notmypresident: (Betty Hutton Oooh)
Holy fuck. For some unknown reason, the amount of people setting of fireworks in this area has skyrocketed (no pun intended)! There must be hundreds of people setting off fireworks from my vantage point. And I'm not talking about the penny-ante kind but the bigger, launch-in-the-sky fireworks that used to be limited to county fairs and city parks. It's been almost constant since 8 p.m. (more than two hours!), so that means these people are serious about their fireworks.

I noted the use of big-scale fireworks last year, but that was only a dribble compared to this year. Did someone have a fire sale on fireworks or something? It's really perplexing. The house here sits on the side of a hill, so I have a panoramic view of the proceedings. Still, it's a little disturbing and I wonder whether it will last much longer. Getting to sleep might be a problem if it goes on unabated.

Now for Another Hot Guy.

notmypresident: (Apple logo)
I've been a registered Beta Tester for Apple software for a few years now. Once you're in the program, you get updates to OS software that hasn't been released to the general public yet. The company puts up lots of warnings about pre-release software, but I figured that Apple wouldn't release anything to Beta that hadn't already been tested to some extent. Luckily, this turned out to be true. To date, I've only had occasional minor discrepancies. Nothing to complain about, and I've been able to enjoy new features before most people get their hands on it.

It's been a little different with Apple's next major OS platform, High Sierra. I downloaded and installed the first beta earlier this week and have run into a number of problems. For the first time in years, the Finder now unexpectedly either works sluggishly or freezes entirely. Really annoying. There's also a display issue in the Safari browser when viewing vertically scrolling sites (images will sometimes only appear momentarily and then vanish completely). At least I've discovered that it's a Safari-specific issue; Chrome doesn't demonstrate the same bug.

I'm not complaining. I still enjoy being ahead of the curve on software updates, but it looks as if I'm finally paying a price for it.

Now for Another Hot Guy.

notmypresident: (Donna Live)
I love discovering new music, and I may have just found a new obsession in Superfruit, a musical collaboration between two Gay members of Pentatonix. I actually don't care for Pentatonix, though they've steadily been developing national popularity (which includes two #1 albums on the Billboard charts). Mitch Grassi and Scott Hoying decided to start a YouTube channel a few years back to let everyone know how great (and how Gay) their friendship was. It was a smart move, because they have nearly 2.5 million subscribers these days. It's a perfect platform to launch their musical friendship as well.

Superfruit perfectly blends the upbeat nature of past Boy Bands and catchy pop music for their just-released debut EP, "Future Friends, Part One." Take a bit of Michael Jackson and a bit of Justin Timberlake and you've got Superfruit. And the duo's YouTube videos are SuperGay, which is a real delight. Scott and Mitch represent a whole new generation of young Gay men who have no qualms about their identities or how they come across. It's really refreshing, considering how often management probably tried to steer them down a different path for fear that their openness might alienate potential customers. They even display their Gay selves in their videos.

"Future Friends, Part Two" is expected to arrive in September. I'm not sure why they opted for two EPs instead of a single proper album, but perhaps that was to gauge their popularity. Here's hoping their 2.5 million subscribers actually spend some money on the first EP in sufficient numbers to secure the release of the second.

Now for Another Hot Guy.

notmypresident: (Countdown)
Quite by accident, last night I stumbled across the PBS premiere of "Desert Migration," a short documentary on men living with AIDS in Palm Springs, California.

To say that I had problems with the film is putting it mildly. While I don't contest that every AIDS survivor has a story to tell, the fact that "Desert Migration" chose a small group of affluent Gay men living in a desert oasis and talking about their "struggles" left me feeling a bit cold. It's one thing to discuss how AIDS has devastated your life but it's quite another to have documentary cameras filming you in your posh condo as you type away on the latest Macintosh computer with your iPod resting close by.

I should probably state that my own personal prejudice against muscle bears also came into play here. It takes time — and more importantly, money (gym memberships ain't cheap, honey) — to develop some of the physiques that were on display in "Desert Migration." I just can't work up my empathy for guys who have "spent thousands" on surgeries and implants and gym workouts to combat the look of AIDS, even as they talk about the irony of potentially losing government benefits because they now appear so healthy.

To be fair, there were several interviews of folks less fortunate in life — one of whom died before the film was released, though "Desert Migration" fails to address the apparent suicide. The sole African-American interviewed even talks about how his minimum-wage job negates any government help such that he's often left with only a handful of money between paychecks. I was drawn into these stories much more than those belonging to the men with "several" Palm Springs properties.

By the end of the program, I began to see a kind of parallel of these stories with my own. I may be HIV-, but with my kidney failures, I'm living on borrowed time as well. Many of the men talk about how depression is a constant element in their lives, but that the ones who can put it in check are the ones that survive. Indeed, the man who didn't live to see the project completed openly talked about his own depression and how it consumed him. That's something I need to work on.

So after last night, I decided to make July the start of my "reboot." I checked out Nutrisystem last night to see if I could start losing weight. It's still a bit too expensive for me right now as I continue to pay off NYC and the new TV, but I do plan on going through with it in August for at least two months. I managed to crawl onto the treadmill this morning for the first time since NYC, and I did better than I thought I would (though I have a looooong way to go). I'm not going to be deterred by unrealistic goals. Instead, I'm just going to do the best I can for as long as I can and hope that results can be achieved.

Now for Another Hot Guy.

notmypresident: (Joan sad)
My efforts to re-establish my friendship with Brad & Jerry seem to have reached an impasse. I managed to get Jerry (the older of the two) on the phone last Sunday, and we spent a good deal of time catching up. Jerry was always the reasonable guy, the one people would rely on to spearhead things. The Voice of Reason, I guess you would say. Jerry gave me Brad's personal number, and I told him that I would try again later in the week to speak with him.

But it appears that Brad isn't interested in talking to me. I've left two voice messages, and I've received no callback. I won't try again, as two attempts seems to be reasonable despite no results while three attempts with nothing to show for it seems kind of desperate.

This has upset me more than I anticipated. I think my expectations were raised after my talk with Jerry; if he had no problem reconnecting with me, then surely Brad wouldn't either. Sadly, that appears not to have been the case. I've been telling myself that starting up our friendship again was a long-shot to begin with. I simply let too much time go by before making the attempt. I suppose there's a reason why Brad might not have returned my messages, but my gut instinct is that he simply doesn't want to. I plan on making a private call to Jerry after the holiday to let him know what's happened and to see if he'd object to my occasionally staying in touch. I certainly don't want there to be any friction between them on my account.

Now for Another Hot Guy.

notmypresident: (Call me!)
Scattered thoughts today because my that's the current state of my thinking.

  • My iPad is apparently back from the dead. Couldn't have been more surprised. Looks as if the problem is with the main battery. I tried like hell all day yesterday to get some sort of response from it, leaving it plugged in all day. Nothing. But then, just before bedtime I gave it one last chance and it started up. Go figure.

  • I see Disneyland will start charging people $10 a day for the convenience of booking FastPass access to certain rides ahead of time. This nickel-and-diming of visitors will undoubtedly continue until people balk at the cost, and that's not likely to happen. I still want to try for one last visit myself, but the cost ($1500 for three days) once again sent me into sticker shock territory.

  • I watched Valley of the Dolls last night, a sure-fire kick in the pants if ever there was one. It took me back to that time in the late 1980s when I saw a (mostly) drag version performed live called "Dolls." THe production was incredibly clever, right down to the 8-millimeter films (this was still before cell phones and easy video) that recreated the wacky psychodelic commercials for Gillian Hair Products! Great fun.

  • It's hard to remember that this is a holiday weekend for most. The actual holiday is on Tuesday, but I get the feeling that LOTS of people are taking Monday off as well. More power to them.

  • I've been in a reading mood lately, but don't really have much to chose from. I see that Armistead Maupin has a memoir out now, so that might be a possibility. I wonder if he talks about the huge dick he has, something I've heard from a number of different sources here in San Francisco...

  • Talked to my dad yesterday, who reminded me that he and mom got married on July 4, 1953. He didn't have to prod my memory. I've kept the date in mind ever since I figured out that my sister was miraculously born just four months later. Gasp! It was interesting to hear my dad use words that gave me the impression he still considers their marriage ongoing despite mom's passing. That's kind of sweet. And a little creepy.

Now for Another Hot Guy.

notmypresident: (Beef)
A rough night, last night. Sleep was interrupted almost hourly for some reason. It's a mystery, but I still have to deal with the feeling of having gotten no sleep even after spending eight hours in bed. I can't even blame the heat, because the fog banks — San Francisco's natural air conditioning — have returned in the mornings and late afternoons. We're in our period of cool, foggy a.m.'s followed by a few hours or sunlight and blue skies followed by the return of cool fog.

I'm feeling less haughty about my big "Where The Bears Are" discovery. Although at the time I noticed it I was the only comment that had been "liked" by the WTBA administrator, he subsequently went back and did the same for just about every comment there. So much for my detective skills.

My iPad died last night. I seem to be at the end of a cycle where most of my major electronics are giving up the ghost. A few months ago it was the HDTV, now the iPad. Not sure if my desktop iMac is next, but it wouldn't surprise me. I don't plan on replacing the iPad. It's a convenience only, and most of my time on it was spent playing "The Simpsons: Tapped Out." I can't justify spending that much money just to be able to play a game, though I will miss being able to check on my emails and access porn sites from my bedroom...

Now for Another Hot Guy.

notmypresident: (Woof)
Hard to believe that "Where The Bears Are" has become such a success that its creators have been able to fully finance six seasons of the Web series! New episodes begin to air twice weekly at the end of August.

After checking out some of the promotional materials for the newest season, I noticed an odd discrepancy and wrote about it on the Where The Bears Are Facebook page:

Hmm... seems we've got a mystery of a different sort as Mark Rowe hasn't been seen in any of the promo materials for Season 6 after his appearance in the Season 5 stinger. Was Reggie dreaming about Jeremy or is the WTBA crew keeping a Season 6 part for him a secret?

I made the post for fun, but was surprised to discover a few minutes later that the person in charge of the account "liked" my post. I'm taking that as an acknowledgment that I've stumbled across something that they don't want to outright discuss. What a hoot!

Now for Another Hot Guy.

notmypresident: (Curious Beardo)
I've set up my living space to reflect myself without much care for those who might not share my interests. The house is filled with bookcases of Blu-rays and vinyl records and the walls are decorated with movie and/or Broadways posters.

But one wall represents the bear in me.

I sometimes suffer a bit of angst over whether such a display is "too much" for visitors. Not that I get that many, but it happens. And sometimes the visitors are even straight, such as the delivery guys for my dialysis supplies or the nurses from the clinic. It's then that I wonder what they're thinking about the Bear Wall. There was a time when I would remove a few of the semi-nude drawings when I knew a straight person was coming over (the hardcore erotic art is confined to the bedroom), but I grew tired of that subterfuge several years ago.

And yet I can't help wondering if I would display similar drawings of women if I were straight. I'm not sure about that. But then, straight men are constantly bombarded with such imagery every minute of their lives, while gay men have to fight to create their own erotica. It may be childish, but I don't care. And I'm not getting rid of the giant teddy bear in my seat either!

Now for Another Hot Guy.

notmypresident: (Gay Heart)
It's Gay Pride Day, and I'm going to try my damnedest to pull myself out of yesterday's spiral. So far, so good. Didn't sleep well, but got up bright and early to do a couple of chores.

I managed to see a couple of new episodes of "The Great British Bake Off" show the other night. Well, I assume they were new; PBS repeats so many shows so many times that it's impossible to know when a show first aired. The episodes I saw were the first and second of the (whatever) season. I know that there was recently a bit of controversy, so perhaps this wasn't the current season because Paul Hollywood was still co-host (I thought that he had moved to a different show for more money, but I could be wrong).

In any event, I love watching cooking competitions. If I had cable, I'd probably watch the Food Network 24/7. "The Great British Bake Off" is noticeably different from most shows that originate in the U.S., however. Instead of false drama thanks to slick editing or bombastic music, TGBB uses a far more gentile approach to the contest. Contestants must do their best, but it's not like they're competing in Thunderdome. And the hosts don't yell at or berate the contestants as happens in so many American shows. It's very pleasant.

I love to bake but could never compete on a show like "The Great British Bake Off." Contestants must have talent across a broad spectrum of baking. That takes lots of time and lots of practice and lots of money. But it's a pleasure to watch the people competing on this show. Now I just need to do a little research to find out when it airs regularly.

Now for Another Hot Guy Pride Edition.

notmypresident: (Gay M&Ms)
While it's true that my constant depression prevents me from having many "up" days, I can't say that I have many "down" days either. Most of the time, my depression keeps me in a state of ennui, with few peaks and fewer valleys.

Today was an exception. For some reason, my outlook was on the dark side and I just couldn't snap myself out of it. Here I am at the end of the day, and I have no idea where the time went or why I accomplished nothing. Except I did make a new user icon of Gay M&Ms, and I managed to wash some dishes. I guess those are accomplishments of sorts.

I suppose this makes me sound like a candidate for The Nut House, but I'm really just trying to keep it real. I'm sure it's got something to do with my inner chemistry being off, and I trust that it's entirely temporary. I mean, when not even the taste of chocolate can cheer me up (and those new Oreo chocolate bars are pretty damn good), something screwy is going on.

Until the cloud lifts, here's Another Hot Guy.

notmypresident: (Gay Heart)
It's the start of Gay Pride Weekend here in the San Francisco region. The big parade is on Sunday, but I probably wouldn't go even if I could. Large crowds always make me nervous, and officials are expecting upwards of 500,000 people — thanks in no small part to the weather forecast, which predicts an end to this stifling heat wave and beautiful weather that's in the 70s.

I'm celebrating Gay Pride in my own way by watching the live broadcast of the parade and by sticking (mostly) to Gay-themed music and films throughout the weekend. I'm going to have to dig out a few movies that I haven't watched in a while. I haven't decide yet whether to keep things light and fun (Priscilla, Queen of the Desert for instance) or to brave some of the more serious Gay films (Longtime Companion).

As for music, I'm sticking with lots and lots of dance/disco music. I'm already re-living some music that I used to boogie to even as I lament the loss of specifically Gay artists these days. Where are the current versions of people like Sylvester or groups like Bronski Beat (or even Village People)? There are a couple of generations after me now who need role models that they can one day look back on with fondness.

Now it's time for some Queer Music, right after Another Hot Guy (x2).

notmypresident: (Fear Trump)
I agree with those pointing out how it's well past time for the current "leaders" of the Democratic party to step down. They are ineffectual in the extreme. Nancy Pelosi as the Minority Leader in the House of Representatives hasn't accomplished squat and is incapable of taking the bold steps that will help refresh the party. As for her counterpart in the Senate, Charles Schumer? Every time he attempts to lambast Republican parties it's as if he's asleep at the wheel and addressing the local PTA. If there is no passion in its leaders, how can Democrats be expected to whip themselves into shape to combat Republicans in 2018? What's needed are leaders less versed in making G-rated, feel-good speeches that demonstrate how Democrats always "take the high road" and who are instead more interested in tearing down the Trump administration. It's not going to happen with Pelosi or Schumer or any of the many other Old Guards.

I, for one, nominate Senator Angus King, one of the only people willing to push back during his work with the Intelligence Commission. How refreshing was that???

Now for Another Hot Guy.

notmypresident: (Scream and Scream Again)
Shout! Factory is a boutique video company that (primarily) licenses and then releases titles which the big homevideo companies have not themselves released. Corporations have no interest in anything but profits, so it's up to companies like Shout! to give consumers who want "secondary" titles released on DVD and/or Blu-ray. A lot of the time, Shout! is at the mercy of whatever materials the studios deem "good enough," and so not all of the prints are in pristine condition. Occasionally, Shout! will expend its own resources to remaster titles themselves. They also go all-out for the deluxe editions, including as many supplementary materials as possible. Scream Factory is a releasing branch of Shout! that specializes in horror films. The folks in charge of Scream are super-dedicated and have brought many titles to the market which otherwise would never have seen the light of day.

Which is a rather long-winded introduction to my having watched one of their deluxe titles last night, Psycho II. Once you get over the notion that Psycho is a movie that should never have been given a sequel, it's easy to appreciate Psycho II. It's not a great work of art, but it was crafted by people who not only loved the original movie but who managed to put together a decent premise that is nicely played. The film picks up 20 years after the end of Psycho as Norman Bates is released from incarceration in a mental institution. Some folks aren't happy with this turn of events, and soon the bodies begin to pile up. Is Norman up to his old tricks or is there something else at play? While the trick ending seems a bit out of left field and the reshoots to insert instances of graphic violence feel forced and not at all in keeping with the general feel of the film, Psycho II is an admirable job by people who were given a sow's ear and asked to make a silk purse out of it.

Now it's time for Another Hot Guy.

notmypresident: (Happy Girl!)
I wrote about my good friend Brad in a recent post, and how thinking of him again after all these years stirred some strong feelings for me. In that post, I left open the possibility of trying to establish contact with him again after a similar attempt last year proved fruitless. I was really struggling with the whole "should I or shouldn't I" aspect, and it took me a couple of days to reach a decision. I wound up sending them both a card with a sincere greeting that contained no expectations. If the lack of a response last year was their way of telling me to "fuck off," then so be it. But my need to express my appreciation for the friendship we once had outweighed the possibility of being shamed.

And today I got a response! The note was brief, but full of those qualities that made me originally appreciate Brad and Jerry so much: "Of course we still love you! Call! We'll talk!"

Now I just need to work up the courage to make that phone call... But at least this proves that following your feelings can sometimes lead to good things.

notmypresident: (Fear Trump)
I told myself not to get too invested in Georgia's special election yesterday. For the most part, I succeeded. Am I disappointed by the results? Absolutely. Am I surprised by the results? Not at all. There was something about Ossoff that made me feel he would never win over a majority of Georgia's Republicans — too young, too much of an outsider, etc. I suppose there's saving grace in the fact that Ossoff did come close to beating Handel (who is a pig of a person if ever there was one), but it was a mistake to think that this was a referendum on Trump. If that's the case, we really are up the creek without a paddle.

Now for Another Hot Guy.

notmypresident: (Default)
I'm not really a fan of YouTube and even less so of posting clips. Some of the major content holders refuse to allow clips that they deem to be in violation of copyrights, so there's a huge uncertainty factor. This morning, for instance, I went in search of a famous Saturday Night Live sketch with Gilda Radner's Baba Wawa interviewing Madeleine Kahn's Marwena Deutschland. I could only uncover one clip that was severely edited and of such poor quality that I could barely watch it.

So instead, I turned to my second-favorite Madeline Kahn skit.

You really have to have seen Marlene Dietrich "singing" to appreciate Kahn's absolutely perfect send-up of the persona. Her performance here is so spot-on. Kahn makes it seem second nature, yet every moment of the bit is studied. Perfect.

And speaking of perfect, here's Another Hot Guy.

notmypresident: (Bette Davis Marked Woman)
Not much to report. San Francisco is just at the edge of the heat wave that's been melting half of California, so while our temps have been high they haven't been triple-digit (yet). And of course, it's relative. 94° may not seem all that hot to most, but considering we spend the majority of the year shifting between 60° and 80° thats' plenty damn hot. Worst are the nights, when the house wants to retain all the heat it's stored during the day. Relief is predicted for Wednesday/Thursday.

I had a dialysis clinic visit this morning. All of the people there seemed surprised when I ask what they define as intelligent questions and what I simply call logical. My nephrologist is concerned about my continued low blood pressure, so we've made (yet again) a slight change. Unfortunately, I've already ordered my supplies for the entire month of July and won't be able to implement her suggestions until August. Absent that, she's suggested a number of options for me to raise my blood pressure temporarily that include chicken noodle soup and saltines. Not a bad idea for lunch, come to think of it.

And to keep the temperatures hot, here's "Another Hot Guy."

notmypresident: (Fleetwood Mac)
If I'd gotten my wish, I'd have been spending these hot summer days bopping to the sounds of a new Fleetwood Mac album. But we all know what they say about horses. Instead, I've been bopping to the sounds of "Lindsay Buckingham/Christine McVie," an album promoted as a duo between two of Fleetwood Mac's songwriters.

We'll probably never know why Stevie Nicks refused to participate in what would have been a new Fleetwood Mac album. The band apparently began preparations over two years ago on the project and then waited for Nicks to join. There were numerous reasons given for her reticence — touring, working on her own solo material — but in the end, Fleetwood Mac decided to carry on without her. Strangely, even though every band member but Nicks contributed to LB/CMc, they opted not to label it a Fleetwood Mac album — this, despite the fact that they'd used the moniker at one point when band member McVie herself opted out. Why not here?

In any event, it doesn't matter. LB/CMc is a very good Fleetwood Mac album, even without the name. I must admit that I didn't like LB/CMc on first hearing. I think my expectations (and the aforementioned wish) set the bar too high. And this is not a great FM album. I'd rank it up there with "Mirage," despite the fact that there are no clear radio-friendly pop hits. Absent that, there are a bunch of great tunes that are sequenced perfectly. "Too Far Gone" will be a killer live performance, as will "Feel About You." But my favorite is the duo's collaboration on "Red Sun."

Sometimes I wonder: Do you ever think of me?
And it's worse for me at night, you know
When the red sun kisses the sea.

There are plenty of other songs just as hummable on LB/CMc, so it's probably going to stay on my turntable for quite a while. Maybe not as long as a new and proper Fleetwood Mac album would have, but why wish for the moon?

Now here's Another Hot Guy.

notmypresident: (Call me!)
Randy Rainbow keeps getting better and better:

Oh, look — it's Another Hot Guy.


notmypresident: (Default)

July 2017

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