Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Searching for a needle in a Gaystack!

They say the top five most stressful things in life is Divorce, Changing Jobs, Loosing your Job, Death of a loved one and Moving house. In recent weeks I have endured one of the five and is about to live through another. Having changed jobs, husband and I are now house hunting. This is a daunting prospect as having to deal with real estate agents is not one of my favourite pastimes. The last time we ventured into the treacherous property wilderness where estate agents behave like ruthless predators was 8 years ago. So how much have changed since?

The decision to upgrade to a bigger property was due to multiple reasons. We have outgrown our apartment which now seems claustrophobic and our possessions threaten to have our living space burst at its foundations. Our neighbours are starting to annoy the hell out of me; one in particular is an old woman who is raising her grand daughter’s child. Both are loud, irritating and their voices cuts through me the same why nails on a blackboard does. What makes it worse is the fact that the old woman has a speech impediment and she sounds like a parrot with a sore throat and I have fantasised many times how one of my three cats would attack and mortally wound her.

This same neighbour also interferes with our water pressure. Imagine being in the shower and all of a sudden your hot water’s pressure drops and a pleasant warm shower turns into a freezing nightmare or the alternative of being boiled to death when the cold water’s pressure drops. You see every time I take a shower she decides to do the same and then it turns into the battle of who is going to freeze or cook the other. It’s a war where neither she nor I are willing to back down – just call us the Israel and Palestine of our apartment complex. We hate each other even though we have never spoken; we have no interest in resolving our issues and as long as the other lives there the battle will continue.

Now having decided to acquire a bigger property meant that we spend a lot of time on the internet searching for the perfect house. Our previous experience has taught us that if you leave it up to an estate agent you will end up seeing lots of places you hate. Even though the internet is the perfect tool for this, at the end of the day you still have to contact the estate agent and that’s when the trouble starts. In my experience you get three types of estate agents: The Professional, the Con-artist & the Borderline Criminal. The Professional agent will honestly pitch the property to you in a realistic manner and take note of your requirements and will not waste your time. The Con-artist will lie to you; conceal all the faults in the house, over sell and under deliver. The Borderline Criminal is the dangerous one, the agent that will lie, commit fraud and even break the law to sell you something that, in all likelihood, you will regret later and do all of this for the commission that probably was inflated by them.


When dealing with estate agents you absolutely have to be armed with the translation key to their very special language. Yes it is English but the true meaning of the adjectives they use when describing a house you will not find in the normal thesaurus. When a house is described as cosy it means it’s small. Rustic means it needs work. Good security implies the property is situated in a crime ridden area. Close to schools and major roads means there are lots of noise pollution. Friendly neighbours mean no privacy. Low maintenance garden means there is no lawn or garden to speak off. My favourite one is when you find something major that’s broken at a property how hasty the words “we can always work that into the contract” flies out of an agent’s mouth; whether that really means that it will be fixed I am yet to discover.

Real estate agents are also good readers of body language and well skilled in all forms of manipulation. The really good ones do it with such ease that detecting their manipulation can be virtually impossible. When an estate agent is bad at this I have found it both amusing and pathetic. After learning that husband and I were married the last agent saw this as an opportunity by telling us that she loves gay people. All of a sudden her daughter is a lesbian; her uncle is “a gay”; she has many gay friends, “really don’t mind gay people” and she even goes to gay pride and gay clubs. My first thought was “my god this woman is more active in the gay community than I am”. However after reviewing this bizarre incident I came to the conclusion that she was lying. For one, if she had so many gay friends her make-up would have been applied better (an autumn complexion should never attempt to use make-up meant for a summer complexion). Secondly, her hair would have been properly styled and one of her queers would have told her that if you have thinning hair don’t put gel in it or try to tease it. Lastly, if she had gay friends she would have known that we do not like to be referred too as “a gay”. I didn’t like her, she read us all wrong and her attempt at manipulation failed miserably. She reminded me Scrat the squirrel from the movie Ice Age – not only was she not entertaining, her nervousness emanated from her pursuit of her commission and not an acorn!

House hunting is hard work. Every time we find something we like something happens and we get our hearts broken. Both husband and I are quite pedantic about many things which make the search for the perfect property all the more difficult. We both have different requirements and finding that one place that suits both of us is like searching for a needle in a gaystack. In the last 8 years not much seems to have changed when dealing with real estate agents, apart from the fact that their level of desperation has increased due to the recession. I firmly believe our perfect home is out there; maybe a “fairy-god-mother” real estate agent will find it for us – let’s hope for some gay magic!

Till next time!

Gay KKK Member

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dear Facebook why don't you love me no more?

Dear Facebook

It’s with great heart ache that I discovered last night in all your cyber wisdom you decided to disable my account. This is now the 3rd time you wanted to break up with me. The 3rd time you refuse to talk to me or explain why.

Why don’t you love me anymore? Did I not love you enough? Did I not spend enough time with you; introduce you to enough of my friends? Did I not link to you enough in my blog posts? WHY…. OH Why…. why…. why…

How am I supposed to maintain my elaborate Gay Terrorist Network without my Facebook profile? How am I supposed to mobilize the masses to convert the unsuspecting public into homosexual loving freaks? How am I supposed to go about my daily cyber life without your blue screen minimized on my electronic life portal? How am I supposed to know when my friends birthdays are, what events I am supposed to go to or check the weather forecast in the morning before I go to work? Facebook, how will I know what my friends are doing, see their embarrassing drunken photos or be notified of their relationship statuses? The cruelty of your break-up leaves me feeling sad & alone. My bandwidth empty…

Yes it’s true, I admit I have been poked by many people and I admit, sometimes I poked back and enjoyed it. This put aside, I have always been a loyal friend. I always accepted friend request only from people with real profile pictures up to the point of almost reaching your 5000 limit – a limit you say is there for my own protection. Is it my fault my superior brain and startling good looks attracts people I don’t even know to my profile. Facebook, please don’t discriminate against me or be angry because I am a Gorgeous Gay Genius. If my popularity is the problem and too many people comment on my status alerts or add me as a friend - I am sorry! Don’t hate me because I am popular!

Facebook without you I am lost; a ship without sails adrift in a vast ocean of unfamiliar social networking platforms some of which I have forgotten my password. The Internet seems dull without you as I surf the Net directionless with a morbid apathy. Facebook you are always in the back of my mind - you are still my homepage! As I wipe away the tears from my now colourless cheeks, and blow my regret into my drenched tissue the ache for your return overwhelms me.

We have been through so much together. Facebook, do you remember all the good times we had? The late nights playing scrabble, all the laughs we had watching funny videos, you tagging me in albums and all the witty banter on my Blog Fan Page. Do you remember that time just after I started my first group how excited we were when we reached our first 1000 member mile stone? Good times… Happier times…

Facebook I don’t know what went wrong and please don’t come with that “It’s not you it’s my Terms of Service” crap. If you have found some other user more APPEALING, then…ah… (...this is hard...) JUST TELL ME! I probably will not understand but I will reply cordially with an annoyed toned e-mail.

Facebook, I hope we can work things out. I would hate for us to part ways like this. So many unresolved issues, so much heart aches. Are we really going to through our 2 year relationship away like yesterday's trash!?! Did I mean nothing to you? Dare I ask... am I yesterday's trash??? I guess I was but 1 of 200 million, a number, an e-mail, a password to you...

I miss you Facebook and I know you will miss me too, please take me back.

With all my Love!
Pierre


Facebook Manners And You

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sex Education

Oprah Winfrey recently caused controversy with a show she did about how mothers should talk to their daughters about sex. Apparently 3 members of the public complained to the South African Broadcasting Complaints Commission sighting that the show was sexually explicit and inappropriate. Naturally, after this news broke I just had to see what the fuss was about. After watching the episode I must admit I too was a bit flustered. This made me to wonder, is sex education still taboo due to parents being too embarrassed to talk to their children about sex & are we in denial about children needing more information about sex?
The “Bird & the Bees” talk, I suspect, may be the one conversation parents absolutely dread (apart from when your child tells you he/she is gay of course). The questions what is a vagina; what is a penis; and where do babies come from could cause any parent to briefly hyperventilate. After watching the Oprah show I am sure the level of dread increased exponentially as Dr Laura Burman also encouraged mothers to talk to their daughters about masturbation and vibrators. Oh my!

After listening to what Dr Burman said I was shocked as I tried to imagine myself in the millions of mothers’ shoes who watched the show and could just picture their facial expressions as it may have been very similar to mine – my dropped jaw only closed after I switched off the television. However, after digesting the information I came to the conclusion that she did have a point, all be it a point that at first maybe difficult to accept and comes with potential embarrassment to the parent. I think the central point she tried to make was that parents should arm their children with the appropriate information about sex to help their children be better equipped, more comfortable with their sexuality and approach and view sex in a healthy and responsible manner. Certain issues that she raised will be met with great resistance as I do not imagine many parents eagerly wanting to talk to their children about the “G” spot, masturbation, sex toys and alternatives to vaginal intercourse.

Not being a parent myself I most certainly can’t debate this issue with any authority. However, I can reflect on my own sex education I received as a child as well as that of my friends. My sex education from my parents was limited to a little book entitled “What a boy should know”. At the age of 12 this book was unceremoniously handed to me by my father. No discussions were engaged in either before or after me reading the book. The book clinically described in writing and with drawings what to expect during puberty and what sex was. Honestly, this was of little help to me as I had no intention of going anywhere near a vagina! The only useful part of the book was the description of the correct use of condoms. Notably the “gay sex” was not included (not even as an annexure) in the book and this was left to my own imagination and later trail & error.
The issue of masturbation was never adequately covered but yet the phenomena of “wet dreams” were included in my little puberty handbook. The absence of thoroughly dealing with the topic of masturbation caused me for the longest time, during puberty, to think masturbation was wrong or even a sin. To make matters worse, I also firmly believed every time I masturbated my dead ancestors could be watching. For some queer reason masturbation was an act one was made to feel guilty about, as not a single person ever told me or any of my friends this was normal and natural. Instead I remember hearing that if you masturbate too often you will grow hair on the palms of your hands.
Many of my female friends also described that their sex education was limited to either a video or book given to them by their parents. The one commonality I could identify was that we all had a similar emotive reaction the first time all our pubescent hormones came to fruition: The first time I ejaculated and the first time some of my female friends had their period we all thought we were either dying or had some embarrassing illness! The books and the videos did mention this would happen but when it does it still comes as a shock. For my female friends their first “monthly curse” (as some refer to it) did necessitate them telling a parent as tampons or pads were required, as for me I didn’t go running to either parent. I just waited, did it again and when the same thing happened I had a “aha moment” (as Oprah would say) as I faintly remembered the little book did mention something about ejaculation and now I knew what that meant.
When it came to sex what I learned was not at all as what was described in my little sex education booklet for obvious reasons. As mentioned before, there was no homosexual section and much needed “details” were left for own discovery. One would think sex is easy, comes naturally and you would get it right the first time around. That just was not true in my case! When I lost my virginity it was an absolute disaster of epic proportion as neither I nor my boyfriend (both being relatively young) knew what we were doing. We knew about condoms but didn’t know about a key component (KY) or any of the other relevant and very important “details”. So my introduction into the world of sex was a thrusting of thighs & pelvises, sweat, careful aiming, pain, embarrassment and a very anticlimactic orgasm – it was not romantic, I didn’t feel the earth move and my whole body wasn’t quivering with carnal pleasure! In retrospect it was the worst sex I ever had! Only as time passed and my sex education was supplemented by knowledge my friends had acquired through their own trails & errors did I come into my own sexually – so to speak!

Even though the Oprah show was controversial I do think the message the show conveyed was an extremely important one. Prepubescent and pubescent children should be educated about sex, they should be adequately informed and equipped to help them exercise the right choices and be confident in their own sexuality. Good sex education saves lifes as we life in a time where the threat of HIV & AIDS are real. A friend recently told me that the problem with children today is that they no longer want to play with toys rather opting to “play” with each other instead. It’s a scary thought to think children as young as 13 are already engaging in sexual acts and by the age of 16 some young people no longer are virgins.
I have a lot of respect for parents as bringing up a child is heart stopping hard work and therefore I’m grateful to only have godchildren. Thinking about your own sex education as a child and your own sexual experiences how much different would your experiences and choices have been had you had more knowledge? What a difference do you think imparting this knowledge would make on the children of today contemplating having sex? I think this is what the true intention of the Oprah Show was – asking yourself some difficult questions and sometimes finding equally difficult answers.

Till next time.


Karen Taylor - Miss Harper and Sex Education

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I’ve got the Swine Flu!

First there was the Bird Flu and the world was in a panic, having also forever changed my view of birds. Now there is the Swine Flu, and yet again fears of a pandemic are rife. Never in a million years did I think I would contract this disease – a disease associated with pigs! Being well on my way to a full recovery I am happy to report that I have not grown a pig tail or developed an irresistible attraction to mud. I have however been coughing and sneezing my way through a very uncomfortable few days looking like Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer.
Having been at a conference for the better part of last week I developed flu like symptoms earlier in the week. At first I thought it may just be allergies (sometimes I should life in a plastic bubble as I am allergic to dust, grass, pollen, feathers and list goes on). It started with a runny nose, progressed to a severe head ache, sore throat, muscle pain and then the coughing started. By Friday morning I could not get out of bed, feeling like death warmed up. I remembered joking about maybe having Swine Flu earlier in the week, but by this time the joked seemed less hilarious and more of an ominous punishment. Later, on Friday morning my Dr confirmed I indeed had the Swine Flu and I was advised to inform my colleagues to consult with a Dr if they present with symptoms. The phone call to my boss was met with a nervous chuckle. At first he was slightly shocked but having a mature sense of humor he made a dietary comment suggesting I eat a lot of bacon, drink plenty of fluids and get some bed rest.
Armed with Tamiflu, antibiotics and assortment of other medicine I returned home. Upon seeing the small pharmacy I had in hand my housekeeper asked me what was wrong. I told her I had swine flu. She paused, frowned then shrugged her shoulders and said “At least it’s better than having Aids!” and continued washing the dishes. The warmth and empathy emanating from her was absolutely palpable as she has the bedside manner of an undertaker. I made my way to the bedroom feeling very sorry for myself as only a sick gay man can do, got into my pj’s and crawled into bed. The next few days passed in a medicated haze with chills, fever, slight nausea and persistent coughing. Husband handling sick people with much greater ease than I do was the perfect nurse, all he needed was the cute outfit. At least his empathy was genuine and his chicken soup delicious but it reminded me of Bird Flu.
Having been immobilized for last few days I had a lot of time to think. I wondered where all these queer diseases come from, and how they are given their names. I guess it’s been made easy -Bird Flu is derived from birds and Swine flue from pigs. Both diseases being quite exotic, quite contagious and now infamous but yet their names do not reflect how they will make you feel. Not having had Bird Flu I shall not comment on it, but having had Swine flu I feel obliged to rename it to appropriately describe what the patient can expect. Taking into account how dreadful I felt the last couple of days, on account of this flu, I feel it appropriate to rename it the “Spewing Wheezing Intolerable Nauseating Evil Flu” – SWINE for short!
Swine Flu being as contagious as it is, I was left to retrace my steps to determine where I contracted it. The only conclusion I could reach is that this pig flu was given to me by some swine at a restaurant the previous weekend. My husband is quite lucky that I was away during the time I was infectious otherwise in all probability he would have contracted it as well. It would have been a rather unpleasant domestic situation had we both been ill. Our cats probably would have gone into a panic as their only source of food would have been bedridden.
Recovering from the Swine Flu and can honestly say I do not recommend it. I am quite fortunate that I only had a mild case I didn’t need to be to go to the “Germ Factory” (aka hospital). In all honesty I must admit Swine Flu is unpleasant but it’s not as bad as people think - it’s basically flu on steroids! If you look after yourself and go to the Dr in time it pretty much is non-lethal. You will feel like road kill but within a week you will be back on your feet again, with fond memories of having survived the Swine Flu, being a statistic and making sure if anyone coughs or sneezes near you to run away screaming while searching your bag for disinfectant.

Till next time.


Elvira Kurt at the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal .

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Conference Drama!

Most of us have attended a conference at one time or another. As most of us who have attended a few knows it is always held at some extravagant resort, hotel or lodge. The scenery and activities soul purpose is to convince you that you are having fun and distract you from the brain numbing presentations you have to sit through while trying to stay awake. Usually conferences keeps you busy during the day and during the evenings you are free to do as you please; if you are attending with a fun crowd the evenings makes up for the dreary day. The conference I attended was not your usual kind and from the start I should have known I was in for a long couple days. On the day were due to arrive at the conference venue we were delayed for about 2 hours due to a luggage crisis. As luck would have it I was not the only one of the group who the term “traveling lite” meaning seems to elude. We struggled to get all our equipment and luggage into the vehicles we were due to travel in. After much deliberation & intelligent negotiation by those of us with more than 1 piece of luggage and who refused to leave any luggage behind, we agreed to use an extra vehicle. Still all the vehicles were packed to capacity not leaving much room for a comfortable ride.
On route we made up some time. Closer to our destination we stopped to refuel. This should have been a 10 minute stop that turned into yet another hour delay. Apparently 1 of the staff at the fuel station did not see the big red letters on the fuel cap that read “DIESEL ONLY” and decided to full the 1 vehicle up with unleaded petrol. Now, I admit not knowing much about cars, but I do know that this should never happen. Luckily the driver saw this before starting the engine otherwise it could have been a very expensive repair. The driver, bless his soul, has a very clam demeanor. He was the only person there that was not threatening the poor fuel station assistant with grievous bodily harm. Eventually the car was towed into town, the fuel tank drained and a major disaster averted. As the car was being towed the rest of us decided to proceed to the conference venue that was said to be only 20 minutes away. As we left the fuel station everything seemed to be back on track. Little did we know that all 3 remaining vehicles entered different coordinates into their GPS’s. The vehicle I was travelling in was the only one with the correct coordinates but we were following the convoy. When our GPS lady told us to turn left the convoy turned right. After a few times of this happening I started to smell a rat but kept quiet. 20 minutes turned into an hour. Eventually it got dark and we were on a treacherous dirt road in the middle of nowhere – We were lost! We re-grouped reconfirmed the GPS coordinates, confirming ours was right and set off again. In the dark of night we made it through the bushes of the "African Wilderness" and realized we took a 3 hour unscheduled off-road-detour. We arrived at the conference facility 6 hours behind schedule, all very tired, annoyed, and covert in dust. This was not a pleasant trip! Luckily it was a 5 star resort and the rooms were spectacular and the staff very friendly, understanding and helpful. We all unpacked, and headed off for supper after which we were due to have a short meeting that turned into a 3 hour lecture. This was a brief glimpse of what was to be ahead for the next few days. We started working at 8am sharp each day until 11pm, with a few breaks for food and much needed smoke breaks. I soon realized I was there with workaholics who had no intention of having fun and would work 23 hours a day had it not been for a few people that started to fall asleep shortly after 10:30pm on the dot every evening. Being such a small group sitting around a conference table with our laptops playing computer games also was not an option as at least 4 people at a time had a full view of your laptop screen. There also was no Internet connection. Hence some people dozing off!
Apart from working long hours the venue also seemed to have wanted to fatten us up. They served us what felt like a 100 mouth watering platters of snacks each day. At first the food was delicious but after day 2 I started to feel like the Marshmallow man, and by day 3 the mere sight of a savory or sweat platters of food made me cringe and eventually I lost my appetite. I am convinced all of us who attended to conference returned home a good few pounds frumpier.
On the last day of the conference I had reached the point of exhaustion where if I opened up my mouth it would be to utter either sarcasms or grunts. My body had reached its capacity of taking in information, cocktail party like snack platters and friendly resort staff asking me if I had slept while they fully knew I only had a few hours of sleep. As the last few hours were ticking away I was monitoring the pending end on my laptop clock with my mind fully focused on returning home. When the final presentation was done I felt the same way as I did while in school when the last bell of the school day rang, I could smell my freedom! The return home was uneventful – this time we all had the correct GPS coordinates, no cars had to be towed and we all returned safely back home, all tired, all a few pounds heavier and all more informed.

Having been to a few conferences I must say this one may have been one of my least favorites. Maybe it’s because it still is too fresh in my memory. Who knows maybe in a few months from now I will have a good chuckle about all the preceding drama. It was like no other conference I have ever attended. No one got drunk and disorderly, no person gambled away their money, there were no one nightstands (that I know off) and we actually worked which probably is how it should be. I got to know some of colleagues better, gained more respect for their work ethic and realized I can put in a couple of 20 hour work days if I have to, but it’s not preferred!

Till next time.

Margaret Cho - These Christian Groups Have Lost Their Minds
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