Friday, May 27, 2005

Oops, I did it again

Had that one...last...martini, that is. (Sapphire gin, extra dirty, extra olives, in case you were wondering.) Always a mistake. Paying dearly today, but in this case, it was well worth it.

How cool is it when you meet online friends/acquaintances/bloggers you stalk in person, and they turn out to be even awesomer than you thought? Pretty damn.

God, I am a serious waste of space right now. Just buy this book. You might wanna buy some extra skivvies first, though, as you are very nearly certain to piss yours at some point while you're reading it. And be jealous...mine was inscribed (very sweetly) by the author. Yeah, bitchez.

And thank you, very sincerely, to everyone who sent well wishes to my pops. He's undergoing all sorts of tests and is completely exhausted as a result, but he and my mom are doing pretty okay. We'll see what happens when the shock wears off. Eek.

Peace out, childrens!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Goddammit, America

What, exactly, is WRONG with you people? Huh? First George Dubya Part Deux, and now this...

"Oh my god! I better start barfing now if I'm gonna lose that 20 pounds by the time my shitty single comes out!"

Seriously folks, what the fuck were you THINKING? I guess America's no more ready for a real rock star on American Idol than it was for a progressive thinker in the White House. Heavy, heavy sigh.

First things Carrie Underwood needs to do as reigning American Idol are A) fire her stylist, and B) cut back on the refined sugars, for fuck's sake. Who puts plaid on a fat girl? Damn.

Don't get me wrong...Carrie can sing. But bottom line, Carrie...I knew Kelly Clarkson. Kelly Clarkson was a friend of mine. And you, miss, are no Kelly Clarkson. [editor's note: no, I do not actually know Kelly Clarkson, nor is she a friend of mine. If you don't recognize that quote...sorry, I can't help you.]

As for Bo kid is the perfect mix of Aaron Lazar and Donnie Van Zant...what more could you ask for? (Oh, wait...a bad dye job and a vagina. Right.) I take comfort in the fact that he's famous now either way. I'm sure he'll be knocking up supermodels before the year's out. Hang in there, Bo! This here urban freak squad loves you!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

My favorite day

It's probably odd and on the stupid side to have a favorite date. Favorite color, ice cream, breed of dog, trashy bar, sure...but favorite calendar date? Yeah, dumb. But so what, I have one anyway. Sue me. And der, yes, it's May 25. For some good reasons, too.

On May 25, 1983, my mother had her last-ever cigarette. Quit cold turkey after smoking two packs of True Blues a day for 30+ years. She had done some serious lung damage by then and was diagnosed with emphysema two years later, but she'd be long dead now had she continued that dirty little habit.

On May 25, 1991, I graduated from high school. Not much of an accomplishment, really, but it was the first step toward getting the fuck out of Longmont, Colorado once and for all. If you've ever been to or even heard of Longmont, Colorado, you understand the significance. If not, I have four words for you: "monster trucks" and "mall hair." Never looked back.

On May 25, 1995, I attended my first R.E.M. show at Fiddler's Green Incredibly Shitty Amphitheatre in Englewood, Colorado. It was ASS cold, sleeting fairly heavily, and we cared not a bit because we were in the 8th row, mere FEET away from Stipey & crew. When they played "End of the World" as a final encore, there was chaos akin to that of a Beatles show in 1963. Seats ripped out and flying everywhere, people pouring over barriers...madness...accompanied, of course, by a chorus of 15,000 voices singing every single word. BIRTHDAY PARTY CHEESECAKE JELLYBEAN BOOM, indeed. Still my favorite concert moment ever, and that is seriously sayin' some shit.

The best and by far most important thing to happen on May 25, however, took place in 1989, when I was 16. That May 25, after a long and nervous day, I witnessed the birth of my niece, Haley Elizabeth.

Watching a baby's birth Unbelievable, comparable to nothing, and life-changing to say the very least. It was the first time in my life that I cried...sobbed, really...from absolute joy. It's every bit the miracle all those women's magazines tout it to be, believe me.

I had the honor of becoming the first person ever in the world to really hold Haley. Upon and separation, the doctor handed her to the nurse, who promptly turned and handed her naked, screaming, glop-covered little body to me. "Congratulations, honey. You're an aunt!"

There's really no way to describe how it felt, standing there holding this tiny, wriggling little new life. My hands trembled so hard that I was terrified of dropping her, and I can only imagine the slackjawed, goggle-eyed look of wonder that must have been pasted on my face. It was the happiest moment of my life, before or since. Nothing has even come close. From that second, there was nothing I wouldn't do for her, nothing I wouldn't do to protect her, and no one I loved more.

Haley was evidently pretty damned happy too, seeing as her first conscious act as a brand new human was to take a gargantuan dump into my right hand. Um, yeah...thanks kid. Nice to meet you, too. (You can bet that she LOVED that story as a little kid. Now...probably not so much.)

And now, sixteen years later, my little pooper is old enough to drive. She's the same age I was when she was born...unimaginable to me, but true. For a lot of painful reasons, I haven't seen her for a very long time, but I keep close tabs on her through my parents. She's an incredible person...brilliant, beautiful, a straight-A student and musician, headed for college and what I hope will be an amazing, extraordinary life. I don't know if she knows how proud I am, how much I adore her, or how often I think of her, and miss her. I hope that she does.

So yeah...Happy birthday, sweetheart. You are the best thing ever. And May 25 is always going to be my favorite day of the year.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Life by the slap

"It's fine, honey," my dad said. "The doctor said it's not really that big a deal, and that we caught it early, and that I'll be fine. Don't get upset!"

"I'm not upset, Pop," I responded, hoping my voice sounded calm enough over the phone for him to believe me, thankful that he couldn't see my face. "But this IS a big deal, and any doctor who told you it's not is a fucking moron, and we need to talk about this, figure out what we're gonna do here, okay? We have to be prepared to deal with the possibilities here, that's all I'm saying."

I played it as cool as I could, but my mind was already zooming in a hundred directions. This was my dad, the guy who taught me to play second base better than any boy in my little league, who helped me with my math homework, who let me stay up late to watch the last M*A*S*H. This was the guy who dashed out of church with my seven-year-old carcass under his arm, getting me outside just in time for me to throw up into a snowbank. This was the former Marine, who joined the Army National Guard in his forties and proceeded to run other Army guys half his age into the ground well into his fifties. This was the guy who cared for my mom throughout the lengthy illness she endured prior to her lung transplant five years ago. This was the guy I counted on. This was my DAD.

This was my dad, who had just casually mentioned during our brief phone conversation that his doctor believes he has Parkinson's Disease.

This was my dad.

This was last night.

The diagnosis, unbelievable as it was, explained so much. When I saw him in Vegas a couple of weeks ago, I was shocked at the changes in him. It had been less than a year since our last visit, and in that time he had gone from the vigorous, barrel-chested, fast-walking vestigial New Yorker I had always known to a skinny, ambling, frail old man. He spoke so softly that we asked him to repeat himself constantly. He seemed confused a good portion of the time, overly sentimental, depressed. His hands trembled noticeably. I barely recognized him. It terrified me.

With my mother's help, I dismissed his symptoms, disconcerting as they were, by blaming them on the work injury he suffered last year. A 66-year-old man working circles around a bunch of snotty kids at a home improvement store, Pop overdid it and hurt his back. Again. He'd had back problems as long as I could remember, and this made it worse than ever. There were workman's comp claims, numerous visits to various doctors, discussions with lawyers, and finally, unceremonious dismissal from employment with no apology or further benefit. He was in almost constant pain, and understandably down about the whole thing. He was also taking substantial doses of narcotic pain killers. In my mind, this explained his transformation. With some time, acupuncture, and a better doctor, he'd be fine. Back to normal. After all, this was my dad.

Last night, he handed the phone to my mother after he told me. I cut to the chase with her, as I always do.

"Please tell me that some fucking idiot doctor did NOT tell him that Parkinson's Disease is not serious and that there's nothing to worry about. The Pope had it! Tell the fucking Pope it's not serious! OH can't! He's fucking DEAD! What the hell is going on?"

She assured me that the doctor, while comforting and decidedly non-alarmist, had been straight with them about the implications of the diagnosis. I heard her say something about "early detection" and "medication" and "good prognosis," but by then my mind was in blender mode again.

"Mom, are you okay? Okay, good. Look, I'll call you guys back in a little while, okay? I need a minute here. Yeah yeah, I'm fine. Yes. I know everything will be fine. I just need a minute, okay? I love you too."

I hung up the phone. I cried hard, quietly, for twenty minutes or so while my blenderbrain whirred at a dizzying speed.

Did he have enough medical insurance? How long would it be before I had to move to Utah to care for my parents? Three friends recently lost parents...Was he going to die? Worse...was he going to be feeble...helpless? How did this happen? My dad, despite his rampant hypochondria, had always been healthy. How DID this happen? Wait...

What if it was some kind of karma?

I struggled to banish the thought as soon as I had it...I felt like a bad person, a bad daughter for even considering it...But what if it

I love my father. He's a good man, an honest person. He wouldn't harm anyone. He does the best he can. But that was not always the case.

See, for many years prior to my birth and almost as many years after, my father quite literally terrorized our family. From the time my older sister and brother were very small, he beat them viciously and regularly with little or no provocation. He screamed, he hollered, he insulted, he berated, and he hit...oh boy, did he ever hit. Like Babe Ruth on a good day, my dad. I, having been a "surprise" to my parents and thus being eight years younger than my brother, was spared most of the poundings. I mostly had to watch, and lie as necessary to the police, social workers, health care providers, or whomever was asking the questions at the time. He treated his children as his father had treated him. My brother passed the abuse along to me, making up for any time he perceived my father to have missed. My sister is a complete basket case, has been since she was 12. Not pretty. Not at all.

In later years, after a big showdown with my mother in which she finally threatened to leave him, my dad stopped knocking the shit out of everyone and sought counseling. For the longest time, that only channeled his rage, so he found new ways to maintain his forced dominance. He wouldn't hit us, but he'd break our possessions, throw away food my mother made. He'd scream for what seemed like hours, call us horrible, humiliating names in front of our friends. There were plenty of times I wished he'd just start swinging at people again...that at least slowed him down for awhile. His energy for verbal abuse was endless and astounding.

But then, when I got to be 16 or 17, something shifted. I don't know how, exactly, or what the internal mechanisms were that facilitated the change. Maybe it was a conscious decision he made. Maybe his fury finally played itself out, or maybe his testosterone levels just dropped when he reached a certain age. After awhile, though, he stopped using us as (literal and figurative) tackling dummies. He found something along the way, too...remorse. Somehow, the light came on, and my dad understood that he had been a complete bastard for most of his adult life. And he was sorry. Gut-wrenchingly, excruciatingly sorry. He carries that sorrow with him now, just under the surface, almost tangible.

My dad is not that man anymore. As much as his inexcusable mistakes have haunted all of us, he's also provided me with the truest faith I have in the fact that if he wants to, a person can truly change. And not because he finds Jesus, or goes to prison, or needs a loan, either. He can change himself at the deepest, most visceral level simply because it's right, and it needs to be done. That's big, and I believe it because of my dad. It's what has helped me to forgive him.

If you met him now, you'd never think he was capable of hurting anyone, let alone his own family. And you'd be right...he's not. Not anymore. But is he paying for his mistakes? I couldn't help but wonder, in that moment after I hung up with my mom, if he hadn't been slapped with a debilitating illness because the universe wanted him to understand what it's like to be powerless, to be in the grips of something larger and stronger than himself that shows no mercy, no matter how much he hates and fights against it.

I didn't have an answer to that thought. I didn't necessarily want to. This was not some random person's karmic fate I was comtemplating, here. This was my dad.

I was done crying, for the time being. I stared around for a minute, not sure what to do. I wasn't ready to call my friends, to talk about it with anyone. I needed to process this on my own for awhile. So I did the only things I could...I washed clothes, made veggie corn dogs, read my roommate's People Magazine, and pondered the ultimate fallibility of mankind. Or, at least, of one man. My dad.

There is, as you can imagine, much more to come on this topic. Cross your fingers for him.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Damn it all. Or at least some of it.

My stupid photo editor thinger isn't working. When (okay, if) I figger that out, we're in bidness with the Vegas action.

Right now, I'm wishing that one of the things I had learned over the weekend was this:

Dewars & soda + chocolate martini + red wine = baaaaaaad idea

It's almost 5:00, and I still feel like an undercooked shit casserole. Whuups. But, as Coco says, Wednesday is the new Friday. I don't make the rules, people. I just eat pizza and drink Gatorade at work the next day, hoping that my boss attributes my disconcerting under-eye luggage to many long hours spent in the office.

Speaking of Friday...tomorrow night, all you NY kids oughta come see Drag Citizen at the Continental. There will be much rock.

In the meantime, amuse yourselves and insult each other with this, for which we have Big D. to thank. (In case you were wondering, I happen to be a "biased goddess who loves to fistfuck toilets." I believe this indicates that I may have been reading a bit too much Joe.My.God lately.)


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The Edumacation of Helen D.

So I've been trying to find time to recap my weekend for y'all, in between pretending to work and whatnot...and then I realized that most of the details of it weren't going to be interesting to anyone but the usual crew and me. Thus, I decided to summarize the top ten lessons learned during that action-packed couple of days:

  1. The more attractive a man is, the less capable of coherent speech I will be in his presence. (He was so perfect that I managed to glurk out about half a syllable before I turned purple and dashed away. Whupps.)
  2. The upstairs lounge at Piano's doesn't suck anywhere near as much as the rest of that joint. We caught James Wolfe's set up there on Friday and were thoroughly impressed (think Rufus Wainwright, if he were straight and had chosen guitar over piano.)
  3. Coco speaks AMAZING Italian. Ask her, if you don't believe me. While you're at it, ask her if you can smell her new bag. G'head.
  4. When it comes down to zombies vs. robots, my bet's on the zombies, and I'm more than capable of debating the issue. At length. Try me.
  5. Speaking of zombies...sometimes I like remakes, but the original is usually better.
  6. I really WASN'T ready to watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Goddammit.
  7. Do the Right Thing still holds up, and still makes me cry. I miss Ossie Davis, and sometimes I wanna be Rosie Perez (that opening sequence, where she's throwin' DOWN to Fight the Power...oh man...)
  8. AIDS Walk New York is a total clusterfuck, and absolutely NOT the place for one such as myself, who is claustrophobic as hell and hates damn near everyone. I cut out at the first available exit, as I figured that killing someone at a well-intended charity event for a vital cause was somewhat counterproductive. Next year I'll just donate money. Yeesh.
  9. Crash is an excellent film. I needed a martini afterwards, and anything that necessitates martinis is a-okay in my book.
  10. Bloggers are the new rockstars. Especially famous gay New York bloggers. I know this because upon encountering said famous gay New York blogger at Sunday brunch in Chelsea, I got all squealy and shy and atarded. What resulted was this. Well...that, a great deal of schoolgirly giggling (from Charles and Coco, of course), and a remarkable upsurgence in traffic on my blog. Thanks, Joe, for all of the above! (And god love Richie White for putting up with our senseless, embarrassing shenanigans yet again, without delivering even a single bitchslap. We heart you Richie!)

Aaaaaaand I'm spent. Tomorrow I'll post the Vegas photos, and you can make up your own stories about them.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Weightloss made hellish

Two words: Food poisoning. Woof.
But hey, the last of my winter blubber is SO gone! My stomach isn't even's like, inverted. I think I read somewhere that concavity is hot.

Either way, the main thing I learned from this experience is that I could never, ever be bulimic. That, and my roommate Jenn rules, coz she came home on her lunch break to bring me Gatorade and Sprite. Thanks sister!

Anyway, I'm still kinda...der...from that whole thing, so Vegas stories will be along next week. In the meantime, this is your LAST CHANCE to sponsor me for AIDS Walk New York, which takes place on Sunday. Email me for details. (Thank you in advance!)
Added bonus...I found out today that my favorite NY tranny rockers Lisa Jackson and Girl Friday will be playing the event, along with Norah Jones. SWEET.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Insert witty post-Vegas comment here

You go ahead and do that...I'm still too tired. Promise to follow up with stories (and photos) of the retardation later this week.

In the meantime...I came back to all this crazy traffic on my blog, and discovered (thanks to SiteMeter) that Mike Hodgkinson of the UK's Guardian Unlimited included little ol' me in his article about NYC bloggers. How he found me I have no idea, but the press is much appreciated. Mike, if I get a book deal, I'm buying you a puppy!

Friday, May 06, 2005

Why I love the F(reak) train

Or maybe I hate it, I don't know. But I have two must-share stories, either way:

Couple nights ago, I get on the F at 42nd after work, as I do every evening, and end up standing next to a very beautiful, noticeably pregnant woman. When the big crowd gets off at 34th Street, some greezy guy grabs the last open seat, clearly ignoring the prego chick. Asshole. She looks around fruitlessly for a seat, frowns a little, and sighs heavily. I'm watching this thinking, "hmmm...she's too shy to ask someone to move, even though someone should have moved WITHOUT HER ASKING, fer christssakes." So I decide to be a good New Yorker (for once) and act on her behalf.

"Excuse me, sir," I say to the greezy dude. He looks at me with slackjawed confusion, probably at having been called "sir." I smile a little.

"Could you let the lady have your seat please?"

"Wha' happen?" he replies, still slackjawed, as if I had spoken to him in Aramaic.

"This woman (motioning to her) is pregnant. Please allow her to sit down." Smile again.

He looks at me...looks at her...gets goggle-eyed looking at her for a second (she really is something), looks at me again with dawning comprehension, his face all mashed up like he just crapped his pants, looks back at her, and finally, grudgingly, hauls his bony ass up out of the seat.

"Would you like to sit, miss?" he asks her sweetly. (grrrrrr)

"No thanks!" she says, turns to me, and GLARES. I mean like piercing, "I hate you, you effing bee-word", wicked nasty dagger eyes. Suddenly she's not so pretty, and now it's my jaw's turn to drop.

"Wha...don't you wanna sit?" I manage to stammer in my flabbergastation, aware now that I look like a complete meddling asshole-head.

"NO. It's FINE!" She whips around dramatically so her back is to me.

"Whatever you say." Wow! And now I can feel redness in my face...for trying to be (vurp) NICE. Until...

Until the car crowds up so much at the next stop that no one can breathe, and she ends up wedged in between six pushy-shovey assholes, covering her big belly protectively with her arm and looking utterly miserable. WHO'S THE ASSHOLE-HEAD NOW, LADY?? HUH???

Moral of the story: Use birth control.

F(ecal) Japan
This morning I'm kickin' it on the F on the way to work, loaded down with luggage for Vegas, mindin' my own bidness. One stop into Manhattan, a vaguely pretty Japanese woman, thirty-ish, boards and stands holding the pole in front of my seat. She looks normal enough, however I notice that she's got something in her mouth that she's moving around rather vigorously. I feel my left eyebrow arch in curiosity and a smidge of disdain, as it is wont to do.

Now, of course, it's hard not to stare. I admittedly tend to be a bit of a starebug anyway...but what the fuck is in her MOUTH? She's got this big square jaw, and it's grinding all OVER the place like there's something ALIVE in there, jesus!

And then, as I'm openly gawking...she pushes the object with her tongue so that it's now poking out of her mouth a half-inch or so. This object is brown, semi-cylindrical in shape, and looks kind of...squishy.

Maybe I'm just disturbed. Maybe it's the plethora of Asian scat porn that's made its way onto Craigslist this week. But it looks for the life of me like this otherwise normal-seeming woman is pushing a turd out of her mouth, right there on the goddamn train. The fact that she's pursing her lips around it, sphincter-like, is NOT.HELPING.

As if that isn't enough...she then proceeds to SUCK IT IN AND OUT OF HER MOUTH, REPEATEDLY. I mean...does she not know that she's re-creating the normally at least semi-private act of TURTLEHEADING on the SUBWAY at EIGHT in the MORNING with her MOUTH???

I, for once, am utterly speechless. I don't know which is going to erupt hysterics or my breakfast. I drop my head, trying to pull away...but Turdmouth is like a MAGNET and I CANNOT...BREAK...FREE. She notices me staring. AND DOESN'T STOP.

We go on for three more stops like this, Turdmouth mouthing her turd, me fixated like Michael Jackson watching Home Alone...Finally, she sucks the turd back in with this awful noise..."slup"... and ambles off the train like nothing happened. I'm left behind, eyes glazed and staring, mouth agape, my funny fuse busted once and for all.

Moral of the story: Use birth control.

Back next week with much better stories than those, hopefully. Wish Vegas luck...

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Ebony and Ivory?

So I'm just workin' (it) and preparing for this weekend's venture to Sin City, thus I've not had much to bore/annoy you with...

I did, however, finally see 25th Hour last night on the sat-o-lite teevee...Okay, I know I'm a bit behind the times (remember, I got a DVD player like, last month...and have yet to make it work, I might add), but um...when did Spike Lee start making movies about white people? I clearly missed that memo. Was anyone else maybe a wee bit freaked out, or at least confused by that?'s the best (worst?) was his best film since Do the Right Thing. If you ask me, that is. Sorry Spike. Don't hate me because I'm chronically Caucasian.

Yeah, that's about it...going home soon to try on the new bikini (dear god) and wash the panties. Again, I leave you wishing you were me.
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