Thursday, November 29, 2007

Unintentionally hard-hitting question...

An old friend asked me an interesting question the other day.

"And personally?"

We'd bumped into each other in the hall, and tried to catch up with each other. A little difficult when both flanked by two other people, none of which know each other. We covered the little bit of ground that we normally would, just the very basic, "How's the semester treating you."

She talked a little more, because she's overly-talkative and slightly self-centered. Not that I mind, because I'm always interested in hearing how others are doing. I sometimes find it hard to talk about myself, and I really don't know why. It seems like it's my nature just to draw stories out from others, not simply talk about my own life.

I find that happens often, especially when meeting new people, always unhelpful when thinking dating or trying to hit it off with someone. Sometimes I draw on a piece of inner vitality that super-charges my wit and storytelling capabilities, and I can hold someone entranced in conversation.

But mostly, I find it difficult to just talk casually about myself. Often, I find myself saying I'm kinda boring, simply because I can't think of interesting things to say, or things I think other people would find interesting.

When reviewing my life, I've actually got lots of experiences and things going for me. But it's hard to translate that sort of thing into everyday conversation. Which is what made her question so profound for me.

"So, how about school. What fun academically are we having this year?" she asked. I filled her in on the power-struggle with the prof, and the general comments about the year. She nodded along, tossing in a story quite like my own professor. Then came the one I find most difficult to answer.

"And personally? How are you doing?" she asked, wide eyed.

I paused for a moment, drawing a blank stare. Really, I'd never considered this. I think about my problems (real and perceived) far more than I think about the good things in life, but I don't recall the last time someone so pointedly asked how 'I' was doing.

"Fine...oh fine, you know, things aren't bad. Just kinda wrapping up the semester..." I said.

I'm fairly certain that her question was aimed at finding out if I was single or not. From her end, that was probably all it meant. But it opened a great question within myself.

How can one answer that question honestly, much less to someone who isn't a 'best friend'? It's so personal. The public answer will always be a variation of 'fine', but if one is being honest, the answer is probably going to be a lot darker.

I thought about it as I walked home. If one of my closest friends asked me how I was doing personally, how would I respond?

The answer would be, I feel isolated. That's the one clear label I think defines my current apprehensions with my life. Sure, there's the loads of good, but we usually (and unfortunately) concentrate on the bad.

My isolation comes in many forms. I feel isolated from friends of yesterday, isolated from the friends of today, who seem to do very little in the span of a week. Isolated at home in Toronto, single in an apartment full of couples. Isolated in companionship, as in, lacking it in any adult form. Isolated from the mystical 'gay community', which I seemingly can find no secret knock to open the door and start spreading my wings. Even isolation within my family, with my horrible secret standing in the corner whenever I'm in the same room as my father.

The other label I was tempted to use was loneliness, but I don't necessarily think that tells the story. Sure, I'm 'lonely' for some added nights out, and certainly chronically 'lonely' in the relationship department, but I think the term isolated really captures the better meaning of it.

As I continually remind myself, there is lots to be grateful and happy about. My education is something I'm proud of, as are my scholastic accomplishments. And of the intricate knitting of my friendships, I'm also quite happy to report complete comfort with them all. I'm happy that I get to live my 21-year-old life in many ways that I want to, happy to sweep my floors and clean by bathroom.

But inevitably it always goes back to the bad. Academics and cleaning products won't keep you warm at night.

I feel like I'm missing the 'big picture', the 'out there' part of life. I read enough and see enough to at least begin to understand things I may (or may not, depending on how you see it) be missing out on. And I wonder, when will I?

Something within me is begging for a dash of immaturity, a dash of the wild side. If anything, I want it simply to let me know if I'm happy in the place that I am after all, or if I really do want some of the things I wonder about. At the same time, I don't know how one pursues that without being 'in for a penny, in for a pound.'

In High School, I always carried with me a buoyant optimism. Things would be better, once I was a little older. The awkward teenage years would be behind me. And so it went, indeed, as I got older things did get better. My optimism helped keep me afloat, with the possibly naive chanting in my brain that good things come to he who waits, and, once you make some changes, things will be better.

These days, I'm forgetting my buoyancy. I really need to re-light that flame within myself, to look back at how things indeed had changed for the better, as time went by. Sure, I'm still not in the place where I think I want to be yet, but Rome wasn't built in a day. And when I think about how my life has changed in the past year, I get dizzy because I never even imagined that things would have happened as they did.

But still, there are the elusive moments that I'm still wondering about. I'm not getting any younger, and when I think about kids who are 18, even 20, and have more of that cultural capital than I do, more connections, more understanding and acceptance, I get a little upset.

I'm not getting any younger.
But things take time, the other side says.
You have to make your own path.
Only if the doors are open, the other side says.
This is your fault, you've failed, you're the same person you've always been even if you want to believe change is around the corner.
I can't be blamed if it's just 'not my time' yet. Remember when I said, "It just wasn't in the cards?..."

I guess it's time for a change again. But I thought I'd already done what I needed to do. Guess not, after all.

Same old question. How?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Double shot...

Toronto has become a world-class city, thanks to the opening of one store.


(Not actual Toronto location...)

That's right, the famous espresso line, available in Europe for what feels like a million years, is finally physically present in Canada. I got my machine a few years ago, pretty much when they came out in Canada and have always loved it. The coffee is brilliant, there are lots of varieties, and of course the really great pretentiousness of belonging to the 'exclusive club'.

Before, one had to order their coffee capsules via the Internet. They'd come in from New York, the closest physical Nespresso depot to Canada, and the only store in North America.

When I was in France over the summer, we stopped at several of their branches, and I bought lots of coffee. I mean, it beat paying shipping!

Still, I always complained to the people in Europe that Toronto is a big enough city to warrant a store. We've got everything else (more or less) so why not a pretentious coffee store too?

I might have made a bit of an ass out of myself, upon discovering the store this afternoon. Lisa and I were toque shopping (for her, not for me) and were walking through the lower level of The Bay at the Eaton Centre, when something caught my eye.

There was a wall with the machines, but coffee capsules as well. As I approached, I saw the sign, and the thousands of capsule boxes backing the wall. "Oh my God!" I cheered about a million times. The girl I dealt with was happy to see that I was happy, because apparently that's the reaction they're getting from current customers.

I got to taste a few new blends, and bought a few sleeves. We got to talking about the location, because they're in a super-shitty place that really, "Doesn't reflect our target market," as the sales girl said.

Apparently they're already looking into moving into a place on Bloor St., maybe even into the Holt Renfrew flagship store...a setting that would prove infinitely more appropriate.

With all my excitement, I found myself wondering about a job there. After all, I love their coffee, and it's way better than working at a coffee shop. But like hell I'd be getting a job before Christmas, so I'll have to see what happens in January. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Until then, I'm just going to enjoy the coffee.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Gay Facebook...

So is it standard operating procedure for gays to have their own 'gay' Facebook alias?

I know it sounds odd, paranoid even, but it's a trend I've noticed. Gay guys who have their own standard Facebook pages, with their names, schools, workplaces all networked. Their photos of the family vacation, the dog, their dinner with friends...the usual stuff.

Then there's the second Facebook account...the one with a slightly different name (or altogether different), the one with the semi-nude, mostly-drunk, hands-on-abs photos that Mom shouldn't see when she looks at your profile.

And I make that claim with the knowledge of at least one reputable case.

Enter: The Doctor. He's early 30s, dating a boy I know at school, who's 'out' but not entirely so on Facebook. The Doctor's boyfriend is what some might call reputable, in the sense he's trying to keep his public image squeaky clean while privately having some good fun. To my understanding he doesn't have the second gay Facebook alias. But the Doctor sure does.

I asked our friend-of-a-friend, why would someone want two Facebooks? She laughed and showed me the photos, which included the handsome Doc in nothing but Ginch Gonch at Toronto Pride '07. Apparently he didn't want those photos getting back to the mates in the office, much less the fact he's dating a boy in university.

But isn't that a bit of a double standard? When we come out, and so publicly as to parade in (delicious) underwear, is it not public knowledge that this person is simply gay? Or does some wall exist around the Village that prevents penetrating 'straight' eyes from seeing what the dear Doctor does on his weekends?

And really, what does it matter if he's gay? Clearly it does not effect his practicing medicine, yet there is the obsession with separating the hybrid public/private performance of the 'regular' Facebook account, and the off-the-books 'gay' account.

I wondered after learning of this trend who exactly this benefits and who it detracts from. On the one hand, gays are still segregated and ostracized in the professional world, and it seems totally plausible that one would want to keep his private life separate from his professional endeavors. But at the same time, the age old argument rears it's head; if we are to combat such isolation of the community, people must be free to share their whole selves with the rest of the world without undue and unfair judgment.

Still, I can empathize with the notion of keeping some things separate from others. After all, would you really want your family and old school friends looking at who's face you were sucking last Thursday night? While on the one hand, I'm sure some wouldn't really give a damn what got online, others might be a little concerned.

But what does this say about the 'gay situation'? That the world is only going along with us 'in principal', and that actually seeing your friend rubbing the bare chest of another boy on Facebook crosses that line? Or that gays, while being out and unashamed, are censoring their 'gayest' moments from judgment of the straights in their lives, and ultimately their employers too.

And really, is it a question of personal preference or suppression of the community? Its a question of collective versus individual approach.

I don't have the gay Facebook, and judging by the way things have gone, I wonder if I ever will. That is, will I have the need to keep pictures of me clung to a sweaty, half-naked boy from being tagged to my regular account? Doubtful, because those pictures don't even exist for me.

But who knows, maybe one day. It'd kinda be nice to have that personal space, to just be comfortable with the 'friends' you have on Facebook. That's one of the inherent flaws of the service as it is, the fact that I've got people on there from all through my past, that I'll never really see again, but that I don't want to leave any memorable images with.

So tell me, one of you must have the gay Facebook.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

First of the season...

People are mad, truly.

My alarm just went off, 9:03 a.m. The tune that greeted me is familiar..."White Christmas", by good old Bing Crosby.

Dear's started.

Like a kid on Christmas, I jumped up and tore open my shades, looking out at...

SNOW! snowed!

But why people are so excited, and need to celebrate by turning the radio station into a constant stream of Christmas tunes in November, is beyond me.

If I survive my trip to school today, I'll post some pictures.


OK, so it's 3:30 p.m. and I made it both to and from school, and took a long walk around the city looking for winter pictures. Here's what I got, from around city hall.


I was surprised at how exciting and festive it was to walk through the snow. I guess it's one of the last vestiges that grown-ups have to enjoy little slices of innocence. Really, what is more pure than a snowfall, especially the first of the season?

For me, I was surprised at how uplifting it was. For a few minutes, I just looked at the world around me with a different attitude. Eyes actually open, drinking in the scenery. And of course, all the nostalgic thoughts that come along with Christmas, wintertime and the soft silence of falling snow.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Highlight of my day...

I've made changes these past few days.

The first occured last night. Nick, my musician friend, who I came out to rather shabbily on Halloween, was playing a gig in the city, and I went out to watch. I'm starting to wonder if he values our friendship as much as I do, because I think I was the only person he invited. Which feels pretty nice.

We went out afterwards to have a few drinks and grab food. He tossed around the idea of staying downtown, and I of course reiterated his standing invitation at my place. Around 2 a.m. we stumbled in, and got ready for sleep.

Standing in my bedroom, I wondered how things would play out. Would he motion for the couch, asking for a blanket? Or simply plop down in the living room until I grabbed him a pillow?

"Set the alarm for 6:30," he said, standing at the foot of my bed. I stood there for a minute and hesitated. I mean, a straight boy getting into bed with his gay friend? Uh...ok. I guess this means he really, really doesn't care.

Once we were settled in, and the little weirdness of the situation left my mind, I became very aware of the body lying beside me in bed. I mean, I sleep with my female friends all the time, because it's like sleeping with a non-sexual being. I've never slept with a straight guy like this before.

For a moment, it made me a little sad. I mean, here I was in bed again (finally) with a guy who's spending the night with me. But it's totally non-sexual (and I wouldn't want it not to be with him!). I don't get to cuddle with the boy next to me. It just served as a very real reminder of the fact I don't have what I want. The fact that there was a physical body lying beside me instead of the usual hypothetical/imagined body just added to the reminder. A tease, if you will.

Jeez...a cuddle tease? How sad am I...


Today I went to class, and decided to get a haircut afterward. There was an appointment available for the mid-afternoon, so I took it, and headed out.

I've always wondered about my hair colour, so I was surprised when the girl washing my hair asked me about it.

"You have really unique colour, is it natural?" she asked. I responded yes, indeed, it's that way all on it's own.

"I've never even coloured it before," I said. "But I've been thinking about it recently...I kinda want it lighter."

I put the question to my hair stylist, asking what colour/shade/whatever would suit me. "Well, lets just ask our colourist!" she said.

The next thing I knew, I'd had a three-minute meeting with the guy, who had wonderful purple hair, and was agreeing to getting highlights.

My stylist was a little surprised. "Are you sure you're ready to do that?" she said, knowing my usual caution with things like that. But the colourist had promised it would be natural and complimentary, and that he was really excited to do it.

What felt like a lifetime (and a million little foil wrappers) later, I was being led to have my hair rinsed out. The blue gunk that was making my hair turn light was ready to be rinsed, and the colourist ran water over each strand, getting it all out.

As he was working, he was talking. "Wow, I love it!" he said, "you're going to be happy you did this!"

His next statement was even more surprising. "So, how would you feel about being a hair model for me?" he said.

I tried not to fall over laughing, and I did a pretty good job. "Oh," I said. "Well..."

"See, we're doing this photo shoot, and I'd like to do a real contrast on you. Like, start with this that you've got now, then do something really dark...maybe black, but go a little crazy, do some funky colours in it. Nothing permanent," he said, laughing. "But I think it'd look really cool."

"Why not," I said. "Sounds like fun."

I still can't get over the fact that he thought I'd be a good fit. I mean...I just usually feel...unattractive. At the best of times, I'm never confident about how I look. I never know if I'm attractive. So the proposition was both a massive compliment and a huge surprise.

When we were all finished, the stylist did a few last snips, and I was ready to go. I looked in the mirror at the new shade, the new cut...and thought it looked pretty damn good. She too was impressed. So was the girl who walked by. And the girl at the desk. And the pretentious gay stylist.

"Well, look at you," he said. "Wow, it looks really good."

I realized they were all staring at me with that gaze people use when watching TV at a department store window during state funerals, etc.

"Woo, see, you're the centre of attention now," the gay stylist said. "Everyone's looking at you."

"Uh...yeah. OK, that's kinda weird," I said, and laughed.

I kinda wanted to ask if my new hair would get me laid tonight if I were to take it for a spin on Church St., but I decided to savour the compliments I'd gotten already.

Besides, I have to leave something to do later, right?

Monday, November 19, 2007

An afternoon meeting...

At this point, he's probably flying over the Maritimes.

What a flash, how quickly time passed. A short hour and a half, and who knows when we'll see each other again. And all the questions that it raised after the fact, all the insecurities in myself overstimulated simultaneously.

Dave called me just before I was about to duck out of class. "I'm at the airport," he said, "so whenever you get here..."

I grabbed my bag, did another faux-cough for my prof and said I really needed to get to that doctor's appointment. A little while later, and I was rocketing towards the airport.

For some reason, I'd forgotten how long the terminal was. Eyes scanning the room, I was bombarded with faces I'd never seen before. Looking for a face I'd never really seen before. But there he was, pretty much exactly how his photos looked.

A handshake and a few pleasantries later, we were trying to find a place for coffee, and wound up grabbing a beer (a good choice I'd say!).

Conversation flowed. What can I say, it felt relaxed and comfortable yet so rushed. So much I wanted to say, to ask, but time prevented it. We chatted non-stop, about lots of things. Lots of 'business' talk about blogs. He's warm and funny, and I hoped I wasn't being introverted or distant.

I'll admit that I didn't worry while I was across the table from him. It felt natural, at least for me. Short of the ticking of the clock, there was little to distract from our conversation. It was peculiar, to know intimate details about someone you've never met; having the regular chit-chat after knowing so much about the other's personality and insides.

Our time grew to a close, after two quick beers, and we walked to the security checkpoint. He stretched out his hand, I grabbed it, and feebly said, "Hug." We pulled in for one, said goodbye, and he ducked behind the checkpoint.

Once I was on the bus back towards the city, I couldn't get our meeting off my mind. How special, to have been able to sit across from someone I may never have met. How strange, for the same reason. How natural, and fun it had been to share just a few minutes over a beer.

And of course, what did he think? He had already said I don't look like what he had envisioned ("I thought you were going to be a frat boy!" he said laughing, which I thoroughly enjoyed). Did I meet his expectations? Bore him to tears? Make him laugh, or cry from disinterest?

My insecurities plagued me for most of the ride home, wondering, going over our conversation. I hope he enjoyed himself, and that he wasn't disappointed with the 'real me', the offline version.

When I got home, I finally picked up my reading that I still hadn't done since almost a week ago. He'd written a post about kissing, and listed a few boys he'd encounter in the future who would possibly be open to the idea. While I agree it would have been putting the cart in front of the horse, from his point of view, it would have been wildly romantic to lock lips in front of the departures desk. Not that I'd have been so bold, if I'd have read his post before our meeting. But for a brief moment my imagination took hold and I was taken by the romance of the thought.

Appropriately, my iPod shuffled to a Stevie Nicks song, "Too Far From Texas". Totally out of context, but still funny coincidence nonetheless.

Hope you had a good time in Canada! Come back anytime.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Weekend away...

I managed to make it home alone.

That is to say, without the certain someone who was probably interesting in coming along too. Thought I may have been having fun at the bar, I started to get really nervous when it was time to leave.

Last night we went out with a couple groupings of rugby players in Ottawa. It started with watching the hockey game here with my host and her friends, then proceeded downtown to a big bar, filled with rugby players of both sexes.

This was a nice prospect, because I got to drink in the hot guys surrounding me. Some of them were the token not-so-hot players, the ones with flattened noses and contorted facial features. But there were lots of others who made up for them.

Around that point we got into a bit of a discussion about the team, and homosexuality. One girl boldly announced that any of the male rugby teams would shoot a player who was known to be gay. "It's just that bad," she said, "they're fucked."

She explained that there were openly gay girls on some of the teams, and that nobody cares. But that the guys are all complete homophobes, and that no gay guy would ever be out to his teammates. She had even talked to a coach about it, and he seemed pretty confident that there were guys on the team who were pretty deep in the closet.

"'Oh sure' he said, 'there's guys who are gay, but they can't come out. I know.' I mean what the fuck!?" she said.

Kinda sad, looking around the bar at all the guys, and knowing there's a handful who are in an impossible situation. How terrible it must feel to be surrounded by homophobic guys, and to have to play straight for fear of some pretty harsh must be really depressing. I know we've heard about guys in sports who have secret boyfriends or relations, but it must be so oppressive. They must really love the game, to put up with that crap.

Later we got to drunk-dialing people...and I accidentally called Danny. I was going for the entry just below him in my phone book, and thought I'd gotten it. It rang a few times, then a voicemail came on.

"Oh, FUCK!" I said rather loudly, but it was thankfully drown out by the noise of the bar. So now he's got 'one missed call' on his phone from me, and I look like a desperate idiot...I mean calling at midnight on a Saturday isn't exactly good timing. I don't really expect that much will happen except a head-shake on his part.

Around this part of the evening we all started dancing. I'd been chatting with an older girl who works in some government office, and of course was the only person at the table having somewhat of an intellectual discussion. We went out and started dancing...and it was terrible. 'Frigid' I would say. I mean, it felt like as awkward I imagine it is when dancing with a guy you're into but is just so not into you. Not that I was 'interested', but I wanted to dance! (Which was strange in itself).

She bailed after a few songs, and I was left searching for someone else. And there she was...the blond who had been eying me all night. She was a friend-of-a-friend who had came along with the group. We started dancing around, just having a good time.

A little later on, Ashley's boyfriend kinda danced over our way a little. "Just have confidence!" he said, and shoved my arms towards her ass.

I rolled my eyes a little, and smiled, and just went with it. I mean, I was having fun, and could not be more unattracted to her, so whats the harm.

She certainly did respond though...and made her interest clear...

Strangely, some other guy came up to her and started talking to her, while I had an arm around her back. What's this? I gave him a bit of a look, but considering I didn't really care what she did, I let them talk. After a few words, he looked over at me. "Don't worry dude, she's all yours," he said, and walked off. OK, so was he booking her for next weekend?...ah well.

Things started dying down, so we went back to get more drinks. There was only six of us left at our table, and plenty of seating...but the other guy who was 'encouraging' me before practically begged the blond to sit on my lap, which she happily did. We did a little talking, and I confirmed not only did I not like her physically, her mind was similarly unattractive.

The lights went up, and it was time to go home. It was only Ashley and I heading back to her place, as her boyfriend had left moments before, preparing to hurl. We were waiting for one other person, the blond girl's friend, but she was off flirting with the bartender.

"We can't wait for this," Ashley said, "she'll be here for hours." So she sent her friend over to wait with her.

"OK, we have to leave," I said. "She's not coming home with me! I'm not going there. Period."

"Aw, come on, have a bit of fun!" she laughed, jokingly. "Besides, I didn't announce it to everyone, they don't know..."

"I don't care!" I said, mock-hysterical. "I have my virginity to preserve."

We ducked out the door and grabbed a cab, and I'll hopefully never see my new friend again.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The blah continues...

The shit is over.

I hope, anyway. And it's not over, it's just over for now. But it didn't end well.

Yesterday, I met with the prof who is panning us all. We talked for 20 minutes about my academic progress, where she embarrassed me repeatedly asking such questions as, "Are you having this trouble with other courses?"

The highlight of the meeting was a statement that made my eyes bulge and my fists clench. "You should stop whining," she said flippantly. "You're almost out of university, in the working world you'll be on your own with this. You've got to develop your skills, and I'm here to help you."

Uh, what? I'm not a 5th-grader. I approached her as a mature student with real concerns about not only my grades, but how the course is being evaluated in general. And she treats me like a kid who's having a hissy-fit because his mark was too low.

"Don't worry about it so much," was another piece of brilliant advice. "It's not like your grade will be ruined."

I got very quite after that, and as hard as I tried, I probably looked furious.

In the end, we made a few arrangements so that I could hopefully pull my marks up, which included a last-minute assignment due this evening, as opposed to something due next week.

When we were finished, she looked at me and said, "About the whining. I was joking, it looks like you took it pretty to heart though."

No shit. A joke is when you make light of a situation. Not insult someone straight-faced and, upon seeing they didn't get it, inform them of the funny you just made.

It's been a bad week, because all I've lived and breathed for the past three days has been this. I'm finally released now, and happily packing for my trip to Ottawa to visit Ashley. I leave tomorrow afternoon, and was very excited.

Until I got a phone call a few minutes ago from my mom, who hadn't talked to me yet this week. I told her I really couldn't talk, I was working on something that I needed to hand in shortly, and that it was a really long story that I didn't have time to tell.

This led to a few questions from her, which lead to me answering some, including the grade's I'd received in this class so far. Which lead to her knee-jerk reactions: "Well, you're going to pull your marks up, right?" and "I'm sure things will be fine in the end." Two statements that infuriate me, and thanks to my raw mood, I managed to get into it with her on the phone.

It ended very badly, with me saying I really couldn't talk about it. I asked what was new with her, and she just dead-panned. "Nothing. Nothings new. Well I guess I'll let you go," she said, and ended the conversation coldly.

I was frustrated and angry, and I just sat and finished my work. But as soon as I hit send, I started feeling really guilty.

My excitement of the freedom of the weekend ahead was shot to shit, as all I can think about now is how badly I feel for being so short with her. Instead of feeling relaxed and happy now that I'm done, I feel guilty and really bad.

Now I don't know how to apologize, because I don't do that very well, mostly because I'm never in the wrong. Tonight I think I may have been.

Or at least that's what the guilt sitting on my chest is saying.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The good, the blah (part 2)...

My Monday was a lot farther of a roll downhill, after my nice weekend away.

I returned Sunday night, hammered out that post, and almost as if fate had willed it, got a call from the Fuck Buddy. An hour later...well, you get the idea.

Even though that meant staying up much later than I intended (since I have an 8 a.m. on Monday morning), it was completely worth it, and a nice cap to the evening and weekend.

This morning I bolted awake, thanks to my alarm, from a great dream. One where you're floating around, and details are very fuzzy, but you're not unhappy with that at all. I reached over to shut off the alarm, and felt a pull in my neck-left shoulder.

Youch! Whats this?

I felt this pain basically where the neck and shoulder meet. What could have caused this? I chocked it up to sexual injury, and continued to the shower.

Class was interesting, as was my weekly lunch with Kelsey. He's very like-minded, and our discussions often fall into political and social debate. It's fun, because he's one of the more intellectually stimulating people I spend time with, and we always think through problems and current events.

All in all, not an unpleasant morning.

Things took a downward turn upon arriving to class. Our marks for some assignments had been posted, and the prognosis was not good. Our prof is a super-hardass marker, and does not tolerate our pathetic attempts at our assignments. Not that I think we're pathetic at all, but that's her answer.

Essentially, the entire class is on the verge of flunking. She's put the fear of God into us, and with 'mini-assignments' worth 10 per cent each, we're struggling to get by. Nobody wanted to discuss their horrible marks with each other, but after some private consultations with people, I determined we're all in the same boat. It feels pretty bad to be bashed so unashamedly by our prof, and left us all in an academic funk from which I'm not sure how to lift myself.

Then, another classmate came in. She's a dear soul and I could see the lines from lack of sleep and cloud surrounding her. Marnie was clearly not in a good state. Moments later, she was telling the girl next to her about her new tattoo, "I got for my mom...she was just diagnosed with breast cancer."

My blood ran cold. My heart shrank, and chest hurt. She got up and left the room, and I followed her.

A moment later we were wrapped in a hug. "I heard what you said," I offered, and told her about my mom. "I'm so sorry. But I'm here, if you need to talk, about anything. I never had anyone when I was dealing with it, so if you have any questions, ask."

She kinda teared a little, and then I did...and I didn't want to start crying in the hall so we went back inside.

Through the class she asked me a few questions, about how to balance school and going to appointments and such. I told her my experiences, and she drank them in. I can imagine how difficult this is for her, and I told her so. "A lot of people just don't know," I offered.

Later, before we were done, I pulled her over again. "You know, if you need to talk, about anything, anytime, call me. I'm always around."

She looked at me with the dazed-tired eyes I've seen before. "Thanks. I mean, really, thank you. It's nice to know who your friends really are."

I've been waiting for this to happen, waiting for one of my friend's family to fall victim to breast cancer. Waiting for the moment where I'll offer advice, a sympathetic ear, and a hug for someone who really needs it. I guess she's found me finally. I just hope I can help.


I took the subway home because it was raining. Careful not to slip on the wet stairs, I went to the automated token machines, pulled out a $10 bill and slid it in.

The machine went into a frenzy of grinds and beeps. The green light turned red. My tokens did not come out. My $10 bill did not come back. This is not good.

I went to the man behind the partition and relayed the sad news.

"Call the number," was all the asshole had to say. What number exactly?

I went back to the metal thief just as a woman was putting another $10 into it.

"Don't!" I hissed. "It ate mine." She smiled and thanked me for stopping her from loosing the money.

As I was writing down the phone number, a man entered my peripheral vision. "Is there a problem?" he asked. I warily looked at him.

It was a transit cop. I explained my sad story about loosing the money. He smiled warmly and apologized, and pointed out the number and the machine ID to give to the operator, then told me to mention the time when I called. "They'll be able to spot your money easier," he said.

"But you still need to ride today?" he asked.

"Yeah," I said on a sigh.

"Well, here, we'll send you on your way then," he said warmly, and walked me through the bank of token-takers and onto the platform. And I got a free ride home.

I guess what goes around comes around.

The good, the blah (part 1)...

Well, lets start with the good.

On Friday I finally bought my new Mac with Leopard. It was exciting, but more or less without amazement. Hit the store, heard the sales pitch (which was unnecessary...I already know what I want!), did the cash thing and headed out. I also went home for the weekend, to see my family and get a change of scenery. And to tinker with my new computer (even though there was no Internet).

Friday evening I pull everything from the box like a kid on Christmas. Since it's all one piece of machinery, it took around a minute to plug in my keyboard and mouse (which I love by the way) and then plug into the wall. The seconds went by, and it was all booted up.

But wait! This isn't Leopard, this is the old operating system!

In a frantic moment, I shuffled through the small pile of paperwork that came with the computer. Diagrams, how-to's, the OS install kit for the former Leopard drop-kit that the sales guy had promised. Ahhh crap!!!

I called the store and spoke to a very nice gay boy with a pretentiously spelled name (can you say future post?). He was very sweet, and wanted to fix my situation ASAP. The only option really was to return to the store the next day.

I was less than pleased. Here I was, at home, and I had to re-pack my computer and go back to the city! So Saturday morning my mom and I went for a drive...

The store was packed with weekend shoppers pushing into one another. Why it was so crazy I'll never know...I mean can't people shop on other days of the week too? We headed to the counter, box in tow, and got a strange look from the boy standing behind it.

I explained in horror that the drop-kit wasn't put in my box, and how I neeeeeed Leopard. He went into the usual regretful story mode, and promised to grab me a new machine and to personally make sure the proper discs were in the box.

Of course, my mother went into pissed-off-consumer mode and asked what compensation we'd be given for being so royally screwed around. It turned out the guy was the manager for that shift, even though he looked something like this:

Honestly, he was amazingly hot. Looking like he'd just stepped out of a porn movie, this twink of possibly 22 was such a sweetheart. With a bit more tan than #1 and the eyes and longer hair of #2, he was stunning.

Throughout the exchange, I suffered some blood fluctuations.

Anyway, it went off smoothly enough, and I even got to drool over the sexy manager for 10 minutes while he sorted things out. He was, like I said, very sweet and made it as painless as possible. Reluctantly, I tore my eyes away with my second new Mac of the weekend.

Thankfully, this one indeed had Leopard. I'm liking it so far, other than the fact I still have to Migrate all my files from my old Mac over, and set up all the technical stuff like codecs and such here on my new Mac. It's a little frustrating, and kinda tedious, but in the end I'll have a great setup and great memories of the sales boy.

"Is there anything else I can do for you?" he asked, with a little smile.

Plenty, I thought.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Speaking of...

I apologize for the tardiness in my posts.

I've been off the grid since Wednesday evening, and actually semi-busy doing things. So for your brief entertainment tonight, here's a few random thoughts from my week.


Seems like Elevator Boy had a party. At least that’s what Facebook said. One of the newsfeed items was that someone we both know was attending some sort of shindig at his place, so naturally I clicked to see where and who would be attending.
Not that I knew anyone going other than our one mutual connection, I was intrigued just the same. Then I thought I was getting creepy on my Facebook stalking and promptly closed the window and forgot about it. After all, my main goal with him is to simply introduce myself so I don’t feel like a stalker every time I see him. And checking out his Facebook does not help that argument.


Speaking of Facebook, it’s been weeks, and I still have not heard from Former Gay Best Friend. Makes me a little sad that he couldn’t take the time out to answer me, even if it was just to say no thanks. After all, he was the one who added me to Facebook; he initiated conversation earlier with a few messages back and forth.
So now I’m tempted to message again to just see if he’ll reply. Perhaps I just got lost in the shuffle online and he didn’t remember getting the message? I’m not sure…hey man, if you happen to be a reader, don’t be freaked out! Message me, because we have a lot to talk about. (That was my imagination just now, in case you didn’t notice…)


Speaking of gay boys, I’ve been seeing my fuck buddy a little more often than usual. More often being more than once a month, but less than once a week. Our meetings are fun, because I get to have sex. But it’s getting to the point where things are getting a bit…stale. I want a little more ‘challenging’ sex, if that makes any sense. We basically do the deed, and while that is always enjoyable, he’s very lazy in bed and doesn’t go out of his way to make it a fully engaged experience.
Plus, he apparently doesn’t like to bottom. This puzzles me to no end, because I cannot imagine a boy who does not take at least some pleasure from the act. He also is tongue tied while we’re in bed, but has no problem in telling me online what he likes and doesn’t like.
“Yeah, sure,” he said to my last message asking if he was free. “But you can’t fuck me. I’m so not into that haha.”
Hrm…I really should find someone new to sleep with.


Speaking of lazy, I’ve been terrible at keeping up my links. There are so many people I need to link to, and a few I have to remove due to retirement. I would also like to overhaul the layout, because I haven’t changed it once since I started blogging. But because I am both unmotivated and untechnologically skilled when working in HTML/online stuff, I don’t know how to do that. Any requests/suggestions for what you’d like to see changed?

Monday, November 5, 2007

Reading, and pictures...

OK, so I love to read.

Books are wonderful. When I moved back to Toronto, I literally purged my entire collection of 'literature', which was composed of lots of second-hand mystery and crime novels handed down from my family, a few poorly chosen science-fiction novels and my university level literature collection.

After I made quick work of practically all the crappy second hand trash (donating them to charity), I proceeded to reorganize my collection and start to fill in holes. My dream would be to have a nicely fleshed out library in my home, nothing too fancy but full of substantial works. Not that I've got lots of time to delve in to Beowulf...but books on shelves, complete with fancy bindings, are always impressive. And the leather club chair. And the bottle of cognac.

Tonight, however, my mind is far more preoccupied with slightly less learned reading (and slightly more erotic).

I've been trying to find a good gay magazine, and damned if I can get hold of one that addresses everything that I'm looking for. I want something with a style and fashion section (preferably one that I can afford at least the socks from), but not simply hot guys in swim gear that I will never wear. Some entertainment would be nice, but not all campy Madonna praising drivel. Interesting features are a necessity, and if they include sexual-related stories that's even better.

Photography is good, but not when it becomes the bulk of the publication. And though I love looking at the really hot model boys in practically nothing, I also love looking at really hot model boys wearing really hot clothes too.

A food/wine/entertaining section would be nice, but may be asking for too much.

I picked up DNA the other day, and really did like the photography. However, it's a little content-light, and at $11, I don't know if I'm willing to spend that much just for sexy speedo boys.

Tetu is an excellent option...but only in French. I picked up a copy while en France, and found it to have a nice selection of photography as well as written content. Thought I could muddle through it with a little work, I don't think I'm taking quite enough out of it with the language barrier. But hot damn their coverboys are gorgeous.

Attitude is an English magazine, and I did enjoy the mixture of photography and newsy pieces. But it just didn't feel like a fit for me. It did, however, feature a good amount of sex-related articles without being trashy or too much of a cheap porno.

I tried XY once, and would probably have liked it when I was *gasp (God help me)* younger. The boys are super-cute. But the content is as fluffy as the twinks.

The best fit I've found is M Mensuel. It's got a great assortment of products and fashions that I can actually afford but also look good, celebs, hot boy photo shoots, and some interesting 'gay news'. There was even a section on gay blogs (though I already knew of the ones written about). The only's another French magazine, though with shorter and a little lighter fare, this one is an easier read for me than Tetu.

One of the great advantages of living in both Canada and Toronto is my access to gay magazines, everywhere. Large book retailers stock them in the normal magazine section. There are shops in the gay village that no doubt sell all the latest issues. Hell, even larger 'news stand' stores have a gay section. So it's not about lack of choice thus far.

So I'll turn it over to you now, and ask for your advice. What are your favorite magazines to curl up with? Is there one that has a bit of everything I'm looking for in it? Or maybe some that compromise a few things, but are still good reads?

It's the beginning of the month, so lets choose me some new reading material!

P.S. - Even though I have lots of porn on my computer, every so often I like to grab a magazine. I have no idea why, since these boys don't move, don't speak and don't make noise. Maybe that heightens part of the fantasy. Not to mention it holds them in a perfect pose for all eternity.

When I grab a copy and head to the bathroom, it's usually:

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Between the crosses...

Why is it so hard to find a poppy in Toronto?

I've looked on every street corner I pass by, and never see veterans or kids selling them. In stores, there are no collection boxes and poppies to pick up. Even my roommates don't have one stashed away in their dressers.

But why? Are we as a nation so out of touch with remembering the dead of our wars that we simply don't care? Or is it that the city is filled with anti-war hippies who don't really support such compassion for 'hapless murders for American imperialism'?

I'm a firmly traditional guy, but I also support Remembrance Day because of my own beliefs. The enormity of both World Wars, no matter who started what and why, basically encapsulates the meaning of the past century. I want people to remember the sacrifices made, the innocent lives lost, and the beliefs of the soldiers and support staff that drove them to do the things they did.

I also currently support the Afghan mission, in both of it's modes. Many have forgotten the reasons for entering Afghanistan in the first place, and think that Canadians are simply toeing the American line, cleaning up the mess they left behind. But I was a supporter of the war way back when it was a war, just as I feel we are responsible for helping create a stable nation after fracturing what little stability they had after 9/11.

Yet here in Toronto, I can't find a poppy. And it's really starting to bother me. I want one on my jacket, to let people know I haven't forgotten so many things that have slipped the North American consciousness. But it's proving rather difficult to find one in this city.

So don't forget, at the very least, to grab a poppy on November 11, no matter if you support any current military operation or not. Show the world you don't easily forget the events of the 20th Century.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Halloween Night...

My ass saw some action on Wednesday night.

But there was really no follow through from the occasional slap and grab. And I think (hope) most of the few slaps I did get were from the guy who was with our group.

People started arriving at around 7, some in costume and some not. Most were pretty bland...and I stood out like a sore thumb in my full get-up. But head and hat held high, we drank and socialized and had a good time.

Later in the evening one of my friends from home and his girlfriend showed up. I would probably call Nick my closest male friend, and I'd say we click pretty well. There's a comfort in our company. He also didn't know, as of that evening.

Something inside me was driving me mad. I was admittedly quite drunk by the time I took him on the tour of the apartment, winding up in my room. I closed the door behind us.

"Can we talk for a sec?"

"Uh, sure. Wow, I like what you've done with your room. It looks really good."

"Uh...thanks...I'm gay."

Pause. Shit, did I just say that. God, I'm drunk, why did I have to say this now?

"Oh. Ok. Hey, that's cool."


"Yeah, no big deal. I like the paint colour."

I think that's more or less what happened. Seconds later his girlfriend came in to reclaim him, and we went back out into the party. Nothing more was said about it.

Afterwards, I felt terrible about it. Fuck, someone I really do care about, and I just drop it in a two second conversation. Not smooth. There was no explanation, no story. Nothing except the words. And I don't even know why I needed to tell him so badly.

I do remember babbling on about having brunch Sunday morning with him and his girlfriend. He ended up calling me yesterday and we talked for half an hour. Through the entire time, I wanted to say, "Let me explain about..." but I couldn't say it over the phone. I don't know why. He seemed completely normal about it. I guess he was giving me an option to talk about it. I texted him after our conversation that I'd hope we could talk in person about "what I said" the other night.

They ended up having to go home rather early, because she had class at 9 that she couldn't miss. We said our goodbyes, all gave each other hugs, and they were gone.

A little while after, we all packed up and headed out for Church St. The street itself was shut down, and hundreds of people were milling about. Some had stunning costumes...some simply looked stunning in their underwear.

One of the guests at our soiree was a bi boy who obviously caught on to my interesting costume choice. He's a big flirt (according to one of the girls) and made a couple lewd statements, which I of course didn't mind at all. He proved to be even more interesting, however, on our walk down Church St.

As we were walking, he would slap my ass and ask passers-by if anyone was interested in a sailor on leave. A few people too the occasional swipe, which at that point I certainly didn't mind. I don't think anybody really stopped to talk, and if they did, I certainly wasn't in the state to engage in flirty banter. We got some interesting photos of our looks like I'm lost in New York on Feet Week at one point.

A few hours of our strolling around went by, and it was quite fun to be out on such a festive night. Thankfully it wasn't freezing cold, and my white sailor ass didn't freeze.

Really, the night was a little different that anticipated. Fun, yes. Memorable, yes. I don't really know what I was expecting out of it, and honestly by the time we were in the gay-zone I didn't really have more than enough mental energy to put one foot in front of the other. I guess part of my little fantasy was to experience some culture...but there was really no reason to imagine that. Ah well, it was Halloween after all, not really a 'normal' night.

We made it home finally, plus a few people sleeping on couches. Of course, someone demanded the requisite episode of Sex and the City while we made quiche and cookies for our pre-dawn snack. We ate and laughed, and I crawled into bed, only after slipping out of my uniform and laughing myself to sleep to the thought of me in a sailor's uniform.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

I'm so tired...

I'm tired on two levels.

Physically, I zombie-walked through today. After waking up at 9:30 with a splitting hangover, I downed a glass of water and tried to sleep. But it was one of those ill-hangovers that, in addition to making you feel like shit, give you this nervous twitch that keeps you from peacefully falling to sleep. To combat this, and give myself something to think about while I lay there, I popped on some Frasier and pulled the covers over my head.

I managed to fall asleep around noon, and found myself in a bizarre dream. The world was very dark, something you would see in a '30s film noir. I remember looking out the window at a city that looked entirely art deco (which I love) but ultimately very cold and detached. At some point I was in a class, where the guest prof wanted to lecture in French, to which we agreed. Bizarre.

My phone, conveniently placed on the bedside table, went off ringing loudly in my ear, thrusting me from my dreamspace. It wasn't important, but it took me out of my deep sleep.

The rest of the day was spent puttering quietly. Nothing too strenuous. I wound up taking Lisa some chicken soup, as she's fallen ill. We sat around for two hours reading newspapers and trying to generate essay topics. Neither of us were successful.

Once I was back home, I returned a call to my mom, who needed me to look something up online for her. While I was doing that, she got very quiet.

"So I got some results today," she said, of the recent follow-up tests she had.

Basically, from what I understood, her results were very ambiguous. There's a growth, but it could be a polyp. Most likely it is, as the medication she's on as part of her post-cancer treatment is prone to growing such polyps. It's one of those situations that are becoming ever-familiar. The constant check ups and wondering what's going to turn up, the inevitable questionable results...the waiting.

I waited for a few seconds before the silence was broken.

"Well, what are you thinking," she said.

"Really, I all never seems to end."

"Yeah, that's for sure," she said sadly. "But what do you think."

"I really just don't know what to say," I answered. "I mean...I don't know enough about your results, I can't give an opinion. I guess we just wait for the next test and see whats what."

She sounded a little surprised. "Oh..." she said quietly.

"What do you want me to say?" I said, "I don't know enough about it, and it's just what we always do. Don't worry too much, I mean there's reasonable chance this is nothing. It's just really a lot...we seem to do this a lot."

I honestly don't know how to do this any more. It used to be I had to be the scientific one, and play the line between being worried and engaged while at the same time stepping back and looking at all the science involved. She told me afterwards there were moments she felt I wasn't concerned enough or that I wasn't taking the big picture into account.

So with that in mind, I had to really be careful, and will have to, to be as compassionate as possible. Because, of course I'm worried to death about this type of thing, but I can't let it become my focus.

It all started when I was 17, the tests and waiting for results, then the further tests and all the appointments and worrying and wondering if this time, really, there will be something wrong again. And it's been this way for four years now. And it'll be this way for many more.

And I'm starting not to be able to cope with that. Of all the test drama, tonight's news just seemed to set something off in me; it revealed how tired I am of this. How I wish it would just not be this way.

But of course, it has to be. Because if I had nothing more to worry about she would have to be dead. And really, the worrying is a small price to pay for not being dead.

In all of this I'm sure she's tired too. It frustrates and bothers me, and it's not even my body. But we experience things pretty much together, so I hope she doesn't think I'm undermining her own distress when I say how it never seems to end.

Someone asked me how it had changed my life, having a mother with cancer at a young age. I didn't really have an answer; I don't know how things would have been different had this not happened. But I guess what I'm discovering is the times when the specter hovers in the peripheral vision and the lifelong commitment to concern and worry is brought to my attention again.

I'll sleep tonight, probably not well. I'll catch up on the sleep I missed because of Halloween and drinking too much. I can't seem to take away the other weariness, no matter how much sleep I get.

And I probably never will.