Sunday, October 31, 2004

I volunteered to be the designated driver. I loaded a trio of burka-clad men and an African prince in my car and we headed for Ray's house, way-way-way out on the northeast side.

The prince and his three wives.

Coyotes were howling as we got out of the car. Ray decorates his house for Halloween, I mean he really decorates. There are bats, ghosts, spider webs, and skeletons everywhere.

Derek Ray and Homer Ray, cousin-brothers.
Lots of people at the party, most in costumes. Some of the costumes were really creative.

One of a trio of crazy brides, this one was pregnant.

Mechanic James.

David A.'s clown-like madness.

Furry goodness.
Panchesco was there and we had dueling cameras for awhile. He looked specially wicked, red paint becomes him.

Devilish Richard.

A quick stop at the Denture Inn, where I got to see Doug. On the way back to David G. and Abe's house they and Chad and Damien talked drunk-dirty, telling stories that would embarass housewives and Baptist choir members. I had a fun time, I even kissed a cute guy. Halloween should come more than once a year.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Halloween preview. Y'all goin' to go to a hootenanny? I sure is.

Cousin-Uncle Homer Ray.

I hadn't seen Roger in 12 years, but time hadn't changed how charming he is. Back when I was sweet and innocent (yeah...right) we dated. I loved his English accent, furry chest, cooking skills, and .... well, his other skills. Things didn't work out the way I wanted, but that's life. I moved to Tucson soon afterwards. In the typical small-world of Arizona he has been dating my friend Richard for the last year. I'm so happy for them, they are both sweet guys and it was nice to catch up at Richard's pumpkin carving party.

Roger and Richard.

I attempted to make a pumpkin based on the recent discovery of a species of miniature humans. Not sure how successful I was, it's hard to show human skeletal anatomy on a pumpkin. One of my more arcane skills is the ability to identify small bits of bone as human or non-human, as well as tell you what bone or portion of bone it is. With human remains I can sex, age, identify certain diseases, and so on. Yeah, yeah, yeah, comes in real handy at the supermarket. I've watched the CSI show before and it is so obvious they use plaster or plastic casts, I suppose because it is rather difficult to find actors willing to be skeletonized for a bit part. How's that for a spooky entry?

Pygmy Homo erectus pumpkin.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Toiletiquette. Wayne and I have something in common. Have I told you that I hate public toilets? Hate-hate-hate-wouldn’t-wanna-date-hate. Hate ‘em, nasty places. Airport toilets, disgusting. Toilets in foreign countries or backward rural areas, ugh. The worst I ever saw was at that Parthenon in Athens where someone had wiped poop on the walls with their bare hands. Oh Prometheus and Aphrodite, please strike them down.

I hate the toilet at work. You can’t lock the door and the stall isn’t very private. People who wander in can see your sandal-clad feet as you sit there, embarrassed to be caught bare-assed. Some of my straight male co-workers are totally oblivious. The general rule in my playbook is that when the fan is on, stay out. Instead, a couple of the guys will even strike up a conversation during that time of desired-solitude. Oh fucking Christ, don’t they realize that this isn’t a shared moment, this is a time of expulsion, or exile. Leave me be, or let me be alone, as Garbo once said.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Puff pulled ahead of Joey by 1.4 percentage points among likely voters, according to the latest Zogby poll. The CBS poll of undecided voters found that Mama Cat was polling 4 percent, contributing to Joey's probable loss on election day. Joey, in a statement reported on Fox News, said "Meow!"

Candidate Puff "I support Mouse Rights!".

Candidate Joey, "Chihuahua's should be sent back to Mexico!"

Candidate Mama, "Doesn't my pink collar look fabulous?"

I went shopping for a Halloween costume- still need to find a couple of things. Won't be as risque as last year, but I think it will still be fun. Have to wait to see the pictures though.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

I'm back. I survived Stupid Airport Behavior, a malady experienced by numerous people in which they loose 20 IQ points the moment they step inside an airport and a further 20 when they get inside the plane. Arghhh.

Archerr and I had so much fun. When he comes to Tucson he'll find my house isn't as immaculate as his, the Virgin Mary doesn't live on my block.

The cats are astonished to see me, little Puff meowed and meowed hello. Plenty of hairballs spewed while I was gone- yuck. There was a terrific rainstorm just before I got home, water everywhere.

Hey only six more frigging days until election day. I'm saying a big old atheist prayer that George Bush gets the fuck out of DC and Dick Cheney crawls back under some rock in Wyoming or wherever. Condi Rice, Rumsfield, Powell- they can all march down and apply for unemployment. Even Andy Sullivan is endorsing Kerry.

More pictures below:

Monday, October 25, 2004

Raindrops blossoming on the sidewalk. At last night's BlogJam I met Dogpoet, JoeMyGod, and GeekSlut. I felt Andrew Sullivan's thick bicep when we were ordered to pose for a picture, he's a little too musclebound and conservative for my tastes. I listened to stories and a poem, closing my eyes as DogPoet read. He and I sat perched on barstools at the same table until he got up to pace nervously before his reading. Michael is the type of guy you want to bring home to your mother. And spoon with in your old twin bed afterwards. Joe is a gentleman, what a nice guy. I'm so happy to have met them.


Afterward I hung out with Jimbo's roommate Rick and chatted some.

Rick and Jimbo.

At about 11:15 it was time to head for the Metro to come back to Archerr's house. As it was I caught the last train, and perhaps the slowest. I got off at the West Falls Church stop at 12:40 AM. Now this turned out to be a problem as the buses had stopped running and I had neglected to get Archerr's home address. I called but he was sound asleep. So the waiting taxi had to find someone else and I began to walk towards where I thought Paul's house was.

So I see some fast food restaurants and then a yard ornament shop (own your own concrete cannon!) and knew I was on the right route. But as I walked down the road further, under a traffic overpass, I became less certain. It was dark and a bit wet, you could smell the leaves and at one spot a loud gurgling stream ran next to the road. Someone else was walking along the other side of the road and as I got closer he started to shout at me. "Fuck you, I don't care." I began to walk faster as his curses grew nastier, "I'll fucking kill you, you fucker!" Oh my, time to disappear. I called Archerr and he answered and after conferring I managed to get totally confused. Luckily he called back and I discovered I was only a few hundred yards from his house. I arrived safely, bringing along a Bush-Cheney sign I liberated from the road median.

Paul has been such a sweet host. I hope I've convinced him to come visit me in Tucson (I told him he needs to travel through Dallas and spend a night at Zeitzeuge's). Tonight we made breakfast for supper and the hash browns, which he was skeptical about, turned out nicely. Except I am now totally stuffed.

Tomorrow is my return to Tucson- I'll be posting pictures of my trip.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

While Archerr is being so kind as to go get me a diet pop, I have a moment to discuss my trip to Washington DC. I've been fairly successful in the research I'm here to do, etc. etc. Stayed two nights with Pat, Diane, and Bridget. I've known Pat since 1987 and he's my best straight male buddy. We always disagree about things, some things never change.

He dropped me off Thursday night and I met up with Jimbo.


Oh my, he is so woofy. I'm jealous 'cause he has the head of hair I always wanted (mine, before the tragic balding began, was always fine and boring, Jimbo's hair is coarse and thick and you just want to run your hands through it). Did I remember to tell you that Jimbo is woofy?

On Friday Jimbo and I went to his Metro stop and he left in one train and I waited for the one heading the other way. The first to arrive was way crowded so I sat back down. When the next one arrived I got on and as I grabbed the pole turned and said "Hey Chrisafer." He smiled and said, "Hey Homer" back. It's that small world thing- what are the chances that would happen? Later that day I was walking across the Mall and there was Pat Boone up on a stage singing some awful song about the Pledge of Allegiance. Personally, my Chrisafer celebrity sighting was much more exciting.

My opinion of Pat Boone.

I spent some time photographing flowers at the garden next to the Smithsonian and in the glassed in conservatory.

Halloween flowers.

Something tropical.

That night we went off to a bar whose name I forgot and there was Archerr. I arranged to stay at his youth hostel and so here I am. Archerr is fun. I am being awful and making him laugh with my goofy sayings as well as having intense intellectual conversations that leave me almost breathless. He says, "You're totally lying." Well the truth is, Archerr is amazingly fun to be around and is a sexy guy as well. I just wish his dungeon room was fully functional...

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Pat is telling me about something so I'm listening. Spent the day at the National Archives II and found some useful information. Washington DC is so much fun- so many people of differing backgrounds. I spend too much time people watching. Also such a contrast, rich people and poor people. Seems like Tucson the extremes aren't so visible.

Homer and Bridget

Anyhoo, can't wait to meet Jimbo tomorrow!

Monday, October 18, 2004

When I was a kid Cracker Jack had good prizes (I'm eating some right now)- little dioramas, plastic cars and animals. Nowadays the prizes suck, majorly. Same thing with cereal- I still have some plastic Winnie the Pooh figures that I got back around 1969 (I was a big Pooh fan back then).

Toys were sometimes dangerous and wicked back then. I got plenty of scrapes and pinches from the Erector Set. We also had this thing that melted plastic and you could make things- rockets, animals, etc. I imagine the fumes were pretty toxic, but it was awful fun.

I still have some of my toys- my mother was good about keeping them. My black GI Joe with fuzz hair (and the original box he came in), PeeWee dolls, my toy house trailer, Smokey Bear and Googoo Gaagaa (a little yellow monkey). We didn't have a lot of toys when I was a kid (we were pretty poor), but the ones I had I played with a lot. So different today where toys seem like they would entertain for about five minutes before getting tossed aside.

Off to DC tomorrow- I'm looking forward to staying with Jimbo and Archerr. Woof.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Are we there yet? The election, can’t it just be over? It’s like a goddam circuit party where they have a pre-party, then the circuit party, and then the post-party. It just drags on and on forever. At least at a circuit party everyone is completely out of their minds due to the drugs and everything is perfect and pretty and it’s all love... oh wait, that sounds like a lot of Republicans.

And this Mary Cheney thing. I used to feel sorry for her. I mean, growing up with Darth Vader as your father. Now I think she is just as fucking nasty as the rest of them. If she didn’t like Kerry mentioning her name, why the fuck didn’t she say something? She’s a spineless hack, why don’t we ask her to return the toaster and go marry Rush Limbaugh? She’d make a great fourth wife. Wouldn’t that be tawdry? I bet that bitch (oops, I meant her mother) would be so much happier shopping for her trousseau at Nieman Marcus.

One nice thing about being in rural Arizona and New Mexico was the lack of news. For about 36 hours I knew nothing about what was going on. That saying "Ignorance is Bliss" is so on.

Back from central Arizona and New Mexico. Scenery was lovely, except when the windy road made me feel car sick.

Salt River canyon.

Springerville was surpisingly lively, we stayed at at John Wayne's old ranch where purebred Herefords were once raised. The following morning we visited the Casa Malpais ruins, where the lichen was more interesting than the tour.

Later that day we arrived at Reserve, New Mexico. Right in the middle of elk hunting season, readily evident from the pickup truck parked next to my hotel room.

The tongue hanging out made for a special touch.

This morning the drive back was equally scenic, saw a mama deer and her two babies. Drove past Texas Canyon at 65 mph, one of my favorite places and I was surprised to find that my pictures turned out.

Texas Canyon.

At home the cats are climbing on me. I should be getting ready for my trip to DC on Tuesday, but instead I'm catching up on people's blogs and making a to-do list. But first, I think a nap with the cats is in order.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Getting ready to go to Springerville. Sleepless night, a bit of insomnia is a great way to start a long day. At one point Mama Cat came and lay on my chest, purring loudly as I held her. Up until then I had been restless and annoyed at the insomnia, afterward I just lay there and listened to her soft buzzing. Eventually the sound put me to sleep. I'll be back Sunday- who knows what adventures I'll have (or perhaps won't have?).

Thursday, October 14, 2004

When I was in high school and college I was so filled with insecurity and self doubt. I was the biggest follower, paralyzed to make an actual decision because someone might not like my idea or opinion. I was so afraid of being left out, and I often was, overlooked by the other kids. I think part of this was a result of having to hide my gay/queer/faggot side. Growing up in northern Michigan, well that the way it was. Part of it was my lack of social skills. My parents always wanted their kids at home, my father especially had this truly pathological desire to run [ruin?] our lives. I remember arriving at the University of Michigan and feeling so awkward, so socially inept, because I hadn't had much experience dealing with people in real-life situations.

After I came out of the closet my junior year my life improved. I stopped worrying so much what others thought of me. Finding out that I was a really good archaeologist gave me a lot of self confidence. I can see things in the dirt, feel the texture, know what to dig out and what to leave in place. Discovering that, goddam that made me feel good about myself.

I still find myself feeling socially inept at times. I used to worry I would never find a boyfriend. Then had one for 5.5 years, only to see him walk out unexpectedly. That was a dark time, two years ago, and the feelings of anger still rest uneasily under the surface. I sometimes worry about whether I'll find someone again, Tucson is such a small town. I'm waiting for Mr. Right to come along [has to like cats, doesn't mind a bit of nerdiness, doesn't mind.... oh I'm not going to talk about that...].

So what am I jabbering about? I'm going to DC next week and will be meeting a bunch of bloggers (e.g. Jimbo, Archerr, Chrisafer, GeekSlut, Dogpoet, Joe.My.God) and I suddenly have these high school feelings of inadequacy. Will they like me? What if I wear the wrong clothes? Will I look goofy? Will I be tongue-tied? Will I measure up? I sorta felt this way when I went to NYC in May to meet up with Mark, Steven, and Patrick, but for some reason it is coming on much stronger this time. It really reminds me of how I agonized about things in high school- the angst, the mental twists and turns. It is all very silly and human, it kinda amazes me how little things from your past can pop up and haunt you. Boo!

Rambling. I bought plane tickets to go to England for a conference- January 4 through 11. Anyone in London who can offer ideas on cheap (key word, cheap) place to stay for three days? I'm taking the train from London to York and spending four days there, then back down to London for a few days.

Lynne Cheney says John Kerry is "not a good man" because he mentioned the Second Family's lesbian daughter. So my question is, if Kerry had mentioned their heterosexual daughter in regard to a question about education or equal pay for women, would that have been "bad" as well? Or is my impression correct that the she and her husband are a bit embarrassed or ashamed they have a lesbian daughter? That would be ironic since Lynne wrote a romance novel with torrid lesbian scenes in it. Or are they pandering and pretending to be all hurty? I wonder how Mary felt when she wasn't allowed onstage at the Republican National Convention? I guess that was somehow okay? Lynne Cheney, you need to rethink who is actually "cheap and tawdry."

[I removed a long, obnoxious rant about George Bush here, no surprise that I don't care for that fellow]

As I get older I seem to be getting more impatient and perhaps more intolerant of ignorant people. Speaking of which, I'm off to northcentral Arizona and New Mexico through Sunday.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Stayed home from work today, hoping to finally shake the yukky bronchitis I have been suffering from. I laid in bed resting as much as I physically could (if I stay in bed too long I get back aches). Didn't exert myself, consumed lovely cough syrup and aspirins. And here it is 15 minutes away from that infernal debate and I feel feverish. Oh well, I'll go to bed early and I just know I'll wake up all better.

The cats enjoyed my company, although Puff complained when I moved him to wash the sheets. He's a worse whiner than me, if that is possible.

Did a few mundane things- sorted socks in my sock drawer. Woohoo! I know, I lead a glamorous life.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The Homer Channel. Today's programs:

6:00-7:00 AM- Breakfast with Homer (news, cooking). Today's cereal and headlines!
9:30-10:00 AM- "Sluttiness runs in my family," (talk show, adult content) Homer listens in on a cell phone conversation between a pair of bimbos. He refrains from telling said bimbo off.
10:00-10:30 AM- Playing Doctor (medical drama) Homer discovers that he has not one but two inguinal hernias! A follow-up episode, Operating on Homer, is planned for December.
10:30-11:00 AM- Trader Joe. Follow Homer as he looks for something to eat for lunch! Two thumbs up!
12:00-12:30 PM- Archaeology Today (science). Homer solves archaeological mysteries. Today's episode "The Mystery of the Misplaced Maps."
12:30-1:00 PM- Random thoughts (philosphical debate). Does day-dreaming count as work?
1:00-3:30 PM- Exercise your thumb (physical education). Homer visits numerous websites, giving his thumb a complete workout.
4:00-4:15 PM- Nap-time. Animated cartoon featuring Homer, Mama Cat, Puff, and Joey. Today's episode: Find the Vomited Hairball.
4:15-6:00 PM- Coughing-Clatch (comedy) How many hilarious faces can Homer make while swallowing Wal-Tussin cough syrup?
7:00-8:00 PM. Daily Life in Spanish Tucson (educational). Listen to Homer's fascinating lecture.
10:00-10:15 PM Bedtime with Homer (adult situations, language, nudity, etc).

Monday, October 11, 2004

Hi, my name is Homer and I'm a coughaholic. The cold from two weeks ago has turned into bronchitis. So nice. I broke down and bought some cough stuff and after swallowing that nasty stuff I'm waiting for it to kick in. Please hurry up and do so, the coughing is wearing me out and makes me sound like I'm half dead. Actually, I don't feel that bad, and I don't mind the pity party aspect, especially when I tell my co-workers "I have to have hernia surgery."

So I used my 50 percent off coupon at Michaels to buy a big blank canvas. I have lots of different paint colors and I'm going to do some abstract painting to hang up in my study. I made a really nice one a couple of years ago but the frame decided to warp. I'll post a picture when I'm done playing artiste.

Chatted with my sister Susan, the accountant, yesterday. Was pleased to learn she will be voting for Mr. Kerry and that she thinks Bush is an idiot. My mother is also voting for Kerry, I'm feeling more and more hopeful that dipshit is going back to cut brush on his ranch in Texas in mid-January. Good fucking riddance.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

David G. called me as I was wandering through the bookstore. "Why aren't you at Pride?" he asked. Every October we have OutoberFest here in Tucson and I managed to totally forget it. It was too late to go by then, so instead I came home and worked on a fricking annoying website for a non-profit group. David stopped by later and we chatted as I took his portrait.

David G.

I don't know "comment etiquette" well, but just wanted to alert people that I rarely respond to questions posed in my comment section. If I am at work it is a hassle to log onto my home email account and at home I am usually doing more exciting things like cleaning up cat vomit (which there seems to be an amazing amount lately). So if I don't respond, please don't think I'm mad or don't like you, okay? I really adore everybody in their own special way, sometimes in two or three ways.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Remind me that washing your clothes with an ink pen is a very bad thing. I managed to get ink on several shirts. Arghhhhh! Luckily, my favorite new shirt (the one all the boys want to run their hands down) escaped unscathed. Which is a very good thing because I was planning on wearing that shirt and my lucky pants to the Blogjam thingy in DC.

Lots of errands this weekend. Amazingly enough, payday was today and after paying bills I have money left over. Woohoo! Time to buy some new plants for my outside pots. I also need to whack some weeds, maybe go see some friends I haven't hung out with in a while.

Hey Jimbo, the beard is growing in well.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

I took creative writing my senior year at U of Michigan. I wrote two stories that I liked, the teacher read one out loud and said he wished he had written it. That story, about gay frat boys, seems just a bit dated today, but at that time it was considered controversial. Dogpoet is in the writing program at Columbia University and he has written about his interaction with Maria, a fellow student. Some of the things she said about his writing, which basically revealed aspects of her personality, reminded me of what other students said about me.

Here's my other story, Leonie (Lisa to my Mother):

"Are you going to Heidi's party" Levi asked me as a I sat before the mirror, applying makeup to my arms. I'd read that the Romans accentuated their arteries and veins with red ocher or ground lapis lazuli and I was trying to see what their deal was.

"I don't know, should I?" I asked. The blue vein (or was it the artery? I was never good at anatomy) on my left forearm convoluted in an interesting way.

"Why not? You've been working awfully hard lately. We never have any fun! Not like we used too." He stepped into the doorway and I saw that he'd been dyeing the tips of his hair blue.
"That looks so pediatric!" I told him, rolling my eyes. "Everyone is doing that!"

"Really?" he frowned and looked at the hair hanging into his face. Shrugging, he wandered back to the bathroom mumbling "Oh well, that’s the way it is." Poor Levi. He had never quite escaped his apple pie Iowa roots.

"This looks like shit!" I muttered, wiping away at my arms with a kleenex. Everything I tried to do did, my makeup, my photos, my hair. I looked at the face and saw the plainness of it. Despite the mascara and pale white lipstick and the heavy blush to make my to cheekbones stick out I was still just plain old Leonie (Lisa to my mother). A too thin nose and curly brown hair that I cut short on the sides and multi-pierced ears. That's what I looked like. Usually I didn't like it much. Lately I hadn't liked it at all.

Heidi's party wasn't too crowded and the people were all the same. Monica was there, her long stringy blond hair tucked behind those monstrous ears. She tried to kill herself the week before when I was at home visiting mom, for the eighth time since I'd met her. She'd succeeded twice. The wonders that CPR and stomach pumps could do. She was talking to Donny, equally blond, less suicidal. About the recent heat wave and how well the Yankees had been doing.

I sat on the couch alone and watched Heidi prance about in her leopard spotted leotards that were getting really boring really fast and drank my drink, something red and fruity with quaint little ice cubes shaped like busty women. I despise ice cubes, they are so American.

The only new person I saw there was this chick wearing a jacket made from flowered brocade curtains, complete with the little tassels around the edge. I got up to talk to her but Levi intercepted me and warned me that she was from California and was looking for a break into modeling. I avoided her like the plague.

I followed him over to the corner where our hostess with the mostest, Heidi herself, reigned. She smiled and blew a big blue chewing gum bubble, holding a fat cigar while talking to Levi.

"Have you tried the seafood at Doolittle's?" she inquired. "I've never tasted anything so good!"

"I hate sushi," Levi said bluntly. "I read somewhere that thousands of Japanese get horrible parasitic worms from eating sushi."

"Well not at Doolittle's, it's so clean and the lobster is yummy too. Nice skirt Leonie, where did ya get it?"

"My mother gave it to me when I went and visited her." It was gray wool and I had embroidered in variegated yarn around the moth holes.

"How is mom?" she asked.

"My mother is fine. How's yours?" I said.

"The same. Weekly visits to her shrink who she's got the hots for. She likes the picture you sent her. Let me see, ahhh, she said it was too vivid." Heidi smiled brightly.

I'd taken a photo of Heidi and her sister Hope and their mother Mrs. Schneider as part of my series on car wrecks. I'd titled it 'Prom Night". Heidi and Hope are wearing big fluffy white dresses and huge corsages and are in the front seat of a pink convertible wrapped around an old elm. Mrs. Schneider is standing there looking like she is screaming. I put lots of fake blood on the dresses, lots. It looked great. Some of it came out of Heidi's mouth.

"Sarah Clark's mother wanted a chainsaw for her birthday," she announced. Sarah Clark was another blond. Fat, too, apologetic for being so.

"What is she going to do with it?" asked Levi. He was furtively looking at Heidi. They were having an affair or something but were pretending that no one knew about it. Made it more exciting.

"Chainsaw sculpture, can you believe it, chainsaw sculpture!" Heidi said. I could. "She saw some in Minnesota and fell in love with it."

"You gotta love something." I mumbled as I moved away, surveying the people again. They were all so boring, I mean not in a conventional way with a 9 to 5 job and two kids and a spouse and heading towards a divorce. I mean dull in that I knew everything about them, all of the dirt. I knew that Levi slept with Heidi and that she'd slept with Donny who had done both Heidi and Hope at the same time. Donny was the one that they got gonorrhea from. Who knows what else he had. Monica was frigid and liked strawberry sundaes and Phyllis was a leather dyke who wrote poetry. I admit I'm as boring as the rest of them, but that night I was bored of being bored.

In the corner a handsome man in a green polo shirt leaned against the wall, muscles filling out the shirt, short dark curly hair perfect. He seemed familiar, but I'd never seen him before. No makeup. Natural color in his hair or close enough to the real shade. He was listening to Monica and by the movement of her arms I could tell that she was showing how she botched her last suicide attempt when the rope pulled the chandelier from the ceiling. His attention wandered, but he hadn't glimpsed me.

I was suddenly self conscious and I went into the bathroom and thanked God that no one had puked in the sink. I looked into the mirror and hated what I saw so I bent like a bowing Japanese and scrubbed away at the blue and white and red and pink and black until the running water had left my face anemically pale. I reflected on my reflection, without makeup I was plain. When I smile my teeth are pretty straight but they are yellow, a genetic gift from Mom. Someone pounded hurriedly on the door and I unlocked it. I jumped as Hope stumbled in, puking everywhere, big pink gobs of who knows what. Most of it missed me.

"Too much to drink?" I asked sweetly as she retched. She was thirty, too old to play the game, but not mature enough to let go. Her hair was thin from abuse, dyed one to many times, her clothing too weird. She should find a husband or something.

"Where's your face?" asked Monica as I searched the room. He was still there, talking to Donny. Donny who would fuck anything.

"Down the drain, I was tired of it." Her drink had stained her lips bluish purple. "God I hope he's not gay."

"Who?" she asked.

"That one. The guy in the green shirt." Monica peered at him, pursing her lips in what she thought was a smart look. As a child, she'd seen the oldest Partridge Family daughter pout that way.

"Oh him. No, he's not. At least that was what he told me." she said cheerfully.

"You asked?"

"For Donny." I was already edging away, catching his eyes. We met in the middle of the room and suddenly everybody seemed to go away.

"Hi," he said to me, "We haven't met before." He had perfect white teeth. Tan, flawless skin.
"You're right, I'm Leonie." I flirted then, with my eyes.

"I'm Steve." The unspoken words "I'm the most beautiful man in the world" passed through my head.

"You don't hang out with the crowd." I said.

"The crowd?"

"The crowd. Heidi and Hope and Donny and Monica and Levi and Charlie and Phyllis and all the rest." I reeled their names off, not including my own.

"And you?" he asked.

"I'm peripheral. I hang out with them, they can be fun, but I'm not really one of them." I distanced myself, lying. Lying. Why did I lie? I was a member, a full fledged member of the "in" art crowd.

"What makes you so different?" he asked.

"I've got a job, taking pictures for Arrista." I said casually. That was the truth. A nice job shooting celebrities and pretty people. I got invites to all of the art openings, all of the silly fashion shows where the models strutted down the runways wearing contorted fabrics. I was at the Governor's mansion, now that he was young and hip, taking photos of his daughter's bat mitzvah. I took arty photos, and Arrista published them. I took pictures.

"How'd you like to be in the magazine? I'm looking for someone to hold some new books." He had to want to be. Everybody wants to be famous, that's why hidden camera commercials are so popular.

"I'd like that a lot," he was smiling. His eyes, not green or blue or even gray lit up.

"Cool. Let's make an appointment to shoot." We did.

I walked home with Monica at three thirty. We were too cheap to pay for a cab. In my bag I clutched a kitchen knife that Donny had sharpened to a fine point, capable of doing some very fine carving if need be.

"You talked to Steve?" Monica asked. She was busy peering about her, clenching her hands around the straps of her bag. For someone who practiced suicide with regularity, she was scared to death of getting hurt.

"Yeah, he seemed very nice."

"He has nice eyes," she said.

"Hazel, that's what they call the color, " we step around a sleeping drunk and cut across the street.

"I thought they were brown? said Monica.

"No, they were hazel," I said. We had reached her place. "I'll see you later."

"Bye," I waited until she was safely inside her building and quickly walked the rest of the way home, my mind occupied.

My camera clicked and my heart beat in time. The hot lights made Steve sweat as he stood there shirtless. The books were on the floor forgotten. I was sweating too. He was the perfect animal. And he knew it. Strutting and posing and turning his head just the right way. I realized he'd done this before. I pictured him nude in my mind.

"Cut the lights Phyl," I told her and she did and in the sudden darkness I was blinded. Steve stepped out and touched my face and whispered in my ear.

"Are we done yet?" I didn't want to be, but we'd shot all morning and most of my film was gone. Only a single roll was left, I loaded it into the camera automatically.

"Yes," I said. That day I was wearing an old faded blue oxford, blue jeans, and Nikes. Nothing new, nothing vintage, I didn't want to scare him off. No weird makeup. I didn't want to scare him off I wanted him so badly. He wiped away at the sweat with a towel Phyllis had given him and I could smell the cologne he wore. Something exotic and spicy.

"Let's go get something to eat," he suggested. I agreed and to my surprise he asked if I'd like to eat at his apartment. He claimed that he was a great cook. I believed him.

Once there we didn't eat. He made the right moves, said the right words and I was in bed on top and of course he was perfect and it was perfect.

"You are so beautiful," I whispered.

"What is it you like in me? he asked. I was still on top, looking down on him.

"Everything," I said. He smiled and ran his hand through his hair and started thrusting again.

"Tell me more," he begged quietly.

"Your lips are the right shade of pink. Your eyes are fudge brown, your nose is..." I listed the traits that I found attractive and it excited him more and more until I ran out of compliments and he just plain ran out.

After it was done I lay in his arms and ran my hand down his stomach as he dozed off, counting the muscles. I turned to kiss him and found a little scar on his neck. My hand touched it, traced it, and I looked at him more closely. Another scar discretely on his nose, his hair thinning a little on top, callouses on the soles of his feet, dirt under one nail. A little plastic surgery and a Nautilus machine. I wondered what he'd look like behind the wheel of a wrecked '74 Cadillac.
I got up and went to the bathroom, scrubbing his smell off me. On top of the toilet were his hazel eyes in their lens case. In the mirror I saw the same old me. I dressed quickly, wondering what I had ever seen in this man. Perfection doesn't exist, anywhere.

In his living room I pulled the last roll of film from my camera, the roll I had shot of him standing before me naked, and exposed it to the sun that streamed through his marvelous windows, leaving it draped over a once spotless couch. I shut the door quietly as I left.

At home that night I spent hours dyeing my hair straw yellow and hating it but there was nothing else I could do to it. I called Hope and asked what she had done wrong with hers.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The green rattlesnake was tightly coiled. I wonder if it saw me before I saw it. Usually when I stumble onto a rattlesnake I blurt out "Oh shit!" as I jump back. This morning I merely said "Oh Geez!" and carefully stepped back. Oh it was a lovely snake, green and brown and all wound up, but it was watching me and giving me the creeps. I went to get my digital camera, but finding the snake again was difficult and I was wearing sandals and I was just a bit ooked out that the snake might wake up a little more and decide to strike. So I didn't get that picture.

About an hour later as Susan and I mapped parts of the old mill we start hearing gunshots nearby. Lots of them, with the ka-ping of ricochets as some of the bullets bounced and went their own way. We didn't know if whoever was shooting knew we were there. Luckily the cell phone had reception and a call to the office (with Val listening in at the gunshots) led to calls to me by the sheriff's department and the land office police man. But by the time they called back the two guys in the red truck had driven off, we were glad to see them mosey.

Who says the American West is tamed? No one told the snake, or the hawk, or the cottontail, or even the hugely fat grasshopper I saw today.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Welcome back. My Kenmore VisiBake gas stove returned to my house today after a four month absence. The guy restoring it was a goof and because of a few problems, I doubt I will be recommending him to anyone else.

It dates to circa 1950-1955.

So tonight I'm going to cook something up- what a strange concept. I'm so used to sandwiches for dinner.

Alas, the clock doesn't work, I didn't think I needed to pay the extra $450 to replace its innards.

Doctor Fred had me cough repeatedly and then confirmed what I had self-diagnosed, "You've got an inguinal hernia." He was kinda amazed I had figured that out, but you know when you cough and your insides bulge out, there isn't a whole lot of things it can be. So sometime in early November I get to have outpatient surgery. Yeah... I am so excited...uhhuh. Yep, the idea of knives and things slashing around my groin. Maybe it will be better than the bulging thing and the dull ache.

Well anyway.... stay tuned for later today when my Visibake stove returns to my kitchen after undergoing it's own extreme makeover.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Personal observations. Ohmigod, is it a complete waste of time to look through the personals on gay.com to find a boyfriend? I mean, so many guys think "straight acting" is a good virtue. Exactly what is straight acting? I don't know many straight guys that like to have sex or date other guys. To me it just says "self hating" instead.

Secondly, lying in your profile is a great way to start a relationship. Looking at pictures you quickly realize that once guys hit 40 a whole bunch start shaving years off their age. That just don't work. After a while no 55 year old man can pass for 42. I guess it happens because there are a lot more older guys looking for younger guys, than vice versa.

And the pictures you see! I found a guy in Phoenix using the pictures of a blogger living in San Francisco. Remarkably, he stated that honesty was one of the things he valued. Other times it is like guys post the most unflattering photos possible. I well realize that not every day is a pretty day, but oh my....

Well it was entertaining, but I didn't feel inclined to send out any emails to anybody. Maybe I'll run into somebody at the supermarket.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

A travelogue. Like many towns in the Southwest or the Great Plains, Willcox is dying. The downtown strip has numerous boarded up stores, the homes are rundown, the town is too poor to afford street signs. I was there Friday as part of our roadshow seeking Spanish artifacts. A small crowd, one nice artifact (a Mexican spur). Afterwards a dreadful meal at a skuzzy diner. Then the night spent at a bed and breakfast at Cochise that started out as a hotel built in 1882. The best part was the orange tomcat Bingo who liked to be held. The worst part was the water- Willcox is located on the salt flats and the water was sooo nasty. It tasted like someone had dumped baking soda into it, and the texture was about the same. This morning for breakfast (for me a lovely frozen bagel!) Sally served up a glass of that water with two ice cubes. One sip and I was horrified- how could anyone get used to it?

We got to Lordsburg, New Mexico at around noon. If anything, this town was worse off. Our event was held at the Civic Center where a recent leaking roof had resulted in an obnoxious moldy smell. You got used to it after a while. We were kinda not expecting anyone to show up and all of a sudden a crowd arrived, with many bringing really cool artifacts. My favorite was a genuine Spanish musket (an escopeta or fowling piece) with beautiful ornamentation on the wooden portions. It dated to 1750 to 1800 and at some time apparently fell into the hands of an Apache, who later left it standing upright in a crack in a cliff face, where a ranchhand found it in the 1940s.

On the way back tonight we stopped at a diner in Benson and I had a grilled cheese and lemon meringue pie. Tasty!

I saw a cute cowboy in here.

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