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May 01, 2006

Friends Don't Let Friends Cook Drunk


Those of you with RSS readers, or with so much time on your hands that you're always hitting "refresh" on this site, might already have seen this headline.  I accidentally managed to send a mangled, incomplete version of this post last night, which I'll blame on the Lunesta.

It's probably a bit ironic, then, because the story I had intended to tell was a cautionary tale about why another harmful chemical, vodka, should be outlawed.

Or, at least, the too-yummy vodka at my favorite new Manhattan gay bar, Vlada.

Hubbie and I met up there with a number of friends after dinner and proceeded to take a tour through their home-brewed infused vodkas.  Among those I can recommend personally: cranberry, pineapple, peach, apple-cinnamon, and ginger.  I am sure there were others too, but for some odd reason, they're not coming to me at the moment.

After a few more hours and another stop on the way home, something gooey and fattening was sounding very good to us.  We're in a bit of a mac-n-cheese rut these days, so we decided to pull out all the stops: a box of Kraft Deluxe Macaroni and Cheese.

A little after 3 a.m., I brought some water to a boil, then threw the noodles into the pot.  I carefully set the timer for 10 minutes.

We parked it in front of the TV.  But unfortunately, we were on The Cloud.  You see, The Cloud has this strange, deeply narcotic effect whenever you lie down on it.  No matter how alert you might be, it has the power to drag your body effortlessly off to sleep.

Knowing this, Hubbie prodded me a couple of times and asked if I had set the timer.  Of course I had.  I'm not all irresponsible-like.

Macncheese_1 About an hour later, we awoke to the shrill squeal of the smoke detector.  I leapt from the sofa to the kitchen in a single bound.  The water had completely evaporated from the pot, leaving a half-scorched, congealed mass of macaroni behind, belching putrid smoke.

I hit the reset button on the smoke alarm and took the pot from the burner.  Eh, it didn't look all that bad.  Besides, when I eat lasagna, I love the crusty, overcooked corner pieces best.  I drunkenly devoured my half; Hubbie politely declined.

* * *

Yesterday we were lolling in bed into the early afternoon when I heard what I could have sworn was the beeping of the timer on the stove.  I went to the kitchen to investigate.  Sure enough, the timer had gone off and now displayed "END" on its LCD screen.

I did some quick math in my head.  The 10 minutes that I had so carefully entered into the timer the night before had actually been 10 hours.  Maybe I thought I was cooking mac-n-cheese the Crockpot way?

Beware, Toby: This could be your life in 12 years!

December 14, 2005

I'm Addicted to Love

Beefncheddar This is not a parody.

Have you noticed that many news organizations, in honor of former ABC News anchorman Peter Jennings, have embarked on a quit smoking campaign? So why don't our media launch a campaign advising people to quit engaging in the dangerous and addictive homosexual lifestyle? Life-threatening sexually transmitted diseases among homosexuals are on the increase.

I assure you, he's really quite serious.

That's performing a good public service. But let's take this humanitarian impulse one step further. We would suggest that ABC News take on another dangerous practice—homosexuality. The latest reports indicate a rising pattern of sexually transmitted diseases nationwide. The 2005 estimate for syphilis cases is the highest in a decade, and the number of gonorrhea cases will exceed any other year's count since 1993. Federal officials attribute the increases mostly to HIV-positive homosexual men having sex with one another. The practice is called "serosorting."

The practice shows the dangerous and addictive nature of the homosexual lifestyle. As if it wasn't bad enough that the homosexual men are HIV-positive, they simply cannot stop having sex with other men. So they are still having sex, this time with other HIV-positive men. They think this is "responsible" sex. But they are increasing their risk of acquiring other sexually transmitted infections, including new resistant strains of HIV. [. . .]

It appears that the homosexual lifestyle is as addictive as smoking.

Yeah, I used to have a job, a career, a wife and family. Then they opened that glory hole in the Arby's bathroom down at 135th and Cicero. Now I lay awake at night, dreaming of Pedro, sweating, shaking, barely able to control myself during the excruciating hours before I can grapple with dozens of strange men in those graffiti covered stalls again. You smack fiends out there think you have a hard goin? It is nothing compared to the butt sex between steamy mouthfuls of beef and cheddar.

Thank God there are right-wing crazies out there who will take the initiative in breaking me of this vicious (yet delicious) cycle of sexual destruction.

h/t Balloon Juice

December 08, 2005

Sensory Deprivation

SacredcowMalbug_13India's a remarkable country, but the only thing worse than looking under the "burger" heading on a menu to find only "chicken" and "veggie" is missing out on American reality TV, like the new season of "Project Runway."

So that's why God made Made In Brazil.

November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving Blogging

Turkey It may be light this weekend, but probably not. While Mal is doing something customarily fabulous like going to the Hamptons with his adorable hubby, I do know he has hatched some insidious scheme involving pre-set blog posts that go off like time bombs. He does it to challenge me. The man is harsh gay blogging task master, and just be thankful you don't get strange e-mails at four in the morning with "Robbie, your unhinged right-wing screed to hot guy post ratio is down, down, down!"

But seriously, one of the many things I am thankful for this year is the opportunity to blog here. I've enjoyed getting to know our readers, correspond in IM and e-mail, and hear from so many people with such varied opinions, interests, and personalities. I also have the opportunity to work with Mal who is truly a genuinely nice, thoroughly decent guy, which isn't always the easiest thing to find while mucking about the gay world.

Hopefully this holiday finds all of you well, fed, and happy. Being the Irish-American type I am, we've set aside many a bottle of wine, the Bailey's Irish Cream, the liquor, and the crazy relatives. Armed with the laptop, I'll no doubt be blogging throughout the day while wedged on the couch between over-perfumed, lipsticky cousin and her evil twin, "I'm on several mood enhancers/inhibitors, so of course I'd love some vodka!" The key today will be seeing whether or not I can blog without degenerating completely under rum assault.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

November 10, 2005

Adam and Evening


I had a wonderful time last evening in New York's stunning Meatpacking District at Soho House (the same one where SATC was filmed), celebrating the launch of Adam New York, a low-pressure virtual and real-world networking site for New York's gay professionals.

David of Adam New York (and the birthday boy) was a very pleasant chap with the most delightful of British accents.  It was also great to finally meet the equally pleasant David Hauslaib of the Jossip/Queerty media empire, as well as the Manhattan Offender and many others.

But, oy!  My achin' liver!

November 09, 2005

Starts With "V," Ends With "Odka"


Dying to know what Bradford and I have in common?

November 07, 2005

The Weekend: A Photoblog

Malbug_13Dscn0992_1Happy belated Monday, everyone.  It was another busy weekend for me, aided and abetted by the continued glorious New York City weather.  There are three sets of photos after the jump:

• A few architectural shots seen while attending Saturday's "World's Largest Block Party" on Madison Avenue ...

• Our utter failure on Saturday night to find a decent gay country bar in New York ...

• And some shots of yesterday's New York Marathon, both from up close and from 300 feet above.

Continue reading "The Weekend: A Photoblog" »

October 18, 2005

Yee Haw!

Malbug_13Score one for us meat-eating Red Staters!

I had dead cow for lunch today, and I loved it.

September 21, 2005

Marrakech Glances

Malbug_13A belly dancer two feet away, and someone's more interested in the photographer:


September 12, 2005

M.O. Not "Bullish" on Ahnuld


The Manhattan Offender is proposing a boycott of Red Bull for some rather tenuous reasons.  (I already boycott Red Bull in favor of the sugar-free variety, but that's another story.)  Apparently Arnold Schwarzenegger has some financial ties of some sort to the fizzy, Austrian pepper-upper.

Now, I'm not much of one for boycotts.  My Babs boycott held firm until I broke down and watched "Meet the Fockers."  And although I'm still not too keen on the French, I will probably just tip very cheaply when I fly through Paris this weekend.

But I thought at least I could join the M.O. in spirit: I'll vent my rage at Ahnuld by continuing to boycott exercise for another week or two – even though it puts me dangerously close to a "flabber-lanche."

September 05, 2005

Don't DUI It


Speaking of anniversaries people just remembered, it was 10 years ago yesterday (Labor Day 1995, actually) that I had my one and only major run-in with Johnny Law.

I was still a relatively fresh face in D.C., little more than a kid.  I had been out that Sunday night in Adams Morgan with my roommate at the time and a friend of mine from college who lived nearby, celebrating the unofficial end of summer.

Sobriety I didn't have much to drink that night – maybe three drinks total, but they were pretty big ones.  I suppose I knew deep down that they were equivalent to more that "just" three drinks, but I thought I felt fine.  My roommate was a tiny woman, and my friend had even more to drink than me, so I thought it would be fine for me to drive.  It was my car, after all.

I got within one exit of my apartment when I saw the red-and-blues flashing in my rear-view mirror.  I don't think I've even been so mortified in my life, but it was only going to get worse.

Continue reading "Don't DUI It" »

August 28, 2005

"No Rules, Just Right": Commie Edition


There is an Outback Steakhouse attached to my hotel, so I'm going to go eat some beef.  I've had enough mutton in the past few days to appease several dozen sexually frustrated Montana ranchers.

I will blog more about my day, including the best attempt at Engrish that I can muster.  I am currently in the middle of Lexapro withdrawal and beginning to get drunk on Absolut, so it could get ugly.  (Shout out to everyone who has tried to get the SSRI monkey off their back!)

More after I chow on some cow.

A White Paper on Red China


Back in the days when Saturday Night Live was really unfunny (I know, I'm being redundant), there was this little interlude where an announcer's voice says: "And now we present a white paper on Red China."  Then this hand reaches out and places a sheet of paper on a red plate.  Hi-larious.

HazyMalbug_13It's a triple-H day in Beijing: hazy, hot and humid.  I had the pleasure of teaching the first of those three words to a group of Chinese students who stopped me to chat in a mall.  (That single gesture was more friendly than almost any other country I've visited, by the way.)

One girl in particular wanted to brush up on her English and was engrossed in hearing about what I do, why I am here, and other minutiae.  (I suppose my fabulousness stands out even more here.  If you saw my shirt, you'd understand why.  I look like a paint-spattered gay cowboy.)

Speaking of which, I'm pretty sure I'm not the only gay guy in Beijing.  I saw at least two who were completely fabbed to the hilt, one of whose hair was spiked right up to Jesus.  (Yes, I was being ironic when I said there was only one gay guy in Beijing.)

McdonaldsMalbug_13I got the McDonald's food that I was craving, with a TCBY chaser.  I have to say, it was the cleanest and most fabulous (there's that word again) Mickey D's that I have ever seen  There were intimate little booths in one corer, and a central bar-style eating area that even had a cheaper, mass-produced version of the Lem stool.

My double cheeseburger, fries and Diet Coke came to the equivalent of about $2.  Kind of shocking, especially when you consider they are asking $6 for about 16 ounces of Evian in my hotel room.

After lunch, I took in a little entertainment outside.  [Watch video -- 9.6mb, MOV format]

It's a girl singing, basically.  I just found it amusing.  But I'll understand if you don't want to download 9.6 megs for that.  I have no way of compressing/converting files or anything over here.

Malbug_13Air Conditioning in Chinese hotels, even five-star ones, is a hypothetical construct, at best.

Malbug_13And I have only been at three hotels here so far, but the three mattresses rank No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 in terms of the hardest I have ever slept on in my life.

Malbug_13FcukBeijing residents are fortunate that they also have the opportunity to enjoy the ever-so-subtle humor of French Connection.

Malbug_13I had a great conversation yesterday with a woman who works with Xinhua, the state news agency (basically, the Chinese AP).  We talked a lot about Sino-U.S. relations.  As a former reporter myself, I spent a lot of time quizzing her about the media and press freedom in China.

I asked her where the line is drawn in terms of criticism of the government.  She said that there is actually a lot of such criticism, but mainly it will be at the ministerial or provincial level.  It is a definite no-no to be critical of President Hu or Prime Minister Wen, though.

I asked what would happen if any of those boundaries were breached.  She said the "senior editor" (what I assume is similar to U.S. editors-in-chief or managing editors) could be fired.  I didn't press her on what else might happen.

Malbug_13I'm sorry I haven't been able to post more Engrish.  Apparently, there is much less of it these days in China because authorities have made a conscious effort to have most of their English actually make sense, and be less entertaining -- sort of a face-saving thing.

I hear they were growing weary of tourists stopping on the highways to snap photos of funny signs.  However, I did see a sign admonishing motorists not to drive "tiredly," but I wasn't able to get a picture.

Maybe I'll have a chance to rack up some Engrish when I'm out and about.  I decided to forgo the Great Wall today.  The drive from my hotel is much too long, while the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square (clears throat) are within walking distance.

OK, time to head out.  I can just hear the husband's stinging epithet ringing in my ear now: "Blogger!"

August 27, 2005

Many Gays in Shanghai; One in Beijing


Andy links to a story about the thriving, albeit underground, gay scene in Shanghai.  How far is that from Beijing, again?


On my agenda today: breakfast at McDonald's (it's Sunday morning here), because the same bizarre meal repeated twice daily gets old.  It's true, I never thought I would be wistful for America's version of "Chinese" food!

Then I'm going to learn how to tell a cabbie to take me to the Great Wall and back.  Anything else today will be gravy.  Except the American kind with big brown lumps, not the transparent viscous kind that tastes like puke.

If I'm really lucky, maybe I'll meet another jet-lagged American who will accompany me on a breathless foreign adventure involving hotel bars and karaoke, a la Lost in Translation.  But more likely, I'll just wind up back here watching a random Affectional Film.

August 23, 2005

B.A.B.F. 4

Malbug_13Spanning the neighbloghood to skim you the cream from recent New York City postings, it is the Big Apple Blog Festival 4.  [Hosted by A Guy in New York]

The Malcontent's contribution this week was my sorrowful tale of loss -- or, more to the point, of being a loser.

August 16, 2005

The L Word


Despite the rain on Sunday, we headed out between showers to kill some time in Union Square.  I was on umbrella duty most of the time, and holding that big lightning rod made me jump just a little higher with every thunderclap.  But I didn't realize then just how lucky I was not to be struck dead.

We started out at the magnificent and huge ABC Carpet & Home store, which is six floors of moderate to expensive furnishings.  We wended our way among the Buddhas and silks, past the chandeliers and bedding, until we came upon their line of vintage furniture made from salvaged wood, drawing upon sources including abandoned barns, demolished building and fallen trees.

Shelves I got out the camera-phone to click a photo of a tall shelving unit that would go wonderfully under a soffit in our entryway, stepping backward to get just the proper angle.  Just as a felt a gentle brushing against my elbow, the Hubbie yelled, "Look out!"

I wheeled around.  Frozen in front of me for what seemed like a minute was an enormous wooden pot, carved from the trunk of a tree, beginning to tip over on its base.  My mind was paralyzed with horror as I did some quick math on whether dropping a $400 camera-phone would be more foolish than reaching out to save a pot of indeterminate value.

As the Hubbie went running to save his flip-flopped toes, the pot crashed to the floor and tottered around face-down like a coin dropped on a table, until it finally came to rest.  I darted over to pick it up and saw a saleswoman making a beeline for us.

Fortunately, the Hub's dash to safety was just the diversionary tactic I needed.  The saleswoman was busy joking with him about how he was more concerned about getting the hell out of the way than he was about helping me, so I quickly scooped up the pot and heaved it back onto its base.  As he and she continued their banter, I positioned the pot so that the gaping vertical split that had opened up on one side was strategically facing away.

The saleswoman seemed convinced that no harm had been done, so we skittered to the elevator and onto another floor.  We were too scared to stop and check the price on that monstrosity, surmising from the cost of the surrounding merchandise that it must have been at least $1,000.  A big, ugly, wooden bullet had been dodged.

We eventually headed to an early dinner and shelter from the rain at the Coffee Shop.  It was a Brazilian-themed place, and while I opted for a rather pedestrian Caesar salad, I accompanied it with a frozen caipirinha for a splash of authenticity.  It came served in one of those tall, 16-ounce milkshake glasses, and I downed it with dispatch.

After dinner, I decided that another frozen caipirinha would do nicely for dessert.  For some reason, it took forever for the waitress to materialize with the second drink.  I decided to split it with the husband, picking up the drink to shovel half of the frosty yumminess into the empty glass.  In a flash, the full glass slipped out of my hand from the moisture that had condensed on the outside, crashing into and shattering the glass that I had been filling.

I sat ruefully shaking my head, a stream of caipirinha dripping onto my pantleg, as a hostess rushed over with napkins.  She sopped up the mess and gingerly placed the shards of glass into a pile, and I noticed a broad smirk cross her face when she saw the T-shirt I was wearing:

It was raining outside, but indoors at Union Square, lightning had struck twice.