Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Just Briefly...

('Cause I gotta be at work at 6 am tomorrow morning.)

So the other day at Ho(t)me(n) Depot, I was helping my co-worker Debbie move a dryer next door in Appliances.

We got the dryer onto a dolly and then used these wide black nylon straps to secure the dryer to the dolly. I was tightening the straps and I commented off-handedly (or as off-handedly as I could), I have a set of these in my bedroom. It never occurred to me that they could be used for moving a dryer, but I guess they work pretty well for this, too."

Debbie totally got my meaning.

Blow Out The Candles

So my birthday. Monday, October 29th, 2007.

I had been taking a just-another-day-on-the-calendar approach, which I think is fitting to anyone my side of 21. And it was a work day. I was at Ho(t)me(n) Depot from two to eleven p.m.

Round about 7:45, who should turn up in the faucet aisle but the Baron! It was very much a When Worlds Collide moment. In a big way. I was flying solo in Kitchens & Baths, and I had tons of customers, so at best I could squeeze the Baron in between helping people pick out faucets and toilets and such.

It had been the Baron's belief that I was getting off work at eight, and then we would head to the Ol' Homestead to celebrate. Although the Baron doesn't deal well with having his plans thwarted, he did in this case, and said that he would grab something to eat, go stop in a visit with my father, take Faithful Companion for a walk, and be waiting for me at the Ol' Homestead when I got off at eleven.

So cool.

When I arrived home, the back porch light was on.

That was so great.

I hate coming home to a dark house. I'm all about leaving a light on. But inside, all was darkness. Except for the pinpoints of light on the candles atop a birthday cake.

Sure enough, the Baron had brought with him a birthday cake and a bottle of wine. (Port, to be exact. Not my preference--but clearly the Baron's--but deeply appreciated nonetheless.)

Just about overwhelmed, the Baron invited me to blow out the candles.

And that would mean making a wish.

Okay.

A wish.

That's a tough one for someone who has devoted a lot of effort not to wish, trying to stay in the present moment, or at least in the neighborhood of This Week.

To give me time to think, I got a kiss (yes on the lips) from Faithful Companion.

I wished for Freedom From Financial Insecurity.

I decided to be unspecific because I didn't want to wish for $8,000 or something. Just the "Freedom From..."

I got all the candles in one shot.

The Baron applauded, gave me a kiss and a hug, and together we sat down to enjoy birthday cake and a couple of glasses of wine.

About 12:30, I was fading fast, and I had to be up for work tomorrow. I got the Baron on the road after thanking him for his kindness and his friendship, gave Faithful Companion his last walk of the night, brushed my teeth, and headed off to bed.

It was just after One when I got into bed, and this made me nervous, since it meant that I'd be getting less than the seven hours I'd need before I had to be up for work. I said a silent prayer that I wouldn't oversleep and got in bed and--after jerking off as is my habit--went to sleep.

I awoke refreshed, invigorated, about an hour before my alarm was going to go off, and my mind almost racing with insight and clarity.

I was thinking about Conviction.

When I was a younger man, I considered conviction to be the prime virtue. Life was to be lived with Conviction.

Now at the time, I think my understanding of this was, "I resolve to live my life as a Leatherman and a Shaman-ish Top, and then I'll be happy all the time." And I signed on to the laundry list of what you might call "leather values": honesty, loyalty, the quest for excellence in ourselves and others, openness, brotherhood.

Nowadays, I have come to feel that I've ridden that horse about as far as she will take me, and I'm feeling at sea.

The lesson: Conviction, yes. But be thoughtful about your convictions. They don't come pre-arranged. You have to work them out on your own.

It's an absurd universe, you see. And ultimately, nothing makes a damn bit of difference. Your (my) convictions are random, and, ultimately, pretty meaningless.

So what are my convictions?

I can say this: kindness, integrity, and hard work.

Be kind. To everyone I meet. Even to people who are unkind to me. Especially to people who are unkind to me. And Integrity. Acknowledge and accept all the diverse aspects of myself. Don't shut off parts of my life and myself. In structural engineering, strength is all about integrity, about how all the parts work together. And Hard Work.

Yeah.

At Ho(t)me(n) Depot, I'm something of a star. And at every Hard Labor Ready gig I've been on, I get rave reviews. Because I bust my ass. Always. I'm diligent, I apply myself, I think through things, when I screw up I take responsibility and work to make things better. It matters a lot to me that I do a good job.

As a result, I love working, and I get so much out of it. At the end of the day, when I punch out at Ho(t)me(n) Depot, I almost don't want to leave. I'm totally juiced from the day. Looking forward to going back tomorrow.

And then, lying in bed, thinking about all this, my birthday wish was granted.

Suddenly, I felt like an adult.

Y'see, when I moved to NYC all those many years ago, I got a job that paid $25,000 a year. My next job paid me $35,000. The job after that paid $45,000. Then $55,000, then, finally, $65,000. And I believed that trend would continue. I'd keep climbing on up the ladder.

And so, if I wanted it, I got it. Boots, trips, a great custom leather flight suit made for me by David Samuel Menkes. I decided I liked Fort Lauderdale so I was down there one weekend a month. On one trip, I decided to look at condos. I found one I liked, and by the time I flew home, I had gotten a mortgage and bought it. After all, why not? The money would keep coming in, more and more and more of it.

Well no.

Over the past four years, I've still been operating under this ill-conceived world view. Okay, so for now I'm working in a woodshop making ten bucks an hour. That's just temporary. C'mon... Don't you know who I am? Let me show you my 2002 tax returns!

Happily, my values have changed.

My needs are few, and my wants are under control. Henceforth, I pay cash. After all, under brutal American capitalism that we've all become accustomed to, nothing is really certain beyond your next paycheck, is it?

I work hard, and every two weeks they pay me, and I pay my bills.

It's gonna take some time for me to clear the decks of the vestiges of living the high life, but I'll get it done.

Because I'm a good worker, I'll always have a job, so really, there's nothing to worry about.

And so, in a record seven hours, my birthday wish was granted.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

43rd

I'm on the cusp!

In the profiles of websites based here in the U.S., I'm 42 years old. But on websites based in the UK where you can find my profile such as www.worldleathermen.com and www.bnskins.com, I've already become 43. So if you're on Greenwich Mean Time, it would be appropriate to wish me a happy birthday.

And if you're here in the US, then you have precious little shopping time left.

If you had asked me yesterday what I wanted for my birthday, I would have been stumped for an answer. (As friends have pointed out to me, being a man who denies himself nothing, I'm tough to buy for.) But now, I have a clue.

At Ho(t)me(n) Depot today, I was helping a woman pick out fixtures for her shower. When she settled on one, she got a big smile. "This is the last thing," she said.

"Are you renovating a bathroom?" I asked.

"Better than that," she said.

She explained that her husband was in Iraq. He wouldn't be back until March. And when he gets back, she has a surprise waiting for him. She's turned the basement of their home into a Man Cave for him.

I think I gasped.

"Yeah!" she said, overjoyed that her idea had so obviously hit home with me.

"Flat screen tv. Keg cooler. Leather sofa that has one of those recliner things. Home gym. Sauna. Hammock. Workbench. It's got blue and white carpet tiles because he's a big Penn State fan. Microwave and a fridge."

"Oh. My. God."

That was all I got out.

"Yeah! And he has totally no idea."

Can you imagine?

Oh. And by the way. When she said she "turned the basement of their home into his Man Cave," that's what she meant. She did all the work herself. She nailed up the studs, she hung the drywall and paneling, she put down the floors, she did the plumbing. (She had sauna people come and install the sauna though.) She explained that it gave her a lot to do and that kept her from going crazy.

Oh man.

I want a Man Cave.

You could probably hold off on the flat screen tv and the recliner-sofa.

Items for my Man Cave...

• Free weights
• Desk
• Bookshelves
• Big uphostered futon covered platform for sprawling upon and reading the paper and such
• St. Andrew's Cross
• My great cage
• A welding workshop
• A fire place

And my Man Cave would have one of those three-season porch things, with a hot tub and a shower stall.

Yeah.

My Man Cave.

I want a Man Cave.

But more than that, I think I want a man. A man who would lovingly build me a Man Cave. And who gets me so well that he would know just what to put in that Man Cave. So when I got back from--well, maybe not Iraq, but how about from taking care of my father out here in the Howling Wilderness of Pennsylvania--I would see that it was just perfect.

Or y'know what? I'd settle for a man who gets me. Who really gets me.

That would be perfect.

And that's what I want for my birthday.

Retail Tribalism

I hate Lowe's.

I mean, I really really really hate Lowe's.

When one of my customers says something like, "Well maybe I'll try over at Lowe's..." my blood just boils.

Now, a scant two months ago, I had barely considered Lowe's. I had never been in a Lowe's (and that's never going to happen now). But until I started working at Ho(t)me(n) Depot, Lowe's wasn't even on my radar.

Although I tend to be all about brand loyalty, I don't know that I particularly considered myself to be a Ho(t)me(n) Depot shopper. True, the path between the two places I lived in Brooklyn and the Ho(t)me(n) Depot on 3rd Avenue by the on-ramp to 278 was well worn, and one of the first places I discovered upon moving to Jersey City was where the Ho(t)me(n) Depot was located, this was more a matter of knowing what Ho(t)me(n) Depot was and what they sold there than any sense of loyalty.

If there had been a Lowe's that was closer or had easier parking, I probably would have gone there.

Well those days are gone.

Maybe it was inculcated while watching those memorable indoctrination orientation videos. (If you'll remember, at one point I was moved to tears.) One method of testing that they did was based on having CGI customers come up and ask you questions about buying air filters or sump pumps or such. If you made a correct recommendation, you were rewarded with the comforting image of the customer pulling up to Ho(t)me(n) Depot. But if you made a bad recommendation, you'd see a car pulling up outside of "Slowe's" across the street.

That may have planted the seed, but it's become so much more than that.

I hate Lowe's.

First there was Ho(t)me(n) Depot. The founders had a vision: build a big warehouse and sell everything anybody could want for home improvement out of that warehouse. Selling out of a warehouse meant you didn't have to spend a lot of money on maintaining a separate warehouse, you could have all your inventory right there, ready to be picked up and carted home. Then along came Lowe's. They decided to also sell home improvement stuff (no points for Original Ideas, obviously), but instead of looking like a warehouse, they wanted to make it prettier. I guess the thinking there was that average folks might be intimidated walking into a place that looks like a lumberyard. And I guess there's some merit to that. But Ho(t)me(n) Depot bridges that divide by hiring people knowledgeable about the stuff we sell. If you have a plumbing problem or want to install canister lights in your living room, then head to your local Ho(t)me(n) Depot and there will be someone there who will not just sell you every blessed thing you need to fix the problem (at rock bottom prices), but they'll talk you through it step-by-step so you can go home and take care of it yourself. Trust!

So now, after working there, I love Ho(t)me(n) Depot. Being good at my job boils down to one thing: knowledge of how to do stuff. All day long, folks come to me with problems, and I listen, offer suggestions, and do my best to get them to a point where they feel confident that they have everything they need to fix it themselves. (Today, for example, a guy asked me if we sold backsplash type things for over the stove. I said, "I'll show you what we have here in KItchens & Baths, then I'll tell you why you shouldn't buy it, and then I'll offer a suggestion. I showed him this cheapo plastic crap that we sell that looks like pressed tin that graced the ceilings of so many of my NYC apartments. But, I explained, it's plastic. So it has no heat resistance. So it's not what you want for over a stove. Then I took him over to the aisle where we have the wall tile. I explained that he could pick out a selection of decorative tile to fit behind his stovetop, come up with a unique arrangement, set it, grout it, and it would look pretty damn good. His face lit up while I talked. "Is that hard to do?" he asked. I talked him through it, step by step, then turned him over to an associate in Floors & Walls so he could pick out his tile and get everything he needed for the project.)

You can do it. We can help.

So yeah. I love Ho(t)me(n) Depot.

And I really hate Lowe's.

I remember reading in one of those Brain Science articles I'm so fond of about how there's a part of the brain that has evolved to help us operate in a tribal fashion. It came out of hooking up the crania of two people to EKGs and having them talk about politics. Some people in the group identified themselves as Democrats, some as Republicans, and some had no particular political affiliation that they could name. When two independents were discussing immigration or foreign policy or whatever, the parts of their brains associated with logical thinking and decision making and verbal skills lit up. More or less the same deal when a Democrat or a Republican was talking to an independent.

But, when a Democrat was talking to a Republican, and they knew that about each other, those parts of the brain were dimmed in comparison to the part that identifies friends and enemies, kin and strangers. And the discussions often became heated. When two Democrats or two Republicans were talking, even though they disagreed, there was no aggression.

The researchers concluded that back in the days when we were all roaming the savanahs, it was vitally important that we be able to recognize members of our tribe and be cooperative and such, but also to recognize members of other tribes with whom we were competing for food and water and mates and respond with aggression.

In other words, there's a neurological basis for tribalism.

And that's gotta be what's at work here.

For one thing, I sense similar feelings in my fellow employees. I think if I were to suggest that we run across the street some night and let the air out of the tires of the cars in the Lowe's parking lot--and how skeevy is it that Lowe's always open up basically across the street from a Ho(t)me(n) Depot? Low indeed--I bet I'd get some takers.

Seeking further confirmation, I decided to ask my friend UnFortunate, who works at Barnes & Noble, if he had any feelings about Borders. On my coffee break one day, I sent him a text message to inquire.

Almost immediately came the reply: I loathe Borders.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

When Suddenly...

My father screamed!

I screamed!

Nothing supernatural. Just that three run home run at the bottom of the 7th Inning!

The Rockies are still in it!

(Now for the bad news: this game will go on all night and I've got to get to bed.)

(Hate that.)

Trick Or Treat

Driving home from Ho(t)me(n) Depot tonight, I came upon the sight of the full moon, just risen (or maybe setting), in the tops of the trees, newly bare of leaves after the wind and rain we've just had. It was a brilliant orange in the dark sky.

And of course I said out loud to no one, "It's the Great Pumkin, Charlie Brown!"

Ah, Hallowe'en.

For a significant part of my life, I would readily list Hallowe'en as my favorite holiday, bar none.

And I'm not thinking here of the gay Hallowe'en. That never moved me much. Sure, you can wrap it all up in stuff about sexual personae and masking and the illusion of surface and such, but pretty much it's an excuse for people who want to do drag but are afraid to--and probably shouldn't--to do drag. (Not that I have been totally immune to that: somewhere I have a picture of my Hallowe'en costume from my freshman year of college when I got dressed up as a vampire slut or something. Not especially successful.)

I'm thinking of the Hallowe'en from my youth.

That Hallowe'en.

Combining chocolate, scary movies on television (especially black and white scary movies, and a great costume.

And by great costume, I mean vampires, werewolves and ghosts and such. In 7th Grade, wearing my Hunchback Grave Robber Carrying A Coffin costume, I won the prize for "Scariest." And damn, you should have seen me the year I was a satyr, covering my upper body in brown body paint and waring these pants made from brown "fun fur" as haunches.

And from a verrrry early age, I put myself in charge of decorating for Hallowe'en, which was usually a euphemism for me turning the entire house into a Witches Cottage or the Lair Of The Vampire or something ("Oh the sofa? I moved it out onto the back porch because I couldn't get it to fit"). And I would raid the fields of local farmers to get corn shalks to line the driveway. All the way up.

And at church, the Young People's Fellowship would decorate the Sunday School classrooms as a Haunted House. A few times, I got into trouble for making things a little too scary for the younger kids who were our guests.

And carving jack-o'-lanterns. And all the rest.

Ah, Hallowe'en.

Every year, the day would swing around in the calendar, bringing me joy.

Thanks for putting in an appearance, O Great Pumpkin. I sure could use some of that joy now.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Transpire

I am so juiced about my dungeon demo at Transpire at Club XO in Philadelphia on November 3rd.

Tonight I talked with Rick, the guy who is charged with managing the talent roster. He and everybody else involved are thrilled to have me, and I think the Great Lesson of 2007 will turn out to be that you can't go too wrong if you go where they want you.

[Gasp! Wait! Kevin Youkilis is batting... Holy shit! Almost hit him in the head. Full count. C'mon, Kevin... And he walks. Sweet.]

It is gonna be sweet. Got my chains already. And my padlocks. Thinking about what to do with positioning. The options include on the floor with my piece of uncut leather as a mat, in my big black plastic cement mixing tub (which comes in handy when you want to piss all over the guy once he's chained up, although I won't be doing that in a public venue I don't think), or maybe I'll just throw my weight bench in the car. The issue there is lumbar support.

But anyway, I was talking to Rick, and he gave me free tickets to a screening of Trans porn that's going down before the event. Of course, my instant response was, "Buck Angel?"

No. In fact, it's not Buck Angel. With whom I am totally obsessed.

But Rick, of course, totally knows who Buck Angel is. And get this... said that they were trying to get in touch with him to see if he'd make an appearance. As in, "If you happen to be on the East Coast..."

Okay. This is big. Huge, in fact. This means that I might get to meet Buck Angel.

Setting aside for a moment just how humiliating that will be for me, as I stare at my boots and all that comes out my mouth is hummina-hummina-hummina. But regardless. That would be enough for me. Just being in The Presence would suffice.

Who knows? Maybe Buck Angel would correctly interpret my non-verbal seemingly insane ramblings correctly as an invitation to forgo whatever else he has going on--which I guess he would call "his life" or something--and fulfil his destiny and become my personal love money sex slave.

It could happen!

*sigh*

And I'm also excited because this is a big Trans thing. The battle currently being waged for Trans inclusion has been called the civil rights struggle of our age. And as a leatherman, it is my issue.

Pour quoi?

When Rick described to me the Trans journey as a spiritual one, and how it all goes down in the arena of your body, that resonated for me. Same deal with SM. The body is the arena wherein we discover our souls. Submitting your back to the whip or your breasts to the surgical knife because powers you don't understand compel you to do so, compel you to trust in the Universe and trust in the strength and courage that you don't know you have... Those are the makings of a magical life.

Way back when during my ACT UP days, the affinity group with whom I had done several actions gave rise to the Lesbian Caucus of ACT UP. Which I became a part of, mostly because it didn't occur to me not to. I knew and loved those women and few people I have met are higher in my estimation. Of course, there was the whole issue of the fact that I was not a lesbian. And so, I decided that I was the charter member of the Boys' Auxilliary of the Lesbian Caucus of ACT UP. And in the tradition of Womens' Auxilliaries of yore, offered to have coffee and danishes waiting when the members of the Lesbian Caucus finished up their meetings. They responded by making me an Honorary Lesbian.

Which, of course, I loved.

So I'm wondering. Could I become honorary trans?

Although that kinda brings me around to my CHC membership.

And I've been thinking about that quite a bit lately, too.

There was a splash in the gay press this summer about the Chicago Hellfire Club and their exclusion of trans-men from their signature event, Inferno.

I've sort of been operating under the idea that I could work to change that from inside, rather than by leaving. But I think that there I may be deluding myself. I'm an associate member, and decision making in CHC is vested entirely with the full members. Besides having to be voted in as a full member, it also means having to make monthly meetings of the full membership, and those meetings are held in Chicago. So no. I'm not going to become a full member any time soon.

And, alas, there is no principled position that I've heard articulated to back up CHC's policies of excluding men who are not born with penises. Rather, it's just a matter of "Eeeew! That will get me all skeeved out if I know that there's a man without a penis anywhere around me!". And the more I think about it, there's not a lot of difference between that and "But if we let the negroes in they might date our daughters!"

And the more I think about it, that just doesn't cut the mustard.

There's another aspect of this, too. In a conversation with the Baron several weeks ago, I had an insight about myself, something that has been the lynchpin--or a quirk or whatever--in my character for as long as I can remember: I am a radical egalitarian. I don't like the whole "On the bus, off the bus" dynamic. It's one thing to associate yourself with like-minded people. All of us like that. But the danger there is that we human beings are inherently tribal, and very quickly, we'll all get to thinking that those folks who are of different minds than us, well they just don't rate. They're off the bus. And we're all on the bus. So we must be better than them. And now how can we go about keeping them off the bus?

I'm dismissive of the gnostic elements in so much pop cultural new age-y psychology for the same reason. If'n I start hearing that "living authentically" or whatever means that you're at a higher level than the great mass of men and women who aren't, they're playing the on-the-bus-off-the-bus game. And in my head, I'm already thinking up arguments--however specious and contorted they might be--about why People Who Just Don't Get It actually have the right idea.

And with CHC and Inferno, you get that in spades. Lots of talk about how Inferno is the Best Event and how we're all privileged to be there. And necessarily,that would mean that there are men out there in the world who just don't cut the mustard.

For example, they weren't born with penises.

Yeah.

I have no idea where this is all going.

For now, I'll just say this: it skeeves me out to do SM in the presence of men who would come up with contrived legalistic exclusionary policies because they get skeeved out doing SM in the presence of men who might not have been born with penises.

Not only am I excited to be doing chain bondage at this club in Philadelphia next weekend because I'm a total ham and I love to show off, but I'm deeply honored to have been asked to be there.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Shorts Shrift

After two months at Ho(t)me(n) Depot, I have had a Not Good day at work.

It was bananas. So much to do, and I was basically the only one on the floor in my department from the time I got there until I got some help at 2 p.m. And I had all this downstocking to do and these picks to get and... and...

Oh. And there was only smokin hot man the whole day! (Okay. Well three. But two I couldn't get a good look at.)

I was running and running all day long.

But here was the thing that really made it Not Good.

I wore shorts.

You see every month, there's an All Store Meeting. At 7 freakin o'clock on a Sunday morning! If'n you're schedule to work, then you're there anyway and you get paid for it. If you're not scheduled, then you're "invited" to come in anyway to take part in the festivities.

Uh huh.

Gosh, whaddyaknow, I did not drag my sorry butt out of bed at 5:30 a.m. this past Sunday to make the All Store Meeting.

Apparently, there was this total Proletarian Uprising.

Involving shorts.

Our Store Manager had an announcement. It seems that according to our dress code, we're only permitted to wear shorts from May 1st to October 1st.

And there was a question on that point.

Along the lines of, "Uh... It's eighty-five degrees outside. Could that maybe be relaxed?"

And a lively discussion ensued.

Al Gore may have been mentioned.

Now then. All of this was unbeknownst to me. Who got up this morning and decided that my dark olive drab hiking shorts would look pretty snappy this morning.

I had barely clocked in when a co-worker approached me and said, "So... You're wearing shorts."

And then explained what went down at the All Store Meeting.

Silly me, I failed to grasp the seriousness of the situation.

Assistant Manager after Assistant Manager approached, voicing concern about my bare calves. I tried to make a joke about it ("I know I know I know! I didn't make the All Store Meeting! I'm sorry!"), but this didn't cut it. They were still Concerned.

And sure enough, I ran into our Store Manager, who barked, "You're wearing shorts."

I explained. I apologized. He was placated. And I finally got it.

My fashion statement was perceived as being a political statement.

On the way home, I recounted the Unfortunate Episode of the Mid-October Shorts to the Baron, who got it immediately.

"You see," he explained, "what happened in 1792 in France was that the bourgeoisie snatched the baton of power from the nobility, and rather than considering what right they had to have it or how best to use it, they simply committed themselves to hold on to it in whatever way they could. And the best way to do exercise that illigitimate power is to tell the rest of us when and how high to jump and what tune to dance to. Although that only works if they're completely arbitrary and only serve to reinforce that they have the power and you don't."

Well since you put it that way.

And I responded by pointing out that this turned my entire day into a french existentiallist theater piece, in that I am, if nothing else, a man who prides himself on being an expert Jumper and impressive Dancer-On-Command.Had I but known about the whole No Shorts From October Through The End Of April Deal I would have work a burka before I'd wear shorts.

One of my co-workers compared my plight to that of Woody Allen's character in the movie Bananas where he mistakenly spurs a revolution in a southamerican republic.

So no more shorts.

But tomorrow, I'm gonna wear my tight low-rider black jeans.

The Dress Code didn't say anything about showing my ass crack.

They'll need a re-write before I'm through.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

ALCS

Did you see that game???

Amazing. Beautiful.

The Red Sox were flawless. Just incredible. That double play in the Seventh. And my boy Youkilis got a beautiful home run.

And these guys going up against the Red Hot Rockies?

This is gonna be the best World Series in years.

Big story in the Sports section of the Times today. The headline asked the question, "Are The Red Sox Ready To Be The Next Yankees?"

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Fugue Of Sorts

And so it's come to pass here on Singletails that what I try to do here is write literary essays. (Uneditited and straight-outta-my-head literary essays, but it is a weblog after all.) Although I started off with short little chunks, my aspiration has come to be descriptive passages about my Real Life experiences and whatever small insights might arise therefrom.

Well, we need to take a break from that, because I'm working too damn much. Being full time at Ho(t)me(n) Depot means that all day long there's this barrage of smokin hot men I'm presented with, truly taxing my erotic imagination. (It occurred to me today that me working at Ho(t)me(n) Depot is akin to a pedophile getting a job as a playground monitor. It's like, "Wait. Lemme get this straight. Not only are you not gonna chase me off the property, but you're gonna pay me for being here???"

But, over the past week or so, there's been plenty of thoughts passing through my head that actually had little or nothing to do with the autobody guy with ice-blue eyes and a chest like a dark brown angora sweater showing between the buttons on his blue Dickies shirt with hopes of success at being a house flipper to whom I was explaining how he could put together a great looking kitchen for about $5000 (Pause. Breathe.) but rather, I thought, would merit mention here in a posting.

So, here's a miscellany of some of those thoughts. Not in the form of a literary essay.

In the World Series, I'm liking the Rockies, those gutsy unknowns who are showing Major League Baseball that just because they were born while Ronald Reagan was President doesn't mean they can't play great baseball. Although, the Red Sox still have some of the hottest men in the major leagues--Varitek! Youklis! Drew! I am talking to you!--so whatever happens, it's gonna be worth watching . . . Philadelphia was just voted the City With The Ugliest People In America by Travel & Leisure magazine. On the local news, when they were getting man-in-the-street responses, one guy said, "Uhhh... Yeah. I guess that's true." . . . Run, don't walk, to see the movie Into The Wild. Amazing. Beautiful. And inspiring. Inspiring me to think about buying a Honda Element and spending a year driving around the country (mostly the West) with Faithful Companion along for the ride. And re-reading Jack Kerouac and Jack London. . . . So after a long hiatus, Queer Eye For The Straight Guy is back on the air. And is totally Weak. Luckily, Heroes and Mad Men are rocking my world. Could this mean that I'm becoming disenchanted with cheesy reality tv shoes? Time will tell. Season Four of Project Runway is in the works. . . . Okay. So a guy on my softball team told me that he's kicking out his problematic roommate, and he'd be happy to rent me his second bedroom in his NYC apartment for $500 a month and this great job that I'm totally qualified for has just become available up in NYC. So I could hook my father up with a eldercare agency to fix him dinner and keep him company and just be back here in the Howling Wilderness of Pennsylvania on weekends and spend Monday through Friday in New York City. The implications of this are so staggering that I've failed to grasp them. At all. In the immortal words of Rhoda Morgenstern, "New York, this is your last chance!" . . . My Hard Labor Ready gig this week was working for a husband and wife team who clean things. I was helping them clean this mammoth furniture store that's getting ready to open, even though the construction on the place is still going on. I spent 5.5 hours dusting and wiping down this awful furniture. It was all oversize and over-designed and really really really poorly made. We're talkin' crap. The finishing was so bad that I had to stop using the shammy cloth because it would grip the fibers and leave fuzz on the doors and drawerfronts. The reveals were all out of whack, and the cheap-o hinges weren't adjustable so the owners would have to live with it. As I worked, I kept asking myself, "Who is going to pay money for this crappy furniture?" And then it dawned on me: what better to fill your over-priced, poorly constructed, ostentatious McMansion than with over-priced, poorly built, ostentatious awful furniture? . . . My over-used quip of late: "Well, it's not a perfect world. And how do we know this? Because I can't get a Rueben at Quizno's, which would make a great Rueben if they wanted to. But that's all the proof you need that it's not a perfect world.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Trifecta

Last night at Ho(t)me(n) Depot, I was working with my Department Head getting ready for inventory. And he popped the question: Do you want to go full-time?

And I said "Sure." Not because I am sure, but just because I was asked. And because instead of having to work three jobs, I'd be able to only work one. (Although I'd still like to get down to Hard Labor Ready on weekdays off to keep my hand in the mix and give me a little extra cash.) And hopefully, this will give me a little bit more say in my availability for work, and make my weekly schedule a wee bit more predictable.

That said, I decided that after my ninety day probationary period is up, I'll start perusing the want ads again. Not that I'm unhappy at Ho(t)me(n) Depot--quite the reverse--I just worry that too much time there might blight my resume. But we'll see. As I learned during the first eight months of 2007, employers aren't chafing at the bit to bring on board a forty-three year old when there are all those twenty- and thirty-somethings eager to open veins and give blood to have a job.

But regardless, I take that gesture as indication that The Like Me, and after this long sojourn in the desert of rejection, that is welcome indeed.

And speaking of being liked, I got a call from my softball coach today. He was calling to make sure I'd be at the league awards ceremony tomorrow night.

When the call came in, I was working for Installer Guy tearing up carpet. (Tearing up carpet is really hard work. If anybody ever tells you, "Buddy, you've got a big future ahead or you as a Carpet Tearer Upper," just go ahead and deck him.) So there I am, with all these other carpet tearer upper guys, my cellie blows up, I see it's George and answer it, and give him the bad news.

No, in fact I won't be there tomorrow night. I have to work at Ho(t)me(n) Depot.

My coach was really disappointed to hear that. And he explained why. I'd be missing out on getting the trophy everybody on the Ball Breakers is getting for coming in second in the season. But what's more, after much discussion among my teammates, I am going to receive the Managers Award, which comes with its own trophy.

So there I am, standing amidst all that tearing up of carpet, and I start to cry.

George explained that there are few more dedicated Ball Breakers, and, most importantly for him, I am the source of No Drama Whatsoever. And, I'm beloved by each and every Ball Breaker.

(Yeah. I'm crying again.)

Okay.

Change of plans.

Tomorrow when I get off work from Ho(t)me(n) Depot, instead of heading for home, I'm gonna head down to the PA Turnpike, take it east, hook up with the Jersey Turnpike, through the Holland Tunnel, and I should arrive in NYC in time to meet up with the Ball Breakers at Ty's on Christopher Street after the awards ceremony.

For one thing, no way could I miss that.

And for another thing, it's been what--weeks? months?--since I went out and had a good time. (Not that hanging out at Starbucks isn't a Good Time, but you know what I mean.)

And for another thing, NYC is no doubt diminished by my absence, and I'd best amend that.

And for another thing, I'm getting two softball trophies!

(Oh. Wait. We covered that already.)

And just a note for my NYC readers, I should be hitting Ty's around 9:30, 10 pm. A mere sixteen days remain until I turn forty-three. So if'n you'd like to wish me the best on my next journey 'round the sun, this might be your only opportunity.


So that's all good, right?

But wait. There's more!

I got a call from a guy I worked with at the Previous Place of emPloy. He was the Program Director for the harm reduction intervention we did for trans folks, and he was a great guy. Absolutely one of my favorite people on staff there. We had several memorable talks over coffee and cigarets, which would start out with him educating me about trans issues, and not infrequently end with both of us kicking back and talking about how totally cool it was being a guy. (And as that had not always been the case with him, his appreciation in many ways exceeded mine.) Ah, the joys of getting punched by a drunk in a bar, sucking it up and being out of touch with your feelings, being able to strike up a conversation with any other guy on the planet by opening a paper to the Sports page and saying, "can you believe this shit?"... So anyways, as if he wasn't busy enough, he's doing this party at a nightclub down in Philadelphia. And once a month, they do a BDSM theme. And he has people do demos. And it seems that he's unable to find anybody to Top in these demos other women--possibly because it's explicitly trans-friendly, and perchance did I know anybody...

And, I did. A few people I could ask. And, of course, I'd be happy to oblige.

And he was thrilled about that.

So get this.

On November 3rd, I'll get to leather up, head down to Philadelphia, be On The Guest List at a trendy club, and do a demo!

Oh, schwing.

I was thinking of singletails (natch), but I'm wondering if chain bondage might be more fun. When I've done chain bondage demos before, I pass out lengths of chain to onlookers and have them do some of the lays. And at the end, when we've exhausted all 200 pounds of my chain, we have a lucky bottom immoblized by cold, eternal steel. And then, of course, there's the Grand Finale, when I remove the padlocks and he struggles to free himself.

(Yes, I need a demo bottom. Yes, if anyone knows Buck Angel personally I can't think of anybody who would be more appropriate, but I'm open to other possibilities.)

So I've hit the Trifecta: Job, Softball, SM.

Perhaps 2007 will close on a better note than that with which it opened.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Adventures Of The DILF Patrol!

DILF* sightings at Ho(t)me(n) Depot have been frequent over the past few days. So much so that I pass the time by contemplating which DILF will earn the title Dilf Of The Day. Yesterday it was a total toss up between this guy buying a new dishwasher with his wife who was being followed around by a cross between a very good looking donkey and an onion (that would be, an ass so beautiful it brings tears to your eyes). And he had a shaved head and a moustache almost as bushy as mine. But just when I was thinking it couldn't get any better than that, along comes this little Black Irish looking thug wearing a wife beater and basketball shorts built like a bantam weight boxer. I still can't decide which of them deserves the Dilf Of The Day title.

So today, competition was again pretty good. Worried that I'd again have trouble narrowing the field, I decided to make it situational. Sort of like putting beauty pageant IML contestants through the painful for all involved ordeal of answering questions posed by the judges.

So I ran through the following scenario in my mind to try to determine which DILF would be the most rewarding...

The DILF is brought in, gagged and hands bound behind his back (rope available in aisle 13!), forced down over a sawhorse (in aisle 34 in Building Materials!) and restrained there (Stow straps in Aisle 24 in Hardware!).

(Can't you just see the look on his face? An admixture of fear, astonishment, and anger. Love that.)

The gag is removed, but he can barely get out three or four words before the beating begins. Hard. On his ass. With a paddle.

First there'd be the angry exclamations. Then the gutteral grunts. Then the pitch would grow up. Then his eyes would tear up.

The beating continues.

Until he breaks.

Bellowing, sobbing, begging.

Still I'm paddling his ass.

Then I crouch down so my face is right down on the level with his, red and hot and streaked with tears and sweat.

When he begs me, "Please! No more!", that's when I'd tell him that I'll only stop if he gives me the best blowjob I've ever had. I undo the buttons of my fly and let my hardon bob in front of him, so close he has to look at it cross-eyed.

He'd probably protest some... ("Hell no! I don't...")

And that would get him another couple of whacks on his cherry red ass.

(Don'ch'a love how when you're beating a really meaty ass, you see those ripples?)

I'd continue till he says "Okay! Okay I'll do it!"

Then I'd stick first just the head of my dick in his open mouth. And when he looks up with me, his eyes full of pleading, I'd thrust it in all the way, making him gag on it.

"Boy," I'd say, "I've got some bad news for you. This is NOT the best blowjob I've ever had in my life," and raise the paddle again.

Watch him go at it with everything he's got.

Then I'd say, "You want to take my load down your throat, don't ya? You'd like that a lot, huh fukker?"

And when he groans out a "yes," I'd give him what he asked for.

And ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner!

At the very last minute, as I was headed to the locker room to stow away my orange apron and head to the time clock, I saw him.

From what I saw of his torso in his black sleeveless tshirt and his calves coming out of his baggy camo cargo shorts, he was covered in tattoos. Not great tattoos. Hot Stuff the Little Devil kind of tattoos. Tattoos straight guys get when they're drunk. He was arguing with his girlfriend (fried blond hair, out of shape, sallow complexion) in the plumbing aisle.

I got rid of my apron and clocked out quick as I could. When I got to the plumbing fixtures aisle, they were still there arguing. On closer inspection, he was even better than I thought. I feigned interest in sharkbite connectors (the latest thing in plumbing, they work really well and don't require soldering).

He was perfect.

It would take a hell of a lot of beating for this man to give me a blow job.

Finally, she won the argument, and they headed off, him sort of sullen. As they walked ahead of me, I noticed that he had a big vertical tear in the seat of his cargo shorts.

No way. That would be too good to be true.

I kept my eyes glued there.

Damn. He was wearing boxer shorts. White with little red dots. Maybe hearts.

The headed for check out, I headed out the door and off to the gym.

A clear winner for DILF Of The Day.

Later at home, my father asked, "So how was your day?"

"Good," I said.

"Did you sell much?"

"Not much. It was pretty slow. A couple of faucets. And a bathtub."

"Well if you were slow, why was it a good day?"

Whack! Whack!! Whack!!! "Please... No more! Please!"

"Oh, y'know, I liked the customers I worked with."


*DILF: Similar to "MILF," code among straight guys for a married woman of whom carnal knowledge would be desireable; an acronym for "Mom I'd Like To Fuck." Only in this case, it's "Dad I'd Like To Fuck."

Monday, October 08, 2007

Ho Ho Ho

Okay. Even I...

Busy day today at Ho(t)me(n) Depot. Running around like crazy, and it was all I could do to make sure I was providing Excellent Customer Service (one of our Core Values). We were moving all of the clearance merchandise from the front of the store and dispersing it in different departments. My department manager explained what all the fuss was about: we had to get ready for Christmas.

"Uhhh... I've gotta point out that it's eighty-five degrees out there today."

Alas, the man doesn't have the most subtle sense of humor in the world, so he patiently explained that it's important to get the jump on the competition, and this year that means two months out.

Right.

But it's eighty-five degrees outside.

Now, when it comes to this whole global warming thing, I'm an agnostic.

I know, I know, I know.

Ocean temperatures are rising, there's standing water at the North Pole, polar bears are drowning...

But here's the thing. The chief culprit is carbon dioxide, right? And of the carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere, about four percent is the result of human activity. And one fifth of the world's population lives China, and they're a long, long, long way from anything resembling adherence to the Kyoto Protocols. So me tooling around in my trusty Jeep Liberty that gets all of 18 miles-per-gallon truly is a tear in a salted sea.

I don't bring this up to the Baron.

The Baron, you see, is the opposite of me in that he dreads Summer and hates hot weather.

And by "hot weather," the Baron is thinking of a temperature above 75°.

When the Baron gets exercised along the lines of Oh-My-God-It's-The-Fifth-Hot-And-Humid-Day-In-A-Row, or Oh-My-God-It's-Been-Raining-For-Eight-Hours-Straight, I generally respond with a, "Yeah, but I remember weather like this from when I was a kid in the '70s, so it's no big deal."

But I do not remember weather like this so close to my birthday (twenty-one shopping days left!).

At this point I'd like to point out that I always get paper bags at the supermarket, never plastic, and I bundle them up and bury them in a landfill back in the woods.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Just Do What I Tell You Without Question Always

Cool!

Starbucks is doing this thing now where every day they're giving out these little cards that allows you to download a free song from iTunes. Today, the featured artist is Keith Urban, whom I like. And yesterday, it was Joni Mitchell, whom I love.

Ah... Joni Mitchell.

Remember Mr. Big Shot Hollywood Producer? The guy who I was all out of sorts about a few years ago? Who was great in the dungeon but was so terrifically deficient in every other respect?

Well, before those deficiencies became apparent to me, he told me about how he had gone up to Seattle to meet with the Big Muckety Mucks at Starbucks. He had produced this television special about Ray Charles, and Starbucks was doing this whole Ray Charles thing...

- - - - - We interrupt this post to bring you an important announcement - - - - -

Woohoo! Cleveland just beat the Yankees in Game 2! In the eleventh inning and two outs, Travis Hafner--who's HOT!--got an RBI to win the Game! Yesssss! Yankees are down two games! Woohoo! Go Indians! It's Tribe Time!

- - - - - We now return you to the posting already in progress - - - - -

...so Mr. Big Shot Hollywood Producer was trying to sell his Ray Charles special to Starbucks so they could sell the DVD.

Starbucks said 'Thanks but no thanks,' explaining that they'd already planned out their whole Ray Charles thing in detail so Mr. Big Shot Hollywood Producer was too late to get on that train.

But, they weren't cool to the idea.

In the shower one morning, I got an idea, and called up Mr. Big Shot Hollywood Producer to excitedly tell him how he could make a bunch of money and do something great for the world.

"Joni Mitchell!"

"What?"

"You should do an All-Star Tribute to Joni Mitchell! Joni is a national treasure! Even though she's canadian. She has an amazing repertoire of songs she's written. Everybody who was alive and conscious during the 1970s and '80s loves here, and everybody who wasn't deserves to be introduced to her. And she's led an incredible life, collaborating with so many other artists! And she's perfect for Starbucks. Starbucks would love Joni, and I bet Joni would love Starbucks."

There was a pause.

"Joni Mitchell? Seriously? I mean, Joni's okay... But she hasn't done anything for years. And she's just not... y'know... she's not a star. You can't do a tribute like that to someone who's not a star."

And then, of course, he got all Hollywood on me, dropping names about all the people he sees at parties--he knows Rita Moreno PERSONALLY!--and how he's never ever run into Joni Mitchell at a party. He was invited to George Lopez' birthday party, but Joni Mitchell wasn't.

Well.

Joni Mitchell just signed up to have Starbucks produce and distribute a collection of her music and an album of artists who inspire her.

Naturally, right? Starbucks and Joni Mitchell: perfect together.

If only Joni Mitchell had been invited to George Lopez' birthday party, Mr. Big Shot Hollywood Producer would have a huge pile of money and wouldn't have to worry about paying rent on his seedy little apartment off Sunset.

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.