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!)