Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Friday, May 25, 2007

A Meme from Matt

I have never been tagged. Earlier this week I found out that it's very flattering and at the same time very intimidating. The meme itself is fun, but the tagging of others is nerve wracking! How well do I have to "know" a blogger before tagging them? Is it equivalent to asking someone to help you move OR is it more like asking someone to meet you and some friends for coffee? So for my first meme I think I am going to humbly thank Matt for including me in his "5" but not tag anyone else because I am a chickenshit.

Here are the rules:
* Post a similar post like this one and add a link back to the person who tagged you.
* List down 5 reasons why you blog about the things you blog on your blog.
* Choose your 5 tag ‘victims’ and tag them nicely :)
* Write a comment on their blog letting them know that you tagged them.

Five reasons why I blog about the things on my blog:

5. It started out as a way to keep track of all the weirdness I expected that would result during the process of buying a home. But I started too late, and so most of the really weird stuff got lost in my procrastination. Now I don't know why I keep it up.

4. I like to write, but I'm a procrastinator. Even though there is no "deadline" for blog posts (at least not for MY blog anyway) there is a self imposed expectation that something new should appear on these pages somewhat regularly. So This New Condo provides some tacit encouragement to be creative on a semi-regular basis.

3. I like to get comments. It's always interesting to read other people's reaction to a post. Interesting too to see how people interpret what I wrote. Sometimes I will write something I think is hysterical, and people will write very empathetic replies telling me not to worry and that everything is going to be OK. I'm slowly learning how to TYPE the correct emotion, but a lot CAN get lost in the text to "voice in your head" translation.

2. I like that it's kind of sneaky. No one in my real life knows about it... or at least they are not telling me. So it's a cool little personal outlet where I can be pretty honest about things I could not be as honest about in person.

1. Lastly, this is an outgrowth of reading all of YOUR blogs. Every day I read something interesting - unusual - dirty (NSFW) - funny - scary - informative - or weird in your blogs and it seemed like a cool opportunity to add my text to the conversations. So really, It's all your fault that I blog about the things I blog on my blog.

This is where I'm supposed to "tag" 5 other bloggers... but since I have no spine, I'll just put out the offer... You are all invited to be tagged, just RSVP and I'll make it official!

Have a great weekend Y'all!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Shrek Sucked 'Cept for the Side Show

I was so relieved to read some of the lackluster reviews for Shrek the Third because I was worried I was the only one who hated it.

SO BORING!!! I can't even really tell you what it was about. Apparently Shrek is the acting king of Far Far Away for some reason, and then he doesn't want to be. So he has to go find Justin Timberlake at Hogwarts and bring him back to the Castle where there's sure to be an awkward silence when they realize that they have both been at it with Cameron Diaz... meanwhile the celebutant princesses and Larry King are captured by the FLAMING Prince Charming and then the Nasonex Bee turns into a donkey... I don't freakin know. It sucked.

There was one funny and thrilling moment in the movie though... it came when a sudden cry of pain and some panicked activity came from the seat next to "P." At first I thought that "P" had finally snapped and whipped the 5 year old sitting there with a red vine after the kid's Nintendo DS started beeping for the 10th time. Turns out though that our row-neighbor had brought it on himself.

The little boy had become trapped after shoving his arm down the hole at the bottom of the cup holder in his armrest.

Most theaters have these kind of seats now... with the cupholder out there capping off the arm rest of each seat, right? Well, the poor little dude had managed to jam his arm down the hole at the bottom of that thing past his elbow, and when he tried to pull it out... he discovered that some things go IN easy but come OUT hard. His Dad tried his best to quiet the little guy down while attempting to extricate his arm from the cupholder, and for a while it didn't look good. I really thought we were going to have to get the Jaws of Life to pry him out, or amputate. I was glad I had a front row seat for either procedure. The kid was WAILING, probably more out of panic than pain.

"P" wasn't sure what to do!

Ultimately Dad managed to get the little guy's arm back up through the hole, and after 3 or 4 minutes of whimpering he was fine. Fine enough to fire up his Nintendo DS again.

Then Snow White started singing Led Zepplin... and I blocked out the rest of the movie... something about babies I think.

Monday, May 21, 2007

4 years, 10 tall buildings and 100 lesbians

click--->WIN A 42' PLASMA!<---click

Four years have passed since "P" and I became a couple. Our Anniversary took place over the weekend.

What's the secret to our relationship success you ask? We don't live together. All our friends think it's weird for a couple to have been together for so long and not yet live together... and to some degree I think they have a point. It would certainly be less expensive to share all the household bills... and of course it would be nice to make a home together... and we probably will live together at some point... in fact we have been taking little steps toward that goal recently.

Just to kind of dip our toes into the co-habitation pool we've spent a couple Saturdays looking at condos. No rush or anything, just seeing what's out there that we both like and can afford.

Two weekends ago we looked at a few different - condominium - options. Turns out we have very different preferences in living spaces. Which was surprising because I thought we were really well matched in that department. He likes a LOFTY kind of space, with exposed plumbing and ductwork whereas I prefer a more finished space. He's comfortable on the ground floor of a building and I would prefer to be as high up as possible. He's also interested in looking at traditional detached houses with acreage and all that, while I am only interested in a multi-unit building. I'm sure there is something in between... that's what were trying to find out.

This last weekend we took the Atlanta Downtown Festival loft and condo tour. This shot was taken at my favorite stop on the tour:

That's the pool on the rooftop of the 25 story Museum Tower. AMAZING!!! Great building too, right across the street from Centennial Olympic Park, the Georgia Aquarium and the New World of Coca-Cola.

This New Condo has a rooftop pool as well, but it's just a tiny little thing, and the views are NOTHING like that!

After walking our asses off all over downtown Atlanta we officially celebrated our anniversary starting with a less than spectacular dinner at The Atlanta Fish Market (long wait to be seated, bad service, bad table, mediocre food... if it hadn't been for the company it would have totally sucked), then a very EXPENSIVE (almost prohibitively so) dessert at The Chocolate Bar, and a final drink at the new girl bar nearby.

The girl bar is fairly new. It's "family" owned and run and so I thought it would be nice to go and support my new gay business neighbor. Now... I KNEW going in that this was a lesbian bar, but I did not expect that "P" and I would be the ONLY men there. Well, one of the bartenders was a guy... but he was in a protected area behind the bar. The place was PACKED and "P" and I were just out there amongst the estrogen fending for ourselves! Ever get the feeling you just weren't wanted someplace? I have never felt so completely unwanted in my entire life! Those ladies glared at us as if we were wearing "XENA SUCKS" t-shirts. We holed up in a corner and had one drink before heading back to This New Condo with our Y chromosomes tucked between our legs.

So dinner wasn't great and desert was overpriced and the ladies were not welcoming... I think with anyone else it would have been a painful night, but we had a really good time and overall it was a great way to start our 5th year of coupledom.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Oprah's Bounty

click--->WIN A ROOMBA<---click

So a little ways back I mentioned that I had won some cool stuff from Oprah. Usually I save up all my winning for one post in the beginning of a new month, but this is from Oprah y'all... Oprah waits for no one.

It arrived with no fanfare at all... just a soft "thump" outside my door 'round Noon. No overture, no entourage, not even a knock at the door. Frankly I expected a package from Oprah to be delivered by Angels carrying it on a cloud pillow. Followed by a team from the Treasury Department and a string quartet joined by a choir singing in soprano tones, "yooouuuu get a caaaaarrrr and yooouuuuu get a caaaarrrr and YOU get a CAAAAAAARRRRRRR!" But no, today Oprah was being subtle. Today she sent only one messenger to deliver her bounty, a stealthy Representative who disappeared before I could even say, "May Oprah bless you."

First thing I noticed is that Oprah OF COURSE recycled the box she sent her bounty in. Was Why We Love a book club selection?

Upon opening Oprah's Ark of the Complimentary I found this first... a gym bag from a company called LUG. It looks purple here but it's actually brown. Clearly a woman's bag never-the-less... hopefully my Mom will want it.

INSIDE the LUG Puddle Jumper Gym Bag I found this Handy little "Do Not Forget!" doorhanger. There were no instructions, but from what I can gather, one hangs it on a doorknob (convenient hole included) and then one puts coupons or mail or other important things that one does not want to forget when one is leaving the house. It even has a small clip that one could attach car keys to! Smart really, as long as you remember to hang it on the INSIDE of your door. Thing is I already installed my shelf for key, wallet, change, Work ID and outgoing mail. So not sure what to do with the door hanger.

Next to appear were the bowls from the Bauer Pottery Company. Each carefully and individually hand wrapped by Oprah herself. Unfortunately the red one did not fare as well as it's brothers. Maybe she let Steadman wrap that one. I've named him Chip.

Here's my attempt at a display of all of Oprah's bounty in one shot. I really should go into "staging":

The big part of this particular prize will be seeing my suggestion for how to get a "Great Start" appear as part of an "advertorial" in an upcoming edition of "O, The Oprah Magazine."

So now you know what to expect when Oprah sends YOU a box of stuff!

Of course, I'm having some fun with this... I'm DEFINITELY not gloating. And I doubt Oprah herself had anything to do with this box o goodies. This is one of those wins that ends up being more fun or funny than anything else. Thought y'all might get a kick out of it!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Shooting Day for Night

That's a shot taken from my balcony looking up at the floors above me. I love the brickwork on my building. Sure it's just brick facing, but it still looks cool I think. It's amazing how you can SEE all the details in the brickwork... especially amazing since this pic was taken in what used to be the much darker hour of 3:30 IN THE MORNING!

Back in March I mentioned I had concerns about a potentially "problematic" "outdoor lighting issue." Well, the city has finally flipped the switch on these:

After all these months the streetlights have been put up and turned on.

They've been up on the other side of the building for some time. Until recently though, they'd not installed the poles on my side. I knew they were coming though, the "sockets" had been down there, waiting, taunting:

I wanted to live in an urban area, with restaurants and shopping within walking distance. I knew living in "the city" was going to have issues and side effects that I could not completely plan for... this is definitely one of them. Funny thing is that when I DROVE past This New Condo I didn't even notice the new streetlights. It wasn't until after I had parked and actually walked into my place that I noticed SOMETHING just didn't seem right. It took me a few minutes to figure out what was different.

So what effect do my new nightlights have INSIDE This New Condo?

Here's my bedroom with the shades open:

And shades drawn:

Living room shades open:

And shades drawn:

Guess it's time to get serious about some REAL window treatments.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Not sure...

... how I feel about this.

I probably should have a definite emotion attached to anyone's death, but I am ashamed to admit that I may not be entirely sad about his.

The $40 Haircut

I have mocked people who paid more than $12 bucks for a haircut. I apologise.

Directly across the street from This New Condo is a Supercuts. Just down the street is a Great Clips. In the shopping center where my dry cleaners is there is an Hair Cuttery. I think "cuttery" is a made up word by the way. We don't go to the liquor shoppery, The Home Depoddity, or the Supermarkuty afer all. I DO however, enjoy the Cold Stone Creamery on occasion, and that seems to work as a name... Anyway, on average it's probably $12 for a haircut at one my local walk-in places. This seems reasonable to me. I don't have a fancy 'do that needs a lot of tricky scissor work. Mostly just a clipper with the #2 guard and a quick trim up top.

Two weeks ago I got a REALLY bad haircut at a shop nearby... Not going to say which one, but I WILL say that I expected a super cut. When I walked out it looked OK, but after a shower I looked like a mushroom.

I know I could go back and say, "I don't like this, please fix it." But her question would then be, "What do you not like and how should I fix it?" I don't know how to answer that other than, "I don't like looking like shiitake!"

Luckily I can wear hats to work.

A week or so went by when I happened to be at Lenox Square Mall where I passed a big glass wall behind which were rows and rows and rows of empty, fancy looking, haircutting stations (an area I am certain is NOT called the "cuttery"). Turns out it was DASS DAY SPA. A haircut would not be $12 bucks there, but I was OK with that because I needed to be able to sit down with someone, take off my hat and say, "Fix this." Lauren, my stylist, did just that. Instead of asking how she SHOULD cut it, she explained how she was GOING to cut it and what the result would be. She showed me how I could maintain the style I was leaving with and how I could wear it differently. She did not try to push $14 bottles of shampoo on me AND she was ADORABLE. Oh yeah, and I got one of those shampoo/head massages that always make me feel a little weird. After all was said and done, I have to tell you it was/is the best haircut I have ever had. Yes it was at a girlie day spa and yes it was expensive and yes it is no where near me, but...

...as God is my witness I will never pay $12 for a haircut again!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

1 of 12

I totally forgot 12 of 12 yesterday. It would have been a really EASY one too. "P" and I spent most of Saturday looking at condos and there was plenty to shoot. PLUS it was a SATURDAY... ugh... mad I forgot.

Oh, and yeah, I did say "looking at condos." I'll explain the condo shopping in another post...

At ANY rate, by the time I realized it was the 12th, the day was too far gone to catch up. It dawned on me at about 8:30pm while "P" and some friends of ours were at a show called "Boys Night Out." Four gay singer-songwriters including my latest crush, taking turns singing some of their original numbers. Just a small stage, 4 guitars, a toy piano, a mandolin and 4 really talented guys. I had no idea what to expect, but it was a great time! Something about a man and a guitar... woof. The 6 beers probably didn't hurt my mood either. My buddy "M" and I even got to play "roadies" and help break down the stage when it was over. Never let a drunk guy handle your mandolin by the way.

So the pic above is my 1 of 12 for May. I encourage y'all to check out Chad's site though and see what others around the world did on THEIR 12th of May though. It's always fascinating.

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 11, 2007

I'm thinking of coming out to my boyfriend...

...as a blogger.

Good idea? Bad idea?

Have a good weekend... mine has the potential to be VERY stressful, or interesting, or wonderful. Big decisions coming up.

Oh and I dropped off my Tax Assessment appeal this morning. Did some good solid research and I can't see how they could possibly not lower my assessed value. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Dessert made me an activist


I'm not typically a "write your Senator" kind of guy. Frankly it seems a little pointless... I don't believe any more that our elected representatives have our best interests at heart. They vote on issues because of THEIR feelings on a subject, not ours. That's my thought any way, maybe I'm wrong. Would be nice to be wrong this time.

I mentioned earlier this week that "P" and I were guests of my employer at the annual Atlanta HRC Dinner and Silent Auction. Our dessert course is pictured above. It was dee-lish. Even the little equality symbol was edible! Today I found that very picture while doing some housecleaning in my Treo, and thought, "Why didn't I post that picture in the HRC post?" So I fired up my MAC and went about bluetoothing the photo to my machine. My email account is my default start page when I fire up FIREFOX so when it popped up I noticed I had an email from the HRC urging me to contact my Senators to support the Matthew Shepard Act which was "formerly known as the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007."*

Frankly, my belief is that hate crime laws are redundant. A crime is a crime, regardless of the intent. Lets say I get beaten up because I'm gay. Does that assault mean any more or less than an assault on a straight person? I'm asking. That's not a rhetorical question.

After mulling over whether or not to send my senators a note encouraging them to support the Matthew Shepard Act, I looked at the photo of the dessert, and remembered that I DID feel GREAT that night, and so I did send a note to my senators.

The HRC provides you a form letter you can send. I deleted their form though and wrote a short paragraph of my own. I DID use their subject line (probably ENSURING that my email will not get read). I'd paste my note here but I didn't think to save myself a copy. Basically I said that, yes, a crime is a crime. But when someone hurts someone else purely out of bias or bigotry that action sends a message not only to the victim, but to that victim's community. That one victim was just unlucky enough to take the punishment the criminal feels should be imposed on everyone who is like the victim. Because, in that sense, a hate crime effects MANY rather than just one, I believe the punishment should be greater.

If you are so inclined... click on my dessert and send your own senator a note.

*lifted from the Matthew Shepard Foundation Hate Crimes Legislation Page.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

My unappealing appeal

The county I live in wants all kinds of proof that their tax assessment of "This New Condo" is incorrect. So I've been doing my research. I visited with the sales office now currently trying to sell Phase II of my building, I met with a real estate agent who represents a similar building to mine just down the street... and what I am learning is that BUYERS REMORSE IS A BITCH!

I really have no idea what my place is worth right now. Comparable stuff in other buildings on my street is selling for less than what I paid. Then there are the NEW, unfinished, units in my building that are selling (or at least listed) for much more!

So I have the ammo to get my appraised value lowered I think, but now I am worried that I paid too much!

Just going to try and ride the wave here for a while... see which beach I end up on. Hopefully it will be one on the Cayman Islands so I can open an offshore account as a tax shelter against the overinflated GNP of the mortgage fed interest housing rates FDIC batteries not included swelling may occur your parents help you put it together... I don't know what the hell I'm talking about. Which makes this all the more SCARY!

Monday, May 7, 2007

My first Tuxedo since PROM!

On Saturday "P" and I attended the annual Atlanta HRC Dinner and Silent Auction.

I should've warned you about "P." You see he was horribly disfigured in a tragic blurring accident, but he bravely carries on! Actually, he doesn't know about my blog and I just don't think it's right to attach his face to it yet. PLUS he might not want to be seen with what appears to be an enormous flabby double chin on yours truly! That's us just before heading out to the event. I thought a tux made everyone look like Daniel Craig:

Not so much apparently. Would you believe that he and I are only weeks apart in age? Fucker.

OK... where was I? Oh yeah, the dinner. It was very cool. Some great speakers, including the keynote address from Eric Alva the first American soldier wounded in the war in Iraq. Now out in every sense of the word and speaking out against many issues, but mostly "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Everyone was so funny and smart. Halfway through the dinner I was all fired up and ready to march on down to my local HRC office and volunteer for just about anything! I had had several vodka and tonics by then however, so my sudden philanthropic feelings MAY have been influenced a little.

There is really something to be said for being in a room full of gay people. The conversation is witty, the hair is perfect, the drinks are stiff. It's also just neat to be able to completely relax. I live a very open life, out at work, to all my family, all my friends... and I've had almost ZERO negative reactions. I feel very lucky for that. But at a ball game, or in a McDonald's, at the mall... just places where straight couples kiss and hold hands freely there is still a little uncomfortableness. Holding hands with my boyfriend while waiting in line for the Georgia Scorcher at 6 Flags feels less like affection and more like activism to me. At an event like the HRC Dinner though... it's completely reversed... it's amazing and SO FREEING!

In 2000 I attended the "March on Washington" with my then boyfriend "O." I was still fairly newly out... only a couple years... and it was so amazing to be surrounded by so many other people LIKE ME! It's one thing to be at a gay bar, where yeah, everyone is a poofter, but you are to some effect quarantined in the bar... together but separate. It is something all together different to be out in the streets of Washington D.C. with a bazillion other same sex couples ALL holding hands. After the march there was a concert at RFK Stadium. UNBELIEVABLE. A STADIUM full of gays and lesbians and everything in between AND their supporters. To this day I have never heard from ANY crowd a roar so loud as when (after Mellisa Etheridge sang with the Pet Shop Boys) Ellen DeGeneres walked out onto that stage. I could have cried, I may have.

I've been a member of the HRC ever since.

Anyway, events like that, and events like the HRC Dinner really remind me how happy I am my life worked out the way it has. Reminds me too that I'm part of a supportive, funny, brave, endlessly talented and creative community.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Oprah is sending me a box of stuff!

Well, one of her minions is sending me a box of stuff anyway... but before we get to the main event, here are some of my other wins for April:

- $10 Old Navy Gift Card.

- "The Game Of Life" Board Game from First Horizon Bank.

- An Enchanted Call from the Walt Disney Movie Rewards program (gave that to P's brother for his grand daughter).

- A ringtone from Skittles (by the way, I can't use this so if anyone wants it just let me know).

-An apron from the Caribou Coffee Wild Adventure Instant Win Game. Yes an apron. Not a very "wild" prize if you ask me.

And now... Oprah! Kellogg's Smart Start cereal had a contest (which is different than a sweepstakes by the way) in which people had to write a short essay about how they get a smart start to their day. Here's the email Oprah sent me:

Congratulations! You’re submission was one of the top ten submissions in our Start Smart Contest. You have won a collection of prizes from The O List including a set of four bowls from Bauer Pottery Company, a Monkey Business Doorganizer, and a LUG Puddle Jumper Overnight/Gym Bag--a $158 retail value! In addition, an excerpt from your winning submission will be published in an advertorial in O, The Oprah Magazine.

So that's kind of cool. The letter isn't actually from Miss O of course, but I'm telling people that it is. I'm also telling people that she personally selected my submission out of the tens of millions that were sent in. That's probably not true, but that's what I'm telling people. Sue me.

What was my winning submission? You can read [an excerpt from] it in the July issue of O, The Oprah Magazine. It involves the snooze button and stretching.

You too can be featured in an upcoming issue. Right now O, The Oprah Magazine and GE are sponsoring a contest called Confessions from the Kitchen. Just submit your deepest, darkest kitchen secret and you could win a GE Appliance and be excerpted in O, The Oprah Magazine. Good Luck!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

I may be crossing a line here...

Holy CRAP I have been busy this week! Feels good to have an agenda driving my day for a change but MAN I'm POOPED.

Speaking of crap and poop (nice segue), ever since I replaced diet soda with water my trips to "the library" have been vastly improved. What am I talking about? Maybe Turk and J.D. can explain:

You see in addition to replacing Diet Coke with H20, I also changed my diet quite a bit. No more eating out of the snack machine at work (Doritos and cookies for dinner!), more fruit, more healthy meals, less liquor, more... um... fiber.

I was actually a little concerned when, at first, all these dietary changes had a reverse effect on my digestion. Things seemed to stop moving for a while. I think it was my body holding hostage the first nutrients that weren't covered in powdered cheese or chocolate it had seen in a while. Have I lost any weight? I don't know. I don't own a scale. Tomorrow though I'm going to get a benchmark from the scale at the GNC near me.

Over the past week or so though, I'm a changed man. We don't have to get REAL specific here, but you know the difference between a good one and a bad one, and lately... all good. It's actually put me in a better mood! I don't know if that's the poo talking or if it's just the result of a good diet but either way I really do feel MUCH better lately.

Trust me though, you DO NOT want to go in there for a while after I come out. While the quality of my actions in the loo are greatly improved I'm fairly certain that I should be buying carbon offsets to make up for the damage I'm doing to the atmosphere.

Sorry about the shitty post.