Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Six O'Clock Scramble

I recently subscribed to a service offering menus for those of us who aren't quite so imaginative in coming up with meal ideas. It is called The Scramble and it is written by Aviva Goldfarb. Aviva writes a wonderful little newsletter and includes with it five dinner ideas. The dinners are fun, a little exotic because she reaches outside of traditional american cooking, and almost always easy to fix.

Each Wednesday, you receive a list of the recipes in a handy pdf. Page one contains the newsletter, an always warm home idea, letters from her fans, or home advice. The last page contains the list of ingredients, cross-referenced to the recipes. What I find myself doing is picking 2 recipes that really appeal to me, then scratching out all ingredients on the list that don't go into them, and then those items I already have. The shopping list is inclusive, such as including salt in the shopping list, because you might not have that in the pantry!

Pictured here (bigger pic) is my counter top as it has evolved recently, partly from The Scramble. The Gnochi is from a recipe I didn't get to. So it's on the counter until I figure out what to fix with it.

I came across The Scramble after a W$J article, and it turns out it was a real win for me to subscribe.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Long Weekend

I had a 3-day weekend this week and I was very busy. Thanks to Columbus Day, today was a day off ... one of the few holidays that banks take that nobody else observes. The other one being veterans day in November.

But it was a very busy weekend. On Saturday I more-or-less camped out in Raleigh for the day. I showed up in the morning for a picnic and decided to stay into the evening for some bowling. With several hours between the two, I joined in on some hiking in Umstead park, and then took advantage of the bridal/bike trails. So after the picnic, then hiking, followed by trail biking, it was off to GCF to get a change of clothes, eat dinner, and finishing up with a couple of games of bowling. I was whooped by the end of the day!

Sunday had a lot of activity, although not quite so physically active. I went into Raleigh to meet a new friend, a costume seamstress for NC State theater. He had invited me over to look through some costumes I might like to wear when I go to the Renaissance Festival in a couple of weeks. He had an absolutely perfect Prince outfit, and it fit so I am going as royalty this year!

We decided to go get a cup of coffee at the local coffee house, to get to know each other better. We also went downtown where I got to see the fallen fireman memorial, and then to Brothers & Sons antique store. This store was full of all the kitschy stuff I knew while growing up ... and it was amazing how much of that stuff was absolutely appallingly UGLY! That said, I still walked out with an analog telephone with rotary dial, plus a Tom Swift book. It's funny, I have an old phone that is at least 40 years old, and it's hooked up and works with my VOIP. When that phone was made, you saved for months to call Europe ... and now I can do it for free!

I finished off Sunday with David by going to an Ethopian restaurant. It was my first time eating Ethopian cuisine, but of course it was fun. There is a bread-like pancake served with the meal, and you tear off pieces of it to use to pinch up bits of the main dish to eat. Quite enjoyable when you share dishes. If you get a chance to try this ethnicity, don't forget to eat up the bread at the bottom of the is the best!

Oh, and while at the coffee house I picked up this oil. I love the whimsy of the butterfly wings.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

NC Pride 2007

Today was the day for celebration of all things gay around these parts. The 2007 North Carolina Gay Pride Parade and Festival.

We hold our parade in late September because the temps are very pleasant right about now. Today is was beautifully sunny, 78 and just the most perfect breeze.

As always, click the picture for a larger version.

There are quite a few vendors who show up for the festival. Just about every gay organization in the state has a table and pamphlets. And of course there is jewelry, pencil art and various clothing, stickers and memorabilia to take home.

Last year was the first year the parade has had a protestor, some bunch from S.C. with loud speakers. In preparation for a repeat lots of signs were ready to be taken up in counter protest.

Luckily, the lone protester was so far from the festivities that he wasn't heard, and he had to shut down during the actual parade. The city of Durham really gets behind supporting this parade!

And finally, finish up the day at Sirens with a nice beverage.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Pagan Pride Day

Today was my first event that I put onto the Gay Professionals meetup group, and truth be told, the actual meetup flopped. I showed up, though.

But, before I left to go to the fairgrounds for the meetup, I tossed the bike into the back of the truck. After seeing a movie I found I had an hour and a half to spend before the meetup was to start. Not enough time to go linen shopping like I wanted, so I ended up at the fairgrounds about an hour early.

Okay, the last time I was at the fairgrounds I ended up lost. I finally had to ask a 90 year old "guard" where my truck was parked! That sucked. Plus I was fairly whooped from several miles of walking.

So this time I grabbed my bike and pedaled all around the place. I really think that this is the only way to go. There are so many things to see, discover and just experience and it is spread out over hundreds of acres of land. The bike easily got me around the fairgrounds so that I got to see all of the fun stuff going down.

For instance, there was the Pagan Pride Day Festival. This was a fun event to experience. In the distance hard rock beat against the air. In the festival itself there were many a tent set up, creating a mini-biazarre atmosphere. I ended up buying some stevia from a likable witch ... it looks like a fun ingredient.

There were lots of other things happening, like the grecian festival. I stopped in there for dinner, plus I pick up a silver dragon, pictured. I had a dinner of mousaka and it was surprisingly delicious. I biked through one building as they were tearing down from some sort of event for Rex Medical folks. The arena was preparing for a womens Roller Derby event. The new parking area with its stadium was gearing up for a mexican festival due to take place on Sunday. And who could fail to mention that NC State had a game coming that day, so there were a ton of 20-somethings partying big time! I've not seen that many men in red shirts since the Disney GayDays festivities last June

It was a fun day, one that I will have to repeat often.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Pool Party

Okay, so I need to publish a little more often! I'm guilty of neglect here!

I've been busy with lots of different things, and my most recent was hosting a pool party. This is the first party of any type for me in about 10 years, and it took it out of me. But it was a lot of fun and I might just have another one before the summer ends.

For the gathering I invited the people from our new Triangle GLBT Sci-Fi and Fantasy Club (affectionately known as Triangle Queer Sci-Fi) The club started last month and this weekend marked our fourth gathering.

Lots of people showed up, swimsuits and towels in hand, ready to splash in the water. It was a beautiful day, mid-80s and all sunshine. Here are some pictures, plus more pictures at the group photo album.

The fun started off with a couple of hours playing in the pool.
There was lots to eat!
And to round things out, we all went indoors for the evening to play a few rounds of Apples to Apples. I would never have guessed we could get 11 people around my dining room table!

It was a fun day. I might have to try this again!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Superhero Returns July 26th

It looks like Who Wants To Be A Superhero is coming back for Season 2 and is on the schedule at Sci Fi for next month. Although I cannot locate any news information about the new season, it is slated to return on July 26th at 9pm.

AfterElton reports that this season will have a gay person present, although I'm not sure if we this is a superhero that is gay, a gay superhero, or a gay alter ego (talk about a special closet!) Pictured is a photo that AfterElton managed to snag of our hero, Parthenon.

In the first season, our gay superhero was out practically at the very start of the show. We had no chance to get to know anything about Levity. Hopefully this time will be different.

In any event, Parthenon, nee Dan Williams, is a utterly cute, and even has that wholesome superhero look to him. I'm already rooting for him, and I've not seen even the first promo for the show!

Mark your calenders, July 26th for season 2 of Who Wants To Be A Superhero!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Daddysville Day!

Here are a couple of scenes I came across as I was bicycling. The first one, the state sign for Daddysville, is a crossroads near here. It's a real place!

As always, click the photo for a larger version.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Audible Gay/Lesbian Category

I'm not sure if I want to be insulted, outraged or just plain mad. But I'm not any of those moods, instead just sort of surprised and dismayed. Over what?

It seems that when I peruse the Audible books category, Fiction/Gay & Lesbian, I can find all the porn that I might ever want. Straight porn at that! When listing audible books in that category, these are the first 15 titles that appear:
  1. Am I Blue? (Unabridged)
  2. Old Glory (Unabridged)
  3. Michael Tolliver Lives (Unabridged)
  4. Cry Destiny (Unabridged)
  5. The Best American Erotica 1993 (Unabridged Selections)
  6. The Best American Erotica 1994 (Unabridged Selections)
  7. The Best American Erotica 2004 (Unabridged Selections)
  8. The Best American Erotica 1995 (Unabridged Selections)
  9. The Best American Erotica 1996 (Unabridged Selections)
  10. The Best American Erotica 1997 (Unabridged Selections)
  11. The Best American Erotica 1999 (Unabridged Selections)
  12. The Best American Erotica 2000 (Unabridged Selections)
  13. The Best American Erotica 2002 (Unabridged Selections)
  14. The Best American Erotica 2001 (Unabridged Selections)
  15. Chocolate Sangria (Unabridged)
Ten of the 15 books are porn. Yes, gay & lesbian refer to sexual matters, but it also is an entire lifestyle. And I suppose it wouldn't bother me if all of these were gay/lesbian porn, but it is straight porn. I mean, c'mon!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Body Parts Online

I came across this headline, and it brought a smile: FDA cracks down on body parts companies

Why would I smile? Because many, many years ago, when the internet was still youngish, I set up an auction site (eBay didn't exist yet) selling body parts. Highest bidder wins a replacement heart! It was called BodyParts Online

It was a fully functional auction site. I had jobs set up to periodically "re-supply" new body parts, plus robots that would randomly post bids on various parts so that there was activity. The names that the robots used in bidding came from a collection of name/email addresses I had gathered from a couple of those emails people forwarded hoping to get 500 names so they got a free disney trip or something.

Of course, for the few actual people that bid, I had still more robots to outbid them. It would have been hell if someone won a bid for a new left hand and expected delivery.

It was short-lived, lasting less than a year, but Yahoo listed it at the top of their auction category, even giving it a pair of sunglasses to denote a cool site. A french newspaper came across it and, near as I could get translated, absolutely loved it.

Ah, those were the days when it was fun and cool to be on the bleeding edge. And a hell raiser, to boot! (If my cohort in setting this up reads this, can you remember about what year this was?)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Tiny Frog

Earlier this afternoon, I came across this little critter on the struts to the umbrella. He apparently climbed into it while it was closed.

I don't know if this is the same little frog that I come across occasionally at the bedroom window, but I would suspect so, as it is fairly close on the deck near the umbrella.

By and large he ignored me as I did stuff at the table underneath him. Eventually he moved to a strut on the other side of the umbrella opposite me, but otherwise seemed perfectly happy. Most critters around my house seem to know that they are safe from trouble. Well, except for the squirrel that is stealing my tomatoes! I'll be getting an airgun after him soon!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Michael Tolliver Lives

I guess it just snuck up on me, but Armistead Maupin has finally written another book for his awesome Tales of the City series: Michael Tolliver Lives.

According to Maupin, this is not a followup to the original books, but how can it be anything else? From the blurbs I can find it will include Michael of course, plus Brian and Mrs. Madrigal. Considering how close Mona and Mouse were, you know that she too will appear.

For years, Maupin has stated that he would not write any more to the series, as it was supposed to be about farm girl Mary Ann coming to the big city of San Francisco. Once she moved on, that was the end of the story, so said Maupin. But now we get to find out what happened to Michael,
who had been diagnosed with HIV in the previously final book.

I have been a huge fan of this series for a couple of decades now. There is one passage about a closeted man that Michael discovers is gay. He says something to the effect of "yea, I did see he wore green on Thursdays." To this day I wear green for fun every week! I found a hardcover 6-volume collectors set that I purchased. Unfortunately, upon lending out the books to other to read, one book never made it back and is lost forever. Damn!

As I write this I am waiting for our local gay bookstore in Raleigh, White Rabbit Books, to open. Hopefully they will have copies when it releases next Tuesday, in which case I will spend my pink dollars at a pink store. Otherwise I will get it from Amazon. When the gay book reading group I belong to meets comes this Friday, I already know what I will be talking about!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Gay Days 2007

Over the weekend I traveled to Orlando to join the Gay Days fun. It was my first visit to the annual pilgrimage of gay men and women to Disney, and I had a blast!

A group of us from Raleigh started talking back in January about making the trip this year. Nine of us went, and we had our own Gay Days t-shirts printed up. Stayed at the same hotel and had a little caravan of cars on the drive down.

This was my first visit, so I wasn't really sure what to expect. I knew from past years that the religious fanatics would protest, and talk radio would always be buzzing, so I expected to see at least a couple of neanderthals. But I didn't see a single one. I guess I just wasn't looking into the right crack in the sidewalk!

It was a very festive time, with everyone friends with everyone else. The day started at IHOP and Marie, pictured, serving us. She was sassy and fun! At the park, during the raft trips to Tom Sawyer island, people on each raft were waving back at the other raft, always ending with the queens wave, of course. And it was truly a sea of red shirts at the Magic Kingdom, especially around the 3:00 parade. It was all fun and games, and practically any and every type of person was to be found somewhere.

A lot of the t-shirts had something written on them, from cute to arrogant to everything in between. What I found funny were these 2 lads, wearing their phone numbers on their shirts. When they turned around, Justin turned out to be the spitting image of Stephen Fry. They both had handkerchiefs in their pockets, but since I couldn't remember what the colors stood for, I ask them. "Nothing, we make a rainbow when everyone is around." According to the Hanky Code though, Matt would be a bottom and Justin is up for anything, anytime. Funny!

After the park, it was back to the hotel for a disco nap, shower, then off to Parliament House. That place is huge, and it was packed! There was a dance floor of course, plus several satellite bars. There is a pool, but I can't say that I saw anyone actually in it, this being late in the night. Out back there was a "foam party", something completely new to me. Basically it is a pool of foam about 3 feet deep, similar to the bubbles from dish soap. Guys will strip down to a swimsuit, or more commonly their underwear. Into the foam guys would plunge, and use your imagination about what happened next!

We did a lot of other things of course. I spent all day Sunday at Sea World while several others decided to attend MCC services. We got a late start to Sea World, seeing as we stayed up all hours the night before at Parliament, and I was whooped by the end of the day. Several went to Parliament House again and I think they closed it down. There was the trade show with so many companies showing their wares along with their corporate gay awareness. On the 3rd floor of the hotel was a leathermens club offering any information and education that you were willing to receive. I declined to participate in the 9 o'clock closed door seminar.

As is always the case when dealing with couples, things weren't always smooth. Of the 3 couples, there was at least one time each when things became very strained with at least one of the partners. One the boyfriend disappeared for a bit too long at the bar. Another got drunk too fast and was flirting a lot. The third I didn't realize until I scanned my pictures after returning, and I'm not sure anyone else saw it.

We all had fun, and I will probably go back. Maybe not next year, but it is something to be repeated. The only real thing I would change next time around might be the location of the hotel. I think I would like to be nearer to the center of the activity, possibly at the Gay Days host hotel, The Plaza, or maybe at the nightlife epicenter, Parliament.

I took lots of pictures, and once I've cleaned them up and sorted through them, I will post an entry to them.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Pet Turtle

I seem to have gotten a new pet, a turtle that really likes the pool. This little turtle keeps returning for a swim, and I've fished him out 3 times so far this spring.

The first time I move him outside the fence and put him at near the azaleus, pictured. The next time I just got him out of the skimmer basket and onto the deck because I was busy. Each time he disappeared for almost a week. I can't leave him in the pool to get out on his own, because the sides are too high. He would eventually drown or starve if left in the pool.

Last night he was back, so this time I took him a distance away and at the edge of the woods. I suspect though that he will be back if we don't get some rain soon. So long as I don't have to feed him though, he is more than welcome around the house.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Getting Past Hangups

For this particular entry, I will be going in a slightly different direction. Or maybe it is more of a revelation into things unseen from me. You see, there are some activities that I do that I haven't talked about directly, although some have been alluded to in various writings here.

In my opening entry for this blog, I said there were a lot of things that I would be writing about: Entertainment, finances, and fitness. And "getting over any remaining sexual hangups" that I felt I had. So just as I have been diligently working on getting fit, bicycling, weights and all, I have also been working on sex.

Go back a few years and you would find that I wouldn't even think about having sex with someone unless we had dated for awhile. Since dates were few and far between, actually getting laid was about as rare as a santorum in Saudi Arabia! Add in that I wasn't getting out and being social much and it was looking like a complete dead end.

So that's when I decided to make some major changes. I had already undergone Lasik, and that helped, upgraded a bit in work clothes and paid off all the remaining bills. The BIG change came from stopping smoking and getting fit. The beef that I put on from that gave me the courage to get out to more social events and meet people.

The problem with going to the social events is that I am still mostly introverted and quiet. I'm taking that problem as a 2 pronged approach to overcoming. The first is getting out to more social events and meeting strangers. The second is one-on-one with people, especially in a sexual way.

My first (and last) experience with one-on-one was through the more "classic" routes that frustrated men engage in. It was an experience, but one that I am not going to repeat any time soon. It was, how shall we say, utterly useless!

MyThis is where comes in. I had written earlier about the "talking chests" that I had experienced. That picture actually turned out to be a turning point during chat. I had other pictures up prior to that, but they sucked. After posting that picture I started getting hit up by some of the very men I was really interested in meeting.

I've had a couple of interesting encounters and expect to have more. The worst had to have been the gym bunny. Not the worst in sex, just the least satisfying. I think part of that came from his most likely being on Viagra or other similar drug (instead of a real aphrodisiac). Near the top came the guy who smoked a lot. I enjoyed that day quite a bit, except that when I got home I had to shower to get rid of the smoke smell.

And that brings me to finding out that almost everyone has hangups. Some of those can be funny as hell! For instance, there was one guy, 31 years old at that had been hitting on me most every weekend for over a month. We would chat a bit, but in the end I just wasn't all that interested in him. Then one day I figured sure, why not. He seemed nice enough and it could be fun.

That's when his hangups became clearer the longer we chatted. He had said he wanted to get together because, in his own words, he "really needed to be fucked." That sounded clear enough to me, and as it turns out, he meant exactly that.


It had to be in the dark. (This was daytime, so there goes my bedroom with the bay window opened to the woods!). In the bed. Under the sheets. On our sides. On our left sides! He was concerned that his balls weren't shaved and was that okay? Huh?!?! But he explained that I didn't have to suck him. That's a relief, I suppose?!? And he want to know if I had a lot of pre-cum. What?!? It seems he doesn't like that. Good Grief!

Interspersed with all of those details was that he was nervous and didn't want to. I said okay not tonight then, and he was right back with needing to get fucked. He always used "needed". That whole not today, yes, no, yes, no got real grating. He asked if I was "very aggressive?" By that time I'm thinking "boy, you've got me so ticked by now that I might hurt you in my aggression!"

But I knew long before then that nothing was going to happen. That was just too many rules and hangups to have to deal with.

I know I have a few hangups, but nothing that would make me that dysfunctional. Or at least none now that I am out actively seeking out both friends and copulation, and hoping the two come together some day!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Bicycle Routes

Y'know, I am having a blast with my new bike. Especially discovering things that are just around the corner from me that I either had no idea about, or thought it were a lot farther away.

I always knew I was fairly close to town, using back roads. But it is only 15 minutes by bike, and that is if I take my time. I also found that there is a much closer recycling center, albeit in a different county.

That seems to be my biggest surprise, the counties that I am hitting. On Saturday, I did the eastern loop pictured here, and went through 3 counties: Wake, Franklin and Nash. Sunday was only 2 in the western loop, Franklin and Wake.

I've found that the Wrenns Farm is only 20 minutes, the gas station I always considered too far and the wrong direction isn't really all that far, and that my little town has a country club!

Of course, what bike ride through the country would be complete without the obligatory dog that chases you? I found mine on the western loop, between miles 8 & 9. Luckily I was already in high gear going downhill when I came across him, but I think I broke my own land speed record!

The map picture comes courtesy of GMaps Pedometer. This is a nice tool for mapping out distances and routes. I originally used it to calculate walking miles, and also calories burned. But it comes in very handy in printing out the maps I carry when biking. This graphic was a gimp together of 2 routes, the western loop, and the eastern. Great mapping tool!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

PlanetOut Running Out

It would appear that PlanetOut, the owner of many well known gay publications and businesses, is slated to run out of cash later this year:
The San Francisco owner of, along with the Advocate and Out magazines, disclosed this week that it will run out of money before the end of the year without an infusion of cash.
The company, which debuted in a 2004 IPO, is apparently having serious problems with their travel business, specifically RSVP cruises, in addition to fewer paid personal ads and a decline in advertising revenue (in print, I would assume). According to CEO Karen Magee, it will take 2 years to conduct a turnaround. That means that if cash runs out before the loan comes due, they will need to either get a fresh capital investment from somewhere, or move into bankruptcy protection.

Although I wasn't aware previously that they were draining cash, I figured there must be something serious happening with the cruise line. Advertisements were almost every 3rd page in the Advocate, with supplementals and on several occasions a copy of another periodical, Out Traveler. Also to be found many times in the Advocate were "articles" about cruises that weren't much more than a wordy advert.

I'm hopeful that they get the chance to enact the turnaround, although the capital infusion isn't going to come from their stock, which has been tanking almost since the day they IPO'd. But I do hope they are successful, especially since I am a fairly good customer. I participate at (and pay for), subscribe to The Advocate magazine, and am giving serious consideration on going for a cruise. (Yes, the advertising and "articles" worked on me!)

Now if they would just do something to freshen the magazine that would help them avoid collecting comments about them such as "by then the news will be so old even The Advocate will be reporting it" !

Friday, May 11, 2007

Maybe A Trevis Instead

Instead of the SmartCar, may I should get a Daihatsu Trevis instead. Well, maybe not. But the advertising sure does seem to be targeting me as a demographic. A gay man who is considering a car purchase, who also happens to like a buff guy dressed as a cowboy (or sailor or ball player)!

An article at alerts us to a new web campaign by the auto manufacturer that features those 3 fantasies shaking their booties in order to sell their car. Talk about some killer abs!

You can see these men strut their stuff here, preferably with sound turned on for the music.

(via: BoiFromTroy)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

More Smart Car

Y'know, I keep coming back to the new Smart Car from DaimlerChrysler. Back in January I wrote briefly about the car, before segueing into talking about getting excited about buying a crotch rocket motorcycle. (I compromised and bought a bicycle instead!)

Today in the WSJ is an article bringing more details about the Smart Car coming to the U.S. United Auto Group is taking $99 deposits from people who want to pre-order the car for 2008. They already have 12,600 people on the waiting list, which is interesting because they only expect to sell 16,000. But then they don't actually expect all those people to really buy the car:
Mr. Pordon says the company doesn't know how many people who have given deposits will follow through and actually buy a Smart two-seater, but he expects the retention rate to be high. The company only plans to sell 16,000 Smart cars next year in three configurations -- the base "Pure" model, the upgraded "Passion" model and the "Passion" cabriolet.
After looking at the 3 models, here, I figured the Passion would be the bare entry level, since it is where A/C is introduced. In NC, you need A/C! The cabriolet might be fun, since it is a convertible.

The car will be on tour throughout the U.S. this year for those that want to take a test drive. I am definetly interested in at least looking at one. My main draw is that it is very unique in appearance. To me, almost all cars on the road look alike. The tour hits 50 cities starting on the west coast, and will be in Raleigh in September. Schedule here.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Netflix Shipment Center

Netflix has changed the emails that they send when a movie has shipped from your queue. Usually it says "For Wed: MovieName". Usually the date it expect the DVD to arrive is the next day, meaning that it is shipping from Raleigh or possibly Greensboro. Today though the email subject was "For Sat: Phoenix from Houston, TX". This is different in that it list the shipment center city.

This usually happens when a low-volume movie is being sent out. I seem to get quite a few of those, probably because I rent movies that are indies, especially gay indies. Since they are low volume, Netflix will generally only have 2-3 copies total.

Usually the email just says it will arrive on Saturday. For me it's a little game to check the return envelope to find out where it came from. I've gotten at least one DVD from Honolulu and several from west coast cities. The longest wait was for one off the west coast that arrived cracked, and another was shipped, this time from Idaho or somewhere.

So for the weekend I am getting the DVD of Phoenix. Netflix says that people like me rate it a 4.5 stars (out of 5), but it's general rating is only 2.5. I'm beginning to think Netflix is trying to stereotype me! The movie might be a surprise enjoyment, or a real dozer. We'll see!

Monday, May 07, 2007

A Possible Stock Opportunity

Recently while perusing various fitness information, I somehow ended up at Wikipedia after googling the word "anaphrodisiac." (How I got there I cannot remember, somehoe related to testosterone). From there I followed a link to aphrodisiac, curious as to what it had to say.

From there, I came across the following statement:


A new drug called Bremelanotide (formerly PT-141) seems to be the first real aphrodisiac. It stimulates sexual desire in both men and women, and clinical trials are currently testing it for the treatment of sexual arousal disorder and erectile dysfunction.

That sounded very interesting to me. Everyone has heard about Viagra and it's brethren. But the problem with those drugs is that they affect the cardiovascular system. Basically they cause an erection from a physical perspective. And although an erection can make a man feel sexy, the better course is where feeling sexy causes an erection. Or at least, that is my theory.

Or to put it into an analogy: Current drugs are like putting air into a balloon. This new drug is like putting gas into a balloon. One will fill it up and make it eassier to float, whereas the other will cause it to float, bouncing along the air currents.

What makes Bremelanotide interesting is that it affects the sexual urge, or the mental urge. That just seems more natural. Or, in other words, an actual aphrodisiac.

Since sex sells, I see an opportunity here. The first prescription aphrodisiac. It is in the testing phase now, having passed phase II and entering III any day now. The company that is developing the drug, Palatin Technologies, is trading at a ridiculously low $2. I've scarfed up a bunch of shares and plan to hold until the end of the current testing phase.

One interesting trivia about this drug is how it was discovered. They were apparently testing a sunless tanning product when they noticed that men were sporting an erection. Now there is a side effect I've never heard in the TV commercials!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

My New Bicycle

This morning I finally bought something to help me with the cardio part of my exercise regimen ... a bike! And a mountain bike at that. Y'know, looking back over the last couple of months, I would have to give a theme to each. January-March was a lot of fitness and muscle gain, April was getting over-sexed (well, not over sexed), May is for shedding the last bit of belly fat and showing my six-packs in June, which will start out as a party month when I head to Orlando for Gay Days at Disney! Here is our t-shirts (I'm making a special 2nd one for me, a sleeveless muscle shirt ... I'm becoming such a slut!)

But back to the bike for now. I've been thinking about a bicycle for several months now. I have an old 10-speed road bike in the shed that someone gave me many years ago, but when I pulled it out and cleaned it up I found that it was too far gone to be useful. It wasn't even able to properly change gears.

Then last weekend at the picnic I got to talking with one of the guys who rode a bit. He kept trying to steer me to a mountain bike, but I was almost positive I wanted a hybrid, especially since most of the time it would be ridden on the road. I would occasionally take it off-road on some paths, but that wouldn't be it's primary use.

Then Friday for lunch I finally went to a bike shop and looked around. The owner was there and helped out quite a bit, explaining the pro's and con's of bike types, sizes, features, etc. But since I was in work clothes I couldn't take any for test rides.

But that is what I did this morning, and I settled on the Trek 4300 model. It is just slightly above an entry level bicycle, although it is far better than anything that can be found at the big stores such as Target. Along with the helmet and water bottle rack, I spent just over $450. I really think it was worth it.

The next stop after that was to, of all places, Target. There I picked up a heart rate monitor. This particular model has the sensor that straps to the chest and sends the information to a wristwatch type receiver.

This is cardio after all, and the idea is to get the heart pumping at a higher rate. So that is exactly what I wanted to do, exercise the heart. According to this page at the American Heart Association, I should be aiming for a heartbeat range of 88-149.

So I strap on the monitor, fill up the water bottle and hop on the bike. I head down the driveway, hang a right onto the road and just keep going until it ends. Round trip, 7.4 miles in just under an hour. I wasn't trying for speed so much as continuous steady pedaling. (For those who want a good pedometer distance map tool, I really like gmap-pedometer)

The countryside was awesome! I never go very far in that direction, and a lot of this was new country to me. It was cool cruising through and seeing all the different types of homes, and even what appears to be a huge new neighborhood complete with a newly built elementary school. (Luckily the school is miles from the my home ... no snotty noses near me, thank you very much!) People out tending yards, a cookout, there are even some horse farms.

During the ride I had originally targeted a heart rate of 130, going by AHA saying that 75% of maximum is a good goal. But the only time I ever came close to 130 was when I rested for short periods while coasting. Most of the time I was at 145-150. I really don't know if that is good or bad, but I was never out of breath. Well, I did get out of breath trying to climb a dirt hill at a construction site, but that shot the heartrate to over 165 for just a minute.

So now I have a bike, and I'm surrounded by miles of country roads to explore. And with all of my hiking I recently purchased a book on local trails: Adventure Guide to the Triangle. It contains a lot of bike trails in the area, plus road bike trails. Maybe I'll join the Out Spokin' NC folks one of these Sundays!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Talking Chests

Lately I've been a little more active at and chat sessions. I've never really been much of one for chatting online, although I have had spells in the past.

My main picture on the site is of my chest (pictured here), with secondary pictures of me overall, including my face. It's a funny thing ... most of the guys that page me usually have a chest picture of themselves as the primary. Of course in many instances it is also the only picture, but that is another story altogether.

Last night, as I was chatting away with a beautifully built guy I realized that it was more or less a couple of "talking chests." It was as though there were no heads involved. The mental picture I conjured up caused me a big ol' grin!

It's funny, if it weren't so sad in some ways.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sticking Smell

Okay, I guess I have finally joined the stereotype of ex-smoker and am starting to preach the non-smoking gospel. Why? Because at the moment I smell like an ashtray!

On the way into work this morning I saw I had forgotten my coffee mug. So I stopped in at a convenience store a fixed a cup. I was only in the store about 90 seconds, but after walking out I could smell the cigarette smoke in my clothes. It's the first thing, and I'm going to be stuck with it all day!

This comes after last week when I met someone and we went on a date. I spent some time in his apartment (actually, a lot of time), and even though he didn't smoke any while indoors, I still had the smell in my shirt when I got home.

I guess I am just super-sensitive to the smell. I am also coming closer to supporting the smoking ban that is making its way through the legislature here in N.C. Actually, I'm not for the ban, because I figure establishments will put their own restrictions in place over time. But after my brief foray into a store and ending up stinking, I am not as forgiving at the moment!

Am I the stereotype yet? Well, not yet and I expect I won't be anytime soon. Still, sometimes it is all I can do to keep myself from lecturing and proselytizing on the subject.

PS: To all of those people in my past that were subjected to my smoking -- my deepest apologies!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Coke Zero

Have you seen the newest line of product from Coke lately? It is a new product called Coke Zero. The name means zero carbs, calories, sugar, or pretty much everything else. In other words, nutritionally empty flavored water.

Not that I'm saying that regular Coke Classic is nutritionally full. But there is something there, even if it is just sugar. And if you are like me and find yourself flagging after lots of work in the yard, a coke classic is perfect to get you up to speed before you collapse!

I was turned onto this drink by a good friend, and I've come to really like it. Unlike other diet sodas I've tried, Zero actually tastes like the original product. It's the same artificial sweeteners as the other diets, but somehow they've blended it to taste real.

It's too bad that it looks to be short lived. When I first started buying it, there seemed plenty to find in the grocery store. but over the past few months it's shelf space has been seriously shrinking. The half-liter 6-pack bottle I usually buy has gone from 12-15 spots on the shelf to a mere 3 6-packs when fully stocked on the shelves. It won't be long before it is only available in cans, and then it can only be found as overstock at a Big Lots store!

That's too bad. Finally a diet product that appeals to people like me and it is short lived!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Film Festival Date Change

I found out last night that the NC Gay & Lesbian Film Festival date has changed. The new date is August 23-26, one week later than it's usual mid-August. The Carolina Theater in downtown Durham, plus some of the surrounding buildings are going through some construction this summer. Although the construction is scheduled to be completed by August 3, the festival organizers decided not to chance it and instead postponed for one week.

This is the 12th year for the festival, and it just keeps getting bigger each year. As always, I am looking forward to it, since it is one of the biggest gay events for our area. This will be my 4th time attending, of which I blogged about in 2004 and 2005 (I missed blogging 2006...I was in transition!).

If you like movies, festivals, or just meeting lots of fun gay people, mark your calendars now!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


I recently completed the book Empire by Orson Scott Card. It was an enjoyable reading (actually listening as I downloaded it from Audible).

The book has an interesting tale about a civil war breaking out in the U.S. between the ultra-left and ultra-right wings. After having listened to Orson Scott Card in a podcast interview with Glenn Reynolds and having enjoyed his prior Ender books, I was looking forward to the story.

As I said, I enjoyed the story. My only complaint is that I had trouble "believing" parts of the story, albeit those parts were of the action scenes, not the story line. For instance in one chapter, our heroes each get up extra early one morning in D.C. and and figure "Well, we're up so lets go see ground zero in NYC." They get there, nobody is to be seen, and suddenly they are at the epicenter of the action. It felt contrived. But after that, I decided to just relax and let the story unfold however it was written.

The plot of a civil war though was much more believable. Granted at first I found most of it ringing completely false. Especially when the Army General starting spouting off sounding like our local talk radio spittle-master (whom I can't stand, and have blogged on before).

But as I continued into the book, and especially after Orson prologue, it doesn't seem so far fetched. I am seeing a lot of examples of just how escalated emotions are becoming. Already mentioned is the spittle-master who talks as though he were teaching a madrasa (substitute the word liberal for infidel and they are interchangeable).

Then there was the gathering of gay professionals when the conversation turned to politics (never a good turn of events). It didn't take long before enthusiastic talk about murdering the republican president started flying around the table.

These are not isolate incidents. They are happening all across the country by the extremes on both sides. And, as the book points out, they are being mainstreamed by politicians looking for advantages. Witness Hillary.

In any event, the book was enjoyable, although I would not put it in the same class of quality as the Ender novels. It is relatively short, fast paced, provides enough material to cause you to engage some gray matter, and is fun. I would definitely recommend it for summer reading.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Sodium Bicarbonate

Okay, consider this a lesson learned. It all comes down to the packaging when a consumer is purchasing a commodity. In this case the commodity is sodium bicarbonate.

Last week the motor to the pool was finally repaired and I was able to get to work at bring the pool under control. In the 3 weeks it took for it to be fixed, the water had turned a decidedly fluorescent green, as you can see in this picture!

After testing the water, I found it measured very low on alkalinity, about 30 ppm when it should be over 120-150 ppm. I think the oak leaves must raise the acidity a lot because this happens every spring! Anyway, I guestimated I needed about 40 pounds of "alkalinity up" product to bring it up to the proper level. Having 10-11 pounds on hand, I visited Lowes and bought another 24 pounds. It sold in 12# boxes and averaged out to about $1.16/pound.

Knowing I could buy it in larger quantities than 12#, I called the local pool supply store. The largest they had was 10# and it averaged $1.60/pound. Yikes, it's going up!

But what is the "alkalinity up" product? It's just plain old sodium bicarbonate. Otherwise known as baking soda, like that Arm & Hammer box you put into the fridge. And how much does that cost at the grocery store? For a 1# Arm & Hammer is was $0.69, and if I went with the store brand it was just $0.59 a pound.

What this lesson for me really proves is that when a product is intended to be used on a pool (this also applies to boat owners), the price is automatically doubled. And the marketing and packaging is everything in pricing for a commodity. Meantime, next year I'll purchase it at the local super market!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Need Practice

I guess I still need some practice at flipping eggs. Sunday morning I decided I wanted eggs for breakfast, so I fired up my brand new non-stick pan. Melt a small pat of butter, slip in the eggs and just a dash of salt and pepper and let them cook for a minute.

Okay, they are looking just right, and I go to flip them in the pan to turn them over. Now, since I am still new to this I do it over the sink. That turned out to be both my saving grace and a curse. As I was pushing the pan forward to get a good slide, the pan hit the faucet head, the eggs slid out, and plop! right into the sink!

Luckily for me, I had instant oatmeal in the cupboard!

(This looks to be my first food post since staring the new blog ... but stay tuned for more recipes and food subjects in the future!)

Friday, March 30, 2007

Male Attractiveness

A fascinating research group (I assume it is a group) that is studying faces and peoples responses to them. I just finished taking one of their tests, titled "Male Attractiveness". (If you want to take the test, you will probably need to register.)

I assume that my test responses were added into the aggregate, but here is the feedback I received from my test:
On average, people preferred the more masculine images 60% of the time when the faces were more masculine than average and 39% of the time when the faces were more feminine than average. You preferred the more masculine images 90% of the time when the faces were more masculine than average and 90% of the time when the faces were more feminine than average
So according to the test, I am almost uniformly attracted to men with masculine features. I could have told you that without taking the test! The test was fun, especially when being shown what was essentially the same face with slight differences.

I've take a few other tests, but the Male Attractiveness one is by far the best. Try it out for yourself! For those of you who are more attracted to the female half of our race, there are tests there for you, too!


Today for lunch I joined several co-workers and went to lunch at a bowling alley. It has been several years since I last bowled and it was blast.

You would think that after having purchased the Nintendo Wii I would be an ace bowler by now. That would be the assumption, right? Especially when I score such great games. Amazingly, that is not the case. Once again, just like when the Wii guessed my age me a good 10 years older than I really am, the box got it wrong again! I'm beginning to think it is defective in matters related to the real world!

The game was fun, but it took a bit for me to remember some things. You know, minor things such as there are 2 bowls per frame, except when someone knocks all of the pins down the first time. When you do that, as punishment you aren't allowed to bowl a 2nd time! So I made sure that I didn't go on any strikes, 'cause I wanted to bowl every time.

It started out real bad. At the end of the second frame I had a whopping 3 points! And those 3 came on the 2nd ball of the 2nd frame. So you can just guess what the first 3 balls ended up doing!

But a little past the 5th frame I started to warm up to the game, especially at aiming the ball correctly. A couple of times there it was a balance between sending it down the alley correctly, and not throwing out my back, which I could feel I was getting ready to do. I cured that by getting my feet into proper form, especially the offsetting leg thrown back as counter-balance, pictured.

In the end I didn't even break 100, but who cares? It was fun and something new to do. These guys go out on Fridays each week to bowl, so I can see myself joining for a game in the future. Hopefully next time it won't take until the middle of the game before I wake up and start actually hitting a few pins!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Quandry - Where to Use the Money

I've put myself into a quandry about where to stash extra money in my paycheck. To be honest, it's a nice dilemma, and I'm not complaining. I guess I am more asking for peoples advice or suggestions on what to do.

Background: Last month I received my annual bonus at work. I wanted to sock most or all of it away in my 401(k) account, so I finagled my contribution to 50% that month and it all went in, when combined with regular pay. But because such a large amount when in all at once, I needed to put in a lot less each month, otherwise I would hit the $15,000 limit for contributions this year, probably maxing out in August and thereby losing the matching contributions.

So I adjusted the monthly contributions, and this months paycheck shows that I hit it just right. I will max out the contributions in December, and receive the matching contributions. That worked out perfect.

So now I am bringing home an additional $250 a month in pay. Which kinda sucks in that the 401(k) contribution was reduced by $370, meaning I am paying $120 more in taxes each month, or another $1200 a year! Can't help that though (I think!).

So it comes down to two questions: 1) Do I have $250 or $370 a month extra to put somewhere? and 2) Where should it go?

Question one probably sounds strange to you, in that actual take home is only $250. But by my convoluted way of thinking, I used to be putting $370 aside for later, so I should maintain that level. Of course to do this, it means I would need to squeeze that $120 out of other areas (which is managable, barely). The amount also depends on the answer to question 2.

Two, where should it be go? Spend, save, or pay down debt? Most financial advisers would recommend paying down debt, but the only debt I have is a mortgage and it's already gettting many hundreds extra each month. Based on estimates from numbers I plug into this amortization calculator I use, each additional $100/month would end the mortgage approximately 4 months early.

Save is always a good choice, and I could use it to fund the Roth IRA for next year. Spend? I like the idea, especially since I don't do nearly enough shopping to be a "proper" gay man! If I do spend it, then question 1 is easily answered, it is only $250. After all, the extra $120 would come out of this category to begin with.

Am I missing anything? What would you do?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Dilbert is 54 Years Old

Okay, so nobody probably pays any attention to Dilberts age. I've always assumed he was youngish. But as it turns out, there is a good probability that he is 54 years old. As evidence, here is the todays comic:

By coincidence, a front page article in WSJ today reports on research ($) that shows that people reach their peak financial expertise when they are 53 years old, plus a couple of months:

The [researchers] found that middle-aged adults tend to borrow at lower interest rates and pay fewer fees than younger and older adults. The age at which consumers are least likely to make financial mistakes: a few months past their 53rd birthday, despite all the pressures that accompany middle age.

The researchers evaluated the loans made at a large financial institution, unnamed but assumed to be in the north east, and found that repeatedly the interest rates on loans were lower for that age group. Plus there appeared to be a greater ability to spot those "gotcha's" that banks use to charge higher fees and rates, such as applying payments to lower interest rate balances first. This chart from the article makes for a pretty clear picture.

I've noticed in myself the last few years that I am becoming much more financially savvy, even if I ma still many years away from the "prime" age in finances. I always assumed it was because I starting working for a bank, but that may not be the case.

The research is not yet published, nor peer reviewed, so take the information with a grain of salt. I just found it very interesting, and with the timing of todays Dilbert, it was also illuminating.

I see from my categories that this is my first finance related article. I guess I need to get busy in that sector, such as explaining why there is exactly $1.00 difference in your checking account when it lists "available" and "current" balances.