Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Thank you John Edwards

So the guy I was ready to vote for on February 5th, John Edwards, has dropped out of the running. Let me be perfectly honest, I will blindly vote for any Democrat who runs for President. I'm not a big supporter of the other party. But Between Hilary and Obama I'm not energized. Lest you accuse me of being another white man supporter, that is simply not the case. I have looked over the candidates and selected John Edwards for his commitment to ending poverty and championing the poor. As much as I vote on who supports my big gay life, I also know that there is real and crushing oppression in this country that can not go on.

There is an editorial on Huffington Post that caught my eye and it closes with this
No matter. Edwards did himself, us and the nation proud when he boldly stepped up and tried to shame the shot callers into facing up to their sorry and disgraceful neglect of millions of poor and uninsured Americans. We owe Edwards a profound debt of gratitude for that. Here's a guess. Edwards won't and shouldn't go quietly into the night. We still desperately need his voice and we should do everything we can to make sure that his voice continues to be heard.
So, now who do I follow?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Miss Washington

Miss Washington 2007, Elyse Umemoto

Miss Washington from a previous year.

Okay, I'll freely admit that I absolutely got sucked into watching that train wreck of a show called "Miss America: Reality Check" just from the commercials featuring Michael Urie telling the ladies, "Stop it, no one waves like that."

So on the heels of investing almost four hours of my precious life to watching these 52 contestants for the Miss America title get a hefty make-over, you can bet I watched the Miss America Pageant that was held Saturday night. Of course through the magic of Tivo I watched it on Sunday.

I did not have a favorite heading in to the competition, but after the final episode of "Reality Check" I had my hopes on Miss Washington. Though I am originally from Washington State, I only chose out of totally selfish reasons. She won me over when she was asked about the "controversial" subject matter of gay marriage. Her answer revealed she was all for it because she knows that love is love and that her family included her mother and stepfather and her father and his partner, her other father. Go Miss Washington!

Then came the full pageant. and I must say that I absolutely grooved to her rendition of Robbie Williams song "Angel". I had extremely high hopes. If only she'd had Kylie Minogue design her dress she'd have had the triple threat of every gay in the universe pulling for her.

Sadly, she came in third, but here is a video clip of her winning the Miss Washington title. She was so happy!

Friday, January 25, 2008

One year ago...

My first post from here.

I was headed to Vienna and Budapest. My parents are on AOL and it sucked to get any photos to them. So I started this blog thing as a way to get photos to them and because we live in different sates (they life in Washington state and I live in a constant state of Fabulousness)loop them into my life more.

And now looky here... 213 posts, about 50 visits a day (you knew I was vain enough to keep track, didn't you?) and I can't believe it.

And aside from travel, I think this blog has brought me closer to (and further from) my parents. They get more info via photos and videos, I feel like I'm writing to them almost every other day. But I wonder if that stops me from calling them as often because I feel like they've already heard from me. On the good side, my father has trouble hearing me on the phone, so I know when I write it down he's going to get a clearer picture of what's going on.

And then there are some of my "imaginary friends" as Lyle likes to call them, whose blogs I look forward to reading every day (over there, on the right side of the page). I'm very pleased with you guys as an unforeseen treat when I started this.

At first I was marking everything on this blog as "personal" in the label section, then I realized of course its "Personal" it's my blog. So I stopped doing that. In a quick review I have 65 entries labeled "travel", then 17 marked "yard", 15 for "Los Angeles" "Christmas" got 14 and 11 for "Las Vegas". So now we all know what I talk about incessantly.

I'm also quite proud of the fact that I have yet to put my age anywhere on here (if you're smug, think you know the truth and reveal anything... you will be blocked from future comments).

I'd like to announce that this blog has a lot incredibly exciting things planned for the next year, but I'm pretty certain it will just continue to roll along aimlessly as it has and give you a slice of what it's like to be in my life (and after meeting Joan Van Fucking Ark isn't that enough excitement in anyone's life?).

So, pat me on the back, send a nice telegram, today this blog is one year old!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

What the Hail?

As my mother would say, this week we are having "quality" weather. As my father would say, "If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes and it'll change.

What in the world is going on in my "sunny and 70" Los Angeles world? The freeway just one hour north of us has been closed for two days due to snow. SNOW! The rain is coming down fast and furious. Yesterday the water filled the street and was washing over the curbs. It pushed over the full trash bins. Today it hailed.

Then tonight while watching television they posted a tornado warning. Hello Toto? I DON'T LIVE IN KANSAS!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Al Gore for President 2008

Well said in a boring un-revelatory way.

As an aside, doesn't my brother look a lot like Al Gore?

Sunday, January 20, 2008


This is a test...

Link me up.

Link me up.

Link me up.

Link me up.

Welcome, welcome, all are welcome...

Two of my bestest friends are off on a globe jaunt. In an effort to stay in touch they have started a blog. I have no idea how much they will post or even how much they want to to share. But I am so excited to be able to follow them as they take a tour without me (really, with me is better, but someone has to sit here and squash the doggie revolution at my house).

I've added their blog link over there on the right hand side: Robb & LewisMe, Robb, Lewis and Lyle in the world's most hideous hotel room in Venice, Italy.

Lyle, Lewis, Robb and me having Gelato in Florence, Italy exactly where my brother Gary told us to.

Me, Lyle, Robb & Lewis in Laguna Beach, California.

All of us are STUNNED that only Lewis bought something at the Prada outlet.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

fun with photoshop

A long time ago, when Lyle first started to go to school for computer graphic design (so long ago, that it was a "new" degree) after he would do his homework, I would "play" on the computer. My head on Madonna's body. My head joins Ann Margret. My head on the body of someone so hot and nearly naked that I could put in on business cards and hand them out to friends telling them to refer people to me for a good time... In the morning, Lyle would look over my work, roll his eyes and tell me how I could have done it better. That is how I became self taught on the computer. But that was a long time ago. I don't "play" on the computer anymore. I have work to do. This is my job now.

Then Carolyn made a comment the other day about having a poster of me up at her house , I asked her if it was the one of me in the one piece red swimsuit and then sent her this:

Friday, January 18, 2008

Fashion Forward

Michael and Christopher have weighed in on their picks for the Fall Fashion forecast. See this is how the world of fashion works, it's January and just as your about to get excited to wear your Spring and Summer clothes, you must shift your focus to the Fall runway shows.

I've lived long enough to know that there are some things I am never going to do no matter how trendy they get. Camouflage Cargo shorts. Okay, technically I held out for over three years. Then I just started to look ridiculous in my khaki capris. Plaid shorts - I did these once in the 80's and they are no one's friend... oops, I held out for two years then broke down and now have three pairs. Well, then let me state that at the moment, I will never wear enormous bell bottoms, pleated dress pants, eyeliner or a thong swimsuit (again).

All that out of the way let's just ask "what relevance do the Fall Fashion shows have to my everyday life?"

For me, it's a chance to view all upcoming trends and pick which ones will best suit me, my current evolving wardrobe and how can I best adapt them to my budget.

Last year I watched the trends and they gave me:
Silver! Oh my god, Dolce & Gabbana went crazy for metallics and so did I. The trick to my obsession was I found a pair of Kenneth Cole boots in a silver gun metal finish on sale in January of 2007 (marked down from $180 to $48 because who in their right mind was looking for silver) and am now completely current with what is arriving in stores. The other trick is I only bought the one silver item. Otherwise Lyle will call me "Tin Man" all day. (shut up, I know I also have a silver puffy coat for winter. But to be fair, I bought that before the trend was happening. I am omniscient)

Shorts go shorter for Spring. I bought a pair of Izod tennis shorts at Marshal's last year. I sill need to hem them up about 2 inches. (note the metallic bag and shoes - see, trend)

Dsquared designers Dan & Dean showed me that I can wear a nice pressed shirt with jeans and make a mash-up of formal and casual.

I've started wearing ties with jeans. I call it Catholic School boy (girl) chic. Preppy has returned, but I can't go all 80's with it. I'm doing preppy in a more throwback style. Luckily it continues.

Now that we've established that last years shows did actually teach me something, here's what I am seeing for Fall 2008:
I've already got these pants (bought them last year at Diesel in Vienna when the airline lost my luggage) so now I need to tuck them into my boots. Do I? Perhaps I'll just wear them a few more times before I commit to that.

The hot nerd look continues. I've been wearing my black square frame glasses a lot more in the last few months and calling it "hot nerd", now they go and give you a whole army of them on the runway. Oh, and though I won't be getting a plaid blazer, I have been bringing plaid in for accessories like ties, socks, etc...

I'm not a fan of this look but there are a couple of elements I will take away from it. Grey flannel will be big for me this Fall. And I will continue to pursue my quest for animal textures. Seeing this jacket with a crocodile finish reminds me that I was right to purchase that black croc stamp belt at Banana Republic for $15 last weekend. God, how I love a sale!

Here's Dan & Dean from Dsquared again, I will definitely be finding a group of well dressed handsome men to hoist me wherever I go next Fall.

Some trends I will NOT be following for Fall:
Armani: Seriously? Quilted blousey pants tucked into boots? Then topped off with the Von Trapp family hat? Pass.

The conehead toque? No merci.

Prada: What were you thinking with this little ballerina ruffle? Absolutely no.

Oh, I see, it goes with the halter top. Double yuck. Thank god the Prada collection was so hideous. Now I don't feel bad that I can't make it to Florence and shop the outlet mall this year. Oh wait, I didn't feel bad about that last year either.

Then along comes Gucci which seems to be seriously lost in the woods somewhere. It's supposed to be a Bohemian Gypsy Russian look, but I find it to be a more of a sad early 70's vibe. Too much embellishment.

And just to prove my point that it is total 70's they've gone and styled this one poor chap as Brett Somers from Match Game.

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Create your own here. Thanks to Michael for leading the way.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Vegas wrap-up

We came to Vegas with 10 bags. We left with 15. Okay, those extra 5 were boxes to go back to Lyle's work. But it's a good thing we drove the Range Rover.

Lyle's favorite 1¢ slot machine
Or as he called it "Gay Pirates" and it so was.

My favorite 1¢ slot machine. When you won big it was La Cucaraches wild! I mean who doesn't enjoy a nice wholesome racial stereotyping slot machine?

I asked Stormy if I could take her picture illustrating the painful aspect of being so beautiful, she may wear stunning shoes for the fans, but she'll be walking back to her room in flip flops. Her right hand indicates that she thinks I'm #1!

Carmen is here to prove that the models really do eat. She even said "Hell yeah!" when I asked if I could put it on my blog. I guess she knows that only four of you are actually reading this.

I feel I may have cheated you on your vicarious Vegas experience. Though I may be there because of the Adult show, I have to say that is not what defines me. Food, travel, my beautiful blue eyes, gay wit, self deprecating humor, love of dogs... that sort of stuff defines me, not my work. With that in mind you may have noticed I've been very careful not to write some people's last names or phrases which might direct people here via random searches (not that it matters, as once someone was directed here after typing the words "Paula Dean in a swimsuit" into a search engine).

So as for the show, I went in and out of that convention center at least twice a day. Before the show opened I saw stuff I would never seek out shown on banners bigger than my car. At times I had a difficult time figuring out where to look as even the floor may not have been safe. Once the show was on, I never went past the booth I worked on, it was in the front row. I did not take photos of the girls in skimpy clothes, or of those hanging out over their clothes or even any of the hideously unfashionable footwear.

Instead I put my efforts into enjoying myself, getting Lyle out of the hotel, and being certain that everyone I worked with had a bright spot to their day. A compliment, a genuine concern for how they felt, or just a smile to let them know I thought they were worth it.

Now before you think I'm some freakish Pollyanna, I also spoke under my breath, pointed and laughed behind people's back, and muttered repeatedly, "I hate people, I hate people, I hate people," as I walked through the crowds... But not to anyone I worked with.

Perhaps all of that is why I am so fucking tired.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Friday Foodie on a Wenesday

Wednesday's meal was at Bouchon. No photos. TIRED. HUNGRY. We ate like people who had been set adrift at sea a month prior. Once again, we stayed at the booth to greet the TV crew who was coming back to fix the situation after the first full show day. After dinner we went back to check on them and were pleasantly relieved to see they were halfway done and were going to make it all better. Bouchon is located on the tenth floor of the Venetian, across a skybridge which suddenly lands you on the first floor of the Venezia (sister hotel to the Venetian). It's complicated. Many people don't know where it is. But once you figure it out, its a delight. This is the restaurant Lyle ate in 7 out of 10 nights the year before.

It was eerie yet pleasant to be welcomed back by the familiar host staff who did remember us from over a year ago.

Thursday nights meal was at B&B Ristorante. It is the love child of Chef Mario Batali and his partner/ winemaker Joseph Bastianich (son of Lydia Bastianich). I had made all these reservations the month prior to going to Las Vegas. While we were there we were talking to a guy who lives and works there (and on our booth) and I told him our itinerary. He agreed with every single choice except this one. He claimed the ingredients sometimes got a little too odd for his tastes. We discussed changing and ultimately decided to play with fire and see for ourselves.

We arrived on time for our reservation (no small feat as we both wanted to just nap) and were told we were 15 minutes early. After 25 minutes of waiting in the bar we were seated. In a back corner table where the main view was the waitstaff's ass as they served a large table in front of us. Whatever. We were tired. We chalked up our petty grievances to being so tired.

We looked over the menu and thought the 7 course pasta tasting menu looked interesting. WE wanted a little more info to make sure there would be no surprises of something we wouldn't like. We asked our waiter to explain the menu a little more... he proceeded to read, word for word what the menu said adding great insight with added information like, "Ravioli is made of two pieces of pasta then filled with these ingredients," "Ricotta is a type of cheese," "Crema pomodoro means cream and tomato..." Yeah, okay, I did actually read all that (and possibly understood more than he did). But, we were tired and decided to just order that menu because we wouldn't have to think any more. Food would just come. We would just eat.

We sat and waited for our food. We stopped the neighboring table's waiter to get a piece of bread. We sat and waited some more. I started to shiver. "Is it really cold in here?" We discovered that we were sitting next to the back of the wine refrigerator. It was blowing cold air straight down to the floor under our table and then it bounced back up under our arms and was giving me the chills. We hadn't even received our first of 7 courses.

So Lyle called the hostess over and asked if it would be possible to move. They were most accommodating and were moved to a table closer to the front windows (with a great view of the sea of humanity passing by in... Restaurant Row) and now instead of the cold air coming from below and icing my armpit and left nipple, it came from above and blasted my entire head. Al least this breeze was consistent.

With a move in tables we got a new waiter, Amee. WE fell in love with Amee. We left a good tip for Amee. We left a comment card for Amee. We actually told Amee she saved our meal. Yeah, she was that good.

The pasta tasting menu was very nice. But for the price, did I mention it was $99 a person, I wasn't exactly full. Amazing, great tasting, fine artistry and craft (thought none popped out as "photo worthy") I would eat past from here again. But only if Amee was my server.

Best part of the meal (besides Amee) the dessert. Some sort of cinnamon doughnut ball that you dipped in a chocolate ganache. It was all I could do to not run my finger around the the inside of the bowl and lick it out. I ate the end of Lyle's chocolate as well.

Friday's dinner was to be at the Riviera Hotel in a restaurant called Kristopher's. Not exactly the celebrity chef tour, so I had to sneak in a celebrity lunch.

Mesa Grill by Bobby Flay.

I got Lyle up from a nap (after I had been to three malls already) and told him to get ready for lunch. As we walked from the Venetian to Cesar's Palace, I thought it prudent to phone ahead to see if a reservation would be needed. They told me that they stopped seating for lunch at 2:15. It was 2:05. Bloodied, battled and bruised, we began jogging on our weary feet.

This is how Lyle looked when I left him napping. Note how he sleeps with his cell phone in hand in case something happens at the booth.

We crossed the street and entered the far end of the Forum shops of Cesar's Palace. We kept a brick pace dodging tourist staring up at the statuary and hit the casino floor a full lope. Breathless, we burst through the entrance at 2:16, "Did we make it!?" I panted. "YES!"

Having dined here the following two years, we know how easy it is to over eat. We kept our order simple, two appetizers, and split an entree.
This is our table during lunch. Cell phone, sunglasses, sunglasses, cell phone. After photo, add camera to table.

We started with the Goat Cheese Queso Fundido and the Blue Corn Pancake with barbecued Duck.
Then we split the Presses Cuban Burger which comes with smoked ham, Swiss cheese, pickle, and fries. We could not get dessert after all that. I'd also like to point out that as the last two people seated for lunch, we were definitely not the last people out of the restaurant. Whew!

Dinner that night was at Kristopher's at the Riviera.

Last year we went with a woman from Lyle's work. She goes every year, and now we are her disciples. There is one great reason to go. To order the "Jumbo Alaskan King Crab Legs - A generous portion of split steamed King Crab legs served with lemon and drawn butter, $45.99"
If you go, please learn my lesson. DO NOT EAT THE SOUP, SALAD, OR BREAD THEY BRING BEFORE. Ask them to hold them until you are finished with your crab. Because you will never be finished with your crab. There is so much! The best part for me is that it is split already.. I hate to clean shellfish. Here its half done!

And for dessert, they have the Smokey Bon-Bons! Basically ice cream bon-bons served in a dish that below it has dry ice with water poured over the ice, hence the smokey effect. But you'll need to go in soon, as they are planning on retiring the smoke due to a $50,000 a year dry ice budget. That's a lot of smokey Bon-Bons!

In this photo we called it Smokey Boob Bons.

Sunday night was dinner at Olives by Todd English. All I've got is this photo of my entree which was Northwest Salmon with asparagus wrapped in Prosciutto. Too tired to remember much else about the meal. I know it was good. And the Hermes Store was next door.


There he is again, the tie guy. It's not about any sort of body type or that stuff, I just really appreciate the effort in dressing up whatever your uniform is.

The Hustlaball is a big gay party thrown in Berlin and Las Vegas. In Berlin all sorts of truly unprintable things allegedly take place. The Las Vegas party is like church camp in comparison. Seriously, Sin City? I've seen more daring things happen in a bar in Manhattan on a Tuesday.

But it's a well promoted party and it happens every year while we are in Las Vegas. And every year I think, Oh that looks like fun! And every year it all starts with this:

Lyle makes contacts through work and is promised free VIP tickets.
Tickets never arrive.
Lyle is told he will be on VIP list at front door.
There are 300 people trying to get in through a single file at the VIP entrance.
No one is moving.
I feel less than Very. Less than Important. I don't even feel like a People.
Finally in, (this year through shear force of will on Lyle's part) we make our way to the bar. Order two drinks each as the bar will soon be too crowded to get near (remember those 300 people still trying to get in after us).
Wait for the fun to begin.
Regular club opens to all non-VIPs and VIPs. Go over to other side for show.
Show is same go-go boys from VIP side.
Use VIP side for easy drink orders and no-line bathroom.
VIP side closes.
Try to get cab in freezing cold with no jacket because coat check is such a hassle I didn't bring my coat.

Best comebacks to 300 people trying to squeeze in:
"I'm a sponsor!" - Sir, right now everyone is a sponsor.
"I'm a VIP!" - Sir, right now everyone is a VIP.
"I'm a performer!" - Well, I guess you should have gotten here on time if your job is so important.

Me with fellow blogger Willam Belli who was hosting the show that night.
His blog is not generally for my mother.
Me and that Dirty Gay Pimp Johnny McGovern. I've loved him from afar since I saw his video for "Soccer Practice" about 3 or 4 years ago.

Due to the writer's strike, Bruce Villanch had nothing better to do than show up.

Johnny McGovern and the go-go boys.
Hey, there's my guy in his tie!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

David Burke

On Tuesday night we dined at David Burke in the Venetian "Restaurant Row". I hate that moniker, "Restaurant Row". I think it makes it all sound cheap like a food court. I promise you, nothing in this restaurant row is cheap like a food court unless you count some of the people walking by. Hello people, it's nighttime. You're not at work at the adult show anymore. What? You're here with a different convention? You bought that wisp of fabric specifically to wear in Vegas? Well, please come sit next to us while we eat because I need to loose some of my appetite and eat a little less. I had selected a restaurant within the Venetian Bio-dome for that night as I knew we'd be tired. Good thing. We stayed at the booth with the TV set up crew until 9. (we had to change our restaurant reservation from 8 to 10) and after dinner, we went back to the booth to check on the TV crew (and how they weren't able to complete their task - different story)

We've eaten at David Burke and Donatella in Manhattan previously and were very excited to eat there in Las Vegas. I must say the decor in Manhattan please me more than the Vegas decor.

The restaurant bills itself as serving "creative cuisine" . We didn't order it but they have a dish called "Angry Lobster" and it is served literally on a bed of nails.

Lyle started with Surf & Turf on a hot rock. As it arrived behind me, I kept commenting on something smelling amazingly good. As if it was being grilled right behind me, "Someone is getting a real treat," I said. That someone was Lyle!A rock is super heated in the kitchen, then you yourself get to grill two skewers of Shrimp and two skewers of steak on the heated rock. The rock has a Teriyaki glaze on it and the longer you grill, the more candy-like the meat became. Thank god I got the soup as I do not enjoy working for my food. However Lyle really had a good time with it.

All the food was great. Sometimes I don't have a photo of the food here and that would be because either it didn't photograph well (the white doughnuts on a white plate) or it didn't taste so good, or most likely I was starving and forgot all about taking a picture until it looked like just some smeared sauce on an empty plate and a tines down fork.

But here is my dessert at David Burke. The Golden Carmel Egg.
A chocolate shell, dusted in gold, placed atop a creamy sauce, filled with cocoa nib, caramel and a cookies and cream ice cream. Ugh, it makes my stomach stick out extra just to write about it.

And here is Lyle's dessert. Five State Creme Brulées.
The menu promised five flavors from five states. It arrived in five shot glasses. And we began our detective work. New York Shot glass - big apple - must be apple flavor! Nope, it was lemon. Montana shot glass - chocolate flavor, Lyle decided this one must be cow shit (what else is in Montana?) Florida - Orange? No Vanilla. And then two shot glasses that were the same design and had the words "Jet Confederate" - the waiter tried to convince us this was Texas. I told him everyone knows that Texas is the "Lone Star" state and this flag on the glass had about 9. AND the flavors we decided were pistachio and butterscotch. Turns out that last one was English Toffee.

The importance of all this conversation was perhaps blown out of proportion as were seriously giddy and tired. But since the menu promised us Five flavors from Five states, we forced out waiter into the corner and made him explain himself. He broke down telling us that he had only worked there for two months and that no one had ever insisted on this much information on this dessert form him in all that time. Then he returned with an explanation from the kitchen that they had gathered shotglasses from around America and now just put the five flavors of the day into whichever glass they had at hand. The logo on the glass corresponded to nothing. Then the flavors were revealed in their true identity and he laid a claim that "Jet Confederate" seriously was Texas, a claim I promised to look into when I got home and as I just have, can find no proof to back it up.

Of course the bottom line was how did they taste? Yummy. Creme Brulée-y. But the butterscotch one, pardon me, English Toffee did taste a lot like baby food.