Friday, December 30, 2005

Happy New Year/New Life

The 10 metre diameter pumpkin glowed bright orange in the night. It was the only thing visible, for miles. An anomaly, yes; but even a tree would have been unusual in this flat and barren landscape. It had a stupid, grinning mouth, drawn in black. "Happy Halloween," it said to me.

"No kidding," I think. I'm not only about to don a new costume, I'm about to wear a new life.

I'm a passenger in a brand new Mercedes-Benz G500, driving along a dirt backroad in the middle of nowhere, located just off the main highway. I'm in Southern Alberta. I'm 1200 kilometres east of Vancouver. I'm a few miles north of Lethbridge – my new home for the next several months.

We left the lushly landscaped Pacific Ocean, drove through the arid vineyards of Central BC, passed through the death-defying curves and zero incline cliffs of the Rocky Mountains, and now we're in the flat, treeless plains of the Bible Belt. The place where religion grows unfettered but nary a bush blossoms.

My two sisters caught a plane to Vancouver, rented the Mercedes, helped me finish packing, and drove me home. It was my rich, but crazy sister G. who insisted on renting the Mercedes-Benz G500. She loves driving and wanted the best. She drove the whole way, except for the last one hour, when my sister M. took over. Unfortunately M. nearly fell asleep at the wheel, and she stopped at a church in this off-road, dirt-road place to walk outside and get some air. But we still made it home safely, to…

(Add a red-necked, blue collar twang to the following…) Lethbridge. A city of 77, 202 people. It's one of the sunniest and warmest cities in Canada with close to 2400 hours of sunlight a year. It's also the frequent beneficiary of a phenomenon called the chinook, a warm west wind providing above freezing breaks throughout the year.

(my voice) The place I lived before moving to Vancouver 14 years ago.

(twang voice) It's also home to folks of every religious persuasian. We've got lots a Mormons, Hutterites, Lutherans, Dutch Reformed. Just 'bout everythin' you can imagine here, in Lethbridge.

(my voice) So here's the plot. Gay male son of retired Lutheran minister father, who escaped Lethbridge 14 years ago to "make it" in Vancouver, returns to small town, and lives with his religious parents, and close to his two religious sisters. His third sister, G. who lives in a suburb near Lethbridge, isn't religious, but is a bit crazy, in the medical terminology way. She's the rich one.

Due to events beyond my control, I've given up everything I own, and my life in Vancouver, and have moved back to Lethbridge. My plan is to totally redesign my life. A fresh start. I'll tell you how I try to achieve this, in upcoming blogs. It's not going to be easy, believe me! But I intend to make my new life everything I imagined.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Roommate returned today, alive

My new roomie returned today at around 5pm, thank goodness. I guess he decided after camping in Kamloops to "camp" in a friend's room at UBC while finishing his last paper for his Graduate Degree. It seems a bit odd to me, but oh well. He told me he "is like that" and not to worry if he doesn't show up for a while.

I'm thinking he's an Aquarian. He's totally into intellectual things, and yet freedom is his major thing. I'll try to ask him check out my theory.

I was sure he was abducted by aliens, in Kamloops, or some similar form of life that lives there.

Saturday, September 10, 2005


I seriously need your help and opinions and advice. Am I just freaking out?

I got a new roommate on August 31st. He moved in his stuff and we talked for about an hour. He then slept over at his old place at the University over night, then dropped by for 30 minutes with more of his stuff the next day. It was a Friday, I think, and he told me he was going away for the weekend to Kamloops.

It's now been 10 days and I haven't heard from him or seen him since. Did he just extend his time in Kamloops with his friend? Or should I be concerned?

Since I don't know him, I don't know any of his friends, and I don't know his family, and I don't know who to call. He doesn't have a cell phone. I used to have his email address, but since I changed over to my old computer, I don't have it anymore.

I actually called the police last night to report it, and they said that since he's 25 or older, they won't take a missing person's report, nor will they release any information they have on him.

Perhaps he'll be back on Sunday?

I'm just freaking out, right? I've watched too many CSI episodes? What would you think?

Saturday, September 03, 2005


I've been trying to sell my G4 Powerbook for the last week - it's an older model, but has a 15" screen, 644 megahertz with an airport and a rewriteable CD drive. It's been great for me - I don't find it slow, but then I don't do video editing with my Powerbook. I've used 1.14 megahertz and find it slightly faster, but for the work I do, it's not enough to get all excited over.

I've only had this computer since January of this year. I bought it used for $1500 CDN - I realize now that I was majorly ripped off. I wasn't knowledgeable about Powerbooks and iBooks until I tried to sell this one.

First, I tried to sell it for $1500 - the price I paid for it. I put in "or best offer" in the ad. I had a flurry of Mac geeks email me and ask for more that point I didn't even know about processor speeds and stuff, so they thought I was offering them a major deal. After talking with about six of the Mac geeks, I learned that my Mac isn't worth that amount of money. Especially because it has an older version of the input thing - it's not a DDI.

So I lowered my price to $1350, then $1300, then $1200 and $1100. Throughout this I had people call me or email me and say, "I'm totally interested, blah blah blah." Then I'd get an email from them the next day saying, "I found a Powerbook with identical specs as yours, and I only paid $950 for it." So I called a used Mac retailer, and they told me my model tends to go for $995. But if I sold it through them, they'd take a 20% fee.

Yesterday I had an Australian woman named Catherine (her real name) who lives in Whistler call me, extremely excited and interested, and she thought $1100 was a great deal (partly because I've got every graphic design program known to humankind on my computer). She said she'd call me back because she just saw my ad online, but would get back to me later that day.

The next day, she calls me, and says, "I can't go into Vancouver until next week, but my friend is coming into town, and he said he'd pick it up for me."

I said "great!" She said she'd call me later to tell me when he'd come by on Saturday (today).

Catherine calls me later on Friday evening, at like 10pm, and says, "I just went to the bank, and can only withdraw $1000 unless I use my credit card - would you accept $950 for it?" She needed the extra $50 to party that evening.

She sounded so cute and excited that I agreed. I wanted my computer to be used by someone who would appreciate it. Although the price suddenly went down from $1100 to $950, I thought, "What the heck. I need the money."

So today, she calls me at 10am, and explains that her friend Rob (his real name, and he lives in Whistler, and is English and owns a shop) would be in town and would meet me at 11:30am to pick up the computer. Rob wanted to see a receipt though, to make sure it wasn't stolen. Catherine said, "I trust you, but he's so anal, you know?"

I said sure, "I'll show you the receipt I was given when I paid for it." Catherine also gave me Rob's long distance phone number in case he didn't show up.

So it's now 1:00 and Rob hasn't called. So I call him and said, "Hi, blah blah blah, I thought you were supposed to be coming by at 11:30, are you still showing up?"

Rob says, "Oh, I'm behind, I'm sorry. What kind of computer are you selling again? And do you have a receipt from the person you bought it from before?"

I said, "Yes, I have a receipt, explained my Powerbook's specifications all over again (fuck him, he already knew them, I felt like he was testing me and treating me like I'm some fucking thief)."

Rob then said, "Oh, Catherine asked me to stop by the bank to withdraw the money for the computer, but I'm not sure if I can withdraw $950 at once - isn't the maximum $500? And I may not get there until 2pm."

I can tell Rob is playing some fucking game with me. And I realize that Catherine is also. I'm getting pissed off. So I tell Rob, in my serious professional voice, "Really? When I spoke with Catherine last night, she told me she was on the way home from the bank, after having withdrawn the money for the computer, and that she would give it to you when you came by on Saturday. Plus, I've been waiting since 11:30am for you to call me and drop by, and now you won't be here until 2pm, and I've got things to do today. This is inconveniencing me, and I'm also getting two different versions of the story." In the meantime I've had two phone calls from other interested people, but I tell them that the computer has been sold!

Rob apologized in that irritating English manner, and promised he would be here by 2pm.

Rob shows up at 2:15pm, and immediately begins picking at the computer. He is anal. There are some scuff marks on the edge of the computer - where you rest your hand while typing. So he calls Catherine, and complains about the computer not being "perfect." He said, "Isn't the Powerbook supposed to be made of Titanium?"

I told him, "I think that refers to the colour, not the material."

He said, "Well, scuff marks indicate how well the computer has been taken care of. I can see that this computer has been in and out of back packs, etc." blah blah blah

Then he examines the keyboard and says, "I see there is some snuffies (in that English uptight anal accent) in there. I supposed they could be vacuumed out."

I wanted to say to Rob, "You're fucking buying a used computer. It's not new."

So after Rob bitches and complains about my Powerbook to Catherine, Catherine decides to "think about it" and she'll call back right away. She calls back 10 minutes later, and says, "I just called such and such used Mac retailer, and they've got the same Powerbook for $700, without a CD rewrite drive, but they can put one in for $150, so I'll offer $850."

A part of me knew this would happen, this morning at 7:30am when I went for my morning walk. I had intuitional "alerts." This couple knew how to screw people.

I said, "No deal." I was thinking...fine, let Catherine buy that other machine, and try to get all the software I'm offering in addition to this machine. Meanwhile, I've paid for 2 long distance calls to Whistler, waited my day, let go of two possible clients, and been manipulated by two assholes.

Other points I wish to make here in my rant:
1. Macs don't work like PCs. When you start up an application or do an operation, it does seem slower. I call it "more fluid." There is a zen-like quality to working with a Mac. It's fluid. It's more user-friendly. When you click on the scroll bar, it doesn't "zip" like high-hell to the end of a document, like a steroid PC does. As a lifelong Mac user, I know this.
2. Rob has never used a Mac. He knows nothing about them. He's a PC user.

One of the callers about my Powerbook this morning, while I was dealing with Rob and Catherine, was really interested in my Powerbook. He told me he was buying it for his 16 year old son, who has learning challenges, and dropped out of school. His educational counsellors recommended buying his son a Mac to do his graphic design stuff, which he has a talent for. I ended up telling him that for his needs, he should buy a new iBook. I am not a barter/negotiation slut. I am an honest person, who offers a good, honest deal, without all that game playing shit.

Yes, I've learned a lot in the process about what my Powerbook is worth. But I realize it. And I'm not about to go MacFuck someone else. I really hope that Catherine is MacFucked though...I'm not that ethical.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

9 to 5 - no thanks.I stole this image. I ripped it off from Jason's Room. It just so works for my blog, and I have no idea how he finds such fantastic images. Sorry Jason! Perhaps you could tell me how you find such relevant and beautiful images, so I don't need to rip-you-off!

Since I've had financial problems since a certain client screwed me over for a very LARGE contract, I've been considering going back to work for a company. I've been freelancing for 6 years now, and it suits me best. The last job for which I worked 9 to 5, for paltry money that didn't cover my basic living expenses, drove me nearly insane. Since then I've made a good living teaching, and doing my own freelance work. But since I quit teaching last year, and since my contracts are thinning out at the moment, I'm thinking of:

a. finding a full time job
b. finding a part time job to supplement my freelance work
c. selling my body

I think that selling my body is far preferable to finding a full time job - at least I'd work for myself. My preference would be a part time job, but even better is getting some new contracts in, and fast.

After having gone to school for over 10 years, and being used to setting my own schedules, as soon as I'm put into a cubicle from 9am to 5pm, I feel like I'm in jail. I start hyperventilating.

Actually, another option is:
d. go to jail

Except that options:
a. and d. sound the same to me.

I've never worked full time for more than a year in my entire life. Scholarships, part time jobs, student loans, work on the side have been my entire life.

I've got personality problems that prevent me from doing the reasonable 9 to 5 thing. The first is impatience. I have very minimal skills when it comes to dealing with incompetent and unproductive people. I'm very gentle and supportive the first 3-5 times that I tell someone how to do something, but if they're still uncooperative, I begin to think they're doing it to spite me, or that they simply haven't done therapy. After that, my blood pressure begins to boil, and I often lash out at him or her. Or, if I have an incompetent supervisor, who doesn't listen to my rational complaints or is less intelligent than me, I usually end up telling them so, and thereby breaking the rule of "thy shall not be insubordinant."

I've gotten worse too, the longer I work for myself, and the better I've gotten at my work.

I don't think of myself as a perfectionist - it's taken me years to become one, but I think many people think of me as such. So, I get along best with people who are passionate, smart and into improving their work, which is rare in the 9 to 5 world. I know I'm know I'm not the best either, and if I discover someone who knows more than me in a certain area, I'm a total, gushing, ass-kisser to learn what they know.

Since I work intensely, when I do work, I need a few minutes or an hour, here and there, to go for a walk, make myself some food, clean the dishes, trim my nose hairs, or whatever, in the middle of the work day. When you work in the 9 to 5 prison, you're not allowed to. You're expected to be in the cubicle. So if the manager or boss walks by, and you're not there, it's bad.

The other thing that makes me the angriest is that I am working for a low salary (i.e. under $50/hour) making the company richer, and I'm not sharing that profit. I would belong best in those upstart companies, who share the ownership of the company.

I'm willing to work more than 9 - 5, but only for myself. Unless I'm getting over $50/hour, I'm not. I refuse to be owned. In the past week, I actually worked a couple of 18 hour days. That's fine. Because I'm doing it for myself and on my own terms.

The other personality disorder I have is that I cannot deal with office politics. I just can't. I can't kiss ass just because someone is considered to be more important than me. It's against my nature, and would ruin my creativity and very soul.

So, I may be doomed...unless I can pull it together, very soon.

Wish me luck.
A petition for ancient practices

I've had a nightmarish week. I don't want to get into details, but it involves the lack of money, working 16 hour days and doing a ton of free work. But I happened to turn on the television this morning, and managed to catch the last 45 minutes of the Visa U.S. Men's Gymnastics Championships, which almost made up for my lousy week. Todd Thornton, who happens to share the last name of one of my ex's, won the event (see picture above). What was amazing is that the television cameras managed to catch several gymnasts walk off their event, then pull their body suit down to expose their amazing chests and abs. Normally coverage has been far more homophobic, and they avoid such shots. I wish they'd return to the ancient Roman tradition of competing naked. The competition was good - some outstanding performances - and the gymnastics was good too. David Durante came in third or fourth, but for his show off the competition floor, definitely deserved first or second place (see picture).

Then I went for a walk through Kitsilano to get a coffee, and it seemed to be a day that all the most gorgeous, beautiful men decided to parade down Broadway, sit in cafes, and sun themselves on benches. I really need to "lose my computer" for a while and get out of the house more often.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Finding a new roommate is hard work

I haven't blogged in a while because I've been preoccupied with finding a new roommate, and new contract work. It's been an interesting experience. In the past, I've advertised my room for rent, and it's gone with the first or second person. This time around, I've had to email, talk to, and show the room to dozens of people before finding the right person (well, only 8 people). But I've finally found him.

It's been a great experience. I've met so many fascinating and interesting people, who are truly international and have tons of education and travel stories. All of them were attractive (as people), except for three gay guys, who saw my ad at the gay book store in the West End. All three of them ended up being lonely guys, living alone, looking for someone to connect with. Eww! Sorry, I'm not the guy for you. Instead, I met fascinating straight men and women, who were comfortable living with a gay man.

So my new roommate is a straight man, 28 (I think), with tons of education. He just finished his graduate degree at UBC. He also speaks Japanese, Norweigan and Spanish. He's nice looking, not my type (which is fortunate) and we can talk about many things. He's lived in Japan for four years, has travelled around the world, and originates from Minnesota. He also wears very nice socks and running shoes. He's got these shortened socks - I don't know what they're called (I'm no longer that trendy, but believe me, I'm going to get some) and his running shoes are way cool.

I also met a fabulous international woman, who has lived in Europe, Toronto, Los Angeles, etc. and has decided to live in Vancouver. She's got degrees in both Finance and Visual Arts. I met an even better looking guy than Chris. He was 6'6", dark brown hair, emerald green eyes, and studying geo-chemistry at UBC. He had to almost duck under the doorway when he came into my home. I met a sweet Japanese girl, named Reiko (ray-ko). I met a sexy Vancouverite who was straight, and also very cool and creative. I met a young, nervous Middle Eastern guy, who seemed nice, but unusually nervous (don't know why). And I met an incredibly charismatic French Canadian, Ph.D. student at UBC, who is pure fun and lightness, gorgeous, with a brilliant mind. He may still end up living with me for half a month in August (I can't wait to party with him). I also was trying to sell my car, and met a beautiful blond middle European guy - his name he spelled as "Andrey" - I'm not sure where he's from. But I think it begins with an "A." He had a strong hand and strong handshake. (I was willing to make a deal with him, if you know what I mean, but it didn't happen.)

So, it's been a positive experience, except for the gay guys. The gay guys were all desperate. The straight people weren't. Isn't that icky? Any comments or insights on that? Is it because I'm so darn good looking that I attract icky gay men, even though they haven't seen what I look like? Whereas intelligent, international, educated, multi-lingual straight men and women could give a shit about my sexuality or looks? Je ne sais pas.

Au revoir.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Looking for a Roommate

I decided I wanted to rent out my second bedroom again. It's been five months since I had a roommate. So I started advertising quite late in July, hoping for someone August 1st. I advertised on two online sites, and put some posters up at a local college and at the gay bookstore downtown.

Yesterday I showed my place to a young guy named Chris. He told me he was moving here from Calgary, to study acting. When I answered the door, standing before me was a 6'2", blond, blue-eyed gorgeous man, wearing a muscle shirt that showed off his amazing physique. I was so shocked, I nearly forgot to say hello. Then he moved aside and introduced me to his parents. I was so nervous that his mom and dad would see me drooling over their gorgeous baby son. I didn't know they were coming. They had driven him to Vancouver with a few of his furnishings, and were helping him to find a place.

All of them were very nice - in that Southern Alberta, small Christian town kind of way. Chris was just bouncing with enthusiasm. He told me he worked at Gold's Gym, in their supplements department before moving out here. His mother told me he cooks very healthy, using his special wok. Anyway, they were all complimentary, and told me they would call me today if they were interested. So far I haven't heard from them and it's already 3pm. So I'm afraid he won't be my new roomy. It's probably for the best - I might start obsessing about him. I'm certain he's straight.

At 4:30pm, a young 21 year old girl, who's coming here from Washington to study ballet is visiting with her parents. It seems freaky to me to have such a young little girl stay with me. I'm going to feel like a father or uncle or something. I'd rather not live with a female, but we'll see how it goes. She said she's gay-friendly (obviously, being in ballet).

Another guy named Nick called me last night, saying he saw my notice at the gay bookstore. He was creepy right away - he kept giggling and trying to say funny and suggestive things to whatever I said. It felt like he was flirting with me, but at first I just put it down to him being friendly. So after telling him about my place, he told me that he was living in Richmond in a 3600 sq. ft. home. He had 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a jacuzzi, etc. I asked him why he'd want to move into a 900 sq. ft. place with an 8' x 9' bedroom. He said he was lonely, and that he worked at home all day at a stock trader, and it would be wonderful to have someone to hang out with and talk with, especially since I work from home.

I could tell that this guy was desperate. I told him I'd prefer a roommate that wasn't home all the time since I am. He then asked me if I went to the gay parade, and I said no, I went to the beach. He asked, "Was it a nude beach?" I said, "No." He asked, "Do you like to go to the gay nude beach at Wreck?" Now I was totally revolted by this sleazy creep, who doesn't even know me, and is asking me personal and inappropriate questions. I quickly said, "I don't think this accommodation will work out for you, and good luck," before hanging up. Gross! He was using for rent ads as a dating service.

I'll let you know what happens with my roommate situation. I hope something positive works out.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Vancouver Gay Pride Weekend

I won't say much about this weekend's Gay Pride in Vancouver. I personally don't enjoy it at all. I do appreciate that many people love the event, and it does serve an important purpose for social and political purposes. I've never found parades to be that interesting in the first place. But I find that the rest of the events are basically an excuse to party, spend money, get drunk, meet people and have sex. Not that there's anything wrong with that - I can do that any day of the week.

I realized that if I were going to Montreal's Gay Pride, or Toronto's, I'd probably enjoy Pride a lot more. It would be a new experience again, and there would be thousands of people I've never met before. I'm sure there are thousands of gay men I haven't met here either, but having lived in Vancouver for 17 years, it all seems so familiar. Plus I'd have to run into: 1. People I was once friends with and no longer am friendly with; 2. Ex-lovers; 3. People who have been rude to me and have hurt my feelings; 4. People who have slept with my ex-lovers; 5. People paying attention to me that I'd rather they didn't; 6. People who I've slept with and no longer remember their names.

I've also never had a good time at any Pride events in the past - even the expensive, big parties at special venues. I'm glad I did it. But that's just it - I've been there and done that.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Soccer Guy

It was Shigeki's fault. I was chatting with him during the afternoon, when he mentioned that he decided to have a couple of drinks of Scotch after work. I haven't drank in quite a long time, and it sounded like a nice idea. So I ran some errands, picked up a bottle of Vodka, and had a couple. At about midnight, I was feeling good, and decided to get something to eat at a pub just a block away. It's a pretty cool always has interesting people, and their food is good. I sat at the bar, because all the tables were taken, and ordered the Shepherd's Pie. I had nothing on my brain except to chow into the the pie.

I didn't even notice anyone around me. But the guy sitting next to me to my left, said hello. I looked at him, and was stunned by how good looking he was. Dark brown hair, smokey eyes, a well-trimmed goatee, and a deep voice with a beautiful British accent. We got to talking, and I found out he is a professional soccer player from England, and was here to play a game. I know nothing about soccer, so I didn't think to ask him what team he played with, what position he played, etc. Anyway, we hit it off, and were soon talking about all kinds of deep and interesting things. I loved listening to him talk in his deep, sultry British accent. He's married, and I believe he told me that his wife is from Vancouver. I don't remember clearly because he kept buying me beer after beer, and offering me Guitanes cigarettes (they're good!). I was surprised at how 'deep' and serious he could be, so I asked him his astrological sign, and of course, it was Scorpio.

At one point he asked me if I was gay, and I said, "yes." He seemed totally comfortable with that. Finally the bar closed at 2am, and I asked him if he wanted to go down to the beach and hang out for a while. He said, "Sure, sounds great."

I stopped by my house first (it's only a block away from the pub) and picked up the rest of my bottle of vodka. So we went down to the beach, in a very private area (often there are people partying, with a fire going). Anyway, no one was around. We sat and drank and talked. A guy walked past, and we invited him to sit with us and have a few swigs of vodka. He hung around for a while, and then he left.

Soccer guy suddenly decided to tear off all his clothes, and run into the ocean! I couldn't believe it - the ocean is cold (and probably dirty). I noticed what an amazing body he has. At one point he dove under water, and I didn't see him come up for almost a minute. So I ran into the ocean, up to my crotch in water, yelling, "Hey, are you okay?" I was thinking I'd better rescue him. But finally he surfaced, and was fine.

Believe it or not, but I didn't even have sex on my mind. But he came out of the water, naked, and sat on the log. He was shivering, and I rubbed his back trying to warm him up (he didn't seem to mind). In hindsight today, I realized he probably wanted me to make a move on him - after all he's hanging out with a gay guy, naked, drunk, and on the beach at 4am with no one around. But it honestly didn't even occur to me at the time! I wasn't thinking of him as a sexual object, like I do with most handsome, sexy, hot men. Also, by this time I was totally drunk and not thinking very well.

Anyway, that's the whole story. He put on his clothes, and we both went our separate ways. It was a great evening. I probably won't see him again, which is probably good. Because next time, I'd do a lot more than just talk.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

More on Canadian Idol

Canadian Idol continues every Tuesday and Wednesday nights. It's such a different experience than American Idol. There's definitely a different cultural taste in music and singers, and much more creativity and originality.

Vanguard went to a concert in which one of the singers he saw (and loved) was from a previous Canadian Idol. He says, "Who would've thought this woman had begun as one of the losers on the 2003 season of Canadian Idol, which seriously seems like an oxymoron to me, eh. I mean Canadian and Idol in the same sentence?" I'm not sure what he means, but I think there's a lot to idolize about Canadians. Not just our laws - such as same-sex marriage, absence of the death penalty and health-care system, but also our embrace of a multi-cultural society, not participating in the Iraq war, and lack of guns - and so much more. We also have, for a small country, an amazing number of world-wide reknown talents in all endeavours - especially music.

Here's a review of a few of my favourites in the remaining 8 contestants. My favourite is Rex Goudie. He was born in Dawson Creek, BC, but now lives in Burlington, Newfoundland - a tiny farm town in the middle of nowhere, and works as a mechanic. He is so hot! Not normally my type, but he's so natural and comfortable on stage, and exudes charisma. Completely unaffected. He also sings rock, which I mostly don't care for, but he does it so well. For such a laid-back guy, he puts his entire body and soul into singing. The judges never have a bad word to say about him. After singing his song, he sat next to the host and put on these round, bottle thick nerd glasses. Very funny.

Amber Fleury is my second most favourite. She's from Calgary, Alberta, and is 26. I was surprised she made it, simply because she doesn't look like Britney Spears or other skinny, pretty pop stars. But Canada doesn't care about those things - she's in the top 8. Her voice is unbelievable - it makes you shiver. As one of the hosts said, "Your voice is as close to being holy as is possible." She nearly makes KD Lang sound hoarse.

Suzie Rawn is from Kamloops, BC. She's another rocker. Again, I don't care for that kind of singing, normally, but she does it well. The main thing is she's already a well-produced product. She's got her style worked out, tons of stage presence and looks ready for the big time. While she has that irritating rocker chic attitude, it's tempered with a sweetness and sincerity that makes her likable.

There are two extremely affected guys, who make my point - that Canadian Idol is so different than American Idol. One is Jeff Palmer, from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He's creepy, like Michael Jackson and Prince. His vocal stylings are inimitable. But he's interesting to watch, and manages to pull off his weird, jerky movements and extremely fey mannerisms. I hate his fashion sense - wearing a winter scarf in the middle of July? Another time he wore what appeared to be a Michael Jackson military suit jacket with metal hooks up the front. His hair is awful, his teeth need to be bleached and fixed, but he has a charm and rather beautiful green eyes. I simultaneously like him, and yet feel creeped out. I'd like to see him make it to the top 8 in the U.S.!

Another strange guy is Daryl Brunt, 16, of Sudbury, Ontario. The poor kid is so awkward, and appears so typically gay, I feel sorry for him. He's also so skinny it's painful to look at him. But his singing is excellent (although the judges mostly don't like his singing because it does sound very pop and lacks soul). But he reminds me of a better sounding Pet Shop Boys or Simply Red. He does the high ranges fluidly, with perfect tone.

The rest on the Canadian Idol team are mostly gorgeous female pop singers, who are remarkably classy. There is a Rueben-like fellow named Aaron Walpole, who is quite good and the judges love him, but he does nothing for me.

I think Canadian Idol is a bit of a national obsession, which is very unusual for Canadians. I guess we're proud of our talent, and our differences.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Annual HSBC Celebration of Light

Every year in Vancouver, we have the Celebration of Light fireworks competition. It's down at English Bay in the heart of the West End (the gay area). It's a perfect place, because you can see the fireworks from English Bay, or across the bay from Jericho Beach and Kits Beach, or even from the East End near Science World (that's the lit dome you see in this picture on the left side). It's the most well attended event in Vancouver - an estimated 1.4 million pour into the city to watch it. All of the streets in the West End and surroundings are cut off to cars, so everyone pours, en mass, into the streets, and it's very festive. Hundreds of boats and yachts gather in the bay to watch from the water. The fireworks are unbelievable and are set to music by each country participating. You can tune in your radio and listen and watch the fireworks at the same time. It happens on Wednesday and Saturday nights, until the finale, where all three countries put on a display.

Even where I live, in Kitsilano, people gather all along the beaches, and parking is impossible (and if you park improperly you'll definitely get towed).

My favourite memory of the fireworks is when I met Les, my second boyfriend (and most favourite). We were attending a fireworks party at someone's penthouse in the West End and had the most perfect view from the balcony. This happened just after we had met each other, and both of us were feeling the strong pull of intense attraction, but neither of us knew if we felt the same way. We were on the balcony together, watching the fireworks, with the music going, and at one point it became so moving that tears came to our eyes - it was a nice moment. Very intimate. I wanted to press my body against his and start humping. I remember the electricity that flowed between us whenever we were close to each other - especially in the elevator on the way out.

Another time I was invited to another fireworks party, at another penthouse, and met the hottest and cutest guy. Very intelligent, buff body, blond. We totally got into each other and there was a strong chemistry. Then I found out he was leaving the next day to go to school in the UK! Shite! Nothing happened and we were both disappointed. But it seems like that often happens - you meet someone, just as one of you are leaving. It must be a spiritual test, or just bad luck!

The fireworks is one of those events that just invites romance, and a feeling of togetherness in the city.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Jericho Beach

Just ten blocks away from me is Jericho Beach - just one of the dozens of beaches that wrap around Vancouver. It is my favourite beach. I took this picture of it last April, on a cool day. It looks as though you're miles away from the city, while in fact you're in the midst of it. The mountains you see in the distance include North Vancouver, and if I panned East, you'd see downtown Vancouver. If I looked West, you'd see open Pacific Ocean, with a few islands. That's what's so fantastic about Vancouver - you're never far from the ocean or the outdoors, even in the city.

Here's what it looks like in the summer looking East - you can see downtown Vancouver. I like Jericho because it's so large that it's rarely crowded - you can always find a space to yourself. I prefer it to Kits Beach. Kits Beach is only a few blocks away but it is the "beautiful people" beach, full of 20 year olds strutting around looking gorgeous. I go there when I need eye candy. Otherwise I like the more adult environment of Jericho. In some parts the water is quite shallow so it becomes as warm as bath water. You can also watch people do sailing and sailboards.

I didn't go to Jericho last year, because I didn't want to run into my ex, BC. It's his favourite beach too. In fact, he has to drive about 6 km from the East side of Vancouver to get to Jericho. When we ended seeing each other, I asked him if he would go to a different beach since Jericho was my beach, and I didn't want to see him. He said, "No." So I avoided it last year. Fortunately I haven't seen him. He's probably hanging out now at Wreck Beach - the nude beach at the University of BC, where he can get into all kinds of slutty action.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Bags are the new blog

I discovered that Trent of Pink is the New Blog happened to do his own "What's in your bag?" blog. He saw a magazine story on "What's in Joel Madden's LV Bag" and created his own photo essay, "The 4 Things in Trent's Bag." It's all Louis Vuitton baggage - I'm not sure if he was being honest, or fantasizing. Nevertheless, there's an obvious synchronicity happening. Check out his blog (scroll down to nearly the bottom of his entry), and spread the meme!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

What’s your baggage? The CSI.

(Click on image to see it larger. I just discovered I can upload photos for free with Blogger - duh!) Possibly the only thing more interesting than reading another person’s “diary/blog” is seeing what they carry around in their bag, purse, wallet, coat pockets or your car's trunk. Shigeki of Tokio Bleu, started a meme, based on his entry "My goodies."

My digital camera was stolen, so I used Photoshop to make a collage what I usually carry in my work bag when I meet with a client. Not very interesting is it? I bought the The Modele Collagen Lip Enhancer after reading about it - it's supposed to make your lips fuller. I haven't used it regularly enough to find out if it works, because it's packaged in a gold lipstick container, and I'm too embarrassed to take it out in public and use it. After staring at a screen all day my eyes are usually red, so I bring along Visine to get the red out, so that I don't look like I'm suffering from a hangover. "Was he born that way, or is it Maybelline?" The coverstick I hate using, but if I've had too many late nights, it hides those undereye circles. I don't usually get blemishes anymore (thank goodness) but I'm prepared if I do. The Kleenex is a bit of a lie - I usually stuff paper towels I steal from bathrooms in my bag to wipe my sweaty face before a meeting. It's just that Kleenex looks nicer. Unfortunately we don't have those hi-tech Japanese wipes here. I left out the muffin crumbs, loose change and lint.

Here's Shigeki's call to action: Links and Meme. I'd like to tag someone, but I doubt anyone reads my site! If you do one, let me know.

Friday, July 15, 2005

A Great Chef

I feel so thrilled – a local bistro chef asked me for my opinion on their new entry! And the chef listened to me!

I’ve lived here for nearly 3 years, and have gone to her bistro for about the same time. She honestly serves the best food, for a bistro, in town. It’s French (and many other cultures), down-to—earth, simple and yet so delicious, it can make you HIGH just tasting it. I think they’re the best kept secret, in terms of a bistro, in the city. And they’re only a hop-skip-jump away from me.

Their most fabulous secret is their breakfasts. (They serve the best eggs and baked potatoes you’ve ever tasted or seen – they’re perfect technically). My favourite is their baked garlic with pesto scrambled eggs. Secondly are their fresh-baked breads (do I want their sour dough, their French bread, their honey wheat bread, or their full grain bread? I can’t decide). Thirdly is their yummy food, that ranges from Mac and Cheese to blah-blah-blah-blah-blah! I don’t know the names, they’re too complicated for me. Often it contains that purple egg-shaped vegetable…you know what I mean. (Egg-plant) Nevertheless, everything I’ve tasted in the last three years has been perfect!

Recently they’ve introduced pasta to their menu – it’s only available from 3-9pm. So I thought I’d try it tonight.

When I first walked in, I saw the owner, and she said hello. We know each other because I’ve been there so often. I ordered a pasta – some pollo con something with wine, and the pasta was my favourite shape – the penne. Remember, I’m not a food expert at all. It included a little chicken and broccoli (very little) and some dried red tomatoes. But lots of wine and spices.

When it came to my table, and I ate a couple of spoonfuls, and she pulled up a chair to find out my opinion! I was so pleased and complimented. I told her that it tasted too “acidic” at the moment. I offered her food from my plate to taste. She realized that it was due to too much wine, so she called one of her waiters, and got some more freshly grated parmesian cheese. After adding three teaspoons, the dish tasted perfect, and entirely cut down on the acidity!

Where else can you get that type of service? I only ate half of it because I was so full, and was so perfectly satiated. The waiter packaged up the rest for me.

I could go on and on about her and her food. I’m wondering…where else could you get such service, other than in Kitsilano, Vancouver? Have you ever had the chef sit at your table and taste your food with you, and correct it and make it taste better?

I don’t know…it meant so much to me, that she listened to my opinion and actually sat down with me, and cared about my dinner so much that she heard me and made my dinner taste much better. I’ve never had that happen before.

I love her.

Monday, July 04, 2005

The Screen Behind the Mirror Part 2

“The Screen behind the Mirror:” I’m not certain where this phrase came from. I assumed it was Buddhist, but I can’t find any reference to it on the internet, except for one from the so-named Enigma album. There are two concepts suggested in the phrase: projection (screen) and reflection (mirror).

Projection, on a micro-level, involves the Freudian concept of projection, although it doesn’t necessarily include its corresponding concept of neurosis. The most basic formula for the concept of Freudian projection is: “Individual A assumes that B sees the colour red as he does, until informed that B is colour-blind.” (This, by the way, is probably the basis for all conflict and wars.)

Projection (screen) is necessarily related to reflection (mirror). What one projects is a mirror of oneself. Projection is a reflection of an individual’s beliefs. So what one experiences in life is a reflection one what one believes and projects into life.

What is the cause of that projection? That’s a complex combination involving one’s personality and life experience, and the combination of the two.

Have you ever noticed that there is a constant and incessant streaming of thoughts going through your mind? Usually they are under the surface, or what’s termed the subconscious. Those who have practiced meditation are familiar with them, and attempt to silence the mind by both witnessing the stream of thoughts, and remaining unattached to them.

It too remains a mystery as to where and how those streaming, subconscious thoughts originate. But more on that later.

I’ve noticed that the subconscious, aka “streaming thoughts” are the initiator, or directors, of dreams. Dreams are projections; they are the movies that are projected onto the mind. I’ve particularly noticed this when I leave the radio on or television and fall asleep. The words from the radio or tv influence the content of my dreams. But even without that input, I’ve noticed that the constant streaming of thoughts in my subconscious direct my dreams. The subconscious is like the radio or tv left on while asleep: there’s a constant stream of information, that leads to projection.

To be continued...

Saturday, July 02, 2005

The Screen Behind the Mirror

It’s nearly impossible to describe and talk about dreams. It’s because they’re so mysterious and no one knows what they are. As well, very few people can remember their dreams, and if you’re lucky enough to remember some of them, as soon as you try to put them into words, they evaporate. You end up feeling like you’re making them up, and not being honest to the original experience.

There’s many theories. There’s the psychological explanation, coming from every psychologist/psychiatrist/therapist.

“Everyone in your dream represents an aspect of yourself.”

“Dreams are simply neurons firing in your brain, randomly.”

No one knows what dreams are, and everyone has their own theory. Dreams seem purposely designed to never be known from whence they come from, what they mean, and what is their purpose.

Dreams also tend to reflect what you believe they are. For example, when I was into Jungian theory, all my dreams reflected this. I would have a dream, wake up, interpret them according to Jung’s theory, it would make sense, and then I’d go back to sleep.

At this point in time, I’m tending to believe that dreams are simply random firings of neurons, based on anxieties and worries you have during the day. My dreams are reflecting this now.

Other times in my life, I believed that dreams could be precognitive. So I also experienced this – I dreamt of the exact date of the San Francisco earthquake in 1989 and told all my friends (who were blown away when it happened). In my dream, I was watching a news report that told me the date of the earthquake.

I also predicted the volcanic explosion of Mt. St. Helen’s on October 1, 2004 - to the exact date. There is an entry somewhere in my blog that makes the prediction, although I got the mountain wrong. I thought it would be Mt. Baker in Washington.

So my belief is that dreams are what you believe they are.

I’ve tried keeping a dream journal. I couldn’t read my handwriting in the morning, because I was so asleep. So I’ve even placed a microphone/tape recorder beside my bed, and when I woke up from a dream, I’d try recounting it into the microphone. I just sounded tired and mostly incomprehensible when I listened to it in the morning. I didn’t have much insight, except for how different the experience of dreams are compared to talking about them.

But I had a dream last night, that made me think, I’ve finally discovered the secret to dreams. Trying to describe it will be extremely difficult. And my dream is hard to remember. But I’ll do my best. Perhaps I need to resort to metaphor. My concept isn’t new, in fact, it’s ancient.

Life is a dream. It is one great big dream, and on such a huge level, that it’s difficult to explain. It goes way beyond the idea of “life as a dream/illusion” that’s behind the plot in “The Matrix.”

Here’s a question, How many times have you woken up, to discover that there’s something new in the world, that you didn’t know about before? How many times have you arisen to discover that there is a unicorn whale, called a “Narwhal?” You may not be the most educated person, but still, after living for 40 plus years, you discover that a whale that exists that has an appendage that belongs to the mythical unicorn?

It seems that each year that I live, the world becomes more complex and more full of life.
To be continued…

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


After all these years of blogging, it appears I've finally figured out how to create a comments section. I've tried a few times before, but have always failed. Anyway, let's see how it goes. Send me your comments, nasty or nice.

I enjoy reading short stories by gay authors, and fortunately there are a few quarterly literary magazines online that provide me with such. I was looking through Lode Star Quarterly, and Blithe, when I came across a story by someone named Patrick Roscoe. It’s called “Compromise."

I thought to myself, “I recognize that name!”

I tried to read the story, but it seemed so esoteric and poetic, that it irritated me, so I just scanned through it, and I didn’t get the point of it.

So I looked under “contributors” and found this bio on him:

“Patrick Roscoe is the author of seven internationally acclaimed books of fiction which have been translated into nine languages. His widely published and anthologized work has appeared in Christopher Street, The James White Review, Blithe House Quarterly, and Harrington Gay Men's Fiction Quarterly. Patrick Roscoe's short fiction has won two CBC Canadian Literary Awards, a Pushcart Prize, and a Lorian Hemingway Short Story Award; it has received a pair of Distinguished Story citations from Best American Stories, and is frequently selected for Best Canadian Stories.”

“Hmm, that still sounds familiar,” but I couldn’t quite place him yet.

It wasn’t until that I saw his picture that it clicked for me. Even though it’s a poor representation, I remembered how I knew him. Many years ago…8? 10? I had met him for a coffee date. This was still when the internet was in its infancy, and we had met through an online dating web site for gay men. We wrote back and forth a few times, and seemed to have enough in common to meet for a coffee.

It’s said that writers love visual artists, but the reverse is also true. Visual artists are fascinated by writers’ ability with words. So we met for coffee at a small café in the West End.

He was older than me, as I recall. Maybe 5-10 years older? I can’t remember for sure, although he looked older. He was handsome, in a craggy way. A little rough around the edges. My knowledge of culture is very poor, but isn’t “Roscoe” either Irish or Scottish? He had that Irish look, of having lived a lot, and probably drank too much. Still handsome, but in a nearly brutish, boxer-kind of way.

I guess you could also say he appeared to typify the suffering artist look. A little dark, a little angsty, but charismatic, intelligent and rough at the same time.

Patrick had just finished writing another book, to awards and acclaim, and was doing his publicity tour, reading his book and doing signings. I can’t remember if he gave me a copy of his book, or if I went out to buy it, and neither can I remember the name of the book. I probably have it in storage somewhere. Anyway, I tried reading it, and was totally lost. I couldn’t get through the first chapter. It was so dense, and so artistically composed, it was lost on me, even though I’m quite educated. To be honest, his writing irritated me. It was obviously the kind of writing that other academics with too much education love to analyze, pick apart, and try to figure out.

In person, he was a lot like his writing. He spoke in circles, never making a concrete statement. Everything he said was couched in some deep metaphor that I didn’t comprehend. But he also exuded a strong and nearly uncontrollable sexuality.

He was living the life of Somerset Maughan. With the grants, awards and book contracts he received, he would move to some obscure country, live in some hot and humid place, take on a local lover, or live entirely alone. I got the impression he drank a lot. But he would write. Meet locals. Soak up the culture. Notice weird details about the place he lived, which he’d poetically put into his novels. He was always on sabbatical, living off of grants and awards, which he’d eventually use all his experience to create another obscure award-winning fiction novel.

I decided early in our coffee meeting that I’d be interested in being friends, but nothing more. I don’t mind intensity…but his intensity was tsunami-like. I felt like I’d be caught up in a dysfunctional web of charisma and intensity if I got sexually involved with him. I bet he’s a hot sexual partner. But I’m too “white bread” for that. (Also, I prefer guys who can fix a car.)

Anyway, I did a google search, and found another story called “Mutilation,” published by the Danforth Review. A very dark story. I actually read it very carefully, and did understand it. But at the end of reading it I found this short bio:

“Patrick Roscoe is a Vancouver sex worker whose seven internationally acclaimed books of fiction have been translated into nine languages.”

My first reaction was shock. My second reaction was, “I thought so.” There was something about his smouldering sexuality and darkness of spirit that made me sense there was a “sex worker” behind his rough, though fine academic yet rebellious façade. One that I could relate to (read past posts on my own history this way).

After getting over my shock, and gratefulness that I didn’t get involved, I re-read his story called, “Compromise.” After trying to appreciate his poetic prose, like a painting, I realized his story was really about love. And learning how to be with another person. With a whole bunch of fancy language!

Being an artist is never an easy calling. But it appears that Patrick is learning to temper it, with the art of compromise.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Canadian Idol: Very Canadian

I watched Canadian Idol for the second week in a row. While it’s based on American Idol, it’s entirely different. The show appears to try to imitate American Idol, but can’t, because there’s a Canadian spin and attitude to it. I’m embarrassed by it – if other people from other countries watched it, what would they think of us!

Canadian Idol has a four person team of judges. Most of whom I’ve never heard of before. I’m sorry I don’t remember their names, partly because most of the hosts are so lame and so unknown. Standing in for:

Simon: A guy named Jake takes his place, who is outright nasty and rude. He has none of Simon’s wit or sexiness. He’s just plain ugly and unlikable. And he yells at 16 year olds. He’s an aging rocker. There’s nothing worse than a 40 year old man wearing earrings, with dyed black hair, and wearing rocker t-shirts.

Paula Abdul: Her position in Canada is imitated by Sass Jordan. But Sass Jordan isn’t as nice, although she tries hard (you can see her artifice), but will suddenly deliver an acid comment. All I remember about her is seeing her in one video and hearing one song (that was excellent, by the way). But then she seemed to disappear. She may be a “one hit wonder.” In contrast, I remember all of Paula Abdul’s songs and videos.

Randy: He’s replaced by a token black man on Canadian Idol. I can’t even remember his name, but fortunately he doesn’t say, “Dawgs” or wag his fingers at people.

Ryan: Ryan is imitated by Ben Mulroney. He’s the child of one of our ex-prime ministers. He’s actually quite sweet, and does an excellent job as a host. For some odd reason, many Canadian people don’t like him. They tend to feel that he’s famous because his father was our prime minister. But I think he’s an excellent and naturally talented host.

Extra: For some reason, Canadian Idol adds a side-kick to Ben Mulroney (aka Ryan). Again, I don’t remember his name, but he’s a total goof. I like him though. He epitomizes Canadian humour. It’s very offbeat, and not quite funny. It’s not witty. He uses a lot of physical comedy. Think “Doug and Bob MacKenzie” type Canadian humour. In last night’s show he dressed up as a Canada Post worker, delivering mail, and meets the Sasquatch (Big Foot) and gives him a Canadian cap. Canadian humour tends to make you think, “Huh? I can’t believe that just happened, and what was it about, and should we smoke another joint?”

The other major difference is in the contestants: Canadian Idol (and Canadians in general) tend to love the offbeat, extremely original and creative singers. They would never make the cut in the U.S. But they always do on Canadian Idol. Most of them will have careers on Broadway, or on the stage at least. They’re way too full of personality and originality. Think Liza Minelli, but with more creativity.

So watching Canadian Idol is an exercise in being Canadian. You’re always comparing it to American Idol, and thinking it isn’t as good. You listen to the judges comments and are shocked and embarrassed for being Canadian. You watch the contestants and think, “This isn’t a pop star competition, it’s competition for artist-singers.” You watch the sidekick and smoke another joint.

Then…the people who are chosen are just plain weird! For instance, last night, Canadians chose an obviously gay femme boy, with big ears and who looks extremely vulnerable, with a falsetto voice. He acts like he’s been called a “fag” every day of his life. His voice is pretty good, but somehow he got the highest number of votes. I can’t see this happening in the U.S.

Yet, I love being Canadian. Although I prefer watching American Idol.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

My dog story

The cutest dog I’ve ever seen was when I was eating breakfast outside, at a tiny restaurant across the street. The owner didn’t even have to chain this dog – he was so well trained and had the sweetest temperment. He wandered up to me when I got my breakfast. He was quite large, and mostly white, except for a fancy decoration and pattern around his neck. It made him look like he was wearing a Parisian scarf around his neck.

What made me love him was his gentle nature, and he had the sweetest “hang-dog” eyes I’ve ever seen. When I was served breakfast, he just sat there, staring at me, with those puppy eyes. Then, he began drooling, huge amounts of saliva. It literally ran like a tap of water. Meanwhile, he’s looking me in the eyes, and appeared both sad and hopeful. Like I would give him a bite to eat.

I’m against giving dogs food from my own plate. I’ve never done it before. But there was something about his sad and hopeful eyes, and his persistent drooling, that made me want to serve him some of my breakfast. I know that some dog owners are entirely against this practice, so I actually walked through the restaurant (with my plate in hand, I wasn’t going to leave my Eggs Benedict alone with that dog outside) asking people if they owned this dog, and if it was okay if I fed him some of my food. No one claimed to own this dog.

So, I go back outside and sit down, and begin eating. With each bite I take, this silly dog drools uncontrollably. He almost looks apologetically at me. He realizes he shouldn’t be doing this, but he can’t help himself. It also looks like he has a silly and friendly grin on his face. So I give in. I cut him a nice portion of Eggs Benedict. I pick it up, and this dog already knows I’m about to give it to him. So before it’s even off the plate, he’s by my side, and I feed it to him. I feel his warm, wet tongue all over my fingers, and he gobbles up the portion in seconds. I was hoping this would fulfill him.

But it doesn’t, of course. He sits down in front of me, staring at me, drooling even more, looking ever more sad and hopeful. But now he’s smiling at me in a friendly manner, he’s panting and his tongue is wagging, and I just can’t help myself! I even see him take a nose breath, smelling my breakfast, and then he swallows as if imagining that he’s eating it.

I give him another huge bite of my Eggs Benedict. I know this dog isn’t underfed – he’s huge and healthy looking.

By the time we’re done, I’ve just fed over half of my expensive, $10 Eggs Benedict breakfast to an anonymous dog! But I loved every moment of it. No regrets.

After we’re done eating, the dog’s owner comes out, and he goes running and flopping all over to her. That dog is so cute! She heard that I was trying to find her earlier, and immediately apologies. She said, “I’m so sorry, I heard that you were trying to find me earlier. Has he been bothering for you food?”

Update: I've learned that the dog is probably a Labrador Retriever. With another mix. A bit of a mutt.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Book Meme

Tokio Bleu tagged me for the Book Meme. I don’t really want to do it, because I’m so embarrassed by my reading list. But here it goes:

How many books do I own?
I’ve owned hundreds of books in my life, but because I’ve moved so frequently, I also get rid of them frequently. At the moment I’ve got about 35 in the house, and about 100 in boxes in the garage. I recently gave away about 100 books to an art school for their annual spring fundraising sale. I've mostly bought books about art theory and art, and extremely boring books like Foucault.

The last book I bought?
For my birthday in January I was given a gift card to “Chapters” – a large bookstore chain in Canada, but still haven’t used it. I’m afraid the last book I purchased was “Train of Thoughts: Designing the Effective Web Experience” John C. Kenker, Jr. It’s an excellent book on web design theory. And I bought it over a year ago. Books are so expensive here in Canada, and so bulky, that I avoid buying them.

The last book I read?
My father just wrote a book, an autobiography, called “The Rev.” I got it two weeks ago, and I’ve only read a third of it. It’s fascinating. And huge – 8.5 x 11 in size, and over 300 pages, with lots of pictures. He used “Publishing on Demand.” Surprisingly, it’s very beautifully designed. He’s written two other books on religious things.

Books that mean a lot to me?

This is the most difficult question. And I’m afraid I’m a serious new-age reader, which may turn many people off. Also, I rarely read fiction.

1. Living in the Light, by Shakti Gawain.

This book transformed my life when I was 22. And many other lives, because I kept buying this book and sending it to friends. I’ve read all of her books, and all of them are excellent. This has been the most important book to me.

2. Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramhansa Yogananda
This book is mind-blowing. I can’t even begin to describe it. It’s magical and affirms that life is mysterious and spiritual.

3. The Bible
My favourite passage is “1 Corinthians 13. Most of the rest of the book I could do without.

1 Corinthains 13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or aclanging cymbal. (I think this is about “speaking in tongues” and “cacophony.”
2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.
11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

This remains one of the most profound and fabulous pieces of writing I have ever read.

5. Hands of Light and Light Emerging, by Barbara Ann Brennan
The best books I’ve read that describe the ephemeral aspects of healing and interpersonal communication. She manages to describe these in easily understandable and practical ways. These books will transform your life.

A side note to Tokio Bleu, I’ve heard that “Le Petite Prince” is terrific. I was assigned reading this book in university, while taking my 11th year of French, and it was too difficult for my proficiency, so I dropped the course. I’ll have to find an English translation.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

A blast from the past
I was running around, doing errands this afternoon, when I saw someone from the past. I haven't seen him in about 12 years. Partly this may be because I intentionally moved out of the gay areas of Vancouver about 7 years ago, and rarely go to the West end, and I've avoided going to gay clubs. But 12-14 years ago I went quite often, and used to hang out with a couple of friends who loved getting to know everyone. We'd cruise everywhere. By cruising, I mean we'd walk around the West end, going for coffee, walking the seawalk around English Bay and Stanley park, looking at hot men and fantasizing about meeting one of them. In the evenings we'd visit a night club, doing the same. If I may say so, the three of us together were fairly good looking ourselves.

We all had similar upbringings - good parents, nice middle class lives, excellent educations. We also came from smaller cities, so Vancouver was quite new and exciting to us, because we were learning about the gay culture. We were fairly naive, but during the course of our friendship - it lasted about three years - we all changed quite a bit. Jerod was from a small town in Saskatchewan, who moved to Vancouver because the older man he was obsessively in love with moved here. But the guy was a prick, who manipulated Jerod and while he liked having him around for sex, but definitely wasn't in love with him, nor wanted commitment. So poor Jerod was always going through huge emotional distress and jealousy. It began to change Jerod. He became a popular step-class instructor, and in order to avoid feeling all his pain and wanting to feel attractive, he became quite a slut. As if to prove he was desirable.

The strange thing that happened with Jerod and I...whenever I saw someone I found very attractive, Jerod would hone in on him. He'd find out about him, what he was into, and then end up having sex with him. This, of course, would really piss me off. It happened several times. And it was usually very sleazy sex. He started having sex with guys in their cars, or at a certain video shop on Granville Street, that had those coin operated porno booths. I think he'd even jerk off with guys in the gym's shower room after he was done teaching. I was trying not to be judgemental, but it was so opposite of the Jerod I had originally met, and I was quite concerned...and turned off. At that time I hadn't yet explored my own slutty side (It would be a few more years).

There was one guy we were interested in, just because he seemed so...good looking, but remarkably superficial and dumb. At the same time friendly and shy. He looked like one of those guys you see on the covers of Men's Fitness. We ran into him everywhere - at the gym, on the street, in the clubs. We talked with him eventually, and while I found him interesting, in a scientific way, I didn't find him sexually attractive.

One night, the three of us showed up for coffee, and Jerod had this story to tell about Mr. Men's Fitness. Jerod had met him at a nightclub the night before, then went home with him. Another conquest for Jerod! He had this perfect Calvin Klein apartment - all white sheets, white sheer floor length curtains, everything obsessively in place and perfect. When Jerod finally found himself in his bed, and they both took off their clothes, Jerod said he felt like he was about to have sex with a Men's Fitness model. He felt so intimidated.

Mr. Men's Fitness is unusually good looking, in that high-fashion model way. Long limbs, no fat, all definition, perfect abs, longish dark brown hair, a long, classically handsome face, etc. But there’s nothing natural about him – it’s all hard work and artifice. It’s all about how you look.

Mr. Men's Fitness tried to say something politely to Jerod. He said he didn't like hairy chests (Jerod's chest wasn't that hairy) and then offered to get out his clippers and trim his chest hair. The thing about this guy is that he is obsessively perfect, and doesn't tolerate anything less than perfect than him.

This ended up ruining the mood for Jerod, and he ended up leaving. I thought the whole story was so funny, because it exemplified for me everything that I thought Mr. Men’s Fitness was like. And it was funny because the only reason why Jerod bothered to go home with him was to have another conquest that he could brag about.

So this afternoon, 12 – 14 years later, I’m waiting for the bus (because I can’t afford my car right now). It’s pouring rain, and chilly. Everyone is wearing a jacket, pants and holding an umbrella. Out of nowhere comes Mr. Men’s Fitness. He’s wearing a very tight t-shirt with the short sleeves looking ripped off, shorts that are nearly see-through in the rain, and is dripping wet. No jacket. His perfect dark brown, longish hair is stylishly out of place, his biceps, triceps and leg muscles are artfully ripped. He looks gorgeous, but shockingly so. I think he was out for a 10 km jog along Jericho beach. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t live in Kits.

He sees me, and recognizes me. I consider for a moment saying hello. But I really don’t want to. I don’t even remember his name. Partly, because, I’m so over that type of gay culture...the one of perfection based on looks. Sure, it’s great to look at in pictures, but in real life – no thank you. There are thousands of handsome, intelligent, gorgeous men, who are also real. But I’ve always sensed no depth to this guy.

I had on my business wear – a black jacket, black pants and gray shirt, carrying my laptop briefcase. My longish dark hair was also wet, but probably not looking perfect.

He kept trying to catch my gaze, and I kept avoiding it. He even went so far as to stand next to me, two inches away, while at the bus stop. And there was tons of room. We were almost touching. And he continued to stand there. It was intimidating. Like I said, he is friendly, and probably somewhat nice. But I just turned away, looking expectantly for the bus.

At one point, a beautiful 30-something, blond woman walked passed us, looking him up and down, inside and out, and smiled at him, in a very sexual way. I mean, he’s a Harlequin Romance man. I don’t think she thought he was gay.

I think he lives the fantasy of looking like an extraordinary man. But I know he’s lived his life in pursuit of physical and outward perfection. I also know that he never smokes, drinks, does drugs, and his diet is probably vegetarian. This is worth emulating. But his pursuit of perfection hasn’t involved his inner self, unless it is the Tony Robbins kind of perfection. More money, more self-actualization. More superficial “spirituality.” I could be wrong. I hope so.

It could be that I’m the true stuck-up fag here.

We ended up getting off at the same bus stop, which disturbs me. I hope I don’t run into him again.

One other thing…I’ve always sensed he wanted to get to know me. Opposites attract. I really don’t mean this in a self-serving way. But there have been many extraordinarily good-looking guys, without depth, but who desire depth, that have wanted to get to know me. I’ve tried it, but it doesn’t work out. I’ve done the same thing – I’ve always been fascinated by extraordinarily good looking men, who are dumb, but in the end, it doesn’t work out.

I feel guilty for not saying hello.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Messenger me
I just downloaded the most recent Messenger! It's not the most up to date, since I am on a Mac, but at least I can "chat" with people. My chat is "" Chat with me!
Legal problems over?

I'm not sure where to start with this. I also have to be very vague. But in the last month and a half, I've been in conflict with a client, and I've been doing contract negotiations. Fortunately I have a sister who has acted as a legal representative for me, otherwise I'd have to pay thousands of dollars for such legal advise. It's been very stressful for me, since I haven't received any payment for thousands of dollars of work in over two months. Nevertheless, it seems like it's being worked out, although I'm taking a huge cut. It's very unpleasant, and not something I enjoy going through. But it seems like it may be resolved today. Thank goodness. Once this whole situation is over, I'll blog some more about it. It was surreal.

I’ve decided to grow my hair longer. It’s been two and a half months since I got it cut. Normally I have fairly short hair, buzzed with a number 2 on the sides, keeping the top longer, the back shaved short with a natural hairline. I’ve done a couple different looks over the years, but normally come back to my traditional haircut.

But I’ve noticed lately, in Vancouver, that there is a new look. It’s sort of 70s, I think. There are all these young, hot guys, going to the University of BC (I live near there, so I see them all the time on the bus or walking around Kitsilano) with longer hair, bangs, and a non military looking cut. Surprisingly, it’s kind of hot. Several years ago I decided to grow my hair out, and it looked good on me. I got my driver’s license taken with this haircut, and it’s a great picture. I was into bisexual guys from Port Coquitlam at the time, and this was their style. So I decided to emulate it.

(Oh man, I just poured hot wax onto me, accidentally, when picking up my cinnamon candle. Fortunately I wasn’t burned. But it’s all over my shorts and bed sheets. Anyway…)

I always had very dark, super straight hair since I was a young boy. But in the 80s, I decided to get a perm. A neighbour in Saskatoon gave me the perm. It was horrible! I ran back home, washed it with dishwashing detergent and Ajax scouring powder, hoping it would get rid of the perm. It just made my hair fuzzy. Since then, when my hair gets long, it gets curly. It curls up at the back of my neck, and curls all over. I have to use a lot of gel to get it into place and looking decent.

But it’s also kind of fun looking. I’m not this “perfect, military cut” looking guy anymore. Perhaps I seem more natural and free. I don’t know. Maybe I just look like a freak?

But since my hair has become longer, I’ve noticed everyone looking at me. Staring, in fact. It makes me feel very uncomfortable. I’m used to be noticed, but not this noticed! I had someone take my picture, and I think I look okay. So I’m not sure why I’m getting so much more attention lately. Is it because I look like an idiot, or because they like my hair long and curly at the ends?

I can be on my bicycle, and other cyclists (usually female) smile at me and say hello. I’m so uncomfortable – that’s never happened to me before. I walk onto a bus, and people make direct eye contact with me, and smile at me. Since when did Vancouver become this friendly? I keep running into this French Canadian girl, with bleached blond messy hair, who says hello, and wants to have a conversation with me (she lives in the area I think). She looks very alternative.

So, I’m feeling very uncomfortable with this new look. I’m not sure if it’s good on me, or what?! I look horrible when I wake up in the morning. All this long, curling hair becomes major fuzz and …

(ouch, I just burned myself with more candle wax)

I look like I’ve been on a major drinking binge. Maybe this huge mess and mop of hair is attractive to some people?

Possibly, but I’ve never thought of myself this way before. Of course, my friends always say positive things about me, and they like the way I look. In fact, most of them have always asked me to “Mess up your hair!”

I feel like I should buy a hair dryer. Something I haven’t owned in 15 years. Maybe a hairdryer will shock my fuzzy, curling hair into place. But then, I’d probably look extremely 80s.

Believe me, I’ll have fun with this long hair for a while, but the upkeep is too intense. With short buzzed hair, you wake up and look perfect. But with long hair, it takes far too many minutes off my life to try to style it, and make it look presentable. It also takes two hours to dry (without a hairdryer).

Actually, I wish I knew a really great stylist who knew how to work with hair like mine. And teach me how to handle it. Perhaps I’ll do some research.

Isn’t it remarkably superficial that I can spend this much time on a blog about hair? Oh my goodness. I need to get a real life.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

One more Vancouver observation

1. When local Vancouverites ask you to do a hike, most people from other cities imagine a pleasant stroll over gentle, but rolling hills and beautiful moss-covered cedar forests. You stop to admire the fallen log that has sprouted a new cedar tree, or the beautiful field of ferns. You expect to enjoy the silence, broken by a lovely song of birds. (This is what I imagined at first.) Not in Vancouver.

"Let's go for a hike today," in Vancouver, means..."Let's climb a 9,000 metre mountain called Grouse Grind within an hour. Let's not even pause to look at the landscape." The Grouse Grind is a hugely steep trail, that gets worse just as you reach the top. It is the most brutal exercise you can imagine. All you New York gym queens have no idea what a real workout is. You're climbing through mud, boulders and uneven terrain. There's no chance to view the beautiful landscape - all you see is your feet, taking one step after another, and sweat dripping down your brow into your eyes, nose and mouth.

By the time you get to the top of the mountain, every ounce of energy is gone. You're just glad you're alive.

This is just one of the typical "hikes" people do in Vancouver. There are dozens of these. Usually it's worth it because the view from the top of the mountain is amazing. But getting up the mountain is pure hell.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005


I love reading blogs from writers who live in different countries and cities. It allows me to be a voyeur into their lives, which are so similar, yet different in subtle and interesting ways. Even the United States is so different from Canada, although we are neighbours. There are huge differences between New York, San Diego, Alabama, the mid-west, and Seattle. I enjoy trying to pick out the subtle cultural/geographical differences.

I love reading "Made in Brazil" because it gives me insight into their sexy, social and machismo culture, that can be dangerous, yet is surprisingly flexible when it comes to sex between men. I love reading "Tokio Bleu," because it shows me contemporary Japanese culture, which tends to be creative, gentle, intelligent and whimsically fashionable. "Is Mise" informs me on the daily life of an Irish man – going to pubs, drinking beer, socializing, joking around and yet being worldly.

Of course I’m generalizing, and steriotypifying to a large degree. But sometimes it’s helpful to do so, to gain some insight. Reading blogs from other countries makes me reflect on my own culture – Vancouver, BC, Canada. I’ll attempt to make some generalizations.

1. Vancouver is fairly multi-cultural. Other than Caucasians, the largest majority of the population are Asians (mostly Chinese, some Japanese), and then Middle Eastern and Indians. Within two blocks of me, there are three Asian restaurants. There are so few black people that when you see one, you’re surprised.

2. My Mexican roommate noticed that everyone reads on the transit here – not just newspapers, but also books.

3. I think it’s simply being a Pacific Coast city…but the main thing I noticed when I moved here is that intensity and anger is not allowed or tolerated here. Unlike Toronto, people go out of their way to appear easy-going, relaxed and non-intense. If you become intense or angry, you’re treated like a freak. Unfortunately the negative side of this is that so many people are passive-aggressive on the West Coast of Canada.

4. While there is some cultural activity in this city, it cannot be compared to Toronto or East Coast cities. After having lived here for a while, I went back to Toronto and was amazed by how so many people engaged me in an intelligent conversation about politics, the world, the arts, religion and society. These topics tend to be too intense for the West Coast.

5. Nearly everyone here is involved in physical activity – working out, hiking, swimming, sailing, skateboarding (one of the top city planners who is openly gay and 50 years old, rides to work on his skateboard everyday), rollerblading, walking, cycling, camping. It’s because nature is so prevalent here. Nature overtakes culture in this city.

6. Even though we have a huge gay population, there’s only a handful of clubs. I believe the majority of gay men (who are 28 plus) don’t ever go to a club. You’ll only meet these guys by becoming a part of their dinner party circle, gym or favourite sport. You’ll see them at large special event parties though, with their shirts off.

7. Vancouver is mostly anti-fashion. You’ll practically never seen a woman with make-up, high heels and wearing a dress. No one wears black, unless you’re an immigrant. Black is too intense.

8. No one smokes in Vancouver. You’re not allowed to, anywhere. If you’re smoking outside a building, you need to be 3 metres away from the door.

9. There is a yoga studio and natural health store every block. Along with Asian restaurants. Sushi is cheap here!

10. Since it rains 6 months of every year in Vancouver, people squint when the sun comes out (unless they’re wearing sunglasses). It really is a shock when the sun comes out and the sky is clear.

I love Vancouver!

Saturday, May 28, 2005

An admission

Over the past year and a half, I’ve been celibate (thanks for the spelling correction, Maloney). Except for a single sexual experience in December 2004, which I paid for (I hired an escort), I’m re-virginizing myself. The escort experience was fine, but not worth the cost ($200 per hour).

This is my process:

• I break up with my partner, with whom I’m in love
• To get over the pain, I have lots of sex with mostly anonymous guys for about six months
• I get bored with the absence of intimacy and meaning
• I give up sex.
• Once I feel renewed, re-virginized, and pure, I end up meeting someone special.

I think I’ll be ready to date again, at the end of July.

What’s great about hiring an escort is that I don’t have to go to a gay club to pick someone up, or go online and take my chances, and I know what I’m getting.

That’s why I’ve been blogging about past experiences in the last year and a half. I have no new experiences to share.

I’ve done this every time I’ve broken up with a partner. I have sex with lots of guys for a while, then get bored, get celibate, then after a year or more, meet someone new.

That’s how I work.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Celine Dion & Quebec Canada - The English-Speaking Canadian's Perspective

A difficult relationship exists between English and French-speaking Canadians. It can be seen in the way that each perceives international singer Celine Dion. To English-speaking Canadians she epitomizes the Quebecois. Canada is a relatively accepting country - after all, we're a very multicultural society. So I'm not sure why so many English speakers have such a derogatory opinion of native Quebecers.

English-speaking Canada (ESC) tends to find Celion Dion "embarrassing." If we were American, we'd be celebrating the fact that "one of our own" is acknowledged as being the world's best "pop" singer and performer. But no, not us ESCers.

While we might acknowledge that French-Canadians are the most social, best looking, highest cultured, most sexual and fashionable of Canadians (when administered truth serum and under oath), we don't like them because they're "show offs."

I just watched a new biography on Celine Dion, this evening. It was very well done. It gave me new insight as to why I have such a difficult relationship to her.

There are two reasons.

Celine Dion's accent is hard on the ears. It's just plain UGLY. It's has none of the purity of Parisian French. It's Quebecois French. In the rest of Canada, we call it FROG language. French-Canadians speak through their nostrils. Imagine pinching your nasal passage and then pronouncing "wah, wah, wah." That's what they sound like to us.

I can hear hear Celine's Quebecois accent in her mostly lovely singing voice. It really upsets me and makes me wonder if the rest of the world is deaf. (Can't you hear it too?)

But I think the worst thing that offends my ECS sensibilities is that she is SO confident. To be that confident is okay for Americans. It's not okay for Canadians. We're not allowed to be that in-your-face about it. It's improper. Celine is so super-confident, so perfectly honest, so real and without any apparent guile it just seems...un-Canadian. And please, most Canadians wouldn't admit to visiting Las Vegas, nevermind living there.

ECSers have built our national identity on self-flagellation. We criticize ourselves, our politicans, government, economics, culture and talent incessantly. We're never good enough, and we're proud of it - but quietly proud. Our greatest sense of national unity comes from a Molson Canadian beer commercial called "I am Canadian." Our identity is created not out of an existential self-determinism, but out of what we are not. We're not American.

The Quebecois aren't American either. They're a weird hybrid of Parisian self-importance and...some permutation of Canadian culture.

Let me end with our theme song, which summarizes much better than our national anthem does, what we're all aboot about:

I'm not a lumberjack,
or a fur trader...
and I don't live in an igloo
or eat blubber, or own a dogsled...
and I don't know Jimmy, Sally or Suzy from Canada,
although I'm certain they're really, really nice.

I have a Prime Minister,
not a President.
I speak English and French,
NOT American.
and I pronouce it ABOUT,

I can proudly sew my country's flag on my backpack.
I believe in peace keeping, NOT policing.
DIVERSITY, NOT assimilation,



Saturday, April 16, 2005

The Cure

Trying to appear invisible and nondescript, while hiding behind the corner of a stack of bookshelves, I waited for a library patron to leave. He was searching for a specific Dewey decimal number, pointing at the printed numbers on the books’ spines.

Adrenaline raced through me and my senses were heightened. My face was flushed and I tried to keep my breathing shallow. Finally, he found the book he needed and left, so I quickly moved to the section further down from where he had been, labeled “homosexuality.”

I was going to cure myself.

I scanned through the first few books, and slid one thick volume from the shelf, hiding it under my arm, with the blank, back cover facing outward. I walked quickly to a private, partitioned reading table, avoiding the gaze of other library patrons whom I walked past.

I opened the book, and began reading about clinical case studies of homosexual patients, written in a dry, academic tone with a psychoanalytical viewpoint. I was sixteen years old, and struggled to understand the terminology. What I read was that homosexuality was a mental illness, and various techniques had been used to try to cure it, including electroshock therapy and behavioural modification methods. My heart sunk, because it confirmed what I already believed – I have a mental illness, and drastic methods must be taken. Determined to find a cure, I read on.

I’d known for a while that I was attracted to the same gender. Being the son of a Lutheran minister in a small town, I enjoyed being raised in the church, attending youth group, singing in the choir and participating in events. While I didn’t understand all the theology behind church rituals, I loved the feeling of belonging and being part of a community that, until now, had loved me. But, being gay was a sin, and I not only felt great guilt, but a self-repulsion knowing that God condemned me.

I must find a cure. I prayed daily, on my hands and knees, begging God to change me… but to no avail. I still wanted to be with a man – it felt like it was a part of my soul: a part that needed to be severed.

When I graduated a year early and was accepted at a local college, I moved to Vancouver where I had access to the Public Library and a large collection of books. I was determined to read every book on homosexuality available to find a way to heal myself. I was too afraid to see a therapist, so I needed to do it on my own.

This was over 20 years ago, before being gay was widely discussed in the media, and before the Internet had been invented. I was too naïve, and ‘in the closet’ to search out other forms of assistance. The library was to be my saviour.

Three evenings a week for a year, I visited the library, going through the same ritual of stalking the bookshelves for a new book, spending three to four hours reading it front-to-back in a private reading stall (I was too fearful to sign out a book). I eventually began to change my mind.

I realized that there was a large range of viewpoints on homosexuality, depending on when the book was published and who wrote it. I learned that it was no longer considered a mental illness, since the 1970s, by the American Psychiatric Association. I discovered that Alfred Kinsey had developed a new model of sexuality and preference, based on a scale that may shift over an individual’s life. I read radical/political essays – mostly from San Francisco - by gay, lesbian, transsexual and transgender peoples who believed that homophobia was the problem: not being gay.

I read personal accounts from gay men who had suffered electroshock and behavioural modification therapies, lithium psychiatric interventions and more, who had learned to heal…by loving themselves. And I researched a wide variety of theological interpretations of the bible, from diverse religious viewpoints, towards homosexuality.

I learned that I could love and be loved as a gay man, not only by myself and others, but also by my Creator.

I had found my cure.