Sunday, January 28, 2007

A meme has been making its way through various live journals, and -- since it's a quiet Sunday morning here in the Capitol of the World -- I thought I'd make it legitimate and repeat it using real blogging software. As the creator of the now-famous 'I Can Be as Boring as Kottke' meme, I have a healthy respect for those blogging devices. More importantly, I haven't posted a meme here since, oh, Tuesday. (You remember that peeing-in-the-pool thing, right? Turns out that everybody has done it, so stop judging me.)

The Rules: I am going to list the first line of the first 25 songs that pop up in my iTunes shuffle, and you are going to tell me what songs they come from. Good luck!

1. In the heat of a summer night, in the land of the dollar bill
2. Gonna find my baby, gonna hold her tight, gonna grab some afternoon delight.
3. The marchin' band came down along Main Street, the soldier-blues fell in behind
4. I was working in the lab late one night, when my eyes beheld an eerie sight
5. Who let the dogs out (woof, woof, woof, woof)
6. I'm bringing sexy back, them other boys don't know how to act
7. I'm too sexy for my love, too sexy for my love
8. I don't drink or smoke, ain't into dope
9. Aruba, Jamaica, ooo I wanna take you
10. High on a hill was a lonely goatherd, Layee odl, layee odl layee-oo
11. You know I can't smile without you
12. He was on his way home from Candletop
13. All right stop, collaborate and listen, Ice is back with my brand new invention
14. (That, that) Dude looks like a lady
15. I'm lying alone with my head on the phone, thinking of you till it hurts
16. Good morning, yesterday, you wake up and time has slipped away
17. You live your life in the songs you hear on the rock and roll radio
18. You've been around all night, and that's a little long
19. Muskrat, muskrat candlelight, doin' the town and doin' it right
20. Her hair is Harlow gold, her lips a sweet surprise
21. Goodbye to you, my trusted friend, we've known each other since we were nine or ten.
22. My daddy left home when I was three, and he didn't leave much to ma and me
23. Who can take a sunrise, sprinkle it with dew?
24. Chicks and ducks and geese better scurry, when I take you out in the surrey
25. We off the block this year, went from a little to a lot this year

Heh. Uh, I mean... post your answers in the comments, and I'll cross them off as you nail them down.

UPDATE: No need to cross out; Jess and Marc got'em all.

Now, I have two follow-up questions:

1. Do I have the slightest idea what an iTune shuffle is?


2. In centimeters, exactly how far was my tongue in my cheek when I created my list?

Friday, January 26, 2007



Fucking retards. That site is an embarrassment to all gay people who made it through sixth grade.

UPDATE: Amazingly, they corrected it. But, if you doubt me (although it's Queerty, so I have no idea why you'd doubt me), check the comments.

This is sad.

Fix it for me. Thank you.

You wouldn't think I have boredom in my life, given, well... given that I'm me. But even Famous Authors (and potential Famous State Assemblymen) can experience moments of boredom in between long stretches of jet-setting fabulousness.

Personally, I blame the MSOD. It wears you down sometimes.

Here's the deal: I need to shake things up. And the place I should start is with the name of this blog.

Way back in the early '00s, when it first went live, I didn't put too much thought into the name. Hell, I didn't even think I'd keep up with it for more than a week or two. But now, 42 weeks months later, it looks as if I'm here to stay. (Unless, you know, the MSOD...)

Anyway, I've put together some prospective new blog names for your consideration. Vote for as many as you'd like, or add an idea in the comments. Together, we can make a difference! Not a meaningful difference, but still...

Name That Blog!
"La Vie en Rob"
"The Most Famous Blog You've Never Heard Of"
"Crash and Byrnes"
"The MSOD Chronicles"
"My Other Blog is a Porsche"
Don't change. Don't mess with success.
Free polls from

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A few months ago, I invited folks to play in a daily trivia competition, and a number of blog readers did just that. And that makes me (and most of the others) happy. The monthly competition gets heated... the trash talkin' flows... what's not to love?

But here's the thing: there are a few folks who have been playing for several months, and I have no clue who they are... although I suspect most of them came from this blog. I want them to confess, either by e-mailing me or leaving a comment here. Because when we know who you are, we are better able to spread the love.

So will the following people step to the plate and reveal their secret identities?

Aig and Aig

I will protect your privacy, and you will satisfy my curiosity. That, my friends, is what is called a win/win.

Hmm. New York State Governor Eliot Spitzer just appointed my assemblyman to a position in his administration... leaving the 65th Assembly District seat vacant.

'Famous Assemblyman Rob Byrnes.' What do you think? It does have a ring to it, doesn't it?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

MY FINE IS $590.60
And no one will ever swim with me again...

Oh yeah: figure out your fine at St. Karen's blog. (She peed in a pool, too.)

The apartment search continues.

I just came across an interesting listing for luxury two-bedrooms in Carroll Gardens and I thought, 'that might be worth looking into.' Until I took a second look into the background of the photographs, and realized that the apartments must sit about sixteen inches from the BQE.

The apartment search continues...

Monday, January 22, 2007

I like my job, if not every little thing I have to deal with. Which puts me on the fortunate side of the bell curve, I think.

Still, for the past few months it's felt stale. Not to the point where I've even thought of looking for something else, but enough so that it was beginning to feel like a burden. Worse, I was beginning to feel a bit disconnected; that I was... well, losing interest.

This weekend, I thought things over and decided it was up to me (and only me) to snap out of it. In this job or any other, there will always be hassles -- unreasonable people, unexpected complications, unworkable timelines -- but I can look at them as mountains or molehills. I choose molehills. There are no obstacles to prevent me from taking a fresh approach to the office where I have spend 50 hours per week for the past five years and reigniting the enthusiasm I once had.

It's funny how a little bit of introspection can bring you out of malaise, isn't it?

Oh, before you think I've gotten all Self-Analysis for Dummies on you, I'd better add that I still spent most of a weekend looking at a blank computer monitor, unable to get much more than a trace of writing done. Then I lit a cigarette and poured a glass of wine.

So rest assured: the Famous Author you've come to know and love hasn't completely gone away...

A few weeks ago, David posted a list of his ten favorite movies. Instead of developing real content for this blog, I thought I'd steal that idea.

After a few days minutes of consideration, and knowing that I've forgotten something, the following are my personal Top Ten movies:

1. All About Eve
2. Chicago
3. Goodfellas
4. Sunset Boulevard
5. The Maltese Falcon
6. Casablanca
7. The Sting
8. Pennies From Heaven
9. Beautiful Thing
10. Young Frankenstein

Random runners-up: Blood Simple, The Candidate, Chinatown, The Godfather (I and II), The Graduate, The Grifters, His Girl Friday, The In-Laws (1979), Jaws, Parting Glances, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Some Like It Hot, Tootsie

A few caveats: I have not listed my guilty pleasures (e.g., every movie ever made by Irwin Allen); I have also eliminated a handful of excellent made-for-TV movies. Also, I am not stating that I think Citizen Kane is inferior to, say, Young Frankenstein... but if I haven't seen a movie in a decade, it's hard for me to judge.

So which movies do you think I missed? What's on my list that you hate with a red hot burning passion? Let's hear it...

Thursday, January 18, 2007


From Reuters: "Sex-changing chemicals found in Potomac River"

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

No, not for me (although your gifts are always welcome.) Via (sigh) Queerty:
Well, now Dominique says he didn't kill 23...let alone one. 365 Gay reports Dominique - a man who's been described as indignant and spent some time living on the streets - murmured "not guilty" to nine counts of first-degree murder.
Indignant... indigent... I suppose it's progress that they got most of the letters correct. And that was an easy mistake to make... for a moron. [Note to Queerty editors: if you read this, a moron is not someone who is a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints. Okay?]

Credit where credit is due: Sid-O-Rama made me laugh this morning. Just click on over to his blog, and you'll see what I mean.

Of course, this means that I will have to even the score. Gotta run now and think some evil thoughts...

UPDATE: Oh, I get it! And can understand why you wouldn't, necessarily. Stan-O-Rama has several alternating banners, so just keep refreshing until you get to the one where he dares to mention me. And no, I am not the waffle.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Ken Jennings: Alex, the answer is, who are Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Proust, Famous Author Rob Byrnes, and... uh... God, when he wrote the Bible.

Alex Trebek (sighs): Yes, Ken, you have correctly answered the Google Jeopardy question 'who are five famous writers.'

I guess it goes without saying that was a $500 question. And Double Jeopardy.

In other writer-related news, Teej and Becks have just put the manuscript for the fifth Timothy James Beck novel -- When You Don't See Me -- in the mail. The petty part of me -- the part who couldn't manage to get more then 250 words down this weekend in between apartment hunting and Spider Solitaire -- wants to be jealous and mean. The better part of me is happy for them... and, yes, that part wins without a contest.

Writing is a lot tougher than most of you imagine. When you have a great day -- let alone finish a manuscript -- you physically feel as if you've been hauling bricks around for twelve hours, and you're mentally wiped out. If anyone says that writing is not physical labor, I will beat the crap out of them with a keyboard that's more worn down than steps in a badly managed fifth-floor Manhattan walk-up. (Obviously, someone has been looking at apartments.)

Anyway, if the next TJB novel, or their solo efforts (including Becky's recent magical novel A Coventry Christmas, and Tim's prolific short stories) don't bring them both huge genre and mainstream readership, there is no justice in publishing.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! I cracked myself up again. Of course there's no justice in publishing. But look for their names and buy their damn books anyway. Although the readership of this blog has always been a bit on the small side, it's also been admirably literate. So do the right thing and read their books, 'cause you're gonna be waiting for me for a while.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Well... not quite yet. But as the Great Apartment Search continues, I am constantly amazed by the things I come across.

For example: $2350 / 2br - BRAND NEW ULTRALUXURY HIRISE**SICK VIEWS**FREE GYM***5 MIN. 2city*cnv2

It sounds great. Except... 'sick views'? I think I know what that means, but do I really want to look at an apartment with a 15 year old broker?

UPDATE: $2290 / 2br - NO FEE! HUGE 1100sf LOFT in Insane Bldg! Doorman/SPA/Roofdeck/Garage.

While it's true that we would prefer to live in a former insane asylum, I would just as soon not live in a currently-insane building. Thanks all the same.


That review I didn't think was published in We the People? It was published... just not in the electronic version of the newspaper. My wonderful, generous editor was nice enough to send me a dead tree version, and it's there, along with a review of some random dog book featuring stories by random bloggers writers.

By the way, regarding Dumbass Barry, you guys are too funny. In all seriousness, I wasn't quite as distraught as I led you to believe. A bit annoyed, yes, but half-assed criticism goes with the territory. I have survived deeper cuts inflicted by a reviewer fron Publishers Weekly, remember, as well as what seemed at times like a jihad against Trust Fund Boys (well, I liked it, and Crash liked it, so screw the rest of you), so I can survive Dumbass Barry.

Still, you rallied. Without even being asked. Barry's review has now been deemed helpful by 12.5% of the respondents. I assume that one person was Barry himself, since -- after the counter-offensive began -- someone went through the Amazon page and negatively rated all the positive reviews. Whatever. I will ultimately get the last word, because *cough* I write novels, and I'm always looking for names for characters. Names like, oh, 'Barry.' From Boston. Not that I'm thinking of getting all Crichton on his ass...

Oh, who am I kidding? Of course I'm thinking of getting all Crichton on his ass. Heh.

In other -- yet related -- news, thanks to Jess for the very nice review. Also, my buddy (and "Number One fan in West Texas") JAK from El Paso is about to post his Amazon review, but he sent me this advance copy:
Noah Abraham is a promising young author, but his attempt to write an expose about closeted Congressional aids in Washington is failing miserably. No one wants to be interviewed on the record by him, and he has nothing to give his patient, but concerned publisher. Maybe the problem is not the aids, but Noah. As the son of a high profile attorney, Noah’s coming out process was smooth by any standard, and he has a very low tolerance for gays not as open about their sexuality as he is.

In the midst of his writing frustrations, Noah receives a phone call from his father’s wife, Tricia. Max, his father, has had a heart attack, and Noah must return to New York as soon as possible. Once back in the city, and assured of his father’s imminent recovery, Noah and Tricia go out for a much needed drink. At a gay club in the Village, he notices a handsome young man at the bar, but since he no longer lives in New York, Noah decides not to pursue the stranger. However, fate keeps the two men running into each other, and soon they’re out on a date.

Bart Gustafson is also passing through New York. He is employed as a personal assistant by an older gay couple in Southampton, and is simply on vacation. While Noah is sure that there is no chance for a relationship due to the distance in their lives, he can’t stop thinking about Bart, and decides to visit him at his employer’s home. The two men Bart works for are former movie star Quinn Scott and his lover of more than 34 years, Jimmy Beloit. Quinn is as gruff as Jimmy is charming, and Noah is immediately fascinated by them. Soon he’s come up with an alternative idea to replace his failed expose, a biography of Quinn that explores his past career, his marriage to super-star Kitty Randolph, and how he gave it all up for the love of Jimmy.

With this, his third novel, Rob Byrnes has given his readers an incredibly well written book about coming out of the closet, and the consequences of so doing. The demeanor of the story is lighthearted and romantic, and yet the subject matter is both sensitive and thought provoking, something not easily achieved. Byrnes delivers a novel full of hidden depth and pathos, brimming with beautifully expressed points of view. He provides a wonderful example of how the bravery of older gay men has shaped the landscape for those who have followed, and how true love can make any situation bearable.

WHEN THE STARS COME OUT was easily the best book I read in 2006, and I can’t recommend it strongly enough. If Rob Byrnes never writes another word, heaven forbid, this fantastic novel will forever give testament to his keen understanding of the modern gay world, and how it came to be.

Five (*****) Brilliant and Dazzling STARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I can live with that review.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Ya gotta love the way geography gets skewed in real estate ads. Or at least Craigslist real estate ads.

* Murray Hill has been moved from the east 30s to the west 20s near Ninth Avenue;

* Morningside Heights has been moved from the west 110s/120s to 135th Street at Fifth Avenue (which, by the way, also has little to do with Madison Avenue, which is the title of the ad, although Madison is just a short block away from Fifth, so I'll let that slide);

* while Roosevelt Island is, in fact, part of Manhattan, it's really not the Upper East Side, is it? Mmmm... No.

It's only a matter of time before I see Staten Island listed as 'Lower Manhattan.' God, I hate apartment-hunting.

From Roll Call, via Wonkette:
...Sex-starved middle-aged Washington women swooned over Richard Gere at the Old Ebbitt Grill...
'Old Ebbitt Grill' jumped out at me for some unexplained reason, but after reworking the letters I think I've figured it out.


Okay... maybe I haven't quite figured it out. But I'll keep working at it.

From the wires:
CHICAGO (AP) - A man has been charged with trying to extort $1.5 million from Oprah Winfrey by threatening to release recorded telephone conversations he claimed would hurt her reputation, according to the FBI and published reports.

Keifer Bonvillain, 36, targeted a person identified only as "a public figure and the owner of a Chicago-based company," according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court. The Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times, citing unnamed sources, reported Saturday that Bonvillain's target was Winfrey.
Keifer Bonvillain. That is perfect. Eat your heart out, Dickens.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

You'd think the 5-star reviews, good ink from Publisher's Weekly, Booklist, Books to Watch Out For, and other publications would make me happy, right?

So why do I want to track down and beat the crap out of every Barry in Boston, until I find the right one?


Okay, I'm fine now.


No, now I'm really fine.

(You people thiunk it's easy being me? With all my insecurities? With random Barrys giving me shit? Oh, hell no!)

By the way, Barry, you're an asshole. Just sayin'.

File this one under: 'you think it's easy?' Also under 'Barry is an asshole.'

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Bradykins and I will be moving at the end of February, so I've been looking at the one- and two-bedroom options in the area. As of this exact moment, we are focused on Manhattan; Roosevelt Island (yes, I know it's technically Manhattan); Long Island City and Astoria, Queens; and the Newport area of Jersey City. But we're flexible, as long as it's commuter-friendly, so if you know of an apartment that would meet our needs and is affordable...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! I crack myself up... 'affordable'...

Uh... anyway... while I was poking around the Internets, I came across this photo, which I thought was too cool to keep to myself.

I like the iconic Queens imagery -- the 7 train and the Silvercup sign -- contrasted with the Manhattan skyline in the background. Although, frighteningly, I can see my office building in the distance.

(The image was found here by the way).

First Rocky Balboa, and now Drudge gives us this action-packed rundown of top stories:

National Guardsmen overrun by gunmen at Mexican border...
FEDS: Social Security for illegal aliens...
Stallone Attacks Mexican Border Fence...

Coming in 2007!

Hell in a handbasket, I tell ya...
"What happened to separation of church and state and religious tolerance? I believe in those things."
Commie! You don't beling in Virgil Goode's America! Go back to Red China!

(Via Fark)

The New York Blade lectures All Gay People:
Finally, the end of the year brought a sad and disturbing story from Texas, where the body of gay rights figure Tyron Garner remained in a morgue for more than five weeks because his family didn’t have the money to bury or cremate him.


Sadly, those same gay rights groups that used Garner’s case were nowhere to be found when he died in poverty in September. His family wanted to give Garner a casket and grave, but couldn’t afford to, so they appealed for donations. Weeks after Garner’s death, only $200 had been raised. The family was forced to abandon their efforts and his body was surrendered to local officials on Oct. 18 for cremation by the state.

Shame on all of us for failing to step up and help Garner’s family. Garner took a courageous stand and bravely fought for our rights, defying the odds and helping to bring down the last vestiges of sodomy laws that were used for so long to criminalize our love. He deserved better.
The New York Blade's contribution to public knowledge about the fundraising effort? The Washington Blade? The Southern Voice? The Houston Voice? Anyone else in the gay media who wants to lecture us?

As far as I can tell, after twenty minutes of searching their web sites and Googling various permutations and combinations of words that should have found something, it came down to this:

Zero. Zilch. Nada.

They reported on Tyron Garner's death, and -- a few months later -- reported that no money had been raised for his burial. Unless I missed something (which I doubt, but I would be happy to be corrected), that's it.

Let me be clear: it is an inexcusable shame that funds weren't raised to give Tyron Garner a decent burial. If I had known about fundraising efforts, I would have happily written a $100 check and encouraged donations on this blog (something I have never done before). The national gay groups really fucked this up, and deserve to be shamed.

But The Blade and the rest of the gay media have no right to be self-righteous, especially more than three months after the fact. If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem... and the gay media was absolutely not part of the solution.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

New York State's gay lobbying group, the Empire State Pride Agenda, sure knows how to throw out a teaser.

I'm just hoping there's film at 11.


Hmmm... If I object, does that prove their point?

(Via Lee)

The AP headline:
Cops called when blind student brings dog to school

The AP lede:
A deaf Westbury boy's attempt to bring his assistance dog to school Wednesday resulted in an exchange of harsh words when police were called, the boy's mother said.
No further comment necessary.

UPDATE: It's an epidemic!

UPDATE #2: The AP fixed their error several hours later, so you will just have to trust me on this. Because I am, after all, always right.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Today, The Gay American's official portrait was unveiled in Trenton (Towleroad: "Former New Jersey Governor James McGreevey is Hung". Get it? Get it? Get it?) My invitation must have been delayed in the mail due to this whole Gerald R. Ford NecroHoliday.

Anyway, here is the finished product:

Creepy. And he's awfully pale. Then again, those halogen lamps at the truckstops are never very complimentary...

While I was gone, Teej finally released the embargo:

But I've heard that I can tell you which writers will be in the anthology that Becky and I edited, so I'll do that. MOONLIGHT & ROSES features original stories from:

David Puterbaugh, Mark Harris, Shawn Anniston, Brandon M. Long, Felice Picano, Rob Byrnes, Trebor Healey, Josh Helmin, Jeffrey Ricker, Joel Derfner, 'Nathan Burgoine, Rob Williams, Greg Herren, and John H. Roush.

I have never been in better company. Meaning that I'll almost certainly be embarrassed when Moonlight & Roses is published and my short story is compared to the others.

I don't really do short stories; they are an artform with which I am both unfamiliar and uncomfortable. But, for better or worse, I wrote one. God help us all...

And speaking of writing and embargoes... I have been holding on to this review for more than three months now, waiting for it to be published in the Sonoma County, California We The People web magazine. But now that December has come and gone, and it still hasn't been published, I am going to print it here. Hopefully, it will show up on WtP at some point in the near future, but it's too nice to slip through the cracks. The reviewer, by the way, is Hal Campbell:
Headline: Two Generations Touched by Movie Magic

by Rob Byrnes
Kensington Publishing Co.

The opening premise of this book is something we can all probably relate to. What do you do when you realize you keep seeing a stranger over and over in a variety of unrelated places? Perhaps in a small town you can say it's just a coincidence. But when you live in a big city like Manhattan, there has to be some reason involved that goes way beyond coincidence.

Noah Abraham finds himself dealing with this dilemma. A writer whose latest project (the lives of closeted congressional staffers) has collapsed and burned, he now finds himself adrift in his beloved NYC. in search of a new subject that is book worthy and
which will restore his editor's faith in him--a faith symbolized by a hefty cash advance, now spent.

Meanwhile, also wandering around the city is Bart Gustafson, a personal assistant to retired movie star Quinn Scott and his lover (the term "partner" wasn't around when they set up housekeeping), Jimmy Beloit. Bart is taking a week's vacation, searching for some high energy fun after being cooped up in a Southhampton mansion.

Then the chance spottings begin. Boy sees boy, , , and then again and again in a short period of time. It takes awhile before the two finally meet and even longer before the sheets are finally "hit"--in Noah's father and zany stepmother's apartment, which apparently isn't soundproofed since introductions the next morning motivate Noah's father to say, "Oh, Bart! As in 'Oh, Bart, that feels fantastic!' You're that Bart?" Mortification: Party of two.

The novel's primary plot, however, is not what will happen to Noah and Bart, although that relationship continues to weave itself into the fabric of the main story. What gets the novel going is the Hollywood backgrounds of Bart's employers. It turns out that Quinn Scott divorced his wife, the beloved star and still somewhat-in-demand Kitty Randolph, when he fell in love with Jimmy, a dancer in the last film Kitty and Quinn made together. Hell hath no furry like an Academy Award-winning actress scorned, which could explain why 1970's "When the Stars Come Out" was also Quinn's last film. [Note: This might be a good time to suggest that readers rent the 1969 musical "Darling Lili" starring Julie Andrews and Rock Hudson prior to the reading of this novel. Not that I'm implying anything. . . ]

After learning all this from Bart, Noah rehashes the story to his editor, who then says the magic sentence: "Now that is a book I would want to read." With those words Noah's life becomes one of total dedication to getting Quinn to allow Noah to ghostwrite the actor's life.

The book abounds with humor and poignancy and ultimately what I expected to be a "trashy beach book" turns out to be a really touching tale of what some people will give up for love.

As Quinn says in his autobiography (yes, he and Noah actually made the book happen), "There is pain in revisiting the past. . . but watching those old movies reminds me of a time when life felt fresh and perfect. It wasn't perfect, of course--it only became perfect when Jimmy came along--but at the time, it was as close to perfect as I thought I would ever know. And anyway, Jimmy came. . . from those old movies, too, and I can watch our celluloid memories over and over and over . . ."

I'll let you guess what happens to Noah and Bart. I will say, though, that sometimes life can be like the movies.

So prove it.

Like most of you, I care a great deal about each one of the 9,467 annual blog awards. These are quantitative and meaningful ways in which we can validate the accuracy, importance, intelligence, maturity, and historical significance of past nominees and winners, such as Queerty and Brat Boy.

If not for these awards, who would validate the existence of the same six blogs? This may be controversial, but I'm going to put it right out there: we need blog awards like we need blogs. Without them, those of us with blogs would have to get friends. Life as we know it would be destroyed.

I know that my readers tend to have this image of me as a popular, cool kid, but -- while that is true -- I am also a blogger, and need validation. Therefore, I am begging you to click here and nominate me in an appropriate category. Off the top of my head, here are some suggestions:

Best African or Middle Eastern Weblog
Best Craft Weblog
Best Computers or Technology Weblog
Best Teen Weblog
Best Group Weblog
Best Use of Manilow in a Blog
Lifetime Achievement

However, please feel free to use your own judgment. Only you -- my dear, dear readers -- know what keeps you coming back to The Rob Log.

I really want you to do this. I need one of these awards. Otherwise, my life will not be complete, and I will wither and die.

Vote early. Vote Often. Vote Byrnes.

Thank you.


Monday, January 01, 2007

Wow. I've been gone for almost two weeks. This is my longest break from blogging since last year's mysterious hiatus, give or take a few dry periods where I was too drunk over-stressed to post.

I guess I owe you some stories. So sit back and enjoy the travelogue.

BUT FIRST... (See? I almost forgot.) It was quite nice to return to New York and find e-mail and/or Amazon reviews and/or comments from folks like Jess, David, and Bob who had nice things to say about When the Stars Come Out. For some unfathomable reason, I am getting very little feedback on Stars (although what I'm getting is good) so, if any of my readers are so inclined, I would be appreciative if you could spread the word. Tell your friends... send a review to Amazon or B& or InsightOut... walk into Lambda Rising or Oscar Wilde or A Different Light... get all loud and obnoxious when you see the book at Borders or Hastings and jump up and down yelling, 'Oh My God! This is the best book EVER!' You get the drift...

So where were we? Oh yes...


One thing I have to say: Bradykins and I had great travel karma... up until the end. Airline tickets were purchased well in advance of any weather reports, and it was pure luck that we left snowless, warm New York City and landed in Denver mere hours before (and blissfully ignorant of) the impending blizzard, allowing us plenty of time to travel safely to the Bradykins homeland in The Middle of Nowhere, Northeast Colorado.

The next day, we woke up to a foot or two of snow. Now, as a native of the snow belt, this is not an unfamiliar experience. Still... did I mention that New York City was snowless and warm? Did I mention that we don't own snowblowers?

Uh... guess what. Neither does Papa Bradykins. The next day, we were... shoveling!

I tend to romanticize some things in my head... remembrances of a simpler life. Snow shoveling... lawn mowing... weeding the gardening... I am now effectively striking snow shoveling off that list. More people die shoveling snow than on the elliptical, and I understand why.

Oh, and -- besides the fact that City Boy here was out in the cold performing physical activity, here is another hardship fact you will find amazing:

Two. Days. Without. Alcohol.

(I am going to inset a gap to let you think about that for a moment...)

Two. Days.

Oh, they did have alcohol in the house. But it was white zinfandel. And given the choice between death by starvation and death by drinking the hemlock, I will choose starvation.

Okay... on to Day Three.

Once we were dug out, we went to visit relatives that had been delayed by the storm. Bradykins has a handful of cousins on his mother's side, and -- let me tell you -- there are strong gay genes in that family. On that side of the family, three of the five cousins are gay/lesbian. We had a brief meeting, but it was fun, and I look forward to seeing my... uh... cousins-in-law(?) again.

In the meantime, I had a minor revelation. We were in small-town Colorado, with all these gay men and lesbians, and the mothers and fathers were all talking about how glad they were that their children are finding same-sex partners who make them happy. I have more thoughts about this for a longer and more socially-significant entry, but -- for now -- let me just note that this gives me hope for the future, and makes it even more clear that, as we each come out, we collectively make enormous progress in ways bigger than one person's individual journey.

Anyway, after the DTs passed, we traveled to Loveland (where everybody lives to love... and now that I've repeated this joke twice, when will one of you Sondheim Fags give me a shout out?!!) This is home to Brother Bradykins and his wife -- and let me note that, as much as I love the entire Bradykins Family, his sister-in-law is my soulmate -- and the kids/grandkids/nephews (you following?), which is why Loveland is Where Christmas Happens.

Lots of gifts were given, mostly to the kids/grandkids/nephews. I got a wine bottle opener and a Homer Simpson Chia head. My in-laws know me, don't they?

The kids, by the way, are not that young. Ten-going-on-11 and 8. And while I will let them play that believing-in-Santa-in-the-gray-area game, because we all love the magic of believing (which is why we play the Lottery, isn't it?), there is no fucking way in hell that kids that age should be getting up at 6 AM to shout that Santa came! [Aside: I know where you want to go with that last sentence. Don't.]

So we did Christmas, and then it was Mama Bradykins's 60th birthday, so it was time to...

Viva Las Vegas. Bradykins and I told ourselves we could each afford to lose $X (our business... not yours.) And so we did what people do in Vegas, and hit a variety of slot machines and gaming tables. But you know the Official Motto: the money you bring to Vegas, stays in Vegas.

Our final Vegas night was filled with highlights (there were only two, so there wasn't much competition). First, we saw Barry Manilow. Stop laughing; I'm serious. We caught his show at the Hilton and loved it, right down to the complimentary Manilow glowstick, which sorta kinda almost made up for the $12,835 tickets.

Then, thanks to a sweet nickel slot game on our last night (I had already lost $X+100, so I was playing cautious) that paid me lots and lots and lots of nickels -- oh, and rang for 20 minutes, by the way -- we came out a bit ahead. 'Nuff said. If you happened to be in the Treasure Island casino at 2:30 AM and saw a red-eyed chain-smoker at the blackjack table not particularly caring if the occasional $5 chip fell to the floor because -- hey! -- he just won Big Nickels, that would have been me.

Oh yeah... Treasure Island. It was... okay, I guess. It would have been a hell of a lot better if they had tried to drown Shatner during the pirate show, but -- once again -- my hopes were dashed. Stupid fiction.

Our Vegas trip concluded, it was time to fly back to Denver. And once again, the weather was on our side. In fact, we caught the last Frontier flight from Las Vegas to Denver before the cancellations began in anticipation of the Storm of the Week.

Back in Colorado, we fought our way through blinding snow north on I-25 to Loveland (where everybody... ah, screw it.) And in the morning, we awoke to another foot of snow.

Fortunately, this time I didn't have to do anything but look at it. Still, it made for some impressive piles at the King Soopers:

Okay, you get it: snow, snow, more snow, Manilow, and gambling. I guess it's time to wrap this up now. I'm even starting to bore myself.

We awoke at some ungodly hour on New Year's Eve, got to the airport on time, hopped on our 7:20 flight to Dallas-Fort Worth, ran to our connecting flight to LaGuardia, and made it back to New York at 3:09 PM on the last day of 2006.

Two of our three pieces of checked baggage arrived on the flight an hour later; the third decided to take an overnight flight. American Airlines totally sucks.

Anyway, despite being exhausted from the cross-country travel, it was New Year's Eve, so we had some partying to do. And, yes, by midnight we were done. In fact, I can honestly say that if we had stayed any later, I probably would have died on New Year's Day. Altitude change + Travel + Lots of Alcohol - Food = "Please God, may I exchange positions with Saddam Hussein?" Not good.

But life goes on, no matter how painful at times. So today I am getting back behind my desk and rejoining responsible, productive, adult society. And no one who sees me will ever know that, in my head, a slot machine is chiming its payout while Barry is singing about Lola, Tony and Rico. It's our little secret...

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