Monday, November 30, 2009

World AIDS Day

I know this isn't a story. I'm cross posting this with my other blogs. 


December 1st is also known as World AIDS Day. Whether it be through our behaviour, our friends, loved ones, heroes, even just images from half a world away, we are all affected by this.

I am HIV Negative and I understand that I am lucky.

I have entirely too many friends who are positive, I think of people I used to know in Ottawa and Peterborough and wonder if they're still alive. I hope so. I spent the first 25 years of my life scared shitless that this was going to kill me, especially when I came to the realization that I was gay. It's the second thing my parents thought of when I came out to them (the first thing was whether my brother is as well... he isn't).

I think of a friend down in DC who is bound and determined, despite living with full blown AIDS and KS that he is going to live every day he has to in order to see his grandson graduate from college. He told me that the grimmest jokes come from PWAs themselves. He then told me one:



What's the hardest part about having AIDS? Convincing your mother that you're Haitian.


I spent the afternoon folding papers for the local needle exchange run by the AIDS Committee Of London to do even a small part to help prevent the spread of HIV, Hepatitis and AIDS amongst intravenous drug users. I'll be getting more involved with them in the future and am helping with the sound setup for the vigil tomorrow, 138 Wellington, the Christ Anglican Church there if anyone local to London can make it. I believe it starts at 7PM and goes to 9PM. If there is a vigil close to you, I implore you to go there. If you're not comfortable going to one if it's in a church, well, do what you need to do but take some time and think about it.

And as I tell all of my friends who happen to tell me they're going on a date: Play safely. Please.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Paint Job Part Two

    Jesus Murphy did painting this place really take that long? Well, no. See, we've been having some problems at the house. Vandalism, robbery, shit like that so honestly kids, I haven't really cared to tell you any more details about my fabulous personal life. David's been blaming himself, poor thing, because he thinks he left the door unlocked but really I'm quite sure he did lock it. He just forgot the deadbolt. Not that it would have helped, The window was how the thieves got in, but I'm thinking it's more of a magical thinking thing, you know like if you lock the door six times, a magical fairy will protect the house for you. So that explains my absence, what's your excuse?
    Anyway, after we repainted, we took pictures not just because Reginald asked but because we wanted something for posterity. We also took some pictures after the break in which really helped out case. It turns out that we got some insurance money, not just enough to replace the door and window but enough to remodel! We got whole new windows with whole new trim and, since the colour was not working out in the living room (damn it, I liked that colour too) we decided to switch it up a bit. Specifically... black. The paint was black, the furniture was now black, the shades were black, the floors were dark enough to be black.
    Ladies and gentlemen, I live on a porn set.
    This was Ron's idea. Totally. The only contrast is the white trimming and ceiling which have since been painted off-white so they don't glare as much under the lighting and distract the cameras.
    I was not exaggerating. As of the last two months I actually do live on a porn set. And don't you tell me it isn't hell to clean up when company comes over. I don't think I've allowed my mother to set foot in the house since it became Ron's latest pet project. Now, at this point none of us have appeared in the video, and aside from Ron directing, me catering and David acting as a composer, none of us intend to. I know, you probably want to see some hot Butch-Ron-David, Two Bears One Cub action and you can just keep on wanting it.
    Oh, and did I say two bears? Yes, yes I did. Ron used to see himself as more of an otter but after the robbery and the remodelling, he's been working twice as hard at the gym and eating enough for one and a half. I'm not complaining, he's still my beautiful gay historian but goddamn, he even went and shaved off the facial hair he had so he could grow a full, trim beard.
    Woof indeed.
    So if we're not in the movies, who is?
    Mikey for one.
    A few of the local couples and triads we know for more.
    There were two guys who wanted to use the room to recreate a scene from Leather Bears At Play verbatim. When Ron realized what scene it was he had to back out. There's no barebacking in our living room for one thing and there's certainly no bloodletting via rubber strap.
    Of course, Ron being Ron, the porn he makes is digital then messed around with on his computer to look like it was shot in the silent era. Given how a couple of the queens decided to ham it up on camera, consider it a small mercy that he removed the dialogue entirely... except for old time style placards that said "You like that big bear dick, don't ya?"
    I want to believe, kids, that this is leading to something else. I'm hoping against hope that this is going to be a new museum piece he's curating, a form of contemporary art or something like that. Most of all, though, I just want my red living room back.
   

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Paintjob Part 1

The problem with moving into a house, aside from wacky Christians across the street, is that other people lived in it before. Sepcifically, other people painted and papered the place before. The house is old enough that you could count the residents by the layeres of paint on the walls. At least, it would be if some previous owners with a certain amount of sense had the lead paint stripped from the walls, removing the more toxic element of its history.
The floors of our house are of a solid, dark, hard wood. There's at least 3 dick jokes in there if you want to find them. Anyway, It's a major step up from the parquet and lino from my place, the light, fake hardwood of Ron's old place and whatever horrid, disease ridden carpet lined the floor of David's university hovel. When we saw the place, the walls had recently been painted white. The walls shone with that newly painted sheen that hadn't quite faded, something even white walls do after a time.
"So how are we going to do this?" David asked, shortly after we took possession. "I mean, are we each going to pick a room and pick out the colour or are we going to grab samples and pick every detail together?" He sounded a little more excited about the first option and really, who could blame him? Ron ansd I drove him to tears discussing what shade of white paint would be best for leaving an apartment. Moving into a house? He wanted to pick a room, pick a colour, pick out a wedgie and go to town.
Ron and I, of course, had none of it. Ron took photos of the walls and floors with and without a flash so he could bring them for reference. David pocketed his Nintendo DS because the boy learns quick. I made a quick survey of the place and pictured what it would look like with our furniture, what colours would work best. I also wanted a red living room but that's neither here nor there for now.
For paint stores, we could have gone to your Colour Your Worlds, your Sherman Williams's, your Homo-Depots but we went to family owned Show Your Colours. Show Your Colours was owned in whole by Reginald, not quite a queen but definitely a dandy just on the opposite end of middle age. There were rumours of his correspondance with Quentin Crisp and presence at the Stonewall Inn three days before the riots. In turn, the gaybourhood loves him as something of a good luck charm and a person of living history. Therefore, Ron was fascinated and almost reverent of this rail thin and elegant man with wisps of long manic panicked hair at his sides, another allusion to the Crisp rumours? Maybe. Either way, I quite liked him.
"Oh, I see you brought the whole family," he said looking disdainfully at David and his pocket video game system. "How can I help you today, dears?"
"We're just looking to paint the new place, I'm thinking red for the entrance and living room." I said, smiling my most charming smile possible.
"Do you really want your home looking like a brothel?" He asked.
"Well, I just spent a fortune in beaded curtains and cheap faux silks." His eyes widened in mock horror at my mock terrible ideas. "But seriously, I was thinking something cherry or maybe even bordello?" Reginald rolled his eyes dramatically and lead me to the paint displays. I had the printed photos from Ron's pciture experiments showing the dark wood in the living room.
"You know, I was going to suggest something more neutral but with this tone of wood, maybe these shades?" He grabbed a few cardboard colour swatches, one of them being what my heart was set on.
"I'm not sure if it works," he said and there was a part of me that thought he was right. "Shouldn't it be a bit lighter to contrast the wood and make the place more like a warm home?" The thought of dinner parties, warm nights, the sort of happy suburban gay life Ron was considering when we bought the place, well it was all well and good. Maybe lightewr tones would have been more suitable for that sort of thing.
"The bedroom is going to be painted black!" Ron called out across the store.
"Give me the bordello, we're fucking in the living room." Reginald gave me a scandalized look when David interuppted at the paint display rack, his eyes darting back and forth between his game system and the swatches.
"What are you looking for?" Reginald asked, slightly condescending. David noticed, glowered and tilted his Nintendo DS so Reginald could see the screen. He pointed at a colour that sat between light blue and dark grey. Reginald furrowed his brow, touching the left side of his head where a similar colour had been washed into his hair. "My dear, I'm almost stumped."
David shrugged, "Ah well, I'll keep looking, I'll find it somewhere." He bounced off, that glower being lifted with the idea that he could actually find the colour himself on the other side of the store with Ron.
"Honestly Butch, I don't think he'll find that exact shade," said Reginald, "I don't think they have that anywhere."
"Oh, that's just the backlighting, you have the shade, it'll just look odd on the walls." I smiled and he smiled back.
"Like when that friend of yours, Michael, came in for the Super Mario Brothers blue, I don't think even he knew what the right shade would be." We laughed.
"Allright, found it!" David sounded excited as Ron did about our black bedroom. I grabbed the swatch for bordello and Reginald mixed up the paints. As the machine shook the paint cans into a blur, Ron pointed and said "hey look, it's going as fast as you can," to David who blushed.
"That has to hurt," said Reginald.
"Only when it's as dry as your sense of humour." David chimed in.
"Allright children, your paint is ready. Now be sure to take pictures, I want to see how they turn out."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Return Of Butch!

Moving is a bitch.
But wait, let me catch you up. I know it's been positively months since I've even dusted this thing off and you know what? I can apologize until the cows come home but sometimes life is just way too uninteresting. So if you want to scold or chide me then go ahead but darling it's time for the premier of Season 2!
So let's begin the series with a catch-up, shall we?
We have a new set! We, being Ron, David and I, have moved out of the village and into the wilds... about four blocks away. Still, they're big blocks. It's surprisingly quiet in the new neighbourhood, with older houses and families young and old. It's not quite the gaybourhood but we do have a bear couple down the street named Richard and Yoshi, great guys but they always act like they're hiding something.
Mikey, in the meantime, moved into my old place. After that recent spat of unpleasantness with Chuck he decided to get out of his apartment and into mine, calling it good luck. I'm glad, frankly, it meant I didn't have to paint. We have a new cat named Melchior not named for a wise man apparently but for the tubby sage in Chrono Trigger, according to David.
In addition to the cat, David happens to have a new friend. I'm sure you remember Josh, his straight, HIV positive buddy? Well, he now has a bona-fide fruit fly named Amelia or, when those two girls get together, Ames. She's fabulous, goddamnit.
Everyone's alive and well except for Prissy Butch, aka Ken, aka attempted boyfriend stealing, bareback enthusiast asshole extrordinare. He's alive and still healthy apparently, but I'd hardly call him well. At least, not after he pissed off David so badly that David actually punched him in the face. No charges were laid but David was that night, believe you me. So he knows to not make little snide remarks around us again.
My brother's polysexual, porn producing poly relationship with girlfriend Liz and boyfriend William has apparently been going so well that they have a distribution deal with Excited Studios! Mom's not too proud of that but her boy is making a decent living.
John met a nice girl, again, one who isn't domineering and is, in fact, downright meek in comparison with the blasted crab-shack harridan he was with. She also happens to know about his newfound inclination for being a BDSM sub and is apparently fine with it. He found himself the best girl possible, I think.
So what, you might ask, prompted the post? The sudden dusting? Well it took me this long to decorate, paint and unpack properly. It's no excuse, I know, but you try putting together the homes of a gay historian (Ron), a university student (David) and the butchest queen you know (me) into a functioning house.
Then try meeting the neighbors.
Specifically meet Ken and Chrissy. They're about as good, solid, Christian folk as I hoped I'd never have to meet. Still, I wish I knew that before the barbecue party.
Let me explain, when we moved into the new house a few months back, we got to know the neighbors as best we could, given David's little jibes about us being heterophobic. Well, Ken and Chrissy were just as sweet as pie, tooth rottingly so but show me a bear who can resist a barbecue and I'll show you a fat man on a diet.
Of course, it was just Ron they told about the barbecue, expecting he'd bring his goodly wife.
"Well, I must say Ron, who are these two hungry fellas?" said Ken as he tried shaking my hand the first and I'm pretty sure last time.
"Well, these are my partners Ken," he made a sort of "be nice" motion to me.
"I'm Brian," I said, "call me Butch though, everyone does."
"And I'm David," our boy waved and smiled and was so bubbly it was both cute and unnerving.
"Oh so you all work together?" Chrissy asked. It was only for David that I kept my patience to not reenact the scene from American Beauty.
"Not that kind of partner," I said. I don't think she clued in.
"Would you like to come inside?" they asked, almost in unison. We nodded, what would be the harm other than the inevitable shot of insulin we'd require after leaving.
I honestly wish it could have been so easy. But no. Let me give you the run down:
White walls with blue carpeting and beige furniture.
Pictures of Jesus in random spots, and I mean Christ, not the cute Latino boy over at club Ace
Thomas Kinkade paintings near goddamn everywhere.
This, then, was my Hell.
"It's very nice," I said, meaning how everything had a razor sharp accuracy to how it was arranged, deliberately only for the utility of best presenting those godawful paintings.
"I just love his work, don't you?" Chrissy asked, hoping I'd give what was apparently some sort of secret password or phrase for her approval. I'm pretty sure she wanted me to say that yes I just adored his paintings.
I'm not a good liar.
"Personally, I prefer Warhol. And thanks to this guy," I said, patting Ron on the back, "we have a lovely collection of Mapelthorpe photo reprints you simply must see." I dripped it on. Part of me hoped neither of them had any idea who Mapelthorpe was, or that they thought Warhol was just that Campbell's Soup guy. I was wrong.
"Weren't they..." Ken let his wrist go limp, like we were in the eighties again.
"You mean gay?" David asked, beating me to the punch, so to speak. He let the word out quickly but not sharply. There was no reprimand though had I said it, he'd still be feeling a good slap.
Ken nodded. "We don't really, uh, we don't..." He trailed off.
"He means to say we're Christian so we don't really keep up with those people."
"You mean like us?" I asked. Ron's 'partner' comment finally clicked into their minds.
"You three..." started Chrissy.
"You're all..." stammered Ken like they operated out of a hive mind and the signal was breaking. Ron looked like he was enjoying this much more than he claims he did.
"Yep, so tell me, how long have you been living here?" I had to ask.
I'm honestly not sure what I was expecting. I was almost hoping for some sort of homophobic freak out, or a sudden nod asking how the dynamics of our admittedly uncommon relationship worked. Instead, the spring air suddenly began to feel very chilly as Ken and Chrissy began forcing their smiles until the their teeth were blinding. They were civil and doing their very best to be unwelcoming without being rude.
It wasn't until the next day when we raised a rainbow flag on the old flagpole outside did we notice that they had placed a cross on their front door.
"Warding off vampires?" David asked.
"Or fags," I answered, "or both."
"Maybe we should put our cross on the porch." David was, of course, referring to the St. Andrews cross we keep down in the basement.
"Maybe for your birthday sweetheart."

Monday, December 29, 2008

Dinnertime!

Well everyone, I hope you all had a lovely holiday. David got home from visiting his parents last night so we decided to wait to do the gift giving until then. Well, I guess it helps that Ron and I were out of town too, we had all descended upon my mother's house like vultures decked in scotch, wine and gift wrap. My older brother showed up with a new girlfriend, her name is Hillary and she is quite a vast improvement. She had leather pants at the top of her bag when I ever so subtly sauntered into their room and welcomed her to the gatherings. Al brought Will as Will
is Jewish and had his holiday already while Liz was off at her parents' house. There were many phone calls Christmas day between David and us and Liz and us and Rachel and Aaron who are otherwise visitationally occupied so it is just the whole fam damily as my father used to say.

Well... still says.

Because guess who came to dinner!

All the way from Tulsa or wherever the hell he's living now: Butch Mary's Actual Dad! Not the sexual facsimile I've left crumpled on the side of the road over the past decade.

"You know Thomas, it's proper to call first." Was all my mother had to say, letting him in the door.

"Oh quiet, you knew I was coming up for this!" And if she did, she was the only one. See, the divorce was amiable enough to avoid creating lasting scars on John and I (Al being a different story) but it did end up removing him from our lives for a while in any form other than post cards, birthday presents and the occasional summer trip.

There's a considerable lack of bitterness overall. we weren't close but we were close enough.

What this means is that John and I can avoid the standard televised family drama and
stick to small talk which is fine because he still refers to us as kids. Al, however, was too young to get it and has an hour reserved, I'm sure, for working out his own daddy issues. That's fine though, we all do as we must.

"So where are you living now?" Mom asked at dinner.

"Well, company has me out in Albequerque these days. It's not bad."

"What happens when you turn left at Albequerque?" I ask, Ron and Al giggling.

"You end up where you're supposed to be at, varmint!" Dad did his best Yosemite Sam impression which, after years of working on the train, had lost its resemblance to the beloved red moustached gun nut and sounded more like my dad screaming like Paul
Giamatti in American Splendor. Still, it was nice and it was what we wanted to hear.
The man, when John and I were kids and he was still around, could recite the entirety (or so it seemed) of the Warner Brothers line of cartoons, even the banned stuff and the stuff censored for television that one day John or maybe even Al's children will hear and presumably repeat for hours and days on end.

Especially the banned stuff.

After dinner, with people scurrying about the house, Ron and I sat with Dad in the living room. This was only mildly awkward. Dad knows I'm gay but has never met anyone I've been with.

"So how long have you two been..."

"Since the summer," I said, glossing over the semi hiatus we took.

"Serious then?"

"Oh yes," Ron said and smiled at me like a dopey teenager. I blame the amount of blue nun that seemed to disappear from his glass.

"Good, he takes after his mother, you'll be fine." They laughed and clinked glasses and there you have it: the best I get for interaction with my Dad in person. Not
because I wanted it to end but because Al needed his moment.

"You don't mind?" Ron asked me.

"Nah," I said, "John and I had more time with him as kids, Al gets his chance now, it evens out."

And as I thought about it on the way home the next day with Ron nursing a hangover,

it really did.

So when we got home and David joined us, we decided to have our own family holiday with Mikey. Gifts were exchanged, take out was ordered (because none of us wanted any more turkey!) and we spent the night watching DVDs of Judy Garland's Christmas Special, Tokyo Godfathers and a DVD of the original stop motion animation specials of yesteryear before it became all about computers.

"I'm surprised that Jake guy isn't here," Mikey said. "Hey David, are you two...?" He asked, similar to my dad.

"Nope!" David said, digging into his chicken fried rice.

"No? Not even a little? Well, there are ways to play safe there."

"It's his first Christmas poz, he's at home with his family." David said, keeping the rice in his cheeks like a chipmunk. Besides, we're really not each other's types," he said with a grin not because there was something he knew that we didn't but because he knew there was something he knew and we didn't know.

"He not like bears?" Ron asked.

"Nope! Twinks either."

"What's he into then, muscle guys?" I asked.

"Nah, close though, he likes vagina." David chewed his food again, the rest of us let it click in our minds that our boy's new poz best friend was also a heterosexual.

"How very Boys In The Band," said Ron. "That's cool though."

"Hmm, I don't know if I have any straight friends." I said.

"I don't know if you do either," David said.

"I must... I think?" And I sat there racking my brains through the fag hags and male fag hags through the years and discovered that currently, the heterosexuals that I am not related to yet are still a large part of my life equal exactly zero.

"That's really weird," Ron said, "I'm not sure if I do either."

I know a few heteros and I don't mind them but I don't specifically look for their company either...

Maybe in 2009.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Very Mary Holiday!

I know, you wanted this to be a Christmas special right? Well darlings, I don't really jive well with Christmas on it's own. I prefer Yule, you get to do all of the gift giving and chintzy decoration but you also get the satisfaction of saying "happy holidays" to people whom you know it will bother to absolutely no end. It also means I have to shop that day or two earlier than the rest of you.

So Mikey and I decided to take the day and shop together. Ron was going over the housing listings while David and Jake were hanging out so we figured it would be safe. We hopped, skipped and jumped to that bastion of heterotopia where the gays are flaming or not at all: the local mall.

This is where commerce goes not to die, but to breed and breed discontent. Personally, I'd prefer to shop downtown but goddamn if I wouldn't be spotted getting everyone's surprises and besides the mall has the roof and heating that downtown sadly lacks in these cold-assed times.

Still, every time this time of year comes around, there are a few things I am just not ready for when it comes to the mall.

First, there is the music. It is always Christmas music and yes, I know I should expect to hear it but they never play the greats. You will only hear Fairytale Of New York in the major record store with the guy behind the counter who wishes he lived in the book High Fidelity. Don't even ask about The Smashing Pumpkins, Flaming Lips or Rupaul. Just don't.

Beyond that is the combined smells of peppermint, cinnamon and the sort of unholy strong potpourri your grandmother has almost all year round. It is overwhelming and if it takes me back to any particular time in my life, it's this time last year where I nearly punched an old woman.

It was all her fault, I swear.

Anyway, the other thing about malls is the fact that there is so much shiny crap, if you do not have an attention span, you might as well get the analgesics and ice bath ready because you are going to go spastic and force three days at the gym into all of two hours.

This was Mikey.

That being said and this being hetero-central, I couldn't quite convince him to wear a leash either. I was close but he didn't want to give the wrong impression in case other, cuter, singler and interested men were about.

The shopping part was easy. Ron got books, David got a gift certificate for EB Games because the gods know he's had enough of books. Mom gets some jewellry, John and Al get gift certificates, as do Al's girlfriend and boyfriend, Jake gets a nice card, Mikey's gift was bought last week and I'm not telling him what it is. Anyway, it's really nice.

And then there's Santa. I didn't sit in his lap but Mikey just had to do it. He does it every year as a Christmas card. Mikey will, given his Daddy loving tendencies, attempt to flirt with Santa and it will invariably go as follows:

"And what would you like for Christmas?"

"A nice man with a big sack to show up and stick around for a while."

"Well, I don't know if I have any of those, heh heh, just smile for the picture... please don't sit on my lap."

I think one was about to punch him three years ago.

Anyway, I watched this whole sordid exchange occur and Mikey was about to lean in closely but there was something wrong with that Santa.

Jolly ol' St. Nick wasn't so Jolly. Especially when Mikey ripped off the beard to reveal his former Daddy, the son of a bitch who dumped him at Pride before Chuck showed up and gave him a good HIV scare.

Least to say, there was no photo.

Not at this mall, anyway.

After being gently asked by security to leave, we rode on up to the mall across town. Mikey was down but not defeated and one sticky, cinnamon bun later, decided to tempt fate again. I mean, he couldn't have dated all of the mall Santas in the city yet, could he?

Well, he had not dated this one. For starters, he was black.

How awesome is that?

It turns out this mall has such a diverse crowd that it has a black Santa, two Asian Santas, an Hispanic Santa, two white Santas and I think a Hanukkah Harry. Mikey, was, of course, undeterred and saw this not only as an opportunity to get a nice card for everyone, but his chance to prove that yes, discovering your ex is playing Santa Claus and getting escorted out of the mall by security is not the worst thing that can happen to you in a day.

"And what would you like for Christmas?"

"A big man with a big sack who will stay a while."

"I get off in an hour,"

"I'm Mikey"

"I know, I checked and you've been a very good boy this year."

"Really?"

"Good is subjective" and there was a wink.

"You out of the closet?"

"Longer than you've been alive." Needless to say, Mikey melted into a puddle of egg nog.

I guess miracles do come true this time of year.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Monday, December 8, 2008

You take one little vacation...

And suddenly everyone thinks you're dead or something! I mean Jeebus! Anyway, if you must know, after our stint in the clinic and Ron's healing, we spent some time in because we had a lot of making up and out to do.

Not that you want to hear about any of the wild monkey sex that occurred, really you don't. I know, you think you do because wouldn't you love to fantasize about my boyfriend but trust me, that thing he does when he licks my ear while my legs are up on his shoulders? Yeah, you don't want to know.

And while David hasn't been joining us, turns out our boy has become the BFF of Jake whom you might recall we met at the clinic. On more than one occasion I've seen David and Jake over here playing video games for almost hours. I'm sure David'll tell you about it later on.

Look kids, I will get back to you later on this week once we're done shopping. I swear to the gods I never want to punch old women more than during this season... It's the one time of the year you can get away from it!

One thing I will mention though, if you are going to spend this giving season giving to a charity, don't be fooled by the Salvation Army kettles kids, give it to charities that need it more. You can talk about helping others all you want but if those others don't include GLBT families then whatever, hypocrites!

And if you think I'm mean about this, you should hear Ron... And yes, later on you probably will.