Tuesday, November 30, 2010

December 1st is World AIDS Day

More than 25 million people have died from AIDS and there are more than 30 million people living with AIDS right now. Reach out to your local AIDS Service Organization and donate your time or money and thank them for their work and dedication. If you live in Boston check out my favorite ASO: The AIDS Action Committee of MA.

Wednesday, December 1st is World AIDS Day

Leaving for Puerto Rico

My cousin Michael is marrying his long-time girlfriend later this week, but unlike his siblings who all got married in their hometown, he opted to marry in Puerto Rico on Friday. Later this week I'll hop on a plane and head to the Waldorf El Conquistador Resort. I believe there are approximately 130 of us attending the Thursday evening "pre-weddding party" and the Friday nuptials. Sergio and I are leaving the resort on Saturday to return to the La Concha Resort in the Condado section of San Juan for three more nights. We initially visited La Concha back in Feb 09 and really loved both the location and the property. I wrote more about that trip in my entry, 4 Days in Puerto Rico. With temperatures in Boston now hovering in the high 40s and the sun setting by 5pm, I can not wait to get down to the Carribean to feel the warm breeze and spend some time in the sun.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Hitting the gym

After spending the past two days with family, over-indulging with all the fantastic food, I made good on my promise from my post earlier this week, Back to the gym and made sure I went to the gym for what I anticipated would be a nice run on the treadmill.

Imagine my surprise / disapointment when it took me 34 minutes to run a measley 3 miles. The more frustrating news was according to the machine my pulse was racing at 174. Oh, the horror! the horror! Sorry to make a literary reference, but my struggles with this run was a sad confirmation of my epiphany from earlier in the week.

Alan Ilagan, Gay Guy and WranglerMan all had nice words of sympathy in my previous post and mentioned helping encourage each other to stay true to these personal goals. I'm game if you are - shoot me an email so we can correspond directly.

Friday, Nov. 26th stats:
3 mi. in 34 mins
174 pulse rate
Avg speed 5.2
OMG - I better be able to do better

BTW - none of these guys are me. they are merely the "eye candy" I require to remain motivated. Its really that simple with me.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm celebrating Thanksgiving with family at my parent's lake house in New Hampshire. Normally I reserve this holiday week to plan an international trip and as such have not been home for Thanksgiving in more than six years. It is nice being home and I'd like to express my wishes of thanks to all who happen upon my blog regardless of where you live and if you celebrate this most American of holidays.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

You're amazing just the way you are

Tonight a scene from the Fox TV show, Glee, had a wedding scene that touched my heart, cheesy as it was. No matter how confident and comfortable I am in my own skin - I wish this show was on television when I was a teenager.

Were you bullied? If you were - can you relate to the storyline? I'd like to hear from you.

Construction workers

My street is currently a construction zone as teams tear up our street for some unknown reason. When the signs went up last week, I had images similar to this guy here and young, fit 20-something cops hanging around to help with traffic, but alas the fantasy of what might be has been replaced with the cold reality that:

1) Its far too chilly for construction workers in Boston to be outside without a shirt.

2) I'm not so certain I'd like to see this crew without a shirt.

3) I should know better by now that the young 20-something cops in Boston are reserved for far rougher work than standing by chatting with the construction crew and sipping a Dunkin Donuts coffee all day.

C'est la vie.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Back to the gym

I'll be the first to admit that I've become lazy about getting myself to the gym on days I'm not seeing my trainer, Stu. Part of the problem stems from the fact that getting meningitis once in September and then again in October really threw me out of my routine and I've been slow to get back to working out as much / often as I should. The other part of the equation is seasonal - I simply work out harder and more often in the spring and summer months.

Today's workout with Stu was great, but it was disapointing to see how much I struggled through sets I could do easily this summer. The two bouts of meningitis not only took me away from the gym, but when I've returned it has been slow going to get back into the swing of things and lately we've been doing full-body exercises; shying away from lifting.

I want to get serious about getting back into shape and want to focus on this now - not in January after I've packed on weight from the holidays. We'll see how good I am at keeping my word, but I'd really like to get to the gym 1-2 days a week to run for 30-45 minutes. Cardio has always helped me slim down and it helps me with my weight training which can often leave me gasping for breathe after a tough set.

Like I said, "We'll see"... I'll write more about this in the weeks that follow to try and keep this on my radar and not slack-off.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Largest flashmob evah...

To paraphrase Oprah... "That is so cool." Watch the largest flash mob evah (pardon the Boston accent). The BEP's helped kick off Oprah's 2009 season with the largest flash mob ever. Oprah's expressions are priceless.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dinner at Geoffrey's w/ Mike and Peter

An unexpected benefit of writing this blog is that I've connected with a few people whom I'm not sure I would have ever had the opportunity to meet otherwise. (Take note if you read my blog - don't be shy, reach out and say hello.) It never occurred to me that I might meet people through my blog, but I'm pleased to say that tonight my partner and I had the chance to meet Mike and Peter. Mike also blogs - you can link to his blog, Mike's short attention span theater.

It was such a nice evening meeting and having dinner at Geoffrey's (a local restaurant in the n'hood). Mike and Peter are a handsome couple who have been together for the past 13 years. They were so easy to talk to I completely lost track of time and we may have kept them up past their normal bed times (I think). Over dinner we established we are night owls and Mike and Peter are early birds. Oops... my bad.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Australia: Hot Stuff

Keeping with the theme of my previous post, I figured I'd add another number from last year's Drag! Camp as Christmas show that I saw at the Sydney Opera House. Feel free to load in HD as the resolution is a bit better and it only takes a minute and of course enjoy the creative interpretation of the Donna Summer classic, Hot Stuff.

Australia: The Men

This week I've been revisiting / reposting entries from my trip to Australia last year at this time. I'd be remiss if I did not end my tribute to the men who caught my eye. The handsome profiles were in many cases complimented by a friendly and fun loving personality that endeared me to nearly all Australians. If you or your partner are contemplating a trip to Australia, I would highly recommend visiting. The country and the people do not disapoint. To give you a flavor of the fun natured personality of the people I met while there I've included a post from Brenton over at Aussielicious. The flashmob dancing to a Kylie & Dannii Minogue medley on the steps of the opera house, perfectly exemplifies what I was referring to above when I described Australians as friendly and fun loving.

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Anyone who happens to read this blog and either lives in or may be visiting Sydney in early December should consider attending the annual Christmas show, Drag! at the Sydney Opera House. I posted a couple of clips from one of the numbers from last year's show here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Australia: Sydney

It was actually one year ago today that I left for Australia. I left Boston on 11/18/09 and arrived in Sydney the morning of 11/20/09. It was so strange skipping a day, but because I flew Business Class I was oddly refreshed from the trip.

My three week vacation through parts of Australia started and ended in Sydney. My first impressions were a bit flat, but I really fell in love with the city after spending a week exploring its beaches and neighborhoods. I've included my post about Sydney along with some photos.

Seductive Sydney
originally posted 11-Dec. 2009

I spent the first two and last six nights of my trip to Australia in Sydney, and I left loving the city wishing I had more time.  I did not fall in love with Sydney right away, because initially I was so busy visiting the locations I had always seen in photographs (i.e. Opera House, Darling Harbour, etc...).  The city seemed one-dimensional and lacking charm until I ventured out of downtown to Sydney's neighborhoods and beaches.  Anyone planning to visit Sydney must make time to visit the tourist sites, but you do yourself wrong if the only view of Sydney you can recall is from standing atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge.  Make the time to venture out - it is worth it.

I was able to catch a drag show at the Sydney Opera House which will go down as the funniest and most extravagant I have ever seen, I'm sure. The show was called, "Drag - Camp as Christmas". You can check out a promo video clip here or do a search on Facebook to see more.  As I said to a few of the drag queens later that evening, they could teach Ms. Spears a thing or two about how to lip sync.

The drag show was only the tip of what turns out to be a mountain of options when contemplating what to do each evening.  In addition to all the activity in the CBD (Central Business District) night ferries provide endless options and are both easy and affordable.  I also enjoyed spending time on Crown Street in Surrey Hills, which is easily accessible from downtown and filled with galleries, antiques, cafes and pubs. I also enjoyed a great meal on Victoria Street which was quite a mixed crowd and near the gayborhood.

Since I never made it out to see the nightlife in Melbourne, I made a concerted effort to check out what Sydney had to offer.  Like many cities, "the scene" is pretty concentrated on Oxford Street. The area is a bit dumpy similar to the Castro in San Francisco, but I enjoyed checking out the clubs, sipping coffees at Coco Cubano (note there is good wireless here and it is free) and even nosing around in the GLBT bookstore, The bookshop darlinghurst, where I made several purchases.  The two main clubs that I visited could not have been more different except that they both had a lot of energy and some very good people watching.  The clubs I visited Arq and Slide will probably end up changing names (as all clubs do) but I had a great time and would suggest even if you are not a club-kid (as I most definitely am not) it is still worth checking out for fun and laughs. 

As with my write-up about Melbourne, I've also included a slide show which is a collection of photographs from my trip, please enjoy.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Australia: Melbourne

As I mentioned at the start of this week, one year ago I flew to Australia for 3 weeks. To recapture the moment and re-live the experiences, I'm re-posting some of my favorite entries from the trip.

The city of Melbourne really took my breathe away and for anyone contemplating a visit to Australia, I have to strongly recommend visiting this beautiful city. We were lucky to have a special connection with a family that made the stay even more wonderful, but even without them this city would have stopped me dead in my tracks.

Victoria & Hepburn Springs
originally posted 1-Dec. 2009

A huge reason I’ve fallen head over heels with Australia is because of a city called Melbourne. There is a magnificent contrast of architecture that compliment rather than compete with each other and provides a sense of charm that I was hard-pressed to find elsewhere. Some of my favorite activities included: strolling down Lygon Street which is chalk full of Italian cafes, shops and gelateria; checking out the ever so hip Gertrude Street which had a definite San Francisco-vibe; seeing the Fitzroy Gardens and in particular the conservatory; hanging out in Federation Square which has been scorned by many but I think is an excellent example of modern architecture and houses interesting cafes, restaurants, pubs and museums – not the least of which is the Australian Centre for the Moving Image.

Melbourne is surrounded by wine country, which is so easy to visit if you are willing to drive on the other side of the road. I opted to select an overnight in Hepburn Springs, which is next to the quaint town of Daylesford. The drive is easy and picturesque making it a great overnight trip, although I will admit I did not want to leave and would have enjoyed spending more time there. On the positive side, I made the excellent decision to book at the Peppers Springs Retreat which is 1-2 hour drive from Melbourne depending on 1) how fast you drive and 2) how direct your route is to get there. After taking the indirect route to see the countryside, I can tell you that your best bet is to drive directly there (the scenery is beautiful regardless of the route) and the towns prior to Daylesford and Hepburn Springs simply are not worth visting. 

If you do book a stay in the country, I would definitely recommend the Peppers Springs Retreat which is less than a 5 minute drive to Daylesford downtown. Request a room in the main building with a private deck that overlooks the countryside. The two owners, Chris and Wayne, are as warm and friendly as the rest of the staff and the trip provided the perfect respite between visits to Melbourne and Sydney (Australia’s two largest cities). If you want to learn more about the retreat, you can read my glowing review on TripAdvisor.com here. Visiting wineries from the hotel is easy to do, but I preferred the pampering of the natural springs spa on sight and eating at the hotel’s restaurant – rarely have I ever been so full in my life.  Below I've included a sampling of photos from my time in Melbourne, the drive out of the city and the stay in Hepburn Springs.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Australia: Great Barrier Reef

After two nights in Sydney, Sergio and I hopped a plane to spend a week up north in a small town called Port Douglas so we could enjoy some "down time" and go snorkeling in Australia's Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Port Douglas is a sleepy, little village that closes early so we spent nearly all our time lounging at our hotel, The Peppers Beach Club (check out the hotel's photos) or in the coffee shop, re:hab, where we could escape the intense sun and heat. The post I've included today was one I wrote after snorkeling.

Snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef
originally posted 25-Nov 2009

Yesterday (Wednesday), I went snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef pretty snappy costumes they gave us don't you think? At least the black spandex is slimming.  I will post more pictures upon my return.

I feel fortunate to have chosen Wavelength for my first snorkeling adventure in the Great Barrier Reef for a couple of reasons.  First, they never take more than 30 people (however yesterday there were only 25 in our group) and second they did a superb job of swimming with you to explain what you were seeing.   Half the time I followed the guides and the other half I spent exploring on my own.  The tour stopped in three separate locations for an hour each time which may sound like a lot but the time absolutely flew.  Thanks to the wet suits, I avoided getting a painful burn.

The first site was pretty cool, but it was the least interesting of the three stops we made.  It really allowed me to get a feel for snorkeling and diving under the water to get closer looks at the fish and coral.  By far the most interesting of the three locations was the third stop.  Although I saw clown fish at each location, at the third stop we found "Nemo"  (see above) as well as sea turtles and a couple of sharks.  I was impressed by my lack of fright and actually pointed out a slumbering shark that was about 8-10' long for the guides to show to the others on the tour.

I know that many people suggest SCUBA diving when visting the GBR but something we learnt on our tour was that 85-90% of all marine life that you would want to see lives within the first 5 - 10 meters (15 - 30 feet).  This is because coral needs to be able to absorb the rays of sunlight to flourish and the sea life relies on the coral in turn so if you can hold your breath for a minute or two, one can swim to the floor of the reef and see all there is.  Even for those who were not comfortable the water is so clear that it is quite easy to see the marine life while floating atop the water. 

The only down side to the entire experience was for Sergio who despite taking the sea-sick pills the crew eagerly encouraged everyone to take, was not feeling great by the time of the 3rd stop.  The 1 hour+ boat ride back to shore had Sergio a strange shade of green.

Monday, November 15, 2010


One year ago this week my partner and I left Boston to spend 3 full weeks in Australia. I can't believe its been an entire year and to recapture the moment I'm going to re-post some of my favorite entries from the vacation. If you'd like to read all the posts you can link here.

Here is a little taste of some of the fun we had in Sydney last fall.

Safely arrived and loving Sydney
originally posted 21-Nov 2009

I landed in Sydney on Friday, November 20th fairly refreshed and none the worse for the wear thanks to flying business class on United Airlines. The flight was fantastic in part because of the cush-seating that converts into a narrow but cozy bed. I flew on the second level of the 747, which is only the second time in all my travels that I've had the opportunity.

The first two days in Sydney have been brilliant. The weather has been in the high 80s to mid 90s and I've used the time as sort of a scouting expedition to get the lay of the land. The only sign of jet lag was the fact that I was exhausted last night (Friday) and went to bed at 10:30 and then promptly woke up at 6:00am.

Today (Saturday), Sergio and I ventured out on an ambitious walk that brought us down to Darling Harbour, Sydney train station and Surry Hills. We had intended to go to Paddington but pooped out and will probably check it out upon our return to the city. However lunch at a cute coffee shop called Le Monde and a cold draft at the bar at The Clock Hotel definitely revived me. I have to admit that Surrey Hills was a highlight and a place I look forward to revisiting (perhaps even tonight for a night cap). The restaurants, bars and shops ooze a chic class that is sadly absent on Oxford Street (Sydney's gay district); near where I am currently staying.

Despite the lack of any personality in the CBD (where I am at the moment) my room at the Marriott overlooks Hyde Park which is a lush downtown park that is pretty to look out at. Tomorrow I'll be checking out of the Marriott and hopping on Virgin Blue to head north to the Port Douglas. I'm looking forward to the beach and visiting the Great Barrier Reef... That's all for now. I'll be writing more about the entire adventure down under but wanted to briefly document the stay since I have a terrible memory.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Must Watch: Graeme Taylor

Earlier this month Howell High School economics teacher Jay McDowell was reprimanded for addressing a student for making gay slurs in class. The school suspended McDowell without pay for 14 days for his actions and was mandated to take training on First Ammendment rights.

The video below is from Graeme Taylor. Watch how he calmly invokes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King as asks the Howell school board to reconsider their disciplinary actions.
If the gay movement can come to expect more young men and women like Graeme in the next generation to step forward than the future for GLBT Americans is definitely a bright one.

You can read the full story about the incident here.

Thank you to the blog, Maybe its just me for sharing and bringing this to my attention.
Please consider spreading the word and posting if you have a blog.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

MFA Art of the Americas wing opens

The largest museum in Boston is the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA). This week the museum unveils its massive new Art of the Americas wing, celebrating the completion of a $504 million expansion that took place during one of the country's worst economic downturns.

More than 25,000 people made donations to make this wing a reality. The success of the MFA and widespread support is all the more impressive when you consider other, much larger cities such as Los Angeles and Chicago that have fallen shy of their own fund raising expansion campaigns.

The new addition is a striking four-story glass and granite structure filled with thousands of precious American artifacts and artworks and includes 53 new galleries with 51,000 square feet of new space.

The Boston Globe has included a floor-by-floor interactive map showcasing the new expansion which you can check out here. Definitely put visiting the new wing on your short list of "must see" during this winter when going outside is no fun.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Every (gay) teenager's dream: Darren Criss

If you watch Glee, you've been talking to friends about Kurt's potential love interest played by, Darren Criss. He sang his way into my heart on Tuesday when he appeared on this week's episode of Glee, breathing life into what has otherwise been a ho-hum season.

According to IMDB, Criss grew up in San Francisco and graduated from University of Michigan in 2009. Although this last bit of information was not on IMDB, from what I've read online, Darren is not gay. However, he is exceedingly easy on the eyes so I've shamelessly pulled down some photos to include him here on my blog. You can also check out Darren serenading Kurt with a fantastic rendition of Perry's, Teenage Dream by linking here.

Million dollar bill

Last night I was at the bachelor auction at Club Cafe to raise money for the Boston FLAG football league and the Harbor to the Bay Ride. This video was played later in the night and it made me think about the last time I heard this song which I'll blog about next week.

Enjoy the campy video interpretation of the Whitney Houston song.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


So I am having one of those weeks where I looked up thinking it was still Tuesday, was praying that it was Friday and was stunned to see it was Thursday.

Holy crap time is flying. I know much of this is driven by work, as we squeeze as much as we can into the few weeks that remain before the holiday season is in full swing.

But I can't seem to wrap my head around the fact that Thanksgiving is in two weeks. I felt like I was just blogging about coming back from Carnival Week in Provincetown, and now its dark by 5pm and I have the heat on at night.

Anyone else feeling this way?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Something to get your blood pumping

The wonderful weather that Boston enjoyed almost without exception May through September is gone. Lately it has been rather unpleasant so this is for anyone who reads my blog and is suffering the summer blues.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Where the boys are

Saturday evening I met up with Tracey to have a cocktail at Noche. The restaurant opened in July in space previously occupied by Icarus. The former restaurant had been in the South End for years and it can be tricky taking over space of a beloved restaurant, but it has been so beautifully remodelled I felt no pains of nostalgia.

The bar at Noche was lively; drawing a handsome, hipster crowd of 30 and 40 somethings from the neighborhood. I only stayed for a martini (well actually two), but the food looked delicious and smelled better so I'll be coming back to see if the kitchen can impress. Adam (the handsome bartender), pointed out they serve food until 1:30am. By the way people were packed into the bar, I can believe the kitchen is busy all night long.

Friday, November 5, 2010

My friend Tom sent me this eCard and I thought it was so funny that I had to post it on my blog. Congratulations to the SF Giants on winning the World Series.

Serenading Kurt: Teenage Dream

Watching Glee makes me wish I could be a teenager all over again. Its hard for me to imagine having TV shows w/ characters like Kurt on air. I grew up thinking I was mentally ill and only sexually depraved individuals were attracted to the same sex.

Its quite hard to articulate the impact that had but many of my contemporaries and certainly men older than me understand. I suppose that is partly why I can watch clips like this serenading of Kurt over and over again. Its hard for me to fathom that pop culture has moved so far in such a short period. Fear not, political changes are inevitable when clips like this play in middle America and ratings place Glee as one of the most popular shows in prime time.

Boston flag football team shows their moves

Teammates from the gay, Boston flag football league around this time last year tried to get Ellen DeGeneres' attention by courting her with this cute video. They also taped a second video of them dancing all around Boston Logan Airport which you can view here.

I don't believe they ever made it to the Ellen show, but kudos to them for trying. Enjoy the video, which runs about 90-seconds.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Provincetown: West End photos

The weather has turned decidedly cold in Boston over the past week and the mild Autumn temperatures Boston was enjoying are gone. Summer which ended just weeks ago, is sorely missed so I thought I'd post a few photos from one of my last visits to Provincetown this summer.

You can click on any individual photograph to enlarge.

Thank you Massachusetts

Bucking a national trend in Tuesday's, midterm elections, which saw many moderates lose their seats to extreme candidates who closely associated themselves with the "Tea Party", Massachusetts residents reaffirmed their desire to vote for progressive candidates.

In ALL major elections, the MA electorate voted for the Democratic candidate. As the Boston Globe says, "The GOP Revolution Fades in MA".

Thank you

Monday, November 1, 2010

Re-Post: Why I'm a Democrat

Originally posted October 4th - I wanted to repost this in light of tomorrow's midterm elections. I do hope no matter who you support, you will vote. This country asks very little from its citizens and this is the least all of us can do to honor people who have fought to preserve this right for all of us.

Sometimes friends and family are surprised by my support for the Democratic Party and more specifically the Liberal base of that party, but my political views were shaped in the 80s and 90s when I was coming to grips with both my sexuality and the politics of that time.

In the mid- to late-80s I could not understand why President Ronald Reagan sat idly by while tens of thousands of quilts were being sewn in memory of those who died from AIDS. In the 90s the Christian Coalition reached the heights of its influence in the Republican Party and with leaders like Speaker Gingrich they drove through discriminatory legislation like Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Don't Ask, Don't Tell all while funding local initiatives to limit and deny gay men and women basic rights such as adoption, hospital visitation rights, etc...

No longer a kid and no longer apologizing for my sexual orientation, my disdain for the Republican Party started to turn to rage when in the 2000 Presidential election Bush returned campaign donations to The Log Cabin Republicans (a GLBT Republican group) and several high profile gay donors, because they were gay and then was applauded by the entire leadership of the Republican Party.

Obama's win knocked the wind out of the Republican Party. But now the party is back and will likely take control of one or both of the houses in the U.S. Congress. Unfortunately, this isn’t the result of the Party moving to the center or becoming more inclusive. This comes from what I describe as an unholy alliance with the newly, rebranded Christian Conservative now called The Tea Party.

So discussions about taxes, economics, foreign or domestic policy aside - until the Republican Party defends GLBT rights and calls out the homophobic slurs their supporters seem content to regularly hurl at me and people like me, I will not consider any other alternative when I enter a voting booth. To the rest of the US who seem to be readily accepted and have representation in both parties - I say lucky you, but think of me when you’re voting because who you elect impacts me too.