Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Monday, January 30, 2006

A Good Read; Forget the Weekend Update

Ok. The weekend was not all that. I went to Oakland (for a business meeting). My two bois that I hoped to hook up with were either out-of-town or tied up handling bizness. Plus the weather kinda sucked, and I wasn't really feelin' jumping the train into San Francisco and going to the Castro district by myself. The most I did was work, catch a quick movie (Big Mama's House 2), and READ. Now, let's talk about that last one.

I know this is not a book review site, and I make no pretenses about it (although I will continue to shamelessly promote Rashid Darden, Fred Smith, Tim'm West, Lee Hayes, Keith Boykin and others that I feel deserve ya support - lol). Anyway, I left the novel that I was reading, Love the One You're With, by James Early Hardy in my car at the airport parking lot. So, I needed a replacement and popped into Waldenbooks in Monroe, NC to get something. Well, if you're into ready novels by gay authors, let me tell you that Monroe ain't the place to shop. I saw one book by E. Lynn Harris and that was their entire gay section. Didn't have time to get into nearby Charlotte, so I grabbed a novel with an interesting cover (but for the life of me, I can't remember the name of it) but the reading was ho-hum. Since I had a layover in DC, I popped into Borders to find something a little better. I was about to give up and leave when I spotted these novels by Carl Weber on the bottom shelf at the end of the fiction section (hey Carl, get a last name at the beginning of the alphabet brotha). I had just ordered his book titled "The Preacher's Son" but didn't have time to get into it yet. I figured it wouldn't hurt to read one of his older works since I hadn't read any of them. I picked up "Married Men" (published in 2001). A'iight, I admit that I am behind the times on this author and some of you may already have read him. If so, this post ain't for u.

Now, if you haven't read it, then let me tell you this book is FIRE. I got pulled into it right away and couldn't have made a better choice for my 5.5 hour flight from Dulles to Oakland. Hell, I would have turned on the light in the back seat of the taxi to keep on reading even after I landed. I don't want to spoil it for anybody, but let me tell you it has all of the things that are near and dear to my reading heart -- cheating spouses, baby mama drama, lying men, whorish women, lies, deception - (excuse me while I wipe my eyes). These four guys are thick as thieves and yet display that basic bond that binds so many of us in the black community as brothas. They have issues with each other, issues with each other's girlfriends, issues with each other's wives, but through it all, that which binds them together is greater than that which could break them apart. The four characters, Kyle, Wil, Allen and Jay each take turns telling the story. You will find that each of them is in us a bit, and you will also know somebody who acts just like them.

That's all I'm going to tell ya about this book. Like I said, this blog is not a book review site. Disclaimer: the opinions expressed here are purely my own whether you agree with them or not. I finished the 373 pages in a restaurant last night after getting back to NC. I know I will be reading more of this brotha's works. I think you ought to as well. If you've read it, comment here. If you haven't read it, go buy it and remember - you heard it here first!

I gotta a date for dinner, so I'm out.

Shem hotep.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Weekend in DC; Passionmarks II and all!

LOL, now that I have your attention. Not a whole lot to report on last weekend in DC. I hit Chocolate City Saturday afternoon with plans to attend the reception for Lee Hayes, author of Passionmarks and his new release, A Deeper Blue: Passionmarks II. The festivities took place at a spot called Indebleu near downtown DC. Traffic was a mess for Saturday night, and I would rather drive in NYC any old time. The only reason I took my car into town rather than using the subway was because I was meeting my cousin and his partner for dinner after the reception. But I'll come back to that.

As soon as I got to Indebleu, the first thing I thought was another X El bar. The furnishings reminded me a lot of the bar in NYC that I wrote about in November when I went with my boy, Maxim. But I think the reception attracted a different crowd and there were some truly hot bois in the space. As soon as I got into the room for the reception, a guy named Tony grabs my arm and introduces himself. At first, I'm kinda shocked as he wants to introduce me to Lee Hayes who is sitting at a table autographing books. I later learn from Tony that he is the event planner, so it was his gig to make sure everyone got to meet the author. I later enlisted him to take a picture of Lee and me (I'll have to post that later; used a throwaway camera rather than my digital).

Since all of the guys that I wanted to take were either sick, out of town, or busy, I didn't plan to stay long as I wouldn't know anyone in there. I was hoping to meet Bill whom I had met online and who told me earlier that he planned to be in the room. As it turned out, we missed each other by about 5 minutes. His friends didn't come with him, and he was late arriving. I did get a chance to holla at my alum, Tim'm West and his partner. Tim'm is one of the coolest kats in the family and I'm not just saying that becuz he might be reading this - lol. He is a down-to-earth, intellectual, hip-hop artist.

Ok, after 30 minutes I skip out to go meet Cousin and Goodboi at Union Station. Our original plans were to feast at B. Smith's restaurant in Union Station, but they were booked up for the evening. We headed uptown NW to Bus Boys and Poets. Some of you will remember that this is the spot where Tim'm hosted his Thursday evening Front Porch after a fire destroyed his usual space, Cafe Mawonaj. The place was jammed packed on Saturday night. The hostess told me it would take about 30 minutes to seat our party of 3. We moved over into the bookstore area to wait, and wait, and wait, and wait, and wait. I checked several times to see if we were close to being seated and finally was told that the only parties leaving tables were 2's. There is no space to reconfigure for 3, and after waiting over an hour - WE LEFT. Since I am not a DC expert, I took my little party of 3 over to Dupont Circle. I had to circle the area for a minute to find a parking space, but I knew I was eating in Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe & Grill. As usual, it was a good eating experience and Cousin and I got to catch up on hislyfe, mylyfe and the gossip about our family lyfe. I even drove them back to Baltimore on Saturday night/Sunday morning. Among all of my kinfolks, Cousin is the best and not just becuz we have some habits in common - lol.

On Sunday morning, I had considered going to church with Spiderman, but after rolling back to my hotel in the pre-dawn hours, I wasn't really feeling an early morning service. After he called to check to see if I was still going, we agreed to get together for brunch, and I rolled back over for a few more minutes of blissful shuteye. Spiderman picked me up around 12 noon, and we headed to Luna Grill & Diner Shirlington to eat. I can't think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than sitting at a table with a phyne man who is both frat and friend, and Spiderman is all that plus (stop blushing Spiderman. You know it is true). And I wasn't the only one in the restaraunt feeling him, because Dude at another table kept giving him steady eye the whole time we were there. We kee-keed for a while b4 it was time for me to head back to the Old North State.

Well, gotta head to the day job. Will be in Oakland for the weekend. Anybody in O wanna show me the town, hit me on email. Will be there Friday/Saturday nights.

And now, get ready y'all:

COVENANT, the follow up novel to Rashid Darden's debut novel LAZARUS will be available for pre-order exclusively at http://www.oldgoldsoul.com on February 1, 2006.

Shem hotep.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Pegging (But he's str8, right?)

Yeah. Right. My friend, Spiderman and I, were just talking today about str8 boys who proclaim their heterosexuality all the while they are blowing your back out. Tonight while looking at "top" and "bottom" in wikipedia, I encountered this:

Pegging (sexual practice)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

A woman pegging a man doggy-style with a 4-strap harness and dildo, using the corner of the bed to adjust the height to that most comfortable for penetration
Pegging is a neologism invented in 2001 that describes a form of anal sex where a female uses a strap-on dildo to penetrate a heterosexual male's anus. This practice may be legally prohibited in places that have sodomy laws.
The origin of the term was a winning entry in a June 21, 2001 contest in Dan Savage's Savage Love sex advice column. In the column, it was a specifically heterosexual term; the competition was held after an observation was made that there was no common name for the practice of females penetrating heterosexual men with a dildo.

(Ok, now. Lemme get this straight. If a man gets penetrated with a strap-on dildo, he's still straight because a woman is doing it? Gimme a break!)

Shem hotep.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Tragic Shooting of Oklahoma University Alpha Phi Alpha Student

OU student shot, killed near OSU By John Estus

STILLWATER - Authorities arrested a man from The Village on a murder complaint Sunday after a shooting at an off-campus fraternity party killed one man and injured three others early Sunday.
Oklahoma City police arrested Karras Mitchell Harrison, who lives at 2721 Carlton Way in The Village, Sunday evening. He was held at the Oklahoma City Police Department until Payne County authorities could retrieve him.
He was taken to the Payne County jail, where authorities expected he would be held at least until Tuesday, when an arraignment is planned.
Three other people believed to have been with Harrison are being sought for questioning, Stillwater police Sgt. Jeff Watts said.
Paul Shanor, 20, of Carrollton, Texas, died at Stillwater Medical Center on Sunday afternoon from a gunshot wound to the chest.
Shanor was a member of the University of Oklahoma chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.
"The university family feels a tremendous sense of loss," OU President David Boren said in a statement. "Paul was a highly respected student. It is heartbreaking to see his life cut short in such a tragic way."
Oklahoma State University officials also expressed remorse.
"It is deeply saddening and troubling when a gathering of students and their friends turns violent because of the actions of a few," OSU President David Schmidly said in a statement.
Metcalf said Harrison could face at least one charge of second-degree murder and three charges of assault with a deadly weapon.
Metcalf said officers were called to Holiday Inn, 2515 W Sixth, at 3:11 a.m. Sunday and found four gunshot wound victims in the hotel's Iba Suite. Metcalf said about 40 to 60 people attended the party, sponsored by Oklahoma State University's chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha.
The gathering was described as an after-party for the fraternity's dance at the OSU student union Saturday night.
Metcalf said investigators believe the shots were fired after some uninvited guests tried to enter the party and were denied entrance by Alpha Phi Alpha members.
Multiple shots were fired from a .45-caliber weapon into the hotel room, striking four people.
Legaria Thomas, 19, an OSU student, was at an Oklahoma City hospital Sunday after having been shot in the face.
Curtis Canaday, 22, a Langston University student, was shot in the hand and was treated at Stillwater Medical Center before being released.
An unnamed third victim was in critical condition in the intensive care unit at Stillwater Medical Center Sunday night.
Cory Cox, president of Alpha Phi Alpha at OSU, would not comment.
On Nov. 18, 2004, OSU administrators banned Alpha Phi Alpha and seven other African-American fraternities and sororities from having dances in the student union after Stillwater police found a gun on a man who was involved in one of many fights at an Alpha Phi Alpha dance in the student union Oct. 2, 2004. The man was not a student.
At least one other event has been held in the student union since the ban was lifted last fall.
Contributing: Augie Frost

To my frat brother who has now entered Omega Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., '06!

Monday, January 16, 2006

In Honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Last night on the eve of the day we celebrate the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I had a conversation with Kelley about my experiences in our segregated hometowns (we are from cities that are 40 miles apart). I recalled for him my memories of boarding buses/trains after all whites had been seated, male relatives forced to urinate over the side of the ferry because the only bathrooms onboard were for whites, standing at lunch counters but not able to be seated, and about my mother and me being put off of a train in the dark, forced to stumble down the tracks back to the train station, and then having to sleep on the wooden bench all night in the "Colored" section within sight of the more comfortable leather seats in the "White" section in Petersburg, VA. Kelley asked me how I have been able to make the transition from a segregated society to the one we live in today. My answer to him was that all that I experienced during those years has made me a somewhat vigilant person about the value of basic freedoms and suspicious of signs that I take as ways to put a face of sophistication on racism. Segregation of yesterday is being replaced with "compassionate conservatism" today. Race neutral policies leave in place the unbalanced economic, political and social power structures that were constructed during de facto and de jure segregation. States rights, decentralized federal government, and individual liberty undergird the belief that 'we are not our brother's keeper' and that the poor and/or unempowered are thus made by their own choosing.

And so I cannot be completely trusting of the America in which we find ourselves in the 21st century. One hundred forty years has not undone 300 years of slavery or 60 years of Jim Crowism. The words of Dr. King are a reminder that America still has not delivered on its promises to its citizens of color. I remember watching this historic event on our black and white TV that received the 2 networks in our area - CBS and NBC. For those of us living under the nightmare of segregation, his "sermon" gave us a reason to get up the next morning and continue to "fight the good fight."

I know that many of you were born after Dr. King's death. But as you hear Dr. King's message played on radio and TV throughout today, try to imagine what it would mean to you when you have just finished peeing over the side of a crowded boat. Shem hotep.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity. But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free.

One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land.

So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition. In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.

This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.

So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights.
The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges. But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. we must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" we can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring." And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California! But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee! Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

(Be sure to click on the Dr. King photo above to hear his magnificent excerpt - "The Drum Major Instinct").

Fratman1906 At 360 Yahoo

Hell, it's hard enough to keep one blog going, so don't asked me why I decided to replicate it at 360 Yahoo. But I did, so take a look and tell me what you think. Fratman1906 on 360 Yahoo is live and kicking. And if you can connect as a "Friend" then just do it.

Now I am going to visit the clubs in Myrtle Beach, SC. Will let you know in my next entry about the night life that I encounter. Shem hotep!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Changing the MLK weekend plans

Fratman1906 is resting up for a weekend at the beach. Originally, Maxim and I had planned to spend this weekend in Atlanta. But, it was a trip that was just not meant to be. We began planning for this weekend in November while returning from our excursion in the NYC for the Veterans Day weekend. We thought we might recreate some of the excitement of the Labor Day Pride weekend. Coming off of Christmas, we needed a few more participants to pull this off and share expenses. Unfortunately, for several good reasons, our bois backed out after the New Year. I had a room reserved at the Doubletree in Buckhead (canceled last night), so if someone is looking for a room, there is one available for 3 nights.

Since I had already put in for a vacation day on Friday to travel to ATL, I decided to use the day off to work on the blog (you wouldn't believe how much trouble I had putting that damn picture on the profile). So now I have that worked out. Anyway, I have re-grouped for the weekend and will spend Saturday thru Monday in Myrtle Beach, SC. It is going to be a nice quiet time to get away from the chaos of work (2006 has been kicking ass and taking names) and do some reading, sleeping, eating and flirting (oops, did I say that?). Found a nice hotel on the beach for $41/night plus tax.

So, there might not be much to blog about when I return, but then again.... Meanwhile, let me recommend to you a new blogger who definitely has some fiction writing skills. Meet Defense, Doniel who has been posting to Keith Boykin's message board. When you read "The Crack Addiction of Samuel McGee," you will see his grasp of some potent issues and his ability to narrate them.

And now this important message from Rashid Darden, author of Lazarus -- COVENANT is coming!! Yeaaaaaa!

Shem hotep!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

From Brokeback Mountain thru the Fireplace to the Banana Republic

(Let me say upfront that this is a long post, but I decided to post it all at one time rather than promising installments that might not get delivered. Read some, do something else, come back to it, but by all means enjoy it. I DID!).

What an incredible holiday vacation I had (THANKS Maxim; you're incredible and played a big part in this). I really thought that I would write a blog entry or two while I was away, but the temptation to just chill and vegetate was too strong. I left work at 2 pm on 12/21 and didn’t look back. I was bound for CT/NYC (an 11 hour drive), but spent two nights with Maxim in VA along the way. Since central NC is one of the markets where the LOGO channel is not a part of the line up, I had not seen any of the episodes of Noah’s Arc. Maxim had two episodes recorded on his DVR and I was finally able to see my first shows. Coming from a Bible belt region that is still struggling to say the word ‘homosexual’, I must say that watching black gay males on this show was absolutely “fab-u-lous”. Now before some of you decide to throw darts at me for saying that, remember the “deprived” environment in which I must constantly live. Therefore, NA was as refreshing as spring rain. The next night, we got the chance to see ‘Brokeback Mountain’ (in Dupont Circle, of course – lol). And, isn't Heath Ledger's character the non-stereotypical, straight-looking sweetie with more issues than the New York Times? The theatre started the movie on the hour, every hour on most of the screens. That really helped keep long lines from forming although there were plenty of people there. I don't know about the rest of you, but Jake Gyllenhaal's character certainly set off my gaydar early in the movie. Of course I have read the articles on Keith Boykin’s website and other Single Gender Loving (SGL) blogs about this movie (btw, I agree with Keith’s love/hate assessment of the movie). But just as shows like “Will & Grace” and “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” opened some doors for gay black shows (even if they are confined to the LOGO channel), I believe that movies such as Brokeback Mountain may open the doors to some major cinema coups for black gay love stories that are not categorized as down low’ films. How about a movie about a high ranking gay member of the President of the United States staff who eventually settles down with a creative producer and forms a loving power couple sgl family (hint, hint Keith and Nathan).

Ok, back to my vacation. From Brokeback Mountain, we hit Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe in Dupont Circle for dinner. I am a solid fan of this bookstore/restaurant and this was actually my second time eating there in December (the first time was with two other Duke alums - Maxim and Tim'm West). The sharezies are a great way to sample foods (sort of like tapas), and there is a great view of men passing by on the sidewalk entering or leaving Dupont Circle. But I digress, whew. One of Maxim’s friends came by to deliver a Christmas gift while we were in the restaurant. I had a great laugh when he asked if I was Maxim’s mentor (forgot to use my Just For Men formula lol). Maxim’s reply was better than any I could have given when he told him that he (Maxim) was my mentor (which is true).

On Friday, I was off to NYC/CT for a week-long holiday vacation. Another aside here, what’s up with slow azz drivers on the NJ Turnpike. If you can’t stomp with the big dogs, stay on the porch (and off the turnpike). Ok, enough venting. While no one has ever accused me of being a fan of cold climates, this is my third or fourth time in the area during the winter, and God help me, I am starting to enjoy it (last winter, I was walking in Times Square during fast falling snow and handling it like an old New Yorker). There is something magical about the Big Apple that will make you change your opinion about being there. There is literally something for everyone and all of the time. Ok, during the week, we (my CT relatives & I) went to Mohegan Sun and contributed to the economic security of the native Americans there, even left all of the winnings from a pretty nice slot machine hit. I upgraded my cellphone to a picture phone and added the wireless earpiece. I am so hooked on that little Bluetooth piece of technology, that I am beginning to feel/look like a Borg who is being assimilated; resistance is futile.

On Christmas Day, I slept late, chucked the diet and ate like there would never be another holiday, slept like a bear in hibernation, opened presents from the family plus those that staff and co-workers had given me earlier (I have enough restraint to wait until Christmas day), and never bothered to get dressed all day. But the real reason that I slept late can be attributed to the LOGO Channel. Remember from above that I got to see my first 2 episodes of Noah’s Arc with Maxim? Well, on Christmas Eve, while channel surfing, I stumbled upon a marathon of Noah’s Arc running on LOGO beginning at 11 pm. I watched every one of them and am now completely caught up. Let’s re-open those discussion topics on the shows now that I am armed and ready to debate the pros and cons. Now that is what I call a relaxing holiday.

On Wednesday, I drove up to central CT for a mid-afternoon lunch with No4real4real. Now those of you who follow my blog know that this man is someone I admire greatly, and each time we meet, talk or IM, I continue to marvel at his wonderful personality, insight into the condition of sgl life, and his comfortability with who he is. Our original intent was to eat at Sally Apizza, but they did not open until later in the evening. So, we walked down the street to Frank Pepe's pizzeria which was as delicious a pizza pie as any other I might have sampled. I was trying diligently to maintain the momentum I built over the last 18 months resulted in losing 67 lbs., but this opportunity was too great to pass up. It was worth every damn ounce that I gained, but now I am having to hit the gym twice a day to get it back off. Oh well. No4real4real hit me with a bit of philosophy that had been shared with him by someone with the Human Rights Campaign (I just became a member last month). It was that older men who are just coming out are like adolescents in terms of hitting the gay activities scene. Hmm, now did I fit that or what? ATL Pride in Sept., the Octagon, X El, Chi-Chiz, and the Hangar in November, the Bachelor’s Mill and the Fireplace in December. Life is “jood” (thanks James Earl Hardy for that word). After some really good conversation, we drove to the local Ikea. Of course I spent money that I didn’t need to spend, but I convinced myself that the things I picked up were needed for the renovation of my condo. My ass will be broke all of January (we get paid once at the end of every month). After dropping No4real4real at his place, I was back in southern CT in quick time. Thursday was all day rain, so I canceled my plans to go into NYC and had another sleep-a-thon.

Saturday was my designated day to take NYC by storm. I have learned how to leave my car in CT and take the Metro-North into Grand Central. After some tremendous seafood at BB King Blues Club & Grill near Times Square and a tour of Rockefeller Center, I hopped on the #1 subway to Christopher St. I am still not great at starting conversations with folks that I don’t know, but I did enjoy the eye candy in Chi-Chiz on Saturday afternoon, not to mention some hotties who came into Starbucks. No wonder folks pay southern mortgage payments in rent to live in NYC. I could get a serious addiction to the area. Now my biggest challenge of the trip was deciding whether to stay in the City and be a part of the midnight crowd in Times Square or not. Worsening weather conditions in CT made me decide to head to the house and put off TS for another year. Besides, its more fun when you’re with someone. Sigh, maybe next year.

Sunday was back to Maxim’s in the DC area. We did dinner at Kramer’s again (love that space), and then he introduced me to the Fireplace in DC at 22nd St. & P in NW. This popular watering place was jammed with phyne sgl men to turn your head. What’s more, it is so crowded that it is impossible not to have physical contact by being in the right place at the right time. Plus, it is good to be hitting the circuit with Maxim who seems to know a great many of the bois and is known by many as well. Those who don’t know him try to get to know him, and that’s a good thing. He and Braids had a special thang going that evening. Life is jood for everybody!! The drinks are not watered down, either.

After delaying as long as I could on Monday morning (watched old shows with Maxim, any excuse to keep from leaving), I finally headed back to NC. I had to stop at Banana Republic for one last mini-shopping spree to counter the depression of going back to work. It helped some.

Now I am going to end this with my New Year’s resolutions. I don’t ordinarily get into doing this but feel these two are especially appropriate (and do-able):

1. to weigh no more on Dec. 31, 2006 than I did on Jan. 1, 2006, and

(drum roll please because this is the spoken word...)

2. NEVER MAKE SOMEONE YOUR PRIORITY WHEN THEY ONLY MAKE YOU AN OPTION! -- Author: Unknown (for me, no more trying to stay in touch with folks who don’t want to be in touch).

(A special shout out and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to No4real4real who turns 26 on January 7th. It's your day, seize it and hold it!)

To Maxim, Tandy, Kelley, T-Bone, Rashid, No4real4real, Tim’m, AlbuK, Dalite1, all of my fellow bloggers, readers, friends, “mentors” and supporters, A Happy Prosperous New Year and Shem hotep!