I swear to God, someday I'm going to figure this shit out...
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Okay, I saw a movie this week that I want to talk about:
starring: Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Steve Carell, Alan Arkin, Paul Dano, and Abigail Breslin
Rated: R (for Respectable)
Jimmy's Rating: B+
First of all, I'm risking catching some major shit from a friend for seeing this, when I've promised, hell, I was the one who suggested that I take him to see "Snakes On A Plane" and I haven't done it yet. Dave, dude, the weekend isn't over yet, I may still be able to redeem myself. You, me, and Sam Jackson, it's going to happen. But, in the meantime, I found myself by myself in front of a movie theatre where this was playing, it was minutes 'til showtime, it was HOT AS HELL outside, and before I knew it, I was sitting in an air-conditioned theatre in an aisle seat with a gallon-and-a-half sized Diet Coke in my mitts and the movie began. Like magic.
This is a little movie that is a welcome change of pace from the big budget summer fare that Hollywood loves to crank out. It's about a family on a trek to get the youngest to a beauty pageant across the country. A family that is dysfunctional and unhappy. You spend alot of time smiling and giggling and then wincing in pain watching these characters muddle through their lives together. Kinda like real life.
The standout performances come from Arkin, ever the veteran performer who can still be counted on to bring an energy and vitality to his roles. How many years has this guy been making movies, and why isn't he regarded as one of the finest we have still with us? The other amazing performance comes from Steve Carell. Ya know, I had the guy written off as a professional Retard, but with "The 40 Year Old Virgin" and now this, he shows that he is capable of showing real emotional complexity and depth. Both Arkin and Carell were really terrific.
I found Kinnear to be the least effective in his role. Always cartoonish in whatever he is in, I think he was the weakest link in this ensemble.
The movie isn't perfect. It is as awkward and flawed as the characters in it. But you want to root for this movie, just like you want to root for the characters in it.
Click on the movie title above if you'd like to visit the movie's website and read more about it and see some clips.
Hey, while I'm thinking about it, have you ever seen Happy, Texas?
Jimmy's Video Stash: (very bottom of the page, people)
Only one music video this week.
Another from Corinne Bailey Rae. She's wonderful.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Sometimes, I just wake up and feel sad. It's not about anything specific, or maybe it's specifically about everything. I just wake up with a weight on my shoulders, a heaviness in my heart.
I've been told that I'm a sensitive guy. Hell, I tell people all the time that I'm a sensitive guy. I use it as an alibi, I think. Truth is, I stumble and thrash about my in life and the world around it, and have a pretty good track record of creating havoc and making a mess of things. I do such things with hardly a thought about Consequences or Intention. I have used the term "happy-go-lucky" to describe this refusal to pay attention to what I am doing. Then, something breaks. I break something. I do something that causes myself or someone else pain. That's when I become bewildered and portray myself as a poor victim of some grand cosmic joke.Or, I berate myself and become hyper-critical, but only for the sake of Drama. I try to beat myself up before someone gets the chance, and if they DO get the chance, I am wounded beyond words. I don't think I'm nearly as sensitive as I claim to be. I think I might just be a huge spoiled brat.
Some days I just wake up and see myself as the weak, insecure, and self-involved man that I am and I'm disgusted and appalled. These are the days when I struggle to remember all that I have to be Grateful about.
It's on these days that what I really need is a turkey dinner, with mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. I need those smells and tastes to remind me (and they ALWAYS do) of Thanksgiving Day. Of how much I adore that holiday. Of how I always swear that I should live EACH day in thanksgiving.
I'm a lucky man. I'm a man who strives to live in Gratitude and Humility, yet falls short continually. I'm a Drama Queen. I'm a Spoiled Brat. I have the best of Intentions. And I haven't got a Clue.
(I close my eyes and take a deep breath.)
(I sit in this quiet and feel myself with these feelings.)
I'm feeling better already!
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
So, I'm still in the boxer briefs, and I'm still experiencing Underwear Envy. I went to the Big Ol' Boy clothes store the other day and they had some boxers on sale. Clearance prices. Such a deal. I couldn't resist.
I bought a single pair, just to see if things have changed. They haven't. I wore the pair to work yesterday and I SWEAR TO GOD there is a seam in the crotch that was trying to saw my scrotum off of my body. WTF? Why are these damned things so uncomfortable to me? I couldn't wait to get home and get the fuckers off!
I belong in boxers. I like how I look in them. Why does this have to be so hard?
Maybe I should just "go commando" from now on.
I'm kidding. Freeball at work? No friggin' way! I'm going to try again tomorrow, the suspect pair is being laundered today and then inspected carefully for nylon thread, maybe a stray "inspected by #15" tag, or razorblades.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
So, it's another Sunday, and I managed to remember my commitment about blogging today. It's a start.
I'd like to take this time to introduce you to a new little thing I will be adding to this disaster. For many weeks now, I have been trying to figure out how to embed an mpeg player interface onto my blog template. I've seen other knowledgable bloggers do this, and I'm green with envy. On their pages, when the page builds, a little mpeg player is accessible. This player plays music for the reader, or allows the reader to select other tunes to play while reading the blog. Since I'm pretty much a music freakazoid, I would love nothing more than to introduce people wandering by to stuff I think is awesome and I think they might enjoy. Well screw that, to stuff that I enjoy! I mean, if you like reading what I write, maybe you'll like listening to what I like to listen to as well. Hey, it could happen...
Well, short of spending 700 dollars to buy software to build the macro media flash interface I'd need, I can't seem to figure out how to accomplish creating "jimmy's jukebox". I'm not that commited. Sorry. Mr. Lactose-Intolerant offered to give me an ILLEGAL copy of the program, but regardless of the homo-erotic fantasy of being locked behind bars in The Big House, while being persuaded to have prisonsex with him in front of swarthy convicts who pay us in chocolate bars, toothpaste, and back issues of GRIZZLY magazine while they study our amazing technique, I just don't think that's a good idea.
So, instead, I've come up with this idea: At the bottom of this page, there is a footer. In this footer, I will now have a little section I call "Jimmycity's Video Stash". Here, I will put music videos (courtesy youtube.com) of current stuff I'm listening to, or older stuff that I think is cool. I'll change these out on Sundays and announce in Sunday Mop Up what they are. Just to remind you to check them out, if you'd like.
Another benefit of doing this is that I won't be posting music videos as daily entries any longer, which was just laziness on my part when I didn't want to think about writing something. Sure this workaround isn't as hip as having a jukebox for you to play with, but this solution was FREE. Much more my style.
So, that being said, here's what you'll find down there this week:
"Put Your Records On" - Corrine Bailey Rae
I was all over Norah Jones when she released her first record. Likewise with Madeleine Peyroux. This young Brit has an album out right now that I could just eat with a spoon. Yummy! She's big in England, and I really hope she catches on here. This is the first single off the album, and I think it's sweet, sweet, sweet.
"How We Operate" - Gomez
A band that I've heard the name of for a few years now, but had no idea what they sounded like. The video is to the title track off their latest album and I think the song is really cool. Banjo and mandolin in a song that is certainly not country at all. The raspy vocal pleads "Turn a new page/Tear the old one out!", and I'm hooked.
"One Man Wrecking Machine" - Guster
Wish you could go back in time and fix some shit? No kidding. I liked the song okay when I first heard it back in the spring, but I happened upon the video for it a few weeks ago and totally fell for the little Doll Dude. Maybe because his head resembles a penis in a necktie. Not sure, don't care. Love his white socks, too!
"Novacaine For The Soul" - eels
This is several (10? 9? 8?) years old now, but I remember loving it when it first came out. Shot in black and white with an ethereal quality to both the song and the video that I think rocks.
"Souljacker: Part 1" - eels
This is several years old as well (6? 5?...maybe I should be looking this shit up) and I remember loving the grittiness of the vocal and the tension in the beat. Thought I'd throw it in as a counterpoint of style next to the smooth dreamlike quality in the other track. By the way, the drummer is a hot little pudge in these. I need to see these guys live next time they come to town.
Okay, that's all I've got.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
"And what did the homosexuals look like, that you say you 'saw'?"
"You know, effeminate twinks. I thought being gay was all about being a bitchy, limp-wristed man who wanted to be a woman."
"...'who wanted to be a woman'...?" T. repeated back to me, so I could hear my own words.
"Yeah, you know, drag queens. Drag queens, transvestites, transexuals - they're all the same..." Made perfect sense to me, at the time.
"No, they're not, actually." He took a breath. "You think drag queens want to be women?" He was making sure he understood me.
"Well, of course! Why else would a man take such care and go to such great lengths to dress up and act like a woman if he didn't really wish he was one? They disgust me. I'm a man, and I'm happy being a man, and I don't identify with guys who pretend they are women."
"That's interesting," is all my therapist replied.
"They are gross."
"So," T. pointed out, "you are very homophobic."
"Was" I corrected.
"Are" he countered.
"Look, just because I detest chicks with dicks, doesn't mean I'm afraid of them."
"Really? I'm not so sure. Maybe you're afraid of yourself..."
"Maybe you are afraid that everyone thinks of homosexuals in that stereotype. Maybe you hate them because that image does not represent who you are, yet you feel society will lump you in with them when they find out you are gay as well. Maybe you are afraid of what you do not understand."
"Maybe I'm just not into female impersonators..."
"Maybe we're not talking about what you are 'into'. We're talking about you having a strong negative reaction to people you don't know who merely choose to express themselves in ways in which you can not relate.You are very quick to judge others unfairly, and you assume you are being judged unfairly by others."
"Umm... what other people think of me is none of my business?" We came around to this fairly regularly. Here we were again.
"And they couldn't give a shit about what you think of them," he added.
"Great. Maybe I should add that to my sign," I suggested.
"Stick with what you've got, " he instructed. "You've got to crawl before you learn to walk."
Several sessions later...
We're talking about gay bars and how I had visited one that I finally felt comfortable in.
"So, what made this gay bar any different than the others that you dislike?" he asked.
"Well, for one thing, it was filled with big, burly, masculine men," I said.
"They were all masculine? What do you mean by that?"
"They were all in blue jeans, and leather. Many had short cropped hair, big thick moustaches and beards, and tattoos. They looked hot!"
"So, you like that look? You like guys who might have pierced nipples and wear chains, and strut around in chaps?"
"Or baseball caps turned backwards and white wifebeaters so that you can see their hairy armpits!" I was visualizing them in my mind's eye.
"That's interesting," he noted.
I shrugged. "Why is that?"
"It's all drag, Jim. Just different ends of the spectrum. Men dressing up ultra-masculine is no different that men dressing up ultra-feminine. It's still just dressing up. But it's a costume, apparantly, that you feel comfortable being around and to which you can relate. It's all just a 'show'. But, this attire doesn't seem to threaten your sexual identity, it seems. Maybe it soothes your own raging insecurity and self-loathing, I don't know. It doesn't conflict with your preconception of acceptable male behavior. But, sorry, it's still just a costume.
If you ever took the time to talk with, and get to know, some of the drag queens out there, you'd find some self-assured, confident men who can be every bit as masculine as you are underneath the pancake make-up and mascara. They just happen to be comfortable being in touch with their feminine side. And, by the way, they can be amazingly talented entertainers and performers. Likewise, should you continue to meet and get to know some of these leathermen out there, you may be surprised to find some nelly, lisping, stereotypical gays who are dressing that way to either attract a certain type of man, or who just like to project that image."
"Damn!" I said.
And, just like that, T. ruined my Leatherman fantasy. Now, when I walk up to some hot, virile hunk at the bar and I say hello and a purse drops out of his mouth, I think of that exchange between T. and myself.
Aint that a drag?
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Sunday, August 13, 2006
So, maybe I'll use Sundays as a way to touch on little things that I fail to mention during the week, kind of a clean up of scattered thoughts and loose ends (NOT that I have a loose end, mind you!). Tidy the blog and brain up a bit, as it were. Okay, then.
Last weekend, when I was hanging with some friends, we all met for BREAKFAST (okay, it was, like 11am, but still) at a Mexican restaurant for BREAKFAST tacos. Do you see the emphasis I am placing here? Well, as we are all ordering these tacos FILLED WITH EGGS AND CHEESE and Mexicanny stuff, I ordered a glass of milk. Big deal, is it? I guess it was to a friend sitting across from me (a fine friend, by the way, whom I intend to attempt to impregnate someday. You know who you are, and you have been warned!).
The look on his face was of disbelief and disgust, like I had jacked off in the guacamole or something. When the waitress brought our drinks, it was iced teas and Cokes and my big glass of Moo Juice. He couldn't take his eyes off of it. Then, when I washed down a mouthful of chips and salsa with a swig, he couldn't contain himself:
"Ewww! Gross!" he blurted out.
"What?" I asked (wearing a milk moustache, I'm sure).
"Chips and salsa and milk?" he asked.
"Dude, it's breakfast. Give me a break."
Here's the deal. I like dairy products. Always have. I also like doing gay things to gay men and, likewise, I like having gay things done to me. I'm not about to start apologizing for either. If corn chips and milk is the grossest thing you witness me doing, consider yourself one of the fortunate. I promise to brush my teeth before I kiss you, 'k?
I'm a Thoroughbred Racehorse, Baby!
During my bout with food poisoning earlier this month, I experienced a pretty sizable fever. Whenever I get a fever, my left leg swells up from mid-calf to my ankle. This is due to a previous motorcycle injury from way back in the early 90's ("The Motorcycle Years") when I was broadsided on my bike, and had my leg broken. I have a rod is in my left femur from this, and ever since, if I get a systemic infection of any kind in my body, I get this case of cellulitus. It looks pretty gross, for sure, but a flight of anti-biotics has cleared the issue up in the past.
So, for the first 10 days of the month, I was on anti-biotics and the leg got better and better with each day. But I ran out of anti-biotics on Wednesday of last week, and the leg was still a (lighter) shade of red and still sort of puffy. So, I went to see the doctor on Friday. I just wanted more pills (note: I dig being on anti-biotics, by the way. My skin clears up, no b.o. - it's wonderful!). What I got was a sonogram (the doc feared bloodclots), a new script for a sulpha anti-biotic, and a script for water pills- Lasix. The doc also insisted that I stay off the leg for a few days. No long car trips. This totally ruined an opportunity to inseminate Mr. Lactose-Intolerant this weekend and, for that, I've been pretty grumpy.
Now, I've never been on diuretics before. I'm familiar with Lasix, because I like to go to the racetrack and bet on the ponies. If you see a horse in your program that is running on Lasix for the first time, and he's worth a shit at all, you bet on that horse. Because they can fucking RUN. I had always figured that they ran faster because they were lighter in weight. Now, I'm convinced that they are running as fast as they can to get the damned race over so they can take a pee. "Piss like a racehorse"? Oh. my. god! I now understand that phrase.
I've urinated three times just since sitting down to write. No, I haven't urinated while sitting here. I've made it to the bathroom. Jesus.
Anyways, those horses and I have more in common now than just being studs.
Two days into it, my leg is looking MUCH better, thank you.
Okay, back to the laundry...
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Yes, I've spent some time in therapy. Hey, when you're a 40 year old man who has just come out of the closet and are scared shitless about it, as well as realizing that a propensity for substance abuse might be a bit of a problem, well, talking to an objective outside party about the chaotic clusterfuck that I called a "life" seemed in order.
I'll elaborate on the "coming out" debacle with my family at a later date. Ditto my journey toward a sober existence. Right now, I just want to talk about finding my therapist.
I didn't find him right away...
Years before, as I struggled with self-esteem issues, which I was blaming wholey upon my weight, I had met with a psychologist named George. George had a nice house/office in the middle of a swank neighborhood in central Austin. George had a sofa that he wanted me to lie back on as he sat behind a big mahogany desk across the room from me. Way across the room.
It was a nice sofa, to be sure, but I'm a fat guy, and lieing down into furniture is problematic. Well, it's the getting back up that is the problem, actually. Every session with him began with me asking if I really had to lie down on this sofa.
"Please", he would say.
And so I would sigh heavily and lie down. And every session would end with me grunting and groaning to get myself upright. Just what my self-esteem needed, huh?
A typical session with this guy would involve me spilling my guts all over the immaculate hardwood floor of his office. Details of my feelings of inadequacies and self-loathing would pour from me and splatter below like Campbell's Chunky Soup. I think I'm just being gross now. Sorry.
George would scribble on his pad.
The session would end with a look to his watch, an announcement that we were out of time, and that we would pick it up next week. He'd stand up, open the door to his office, and walk toward the front of his office/house. On the way, we'd pass through the kitchen area, where he'd leave me to walk the rest of the way by myself because he would stop at the sink and rollup his sleeves and vigorously and fervently scrub his hands with soap and water. Like my discharges were dirtying him somehow. Like he'd just had his hands up my ass, or in my mouth or something. I'm not kidding, this happened every session.
It was about session #6 that something happened. I got some input from George. I had been talking about my struggle with my weight when he put his pad and pen down on his desk and looked me straight in the eye.
"You know what I like to do?" he asked.
I just blinked, waiting.
"Sometimes I'll take a chicken breast and wrap it in aluminum foil with some onion, some sliced mushrooms, a little salt and pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. I wrap that package up and bake it in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Make a little rice on the side and slap together a salad. It's delicious!"
Over one month into my therapy and all I had gotten from George was a recipe for "Chicken WhatTheFuck".
As he escorted me from his office and ditched me for the kitchen sink, I vowed to never return.
I, also, mistakenly determined that therapy was a colossal waste of time. Years passed before I considered trying it again.
Bob was a psychologist who was younger than me. By this time, I realized I was having issues concerning my sexual orientation, so I found him because he specialized in that sort of thing. Bob was cool and hip. He had the gelled hair, the perfectly manicured moustache and goatee. At the time, "Seinfeld" was all the rage. His wardrobe was all Kramer shirts, stylin' blue jeans, and Kenneth Cole shoes. He was gay, so I was sure I could learn something from him.
Bob had a sofa as well. But he didn't make me lie down on it. No, I could just sit there, among a menagerie of stuffed animals. He often asked me if I'd like to hold one of the plush creatures as I talked. What? What's with psychologists and their freaking sofas? He, too, sat across the room from me at his desk.
I was determined to stick it out with Bob. Our sessions, again, involved me spewing my history out to him. But Bob was much more apt to interject his thoughts along the way. Mostly, his comments were along the lines of "Interesting!", or "Many gay men go through that!" and "Yes, that's typical of homosexual men!" and after about three months, I realized that all Bob was doing was validating that, indeed, I was queer. Yup, big ol' fag. I know cuz my therapist told me so. whew! Well, I was sure there was more for me to learn from this guy, so I continued to book sessions with him.
Bob also had a group that he invited me to join. This was a collection of 6 people with issues ranging from a middle aged man addicted to porn to a retired nurse who struggled with being passive/aggressive with her husband to a lesbian with a crystal meth problem to a compulsive kleptomaniac to a young bulemic. And me. Big ol' hairy fag, remember?
Everyone was really warm and receptive to me, with the exception of the lesbian. This woman seemed to detest me right off the bat. I couldn't open my mouth without her rolling her eyes at me. It gave me a complex fairly quickly. Self-esteem issues, keep in mind. This chick was doing a tapdance on my emotional baggage. And, I felt no support from Bob. I think he wanted me to deal with it in this "controlled environment" without solving it for me. I was completely intimidated by the bitch. I was furious that I was spending money on sessions that I walked away from feeling like crap. It was too early for me to be in a "group".
Maybe I wasn't gay, either!
I walked away, vowing never to return.
I also, AGAIN, determined that therapy was a colossal waste of time. Years passed... yada yada yada...
When I talked to him on the phone, T. sounded SO yummy. Soft-spoken and calming on the phone, I had called him during a break in one of my out-patient rehab sessions. I found his name in a list that my employer's EAP (Employee Assistance Program) offered. Yes, he said, he could talk to me about my sexual orientation and substance abuse issues, but not until I was out of rehab and sober. I pictured a small, fuzzy bear. I swear, he sounded hairy. Shut up. Actually, I pictured Robin Williams in "Good Will Hunting". It had recently dawned on me that hairy older men in flannel shirts and beerguts were what tripped my trigger. I wondered if this man, who was obviously sent to the Earth to help me be a whole, complete, and integrated personality, would find me to be fascinating, handsome, and do-able. Yes, I am aware that I have boundary issues as well, thank you very much. I promised that I would call his secretary and book a session in two weeks, right after I completed the 5 week program I was in.
When we met, I was stunned. Far from looking like Robin Williams, T. was a tall, very slender man in his 60's who looked more like a butler in a PBS Upstairs/Downstairs episode. Oh well, no homo-erotic fantasies about my counselor. Drat.
My initial session lasted over an hour, which is unusual, I'm told. Psychologists are strict timekeepers. I sat down in his comfy chair, with him sitting directly across from me. No weird sofa, no big, important desk. Cool.
And it began.
He stopped me 60 minutes into the session. He said I was a People Pleaser. He told me that my relationship with my partner was doomed to fail. And he pulled out a piece of paper, wrote something across it, and told me to make copies of it and to post it in the following places and look at it daily:
*On the bathroom mirror
*On the dashboard of my truck
*In my cubicle at work
and what he wrote was:
"What Everyone Thinks of Me is None of My Business"
I swear, it hit me right between the eyes. It resonated with me completely. The words made me shiver. When The Student is ready, The Teacher appears. I found my therapist.
He told me that we would be spending the next several years trying to convince me that this statement was true and at the heart of my issues.
He also told me to plan on allowing him to talk a little bit next time.
Then, he laughed and told me to go home.
And I walked away, vowing to come back time and time again until I got it right, certain that therapy was going to save my life.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Monday, August 07, 2006
Title:"The Descent" rated "R" (for retarded)