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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