Wednesday, November 14, 2007

My Next Door Neighbor Died over the weekend

I found out last night via an email that was sent from the building manager to the homeowners.

I swear I saw Marilyn only a few days ago... up and around and looking old and frail but not unhealthy.

Her daughter Jill is actually good friends with my ex. They became friendly after he and I broke up. I've seen Jill more than a few times at his old house (when he still lived there) for parties and stuff. I learned that Marilyn was going to be my neighbor at one of those parties. She and I compared notes about the building and such... when we finally got to our unit numbers were were shocked to find that we'd be right next to each other!

We weren't socially close or anything at all... said hello in the hallway and talked at building functions about Jill. Marilyn and I really only knew each other at all because of Jill's association with my ex which always seemed to linger just beneath the surface of any conversation we had.

I'll be attending a small ceremony Jill is hosting this Saturday.

Monday, November 12, 2007

November 12 of 12

12 pictures all taken on the 12th of the month. It's Chad Darnell's idea and if you'd like to play along you can find out how at his blog (which is pretty interesting right now because he is one of the writers who are on strike, and he's really got a neat insider's view of the whole thing up).

When one door closes another door opens.

My 12 were inspired by that oft used quote, attributed to many, including Helen Keller and Alexander Graham Bell... November has been a month of pretty extreme change for me, professionally & personally & pharmaceutically. So I got to thinking about how many literal and figurative doors had opened and closed for me over the past few weeks and came up with these 12 shots:

About to head out my front door:

Exiting the building via my super secret back staircase exit:

The super sleek doors of a newly refurbished MARTA train. My transportation to work:

Exiting the train station at work via another super secret back exit:

About to head in to the office:

'Nuff said:

Leaving the office:

The proper entrance to the MARTA station at work (as opposed to my super secret exit):

Nearly home now. This is outside the shop across the street from me. I stopped to get something frozen for dinner:

I left via my super secret exit, but I'm coming home via the grand front entry:

Check the mail (nothing by the way, which I should have known since it was a holiday... duh):

Home again, home again, giggity gig:

So those are most of the literal doors I go through on a daily basis... the figurative ones have been much more interesting, but WAY harder to photograph.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Has it really been a week?

Wow... so THIS is what it's like to work like a normal person! Interesting.

For well over 10 years now I have worked weird hours. VERY early mornings or very late at night. In fact, for the past 8 years I rarely left work before 2am. Worse still prior to 2007 I was a "floater" so when someone called in sick or went on vacation, I covered for them, no matter what their shift was or what shift I'd worked the day before... so my "body clock" never really got a chance to find a syncopation... my waking and sleeping hours never corolated to the sunlight or the darkness. For the past 12 months I've been working 6p - 3a. A constant schedule, but certainly not one that many would consider "normal."

On Monday I started a new job... the hours get me into work around 10am and see me heading home around 6pm... SWEET right? I mean... these are DREAM hours as far as I am concerned. The job is a little frustrating right now, but that's typical I think for starting something new. It will get better and easier, I'm not nervous.

Thing is, that these "normal" hours are really cutting into my blogging and blog reading time! I can't believe I haven't posted anything since MONDAY! It seems like I wrote the window dressing post just a day or so ago.

OK... well I am off to catch up on some of y'all's blogs, see if any of my favorite (shall we say) ribald bloggers have anything new to say, and then see if I can't find a marathon of A Shot of Love with Teela Tequila or something as equally trashy on TV.


Monday, November 5, 2007

Cartoon Curtains

It's time, my friends, for you to play designer!

I cannot afford the talents of such an expert (although I have consulted with one of the best) nor can I actually afford the materials needed in order to accomplish this project, but I CAN turn it into a blog post...

Here is a view of my living room:

Pathetic... I know... but I didn't get the design part of the gay gene... I DID get appreciation of musical theater, HGTV and the attraction to men, but not the decorating or dressing parts.

So... as you can see there are no window treatments up there. Well there is one, a pull down shade that I bought at Lowes about 4 days after I moved in. This needs to be dressed up. "P" and I have different opinions on how to go about doing this.

As you look at these next images, disregard the colors, and the stripes and all... those are just there to get my point across (not that I am opposed to these colors or these patterns, but neither am I especially attracted to them either).

Option 1:

Curtains... floor to ceiling. In the photo above they are pulled over the window but left open at the door, but the could be pulled completely closed. I'm thinking curtains like these with the big grommets and thick pole (quit it).

Option 2:

Roman shades. A large upholstered box valance at the top of the window (to give the illusion of height... thank you Candice) and a smaller shade that covers the glass in the door. When I was drawing this I thought about putting a shelf over the door and putting stuff on it, but more than one person has already pointed out that tall things over a door might not be a good idea... so picture maybe a photo or mirror or moosehead there.

So what do you think? Option 1 or Option 2? So far the only professional designer to take a look at my rudimentary plans and I are in agreement. "P" likes the other option... I'll tell you which is which after you tell me what you like best!

Feel free by the way, to mock up your own mockup... I'll take all the free design advice I can get!

P.S. disregard the TV... that will magically be transforming into something thin and wall mounted in the coming months.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

It feels just like starting over

Monday (tomorrow) the next phase in my career begins.

Two weeks ago I was informed that the main show I have been working on had been cancelled. There would be 10 more episodes and then it would be done. Almost exactly 4 months ago I was blogging about my move from "operations" to "editorial" and how nervous I was about it. This was one of the very scenarios I was concerned about. The show was a "next day replay" of a show on one of our sister networks. In this DVR day and age having a few replays is not a bad idea. If you miss Law and Order SVU on NBC Tuesday at 9pm, you can catch the replay on USA later in the week. I mean the first run stuff. New shows, different networks (same parent company), different nights. Makes a lot of sense. "My" replay just wasn't getting the numbers it needed. This was always an experiment, and I knew that going in.

There were other problems too... it was a topical interview/news program. Sometimes that kind of information just doesn't "keep" well overnight, and in the case of a Friday show, that I wouldn't get to air until the following Monday... well.. it just didn't always make for the most topical hour on TV.

The show in question, by the way, will live on in it's current form on it's home network. It's only "my" replay that's been axed.

So starting Monday a "next day replay" of a different show is taking "my" show's place. The new show is formatted around a topic that addresses less "vital" (but NO LESS INTERESTING) matters which will be easier to replay. It also already runs on my network's schedule, and as such matches the existing break structure so there'll be only a minimum amount (if any) of editing involved in order to turn it around. "My" show originally aired with 6 breaks and had to be chopped up to fit into an 8 break structure.

So, where does all this leave me?

It seems that while I was overseeing my replay, I made a good impression on some of the muckity mucks in the newsroom and instead of throwing this baby out with the bathwater, they've reassigned me. On Monday I'll be joining a new show team. A GOOD show I think too. Two hours of mostly live news Monday through Friday, anchored by a person I like and respect and helmed by a team of people who I think "get it." The hours (frankly) KICK ASS and I finally get a DESK with my own computer and phone (after 8 years) too! Do I have any idea how to DO this new job? Not really. I have some of the tools but nowhere near the full toolbox. With just months to go till my 40th birthday, this is definitely a big change, and I'll definitely be the oldest dude in this position... but I'm up for it.

A nice thing is that I have been on vacation this past week. So I've had some time off to refresh and reset my brain (in more ways than one... oooooh cryptic).

OH... the best part... I can take the train to work again! That was one of the reasons I bought THIS NEW CONDO to begin with! Woo Hoo!

P.S. - This is another reason why it's not a bad thing that the Holiday Help deal didn't work out.

Saturday, November 3, 2007


Was watching some of the coverage of the Space Station repair going on in orbit right now. At one point they put up a picture of the astronaut doing the actual work of repairing a solar array.

Hot, right? I was shocked! I mean, yeah, astronauts have kind of an automatic hotness about them but wow. Then I read his bio... which I wont post here, but the guy grew up all over the world, is a medical doctor, mountain climber, Olympic luge coach... the list goes on and on and on! You can read it for yourself here.

Not sure why I am posting this...

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Northside Ballet

Here in Atlanta we have an establishment that caters to ladies and gentlemen who appreciate masculine physical fitness and rhythmic ability. The venue is colloquially referred to as "The Northside Ballet."

That's where I could be found last night... giving dollars to a young man mostly dressed as Indiana Jones.

Paying for it a little this morning... figuratively and literally. Between the cabs and the cover and the $5.50 beers and the tipping (OH THE TIPPING) I definitely spent some coin. Sooooo worth it though. Indiana Jones was SO worth it.

So yeah... I went to a strip club... it was Halloween, I'm on vacation and even had "P's" blessing. I had a great time, hung out with friends I haven't been able to spend much time with lately, played it totally safe by not driving...

Why then do I feel so stupid this morning?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Monday, October 29, 2007

Hi, I'm [Condoblogger]...

For all of his wonderfulness, there is one area in which "P" does not do very well in. He's a bad introducer. I'll be standing next to him for long periods of time without being introduced while he talks to someone. It's not something that bothers me... we've talked about it and I know it's not a comment on me or anything like that, it's just one of his foibles.

Ultimately I introduce myself and we move on.

SOMETIMES this is a carefully crafted tactic on "P's" part. On occasion he will not REMEMBER someone's name and so my JOB is to introduce myself, thus forcing the other person to introduce his or herself as well. Then "P" can just apologize for not introducing us AND pretend that he knew the other person's name all along.

Last night we were at a party (not a Halloween one, just a regular one) and "P" was having a conversation with a guy who is looking for work in "P's" line of business. As usual I was not introduced. Also as usual (at a party) I had been drinking. So at a lull in their conversation I stuck my hand out and said, "Hi, I'm [Condoblogger]," and the guy replied in kind with a greeting and his name, and their conversation moved on.

About 5 minutes later, I realize that I have not yet been introduced to this guy, so at a lull in their conversation I stick my hand out and say, "Hi, I'm [Condoblogger]." Both the guy and "P" look at me as if I were from Mars, and "P" says, "We know. You just introduced yourself a couple minutes ago." I was so embarrassed. Still am. I am terrible at parties. I try too hard, drink too much and interrupt too often.

Is this early Alzheimer's or a Pavlovian response to certain party stimuli or was I just drunk? At least I won't forget that guy's name now... "Good to meet you, Chris."

Friday, October 26, 2007

Off Target

Guess they don't need my holiday help. Hmph.

Needless to say, I'm shocked. If I go in there and see one of these people working I may loose what is left of my self esteem.

Actually, there is a whole 'nuther component to this story now. My REAL job has changed yet again and my new hours would not be compatible with a shift at my favorite retailer... so it all worked out sort of.

Even so, I'm still pissed I didn't get an offer.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Uncontrolled Fire Sucks

So tough to watch all the tragedy in California right now.

I've been there... in both senses of the word "there."

I've been "there" in Southern California during fire season. I grew up in the San Fernando Valley just outside L.A. I went to a private school west of my 'hood down the 101 for my Elementary/Jr. High school years. It was evacuated a couple times due to fires that raced from Agoura to the sea following Kanan Dume Road. The school never burned (much to me and my classmates chagrin) but it came close. Hopping over 12 lanes of freeway to get to us.

A lifetime later... Superbowl Sunday 2001, here in Atlanta, the house I shared with my first "living together" boyfriend burned badly.

That's our bedroom on top and an adjacent study in the pic below that.

We'd had friends over to watch the game earlier in the day and had been making good use of the fireplace. I think we must have had it running (gas flame, gas logs) all day. It wasn't until late that night that the house caught fire though.

I used to joke that "Queer as Folk" saved my ex's life. After our friends had left and I'd gone to work he stayed up late to watch it. If he'd gone to bed at his normal time, the smoke probably would have lulled him into unconsciousness before the fire really got going.

The investigator's best guess is that there was a structural defect that developed in the chimney slowly over the 70 years the house stood there. Somehow the wood framing adjacent to the fireplace (you can see the chimney coming up through the second floor in the lower pic) became superheated and just combusted. There's also a good chance that whoever converted the attic space into living space had improperly built the staircase framing too close to the chimney but most of that evidence was lost in the blaze.

The fire probably smoldered in the wall for hours before really lighting up and breaking through a light switch at the top of the steps. When my ex tells the story, the house "burned down" but in reality it was just very badly damaged. The pics above are of the upstairs, water and smoke caused most of the damage downstairs. That was really the worst of it. In a way I wish the house had burned completely to the ground. That way everything would have been gone... clean slate. Instead we had to go in and try and decide which of the memories that survived the flames were salvageable, and which were just too far gone. Seeing the stuff that I loved damaged was much harder than just never seeing it again.

It was traumatic, but our neighbors and friends came together and helped us out... I am trying to imagine what the atmosphere in Lake Arrowhead must be like... or Castaic Lake where whole NEIGHBORHOODS are trying to deal and cope. Over 1500 homes burned to the ground. Amazing.

click --->here<--- to find out some ways to help

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

OK, How Butch am I?

I came across this test on Mike's blog (he is Mr. Smith Goes to Washington). The first time I took it I was Platoon but I forgot to cut and paste the code. So I took it again, surprisingly similar films! I did the 45 question survey (doesn't take as long as you would imagine). Which one are you?

Lots of movie posts in my little blogosphere right now... the post that started it all on Mike's page, then there's Jason's post about Kubrick, Paul's post about Into the Wild, even cerebral Joe posted about the cinema on the beach this week. What's up with that?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Weather, Wishes and the Weekend

It's RAINING!!! YAY!!! Holy CRAP do we need the rain in Georgia! Depending on who you believe the city of Atlanta may have a less than 90 supply of water. It's a little weird to think about. They've already banned outdoor watering and waiters bringing glasses of water to your table... hopefully this weather will last a while. It's not a drought butster but it's nice to see rain again for sure!

Could this wet weather be some sort of meteorlogical omen to alert Georgians of a certain Seattle blogger's 40th birthday?

Happy B-Day Matt!

Over the weekend "P" and I were very community service oriented.

Saturday morning we helped out at the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Here's me in the Product Rescue Center warehouse being VERY GRUMPY about agreeing to volunteer:

Of course, just like with any good deed, I felt great once we were done.

Later on Saturday we saw "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" which was not as bad as I thought it would be. Clive Owen is hot. That's pretty much what I got out of it.

Sunday we were back in charitable mode. We walked with my company in Aids Walk Atlanta.

Always an interesting crowd at the Aids Walk. BEAUTIFUL weather for the event.

Then Sunday night we saw SLEUTH at the Tony Award Winning Alliance Theater. I was confused. I'm just gonna leave it there... no review.

How was your weekend?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

I have got to win this

TV Land is giving away a weekend trip to NYC to see Young Frankenstein on Broadway!

Click --->HERE<--- to enter for yourself!

Friday, October 19, 2007

The short version of the post below

I get very wordy sometimes... here's the short version:

I applied again. It was very frustrating. Leave your family at home when you are applying for a job. Only had to fill out a short version of the application. Met with another manager. I haven't heard anything from my first application because they don't START hiring seasonal workers till next week.

I think my lack of brevity on this blog is predicated on the fact that in my real life job I am restricted to writing about only the most sensational things in the fewest possible words and the lack of that filter on my blog allows...

I'm doing it again. Sorry.

Holiday Help - Part 2

My theory on the Red Phone at the employment kiosk may be wrong... I'm not certain that it's as high tech as I thought it was.

I did go back and fill out another electronic application. This time I had to wait much longer for one of the two stations at the kiosk to open up.

The first station was taken up by a really big guy wearing that "all jeans" look. Jacket, pants, slightly sideways baseball cap (with gold dollar signs imprinted on it) all made of very new looking denim. Remember when Levi's used to come all hard from the store and you'd have to wash them like 5 times before they were soft enough even to put on? That kind of denim. He was with his wife or girlfriend and a baby. She kept getting calls on her cell phone and then handing the phone to him. I was 4 feet away and I have no idea what they were talking about. I could not understand a word. Not because I wasn't close enough to hear, not because they spoke in a foreign language, but because I could NOT UNDERSTAND a word. I could see the screens he was working on and I felt bad for the guy because he clearly was not good with computers... he kept getting hung up in fields because he didn't know how to tab or click out of them. It reminded me how lucky I am to have had a computer in my home since I was in Jr. High.

At one point the guy's wife/girlfriend/partner pinched his cheek with her nails, as if to pop a small zit or something... he was completely cool with that. Didn't even really register that she was doing it. He just stared on at the machine, not typing, just looking at the screen waiting for something to happen. When she was done popping whatever she popped she looked at her nail and then wiped whatever came out of his cheek onto the blanket that was tucked between her and the baby she was holding. I don't know if I think that was sweet, or totally disgusting.

About 30 minutes in, they get into a heated discussion about something... and he snatches the cellphone from her hand. He hits a speed dial and says something that I, again, could not understand. She is pointing at the screen and saying something I can't understand. The baby is making some kind of like "chucking" noise every couple minutes. The guy puts the phone down on the desk kind of hard, frustrated. Finally the woman moves away and I can see what screen he is on. Mind you... this is an employment application, he has been working on it for over half an hour... "Enter your 8 digit social security number in the fields below."

I give up hope that I will be able to use that station today.

On the other side of the kiosk there is a woman with two kids. A little girl in a stroller and a little boy. The little boy is using his finger to poke the little girl in the eye. Repeatedly. The woman's application screen is turned away from me and is hidden by a partition so I can't see where she is in the process but I CAN tell that she has to keep stopping to discipline the little boy who despite his best efforts has been unable to succeed in making the little girl cry. Which I am glad about, but kind of concerned about too. I mean, if I was being poked in the eye, IN THE EYE, repeatedly I would probably cry out about it. Why didn't she fuss?

The woman did finally finish, but took her TIME packing up her children and moving away from the kiosk. It was TORTURE! Like when you have to piss but you are not near a bathroom. You have to go, but it's not a crisis... but the closer you get to the toilet the more the urgency increases... it was like that waiting for her.

FINALLY 45 minutes (at least) since arriving at the store, I sit down and do the application again. This time I was not asked the "feeling" questions... just the name, rank and serial number stuff. I again got the "pick up the red phone" message, which I did. This time though, while I was ON the red phone an announcement came over the store's PA system and I heard it ON THE PHONE too! So the red phone does not go to some super secret underground employment screening bat cave deep beneath Minneapolis, it just connects to some office in the store.

The voice on the phone says someone will be with me soon. So I get up and make my way out from behind the kiosk, past the guy and his ladyfriend and the baby who are still hard at work on his app.

"Done already?" the zit popper asks as I move out from my station.

"Fast typer," I reply.

Same drill, they sent a manager over to talk to me. If you have seen "My Name is Earl" then this will make sense to you. He looked like "Crabman," but with smaller hair. I explain to him that I'd already filled out an application a week earlier and that one of his counterparts had suggested I fill it out again if I hadn't heard anything. He said that that was probably a good idea, but the reason I hadn't heard anything was because they are not hiring seasonal staff till next week. He also used his cordless phone to call someone, but he wasn't as glowing as my previous screener. He stopped way short of suggesting I be a team leader, "You got [Condoblogger]? Yeah, mark him as a potential."

So next week is the real test. Will I get the call? Do I WANT to get the call? What is my real motivation for doing this? Am I too old for two jobs? Am I taking a job from someone else who really needs it? How will I feel if I run into someone I know at the store while I'm working? Who is the REAL father of my baby?

Tune in next week for SOME of those answers and more...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Holiday Help

Tis the season when major retailers go looking for "Seasonal Employees." Now, I am well compensated for my primary job, but who can't use a little extra walkin' around money, right? I was also inspired to consider taking on a second gig by MADDOG who's experience with the two job thing has been a very interesting read. I don't think I'm up for restaurant work though... too demanding! Plus after seeing "Kitchen Nightmares" I don't think I want to know what really goes on behind the scenes in a busy restaurant.

With the holidays coming and A trip to China planned for February... every lil bit will help though. So I trotted over to my favorite retailer and filled out an application at a kiosk they have set up there. Which retailer? If you said Wal*Mart or KMart you'd be close, but not quite on target.

The experience itself was kind of odd. I had to wait for one of two stations at a kiosk to open up before I could begin filling out an app. Both people in front of me finished about the same time and got up and left. Just got up and walked away. I sat down at the most private one and began to answer the questions as I was prompted by the machine. All my stats and some work history... plus some unexpected questions about how I "feel" about things and how I would deal with certain interpersonal situations concerning fellow employees were I to be hired. I finally finished the last page and was getting ready to get up and leave when a final screen came up and told me to pick up the red phone next to the computer. I did not see the people before me use the red phone. I picked it up and a lady came on to ask me a couple more questions about why I was looking for work and when I could start... "Start?" Then she told me that a manager would be coming over to speak with me. A little woman appeared a couple minutes later and introduced herself as a manager.

The manager and I walked over to ladies wear and she basically interviewed me right then and there! I told her exactly why I was looking and how long I expected to work... she was cool with it all. When I told her I thought I'd be best in electronics or music she got a big ol grin on her face and asked if I had any "managerial experience." I said no.

When it was all over she unclipped a cordless phone from her waistband, dialed a number and when the person on the other end answered she just said, "Yes. I think he's good for a team leader, but he just wants seasonal. OK."

Mind you, I was not expecting to be interviewed. I was wearing jeans, a t-shirt, baseball cap... not my interview clothes.

Then she told me that I had "presented" very well and that I should be getting a call in a week or so. If I didn't get a call to come back and go through the kiosk interview process again. I didn't get a call. Not sure how badly I want this job, but I have all my mornings free... and I like this store... I shop there... the employee discount alone could be worth it. It's only till February.

I'm going back today (in khakis and a red polo) to try again. :)

Monday, October 15, 2007

My (delayed) OCTOBER 12 of 12

Once again I NEARLY forgot! Thanx to an alarm I set on my Treo and a friendly email from MATT though I managed to snap my monthly quota:

It is finally cool enough (just COOL not COLD) to rock my favorite look now and then. It's the long sleeve T under the short sleeve T or Polo:

My day doesn't usually start till 10 or 11... meaning I do not get up before 10 or 11am. Today though I had to be up by 8:30 to attend an "optional" staff meeting that my supervisor was conducting. When your supervisor is conducting the meeting... it's not REALLY optional. Luckilly my workplace is also home to a dispensory of my favorite coffee:

This was kind of a wierd Friday. I took the evening off, in exchange for some hours early Sunday Morning. So after my meeting, I went home. I am embarrased to say that I drove to and from work. This pic shows why me and everyone else in Atlanta should have been on mass transit:

After lunch I went back to work (told you it was a wierd day), but this time it was back to our other campus in town for a presentation sponsored by my company's gay and lesbian business resource group:

The meeting was held in this authentic antibellum mansion:

This is a shot I took out of my window on the way home from that second meeting. I wanted to shoot the building which you can see just a sliver of over on the right, but instead I mostly got the street lamp. I don't know why, but I think it's kind of cool. Just a side note, that sliver of building (I just learned) is a piece of the tallest building in the US outside of New York or Chicago:

More reason to be on MARTA:

A stop for "supplies" on the way home:

By the way, what do they call liquor stores where you live? In GA they are called "Package" stores. There was a special name for them in ID as I recall too. I remember that in CA you can just buy your hooch in the supermarket. Love that! Only beer and wine in Supermarkets in GA.

I was not a winner:

Looking for a "Granny" cart. They didn't have one:

Finally home (rare on a Friday night) out on my balcony:

Later P came over and we walked to dinner and then came home for more balcony time: