Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Here I am, living in the Coachella Valley, a full-time student carrying seventeen credits and getting straight A's, six days before this momentous election, dating a wonderful man, and I'm turning Forty-Four. Although I'm hard-pressed to imagine how things could be better, there is bitter in with the sweet. This is the first birthday of my life when I'm not going to get a birthday card from my Dad. First time ever. He was a fanatic about birthday cards. Although he didn't have a clear idea just when my birthday was, he knew it was a few days before Hallowe'en and he'd mail accordingly.

The celebration, such as it is, began last weekend. That Cowboy and I went to see the first performance of the season by Palm Springs' Gay Men's Chorus, the Caballeros. It was fabulous, held at the newly re-opened Riviera Resort, which sure looks nice. The theme of the evening was "Way Out West," and we were treated to a nice program. Half the of the songs I knew all the words to, but I was able to restrain myself from singing along. Mostly.

I've seen the New York City Gay Men's Chorus, and a while ago I stumbled across the Los Angeles Gay Men's Chorus doing a rendition of the Anvil Chorus on YouTube. Both of these groups are totally Pro. Fesh. Yun. Al. Every note is perfect, and the production values would make many broadway shows envious. The Caballeros, to my delight, was a lot more buncha-guys-up-there-on-stage-singin'. And thus, it had the same effect on me that watching the Olympics usually has: I was sobbing quietly through most of it, all choked up. I love amateurs. I get so caught up in it all when somebody is up there living their dream and giving it all they've got to give. And the Caballeros offered plenty of that.

Afterwards, That Cowboy and I were both feelin' that catharsis thing. We headed over to Bongo Johnny's, our default restaurant. As next weekend is Pride here in Palm Springs, Hallowe'en was celebrated this weekend, and as Bongo Johnny's is right there on Arenas, we had front row seats to the festivities, although they were pretty much over by the time we got there. Best costume I saw by far were two of the waiters who were done up as Sonny and Cher, circa 1971. I couldn't begin to recall all of the drag queens I've seen done up as Cher, but a winning Sonny is a rarity, and this guy had it down. Particularly apt as Sonny was formerly the mayor of Palm Springs, and then represented us in Congress, and then ran into a tree while skiing. His wife, Mary Bono Mack, now represents us in Congress, although her Democratic challenger is suddenly putting up quite the spirited fight. So we'll see.

And finally this. The Heavens Above gave me a great birthday present on the eve of said day. That Cowboy and I were sprawling in jalabas, as we are oft wont to do, watching the local news.

My hat is off to the hardest working men and women in broadcast journalism. Night after night, they are faced with the challenge of coming up with a twenty-three minutes of content concerning a place where nothing much seems to happen. Their sign-off could be, "No earthquake again today." This is particularly apparent when attention turns to the weather. The seven-day forecast spills across the screen--sunny, sunny, sunny, partly sunny, sunny, sunny, partly sunny. Once in a while, you can see them get all excited because they get to report on "cloud cover," which they seem to view as a Bad Thing, but which I've learned means that there will be these beautiful white puffy clouds hanging over Mount San Jacinto and if I think about it, I should take some picures.

Anyway, they wrapped up the weather report ("sunny, partly sunny, partly sunny, sunny...") by reporting that the Northeast was slammed by a snowstorm four days before Hallowe'en. As in, back in Bucks County, they're shoveling snow and cleaning off their cars.

Could I be happier with where and how I'm spending my forty-fourths birthday?

Clearly I could not be.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Blowin' In The Wind

I believed that all I needed to know about the Santa Ana Winds I had learned from reading Joan Didion, who famously described how the hot dry winds blowing up from the South as inspiring meek housewives in the Valley to cast their eyes from the knives they were using to bone chicken to their husbands necks.

Cool, right?

For the past few weeks, the Santa Ana has been 'a'blowin' here in the Desert. And, like, the Big Deal would be what?

In the wind, palm trees have this silvery tint, making them look like tinsel on a christmas tree. Apparently people who suffer from sinus problems have a hard time with the winds, and it does make my eyes red and watery on occasion, but I barely notice them, other than how they make the beauty of this place I call home even more striking.

They blow off and on, and they haven't slowed me down much. On Friday, I was washing cars with my fellow members of the College Of The Desert Architectural Club. (The purpose of the club is to raise money so that we can go ogle architecture. And I support that!) The car wash went well, marred only by my doing my best Not To Freak Out when I realized that the mini-van I was soaping boasted a "Yes On 9" sticker in the back window. So there I was, washing the Bigotmobile so I could go see Falling Water in May.

On Saturday, That Cowboy and I set off on an adventure. Way Back When, That Cowboy was named Scout Master of the Year in Montana, and he loves nothing more than the prospect of being out in the wilderness relying only on your wits and your Bowie knife for days at a time. In this case, it wasn't days but a day. We took the Tram to the top of Mount San Jacinto and spent the day hiking, rock climbing, and taking pictures. We found a nice little granite outcropping all to ourselves, the Coachella Valley spreading out before us with a view all the way to the Salton Sea, and from his backpack That Cowboy produced a feast that even included a nice Merlot to wash down the jerky, cherry tomatoes, and cheese.

(Impressive, no?)

The winds are blowing pretty strong today, but perhaps I don't notice them because I'm new in these parts. I can only describe the weather as "hot and beautiful," which is a description that could apply to every blessed day since I've been here. Perhaps after enough time, my sensitivities will be sufficiently refined to detect all the different varieties of Hot And Beautiful that the climate offers.


Gotta run. Today is the day I make my monthly run up to Desert Hot Springs to do my banking.

Curses! No M4M Option!

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Joe The Plumber

So guess what...

In my humble opinion, Joe is H-h-h-h-hot.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Not Mad At All

How cool is that?

Last night on Mad Men, Don Draper gets freaked out by the threat of nuclear proliferation and drops off the grid by taking a trip to Palm Springs!

I swear!

For me, watching the episode along with That Cowboy and That Cowboy's oldest son, it was pretty surreal, a case of When Worlds Collide. And I think that the house where the jet-setters were crashing was none other than the Kaufman House, which I personally worship as the closest thing to a heaven here on this earthly plane.

On the part of the writers, I think that was brilliant. It was pictures of Mrs. Kaufman relaxing by her pool that broadcast a vision of Southern California sybaritic bliss to a stressed out and spiritually searching mid-century America and started the whole fascination with all things Modern.

Telling, too, that while Don Draper finds Joy in Palm Springs and recovers from heatstroke by the pool, Sterling Cooper, which provides the un-cantilevered structural support for his life, is starting to crumble Back East.

There are things that I haven't been attending to that I really should back there at the other side of North America, too.

But hey, who wants to go out for chile rellenos?

Friday, October 10, 2008

It Must Be Love Because I'm Writing Him Poetry

For Dale

I will be for you
a pool of cool clear water
in a dry and dusty place.

On those hard days
those can’t take another days
those I’m too old for this days

I’ll be there
to take your body
take your skin
inch by inch as you ease in
And wash away the sweat and dirt.

And when you emerge
refreshed and renewed
you’ll be ready for the dust and heat again.

I will be for you
a pair of good old boots
that wear hard but feel like velvet slippers.

When you strike out on
an untraveled road, to see the view
from the top of that mountain, or to cut through the brush
to find a new path when the one you follow leads you nowhere good,

You can pull me on and lace me up
and I’ll take the punishment and give you sure footing
so you can enjoy the view and feel the sun on your shoulders
and the breeze that cools your brow.

And where you go, I’ll go with you.
And even be the pillow--however rough--for your head
so you can rest for the next day’s journey.

I will be for you
a dusty old bottle of wine,
a merlot, say, mellowed and glowing garnet in the firelight.

With me you can celebrate
a victory, however small. And I’ll be there to make sure that even a bland
meal will be memorable.

Your life won’t be some colorless affair. You won’t
have to take it all so seriously.

You may be inspired to smile and laugh whether you
want to
or not.

And that’s all well and good.

But keep in mind,

Some days, perhaps when you need it most,
an evil snake will be rippling the surface
of your cool clear pool.

And some days,
mud and filth will cake your
good old boots.

And some days,
bitter dregs will be all that’s offered
by your dusty old bottle of wine.

But don’t forsake the pool.
Don’t leave your boots behind.
Don’t toss the empty bottle in the trash.

Because I am me,
and not a pool
nor boots
nor a bottle of wine.

And we would both feel the pain
of that parting.

Sparkle, Steelie, Sparkle!

Oh that's bad.

As I wrote the other day, the name I selected for my on-screen porn persona was "Smith." Simple, direct, and certainly easy to remember.

But it was not to be. The guy I did the shoot with reported to me just yesterday that the name given to me by the producer or director or whatever is "Steelie Smith."

Say what?

Steelie? Who's named Steelie?

But there it is.

And of course, my mind went right from Steelie Smith to Neely O'Hara in Valley Of The Dolls. And so I think it's inevitable that at some point I'll be greeted with a saluation along the lines of the title of this post.

And sparkle I will.

Monday, October 06, 2008

I Am The DJ, I Am What I Play

This past weekend, I again was lured beyond the mountains that surround the Coachella Valley. This time, I headed West to San Diego to spend some time with Alpha and to attend the final SuperPigs get together at the home of Roadkill and his boy.

I was thinking about heading out on Friday, but that didn't happen. Y'see, I was a little freaked out. A couple of days ago, I started getting this pus-y discharge from my penis.

I know, right?

I jumped the gun a wee bit by announcing to That Cowboy that I had a venereal disease. And it could possibly be a venereal disease, although that would mean that I got it way back on July 4th weekend. And from what I've read about syphilis and gonorrhea, that would be outside of the window for the onset of such symptoms by about ten weeks. So, it's more likely that I have prostatitis or urethritis. Alas, I also don't have health insurance, so I'm scrambling a wee bit about just what to do. I'm gonna give a call to the Desert AIDS Project and see if they can set me up with a visit to a doctor or a month's supply of erythromicin or something to assuage the situation. Although it doesn't really interfere with much, it does leave these little spots in the crotch of whatever pants I happen to wear, and it's kind of a boner-killer. And as I had swollen glands on Friday, I wasn't in what you might call a festive mood, so I decided to hold off to go until Saturday morning.

And so I did.

The drive is an easy one, taking--according to Google Maps--just over two hours. Considering that this was my morning and afternoon commute not so long ago, it's an easy trip.

And soon enough, I was parking outside of Alpha's building (and by "Alpha's building," I'm not just referring to the place where he lives, because, you see, he built the thing), and there was Alpha himself greeting me with a warm, "How's my clap-stricken buddy doing?"

Alpha was another person I told I had the clap, and when I explained that this might not be the case, he said, "Oh right, it's probably prostatitis." Apparently everyone has heard of or had prostatitis but me. And according to MedLine, "50% of all men experience prostatitis at some point in their lives." And one of the recommended treatments is "prostate massage."

Prostate massage... check.

News that That Cowboy will welcome.

Alpha needed some new flip-flops--without black soles because it seems that black-soled flip-flops make your feet turn black--so we headed out in search thereof. First stop was the discount store of a high-end department store (can't remember the name). Their flip-flop selection was pretty meager. They were offering lots of cold-weather clothing and outerwear. This seems to me to be absurd. This is Southern California afterall, and we don't do the cold weather thing. (Recall, if you will, the episode of 'Bewitched' when Santa Claus was up on the roof and the lawn was green and the palm trees were waving in the sunshine behind Samantha's head.) But retailers seem to insist that no matter the weather, we must buy parkas in September.)

I suggested Old Navy, my source for so many good things, and off we went to the Fashion Valley Mall. There is actually a neighborhood of sorts in San Diego called "Fashion Valley." Who could live with all that pressure? What would you wear to run out and pick up the mail? Every time you told anybody where you lived, they'd give you the once over.

At Old Navy in the Fashion Valley Mall, we indeed find a wide selection of flip-flops, going for some unbeatable low price like three-for-$10 or something.

And heading back with our flip-flops, I made a terrible discovery. There was a James Pearse store.

Now I know basically nothing about men's fashion. When I buy shirts, I ask myself, "can I wear this with leather jeans?", and when I buy pants or shorts, I ask myself, "Can I wear this with just a leather vest?" And that's all there is to it. But years ago, when I was in LA with my Sir, I found this shirt. It was a simple white long-sleeve shirt, but the cotton was so soft and fine. It was almost gauzy, but not quite. Much like the Look magazine photo spread of the Kaufmans sitting by the pool of the Neutra designed Kaufman House that launched the whole mid-Century modern ideal, it evoked this whole sybaritic living-outdoors Southern California life and I wanted to put myself in the picture.

I still have that shirt, even though me being me, about the second time I wore it I got myself with a ball point pen and despite my best efforts, that mark is still there. Although I was a little bit more successful in getting out the latté that I dribbled all over myself while wearing it.

The designer of that shirt was James Pearse.

Finding James Pearse stuff back East is no easy thing, but I managed to find a cool James Pearse hoodie that I added to my collection. But back in June, I went to the place of the original James Pearse find in West Hollywood and they had nada. I asked.

And here I was confronted with an entire James Pearse store. And I was financially pretty flush since I just made $600 bucks shooting a bondage video.

Not no more I ain't financially flush. But I do have all these great new James Pearse clothes. And how fitting that here I am leading this idyllic, sybaritic Southern California lifestyle!

Famished from our visit to Fashion Valley, Alpha and I went to this great mexican restaurant in Hillcrest that featured lobster burritos. That were amazing.

Back at Alpha's, he got ready for a date, and I got ready to head over to Roadkill's for SuperPigs.

The average annual rainfall for San Diego is 9.9 inches. In an instance of the Objective Correlative, Saturday night was one of the handful of times during the year that San Diego got a soaker. My iPod offered up Shirley Bassey singing "A Foggy Night In London Town" on the way over, and boy, was that fitting. I couldn't find parking near Roadkill's so I ended up walking a few blocks in the rain to get there, but managed to pick my way down the steep driveway and arrived happy though damp.

Inside the door, I was busy with the whole registration and disclaimer-signing business, when I came to consciousness of a flogging scene going on just beyond the front door. Omigod! It was 'bastian flogging hawgs! How cool is that? Right off the bat, familiar faces!

I sat and watched. 'bastian's style is unbelievably energetic. What a work out! For both parties involved! Hawgs was thoroughly enjoying it on the receiving end, laughing and giggling (I've seen hawgs giggle, I think I can go gently into that good night now), as 'bastian rained down blows on his back. It was a beautiful, remarkable scene.

Afterwards, I greeted 'bastian (hawgs was still in his blissy post-getting-flogged space), and 'bastian said he had to get ready for his next flogging scene.


I would have needed a few days recovery after that. Maybe a week.

Upstairs, I had a beer and asked after Roadkill. "Oh I think he's down in the Master bedroom whipping butters."


I made my way down there, and sure enough, that's what was going down.

But wait, I love that song.

But wait, I know that song.

But wait, I know this next song, too.

It's my SuperPigs mix!

Roadkill was whipping butters with the mix iPod Shuffle I made up as accompaniment!

I was overjoyed.

Years ago, Roadkill put out the call that he wanted music for SuperPigs, and I answered the challenge. I started out with burning CDs, but pretty quickly, I realized that wasn't going to work. But my local Apple Store in Doylestown, PA was having a sale on iPod Shuffles, so I invested in one. In curating the mix, I wanted to make sure that every song on there--whether hard and guitar-y or whimsical and light--would be a song that two kinky men could fall in love while listening to.

After I made the presentation--and Roadkill was über-gracious, I asked how it had gone after the next SuperPigs party. Roadkill confessed that although he liked it a lot, he wasn't sure that it would work for SuperPigs, it just wasn't what people were used to hearing, something more trance-y would be more appropriate. But he really liked it.


So whatever.

But here I was, listening to a my mix and watching a whipping scene.

And a great whipping scene.

Nobody--myself included--does it better than Roadkill.

After the scene was over, still singing Bowie's "Under Pressure" to myself, I headed upstairs and onto the deck. One of the best parts of SuperPigs, hanging on the deck, chatting, snacking (Cake! Yum!). I chatted with hawgs and 'bastian, and 'bastian paid some much appreciated attention to my boots. After 'bastian headed off to do yet another flogging (I am convinced that they took whatever he has and put it in a can and called it Red Bull), I started up a conversation with a fellow Palm Springs guy, who I've talked to a lot online but never in person. He's an amazing man and has an amazing story. But somehow, we ended up talking about real estate. (!)

Not that it was a bad conversation. He and I share some similar ideas about smart and sustainable development, or more to the extent that the powers that be in Palm Springs seem to. He announced that he was getting ready to head back to the Desert, and I decided to man up and ask him if he could stay long enough for me to flog him.

And he said yes.

Man, was that ever a treat.

This handsome man had this broad, muscular, beautiful back. I ran him through a variety of of flails from my collection, making each one a journey in itself, and, I hoped, having it all add up to a journey. His back responded wonderfully, reddening up. And so did he, going to this wonderful place. As I was winding down, I got the emotional response I wanted. That connection, that Here Now, that essential thing. And there he was, down on his knees at my boots, this big, handsome man.

In the same room while we were doing our scene was this piercing and suspension scene. It sounded awfully intense--although SuperPigs is kinda known for intensity. From what I could gather, everybody seemed to enjoy themselves.

Upstairs, Roadkill and his boy Jeff were taking a break as the party was starting to break up. I thanked Roadkill again for the music and he did me the favor of telling a few of the guys there that I was the one who had put the soundtrack together. They were all appreciative. And geez, that was great. You sort of send something off into the Universe, and it's great when you hear about the impact that it's had. How many men who I will never meet have taken note of that music that was playing? Roadkill's boy commented that often, a song would come up in the rotation as if in response to how the dynamic of a scene had changed, striking just the right note.


I headed back to Alpha's house. All was quiet and dark when I got there. I brushed my teeth and climbed into bed.

Sunday morning, after Alpha plied me with chicken and cornbread, I hit the road.

Quickly, I made a discovery. My BlackBerry was dead. I had no Google Maps app to guide me. I was flying blind. I remembered Temecula and Hemet, so I headed to Temecula, and when I saw an exit for Hemet, I took it. Thus began an extended journey through tiny towns in Southern California following a road which seemed to have a stop light every forty feet or so. But eventually, I found my way to the 10, and there I was, heading through the pass past the wind turbines to my desert home.

I chilled for a bit, and then gave a call to That Cowboy. He was watching television and invited me over, so I headed across the Wash. It's just the best of all worlds.

This is the life I want to live.

And I even have a great soundtrack for it.