Friday, December 31, 2004

Last Post for the Year

What a year.

I've grown (i think). I've overcome some challenges. I've strengthened my commitment to my partner. I've made some job changes and contemplated a whole new career. I've brought my web site to life (with some serious professional help), and started exploring my photographic vision in full force.

2004 held a lot for me.

Still, i don't get all the hoopla over the concept of the "New Year." It's just another day for me.

I tend to look at my birthday (March 2, for all you compulsive gift-givers) as the beginning of my new year. January 1 is kind of arbitrary, isn't it? I don't remember how the Gregorian Calendar came into being -- some Pope, i think -- but January 1 might as well be June 1 or September 23 or ... or ... March 2. ;-)

Whatever the reason, whatever the celebration whatever you do to commemorate the coming of 2005, be well, be powerful, be true.

Love You.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

10 Things I Love About Black Gay Men

Charles posted this challenge on his blog:

It's sad but true, if the list were 10 things I hate, I could do it without thinking. This is a good exercise for me, to remember the love I have for my brothers. I encourage others to do the same on their blogs.

I decided to take up the challenge. Only, i didn't expect it would be such a challenge. Unlike Charles, i don't know if i could so easily come up with ten things i hate either, but that's a story for another post.

Check out my list; i hope it's affirming. (P.S. I made my list before reading Charles's, so it will be interesting to see if there's any duplication.) So, in no particular order ...

  1. Queens. Whiteboys can claim queenery, but they're just working with the Black girls castoff expressions. I love it.

  2. Sex. In case you thought my being gay was strictly an intellectual or political or social exercise, think again. I love sex. With men. Especially black men. Deal with it.

  3. Community. I've argued (rather cogently, i think) that there really is no Black Gay Community in Atlanta. In the larger sense, i think that's still true. But it doesn't matter; wherever two or three are gathered in the name of Tony Daniels (or Essex Hemphill, or James Baldwin, or even goddamn J.L. King), community is in the midst.

  4. My Reflection. In the early days of my "coming out" experience, the thing that saved my life was realizing there were other men like me that i could actually touch and talk to. In the MANY years since, i hope i've provided that same lifesaving reflection for some other brothers.

  5. Wit. Okay, so the catty, queeny, reading black gurl is a stereotype. I gotta believe, though, that the smart gene often goes hand-in-hand with the gay gene. Or maybe it's the culture we've created that lends itself to brilliant jibes. Whatever the cause, i'm grateful for Juan Smith, Charles Stephens, Kevin Bynes, Tony Daniels, Duncan Teague, and a host of other fierce bristas who know how to let folks hold it, honey!

  6. Creativity. Essex Hemphill. James Baldwin. James Richmond Barthé. Marlon Riggs. Patrik-Ian Polk. Anthony Antoine. Tim'm West. Khalid Kamau. Juan Smith. Langston Hughes. Jerry Boles. Paris Barclay. Marvin K. White. Willi Smith. Duncan E. Teague. Reginald Harris. Kevin Aviance. And that's just off the top of my head. 'Nuff said.

  7. AIDS. No, not because i'm glad we have it. Certainly not because we're still harder hit than any other group. No. Because we didn't go away. Because we spoke up and still speak up. Because we find reasons and ways to live and love in spite of the odds against us.

  8. Beauty. So what if Queer Eye doesn't see us. Who cares if Boy Meets Boy doesn't meet our needs. I see it in us every day, in so many ways. If you doubt, check my portfolio of black and (mostly) gay men. We are beautiful in all shapes, sizes, and shades.

  9. Style. I almost overlooked this one because i'm so completely devoid of it. LOL! Whatever's hot right now in popular culture, chances are some black gay boi somewhere started it, either in our community or behind the scenes styling somebody else. Don't sleep; we help create culture.

  10. Our Legacy. If you look at some of the names i've named above, you know that there's a lot to live up to. A high standard that we as black gay men, we who are aware of that legacy, have a duty to maintain. But dammit, it's our legacy. We have the privilege and honor and choice to accept that mantle and further the legacy, or to let it die. Do you doubt? Check out The Blackstripe for a more comprehensive list.
Damn, that was hard! I started this list DAYS ago, and just got it together enough to post. So what does that mean? Then on top of it all, i went back to look at Charles's post, and he's deleted it. Oh well. Take my list for what it is.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


Okay, so i borrowed this one from Bernie. (There! I've credited it; now he can't sue.) Rather than posting my responses in his comments section, i decided to do my post here and simply Trackback to him.

Besides, Bernie deserves a good Trackback every now and then. ;-)

Read on to find my answers to this Holiday Pop Quiz. And hit me back with your own responses if you feel it.
  1. What is the one thing you must see or hear or do that tells you in no uncertain terms that it’s the holiday season?

  2. Of the three, which is your favorite: Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s Eve?

  3. Is the holiday season typically fun or depressing for you?

  4. Have you been good this year? Do you deserve a visit from Santa?

  5. How old were you when you figured out there was no Santa Claus?

  6. What was the best toy you ever got as a kid?

  7. What adult toy would you like someone to give you?

  8. What is your fondest memory from 2004?

  9. To what are you most looking forward in 2005?

  10. Are you optimistic or pessimistic as we enter a new year?

  1. What is the one thing you must see or hear or do that tells you in no uncertain terms that it’s the holiday season?
    Snow. As a child in Detroit, the holidays were never as magical if we didn't get at least one good snowfall. Of course, that means since i've been living in Atlanta for the past 13 years, i've seen about three holiday seasons, "in no uncertain terms." It takes a hell of a lot of magic to make that happen down here.

  2. Of the three, which is your favorite: Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s Eve?
    Hey, "Happy Chrismahanakwanzaka," i say. Let the holidays fight it out amongst themselves. Seriously, my favorite holiday is the Winter Solstice. Which just happens to be today. (Thank the goddess, the days are getting longer again!)

  3. Is the holiday season typically fun or depressing for you?
    It's usually some mix of aggravating with all its forced cheer and peaceful as a time of calm and reflection. And a little depressing. (But then, i get depressed going to the grocery store, so take it for what it's worth.)

  4. Have you been good this year? Do you deserve a visit from Santa?
    I've been a good, good boy in so many ways. But keep that fat devil off my rooftop!

  5. How old were you when you figured out there was no Santa Claus?
    Figured?!? Oh no. I had the privelege of having my one-year-older cousin tell me the truth when i was seven or eight. (Now what does it say about our culture that she got punished for that?)

  6. What was the best toy you ever got as a kid?
    Pokey. He's a stuffed panda that i got on my very first Christmas. I still have him. (With manufacturing lead time, that means he could be older than me.)

  7. What adult toy would you like someone to give you?
    {{giggle}} "Adult" toy? Wouldn't you like to know ....

  8. What is your fondest memory from 2004?
    Holding ADODI Muse's first CD, "Ain't Got Sense Enuf to be 'Shamed" in my hands after more than a year of hard work helping to make it happen? Holding the finished project of The Lion's Den Calendar in my hands after months of photography and layout work? (I acually had to struggle with this one, not because there were so many wonderful things to remember, but because my memories tend to be a blur of blessed sameness.)

  9. To what are you most looking forward in 2005?
    Emigrating to Canada. LOL! Seriously, the biggest thing in the upcoming year for me is developing my photography, both as an artist and as a businessman.

  10. Are you optimistic or pessimistic as we enter a new year?
    I am, as always, a cynical realist ...

Happy Holidays, Everyone!!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Been Too Long

It's been forever since i posted. Okay, not forever, but a while.

I don't really have anything to say right now. Just that i'm going to try and get back in the swing of things, that i'm going to try to post more regularly again, that i hate bloglines because their crappy notifier is part of the reason i stopped blogging. And that i'm moving to Toronto.

Not soon, but i really need to go to a new country "in search of a better life."


Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Inspiration is a Kick in the Groin

It's halfway through the month, so i figured by now i'd be posting excerpts from my novel in progress. I figured i'd coast through this NaNoWriMo thing (see previous post) with relative ease, since i'd done it before. I figured this November would see me add to my collect of first drafts i had waiting for revision and submission to some publisher or literary agent. I figured a lot of shit that didn't happen this month.

And i got surprised off my ass by some of what did.

Troy and i are being evicted.

Now, don't get me wrong: we pay our rent on time every month. It's not a matter of us falling behind on our obligations. All the more surprising to find that we're getting the boot, eh?

It seems there's a law firm (which shall remain nameless) that is acting on behalf of a mortgage company (which shall remain nameless) that has foreclosed on the owner of the townhouse (who shall definitely remain nameless) who leased us the property. The unit was sold at auction on the county courthouse steps a couple of weeks ago.

I'm not going to go into the details -- that's too much of somebody else's business mixed in with mine -- but suffice it to say that after moving in in OCTOBER, Troy and i weren't exactly planning to shuffle off again so soon. In fact, we had talked about possibly buying the unit and never having to move again. (If you're like me, you're wondering right about now what any of this has to do with the title of this entry.)

It seems that there were some errors made on behalf of our landlord by whomever was managing this property on said landlord's behalf. (Landlord doesn't live in Atlanta.) It seems Landlord was able to resolve issues with Mortgage Company and have the mortgage reinstated (a relatively rare occurrence, according to the representative of the aforementioned law firm with whom i spoke). It seems everything is going to be all right and we are not going to have to move after all.

So it seems right now.

Through all this drama, though, the good thing is that it has inspired a couple of potentially great advances in my life. (Ah, he's finally gotten to the inspiration part of this little rant.)
  1. If everything pans out, Troy and i actually may end up buying this property. Landlord is tired of dealing with it from a distance, and we are interested (if not able at the moment). So, assuming things work out as they seem to be, this little incident may have inspired Landlord to sell.
  2. Though i haven't been writing for NaNoWriMo like i planned, for some reason i've come up with a whole slew of new writing ideas, as well as some ideas for my photography. Seems there's been some creative inspiration in this madness as well.

That's about all for now. We're still waiting on the official word from the mortgage company. We're still hoping Landlord is on the up-and-up with the business dealings. But we're still going to look at apartments today.

You know, someday this is going to make a great chapter in my first published novel ....

Sunday, October 31, 2004


NaNoWriMo is Here!!!

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). During these thirty days, hundreds, maybe thousands of participants from all around the country (maybe even the world) will each attempt to write a complete novel of at least 50,000 words. Not everyone will succeed.

I will.

I've actually done it once before. I've participated for the last three years running, and completed a novel in the 30 days once (back in 2002). So i am committed to doing it again this year. If you're interested in signing up, taking on this challenge, go to the National Novel Writing Month web site and check out the details.

Meanwhile, i'll be drinking a lot of coffee. Look for me to be up late online.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Crackheads Will Steal Your Garbage

So Troy and i are moving. (Gawd, this has been the longest, most tedious process i've ever been involved in.) We set an assload of garbage out at the curb during our last foray into the old place. A couple of homeless guys came by and started going through the shit looking for buried treasure.

No problem.

They were neatly moving things from one rubbish container to another, sifting through stuff and asking if they could take whatever. "Sure." So why did i swing by there last night to pick up more boxes, only to find the front of the driveway and on into the street looking like the aftermath of Hiroshima?

I mean folks had gone digging through every bit of paper, every discarded personal item they could find. And they didn't put shit back in the bins. I spent a good twenty minutes sweeping and scraping up the flurry of crap that had been strewn across the sidewalk and into the street, reaching as far as my next door neighbor's drive. (He just happens to also be my lame-duck landlord.)

The good news is that all the heavy items i thought i was going to have to call special pickup services to come get has magically vanished. The bad news is i ended up taking all the garbage back into the garage and locking it up in there so i wouldn't have to clean up again tonight. So now i'm going to wait until tomorrow morning (collection day) to take it all out to the curb again.

Can you say pro-rated rent? {sigh} Pieces of my life scattered in the street and all i could think about was, "I gotta clean that shit up again?" I'm so over it.

Monday, September 27, 2004

I'm Not Feeling It Today

Baker's Dozen is hard. Damn, i can't think of twelve things i want to say about this past weekend. So instead, i'm offering up the results of a little quizio that Neena posted on her blog.

I don't think it means anything ... but i'm not saying it's wrong, either.

You represent... angst.
You represent... angst.
You have an extremely cynical outlook on just about
everything. It's okay to sulk and be
depressed, but life is short, and you only get
one. It's only what you make it, and only you
can make it improve.

What feeling do you represent?
brought to you by Quizilla

So ... there it is. And what feeling do you represent?

Thursday, September 23, 2004

***Oprah Update***

Thanks to corran for this update on my Oprah post.

Oprah Car Winners
Hit with Hefty Tax

Like any prize, the value is counted as income; winners must pay up to $7,000 or forfeit the car.


Thought you might be interested.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004



I am sitting here now, awake, because of something i saw earlier. Something i had a choice to watch, and should probably have said "no" to.

I watched that man get beheaded.

I sat and watched the video of the men in black masks hold him down and cut his head off like they were butchering a pig. They didn't use an axe or a sword, they used what looked to me like a chef's knife. They cut into him like you -- not i -- might saw away at a roast. He screamed and screamed, even though his mouth was covered, even after his head was mostly detached and they had cut through his windpipe, because they started at the front of his neck, not the back that would have severed his spine more quickly, and all that was left of him to know he was not dead was his struggling and a horrifying gurgling sound.

It's important. Important that i not back away from how horrible it was to watch.

And yet ...

As i watched, my mind filled with images of children's burned bodies, of women crushed in the rubble of falling buildings, of young men with rocks in their hands falling to the power of bullets ripping their flesh.

What is more atrocious, i wondered.

Let me say clearly that what i saw in that video was horrible. I am in no way saying it was not. It sickened me in a slow, unconscious, nauseating, creeping way the source of which i didn't even realize at first. The people who did that committed a horrific, unforgivable act.

But the question remained: What is more atrocious?

Is what those men did more horrible than what U.S. troops have been doing for how long now? Those men at least understood what they were doing, could not have evaded the reality of it if they had wanted to. They were there, hands in the blood, taking away that man's life because they believed it was what they had to do. They held him and killed him.

Some of the U.S. military may be equally convicted, but do they exercise courage in those convictions? Is it more horrible to cut a man's head off with your bare hands and a knife, or is it worse to sit miles away and push a button that sends death flying through the air to kill tens or scores or hundreds of people you'll never see?

I can't explain what i'm feeling right now, or why i'm scared to go to sleep. I think i didn't believe that seeing that particular violence would violate me. Or maybe i wanted to confirm that it would. And so it has, but it has also left me with more questions about myself, the world, this country i live in, the very nature and purpose of violence in the first place.

My fears and my nausea.

And waiting nightmares.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Charles Made Me Sad

I just went into panic mode. If you know me, stop and try to picture that for a moment.

Charles Stephens, the author of the Tongue Untied blog for the last few months has announced he will be deleting his blog. I don't know why, and i respect Charles enough not to interrogate him about his personal choice. I am just disappointed for the selfish reason that i will no longer be able to get my daily fix of his incisive critical thought. At least not online.

Of course, i had to remind myself that i know him personally and that we even work in the same building, so i might be getting a little dramatic with myself here. It's just that so much of what Charles has written in so short a time has sparked much self-exploration on my part.

So i'm a little sad that i won't have the Tongue Untied to look forward to anymore.

But i'll be looking forward to the book ....

*****UPDATE 9/21/04*****
{sigh} It's really gone. Charles has deleted his blog. Ah well, more power to him in his future writing endeavors.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Baker's Dozen - Sick and Tired ...

Influenza Cover Story for Seattle Weekly
Image by Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli/

In case you can't catch it from the image, i'm not feeling so well these days. In fact, i've been home from work for a week now. One of the hazards of having no health insurance, i guess: gotta tough it out for the non-lethal shit. Anyway, the feedback for this past weekend is going to be pretty one-track-mindish. But i'm trying to keep in the habit of doing this (late) every week so ...

  1. Tissue. Lots of it.
  2. Snot.
  3. Augmentin 600ES at regular intervals.
  4. More snot.
  5. Claritin to stop the snot.
  6. Aspirin to stop the Claritin headache.
  7. No sleep, but no energy to do anything.
  8. Delirium, probably born of sleep deprivation.
  9. Coughing that feels like a sandblaster in my chest and throat.
  10. Vicks 44 that my wonderful man brought me to stop the coughing.
  11. So much snot, i MUST have lost weight.
  12. Finally, the Six Feet Under season finale, and hope for recovery.

In the words of Olivier Castro-Staal, "I toast you with this shitty wine."

Here's to better health.

What the Hell is Wrong with Oprah?!?!?


Has Oprah lost her damn mind? No, really.

I'm sitting here, sick as a dog (i'll do my Baker's Dozen about it later), trying to convince myself i'm doing better after having slept only about three hours, so i decide to turn on Oprah's season premiere for the 19th year of her show. Apparently this is her "Wildest Dreams" season, where she's going to spend the year making people's dreams come true.

I guess i dream in different colors than other folks.

Oprah starts out by calling a woman out of the audience by name and bringing her down to the stage. The middle-aged, black woman is in tears with joy as Oprah greets her and asks her what her dream is. She (still tearfully) says her dream was just to be on the show.


Of course, that ain't the end of it. Oprah goes on to call 11 other folks out of the audience by name. Once the dozen folks are on stage behind her, she tells them they've been brought to the show under false pretenses. She asks her people to bring in the real surprise.

In drives a brand new Pontiac G6 as Oprah announces that each of the dozen people is receiving a much-needed car. The audience, of course, screams and goes wild at the shocked looks, hugs, and tears of the people on stage over their big surprise.

Hmmm. But this is Oprah and it's the season premiere. So big isn't quite big enough.

After the break (of course) Oprah announces that there is one more car to be given away, and that one lucky member of the audience will win it. Models come pouring out of the causeways and pass out small boxes with ribbons on them, which Oprah instructs everyone in the audience not to shake, not to open. (Do you see it coming like i did?) One box, she says, has the key to the car. The person who has the car key in their box wins a new car too. (Oh yeah, you see it coming.) So, Oprah tells everyone to go ahead and open the boxes, and ... yup, everyone has a key.

Oprah gave a new car to each and every member of her studio audience.

Seems she had actually padded the audience with folks who had either written to Oprah themselves or had other people write on their behalves about needing cars. Of course, a key is a nice symbol of having a car, but it just doesn't have the same impact as actually having the car. So Oprah takes the entire audience out to the parking lot, which she's had turned into a new car show lot. New cars for everybody! And you can drive it home today!! Whooee!!!

Of course, there were more surprises. The Black girl (and yes, it's important that she's Black) who overcame life in an abusive home and homelessness since the age of 13 to focus on her grades and earn her way into college. Her wish was just to get a makeover before going back to school, but you know Oprah.

Tyra Banks was called in to give her an America's Next Top Model style makeover, including a glamour photo shoot. (The girl is actually quite beautiful.) Then Tyra told her she was actually going to be featured in a spread in some magazine (Glamour or Marie Claire or something; i can't remember.) Then Oprah told her that she bought her a $10,000 new wardrobe for going back to school. Then she called up some woman from some foundation who told her that they were giving her a full four-year scholarship, including books and room & board, to the university of her choice. The girl could hardly speak through her sobbing.

Then there was the Black family in Michigan who has taken in scores of foster children over the years. They were living in a house they were about to be forced out of because the owner wanted to sell it. Oprah sent Gail to represent her. She, of course, bought the house for them. And gave them an additional $30,000 to do some much-needed repairs on it. And had Home Depot and Best Buy and some furniture store kick in thousands of dollars worth of stuff to fill it with.

What's the point of all this?

I'm not sure. Oprah said what gives her joy is helping make other people's dreams come true. It's why she started her Angel Network. (Ironic that i'm watching Angel on TNT now?) It's why she's doing this "Wildest Dreams" season. Oprah, more than almost anyone, has the power to make other people's dreams come true. So why was i a little uneasy about the orgy of giving today?

Maybe it was the fact that a lot of the folks who needed the cars so badly also had enough resources to videotape the condition of their current cars. Hmmm. Or that they had so many shots of the college-bound young woman walking along, looking dejected, with Oprah narrating about how tough her life was. But wait ... didn't they surprise her with this whole makeover thing? Doesn't that mean somebody had to tell her, "Okay, look depressed and down on your luck now. That's it."

Or maybe it was watching those foster kids looking at all the stuff they now had to fill their lives.

Don't get me wrong; Oprah is a maestro. Her instrument: the heartstrings. (Okay, so i cried just a little bit over the girl who's getting a full ride to college. Okay, i blubbered like a fool.) And her ostensible aim is to encourage other people to engage in philanthropic efforts. I just wonder at the focus on materialism that is at the heart of Oprah's power. I know she didn't create the capitalist society we live in, but she is one of it's most visible embodiments. She is powerful because of her abilty to generate money for herself and others.

I am not an Oprah-phile. Generally, i don't watch the show, don't subscribe to the magazine, don't follow her latest life strategies (though i suspect she's been pretty consistent over the years for anyone who really cared to listen). I don't know to what extent Oprah uses her money to fight for social justice and address the core causes of the inequities that drive our society. I just know feel-good efforts like the ones she engaged in today can't be the only answer.

But, um ... if you see me on the Oprah show one day, jumping up and down and tearfully thanking her for some wild dream of mine she's helped to make come true, don't hate on me ... i'm just trying to get mine.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Black and Gay ... for REAL

*****UPDATE 9/13/04: So ... just found out Mary Ellis Bunim died last year. Story is still the same. Funny though, i'm usually the one who thinks folks are dead before they really are.*****

Okay, Mary Ellis Bunim has finally done it. It took 15 years, but MTV's The Real World (Bunim is its creator) has finally got a black gay man on the show. I dunno, maybe she was watching the advance news about Showtime's American Candidate and got jealous.

Funny, i used to be a Real World junkie, but i haven't been a regular viewer since Melissa turned out the New Orleans show and went on to become one of the Girls Behaving Badly. So the only reason i even know about this latest development is because of Charles.

You know i had to investigate.

Seems there's this kinda-sexy brotha named Karamo on the show who stunned his straight, white, male roommates when he came out to them. I loved seeing their jaws literally drop at the end of the scene. (Of course, i probably would have clocked his T for myself after getting a load of his striptease in his casting video.)

Why is this a big deal?

Well, one thing i've notice since Ms. Bunim started the current boom in reality TV is that MTV is pretty much still the leader in this type of programming. I have yet to see a reality show on another network who's roots can't be traced back to something similar that MTV has already done. You can accuse MTV of fluff programming, but after they got over that whole "no videos by black artists" thing, they actually developed a history of being pretty progressive in the issues they tackle and the people they present. (Probably part and parcel of targeting their young and presumably progressive audience.) I'm actually surprised they haven't found a gay brotha before now. Now let's see if he finds another black man to hook up with.

I guess for me it's a big deal whenever i see more reflections of my folks on TV and in the movies. The more people see us, the more people will see us, y'know?

So let's see, who have we had so far? We had "Carter Heywood" on ABC's Spin City, we've got "Keith Charles" on HBO's Six Feet Under, and "Omar" on HBO's The Wire, Keith and Nathan on the aforementioned Showtime's American Candidate and ... um ... well that's about all i can come up with. (I am not counting minor walk-ons or straight actors who play over-the-top stereotypes just for laughs.) Oh yeah, and there's this South African TV show called Yizo Yizo, now in its third season, that has developed a relationship between two of the male characters.

Yes, two black gay male major characters on a television drama, and it happened in South Africa before the USA.

So, forgive me for getting excited about one more black gay man on TV -- and a real one at that. If you want to fault me for making to much of something trivial, go ahead. If you want to correct my on my list of black gay men on television, please send me an update.

For once, i look forward to being wrong.

Monday, September 06, 2004

The End of Labor Day Weekend

Atlanta's Black Gay Pride celebration has wrapped up for another year. With all the fantastic events and beautiful black folks all over the city this weekend, what better to blog about today.

Here's my Baker's Dozen for this week.

  1. Kudos to In The Life Atlanta for one of the best-organized events i've ever been a part of. It was really a fantastic weekend at Black Gay Pride in Atlanta, and while i'm tired as hell, i'm sorry it's over.
  2. The ADODI Muse: A Gay Negro Ensemble performed at the Opening Ceremonies and the crowd gave us MAD ENERGY. I love having the chance to share what we do with our folks.
  3. Imani Evans was incredible as the host of SpeakFire. (I was the co-host, but honey, i was just along for the ride.) She kept the crowd hot and lit up all night.
  4. New erotic poetry from sista Angie, the winner of our "Erotic Finals" at SpeakFire. I had fun hanging out with her the next day, doing the photo shoot she won as part of the impromptu competition.
  5. Got to see some of my favorite writers/performers again over the weekend. Why is it i only get to see brothas like Tim'm, Steven Fullwood, and Michael Christopher once a year or so. I gotta start traveling more.
  6. Spending quality time with my partner, Troy.
  7. Seeing all my beautiful peoples together just being themselves for the weekend. Made me think about all the possibilities, and what we need to do to make that kind of environment a reality on an everyday basis.
  8. The Friends party at TRAXX on Sunday night was old-school fun. The music took me back to my youth and i got a chance to hang out with some folks a little closer to my age than usual. We left in the wee hours, but the party was still going strong.
  9. No rain. In spite of predictions that Hurricane Frances would affect our weather up here as early as Saturday afternoon, there wasn't a drop to be seen all weekend.
  10. I spent up all my money in the marketplace again. Every year i say i won't do it, and every year there's somebody there who i want to support and somebody who has some new item i just can't resist and some author whose new book is out ... i end up spending way more money than i plan. Oh well, it's only money. So what if i don't eat next month.
  11. Did i mention all the beautiful people walking around Sheraton Colony Square all weekend? I could have booked a whole three or four calendars full of new models, just from sitting in the lobby of the hotel.
  12. Finally, the Atlanta premier of Noah's Arc was so packed, they had to run a second screening the next night (which was also packed). The director and guys from the cast were fantastic. They stuck around to sign autographs (and flirt here and there), and to answer audience questions. And on the second night, a minister from Unity Fellowship Church in Detroit got up and got the collection plate going to support the project. Within just a few minutes, the "ushers" had volunteered, somebody had found a couple of boxes, and they managed to collect over $500 from the crowd. To top it all off, Julian High from HRC pledged to match whatever was collected from the crowd. And there's news that the project may be coming to a cable channel near you sometime in the near future. Keep your eyes on for more updates. And go to to let them know you appreciate their financial support of the project.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Baker's Dozen

I admit it: i'm becoming a blog addict. So it's not unusual for me to run across the latest meme out here in the blogosphere. I don't know if this qualifies, but my boy EJ has this new concept he got from KB: Baker's Dozen.

According to KB, "Realizing that my local bagel store has Baker's Dozen specials on Mondays led to this. It has become a weekly thing that others want to participate in too. The idea is to come up with twelve thoughts and one pic to describe your weekend. Try using quotes, events, blog entries, whatever. Post a link to your entry when you're done."

So check out my Baker's Dozen today, and hopefully on the regular. Assuming i can come up with a dozen things to post.

  1. Squeezed my entire Olympics into two or three days of viewing.
  2. Saw a couple of sports i'd never seen before, including some kind of rowing where the guys were up on one knee while paddling. What the hell was that?
  3. Watched team synchronized swimming for the first time. Those girls are serious athletes, flipping off of each other's shoulders without ever touching the bottom of the pool. I can't eve do it on solid ground.
  4. Some crazy man came running onto the marathon course and grabbed the leader at the time, a Brazilian who ultimately took the Silver Medal. Damn. You get tackled like a running back and you still finish in third place? You good. LOL!
  5. OOH! USA got spanked! In basketball, with NBA players, no less. They barely got the bronze medal. Wha tha fu ...
  6. Why did i spend so much time crotch watching during the Athletics competitions? It's those sex fiends on that LGBTPoC list! They warped my mind.
  7. Troy and i went for a walk on Sunday, the first time in a long time that we spent our Sunday time together.
  8. Why do the men wear those tight, total-body suits in the track competitions? I'm a happily married man, but-- wait, did i talk about this already?
  9. Why was the hottest part of the Closing Ceremonies the presentation from Beijing welcoming the world to the 2008 games? That woman who was working the red ribbons should have trained some of the rhythmic gymnastics girls. And while i'm there ...
  10. GO CHINA! In spite of NBC commentators' focus on some Canadian boy in the platform diving competition (who didn't even medal), Jia Hu of China KICKED ASS with many, many perfect 10s. If the Chinese were so dominant, so highly favored, why wasn't the focus on them? (Of course the nationalistic Americans only kept plugging the Canadian because NO AMERICANS made it to the finals.)
  11. Why did half the second week of coverage focus on the poor, wronged, American, white boy who -- hello!!! -- won the gold medal? "Oh, look at little Paul Hamm. Ewyboddy pickin' on him. That mean ol' Korean gymnast should just accept it when the judges scored him wrong. Boo hoo!" I can't take it.
  12. Gianna mothafuckin-Angelopoulos-Daskalaki.
    I would say "nuff said," but i feel the need to point out that she is the first woman in the history of the modern Olympics to head an organizing committee. I remember seeing interviews with her months ago, when the media was going on and on about how fears of terrorist attacks at the games were at an all-time high, how the physical structures were way behind schedule being built, how "the world" wasn't sure Athens would be ready. She was poised, charismatic, and assured. "We will be ready." From everything i saw, Athens was more than ready, they were fabulous hosts of a stellar event. I -- like Bob Costas -- am wondering if she's running for President.

So that was my Olympic weekend. And my first Baker's Dozen.


Thursday, August 26, 2004

Damn Memes (or "I'm a WHAT?!?")

Yes, i'm a sucker for a good meme, and this one follows up on the whole "evil genius" thing that people were falling out about. So first i was a DICTATOR, now i'm a BRUTE.

What tha fuck!?!?!

Check out my results below. Or go get your own. One thing i know: i gotta stop reading IntelliFreak's blog in the middle of the night ...

eXpressive: 2/10
Practical: 4/10
Physical: 8/10
Giver: 4/10

You are a RSYT--Reserved Sentimental Physical Taker. This makes you a Brute.

You are volatile, stormy and incredibly sexy. You have a hungry, fascinating way about you. You are a riot when you're happy and a menace when you're angry. You are strangely appealing to your target sex, and they find themselves drawn in despite their wiser instincts.

In your professional life, your type makes you a star, a force to be reckoned with, and the one people trust when they have a problem that's beyond them. In a relationship, you are a bull in a china shop, and if your partner isn't clever s/he may get plowed down. I could warn you to be more communicative with and sensitive to your partner, but that's just not going to happen. You don't ask much of your significant other, so you have no tolerance for high demands on you. For you, it's either love it or leave it.

You work hard and play hard. You enjoy a good drink. You have had many lovers and will have many more. People try and fail to get you into bed. They want you for a friend and fear you as an enemy.

This may not sound too flattering, but the truth is that because you know yourself so well you're happier in a relationship than most everybody else.

Hemingway would write about you. Maybe Hemingway is you.

Of the 5456 people who have taken this quiz, 2.4 % are this type.

(Hmph. The only type rarer at the time i took the quiz was the STOIC. What fresh hell ....)

Sunday, August 22, 2004

You Know You're From Michigan

Couldn't resist this one. I picked it up on IntelliFreak's blog today.


You Know You're From Michigan When...

You define summer as three months of bad sledding.

You think Alkaline batteries were named for a Tiger outfielder.

You can identify an Ohio accent.

Your idea of a seven-course meal is a six pack and a bucket of smelt.

Owning a Japanese car is a hanging offense in your hometown.

You know how to play (and pronounce) Euchre.

The Big Mac is something that you drive across.

You believe that "down south" means Toledo.

You bake with soda and drink pop.

You drive 75 on the highway and you pass on the right.

Your Little League baseball game was snowed out.

You learned how to drive a boat before you learned how to ride a bike.

You know how to pronounce "Mackinac".

The word "thumb" has a geographical rather than an anatomical significance.

You have experienced frostbite and sunburn in the same week.

You expect Vernor's when you order ginger ale.

You know that Kalamazoo not only exists, but that it isn't far from Hell.

Your favorite holidays are Christmas, Thanksgiving, the opening of deer season and Devil's Night.

Your snowmobile, lawn mower and fishing boat all have big block Chevy engines.

At least one person in your family disowns you for the week of the Michigan/Michigan State football game.

You know what a millage is.

Traveling coast to coast means driving from Port Huron to Muskegon.

Half the change in your pocket is Canadian, eh.

You show people where you grew up by pointing to a spot on your left hand.

You know what a "Yooper" is.

Your car rusts out before you need the brakes done

Half the people you know say they are from Detroit...
yet you don't personally know anyone who actually lives in Detroit

"Up North" means north of Clare.

You know what a pastie is.

You occasionally cheer "Go Lions- and take the Tigers with you."

Snow tires come standard on all your cars.

At least 25% of your relatives work for the auto industry.

You don't understand what the big deal about Chicago is.

Octopus and hockey go together as naturally as hot dogs and baseball.

You know more about chill factors and lake effect than you'd EVER like to know!

Your snowblower has more miles on it than your car.

Shoveling the driveway constitutes a great upper body workout.

When giving directions, you refer to "A Michigan Left."

You know when it has rained because of the smell of worms.

You never watch the Weather Channel - you can just assume they're wrong.

The snowmen you make in your front yard actually freeze. Solid.

The snow freezes so hard that you can actually walk across it and not break it or leave any marks.

All your shoes are called "tennis shoes", even though no one here plays tennis anyway.

Your major school field trip includes camping and cross-country skiing.

Half your friends have a perfect sledding hill right in their own backyard.

You actually get these jokes and pass them on to other friends from Michigan.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Chasing Charley

'Splain to me why i'm in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Troy and i drove down here Saturday. We passed through the remnants of destruction the likes of which i had never seen. You know those huge billboards on the side of the freeways? Imagine the huge, main poles twisted and bent. THAT shit is awesome. Of course, we were originally supposed to drive down Friday night, arriving Saturday morning. Why do i think we would have been a news story by Sunday?
Two negroes, apparently "companions" were killed when their rental car blew off the road and through the wall of a nearby hotel during Hurricane Charley's onslaught. Details at 11:00.

Signs, parts of buildings, and even some vehicles littered the sides of freeway. The most striking thing i noticed, though was what wasn't destroyed: the plants.

Oh sure, there were some uprooted or broken trees, but for the most part, the vegetation was unharmed. In fact, a lot of the damage that was done to the trees was apparently from man-made debris hitting them. Hmm. "Nature's fury" goes tearing across the peninsula and nature remains largely unharmed. I mean, the leaves were still on the trees and bushes, while the roof tiles from buildings had been stripped away.

Humans are funny. The news was describing the folks living in Punta Gorda, Florida as "victims" of the hurricane. I thought victims were people who had been the target of crimes. Just more evidence of the egocentric mindset of the colonized world. "How dare Mother Nature attack us!?!?!"


Just my ramblings for the day. A hurricane comes through, cleans the air, scours the earth, rebalances the wetlands, and all the folks on the news can think about is how much damage it caused to people's property. What a crock.

Thursday, July 29, 2004


So ... i was talking yesterday with Neena and Kevin about friendships, relationships, and family. It's no news to me, but i was reminded again of how distant i have become from my family. In this culture (Big Urban USA, circa 2004), many of us seem to accept that as normal. People grow up, begin to lead their own lives, and their relationships change.

I've spent many years, though, wondering why. And i've also been wondering at the way my relationship with my family plays out in my relationships with other people in my life. I seem to have an unnatural ability to detach and move on.

Not everyone who thinks they have a friendship with me actually does. As i remarked in our conversation yesterday, if people paid more attention to how i relate to my family, they might have a clue about what kind of friend i am.

Let me be clear: I love my family. I love my friends. I care about all of them. It's just that i don't always know how to be connected with them.

So when i don't call or write, when i am out of touch for months, people take it personally. It may sound cliché, but all i can tell them is, "It's not about you, it's about me." I'm a believer in choice, so i am clear that this is how i am choosing to relate to people in my life; i'm just not clear about why.

Thoughts? Suggestions? I could really use some feedback on this.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Great Opening Lines

Some books start off slow, but build and develop their characters and plot in ways that are engaging and intriguing. Then there are the books that start off with a bang. As i've been thinking more lately about my own writing, i've been reflecting on some of my favorite opening lines. 

There are only two i can recite from memory. Charles Dickens' opening to A Tale of Two Cities is probably the most famous. "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times ...." Still, my all-time favorite (so far) has to be,

"They shoot the white girl first. With the rest they can take their time." (Toni Morrison, Paradise)

Damn. Don't that just make you want to know what the hell is going on?
There are other lines, ones that i don't necessarily remember, but that i've stumbled across thumbing through the beginning of my books.

"The damn'd blood burst, first through his nostrils, then pounded through the veins in his neck, the scarlet torrent blinded him, and brought Arthur down, down, down, down, down." (James Baldwin, Just Above My Head)

"A chair, a table, a lamp. Above, on the white ceiling, a relief ornament in the shape of a wreath, and in the cnter of it a blank space, plastered over, like the place in a face where the eye has been taken out. There must have been a chandelier, once. They've removed anything you could tie a rope to." (Margaret Atwood The Handmaid's Tale)

"I was left back when I was twelve because I had a baby for my fahver. That was in 1983. I was out of school for a year. This gonna be my second baby. My daughter got Down Sinder. She's retarded." (Sapphire, PUSH)

"I lost an arm on my last trip home. My left arm." (Octavia Butler, Kindred)

"1968. Mom and I were both sure Ben was dead. If i'm never sure of anything else in my life, I knew the exact moment Ben and I had stopped speaking to each other for good. And I knew Mom could tell he wasn't listening to her anymore, either." (Bil Wright, Sunday You Learn How to Box)

I'm sure there are more, but these ar the ones i came across today. Any suggestions for opening lines that might make me want to pick up the book?

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Top Ten Allies of Wisdom

Okay, so i subscribe to two of those TopTen mailing lists that sends out lists of things to think about every day. There's one for business, one for personal ... i'm sure there's a daily top ten list for mollusk-lovers somewhere out there. My inbox is flooded daily with advice on "The Top Ten Ways to Stop Spam," "The Top Ten Myths About Taking Control of Your Career," or "The Top Ten Benefits of Journaling." (Yeah, like i need that one.

Every now and then, though, i get a gem. Yesterday's TopTenPersonal was interesting and gave me pause to think about some of the things going on in my life right now. So i'm posting it here in lieu of writing something myself today (with all credits intact, of course).

Top 10 Allies of Wisdom

(You can also read this TopTen here.)
  1. The still, small voice within.
    Remember, the ego speaks first and loudest and does not wish us well. It is the still, small voice within that guides with wisdom.

  2. Patience.
    The reward of patience is ... patience.

  3. Non-action.
    The ability to refrain from taking action can take lifetimes to develop. It is a rare quality.

  4. Understanding that the fastest way is often the opposite way.
    This principle is related to the metaphysical law of rhythm. "All things are always changing to their opposites."

  5. Timing.
    It's not what you say, or how you say it. Mostly what counts is WHEN you say it.

  6. Applying an appropriate amount of force.
    Don't kill a fly with a hammer.

  7. The ability to stand alone.
    Sine qua non.

  8. Integrity.
    Do you act the same when no one is looking?

  9. Realizing that those you wish to impress will do what you do, not what you say.

  10. Don't ask anyone to do something you are not willing to do yourself.
    And ... do it first!

About the Submitter:

This piece was originally submitted by Nancy R. Fenn, who can be reached at, or visited on the web at is a service of, the leader in coach training.

Copyright 2000-2004 CoachVille, LLC. May be distributed if full attribution is given and copyright notice is included.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Apparently, I'm A Dictator

Some of you may have already realized this, but keep it to yourselves, okay. Besides, i can't resist a good meme. And this one's a hoot!

So this time j. brotherlove (no relation) set me up. Okay, so his post had nothing to do with me and if i hadn't checked his blog tonight i wouldn't have even known about it.

So what.

The point is, what started out as one of those fun personality quizzes quickly turned out to be a helluva lot more accurate than i would have expected. I took the quiz, whizzing through it on pure gut reaction. What i got in the results was character profile that seems to have me nailed.

Wackiness: 40/100
Rationality: 48/100
Constructiveness: 44/100
Leadership: 66/100

"You are an SEDL--Sober Emotional Destructive Leader. This makes you a dictator. You prefer to control situations, and lack of control makes you physically sick. You feel have responsibility for everyone's welfare, and that you will be blamed when things go wrong. Things do go wrong, and you take it harder than you should.

"You rely on the validation and support of others, but you have a secret distrust for people and distaste for their habits and weaknesses that make you keep your distance from them. This makes you very difficult to be with romantically. Still, a level-headed peacemaker can keep you balanced.

"Despite your fierce temper and general hot-bloodedness, you have a soft spot for animals and a surprising passion for the arts. Sometimes you would almost rather live by your wits in the wilderness somewhere, if you could bring your books and your sketchbook.

"You also have a strange, undeniable sexiness to you. You may go insane."

Now ain't that some shit.

Hmm ... all evil geniuses, follow me ....

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Life-Changing Conversations

I've been doing a lot of talking lately.

I don't think i've encountered more people than usual or that i've been particularly chatty. It's just that i've been more aware of the way talking, conversing can affect people, especially me. (Conversation, Conversion. I wonder if those two words are actually related.)

In the past couple of weeks, i've had a shitload of conversations with people about what's going on in their lives that's really none of my business and that most people wouldn't choose to talk about with their friends.

"What made you decide to get an HIV test? What, exactly, have you done that makes you think you might have contracted HIV? What would it mean for you if your test came back positive?

Knowing your result, what are you going to do now?"

These aren't your average dinner-with-friends kind of conversations. They're pointed, purposeful, and quite frequently gut-wrenching. And that's just for me.
There are other kinds of conversations that i'm paid to have. Conversations with people i sometimes find problematic and obtuse. Where people stubbornly refuse to understand even what they themselves are saying. Group dialogues that test my ability to facilitate productive conversation. Times that wrack my nerves from all the fragile and damaged egos in one room.

Then there are the conversations with friends, comrades, co-workers, and the like that seem to move me toward a greater understanding of myself. The conversations that allow me to see myself -- at least partially -- through other people's eyes. Simple things like asking my opinion about things i would not have considered opion-worthy of me. Recommending that i apply for jobs that i personally don't think i'm prepared for. Or letting me know very matter-of-factly how something i did or said has changed their lives.

I even had a dream last night that was full of nothing but conversations. Just before i woke up, my boss came into my dreamspace and started telling me about the fabulous, life-changing conversation she had just had with someone. "Ooh! We had the best conversation!!!" (It's something she would say.) I woke up thinking about how so much of our time is spent talking and working through our lives using the words we share. Relationships are built or broken through conversations. Jobs are won or lost based on conversations.

And yes, lives are sometimes changed, simply through conversation.

Conversation. Conversion. It can happen.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

The What If's ...

Anybody remember a book that was popular some years back, called The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock? It was a popular conversation starter at parties, with questions like:

Knowing you had a 50 percent chance of winning and would be paid 10 times the amount of your bet if you won, what fraction of what you now own would you be willing to wager?
A lot of the questions took on the tone of, "Imagine ..." or "Suppose ..." or "What if ...." So i decided to come up with some "What If's" of my own. Answer if you like, add more questions if you feel it.

  • What if you were offered the opportunity to know the exact date, time and method of your death? Would you want to know, even if there was nothing you could do to change it?
  • If everyone you know was doomed to die, but you were given the opportunity to save three people, who would they be?
  • If you could remove one word from the English language, so that it would never be used again, what word would you choose?
  • What if Saudi Arabia cut off all oil shipments to the US tomorrow?
  • Imagine your best friend has a terminal illness and you have to give her the news. How do you tell her?
  • Imagine you won a million dollars, but you couldn't spend any of it on yourself (directly or indirectly). How would you spend it?
  • If you met the man/woman of your dreams, what would s/he think of you?
  • Think about something you do that's risky to your health. What could someone tell you that would make you stop, cold turkey, and never do it again?
  • What if actually worked and posted my posts when i posted them? Would you get to read what i wrote when i wrote it?
Talk amongst yourselves.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11

Okay, i saw it.

I finally made it to the theater Sunday with Troy to see the documentary Fahrenheit 9/11. I gotta hand it to Michael Moore. He knows how not to pull the punches. I am not going to go into the details of the movie, because i know some people still haven't seen it, but suffice it to say it ain't easy to watch.

I found myself sitting in the theater almost from the first images tapping my foot, bouncing my knee and shifting in my seat with suppressed energy. Many of the people i know who've seen the film talk about how angry it made them. I guess part of what i felt was anger, but i felt some other things too.

Fear. Shame. Disgust.

I don't think i've ever been made to understand so completely (and graphically) the ways our so-called "leader" is pissing off the rest of the world. Especially the "Arabic" world. If i ever had any doubt before as to whether (or why) folks in Iraq hate the USA, i honestly doubt no more. Our forces, acting on the word of their commandeer-in-chief, have given them every reason.

It really made me that much more aware of what kind of desperate circumstances the powerful, wealthy, white men in this country are creating for everyone else. And, to paraphrase, desperate people go for desperate measures. Trust that we have not seen the end of the guerrilla tactics taht will be enacted against this country.

I will give these small bits of advice to those who haven't seen the film yet:

  1. Go see it. Don't wait, either; there's a Republican movement to have it pulled from theaters because it's "campaign propaganda." (Consider it required pre-election viewing.)
  2. When you go, prepare yourself for some gut-wrenching violence. This is not sanitized, Hollywood-style killing; there are explicit scenes of the realities of war that we don't get to see on the evening news.
  3. Be prepared to be moved. If not by the violence, then by the deep emotions displayed by some of the people Michael Moore interviewed.

In the end, i left the theater with a jumble of emotions: anger, fear, sorrow, frustration, and an unsettling sense of hopelessness. After all, none of this is particularly new information or new behavior. Some rulers are just better at keeping the peace while they grab their piece.

The rest of us peons just have to live with the crumbs.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Ain't Got Sense Enuf to be 'Shamed!

It's finally here!!!

Updated from 06/30/2004 - Check out the CD cover!!!

The ADODI Muse CD Ain't Got Sense Enuf to be 'Shamed is finally here! I am excited and nervous and proud and critical all at once.

In case you don't know who we are, The ADODI Muse: A Gay Negro Ensemble is a performance poets troupe founded by the late Tony Daniels back in 1995. After many years of writing, reading, sharing, growing, losing, coping, recovering, progressing, thriving, renewing, practicing, performing, editing, recording, scrimping, financing, waiting, waiting, and waiting ... the CD is actually in our hands.

We are good.

I can say that now, without feeling that someone or something is going to come along and challenget the truth of the statement. We're good at what we do. Anthony likes to call it "edutainment" (but don't let him tell you he made up the word). We endeavor to teach, to enlighten as we entertain. Time and again, even when i'm not sure we will, we seem to do just that.

So this CD is the culmination of YEARS of work and i am proud of it, and if you care enough about me to take the couple of minutes from your life to read this post, then i expect a check for $15.00 from you and i'll be more than happy to send you a copy of the CD.

Let me know when the check is in the mail. ;-)


Saturday, July 03, 2004

Damn. Another one.

Okay, so my boy EJ got me. He's got this acronym generator thingie on his blog that i just had to check out. Then i kinda liked the results it gave me. Whadaya think?


Name / Username:

Name Acronym Generator

Of course, i realize that just about everybody i know who has a blog has already uploaded this one. (So don't let me have it about being late again, Bernie. I know, i know ....)

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Where My Comments At???

Okay, so i switched my comment management system to HaloScan. So far i haven't managed to migrate old comments into the new system. I think i'm going to have to cut and paste if i want them to show. In any case, leave a new comment and let me know how it works for ya!


Tuesday, June 29, 2004

The Right People

It's important to be surrounded by "the right kind of people." I've heard that, read it, but didn't really get it until i looked up one day recently and realized i am.

I am a sociophobe, a xenophobe, and any other kind of phobe that involves being uncomfortable around people in general. I would love to get over it (and by my own mantra, i can choose to at any time). So what happens? I find myself surrounded by dynamic, powerful people who constantly draw me out of myself.

I love to read, love to write, love language. I am surrounded by highly literate people who write, who appreciate and make use of language in ways that engage and intrigue me. (It's no small delight to me that so many people i know are blogging these days.)

I am deeply concerned about my black brothers lives and the way we are so often, in so many ways devalued, even to ourselves. In particular, i worry that HIV is still infecting us out in record numbers, though the mortality of AIDS has somewhat slowed. And again, i am surrounded by intelligent, committed people who have the tools to make a difference in this fight and who are willing to help me learn and grow in my efforts.

All in all, i am surrounded by the right people, right now. I am surrounded by the people who encourage me, uplift me, give me light and love and a whole lot of resources to draw on.

SO ... to everyone in my life right now, vested or indifferent, know that you are having an impact on me.

Thank You.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Attack of the Blogs

Okay, so why does it seem almost everyone i know is blogging now? Could it have something to do with the fact that i just got into it, so i'm really aware of it now? Or does it have more to do with the fact that just got into it, so i keep telling people, "You should start a blog. It's very cathartic." Whatever the reason, check out some of the links to Other Bloggers on this page. There are some very interesting thoughts and opinions among the folks i know ....

The Questions

Got the concept from Quency on, though apparently it comes from an old hip-hop song. So, the object is not to answer, but to ask ...
  1. Why do black men believe their dicks make them powerful? (And why don't they believe anything else does?)

  2. Why do black gay men take that belief to the extreme, incorporating it into their identities? (How many "big dick blatinos" can there be on the internet?)

  3. Why do we believe black folks are more homophobic than other people?

  4. Why dem gay boys still go to the churches where they get bashed every week? (How many can you list off the top of your head?)

  5. Why did i buy into the whole gayboy gymbunny body consciousness so late in life, when it never used to concern me?

  6. Why are relationships so complicated? (And i don't just mean primary "romantic" relationships.)

  7. Why does the porn industry rake in more money ($57 billion worldwide) than all major league sports combined ($27 billion)?

  8. Why are there so many black men living in fear of their own sexuality?

  9. Why do we learn how to fuck before we learn how to love? (And why do we treat the two things like they're mutually exclusive?)

  10. Why is it so easy to not want anything?
Feel free to join in, either here or in your own space. Just like on a polygraph, it's not the answers but the questions that are the dead giveaways. So, what questions do you have on your mind?

Sunday, June 27, 2004

The Wisdom of Eva

The boon of a canceled appointment today afforded me the opportunity to channel surf for a bit. Deliver Us From Eva was on. I remembered it being an entertaining spin on Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, so i settled in to watch it again. It was cute. I didn't remember that Miss Evangeline Dandridge (Eva's full name) had the following words of wisdom for me.

"You know what I learned about love, Raymond? Love isn't a virus that infects you; it's a choice. We choose to fall in love and we choose what love makes us do."
--Gabrielle Union, Deliver Us From Eva

I think i'm there. I've never been one of those, "love makes you stupid" kind of folks. My friend April and i have talked about it before and i always argued that if it makes you stupid, it probably isn't love.

I guess when you get down to it, it's a matter of semantics. How much of what people typically call "love" is a biological-emotional reaction, and how much is how we choose to relate to other people? In keeping with my guiding principle, i'll put my faith in choice every time.

So when i say i have never stopped loving anyone i've ever loved, it's about me choosing not to release that. It doesn't mean i've still got burning passion for them or -- in the case of the men in my past -- that i'm wishing, hoping, dreaming, or even thinking of being with them again. It just means that choosing to love is much more satisfying to me than placing my relationships, my life at the mercy of my hormones.

Iyanla Vanzant (and probably many ancient sages prior) has said that there are only two real emotions: love and fear. All else stems from one of those two. If that is true, then choosing to put aside love is akin to choosing take on fear. I'm not saying i've never been fearful for someone i've loved before, or that i've never experienced the two emotions in relation to each other. But the possessive, jealous emotions i've experienced in my life were more about the fear of losing love (or the fear of losing what i thought of as mine), than about true love.

Eva was right: love is a choice. It's a choice i'm confident in making.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

On Parole from the Black Hole

I was at Atlanta Pride today. You know, that big event creating all the foot traffic in Piedmont Park? I took on my shift at the booth, flirted with all the people walking past so they'd stop and see what we had to offer, and checked out the more outré elements of the gay community strolling by. It was an interesting, but taxing experience. (I just don't do well around large crowds i of folks i don't know.)

Still, i'm glad i was there today. I ran into some people that brought me joy in small sips and slices. It was like some great power had issued a mass pronouncement of clemency for denizens of that black hole that has swallowed people from my past.

  • It started with Chandra & Carla. I'm not sure how long it's been since i've seen them. Seems like it was almost back at Mellonee and Debra's wedding a few years ago. Seeing them strolling along together brought back the feeling of hope i got at their wedding. We talked for a minute about being old married folks, and making the obligatory annual public appearance. Then i got pulled away by another amazing encounter.

  • I found one of my lost chirren. I only have two "gay kids" that i claim. Damien (who was 15 when he came out to me and, last i heard, had moved to New York) and Khary (who was pretty much grown when i met him, and who left for Alabama or some shit). Lo and behold, who should come walking through the park but my lost second child Khary.

  • Ken disappeared somewhere around the same time the old guard Second Sunday leaders faded into the realm of myth and resurfaced today in the park. We reconnected for a few hectic minutes and talked about the future, the past, the traveling he's doing. (Boy is going 'round the WORLD, ya hear?!?) It was good.

  • I hadn't seen Raquel since the days when neither one of us had hair this long. But there she was at the booth, in my face, lovely long locks and all. We laughed and hugged and compared hair and hugged some more and exchanged numbers and hugged again before other people came by who demanded my attention.

  • Finally, i saw a fellow member of the Tongues Untied online discussion list, who i hadn't seen in a few months. I had forgotten how beautiful this brotha was and what an effervescent personality he had. Francis, thanks for brightening my day.

Then there was the beautiful, beautiful boy who walked past once while i was busy with folks at the booth, so i couldn't stop to try and recruit him. (I'm a photographer, remember?) I didn't know him, but i swear i've seen him before. When he walked back by again, i had to accost him. Of course, he was with his friends and of course i must have looked like some lunatic stalker or self-serving, trickster pornographer. He was with his friends who looked at me suspiciously while i babbled for a minute then gave him my card and let him go on his way. (Hopefully, he didn't trash it as soon as he was out of my eyesight.)

There were some perennials like Craiggie and Bobby (forgot to ask why Eric wasn't with them today), Paris, Warren, Damone, Walter, Ricky & Roger, Anthony K and that boy who shall remain nameless for his own sake who shares my birthday. And there were a few brothas who i gave out program information to, inviting them to the workshops and gatherings i coordinate.

So i'm glad i went to Pride today. {sigh} But i still don't like it.

I'm a Speak & Spell!

I picked up this little tidbit while visiting The Prime One himself out in the Blogosphere. It seems i bear a striking resemblance to a smarmy know-it-all 80s toy. This in spite of the fact that i was rapidly leaving my childhood by the time the 80s rolled around.

speak and spell
You're a Speak & Spell!! You nerd, you. Just
because you were disguised as a toy doesn't
mean you weren't educational, you sneaky

Yes, you too can attach all your self-worth and identity to the results of a silly survey at the What childhood toy from the 80s are you? quiz, brought to you by Quizilla. Results can range from a Rubik's Cube to a Weeble to a Spirograph to a GI Joe. Check it out; they even provide the HTML code to drop on your page for the results.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

All About Charles

I have declared this "Blog About Charles Day."

Charles Stephens is the one of my friends who most reminds me of myself. Which means he is probably absolutely appalled at the thought of a lot of people turning their attention toward him in any kind of public forum like this. Only because he's my friend, and i love him dearly, will i stop now.


Just let me say that Charles is fab. He's an incisive critic of the -isms that flood through our daily lives, a talented writer who ought to be publishing a book sometime soon, a gifted and necessary subversive element in my life, and a (unbeknownst to many) a real laugh-riot in his unguarded moments.

I know he thought i was going to start some kind of campaign to have people blogging at him from all sides (and i do think Neena may have mentioned his name), but really i am going through all these motions just to fuck with him.

So ... here's to you, Charles. Gotcha.

A Lot of Sex Talk

A friend of mine has been talking a lot about sex lately.

It's not the kind of talk that is designed to promote him as a sexual conquistador or to shore up his masculinity. In fact, he's been doing a lot of questioning his place in the sexual culture that is Atlanta's black gay milieu. Some element in his questioning has sparked in my mind an analysis of my own sexual behavior.

I am great on the theory of sexual liberation; i talk a really good game. The truth of the matter, though, is i am about as sexually repressed as you can get. I'm not sure when that happened. I used to be free. (I used to be a little too free, if you know what i mean.) So how did i become a sexual prude in my old age?

Okay, so i'm not really old. And i'm not really a prude; i mean, i don't go around judging what other people do sexually or turning my nose up at folks who talk about things that i personally wouldn't choose to engage in. I just don't seem to feel the same way about myself that i used to.

I remember a time in my adolescence when sex was all i could think about. I didn't think of myself as sexy or even attractive at the time. Then there was my first boyfriend when i was 15 or 16. He made me feel sexy for the first time: desirable, powerful, and oh so potent. It was the beginning of my sexual awakening.

There was the "dry, white season" of my year-and-a-half at Michigan State University, followed by the dark days of my park-cruising adventures. Salvation at the hands of a new group of friends led me to my first black gay social gatherings and clubs, and opened new possibilities of sexual conquest and exploration.

My move to Atlanta signaled a significant shift. From vixen to serial monogamist, i moved to a new pattern of expressing my sexual self. Somewhere along the way, my sexual attitudes and my sexual behaviors fell out of synch. I stopped feeling my sexual power and stopped exercising my sexual prowess. Somehow, i reverted to my adolescent self: thinking and talking about sex without feeling especially sexy.

Maybe it's married life. Maybe it's middle age. Maybe it's both, combined with the fact that i work primarily around men who are much younger than i am.

Whatever the cause, i have a sense lately that i am undergoing a major shift in my life again. I am at one of those critical junctures where not just one thing, but many many things are changing for me. How will the changes affect my sexual life? I don't know. But my partner better watch out, 'cause when i get my bearings again, i'm gonna be all over him.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

It's Like He Knew
I Would Change My Mind ...

I haven't spoken to a friend of mine (call him Brotha T) in more than two years. Not really talked. Not more than "Hey, what's up," even though i see him all the time. Yesterday, i decided to send him an e-mail. I don't know why; it just came to me in a quiet epiphany how silly and petty of me it was to maintain my anger at him for so long over something he did to piss me off. (Oh yeah, that's why i hadn't been speaking to him.) Besides, it was so very unlike me.

Just like that, i let it go.

I sent the e-mail very casually, very chatty, very "it's not like i haven't said anything of any significance to you in the past couple of years." I let it go and felt happy about the prospect that the friendship could resume, probably without him even realizing that i was ever mad at him. I was actually looking forward to the next time i saw him, and told him so.

At some point during the day, i got an e-mail from another friend (Brotha H), forwarding a short story about a young man's seroconversion* experience. As the author of the story was not credited, i made no connection between it and Brotha T at the time. (Unless you're not really paying attention, you probably just made the connection yourself.) It wasn't until a quick online conversation later with Brotha H about the story that it hit me. Hard.

Brotha H never said anything to confirm my suspicions. In fact, i didn't even ask him about the identity of the author. I didn't need to; i recognized Brotha T's voice in the crude language on the screen. I could almost hear him speaking the words.

I don't know why it still bothers me when my friends seroconvert. I don't know why i sit and cry over other people's informed choices. I don't know why i'm lamenting the actions of someone i easily could have diagnosed as "passively suicidal" ever since i've known him. I don't know why i wanted to kick my friend's ass last night after i realized it was him. But i did; i do. (I would if he wasn't bigger'n me.)

I'm not as psycho-spiritual as most folks apparently think i am. I don't believe in coincidence or universal "rightness" or divine order. I have to wonder, though, about the timing. The very day i let go of my anger at Brotha T over one thing, for no apparent reason, is the day i was hit with a new reason to be angry at him all over again. It seems as though my subconscious was clearing the way for me to realize how much i care about him. After all, if i didn't care about him, i probably wouldn't have been so mad in the first place.

I woke up crying in the middle of the night. It's not logical, i know, in 2004 to mourn for people who engage in risks with known consequences. It's not logical to act as though i just heard my friend is dead, when that's so far from today's reality. It's not logical to be angry or embittered or distressed because of my friend's choices. His choices.


Maybe i'm not "the bitch who doesn't have a soul" after all. I'm feeling this one.

Damn, T.


*seroconversion = "development of antibodies in blood serum as a result of infection or immunization." (Specifically here -- and in my work -- used to indicate the process of becoming HIV-positive.)

Monday, June 21, 2004

HIV Testing My Patience

I'm frustrated.

National HIV Testing Day (June 27) is coming up again. As part of the work i do at "a large AIDS Service Organization in Atlanta," i am coordinating some of the efforts for this annual observance. In addition, i am working on a state-wide HIV prevention campaign targeting African American Men who have Sex with Men that is launching this week. And Atlanta's Gay Pride celebration is this weekend, so i am expected to participate in that at some level as well.

Now you, may think my frustration is arising from the multitude of tasks that i'm expected to complete this week. No. I am frustrated because i'm not at all sure that any of this is going to make a difference.

I've been working in the field of HIV Prevention for a few years now. I've learned a lot and changed a lot of my attitudes and expectations about why and how gay men negotiate sex, desire, relationships, and our own risks around HIV. I've heard many, many stories from my brothas about how and why they didn't stop themselves before contracting HIV. I've heard similar stories from men who can't understand why they are still HIV-negative, considering the risks they've taken. But i don't know that anything i've done has affected any of them as much as they've affected me.

I know that HIV testing helps people manage their health. (How can you protect your status if you don't know it?) I guess i just wonder if these large-scale events really reach those folks who are most at risk. In my experience, the majority of people who come out in public to get tested are those who don't have real concerns about their risk anyway. (There are exceptions, of course, but they tend to prove the rule.) So why do we do it? What is the real benefit? Well, some people really do get some information that can help them move forward in a healthier way. Some people get corrected information that helps disabuse them of the myths and mis-information they had been holding onto. Some people find out more about agencies and organizations working to fight the spread of the disease and decide to get involved as volunteers. And some people really do find out their HIV status for the first time.

So i will march on, continue to make plans, reach out to people, publicize the events, and hope that one of the people i talk to this weekend -- especially one of my brothas -- really hears something that will be life-changing. And maybe i will learn something too.

Hope, they say, springs eternal.



Friday, June 25, 2004
7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Mall West End
Atlanta, Georgia

Saturday, June 26, 2004
10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Main Street Barber Shop
Smyrna, Georgia

UPDATE 6/22/04
This event has been CANCELED

Saturday, June 26, 2004
5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Holiday Inn Select, Atlanta Capitol Plaza
(includes screening and discussion of film "One Week")

For more information on these and other events,
call the Georgia AIDS & STD InfoLine at

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Why Am I So Tired?

It seems my everyday routine is running me into the ground. I feel like i'm working like a field hand and not getting anywhere for it.

But i'm not complaining.

After all, everything i'm doing right now i chose for myself. I am working in HIV Prevention for black gay men. I am consulting with the State of Georgia about more needs for black gay men. I am writing and performing about/with black gay men. I am photographing and creating art with black gay men. If you asked me what i'd rather be doing, i honestly couldn't tell you.

So why am i so tired?

Maybe it's just that i haven't been sleeping like i know my body wants me to. Maybe it's that so many of the things i'm doing are ultimately controlled by other folks who decide the parameters my work. Maybe it's just time for another change.

Being a Pisces, i am prone to cyclical movements both in my everyday existence and in the larger patterns of my life. A cousin of mine once said to me, "You reinvent yourself every five years." I guess i'm just getting the five year itch. So it's time for some reassessment, time to look at my opportunities, my strengths, my skills, my weaknesses, my areas for growth ... all that new-age human resources crap. (I should know; i left HR about ... well, five years ago.)

In the end, i guess what i'm experiencing is just my latest set of growing pains. When i look at it from that perspective, it doesn't feel so bad after all. In fact, i'm looking forward to stretching a bit and moving on to the "next big thing" in my life. As long as my partner and friends are ready to go along with me, i'm cool.

Be your best you.


Tuesday, June 15, 2004

A Portrait of the Artist
as a Not-So-Young Man

So here it is. My self-indulgence has finally worked its way into my photography. I should have figured at some point my fascination with black men as subjects would grow to include ... well ... me. Still, if what i'm after is some form of artistic expression generated via communion between the photographer and the photographed, here it is. In spades.

Is it okay for me to think i'm beautiful (some days)? Is it sad that i have to ask for permission? What am i really after with this whole exploration into the visual arts anyway? Hell, i'm half colorblind and have zero depth perception. What kind of nerve do i have calling myself a photographer?

It's amazing the kinds of questions giving a little attention to myself has generated.

June 17, 2004

PS - For a real gander how self-centered i was being, check out the pic in my profile, taken of me by me during the same photo shoot as the one above.


Why has it been three months since i posted anything here?

Why did i think i was going to post to a BLOG every day when some days i don't even feel like getting out of bed?

Why am i getting into this technocrap at 40 years old?

Why did KEVIN E. BYNES incite me to start this mess all over again?


I guess i'll try it one more time ...

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Spell Check in the Twilight Zone

Funny side note. This "blog," hosted by none other than "" and "" has a spell check function you can use to check your posts before you publish them. Why was the only word marked as not recognized or possibly misspelled in my first post the word ...

you guessed it: "blog."

What a world.

Dazed and Confused in Dallas

I'm in Dallas. Texas.

What the hell am i doing here? How is it that my brain didn't process the reality of Bush, the electric chair, rednecks, disproportionate incarceration, and everything else in this bigger-than-life state?

Don't get me wrong (and don't get me to lying); i haven't seen anything other than the airport and the drive to the hotel. Oh, and one little nearby vegetarian restaurant by the name of Cosmic Cafe. The food was wonderful. The conversations and other goings-on going on around us apparently were not. (I tend to tune shit out when there's too much going on ... like ravenous hunger.) The bottom line is that i don't know anything much about Texas other than what i saw on the drive to the hotel. Which, since it was pitch black, wasn't much.

It's just the thought of it.


PS: The real reason i'm here is to attend a training to implement Many Men, Many Voices as an HIV prevention workshop for Black Gay Men. So i ain't complaining, really.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Welcome to Me!

It's a new blog for me, ever since Earthlink realized they hadn't billed me for my old site in over two years. Ah well, they're slow, but they caught on. Of course, i had spent several months trying to find out when they were going to bill me. I sent inquiry after inquiry and they never did send any reply. So after a while i figured it was their loss and they'd contact me. Boy, did they ever reach out and touch.

No matter, that's not what this blog is about. Actually, i'm not sure what this blog is about or why i decided to start another one. Next month, my new and improved site will launch. And that should take up more than enough of my time.

We'll see ....