The Official Web Log of Famous Author Rob Byrnes, brought to you from the center of the universe: West New York, New Jersey
Defining Deviancy Down Since 2003
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
MAY I HAVE THE ENVELOPE PLEASE... Tomorrow (allegedly), the list of finalists for the Lambda Literary Awards will be released. Among the bloggers and/or my BFFs eagerly awaiting the judgment of the intelligent, attractive, insightful and almost monstrously well-endowed judges are:
Cick here for the entire list of nominees. Of which it is, you know, an honor just to be among. Although it's an even greater honor to be among the finalists, since any gay tuna fish sandwich with the entry fee can make the master list of nominees. If, that is, a tuna fish sandwich could have a sexual orientation. And write. Although with the vanity press and a poetry category, I'm pretty sure that the only real obstacle here is 'sexual orientation.'
And whether or not I'm a finalist, I'll be at the 19th Annual Awards Ceremony in May. You'll probably recognize me: I'll be the guy walking the tuna fish sandwich around the room, helping it network...
ADVANCE PLANNING I recently mentioned that I was wrapping my head around a new attitude -- enthusiastic, organized, creative -- and while that primarily pertained to my professional and personal lives, it would also be wise to apply it to my blogging presence. Let's face it; this blog is a bit disorganized, and there's really no theme the casual reader can wrap his or her head around.
Uh... random bitching and sarcasm is not a theme.
So in an effort to make March, 2007, The Month of The Rob Log, last night I sat down and plannned an entire month's worth of entries. Check it out. I'm sure you'll agree that it's shaping up to be the best month ever!
MARCH 2007 BLOG PLAN
Thu 3/1: Theme: announcement of the Lambda Literary Award finalists. If I am a finalist, be modest; if not, be faux-noble, just like in 2005.
Fri 3/2: Theme: Kittens!!
Sat 3/3: Theme: Things I Fear. To include spiders, clowns, heights, dark alleys, Norwegians, and Taco Bell.
Sun 3/4: Day of Rest
Mon 3/5: Theme: self-deprecating entry about falling, getting lost, doing something incorrectly, Replying To All inappropriately. Tone: just kidding; we all know that I'm better than you, but if I sound humble every now and then, maybe my readers will stick around.
Tue 3/6: Theme: something about my next novel, and how it's not too early to pre-order, although it really is too early to pre-order.
Wed 3/7: Meme: 'Top 10 Ways Kids Picked on Me in Adolescence, Eventually Leading to the Creation of This Blog.' Tag blogroll.
Thu 3/8: post photos of myself. Even though they were taken in 1992, pretend they were from the past weekend. Remember to PhotoShop out Albany and Rochester backgrounds, replace with Manhattan.
Fri 3/9: Theme: my brother's birthday. Use event for a long, self-referential contemplation on the vitality of youth, and the fact that, in aging, one continues to gain knowledge and reach a deeper understanding of the universal truths of life. Make sure to note that he is now 37, which makes it plausible when I try to pass for 35.
Sat 3/10: Quiz: 'Which Barry Manilow Song Are You?' Try not to be Daybreak.
Sun 3/11: Day of Rest
Mon 3/12: Theme: Daylight Savings Time started yesterday, and I am giddy with sunlight-drenched happiness!
Tue 3/13: Theme: the icy rain is ruining Daylight Savings Time for me, and someone is going to pay for my mood. Oh yeah...
Wed 3/14: Theme: my four year anniversary with Bradykins. Tone: smug superiority; feigned sympathy for single people.
Thu 3/15: Make veiled reference to another blogger who is discouraged and about to quit because of sniping from the haters. Urge him to hang in there. Save my personal sniping at said blogger for personal e-mail with friends.
Fri 3/16: Meme: 'Ten Chatroom Screen Names I've Used;' tag everyone on my blogroll.
Sat 3/17: Unofficial Day of Rest while I try out various chatroom screen names.
Tue 3/20: Theme: write something completely unexpected. Possibly involving a blog entry that doesn't use the words 'I' or 'me.' If possible.
Wed 3/21: Quiz: 'What Bush Administration Official Are You?' Try not to be Condi Rice.
Thu 3/22: Abruptly announce hiatus because blogging no longer brings satisfaction and there are too many haters out there
Fri 3/23: On hiatus
Sat 3/24: On hiatus
Sun 3/25: On hiatus; also Day of Rest
Mon 3/26: Return from hiatus by announcing that I won't let the haters get to me
Tue 3/27: Theme: my mother's birthday, which was formally marked while I was on hiatus. Use event for a long, self-referential contemplation on the wisdom that accompanies the slow physical deterioration that comes with age. Make sure to note that she is now 70, which makes it plausible when I try to pass for 35.
Wed 3/28: Write something designed specifically to get my name in Gawker. Again. *cough*
Thu 3/29: Express my disappointment that Gawker did not pick up on my entry; express my disappointment that Gothamist did pick up on my entry. And they spelled my name wrong. 'Byrnes' and 'Rob.'
Fri 3/30: Write entry on all the haters who leave comments at Gothamist. Uh... and how they didn't bother me. No, really.
Sat 3/31: Unofficial Day of Rest; try out more screen names.
Sun 4/1: Announce my new position as Editor-in-Chief of Queerty.
THE SINCEREST FORM OF FLATTERY It's time to play a little game. I am going to try to imitate another blog, and you guess which one. Warning: this could be difficult for me. I have been hitting myself in the temple with a sledge for the past two hours, but it's still going to be tough to dumb down to the appropriate level.
HOMOS AND LESBOS ABOUT TO BE OBLITORATED! (Bush and Cheny too!)
We know you think we're usually all about glammer and cutting-edge news for the gay communitey, but this time we have some important sientific news that effects EVERYBODY! Even the TRANNYS!
It appears that a HUGE meteor -- as apposed to a asteroid, or even a ASS-teroid! Or even Ur-ANUS!! -- is zooming towards our planet! And this thing is not only the size of Alaska, it's dirtier than the potty at The Toolbox!
"If a meteor the size of Alaska was covered in bacteria, it could be harboring more bacteria than every public toilet in the world," said Wallace Jones of NASA.
We say GROSS!!!
Fortunately, Bush and Cheny and Nasa are inventing a giant Lysol missle to kill the bacteria, but this just goes to show how dumb Bush and Cheny and Nasa are. Has anyone stopped to think that if a missle the size of Alaska hit the earth, fighting deadly toilet-like germs would only be half our problem? We think that something that big could really mess up the planet. Instead of building gigantic Lysol missles those dummies in Wasington should be building missles to destry the entire meteor! Like they did in Armageddon, back when we were young faglings and use to jerk off nightly to dreams of Ben Affleck (or better yet Ben and Matt Damon doing the nasty together!!!)
With the Republicans in control of Congress, we don't know if there is antyhing we can do, but as 'The Gay Blog' we have to do something. So write your congressman and demand that they build a Armageddon missle to stop the giant meteor. This thing is scheduled to strike on March 21, 2008, so we only have a few years to take care of it!
As for us, this whole thing gives us a serious headache, so we're going to XES to unwind for a while.
BRAND NEW CONSPIRACY HOTNESS! And as far as I know, I'm starting it here!
As I read the Daily News this morning (complimentary copies are given to NY Waterway Ferry customers... just sayin'), I came across this story:
East Side doc horror
A blue-blood society doctor was fighting for his life last night after an assailant viciously beat him and then burned him with a mystery chemical in his upper East Side penthouse, police sources told the Daily News.
Dr. Denton Sayer Cox, 79, whose patients included Andy Warhol and John Steinbeck, told police he was attacked on a nearby streetcorner - but cops think he was the victim of a gay pickup gone wrong, the sources said.
But then I was scanning Towleroad this morning, and read...
Andy Warhol died 20 years ago today in New York City, at the age of 58 from a sudden heart attack while recovering from gallbladder surgery.
And I thought: the anniversary of Andy Warhol's death. An attack on Andy Warhol's former doctor.
And let's not even mention the newly released film Factory Girl, featuring Guy Pearce as Andy Warhol. Twenty years later, this resurgence of Warholmania cannot be coincidental!
Clearly, the other night someone set out to get revenge on the good doctor, timing the attack to roughly coincide with the anniversary of Warhol's death.
But who could have even known where Dr. Cox lived? Who could have positioned himself to carry out this attack? These questions perplexed me untilI returned to the News article and read:
Cops found traces of an unknown chemical on Cox's sheets, sources said, and seized surveillance tapes from his building, the exclusive Edgewater Apartments on E. 72nd St., near York Ave. - next to the building hit by Yankee pitcher Cory Lidle's plane last fall.
Now, as you will recall, I almost died in the Lidle plane crash. But one man lived even closer to that building, and therefore almost on top of Dr. Cox's apartment.
I won't name names, because I don't have all the evidence.
SWIFFER: IS THERE ANYTHING IT CAN'T DO? Yes, I will explain the Swiffer reference. But first, some background.
This weekend, we formally moved. On Saturday and Sunday, Bradykins and I made countless trips between the Upper East Side and our new apartment in West New York, lugging boxes; yesterday, the movers came. While he supervised the move and led the moving truck to the faraway land of New Jersey, I stayed at home and got the apartment ready for its next tenant.
That means I spent my Presidents Day:
* repainting two accent walls;
* packing, trashing, and recycling;
* and scrubbing, scouring, wiping, vacuuming, and mopping. By the way, I probably should have thought about tackling the oven a day or two earlier, but when one doesn't cook, one doesn't think about such things.
And by mid-afternoon, we were done. All of our stuff was in the new apartment, and my home of the last four years was ready for the super's inspection, which it passed with flying colors.
Several hours later, we (and a friend we had dragged with us and put to work) decided to cross back into Manhattan for a few drinks at The Ritz. Brady left after one drink, but I stayed for a few -- and only a few -- more before heading back to the ferry.
It was still early, and I was still pretty damn sober. Well, by my standards, that is. I was heading home to my partner and my new apartment. Life was good.
And then the boat docked at Port Imperial, New Jersey. Along with several dozen other passengers, I strolled out of the ferry terminal, walked down the sidewalk, and...
I barely managed to not plant my face in the Belgian block -- although the corner of the frame of my glasses actually made a tiny metallic click as it came in slight contact with the ground. That was a good thing, because a few years ago I wasn't quite that fortunate, and spent several days doing an imitation of The Invisible Man. But to break my fall, I badly bruised my right hand, and I skinned my left knee... even tearing a hole through the leg of my pants.
As I picked myself up, I tried to regain a tiny bit of dignity with my fellow passengers, the rest of whom had managed to remain upright.
"Uneven pavement," I said, for some reason thinking that they would pick up on the irony in my words... you know, because people blame things like 'uneven pavement' for their own clumsiness, and I was sure that they'd find my verbal recovery humorous.
Except they didn't. They apparently took it seriously. Meaning they not only saw me fall down for no reason, but then thought I was trying to blame... uneven pavement.
Memo to self: next time, to avoid ridicule, just stay on the ground and pretend you're having a stroke.
Of course, a few minutes later when I limped through the front door, Bradykins was not all that sympathetic. Still, he did treat my bleeding knee and bandage me up. That was nice.
But... well... an occasionally clumsy person -- that would be me -- should really keep bandages around the house. Just in case. Because the bandage I wore to bed last night was made out of a Swiffer pad and duct tape.
And is this a good time to add that, in the confusion of the moment, the antibacterial ointment we put on the wound before bandaging it turned out to be Cortaid? Ah well. The wound didn’t itch, so it's all good.
Injuries aside, I'm a happy man. I've now got a great apartment, with a big second bedroom. The place will be perfect when Becky and Timothy come to New York in May to claim their Lammy! I ask for nothing in return.
THE CORNERS OF MY MIND So I'm moving. Maybe you hadn't heard.
Because this move will be quick -- we signed the lease yesterday and intend to be out of here by the end of the long weekend -- Bradykins and I decided to start packing tonight. In the process, I came across a batch of 3x5 cards and assorted cocktail napkins on which I had jotted ideas during moments of inspiration. Most of those moments occured, as you will note, at bars.
And that, my friends, is why a good writer always carries a pen.
For your reading pleasure, I have sorted them in a couple of general categories. And before you lash out in ill-considered rage, I'll state up front that I know some of these are lame, and some are trite. Deal with it. I am giving you a rare glimpse into my thought process when no one is looking.
Uh... which means, I suppose, that I am occasionally lame and trite. Deal with that, too.
One more thing: the funniest quotes? Yeah, they were probably mine.
And here you go:
REAL THINGS OBSERVED: one numbered street among named streets
REAL OR EMBELLISHED QUOTES, MOST TAKING PLACE IN A BAR FOR SOME ODD REASON: “His ass has been around so much that it’s recognizable without the face.”
To a one-armed person: “You have beautiful hands… hand!”
“I’m like a cat with a mouse. I can’t keep it… only play with it until I get bored and kill it.”
“I think my life would be better if I had ever made more than a subsistence living…”
“This bar is great! Thanks. I’ll be back with the next guy who takes me to Barneys!”
“Oh, him? I’m only stalking him on Tuesdays.”
“That’s me, ten years ago.” “No, that’s someone else. Seventeen years ago.”
After starting a fight between two hustlers: “Oh, what have I done now?”
“Another one?” “No, another two.”
“He’s going to the gym first.” “So when will he be here?” “I don’t know. How long does one spend in a gym?”
“The bartender is only paying attention to you because he’s a tip whore.”
“Mother Teresa has nothing on [insert name of real friend’s boyfriend]"
[apropos of something I no longer remember] “You can’t let him die… we need green cards!”
“They go in threes.” “That’s actors.” “Or victims of serial killers.” “No… they go in eights.”
RANDOM STORY AND CHARACTER IDEAS gay couple tries to get straight couple together
everyone over-insures and conspires on arson
gay man lives with straight woman; she gets engaged; he decides to kill her fiancé to keep his room in her apartment
bad book title for someone to be reading: ‘The Pink Cloud: Gay Heaven’
reformed alcoholic bartender who cuts people off after three drinks
Remember: I never promised you that the writing life is pretty...
UPDATE: Hi, Gawker Kids! Imagine my surprise. Uh... if you want to read things that two out of three Publishers Weekly critics agree are better than my drunken napkin-writing, there are always those links on the right.
(EX-)NEW YORK CITY BOY Ten years, one month, and 15 days ago -- not so long, really -- I moved to Manhattan. Pretty much everyone who has ever lived here agrees: you either love it, or you hate it.
I love it.
It is an island that's huge, glittery, and awash in opportunities. The center of American commerce, media, publishing, and celebrity. The United States of America would, literally, be a second-world nation (like, er, France) without this city.
But as much as I love it, well... it's also expensive, dirty, congested, crazy... expensive... did I mention expensive?
Well, as loyal blog readers know, I've been looking for an apartment. And, as you know, I've been looking outside Manhattan.
What you didn't know -- nor did I, until a few hours ago -- is that Bradykins and I will be moving in a few days to another New York.
West New York.
Zip code 07093.
As in... New Jersey.
The funny thing is... I'm actually good with this. Really good with this. Our zip code, city, and state will change, but our commute will be roughly the same. Our regular haunts will see us every bit as often. We will double our square footage and be rid of... uh... urban pests. Read into that what you want. I may or may not decide to share later.
In exchange, we get -- as I said -- a lot of room; a ton of amenities; parking ('cause the Bradykins brought a car with him)... I'm finding it impossible to see a downside.
A few years ago, a few friends who had fled from Manhattan for Queens told me they had cried when they moved. No, really: cried! They really felt as if, by moving off a block of bedrock between the East and Hudson rivers, they had failed. "If I can make it there," and all that bullshit. And as if to underscore that, a few of my friends were, well, 'taken aback' (that sounds polite, and -- if it doesn't -- the quote marks will help) when I said we were looking at New Jersey.
But this move is all about me and Bradykins, and the life we're forging together. It's about lving like a grown-up as I approach 504035 50. It's about wiping the slate clear, and starting anew... which you can do even as you're edging close to... uh... 50.
And it's not as if we won't both be back in Manhattan for 50-80 hours each week. We work there and play there, so no one will ever notive we're gone.
The fact is that I have made it in Manhattan over the past ten years. I came to this island in my late 30s as an Upstate New Yorker with good Albany connections, which essentialy meant I had to take a big bite of humble pie and start all over again.
I mean that literally... my first real job here was as an executive assistant making $35,000 per year, which required me to commute for two hours -- each way -- to Staten Island. Then, one year later, I took a pay cut to get out of that commute. Ten years later, I won't say that I've set New York afire, but I have a wonderful and fairly important day job and have had three novels published, so I think I've met the standard of 'making it' in New York.
And Bradykins has nothing to be ashamed of, either. After only nine months, he is making his mark on New York City. (Uh... those of you who have met him will totally understand...)
So... no tears.
Manhattan, I will always love you. You have given me the greatest challenges I've had to deal with, and I've met them. Perhaps you out-priced me, at least for now, but you haven't beat me or overwhelmed me.
I love you, you stupid island. You dear old, dirty town. My zip code may change, but my heart will always be with Cole Porter:
The more I travel, Across the gravel, The more I sail the sea. The more I feel convinced to the fact, New York's the town for me. That crazy skyline Is right in my line, And when I'm far away, I'm able to bear it for several hours Then I break down and say:
Take me back to Manhattan, Take me back to New York. I'm just longing to see once more My little home on the hundredth floor! Can you wonder I'm gloomy? Can you smile when i frown? I miss the east side, the west side , the north side, and the south side. So take me back to manhattan, That dear old dirty town!
Or, as Nikki Cloer and the girls from North Garland High School would do it:
We made it here. Nothing else to prove. Now it's up to you, West New York...
In some bizarre way, Anna Nicole was America's Diana.
We only hope it's not drugs or murder...both of which seem to be the most likely, unfortunately...
Freakin' morons. Every day they seem to discover new lows on the IQ scale. Oh well... at least they're too vapid and stupid to care.
UPDATE: Y'know, I do like reading JoeMyGod's blog, and I tip my hat at his skill at developing a loyal cadre of readers. But when I see that many of the regulars come from the Tin Hat Brigade, well... I'm sort of happy that I have much fewer, but much, much saner readers.
I'm not knocking anyone here. Just observing.
For the record, the woman had tons of substance abuse under her belt, then dived into massive weight loss. Pills, pills, pills. And more pills. Not to mention new motherhood and new loss as a mother. She was -- probably had been for a while -- a recipe for a massive heart attack.
I'm not saying the inquiry is over, but if you are one of those people -- like Queerty or the occassional JMG reader -- who thinks that Howard K. Stern or, oh, Clay Shaw was out gunning for Anna Nicole, you really need to get out of the house more.
No, seriously. Stop reading blogs and inhale some fresh air.
Did you do it?
Okay. Now go to bed and stop leaving comments. Otherwise, those guys in the black helicopters are totally gonna get you. And they are really pissed off that you figured out their evil plot!
FUCKETY-FUCK-FUCK Okay, now I'm starting to panic about this upcoming move. Three weeks to go, and no solid leads. Apparently our dream apartment building -- where we had already been accepted -- will be jacking up its rates by more than 20% in August, making it cost-prohibiltive.
If any of you know someone who would love two low-maintenance, quiet gay tenants -- and isn't overwhelmingly concerned that our credit, although improving, is sort of mediocre; and we won't be able to get a referral from our current landlord, for reasons that will be clear after we leave -- let me know. Pretty much everywhere within a 45-minute commute to midtown Manhattan is now in play, and -- in another week -- I'll probably be even more flexible.
Our requirements are reasonable: close to mass transit; some closet space; room in the bedroom for a queen-sized bed (you who are not New Yorkers would be surprised how rare that can be); a landlord who's willing to look at our paycheck stubs and W-2s, and weigh credit reports against recent obstacles (i.e., my former chronically unemployed roommate, forcing me to pick up 90%+ of a two-bedroom).
We have pretty much given up dreams like views, light, and other luxuries. They will wait for another day.
Ugh... shouldn't post after drinks and 3 hours on craigslist. But if anyone can help, I will be grateful and possibly even befriend you.
And wouldn't it be nice to have a famous Famous friend? Of course it would!
HERE'S WHAT I WAS GOING TO SAY... I tried to upload something earlier, but Blogger made it disappear. Dammit! That's ten minutes of my life I'll never get back. Of course, the phantom post has brought commentational joy to many people, so I'm going to leave it. Feel free to comment to your little heart's content. Your dark, vile, envious little heart's content.
Anyway, the aborted entry was supposed to explain that I've been extremely busy at work, and -- in my spare time -- Bradykins and I have been looking for a new apartment. Because if I don't have a new apartment by February 28, we're going to have to move to the couches of random New York bloggers. [Note to Random New York Bloggers: that should give you an incentive to help us find a new apartment. We are not as entertaining 24/7 as you probably imagine.]
However, some of you -- okay, it was just Becks, but still... -- have been clamoring for an entry, so I prepared something especially for, well, just Becks, but still...
And here's a special bonus. Because I care.
Okay, now I've got work to do, so leave me alone.
UPDATE:This story may or may not be related to that first video clip. But... Huckabaa? The story would have been much better with a sheep, instead of a goat. Get me rewrite!
UPDATE 2: And on Valentine's Day, does the goat send a card that says, 'I *Heart* Huckabaas?'
UPDATE 3: Okay, I'll stop now...
UPDATE 4: As Becky points out in the comments, the link to the goat story [see Update #1] went and broke itself. Try this one. If this breaks, well... use your imagination.
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"(A) laugh-out-loud endgame farce with definite switch-hit appeal.
"Byrnes... plumbs the depths of variously closeted men in this sly charmer. (C)lever dialogue and an astute rendering of the prices people pay to keep secrets buried add crossover appeal."
"This story is filled with some of the funniest, yet down-to-earth, characters I’ve read in a while.
Filled with humor and a touch of sarcasm, Trust Fund Boys delivers exactly what it promises -- a really fun read."
--HM Key, Out in America Cities Network
"(C)lever, compulsively readable... Byrnes adroitly combines a twist-filled plot, solid characterization, humor
and steamy sex to create a nicely crafted, delightful debut that readers of any orientation will enjoy."
"This is indeed new gay fiction, prose of meritorious quality."
--Richard Labonte, PrideSource
"Strange Bedfellows" follows a concept that seems to be ripped from the headlines: politics mixed with sex.
But you can bet that things were never this hot between Bill and Monica!"
--Random Amazon Reviewer