Sunday, November 06, 2005
Snake Oil & Voodoo
With all of this going on, cleaning myself out in preparation for another period of abstention seemed like a good idea. Plus, of course, there was the added benefit of losing some weight. Being the "all or nothing" kind of guy that I am, I'm (yet again!) trying to move from a self-destructive phase to a self-improvement phase. Besides abstaining, I've gone back to exercising and trying to clean up my apartment and getting a handle on my finances, etc. etc. This diet, presumably, is designed to keep your body from going into starvation mode; however, if I were just to go right back to my old eating habits after it's done, then all the weight would come straight back. My plan is to jump start my weight loss goals and keep the momentum with exercise and a proper eating plan. I don't know exactly how much weight I've lost because I didn't check right before I started. However, the night before last I weighed myself at the gym and calculated that I'd lost somewhere between five to seven pounds, along with my will to live.
When I was researching the Master Cleanse on the internet, I noticed that a lot of people who espouse the fast also politicize it. I don't see why you can't buy into a good idea without getting attached to some whole agenda. Everyone from "raw food" proponents to vegans to the all-diseases-come-from-environmental-toxins lobby to some guy who seems to think the fast is good preparation for when the C.I.A. and/or the Illuminati make their move seems to have a stake in touting the benefits of this regimen, with all them skimming a neat profit off the top through book and product sales. (Well, except for the conspiracy guy...I'm pretty sure he's just nuts.)
The diet itself is extremely easy. You mix two tablespoons of fresh-squeezed, organic lemon juice and two tablespoons of organic Grade B maple syrup. (I didn't know that maple syrup came in different grades, but apparently the corporate booger-head Grade A syrup has too much sugar, or too much formaldehyde, or too much bear piss, or whatever.) You add this along with a pinch of organic cayenne pepper to 10-12 ounces of purified or spring water. Then you take this concoction 6-10 times a day. The only other thing you can have is as much (purified or spring) water as you want. Everything else is forbidden, even vitamins and supplements. Not being an idiot, I of course continued to take my prescription medications, and I only drink the mixture six times a day as that is the recommendation for people who also wanna lose weight. You're supposed to do the fast for a minimum of ten days, but I decided to only shoot for seven. And that was hard enough! After a week without solid food, I could eat a shoe right now. All of these characters on the internet claim that you aren't hungry when you do the Master Cleanse. I don't know who they're trying to kid or what they've been smoking 'cuz when I smell food cooking I just about go into a frenzy. I will admit that I'm not anywhere near as hungry as I had imagined I'd be. (I've tried the Hollywood Diet, a two-day juice fast, before and could never make it through the second day.) Most of the time I'm just fine, and I think I miss the taste of things more than anything else.
Mardi Gras or Lent
A few months ago, my friend Jonathan came up with an off-the-cuff and rather brilliant metaphor for my pattern of cycling from overindulgence to asceticism. He said that I vacillate between Mardi Gras and Lent. He also said that the problem is that I never allow myself to reach Easter. Here the metaphor begins to break down a little bit; however, his point is that I never come to any kind of permanent resolution. Switching back and forth between two lifestyles doesn't get me to a point where I'm moving my existence forward to the kind of life I want to construct for myself. I suppose you could keep with the Easter metaphor by saying that I never allow myself to be reborn into the person that I want to be.
Right now I'm trying to go back to an asceticism phase. When I told my sister about Jon's metaphor, her comment was, "Go for Lent!" Since I only seem to offer myself the two options, my sister's right in saying that it's by far the better of the two. I'm much more likely to be productive when I'm avoiding my bad habits than when I'm getting drunk and/or stoned every night. Who knows? Maybe Easter will come early this liturgical year...
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Cruisingforsex.com vs PayPal
First of all, you have to understand that cruisingforsex.com is about as adult and sexually-oriented a web site as you can imagine. One of the mainstays of the site is a global listing of locations where gay men can find and hook-up with other gay men for sex. Part of this listing, in addition to bath houses and sex clubs, are "cruisy" public spots, such as rest areas and bathrooms, that gay men frequent for the purposes of sex, often public sex right there. Even me, a rather open-minded gay man, can see the obvious moral pitfalls of such activity. Public sex has implications beyond the two (or more) consenting adults involved by the very nature of its being "public." If I were a parent, for example, I wouldn't want my child to be inadvertently exposed to sexual activity (gay or straight) by simply walking into a bathroom. Of course, I can also see the flip side. Entrapment by law enforcement agencies (such as what happened to George Michael) is a waste of police resources, particularly when there is always a different standard applied to homosexual activity then there is to heterosexual activity. (i.e. Sex by a gay couple engaged on a secluded beach would always be treated as a more serious infraction than that of a straight couple caught in the same act.) I certainly don't make any moral judgments against cruisingforsex.com. In fact, I have their web sites bookmarked on my browser, and I use them as the source of my internet porn (no safer sex than sex with yourself!) and have consulted their listings regarding bath houses and sex clubs. I also see nothing wrong with their hosting personal ads for men looking strictly for sexual encounters. Public sex, however, falls outside of the purview of what I see as a fundamental foundation for gay rights: What two (or, again, more) consenting adults do in private (whether their home or a private location for such activity) is no one's business except the people involved.
Secondly, I applaud cruisingforsex.com's effort to raise money for those who lives were devastated one of the worst natural disasters in American history. The site is apparently based in New Orleans, and its owners and operators were personally affected by Hurricane Katrina. I truly feel that their only motivation was a sincere desire to help, and I have nothing but praise for their efforts.
Now comes PayPal's point of view. They apparently have a policy where they refuse to be involved in the "sale of adult, sexually oriented or obscene materials or services," and according to spokesperson, they do "not permit our services to be used on adult Web sites." These policies are what make me side on behalf of PayPal, at least as far as the lawsuit is concerned. If they apply their policy equally to all sexually-oriented web sites and if they don't pick and choose between adult sites they find acceptable and ones they find morally objectionable, then frankly I don't see cruisingforsex.com's lawsuit as having much merit. I believe that a company has the right to establish their own business practices as long as they apply those practices fairly and without prejudice. I don't know if cruisingforsex.com was attempting to play the "minority card" in their lawsuit. The article seemed to intimate this, but that could have easily been a case of irresponsible journalism.
That brings me to the take-home lesson in all of this, as far as I'm concerned. The struggle for equal rights among minorities is based on solid arguments that when you treat a group of people differently (and usually unfairly) on the basis of perceived differences rather than the integrity and actions of individuals, you commit a flagrant moral and ethical violation of the respect all people are entitled to under God. But this principle, as all principles, works both ways and must be applied equally. Racism, for example, is simply and unequivocally the unfair treatment of a person based upon his or her race. The convenient and politically-motivated definition that racism is the discrimination of the dominate race in a society against a minority race is just not valid. I remember watching a news magazine program in the wake of the Rodney King beating. A black "leader" was shown footage of the beating of the white truck driver Reginald Denny by a group of black men. While this man felt that Mr. King's beating was a racist atrocity, he saw Mr. Denny's beating only as an excusable lashing out against "white America." This opinion is nothing more than reprehensible self-interest, and it robs the pursuit of minority justice of legitimate basis, if effect cutting the legs off one's moral and ethical stance. Such a point of view embraces only "might makes right" or gain at any cost and abandons the legitimate arguments of fair treatment and humanity.
"What one Christian does, one Christian does. What one Jew does, all Jews do."In my last word, I will say that I really fell that PayPal should have continued to allow cruisingforsex.com to collect money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina using its service. I don't necessarily believe their refusal constitutes a cause of action, but since cruisingforsex.com was collecting funds for a purely humanitarian aid and not "sexually oriented or obscene materials or services," I do believe their allowing a web site, even an adult web site, to use their services would be in the better interest of the common good.
Monday, October 10, 2005
How Not to Catch a Man
Next Step: Restraining Order
A few weeks ago I kept getting these Caller IDs from the Geffen Playhouse. I don't know who was calling me, but last time I saw actor boy, he mentioned being in a play. I got the hope in my head that maybe he'd been calling me from there during rehearsals or whatever. Tonight, in a bold and foolish move, I decided to call him and find out. He never gave me his phone number, but I stopped by Talking Book World and got it from the customer database. So I called him, and he said "No" his play isn't at the Geffen and "No" he hadn't been trying to call me. He was very friendly and pretended to be glad to hear from me, but I could tell he was in a hurry to get off the phone. I, of course, obliged and apologized for disturbing him. He said he didn't mind, but all I really hope is that he wasn't too creeped out by it.
The Boys Below
I've been hearing the gay couple downstairs fighting the past couple of days. It doesn't sound good, when gay's fight, they fight big! Hopefully things will end amicably enough, and maybe I can console the loser. (If I can't be someone's first choice, then I'm not too proud to be a rebound.)
Speaking of Which...
My turbulent friend just called me to tell me that he and his boyfriend had a violent breakup last night. Apparently, after a rather heated quarrel, my friend left to buy some cigarrettes. His erstwhile boyfriend then called the police and accused him of threatening behavior with a knife. A whole bunch of cops came and ambushed my friend at the local 7-11. They arrested him with public intoxication, and he spent last night and part of the day in jail. He's moved back in with his former roommate and is considering a two-week in-patient program. I hope he pursues it because I think some time removed from his daily life in the care of professionals would help him tremendously.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
Mass of Self-Destruction
Fantasy has always been an integral part of my life. It's why, I think, I ended up wanting to be a writer. I wasn't satisfied with empty vignettes in my mind. I made myself come up with elaborate scenarios and clever plot devices in which to express my taboo homosexual desires.
This morning in church, the music director captivated me during the Gospel Acclamation. (Yes, I can't even escape my lust and desire in church, which is why I go to the family-oriented Christ the King in Hollywood, rather than the "family"-oriented St. Victor's in West Hollywood.) He was handsome in a slightly nerdy kind of way, and I he had an incredibly sexy voice. I could see the passion for his music in him, and his friendly, open demeanor, without any accompanying attitude, despite his rather good looks. And I knew that he was perfect.
"The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want...I shall not want..."
"The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want...I shall not want..."
Then I saw them both in my line of sight. Two "perfect" men right within my grasp, and yet infinitely out of my reach. Two men and two conflicting fantasies. And I wondered which of them could be "the one." But, you see, THAT is the real fantasy. I have, and have always had, this belief—a perverse form of faith—that one day the perfect man will come and usher in my perfect life, the way my life is supposed to be. I will never feel sad again. I will never feel alone again. All of the psychological pain and difficulties I have struggled with my entire life would just magically wash away. And that delusion is a poison, corrupting my ability to appreciate and enjoy the good things, the real things, I had in my past, or that I have now, or that I might be able to create for myself in the future.
"The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want...I shall not want..."
Saturday, October 08, 2005
The Perfect Sturm und Drang
I'd Like to Partner with a Partner
I spent my years of sexual awakening as a student in an all-boy Catholic high school in Memphis (which is not unlike being a diabetic locked inside a candy store), so I have a long history of searching out fodder for my sexual fantasies in my surroundings. There are a couple of partner's at my law firm that I'd really like to have sex with. I wouldn't want either one of them to ruin it by talking, but at the same time, my attraction to them isn't strictly limited to physical desire.
When I first started working at the firm, I thought the first partner was flirting with me. He introduced himself to me the first time he saw me, and he would always greet me enthusiastically every time he passed my desk. He's a little older (late 40's, I'd guess) but still quite attractive, and so he really piqued my interest, even though he's married with children. I tried to strike up conversations with him, but then I noticed that, in spite of friendly and gregarious manner, he would cut me off short and go upon his way. He would ask me questions, but then brush me off as I tried to answer. Slowly I realized that he's just a huge phony and as slick as if the cat had licked him. He's one of those guys who wants to be seen as everybody's friend, and that kind of insincerity sickens me! But I will say this for the man, he's got a really sweet ass!
The other partner is a handsome blonde man, also in his forties. On my first day on the job, he greeted me with genuine warmth, which I truly appreciated. All in all, however, he's kind of a bitch and an egotistical, pedantic nit-picker. He believes that there is only one way to do everything, his way, and he ridicules anyone who doesn't do things exactly as he would have done them as an ignorant bastard. (In truth, there's a lot of ambiguity in the law—That's why there's lawyers.) He's constantly spouting off with his legal "war stories" and trying to demonstrate just what a genius he is. Frankly I would tag him as a good candidate for a diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. On more than one occasion I've wanted to blurt out, "Look, I realize that your mother must have dominated you as a child and that your wife probably whips you at home, but don't take it out on me here at work!" Regardless, he's sometimes a decent guy to talk to, and he's been my fantasy du jour of late. (Replacing my fantasy of one of the middle-aged messenger's at the firm being my "prison bitch," but that's a *whole* other story!) Yesterday this partner and I were discussing crappy jobs we've held in the past, and he was telling stories about the summer he worked as a mover. Whenever they had to move large, heavy pieces of furniture, one guy would tilt it and then another guy would have to catch it. He said that the professional movers he was working with would always make him be the catcher. And I was thinking to myself, "Yeah, I'd like to make you be my catcher!" (I'm a top, you see.) Get it?!? Pitcher/catcher! Top/bottom! Ha Ha Ha!
"Well, remind me not to tell that one again when I'm sober."
"Chance would be a fine thing."
--Patsy & Saffy, Absolutely Fabulous
Speaking of work, the other two junior paralegals (one a divorcee in her fifties, the other a woman about my age) both announced their engagements last week. I'm trying hard not to be petty, but it's hard not to be a little jealous. I always seem to be the eternal "fifth wheel" in my social situations, even in my own family. People in the office kept coming up to me and saying that I must be next, to which I responded that I'd have to have a date first. Upon hearing of their announcements, my boss e-mailed the three of us and asked if there was something in the air or water. She went on ask if anyone had given that something to me. I replied to all with "*sigh* Always a bridesmaid, never a bride!" My boss then e-mailed me that "One day your Prince will come..." which, if you think about it, was both touching and pathetic.
Viva Las Vegas
A couple of weeks ago, my parents flew to Las Vegas to meet up with a bunch of friends they know from Baton Rouge. I met them there the weekend before the rest of the group arrived for a visit. My parents and I had a really good time together, and I managed not to fuck things up. However, my parents are so bizarre. I tested the water by mentioning how Governor Schwarzeneggar was expected to veto the same-sex marriage bill passed by the California legislature. My father said that he didn't care, since he was against same-sex marriage. And that hurt my feelings. But later my father offered to buy me a ticket to see the "Thunder from Down Under" male strip show! Neither he nor my mother would go with me, but they would pay my way if I wanted to see it. (The poster did say "Gentlemen are welcome.") I didn't take him up on his offer since I have no desire to see beefcake strippers. Excalibur played advertisements for the show on monitors throughout the casino, and I remember watching in disgust as women (and, I guess, men) in the audience would reach up for their chance to paw and grope the performers. I still have a shred of dignity and would like to hold onto it. As far is Las Vegas is concerned, I didn't have much use for it. I have a low tolerance for overstimulation, and all of the crowds and buzzing lights and drunken weirdos didn't do much for me. Everyone I spoke to was surprised that I had never been, seeing how I've been in Los Angeles for five years, but I'm not in any hurry to go back.
The Metrosexual Agenda
I've noticed that our society's shallowness about looks has hit a new low. While I was driving to Las Vegas, I saw a billboard for some wrestling event featuring a muscle-bound hunk with beautiful eyes. Maybe being from the South makes me more aware of these things, but whatever happened to the big, hairy, ugly roughnecks? Nowadays, race car drivers and country singers are all pretty boys, and even boxers and wrestlers (as evidenced above) are gorgeous pieces of man-meat. Personally, I blame Jeff Gordon and Garth Brooks!
Boys, But No Toys
Actor boy came into the store today. In a way it was a good thing...I was so afraid that I'd creeped him out bad enough last time that he was never going to come in on a weekend again. Of course, it was also bad because I can personally guarantee that he's never going to call me, as a friend or otherwise. I tried to play it all cool. I did my best to be friendly and forthcoming, while maintaining an even hand. A couple of weeks ago I reached out to waiter boy in the form of an e-mail saying that I would be more than happy to get together with him as just friends. Several days later he e-mailed me back and said that he'd love to get together sometime, but right now he was just "so busy." I didn't respond because I wasn't sure he isn't just shining me on while playing the "nice guy." I figure if he'd really like to get together again, he'll contact me.
The Fairy's Tooth
One last item in this hodge-podge of an entry. I've had a lot of cavities in my life. Part of it is genetics and part of it is the fact that depression tends to make you apathetic about taking care of yourself. As a result, all eight of my molars are nothing more than hollowed-out teeth around a core of filling. Various dentists have explained that, as I grow older (Isn't that charming!), the remaining tooth portion grows weaker until eventually they'll give out. A couple of days ago, for the second time in my life, this happened, and a portion of one of my top back molars broke off. It's truly disgusting, and my tongue is constantly drawn to scrape against what feels like a huge, gaping hole. It seems as if this would be excruciating, but in fact I didn't have any pain whatsoever. Of course, that didn't stop me from angling the situation into a prescription for Vicodin. (This blog was originally supposed to be a chronicle of my efforts to stay relatively sober and improve my life, but such is the way of this wicked world.) At first, the dentist only prescribed 600 mg Motrin®. I mean, come on! Motrin®?!? Needless to say, I called him up to tell him how it wasn't helping my terrible pain, and (in what was probably an effort to shut me up) he called me in some Vicodin. "The squeaky wheel gets the drugs!" During the course of the day yesterday (while I was high at work), I started to think about how a lot of addicts such as myself would choose narcotics over sex, much in the same way studies have shown that mice will forego food in order to continually press a lever that stimulates their brains' pleasure center until they actually starve to death. Particularly in light of my OCD, I have a lot less hangup's about narcotics than I do about sex. So in that same spirit I present to you...
Three reasons Vicodin is better than a man*:
- Vicodin is always gone after you've had your fun.
- Vicodin doesn't ask you to compare it to other drugs you've taken.
- Vicodin doesn't make you sleep on the wet spot.
Of course, there's always a darker side to everything, which brings me to...
One reason a man is better than Vicodin:
- Vicodin always expect you to swallow.
*Many, if not most of these, were consciously or unconsciously stolen from the book Why Cucumbers Are Better Than Men.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
The Pseudoscience of the Pseudonym
The name is a combination of the archangel Michael and the Biblical evangelist St. John. "John" also had a special meaning to me because it always seemed to me that an inordinate amount of boys I was attracted to had this as their name. (Of course, it is one of the most common male names, but I've always had a predilection for superstitious thinking.)
I've kept this pseudonym as an adult mostly out of sentimental reasons. It seems rather affected and, if you'll pardon the expression, "gay" to me now. (Though it's not nearly as gay as "Anita Mann," which is infinitely more appropriate.) I don't feel the need to hide my identity now, but I would still use "Michael St. John" if I were to be published. I ran an internet search on the name to see if my blog would show up, and I was surprised at how many hits it returned. Apparently there is an artist with this name and even another author. Still I hope that one day I'll be able to carve out my share of the collective consciousness with my own use of this moniker.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
The "No Eye Candy" Diet
I was just at the pet supply store near where I live buying a bag of "Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul." (No seriously...BTW, Iam's is evil, and supermarket food is crap.) Anyway, there was this incredibly good-looking guy there. He had an amazingly handsome face and beautiful blue eyes. You see, the problem is: my desire allowed him to, unwittingly and unwillingly, take a piece of me away with him, just like the other two or three attractive men I noticed on the way home, and I am left emptier and more alone.
He didn't even seem like a particularly good person. Besides the fact that he was totalling unresponsive to my presence (meaning he's completely insane and undoubtedly in league with the devil), he drove an SUV, which I don't like, and he generally had this air of smug arrogance. During my freshman year of college, I was completely obsessed with a Resident Advisor on my floor. He was as close to my physical ideal as you could get—stocky in a muscled sort of way, hairy (but not too hairy), handsome face. I felt an immediate, intensive attraction to him from the first time I met him. He had a hold over me that I couldn't shake even when I came to realize that he was an asshole. He was the first person that I ever "came out" to, and he reacted in the worst way imaginable: he ignored it. I wanted him to love me, but the fact that he didn't wasn't his crime. He offered me no support or concern as to my welfare. He was, after all, charged with looking after the welfare of the students on his floor and, as it turns out, a homosexual himself. If only he had offered me some refuge or support in an extremely difficult, awkward and defining time in my life.
To me desire is like an open vein. The very lifeforce and substance of myself pours out, with no way to staunch the flow. Handsome men remind me of the innocent faith I had that my life would eventually work out in a way I had so zealously fantasized about throughout my entire life. They bring up my rage over all of my unrequited love and unrealized dreams. And they instill in me feelings of hopelessness and helplessness and a complete lack of purpose and meaning in my life.
"Desire is the source of all suffering."
--The Second Holy Truth of the Buddha