JawnBC (yeah you know me)

I believe that children are the feature

Née aux États-Unis; fabriqué au Canada
canucklhead
jawnbc
The last of the good-bye meals was last night. The 3 suitcases are nearly packed; ditto the two carry-ons (yay for Gold status and extra luggage allowances). There's also the final load of laundry, tidying up, a quick grocery shop so Himself has some food when he gets back next week from his Dad's in Ireland. Then it's off to the airport late this arvo, a 14 hour flight, and a new phase of my life begins. Finally!
And yet, I feel profoundly sad. 
I came to Canada from the US in 1989 as a confused and troubled young man. That impulsive, badly executed move was, in hindsight, a turning point. 
Having brought a host of personal issues with me I quickly crashed and burned in a strange city and surprisingly strange country. I needed help--a lot of help--and received it. Government and community-based organizations were here for me and rather quickly I gained an equilibrium missing from my life 'til that point. Over the next two decades I was able to return to school, complete graduate studies and create a rewarding and enervating third career that's sustained me personally, professionally and economically ever since. And I've made the best friends I've ever had--family really. I also learnt how to snowboard, ski, cross-country ski and ice skate. And watch hockey and curling. :)

Canada made me. Canada has brought out the best of me. I shan't ever cease to be grateful for the privileges afforded to me by living in Canada and garnering Canadian citizenship.
As I move towards NZ I am leaving Canada, but not leaving Canada behind. Unlike many others my attachment to my homeland is marginal at best: aside from family I feel little attachment to the US. I am Canadian in my heart. And, I hope and pray, will always remain so.  Au revoir, à bientôt: until we see each other again, soon.
But I am *so* looking forward to that first flat white tomorrow. Um, er, the day after tomorrow, since I don't get a Thursday 06 September this year thanks to the International Date Line. ;)

this is the night, this is the night *insertfootworkhere*
crazy charlotte
jawnbc
It was, as it turns out, the quietest Eurovision party we've hosted. I, for one, appreciated everyone having a comfy chair and being able to move about. Six of us in total. The pot luck was its usual plethora of food, little of it healthy (nom nom nom). The company? Era stupendo!

We did a few things a bit different this year too. With such a small group we skipped the trivia contest. Neither TV Polonia nor RAI International were carrying the show here in Vancouver so it was the web for us. However, after problems with eurovision.tv  a couple of years ago we used a combination of BBC One, SVT, RTÉ and eurovision.tv.  I signed up for one month of paid VPN to access the Beeb and Graham Norton's commentary. All of which we streamed via my iPad. Pretty fucking kewl if you ask me. 

Another thing done differently was me getting the winner right--preference and prediction. I'm in love with "Euphoria" and Loreen and think it trumps "Satellite" as the best winner of the last  decade. Already a huge hit too. 



But I'm in love with Ott Lepland, who's voice is amazing and had just the right mix of pretty and dirty. Mmmm....dirty.



ESC semi-final 2 predictions
NIamh!
jawnbc
Another day, another semi-final. Woo hoo!  As I did for Tuesdays event (where I was spot on, first time evar), here's my predilections for tonight.

Sure qualifiers
Serbia - amazing performer with a huge diaspora behind him singing a very good song. There are 5 ex-Yugos in tonight's semi-final: how the fook did that happen?
Sweden - the hot favourite to win it all this year. Unique, mesmerizing, uptempo. Entirely un-Swedish (not schlager, in other words). Roaring into Saturday night, this brilliant piece of commercial trance is I say!
Ukraine - Another Ukrainian lady just brings it. This is a Euro 2012 anthem with one of the host nations saying "come on over". She can sing and she's hawt and the song's fun.
Lithuania - We also have 5 ex-Soviets tonight, which will help this very strong singer across the line with his OK song. Performing last will help too.
Estonia - my favourite this year. It's a classic ballad sung in Estonian by a sexy little man. Although he's been oversinging in some of the rehearsal--a bad idea that hopefully he's got out of his system. Last year Austria oversang herself out of the top 10. Be careful Ott; come cry on my shoulder if you miss the cut.

No chance in hell
Netherlands - a sweet song decently performed, but a bad draw and a really bad choice in terms of costume.
Slovakia - with so few rock songs this should've stood out. Too much product and not enough in tune howling undoes it.

Of the marginals
Which means we have 5 slots open and 11 songs that could take them. Given the ex-Yugo and ex-Soviet blocs present--and the votes of the French, German and UK also counting tonight--I'll start with the blocs. Among the Yugos are three of the 'sphere's most respected and popular artists: Serbia, Croatia and Macedonia have each sent stars.
Bosnia - a great late draw and Bosnia tends to get the second most diaspora votes after Serbia. Sweden often gives them lots of points too. She's lovely and the song is too.
Macedonia - despite singing in a different language, Kalliopi is the biggest Macedonian star in the Yugosphere. The draw's crap, however. It's a good song performed very very well. I expect Macedonia will reclaim its 10th place semi-final spot for the first time in years.
Belarus - A very strong boy-band with a clever production and a push from the Soviet bloc.
Slovenia - The ignored member of the Yugosphere--which suits most Slovenes just fine--means the bloc ranks Slovenian 4th of 4 in most scenarios. But she is ingenue of the year, with a lovely power ballad co-written by the man who wrote Serbia's winner from 2008. Juries will help this, but it deserves a spot on its own merits.
Malta - I'm going heart over head here. This is a great party song performed with buckets of charm and I think the juries will like it. But I'm might be thinking wishfully.

If I get 6/10 tonight I'll won't be surprised.

ESC semi-final one predictions
esc eire
jawnbc

'ere me now mon. There be a lot join' on in me life ri' now. So no fancy dancy sidewalk social scientism is in da cards.

Thus, here's my cheap and cheerful predictions for the qualifiers from today's first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest.

Easily qualifying:

  1. Ireland - because team Jedward makes an effort and they understand it's all about: 1.) impact, and 2.) social media these days. Not as good as Lipstick though--not even close.
  2. Romania - well performed fun that causes involuntary toe tapping. We'll put aside the discursive implications of the song title for now.
  3. Russia - THE GRANNIES!!! HAVE YOU NO HEART????  These ladies could come out and smile for 3 minutes and they'd walk it. 
  4. Iceland - at least one Scandi from each semi qualifies and this is the best. It's lacking something for me, in terms of how instant it is. But all those in favour of 3 more minutes of Jonsi on Saturday night? Thought so.
  5. Cyprus - it's one of this year's best songs and apparently it's well staged. Even with a ropey vocal Gina G got a top 10; this  is in the same league to my mind and could be a massive hit this summer.
  6. Moldova - in one of the gazillion promo interviews Pasha did his answer for how he relaxes was "I make sex, sex is good, yes?" Yes Pasha, sex is good. So is your song and you're talented as well as cute. 
Which leaves 3 slots. There are a handful of no-hopers (Montenegro, Finland, Israel), so there's 8 songs fighting for three spots. 

Who squeezes in:
  1. Denmark - there is always a constituency for a contemporary pop song well sung. And for a pretty young woman. Add some Scandi back scratching and Soluna's back for Saturday night. Fine by me!
  2. Hungary - I'm not as confident for Hungary, but they've qualified easily when: a) singing badly, b) singing in Hungarian, or c) with naff staging. This is well sung, in English, nicely (if statically) staged. Oh and the singer? I'd totally hit that.
  3. Albania - I don't like this, but all reports is she's the best singer this year. The juries always reward a great singer (like Lithuania last year), sometimes regardless of the song. Even if the televote is tiny (it won't be, since Greece and Montenegro both have Albania minorities), the juries will have this in their top 5. 

If it were up to me:
I'd drop Albania for San Marino, which I should hate and don't.  It's camptastic!

Yes I think Greece will miss the final for the first time in a decade. She's not singing well--we've not had a badly sung Greek entry (lots of crap entries; all sung reasonably well) since the 1990s.

*fart*
chador
jawnbc
Now you're just somebody that I used to blow.

Somebody.

I used to blow.

Somebody.

*fart*
He is risen
jawnbc
Yup. Definitely. 

*fart*
chador
jawnbc
Pas par pas, heure par heure, jour par jour

*fart*
doze
jawnbc
And the plot thickens...

*fart*
curling
jawnbc
Things are unfolding. Plans may need to be made.

Babushki!
crazy charlotte
jawnbc
Your husband dies of alcoholism, you eek out a subsistence living on your land growing veggies with a few cows. You'd go to church, but f#@%ing Stalin blew it up in 1939.

But you love to sing. So do your other widow buddies. And one of you says "maybe we could sell some records, do some shows and get enough money to rebuild the church?" And then someone invites you to the Russian Eurovision national selection.

You finish a surprising 3rd on the first go in 2010. In 2012 you win it in a walk. And might just win the Eurovision itself:



Party for everbody dance, come on and dance, come on and BOOM BOOM!

Estonia 12 points. Maybe 12.5 ;)
EBU
jawnbc
It's national final season for Eurovision 2012. This weekend a few songs were selected. And the Eurovision is all about the music, right? Right?

Well...except when one of the national final contestants--Ott Lepland, who will represent Estonia in Baku in May with "Kuula" (Listen)--shares a little something extra with us. Or perhaps not so little. 

Here's Ott's march to the stage. There's no sound. Just enjoy the view and his big personality.




Estonia's got my vote!

reset
board
jawnbc

After a guilt-free work at home day (very productive, in terms of work and chores), I hopped into the car at 16h30 en route to Cypress Mountain. Since yesterday morning there had been almost 60cm of fresh "powder". In coastal BC "powder" means fresh snow--you need to get aboout 1800m above sea level and much farther from the sea itself to see real powder.

Still, 60cm of fresh snow is waaay better than the snowcone (read: ice) that Cypress was on Wednesday night.

I got on the left just after 17h15: there weren't many cars on the road up, but a couple were clearly not kitted out for winter driving. Luckily they'd slid off the road where there was a shoulder (and snowdrift) to catch 'em: there are bits where going off the road is going over the edge. With snow tires it was easy to go 50-60km/hr with good traction. They had closed the closest parking lots so they could plow some snow out. An extra 5 minutes walk, pas grand chose.

There are two mountains in the downhill area of Cypress. I prefer to start on the side with Vancouver behind the peak: the green run is a bit less challenging and on clear nights the view of Vancouver is awe-inspiring. Tonight the view was fog and cloud. Through the ice pellets. There was lots of fresh snow--so much that the runs were almost completely ungroomed. After a couple of runs (with 1 minute waits for the lift), I found out the other side handn't been opened at all today because of avalanche concerns. But there was a rumour that it would open soon.

I filed that nugget of info away and kept boarding. Today was only the second day with new bindings, and I was beginning to think they were perhaps not quite right...whether that's the bindings, their settings (for heel pressure, in particular) or their position/stance on the board I wasn't sure. But I kept going. After each run I glance over at the other side: nope, still empty chairs going up in the lift.

Until the run I saw people on the lift. So I booted my bald, fat arse over to the other side.

Below us was an untouched winter wonderland: virgin runs, groomed, "fresh corduroy" of the sort one only gets first thing in the morning--if you're willing to queue for it. About a third of the way up, others started coming down. The snow was so soft, all you heard was a *whoosh*. Except when someone took a spill, then it was a *whoomp*. Followed by laughter or whoops of joy. OMG OMG OMG OMG!

Unlike most of the people chasing fresh tracks, I was interested in the green run. Turns out, not many people were (yet). There were perhaps 2 or 3 tracks on Collins. I could carve turns quickly and easily. I could speedcheck without any leg burn. I was breathless and I wasn't even halfway down.

It couldn't last, of course. Each run up there were more tracks and more riders and skiers. Didn't matter. On the run I felt a bit rubbery in the legs, I glided towards the lodge.

I am renewed.


*fart*
doze
jawnbc
Ce matin j'ai skié (du fond) avec mon ami toneyvr . Il neigeait fort; c'était beau ça.

Fin.

January 1987
A train
jawnbc

Open your heart

It’s just a fucking bar, I tell myself, as I walk past it again. Except for the disco music. And the blacked out windows. Yeah it’s a bar, but it’s not like a regular bar. Not from the outside.

Not from the inside either. In a regular bar everyone’s talking to friends, hanging out. Here everyone looks at you—well…whoever comes in, not you specifically—even the guys hanging out with friends. Everyone’s facing the door.

No idea how things work here, so I stick with what I know how to do; a cold beer in my hand helps. Well…briefly in my hand *burp*, so I buy another. I do a lap to get the lay of the land, then find myself a place where I can lean,  see everyone else, and no one can sneak up on me. No surprises. After a few minutes I notice no one else seems to have fag tattooed on their forehead. Why do I still feel like I do? Time for another beer.

I’ll make you love me

The music’s not so bad: very MTV (it is a “video bar” whatever the fuck that is), not rock, not exactly disco either. But this definitely isn’t my crowd, that’s for sure. Makes me feel better, in a fucked up way. Too pretty, too stylish, too gay.

I don’t fit in here; I don’t know where else I belong either though. At home I feel very gay, on guard, watching my back, hoping when I’m shitfaced I don’t do something that gives me away. Dunno what I was expecting to feel here either, though.

A couple of more beers and I start to notice a few guys that are alright, hot even.  A few other customers; mostly bartenders…hmmm, free drinks wouldn’t be a bad thing. Doesn’t matter: it clearly ain’t mutual. Lesson number one: the ones who fancy you aren’t ever the ones you fancy. Fuck it, whatever. Beer’s empty.

It’s not that hard

This place is fucking quiet. Not just for a Thursday; last night was New Year’s Eve, so not a lot of people go out on the first. I usually stay home on New Year’s anyway: too many fucking amateurs crying, puking or flexing their beer muscles. Like every other year I ate hot hors d’oeuvres and watched the ball drop on TV with Mom last night. Then I lay awake in bed, panicked. Can’t do this much longer, gonna lose it. So I made my first ever new year’s resolution: come out. Instead of checking out.

I like being out on the first anyways. No drama, no problem getting a drink, and definitely a critical mass of folks who appreciate a good cold beer. Or 12. But after about six gay beers the twenty bucks I usually spend on a night out in Rockaway (including tip) is gone. Apparently there’s no fucking buy-backs either. I’ve got another ten bucks to late the rest of the fucking night (and a token for the ride home).  Hey! Beer #7 comes with a buy-back! And a smile from the super hot bartender. Too bad he’s a fucking smoker.

If you just turn the key

I’m too adrenalized to be hung over. I get to 116th Street sometime after lunch; it’s a 10 minute walk home. Yeah it’s me, yeah I’m home, yeah had fun. Gonna take a bath. Doesn’t help; still wired. Should I do it before dinner? No. Right after? No. When they’re in bed? Maybe. Despite not having eaten since dinner last night, I have no appetite.

I pack a small bag in case I need to leave fast. I have a place to go if I need to. Deep breath. I walk down the hall and sit on the edge of their bed.


what's another year
curling
jawnbc

2011 was never going to compare to 2010 and its high highs (Olympics) and low low (Mom dying). It wasn’t, however, a boring year either. Rather than troll my blogs (I have this one and a professional one) for “things” to write about, I’m gonna organize this somewhat organically.

Home: Life with querrelle is great. I love, like and respect him and he’s hawt. This is my first (and methinks only) experience with a long-term passionate and sexual partnership. We still turn each other’s cranks and make the earth move. We are also good friends—supportive and challenging when required—and are an excellent team. We do need to nest and tart this place up more this year: closets redone, a new bathtub, some new window coverings, perhaps more paint in more rooms (three are still the white from when we moved in in 2006). And I love that he’s building a relationship with the rest of my family. He also recently made ta doy faw Yorkshire puddings last week and I ate 5. So I owe him a few BJs…

Family: Dad is doing very well since Mom died. Having a close relationship with my sister’s kids helps a LOT. But he seems a bit restless in a good way: he’s looking at some snowbird options. We got him a Kindle for Christmas and he’s now read 3 books on it.  Soon he’ll be on Facebook and I will have to quit it…nah, not gonna happen. My chosen family here in Vancouver, though small, nurtures me like no other. Life without Boys’ Night Out would be sad and lonely.

Adventures: did a lot of travelling this year: almost 65,000km of flights. My volunteering in community-based research led to trips to Ottawa and Halifax. I presented at a conference in Serbia and tacked on travels through Bosnia and Croatia. Recently was Warsaw-Vilnius-Riga-Amsterdam, and “home” for the holidays. Oh and Iceland—that was OS-SOME!  But I also spent more on travel than I should’ve and will be dialing it back some this year. I’m also finding that as I get older my ability for adventures on my own is waning. Oh, and I suck at German. Ça ne me derange pas…  ;)

Health: After two winters of little exercise I’m already doing better this one. I have ice skating lessons each week, and have goals of one snowboard and one cross country ski trip each week. Been to Whistler once and may head up for the penultimate gay ski week weekend in February. AND I’ve cobbled together some downhill skis and am gonna give them another go. Every time I get up in the mountains and glide I’m reborn. Wednesday this week is looking very promising. I’ve also started back at the gym, though that will probably be perhaps once a week if I’m in the mountains as much as I hope. I need to transition this into summer activity though—blading and cycling. My cholesterol’s a bit elevated, as was my BP a few months ago. More exercise will mitigate both.

Work: aside from a knock back in the spring, my career is going well. My secondment has been “regularized” (nice raise too) and I feel valued and respected. I work with a great team—brilliant, good spirits, creative—which makes the odd tool on our team stand out like a sore thumb. I think 2012 is going to be even better.

Lifelong learning: German is a fail (OK a B, but that’s like a nerd fail). Donc j’espère à voyager à Québec pour un cours immersive dans la langue française. Concomitantment il y aura deux conferences academiques à Montréal en juin. Après l’été je déciderai si je continue à UBC en janvier 2013. N’importe: je continuerai quelque part.

2012: This is a leap year and a Dragon year. I’m a Pisces Dragon born the day before Leap Year Day and my sense is this will be a rockin’ good year in every respect. Just a hunch.

I wish you all a peaceful, profitable and stimulating 2012!


moi, même
doze
jawnbc
Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Nope. Carpe diem. I did join the gym to get into better shape for skiing/boarding. And am on the way thought it's not a linear path. Re-starting ice skating lessons--whether I get any better or not--is helping too. Do you think "this" just frickin' happens?

Did anyone close to you give birth?
I didn't hear any sounds or step in any puddles and no wise men showed up. So I guess not.

Did anyone close to you die?
No. But I've had relatively few people close to me ever die.

What countries did you visit?
USA, Iceland, Hong Kong, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia & Hercegovina, the Netherlands, Poland, Latvia and Lithuania.

What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
Energy. Not that I mind falling asleep so early.

What date from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Since I'd have to look at my calendar to answer this one...none.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
The world is no worse off for me being in it. And possibly a bit better.

What was your biggest failure?
German and I didn't get along. But I don't count that as failure. Nothing comes to mind.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Colds, flus, a nasty fungal infection. I've had IBS for yonks but that's been pretty stable. Oh, migraines. They suck.

What was the best thing you bought?
My Sony NEX-5 camera. I totally get why people spend what I (previously) consider(ed) stoopid $ on a camera: much much much better photos. querrelle got me a telephoto lens for it for Christmas--I'm set!

Whose behaviour merited celebration?
querrelle 's been naughty and nice. He's a good man. And my great friends toneyvr and Winnie (who is not on LJ)!

Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Stephen Harper's. Obama's. Cameron's. Most of the EU leadership. All of Washington. All public; not enough service. 

Where did most of your money go?
Mortgage, bills, gadgets, trips, Lays™ low salt crack.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Almost every single fucking day! 4 real!

What song will always remind you of 2011?
Ah hird tha yooo se'ul down tha yooo foun a girl an yor married no-ow-ow.

Compared to this time last year, are you
As happy, rich and thin (or sad, poor and fat) as far as I can tell.

What do you wish you'd done more of?
Snowboarding and skiing and rollerblading and cycling

What do you wish you'd done less of?
Lays™ low salt crack.

Did you fall in love in 2011?How many one-night stands?What was your favorite TV programme?Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
OK these are all lame. Next question!

What was the best book you read?
The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obrecht. Marvellous novel!

What did you want and get/not want and not get?
What.Ever.

OK that's it--sorry for losing my head of steam.
(Gangked from gfrancie )

bits
porteur
jawnbc
Last weekend I went up to Whistler. The Chateau (awesome resort) had a 99$/night deal so I booked for Sat and Sunday nights. querrelle doesn't do winter sports and elected to stay home. The Chateau has one of those warm inside/outside pools, plus 3 hot tubs of varying temperatures outside (and another inside). Wonderful to sit out in the fresh air being served mocktails while listening to all sorts of languages being spoken. And yeah a bit of talent on offer too...

La bella luge
I arrived mid-afternoon on Saturday in time for my only volunteer shift at the Whistler Luge World Cup. I think it's a kew sport, but I was keener to see the Whistler Sliding Centre in action. The men and doubles were on Friday (*pout*) so it was the women and team events on Saturday. For the first 2 hours I guarded a set of steps that no one bothered to come up. Surrounded by athletes, coaches and tech crew. Some of the sled handlers were HAWT. If you like fit, tall, stubble-faced, men in their 30s. These folks see one another week after week so they're very friendly with one another.

For the second run of the women I was tasked with collecting their race bibs. "At least you'll get to speak to the pretty girls" buddy from the track said to me. I just smiled.  Luge competitions are run, unsurprisingly in a sport where thousands of a second can determine the winner, like clockwork. Always on time. Exact intervals between sliders. Alex Gough is the top Canadian slider and she just missed the podium. The two German women were waaaay ahead of everyone else. I was struck, I must say, at how beautiful many of the women were: athletic, but lean and really if you've any curves the luge bodysuits will show them off.

The team event turned out to be the highlight. Each team has one woman, one solo man and one pair of men's doubles. The woman goes first. When she reaches the finish "line" there's a pad hanging over the track. She sits up and whacks the pad and then the solo man can start. Later rinse repeat for doubles. The team with the lowest cumulative time wins.  Germany won, but Canada did very well: in addition to getting the silver medal, we were in a dead heat with the Germans until the doubles slid, where we lost .2 seconds.  The week before though we beat the Germans. This will be a medal event in Sochi 2014, which bodes well for Canada.
me at the Sliding Centre. With my "uniform" a toque

Ich fahre snowboarden
I had a low key morning on Sunday and got up the mountain around 1145AM. Beautiful sunny and cold (-14), and with no natural snowfall for about a week. So there were OK bits and icy bits. Had a lot of fun and did manage to head over to Whistler (Chateau is at the base of Blackcomb, a different mountain) and ride from Lower Whistler to the village. I'm looking forward to getting my new bindings next week (they're at my bro's) with toe caps. MUCH easier on the lead foot.

Went back to the hotel, had a nice soak in the hot tub, then headed into the village to find cheap and easy eats (pizza, as it turned out). The Christmas lights were marvellous though:
Olympic rings at Whistler Olympic and Paralympic Park, with christmas lights
They've also done a great job on Whistler Olympic and Paralympic Plaza, including a soon-to-b-efinished outdoor skating rink. Then back to the hotel. I had a conference paper due on Monday so I finished it Sunday night (save a bit of tidying up on Monday arvo). 

Complete set of Whistler photos--all taken with the surprisingly OK camera in the iPhone 4--can be found here.

Lundi
I had aspirations of riding Monday morning, but common sense (i.e. rubbery legs) convinced me to relax in the room. Check out was at 11h and I was on the road by 11h15. The Sea-to-Sky Highway (#99) is so phenomenally improved that the drive to Vancouver is an easy 90 minutes with decent traffic and no wee stop. I stopped in Squamish for a wee, a wee lunch and to check out the WhistlerBlackcomb clearance centre. Got a good pair of North Face boarding pants for $99--less than half price. 

Was home by 14h, and had laundry and things sorted before Himself came home from work. Whom I missed lots while up in the winter wonderland.  Gay ski week is the second week in February and I'm thinking of doing a 4 day weekend 9-12.  There are deals to be had. But need to pay down some debt before I can commit to that.

Forté, boulot, dos-dos
The car was fine on the ride up--every week Dad asks and I say "it's fine Dad, it's a car." It's nice to get to work in 20 minutes rather than an hour. AND on the way up to Whistler I discovered that my car's Bluetooth will allow me to stream my podcasts from my iPhone through the car's audio. How frickin' kewl izzat?

This week is scrubbing down all the things that didn't get done before December. This week was a 3 day week; next week is only 2. It's "use it or lose" time at UBC: since you can only carry over 2 weeks' vacation I had to take a bunch more this month. I'll still lose perhaps 4 days and still have 8 weeks for 2012.  So I've already booked 4 weeks for next year: a conference in Montréal (not related to my "day" job) and 3 weeks in Québec City for (another) French immersion. 

On Tuesday I had my German 100 final. I barely studied and aren't bovvered if I get a C or a B. I'm thinking B- for the course. I blasted through it in 75 minutes because we had our department Christmas lunch. And I had a new frock for the event:

And yes, those lights flashed betches--Canadian Tire has battery powered ones! A few more photos here

sealed
canucklhead
jawnbc
querrelle and I were invited to bitterlawngnome and danthered 's wedding today. bluebear2 was there too!

newlyweds
Complete photo set here.

For them
mourn
jawnbc
I am a cuspie: a bit too young to be a boomer and not quite young enough to be Gen X. I graduated high school in 1982; uni in 1986.  AIDS hit the radar of North America in 1981, in a big way a few years later. I was living 18 miles from Manhattan. I did not go to Manhattan, to meet men. I was afraid to. Not of AIDS, of the men. The life. That life.

But the men I met in Nanuet did--some of them often. "Someday I'm gonna take you to the tubs" one sexy, pipe-smoking bearded fellow once said to me, après. It sounded intriguing. But what was ringin in my head was I'd probably run into Dad and he'd kill me. He didn't and neither did AIDS...how's that for irony?

I didn't socialize with these men. I was friendly, even affectionate sometimes, but I kept most of me back, hidden, safe. We connected, we shared pleasure, we hung out. Many talked about me "coming out" when I didn't even consider myself gay. Or bi. I just was getting lots of awesome sex and, hey, what 17 year old guy wouldn't? Call of nature, blah blah blah. These men were, with few exceptions, exceedingly kind, patient and accepting.

To a significant extent, I like to think, despite my hawtness rather than because of it.... ;)

I remember one guy who had "a lover", which didn't make any sense to me (boyfriend would've; husband would've made me smirk), and we'd go to his their place. B was hawt: a butch blond, solidly masculine, thick 'stache, lovely blue eyes, and an interior designer at the mall. His lover was, based on the photo, a bodybuilder, equally handsome, but a brunette. His lover was a "bottom", and when I understood what that meant I explained to B that I wasn't. And wasn't interested.

We still had fun.

I sometimes look back in amazement at the bravery of B.and his lover. Living openly in suburban New York rather than exiling themselves to the City. Keeping photos of each other just like any married couple. Loving each other. Fucking other men, I know now, is the easy part. Loving other men--being loved by other men--without shame is the part that takes balls.

By the time I finished uni, B was gone--transferred perhaps, or fired for being queer, or perhaps AIDS. In the mid 80s lots of gay men were re-ordering their lives due to care and illness. Maybe he and his lover are OK? They'd be in their early 60s now. Maybe. But some no doubt are gone.

B and those men taught me a lot. Not then, not overtly. But somehow they managed to get into my closed, homophobic, fear-ridden mind that loving men was OK.

Thank you, wherever you are.

teef
baby
jawnbc
On Friday I had a root canal done. It's my second; the first was a nightmare. This one was much better. It took 2 whole days before I felt the stabbing feeling behind my eye.

Which is why I'm still awake: codeine's taken the edge off; now I'm waiting for a sleeping pill to kick in.

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