to the Wellesley Stage (same place we saw Indigo Girls) to see Lady Ms Keir (formerly of Deee Lite). That was a fonky, fonky, fonky good time. Ted was like a kid in a candy store, because Deee Lite has always been one of his favourite bands.
That inflatable, flailing-armed tube-man was still there, and you should've seen him boogie to Lady Kier man! Psychedelica! Arran and all of his friends accompanied us, but during the concert we kinda got separated, so it was just me, Ted, Arran and Alex (Arran's room mate). Arran was smashed, wrecked, and plastered. "We" were simply high. Yeah... it was a fun time.

Sadly, just as Rob and Jay found us (with much inaudible cell-phone communication - ie: yelling without knowing whether I was being heard) we had to go to pick up the dogs from Ted's sister Mel's place. They stayed there for a doggie sleepover Saturday afternoon til Sunday evening.

Phew... I know I'm leaving a whole lot out... but I've just gotta post this now, before it's too late to be relevant. If you get the chance though... I really do recommend Pride... whether you're gay, bi, straight, or whatever. It's really not about your sexuality... it's about being who you are and accepting others for who they are. And like I said before. That is something to be proud of.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Doin' the Pigeon

You Are Bert

Extremely serious and a little eccentric, people find you loveable - even if you don't love them!

You are usually feeling: Logical - you rarely let your emotions rule you

You are famous for: Being smart, a total neat freak, and maybe just a little evil

How you live your life: With passion, even if your odd passions (like bottle caps and pigeons) are baffling to others

Well... Not exactly "DOING" the pigeon. It's a dance you pervs!! If you don't know your Sesame Street, then it's your loss.

I don't normally post this silly kind of stuff (I normally post OTHER silly kinds of stuff). But this was just ...well... pretty accurate.

Let it be known though that I would NOT be letting that UNIBROW go unattended if I had one.

"MY" Puss... Not "YO" Puss! Silly JoMo!

And here it is... as promised... I looked, and I found.

Just as a prelude, I have to say it was much funnier "live" at the True Colors Tour, because Ms Cho had the opportunity to lead into the song with a background character bit. It which she and her "girlfriend" Angela, talked about how they'd been together for 11 years and lived in San Francisco. Margaret plays "Maureen"... a lesbian with a very affected Asian accent, and Angela is a butch dyke from NY or NJ. They shared the secret to perfect cunnilingus... which had a hysterical lead-up to the reveal that it's "spelling the alphabet with your tongue". WHO KNEW peeps?? God knows I'll never try it, but hey... "Go to Town on yo' girl". "Maureen" claimed it helped her learn English. hee hee

Anyhow... back to the video... the introduction to it (at the concert) was that Maureen and Angela have a conservative next door neighbour, who's an old lady who hates homosexuals. And one morning after just having waved hello to the girls she went inside and called to have Angela and Maureen's RV towed because it was partially parked on her property. She didn't ask them to move it... she just had it towed. So to channel their angry feelings... they wrote a rap about this lady, as opposed to resorting to violence. hee hee

So without anymore gum-flappin' from me... "My Puss", by Maureen and Angela.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

True Colors Recap

Last night was a very unique and uplifting experience, and I don't think I'm ever going to forget it. Speaking of course about the "True Colors Tour" (to benefit the Human Rights Campaign --and Toronto Pride as it turns out.) I've never been to an event (other than Pride) where all the gay folk outnumbered everyone else so blatantly and it was wonderfully liberating to just "be" there. It was an opportunity for friends, and couples and loved-ones in general to relax and be themselves.
Openly-expressed affection was absolutely everywhere and over the course of the evening you couldn't help but feel overwhelmed with gratitude to the organizers... and just downright proud to be a Canadian. We (gay folk) really do have a lot to be thankful for, living where we can be acknowledged for who we are, have same-sex work benefits, insurance policies and the like and the right to be married. Even in the US, (where everything is supposed to be life, liberty and apple pie) they don't enjoy the same liberties and freedoms that we do. And admittedly, sometimes we take that for granted. Last night was a huge reminder.

Now, on the downside... I largely didn't enjoy the music. Granted, we arrived late and near the end of The Dresdon Dolls (I may have misspelled that) set. They were OK. Very artistic, but not very melodic material. Certainly not boring. The entire evening was plagued with sound-system issues and I think the chick from the dolls was a little new to the whole "performing live" mic technique, so most of her vocals were distorted and more than a little unintelligible.

Deborah Harry... ehhhh heh heh... ssssss... let's just say she still sings well. I've never been a fan, not even of Blondie... and quite honestly Deborah Harry's "tired, truck-stop hooker with a hangover" image as a gay icon just mystifies me. But oh well. Good for her. She's there for a good cause, and you have to give her kudos for that. Even if you wished someone off-stage would tell her.... "Uhh, y'know what? You really don't have to move if you don't want to. It won't take anything away from your art." (with reference to her... umm.... dancing??? strutting??? about the stage) I told my boss that she was a bit "sad", to which she replied "Yeah she kind of has that "old whore that's been ridden-hard and put-away wet" look to her." Even now that makes me laugh.

Erasure... I don't get it. I understand they're pioneers. One of, if not the first openly gay pop bands. But the lead-singer dude... god-awful. Again, I was never a fan of Erasure, and I was surprised to learn that I had actually heard a good 3 or 4 songs before in my life. They're lyrics were good. I'll give them that. I also thought it was cool that their entire ensemble (band) consisted of 3 back-up singers and a guy with a MacBook. Too bad the lead singer sounds like Robert Smith (from The Cure) being forced through a juicer by some sharp object. Harsh, yeah. I know. I did enjoy how much the crowd enjoyed them though. The crowd WENT NUTS for Erasure. So Hey... it's all good. I wasn't harmed by it. Just had to derive pleasure from watching everyone else have such a good time.

Cyndi Lauper, was truly wonderful. She opened her show with "I've Got a Hole in My Heart That Goes All the Way to China". lol It was great. This was my first time ever seeing her live and she was just as sweet, and wacky, and down-to-earth as I ever imagined her to be. She was down running around in the audience and shaking hands with the fans. The whole tour was her baby and her vision. And for that, I'm just in awe of what a wonderful lady she is. She played quite a few new songs from her upcoming album, and a few of the classics ("Time After Time", "Money Changes Everything", "I Drove All Night", "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", and "She Bop" one of my personal favs.) I loved that she covered a Prince song... ("When U Were Mine") cool is that? And she had just the right energy. Again, sound problems were a real issue. There was one point where she was talking to the crowd and introducing a song and there was no sound whatsoever until midway through the song. God only knows what she was saying. I regret not being able to hear. While Cyndi was on-stage the crowd was in a state of perpetual movement whether to the ballads or the up-tempo stuff. One big party. And overall a very emotionally moving evening. For her finale, the entire ensemble of acts from the evening came out on stage to perform "Take a Chance on Me" by ABBA, with giant multi-coloured balloons being launched into the audience. And then the show closed with everyone, (audience included) singing "True Colors". An opportunity for much hugging and swaying... and feeling the freedom to be whole, and safe from the negativity that all gay people endure at one point or another. It was gratifying, and nurturing.

Oh... and before I run... Margaret Cho... HYSTERICAL. She was the epitome of funny. I especially enjoyed the "Yo Puss" rap. I'm going to look for it online, and post it if I can.

Sorry Shawn; no pics. But I did send Cyndi some major Kitty-Luv-Energy!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I Distinctly See Ramsay's Aneurysm

Just a quick entry for now... I just have to mention "Hell's Kitchen". The more I watch this show; the more I'm convinced that Chef Ramsay is destined to be the first star of a reality show to die live on camera of an aneurysm. That or be killed by a kitchen-utensil-wielding contestant who just can't take any more of his abuse.

I know most, if not all of this show could very well be scripted, but if it's not, there's no wonder these wannabe-restaurateurs "f**k" up so frequently and so thoroughly. Ramsay is a tyrant. A raving, maniacal tyrant. But there lies the dilemma: if he treated the contestants with any level of human kindness or dignity, the spectacle that is "Hell's Kitchen" wouldn't be nearly as entertaining.

That being said... "Thanks to all that is good in the universe that Aaron will not be returning to the game." My threshold of pain was weakening with every moment he was on-screen. And I can't help but wonder how he made it on the show. I'm guessing the retirement home he cooks for must have held a blue-haired rally to convince him that he simply makes the best stewed cabbage and prune puree that have ever passed over dentures, and surely he could win on that delightful reality TV program.

Goodbye Joanna. Good luck getting another kitchen job after nearly poisoning half a restaurant with rancid crab.

Man, this show is riveting. I say that without even the slightest hint of sarcasm.

Tonight Ted and I are going to the "True Colo(u)rs Tour" (w Cyndi Lauper, Deborah Harry, Erasure and a bunch of acts we've never heard of.) Outdoor show... so wish us luck. The tickets were free, so I guess I shouldn't complain if we get rained-on.

Back to work.

"Hat Full of Stars" by Cyndi Lauper (one of my favourites by her from the now, very-old CD of the same name)

I was folding up your letters
Unpacking winter clothes
Searching for my hat I thought I left it by the door
So I tore around the room
Like a bird without a head
I saw your picture waving back at me
From underneath the bed
From a long, long time ago

When all I had
Was a hat full of stars
The one I'll always treasure
The one that you wore
You loved the look
But you never looked inside
You would have seen us there
You could've seen far
You should've seen the magic
In my hat full of stars

I'm trying to live in the present
But I keep tripping on the past
Finding out reality,
well clarity comes in dribs and drabs
No we never had the time
For everything we had
So it felt like we had nothing
That's what makes this hat so sad
It was a long, long time ago

When all we had
Was a hat full of stars
The one I'll always treasure
The one that you wore
You loved the look
But you never looked inside
You would have seen us there
You could've seen far
You should've seen the magic
In my hat full of stars

Now whenever I'm alone
And I think I might forget
I wear my lucky hat
Just like a crown up on my head

'Cause all I have
Is a hat full of stars...
The one I'll always treasure
The one that you wore
You loved the look
But you never looked inside
If you could see me now
You would've seen far
You should've seen the magic
In my hat full of stars...

Friday, June 15, 2007

Woofstock Part 2

As promised... the riveting 2-parter continues.
Here's a pair of spoiled pooches taking in the scenery before plunging headlong into a cascading sea of wagging tails, wet noses, and of course... butts to sniff.
Last year, we didn't make it to Woofstock, but the year before it was in the Distillery district, which was cramped and provided an entirely cement/paved terrain. This year Woofstock took place just a block north of the St Lawrence market and stretched about 2-3 city blocks in a couple of directions. Among this closed-off-to-traffic area was a park with plenty of trees and just enough grass to do your doggie thang. (as doggies tend to do... or is that "doo doo"?)
First impression this year? WOW even more dogs than the last time we came. (estimated 140,000 dogs - WHOA!!) And among them, more Great Danes than I've ever seen in my life.
These 3 (pictured right) were quietly attending a vendor booth with their owners. They're the second largest dog in the world, and certainly one of the most docile. We saw at least 15 of these gentle giants walking about, and I cannot stress how much I love them. They're so majestic and kind. I'd love to have one, but I don't forsee it anytime soon. For one, they're frickin' HUGE and would most certainly need a domain a little bigger than any apartment we've ever lived in, and secondly, I don't think I could handle the heart-break of their short life-span. They only live to be 8 or 9 years old (best case scenario) and that would just devastate me.
I already think that dogs (in general) don't live long enough. But maybe that's part of the beauty of their existance.... to touch our hearts with their tender neediness and boundless unconditional love, and then show us how to deal with one of life's greatest hardships: loss of a loved one.

Anyhow. These big galoots were everywhere. And above is a little comparison of how a Dane stands up to my boys (size-wise). Hee hee... my midgets.
This was a picture taken during a lull... just one of those scenery-type dealies. ->

<- And this is Cole, letting me know he was having a good time. He had just finished jumping up on me. Which he rarely does.
Woofstock is largely a vending opportunity/public awareness venue for Toronto's big dog-loving community, but I think the best part about being there is the interaction with the dogs, between the dogs, and between the dog-owners. It's great to have a venue where nobody's horrified to be approached or jumped-upon by your dog. It's a mutual-appreciation society of the four-legged variety. Dog owners are a special breed all their own. Most of us are only-too-happy/proud to tell you our pooches names and talk about them like furry little offspring, so it's also nice to know you're not boring the hell out of someone when the exchange is goin' on. And there's quite a bit of that.

<- Hee hee... Dane next to Chihuahua... too cute.

We also saw a great number of Basset Hounds (none of them quite so handsome as Porthos, of course) and discovered that there's actually an organization called "Basset Rescue", because they are a largely abandoned breed of dog. Heart-breaking news to 2 guys who have come to realize how sweet a Basset can be in spite of their short comings, (ie: astounding stubbornness and mischief). We met a couple of the hounds there at the booth and one had only one eye. I didn't ask how this came to be. I'm never eager to hear stories of abuse (if that was even the case).
I'll end this particular post with a few MORE pictures of the boys in the car. We stopped off at Sobey's and I stayed with them while Ted and Tammy went in the store. A good time was had by all.

<- Does this seat make my butt look big?

"We" called "shot gun" ->

<- Hey dad. Whassup?

Who's leg do you have to hump to get the air conditioning back on 'round here?? ->

<- Can I drive home?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Woofstock Pt.1

Y'know last Sunday night I was thinking woo-hoo "this was a day with things to blog about", and fully intended to do so on Monday. ...Yeah...

Quite obviously I'm running low on free time at work. Which is... I suppose the detriment doing all my blogging "from" work... it has to take priority. I wish it were "fun" work, instead of the steady stream of tedium I'm forced to deal with. But anyhow... enough about work.

On Sunday... we went to Woofstock. And the boys loved it. So without further adieu, I give you more doggie pictures. They are the loves of my life after all.

Here we are in the elevator. There's a little bit of excitement here, but nothing quite worthy of the cornicopia of butts to sniff that's in store for Pordiddly and wee-Cole.

They do know what "car ride" means. But there's no real way to teach them the meaning of "big doggie orgy". Which is just as well, because they're usually wound-up enough about the car ride as it is.

Here's Porthos on my lap in the back seat. I've been banished to the back of the car to play chaperone to his delicate state of balance and motion. Meaning if we leave him back there with Cole or just by himself, he pukes from one end of the seat to the other. Whereas, if I'm holding him, he's as happy as a clam and doesn't barf. We're actually in motion; headed up Kipling to the Gardiner. The little pink, horrified creature beside Porthos is "Shmirla"... she has a matching blue doppleganger on the driver's side named "Mirla". They're little stuffed slugs that came with our DVD copy of "Flushed Away", we named them after Charla and Mirna from the Amazing Race.

Nobody enjoys a car ride more than sweet Cole. Here he is, moving as fast as he does in his dreams of espionage "Cole Shannon-Kozlow: Squirrel Assassin".

Porthos on my lap. ->

<- Cole on Ted's...
And now with the magic of blogging time-lapse (a potent mix of co-worker and client interruptions) it's time for me to go home. But I'll get to actually talking about some of the fun stuff at Woofstock tomorrow. Wow... a "to be continued"... how exciting. Or not.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Wouldn't You Like to Be a Pepper Too?

Hey there,

I know I haven't blogged in over a week, but I promise that nothing exciting has gone down in the interim. Of that... you have my word. I've been sick and it's been a nasty week pretty much. That sums it up. Seriously.

I wasn't even going to blog today, but then I caught THIS on, which is a story I read in the paper on the subway this morning. So ... go read THIS (same link as the first THIS) and then come back here and resume reading about what a horrible person I am. Mmmkay?

Yeah... I'm terrible 'cause I thought this was hysterical. Like... I was physically moved to laughter on the train. It's unfortunate that they didn't use the same picture that was printed in Metro this morning because you could clearly see that this poor tubby American was wearing a Dr Pepper t-shirt... and all I could picture was him... hurtling down the highway like a big pork roast in a wheelchair, pinned to the front of an 18-wheeler with only the bold words: "I'm a Pepper" to caption his predicament to any bystanders. The only thing that saves me from eternal damnation for laughing at this poor man, is that no one was harmed.

Although, I'm thinkin' Dr. Pepper couldn't buy a better TV commercial. It's too bad they didn't catch it on film.

Yeah. I know. Evil.