Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Off-Target Tuesday

Someone at work, today, was talking about going to buy a coffee maker. She was saying she might go to Target, and I said that I hadn't been to Target in over a month.

She asked why, and I explained that I hadn't been there ever since I heard they had donated $150,000 to MN Forward - who sent money to Tom Emmer, who is running for governor in Minnesota while saying that the group of musicians who sing about wanting to round up and kill all the gays are a "nice bunch of boys." (Okay. I didn't say all that. I abbreviated it down to "I've been boycotting them since last month when I found out who they were donating money to.")

Her response was "I don't pay any attention to who donates to whom. After a while you wouldn't shop anywhere. And I love Target." I didn't really know what to say. I said that I figure we all choose our battles, and that as much as I like Target I wasn't going back there any time soon - at the very least not until the November general election.

If you haven't been paying attention, or if you missed my original post last month (it's here), here's the basic scoop and update:

1) In late July, it was publicized that Target, Best Buy, Polaris, and a few other companies had donated to a political action committee called "MN Forward." MN Forward's only real politician was Republican Tom Emmer, who had a band perform at one of his fundraisers. The band is vocal about the fact that they think all the gays should be rounded up and killed. When Emmer was asked about that, he said "They're a bunch of really nice guys."

2) When all of this hit the news, Target's CEO (who has also made personal donations to the same causes) took a bunch of heat and eventually released an apology - of sorts. In essence, what he said was "I'm sorry you were offended." He never said he was sorry he did what he did. Or that he could see how donating to MN Forward's agenda might go against all of the gay-friendly things Target usually does.

3) The head of the HRC (Human Rights Campaign) met with the folks at Target, who said they wanted to know what they could do to try to make things better - including making a matching donation to a gay-friendly candidate. After multiple meetings, where the folks from the HRC thought they were doing well at making their point, Target suddenly pulled out. Apparently Target decided that the firestorm of publicity was done, and they didn't need to worry about making good any more.

So... Now it's been a little over a month since I've been to Target. I've been spending my money other places. I'm sure my spending isn't even a drop in the bucket which Target would notice, but I'm not going back until after the election, when what they paid their money for comes to its end, one way or another.

We all pick our fights. I guess this one is one of mine.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Paper Cut

I was entirely planning to sit down and talk to you about the amazing weekend Christopher and I had.

I was going to include a story about the guy at the front desk of the Westin who congratulated us on our five years together and commented that he and his boyfriend had just celebrated their second - and how happy he was for us.

I was going to mention the quiet time when we almost had the pool and whirlpool all to ourselves, and the view from the Banker's Boardroom on the 10th floor which we both snuck into, just because.

I wanted to tell you about the great dinner at Murray's, where the waitress brought us a fudg-y cake with a candle in it to celebrate our five years, and Christopher actually made sure that we got our picture taken.

And I was even going to throw in the fact that we capped off the weekend at home with TV and a delivery pizza, which gave the whole weekend a nice tie-in to the first night Christopher and I met.

But, you see, as I was tossing yesterday's newspaper into the recycling this morning, I got a paper cut. And it's been driving me crazy all day. It's right inside the second knuckle on my left pointer finger. Which means that any typing I do I feel it. At work today, when I decided to be good and use some Purell on my hands after sneezing, I got alcohol in that cut. Yowch. It wasn't quite as bad when I got fresh tomato juice in it at dinner time (while making a fresh tomato BLT with one of the two solitary tomatoes from my huge tomato plant), but it still made itself known.

And now, tonight, as I sat down to write all about the weekend, my blasted paper cut was once again stretching and flexing and distracting me in all the wrong ways.

Somehow I suspect there's a metaphor in there just waiting to happen.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Let's Sing a Song of Five

I won't be online much this weekend, because Christopher and I are going to be "running away" for the night to celebrate the fact that we met five years ago, today.

That was a Sunday night, and we met at my place for pizza and beer (I ordered the pizza, he brought the beer), and movies on the couch. It was actually a really relaxing first date, all things considered. And before the evening was out, I was pretty sure I was hooked. (Don't tell Christopher, but I was probably hooked when I first saw his brown eyes through the glass front door of my apartment building.)

Tonight we're going to go a little more high-end, though. We're going to do one of our hotel nights out, with dinner at a spiffy restaurant. But, honestly, I don't know that anything will ever live up to that first night.

I also don't think much can live up to videos celebrating the number five as much as this one I found online. Please click here and enjoy.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Evening After the Day After the Night After

I have developed a bad habit of checking my work email in the evening (or on weekends) to, basically, find out what it is that I'm getting myself into the next day.

Yesterday I did just that at about 8 o'clock, and then headed for bed around 10:30. The problem is that, this time, instead of just the usual "this has shipped" or "I want to order books" emails, I had... well... this (fair warning, it's not for the faint of heart):

"I don't know what you'retalking about. F*ck your records. The book is hardcover and is 6x9. I want everybody to get together and fix this shit before 10:00am permanently, and the printer to send me the proofs within 24 hours."

Which got me thinking that I might have done something really wrong at some point and not known what that was. And, after also finding another follow-up email to that one, I started seriously questioning what I had or hadn't done.

I decided around 10:30 to give up on that, though, and headed for bed. And I eventually fell sound asleep. Until 2:47am, when I woke up and lay in bed for about a half hour desperately trying to get back to sleep and stop worrying about the emails from work.

I woke up this morning at about 6am, still wondering about that stuff. I almost came up with a solution in the shower, and then headed for work, where I spent the first 20 minutes or so of the day putting together a response to the above-mentioned total git of an author I was going to have to deal with.

And, after I vetted my response through one or two people, I only had to wait about an hour before getting a reply back. After all of last night's vitriol, this morning I got "Thank you for taking care of it."

So... Adrenaline spent after dealing with the lack of sleep and all, I faded pretty massively by around 3:30 this afternoon. By 5pm when I was headed away from work to go to a Happy Hour for a friend who just got a new job, I was on enough of a second wind to get an Amaretto Sour and actually enjoy it.

Which brings us to now. Hanging out with Christopher and watching stuff on the TiVo (which, yes, we've gotten rather accustomed to). I suspect it will be a rather early evening - I hope it will also be a rather long, all-sleep night.

And I can guarantee that I'm not going to check my work email. (If for no other reason that I think Christopher might hurt me if I do...)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I am not a Lego!

At work, today, I got into a conversation about relationships and, sort of, life.

I was talking to a co-worker about her month-old relationship, and how the first time she introduced the new guy to her parents... well... it went a little less well than hoped.

And, at one point, I made the cliche comment that "Rome wasn't built in a day." But, trying to lighten the mood, I followed up with "...although, if you built it out of Legos, you might be able to do the highlights in a day or two."

The person I was chatting with replied "I am not a Lego!"

Thinking about it throughout the course of the day, I have to admit that I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. I mean... I guess it's bad if you feel like you're always stuck in a little square box, but it's kind of wonderful to be a part of something bigger than yourself.

Although, I think I may be overthinking the original conversation.

Monday, August 23, 2010


There was a time (let's call it the 80s, 90s, and 00s) when most people did not have facial hair. During that time, I frequently had some form of whiskerage. Most of my adult life, I've had a goatee, or a full beard, or sideburns, or at least an on-going five o'clock shadow (which I actually take about 2 days to really produce).

And I like my facial hair, and I like that Christopher has a beard, too. I think it looks really good on him. And, for quite a while, we were the only two people in our social group who had any whiskers to speak of.

But, lately, I've been noticing more and more people with full beards. And, oddly enough, it seems to be mainly guys in their 20s. Lots of them with painstakingly mussed hair and full beards. On some of them it looks pretty good. But, on some of them... well...

You know how some people really shouldn't try to follow fashion? Like the woman with the great curves who tries to wear skinny jeans. Or the guy with just the start of a beer gut who wants to wear an "athletic cut" shirt and it pulls taut in all the wrong places? A decent number of these recent beard aficionados seem to fall into that same type of category.

Face it, there are a lot of guys with patchy facial hair. And some of those beards look kind of mangy (in the worst sense). But, still, they're doing it for "the fashion." Do they not realize that even Brad Pitt looked pretty horrible in his latest beard-carnation?

But, in the meantime, I'm going to keep my goatee and my three-day-old five o'clock shadow. And I'll hope that one day these 20-somethings will look in the mirror and decide it's time to thin the herd. Or, in some cases, shave it.

(On the other hand, don't get me started about shaving below the neck... that's a whole different topic...)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

One-Handed Post

Did you know it's hard to work on the computer with one hand scratching a "loaner" dog?

Well, it is.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Short Distance Long Distance

The world can be a large and scary place. A place where people are too far away to be close, and often too close together when what you really need is some one-on-one time.

Tonight, though, I've stumbled into a bit of quick travel, where a friend of mine (you know her from over at the Tiz and Ass blog), showed up on my computer to talk about cookies. Snickerdoodles, in fact.

Here I am in my living room in Minneapolis, and there she is somewhere in Manhattan (I'm assuming), and we're chatting about cookies.

Sometimes life is very strange. And in that strangeness it is also very good.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Can Great Hair Save A Movie?

What if it's great hair and pretty blue eyes? Great hair, pretty blue eyes, and a disarming charm? Great hair, pretty blue eyes, a disarming charm, and the kind of body that only a 20-something Hollywood young male ingenue can have?

Sadly, the answer - in any and all of those cases - is "no." But I so wanted it to be "yes."

You see, last week we went to see "Charlie St. Cloud" which stars Zac Efron (of all of the "High School Musical" movies, as well as the movie of the musical "Hairspray").

We'd seen the trailers, and it looked like the kind of movie that tugs blatantly at your heartstrings, but in all the right ways. And, honestly, I think that's the kind of movie it wanted to be. But it just wasn't.

I mean... there were moments in it when the dialogue was so bad that touching moments made us have to stifle laughter. And that's just not a good sign.

Sure, the scenery is nice. And Zac has a very attractive young love interest. And there are some funny moments (like chasing geese out of a graveyard), and even some touching ones (like watching him say goodbye to a friend from high school who was killed in the military). And, yes, he's very pretty.

But does that make it a movie worth seeing? Sorry, no.

Overall rating: C-. I can't flunk it, because it really was trying. And... well... since I'm not an actual teacher, I can give a few points for the flirtation.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Food - The Toaster Oven Version

Have I mentioned that Christopher and I don't have a microwave? Wait. That's not quite right. We have two of them. We just have them both stored in the basement.

On the other hand, we do have a toaster oven. And on a really hot day, it's definitely the way to go. After all - it does the full-on baking thing without heating up the whole kitchen.

So tonight, as we often do, we foil-wrapped chicken breasts in the toaster oven. And, yeah, it's about as easy as it sounds. Put the chicken in a foil packet with some spices or sauce or something and bake it for about 40 minutes at 375.

Tonight's flavor: Tarragon with Dijon mustard.

We mixed a tablespoon or so of Dijon mustard with a teaspoon or so of dried tarragon, a sprinkling of black pepper, and a little garlic powder. Spread it on the chicken. Sealed up the foil packet, and baked.

About half an hour later, the house smelled amazing. So we made a little Minute Rice with white pepper and garlic, poured some wine, and settled in.

It's been a stressful week, and it was kind of one of those unexpectedly relaxed and enjoyable evenings on a Friday night.

Hope yours was good, too.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Zac Efron's Hair

I told myself I wouldn't talk about movies on days other than "Movie Mondays."

But, that said, I have to say that Zac Efron has really good hair. (I tried to find a good representative picture from the movie I'm not talking about, but none of them really do it justice.)

If I could figure out a haircut and styling products that would get my hair to look like that (or even to approximate it in an age-appropriate way), I'd be very happy.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Movie Monday - Inception

I promise to give no spoilers, except this one: If you leave "Inception" saying that you weren't thrilled by it, you'll be in the minority with a lot of people really kind of upset with you. Well, Christopher wasn't upset with me, but we definitely didn't have the same "take-away" from it.

This is a movie of amazing special effects, as you've probably seen in the previews. Unfortunately, the effects I really loved - which were introduced in the beginning of the movie - weren't followed up on later in the movie. Instead a lot of the focus later in the movie tried to be deep, but at least for me didn't really make it.

But I have to go back to the special effects. They're really cool. Creating - and changing - Paris in the blink of an eye was incredible. Dealing with total weightlessness for a full scene was just cool. And the flow of time was a lot of fun to see happening.

And, yet, there's a point about 3/4 of the way through the movie when, at least to me, it felt like Ellen Page turned to Leonardo DiCaprio and said "My dad has a barn, let's put on a show"... well... that's when I was kind of done with it.

So... yeah... I know a lot of people are loving it, but I'm not one of them.

My overall score: B-. Among other things, I'm just NOT a Leonardo DiCaprio fan (although I like Ellen Page and Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tom Hardy). I also think they cheated toward the end. But I promised I wouldn't say more about that, so I won't.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


I have no idea why they're called that. But they're one of those cookies that you just have to call by name as often as possible - especially when baking them.

Say it with me: Snickerdoodle.

Snickerdoodle snickerdoodle snickerdoodle.

See, you feel better now, don't you?


Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Brief John Barrowman Interlude

I realized, earlier today, that I haven't said much about John Barrowman, lately. Mainly that's because I haven't heard much about him, lately.

Well, I wandered over to his website and poked around. There's some newsy stuff over there, but mainly I came across his latest CD, which - after a quick jump over to Amazon - I also listened to a little of. It seems quite nice. In case you're wondering, it was this one:
And, yes, the snippets were very nice.

But I'm even more enamored of the last CD of his which I've acquired (no - I didn't steal it, it was a birthday gift this summer). That one is the one called "Music, Music, Music" and features some amazing stuff, including a really beautiful duet with a guy named Daniel Boys of "I Know Him So Well" (which is from the musical "Chess" and is traditionally done by two women). That would be this CD:

So, there you have it. Not only one John Barrowman interlude, but two. And on a Thursday, even.

(Now if I only knew someone who was going to be in Britain later this year and could pick up that album I don't have...)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Possible Life After Prop 8 (or "Equality just for the heck of it")

I'm sitting at work and just had a bunch of different friends (not at my work) post messages celebrating the fact that Proposition 8 has been overturned in California. I figured that deserved a late-afternoon blog.

In case you missed it, Prop 8 in California created a state constitutional amendment which basically stated that "marriage" (and all of the legal rights and benefits it offers on the state level) could only apply to heterosexual couples.

Today's ruling by a federal judge in California stated that Prop 8 directly contradicts the 14th Amendment of the Constitution - denying gays and lesbians "equal protection under the law."

Interestingly, it seems that most of the people who were in favor of the prohibition didn't show up to court. Or they showed up but without any solid facts. On the other hand, people fighting to get it over-turned showed up with solid support and concrete facts and statistics and made a smart and winning case.

Apparently, without the money and backing of the Mormons from Utah (who actually funded a large portion of the advertising and rallying which got Prop 8 passed in the first place), the proposition didn't have much of a leg to stand on.

I know there are a lot of people out in the world who think it's silly for gays and lesbians to want to "marry" when we could all have "domestic partnerships" or "civil partnerships" or whatever they want us to call it. These seem to tend to be the same people who say that allowing same-sex couple to use the term marriage would "demean" the institution of marriage.

But, here's the thing: I know gay couples who have been together longer than 90% of Hollywood celebrities, yet they aren't guaranteed the right to speak for each other in a hospital, or to share property, or to share parental custody of children. All because they can't "marry."

And, really, which couple is going to lessen the meaning of the word "marriage" - Elizabeth Taylor and her seven (or is it eight?) marriages or a couple of gay men who have been together for 40-plus years? (Is anyone else struck by the irony that the fight to protect the term "marriage" is taking place in California?)

I fully realize that this is simply one more step in a very long process, and that there's an odds-on chance that this ruling will be challenged and keep going through the courts.

But today is exciting, nonetheless.

After all, every step forward is... well... another step forward.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Night Out

So, after work tonight, I spent a couple of hours sitting out in the middle of the street about a half a block from home. It was actually pretty fun. And, yes, it was for National Night Out.

I have to admit that Christopher and I really didn't know that many of our neighbors before tonight. We know a few of them, but not all that many of them. And, although I now know a bunch of them by face, I have to admit I would be hard pressed to call any of them by name.

But it was a fun evening, even so. We all sat in a big circle and chatted about the neighborhood, and the dogs in the neighborhood, and all sorts of stuff.

It was a good night. I'm actually hoping to run into some of them in the future. Who'd'a thunk it?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Memory Lapse

Sometimes you forget what summer can be like.

In the middle of winter, when it is so dry out that your skin cracks if you don't moisturize every time you sit down, you forget.

You forget that life in a city called "the City of Lakes" which is situated on a river can be a problem.

You think of the people who live in places like Louisiana and Florida and wonder how they can survive in all of that heat and humidity.

And then August rolls around, and you remember what it's like.

You walk outside in the morning, and before you make it to your car you find yourself sweating.

You empty the dehumidifier three or four times per day, instead of once every three or four days in the winter.

You spend 10 minutes pulling weeds after work, and can barely peel the shirt off when you get back inside.

And you look forward to the cooling of fall, at least for a few days, before you long to be back at the start of summer with its late sunsets and beckoning outdoor spaces.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sunday Funk - of the 80s Variety

Why is it that Sunday - which from a mid-week point of view looks SO good - seems to be a bit of a letdown more often than not?

Having spent multiple evenings at various dinners out this week, Christopher and I had a really nice time. And, yet, between work and socializing, we made a point to block off today as a relaxation day. A day to chill out, catch up, and generally regroup before the new week starts.

So how are we celebrating the day? Well, we both woke up this morning kind of tired and ready for naps. Perhaps it's because of the weather. It's a grey day out, more of the same slightly-sticky weather we've been having lately - but this time without even the sunshine to pull us through.

Or maybe it's the fact that we're desperately trying to psyche ourselves up for the workweek ahead.

I feel I should mention that my 25-year High School class reunion took place last night in my hometown in South Dakota. I was (probably obviously) not in attendance. I must say that I seriously contemplated going, but according to the announcements I received, the entire event was simply going to be an evening of hanging out in a bar.

Considering that I didn't hang out in the bars with my classmates in high school, I couldn't see myself driving 5.5 hours each way to do that for one evening last night. I'm sure I'll probably feel a little bad about that when I see the class picture in the town newspaper (my parents will send it to me, I'm sure), but I think I made the right decision in not driving down that road back into 1985.

And, in the meantime, back in 2010, I have to figure out how to "reune" with some energy before much more of the day passes.