Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Day LXXXVII: Glitter Ball!

There comes a point in every season of RPDR when the girls are challenged to choreograph a group number, put together three distinct looks, and judge their competition. Season six continued the trend with this year's "Glitter Ball!"

After a brilliant bitchfest where the queens received some much-needed therapy via puppet look-alikes of their competition, the penultimate challenge was underway! Charged to deliver "Banjee Girl Bling, " "Platinum Card Executive Realness," and "Dripping in Jewels Eleganza," the remaining five girls definitely had their hands full.

5. Darienne Lake (bottom two)

With only five competitors left, you cannot afford to make a single misstep. Somehow, Darienne managed to survive another week after missing the mark on all three counts of the runway. She looked like a piece of crayon art in her first number. The only difference? Not even a mother could call it pretty. Channeling some serious Wynonna Judd in her business attire, Michelle delivered the observation of the night: where are you the executive? Jiffy Lube? And her last number, the one created by her own hands, looked like a melted butterscotch dilly bar. And, yeah, that sounds kind of sexy. wasn't. So Darienne missed the boat on every count: why wasn't she eliminated? Turns out, Miss Lake knows how to deliver some Kelly Clarkson. In a lipsync to the song Stronger, Darienne managed (barely) to out-mouth her competitor. Congrats on joining the ever-so-exclusive "I Survived Three Lipsyncs" Club!

4. Courtney Act (bottom three)

Such a snooze fest for me this week. It's funny, too, because Courtney is the type of queen that I always respond well to! She's (mostly) friendly, exceptionally polished, and isn't afraid to throw back and forth with the judges. There's just something slightly disconcerting about her, and I can't put my finger on it. There are flashes of brilliance--real, true star power shit--but they aren't frequent enough to hold my attention. I thought she was killer in her banjee outfit. Trashy? Sure, but I think she put together a look that managed to perfectly play into her strengths. Bored to tears by that executive look. It was good--AND THOSE LEGS--but it was too safe for me. The only part of her eleganza look I liked was the hair. She wasn't a blonde! And it worked! I wouldn't mind seeing a little more variation from this blonde bombshell: it makes her more appealing. At this point, I am not sure it matters. She's going to look very good with a bronze medal.

3. Ben Delacreme (eliminated)

Well, shit. In what will certainly be the most frowned upon elimination of the season, Ben was sent packing in a rematch lipsync against Darienne Lake. While it's possible that Ben should not have been there in the first place, she was outperformed in the bottom two and had to bow out before the last challenge of the season. Honestly, I felt like I wasn't seeing the same outfits on the runway that the judges were. Ben was criticized for every look, and only deserved heat for one of them. Her banjee girl bling totally gave me what I was looking for. It was trashy and conceptual, and still managed to be very DeLa. The executive look was nothing special, and there were hints of we've seen this before. Still, it was polished and fit the bill. It didn't quite deserve the loathing it received from the judges. The eleganza look was 100% Ben. It was showgirl-y and flirty, but still carried that sense of humor we have come to expect from the Seattle stunner. I was gobsmacked when Ru instructed her to sashay away. Looking ahead to All Stars: I fully expect this queen to be back on our screens.

2. Bianca Del Rio (safe)

I don't have a whole lot to say about Bianca. We all know she's polished and brassy and fun. We get it. She's going to win the crown, and she deserves it. That said: Bianca was underwhelming this week, and still managed to be one of the best two in the bunch. I wasn't thrilled with banjee look. It was too classy for me! It didn't evoke that sense of realization. It was Bianca in a costume, trying to pass as trashy and classy. Didn't quite get there for me. I thought she had the weakest eleganza look, too! (Other than Darienne, of course, who bombed every aspect of the runway.) There wasn't anything impressive about the appearance and it was the same silhouette we've seen time and time again. Polished and beautiful? Yes. It just didn't turn the party. I've intentionally saved her executive realness look for last because it was one of the single best outfits on the night. Just spectacular. She was every bit the real estate mogul she was channeling: bitch looked good.

1. Adore Delano (winner)

WELL LOOK WHO WE HAVE HERE! Adore Delano is back on top, kids! I have never seen a competitor single-handedly steamroll her competition in the "ball" challenge. There have always been two or even three girls that have managed to be impressive, heads and tails above the others. But this season: Adore crushed. Best Banjee Girl, Second Best Executive, Best Eleganza: completely dominated on the main stage. She was serving banjee girl down, and those fucking boots were EVERYTHING. As a "lesbian who still sleeps with men on the weekend," she was only upstaged--barely--by Bianca. And that diamond studded, snow globe fantasy ballerina look? Girl. It was all very that. More importantly, Adore solidified that this race is going to be Adore vs. Bianca in the finale. It's not even close. Courtney will undoubtedly join them in the top three, but, let's be clear, this is a two girl race. And while I think Bianca's going to take it, and would deserve the crown, there is no queen I love more this season that Adore Delano.

Personal Ranking Week XI

Courtney Act
Darienne Lake
Ben Delacreme
Bianca Del Rio
Adore Delano

Predicted Order of Elimination

Darienne Lake
Courtney Act
Adore Delano
Bianca Del Rio

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Day LXXXVI: Coffee II

I think I'm dating my coffee shop.

There are currently 998 photos on my phone's camera role.

I think 400 of them were taken inside Bull Run Coffee.

That's not an exaggeration. I am legitimately nervous to count. It's going to be an embarrassing percentage.

Meanwhile, let's take a look at the IV in my left arm. It's cold press, currently, but I suppose it could be any combination of soy milk and espresso, too. Drip. Drip. Drip. Good to the last drop, isn't that the phrase?

When we moved to the neighborhood, I knew this place would be a problem. It was already one of my very favorite coffee shops in the twin cities. A three-minute-walk has not reduced my affection. If anything, it's quietly becoming a second home. And when I say "becoming," please know that I've essentially signed lease; rent is paid daily in varying amounts of "hello," "Jasmine please," and "soy cap?"

Throughout my years at Gustavus, I worked as a barista at one of the very best coffee shops in Minnesota (read: the world). My sophomore year, I lived off campus--sort of--with a gaggle of seniors. I had a car, and cash, and free time to spare. So I did what most 19-year-olds would do: I drank a lot and spent too much. So, a job became a necessity. I wasn't unfamiliar with being a part of the work force; my parents whole-heartedly believed in teenagers having soon as they turned thirteen. I played roles: dishwasher, bookseller, sandwich artist, ice cream parlor maestro, server. Something food-based just made sense.

River Rock was a hotspot of sorts in the town of Saint Peter. A coffee shop in a small town, but exceptionally vocal for the global community. Sustainability and quality were (are) the lifeblood of the operation, and, from the beginning, that was apparent.

I remember my interview. It might as well have been this afternoon.

Tamika, hair out to here, curly and frantic. Her eyes calm in a way that was both pleasant and terrifying. Me, wearing a polo--what was I thinking--and jeans that made my ass look damn good, hair also out to here. And Amber, sitting off to the side, full of sassy commentary during my time with Tamika. Montana--the brilliant human, not the state--sitting down half-way through, laughing at my bad jokes and asking why I'd circled the flamingo sticker on the application. 

An hour later: "We like to leave it in your hands at this point. Go home. Rest. Relax. Think about it. Call us back tomorrow if you'd like to commit to working here."


I spent four and a half years with River Rock Coffee. I became a part of the community, a part of the family. From behind the counter, I was a masthead. Face-forward and resolved.

Now, a member of a new coffee community, on the other side of the counter. First name basis, and better conversation than "It's been good, how about yours?" I have to pause here and there to think about what it means to be in front of a chemex or a french press, not behind one. And, I suppose, I've reached the conclusion that it doesn't really matter what side of the counter you're planted on. When you're a coffee-centric person, your love for the touch-taste-smell of the craft does not wane.  I still appreciate a rosetta and the way crema can ripple like satin. The velvet of Guatemala and blueberry of Kenya still linger on the back of your tongue just a little longer than it does for the casual coffee connoisseur.

Today, I am feeling thankful for espresso and, more specifically, the people who put so much care and effort into the art of coffee. There are days when settling down in St. Peter and going back to River Rock sounds like the most enticing, brilliant proposition. 

Luckily, Bull Run is an equally perfect bar...even on this side of the counter.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Day LXXXV: Touch

Chest to chest, nose to nose, palm to palm,
we were always just that close.

Scratching at the sky--branches, twigs, sticks clawing at space--a tree waves hello from just beyond the window. A waltz, maybe, or a foxtrot, partnered with a gray, gray cloud and moving to the sound of rain. Lots of rain. A torrent. A downpour. How the buds, the fingers manage to keep up is beyond me.

I see hands in the tops of oaks and maples. Lithe, toned waists and arms in the bodies of pines. Powerful legs in the trunk of an elm. And they are all twisting and melting memories of you. Of them. Of every moment in bed, waiting for the day to turn out, to brighten up, secretly praying that, perhaps, the clouds will linger for twenty minutes more and keep us entwined. 
a memory 
Wine. Too much for the afternoon. Whites and reds, my favorite from New Zealand. 
King's Road. Bustling. A marked taxi honks a warning, steers slightly rightward, curses with its driver. 
Rain. Quiet, but present. Always somewhere. Asking questions: where's your umbrella? Aren't you cold? Am I ruining your day? Did you leave your keys at the library? 
A library. What a funny place for a wine tasting. 
Inside: we nap. Or try to. It's tough in a twin. Stirring succumbs to hands, to locked fingers, to locked lips, to tangled sheets, to troublesome denim. And the very edge of touch, soft, finding a new landscape.  
Hands. The cartographers of the body.
The louder the wind, the more deliberately it drags the limbs of trees against the sky, the more closely it resembles an angry voice shushing the world. Bullets splash against the sidewalk. A draft shakes the room, a door closes. A bell rings. Footsteps. Creaking wood. Repeat.
a memory 
More thunder. Lightning. Stars? Or spaceships? Or visitors from beyond?  
You were curious, meant each question. 
Wine. Too much for the evening. 
Footsteps through a quiet, sprawling home. A single room. One bed for you, the same one for me.  
Our bones wrap. Your hand on mine, warmer than a smile. Warmer than your legs, painting the back of mine. Two feet tapping, retreating, playing beneath the sheet. Inhaling, exhaling: noses pressed together. Shift once. Shift twice. Embrace, nudge, relax, melt. Repeat.
I wonder--often--if the memories we share exist with you too. 

I worry--seldom--that they live only in me.

On rainy days, these cuddly, nuzzly, evenings and haunted afternoons, I think of touch. 

And I wonder if touch is doing the same.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Day LXXXIV: Diary

It can be an uncomfortable thing, blogging. You spend a lot of time thinking and rethinking about what you're willing to share with the world, what you're not. There's a lot of choice that goes into disclosing a particular thought to the rest of the webverse. Sometimes I find myself backing up, tapping the delete button just one more time, before hovering the mouse above "publish" and clicking my life on to the Internet. 

But, mostly, I find it rewarding. I enjoy sharing my life with the world. I find a somewhat rewarding level of vulnerability, of courage through offering these moments to any and all of the readers that wander over.

In many ways, this blog serves as a daily diary. A way to reflect and ponder. A means to end the day, to wrap up a week or a day or a thought.

And I find it empowering. There is something frenetic and vibrant about writing every day of your life, however brief. Who knows, in twenty years, I may find these ancient blogs and think, wow, look where I was. Look what I did. Look who I used to be!

I hope that I am proud. I hope that I have changed for the better, for good. 

But, truthfully, I am pretty happy right now. Of course, there are pieces missing. Days pass without reset buttons, no matter how badly I wish to press one. I'll fake a smile here, or try harder to laugh there, but, mostly, I find myself in a pretty good head space.

Today was not a day I would reset.

I started a new show. (By "started", I mean I watched 9 episodes of The Vampire Diaries with Kyle and Jessica.) And, as much as I should feel embarrassed, it was a damn gloomy day. 

And that show? Addicting. 

Like, meth levels of addicting. 

The week is starting. Who knows what it will bring? 

The only certainty? I'll be ten days away from 100 by the end of it. And that, dear reader, is a strange feeling.

Oh, look, a haircut!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Day LXXXIII: Tattoo

Throughout my childhood, I never found tattoos to be particularly appealing. My parents and grandparents were never big supporters of body art or piercings, so I think I adopted their mentality--as most children are prone to do--and never gave the idea of either much of a chance.

In college, I pierced my lip. 

It was one of those impulsive decisions that I convinced myself I'd been thinking about for quite some time. I wanted to be edgier, to be sexier. I wanted to be less straight-laced and more interesting. I thought the best way to do that was alter my body. To make a speedy and noticeable change. So I had my lip pierced, just to the right of the middle. A small ring that flicked back and forth with my tongue and clicked against my bottom teeth. 

Gum was out of the question. Solid foods were trickier than I'd hope. And a lip ring didn't exactly bring around the flirtatious curiosity I desired from the guys I found alluring. But it did attract a very interesting subset of straight, older women...

And then, one night, the ring just fell out while I slept and the hole resealed over night. I had taken all the necessary cleaning precautions and was keeping up with every step required of me to make the piercing last. 

Perhaps it just wasn't in the cards.

It was around that time that I decided I wanted a tattoo. I knew from the piercing, though, that it was something I wanted to think about for a while. The permanence of it all frightened me. I wanted something that connected to many different facets of my life, but could still manage to mean something independently. I knew I wanted it to be textual, and that it had to be in black. It needed to be subtle, cover-up-able.

So I thought. I thought for four years.

And last summer, I bit the bullet and got my first tattoo.

Every so often, I forget that it's there. I'll catch a glimpse in a mirror or take a quick glance when I'm wearing short sleeves and remember this part of me that was not always there. 

It's a conversation starter. A question and a demand. A wish. 

It's a nudge toward vulnerability. A welcome. 

It's me. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Day LXXXII: Sorted

Or perhaps in Slytherin, 
you'll make your real friends,
those cunning folk use any means, 
to achieve their ends.
-The Sorting Hat

I like to think of myself as the world's friendliest Slytherin.

(I don't care if that's hyperbolic, it's the truth.)

My favorite color is green. Next would be silver. I'm a cunning person, and tend to be calculating. I'm ambitious, but would prefer someone else do the work once I've decided what needs to be done. Half the time I play video games, I do it for Playstation Network Trophies or XBOX 360 achievements. I like accomplishments and snide remarks. Sarcasm and sharp humor dictate most of what comes out of my mouth. I'm a resourceful, intelligent human being with a good sense of determination and resolve.

And for those reasons, I identify with House Slytherin.

Slytherin tends to get a bad rap. It's a primary source of dark wizards and witches, and housed many of the wizarding world's most notorious villains. But then there are those like me: kind, genuine, funny, and friendly people who just happen to belong to one of the more frowned-upon groups in the history of fantasy fiction.

Hey, someone's gotta bear the burden.

At first, I think I probably wanted to be a Slytherin because it was the cool and edgy place to be. There's something sinisterly sexy about being a the mysterious and brooding student. The more I have grown and come into my own, however, I've realized that, perhaps, I am Slytherin because no other home is as fitting.

I'm a fairly brave person, and tend to act stubborn or headstrong like a member of Gryffindor might. I'm fiercely loyal to my friends and loved ones, a trait commonly associated with Hufflepuffs. I'm well-read and thoughtful, wiling to be a smarty pants when necessary. But a Ravenclaw? Not quite. Each of the other houses is like a shoe that's a half-size too big or too small. It feels comfortable in the right setting, but you're always aware it's not quite right.

I was thinking a lot about my Slytherin-hood today at work. My boss's husband made the comment today that I'm the most "kiddie-glove" person he's ever met. Apparently, the phrase means "afraid to offend or bother." (It was definitely one I needed to look up....) I've never thought of myself as afraid to bother another person, I just don't care to do it. There's no reason to make others uncomfortable or bothered unless they really deserve it, right? That doesn't make me a "kiddie-glove" weakling.

And like any other sane human being would, I started to question what this assertion from Mike meant for my Slytherin-ness. Because, you know, doesn't everything just come back to Harry Potter? What if he had a point? What if I'm spineless? What if Minnesota-Nice boys can't be Slytherins after all? Where do I go now? Who am I? What does this mean for my future? Am I too timid? Do I need to be meaner? More ruthless? More maniacal than I already am?!

And then a little voice whispered in my ear.

What other people think of you is none of your business.

And, amen, that's exactly what I needed to here.

How fitting that one of my favorite human beings--and (probably) fellow Slytherin--RuPaul should know exactly what to say in present situation. It didn't matter that Mike thought I was "kiddie-glove" or meek. What matters is that I'm not afraid to be friendly, even when it's not deserved.

It might not be the acerbic attitude of your standard Slytherin...

...but I think that's what makes me magical.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Day LXXXI: Beer

You didn't think I was finished blogging about my vacation did you?


Colorado is full of craft breweries. And, my god, what a shame it would have been to visit The Centennial State without checking out one or two or ten thousand uniquely crafted beers. Well, ten thousand might be a bit generous. I had to get damn close though.

Our first stop was at Black Bottle Brewery right in Fort Collins. Just check out that beer list! I have an affinity for IPAs already, and their "Hipster" was one of my favorites the entirety of my vacation. It was strikingly similar to my favorite beer in the world, Fresh Squeezed by Deschutes. Other highlights were their oatmeal stout which, though a bit heavy for my tastes, was rich and smooth.
The Grimm Brothers Brewhouse was probably my favorite of the bunch. Maybe it was just the packaging? There was also a beer called "Gustavus" so it already had quite the leg up on all the others. There was a spectacular red ale on a nitro tap that tasted like a creamy root beer, "The Fearless Youth." And while both those beers were delicious, the stand out for me was the "Snow Drop," a light, sour ale. Couple that with beautiful, clever packaging? Color me sold. The flight of five different tasters was only $9 too! Talk a bout a fairy-tale deal!
Perhaps it was the heat and the hiking beforehand, but this brewery didn't do a whole lot for me. There just wasn't anything exciting about the beers. For me, they sort of all blended together. When they weren't busy being an amalgamation, they were kind of sub-standard. I will say: the oatmeal stout was far and above the best dark beer that I had throughout the entirety of my stay. You'll also note that we had thirteen different beers at the table...perhaps that's why they all managed to blend together? 
On our final night in Colorado, we took the opportunity to walk down to Firehouse 26, a teeny-tiny little fire house turned brewery! It was a pretty cool setup. I also found it to be the most relaxing of the venues. The snifters were beautiful, too. Between the wheat wine, porter, nitro red ale, and beautiful weather: it was a pretty special conclusion to a trip I would take again and again and again. 
Tonight, it's gin and lime. 

Somehow, it doesn't taste nearly as good without family that I love and miss.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Day LXXX: Drag My Wedding

After missing last week's viewing party to a date, this week's Drag Race felt like 1000 years had passed between episodes. I guess I didn't realize until this Tuesday how much the viewing party means to me. It's one of those events that not only breaks up the week, but gathers two of the most important groups of people under one roof: friends and drag queens.

The marriage of friends and excellent TV? Til death do we part.

6. Adore Delano (bottom two)

It was another bad week for my little angel sent from heaven. From the get-go, Adore seemed defeated and unwilling to step out of her bad mindset. Because she doesn't sew or do anyone else's makeup, it was going to be a tricky challenge. And it certainly got the best of her. I thought she looked a lot more beautiful than the judges gave her credit for. She looked very much the punk mother that she was aiming for, even if her daughter looked roughly six million years older than her. Which, of course, was her biggest problem in the challenge. Her daughter looked ROUGH. We're talking "what gutter in WeHo did you wake up in after Pride?" rough. But another powerful and energetic lipsync kept her around, and...

5. Joslyn Fox (eliminated)

Joslyn Fox had to bite the bullet and sashay away. It was her time, I think. Even though she's nowhere NEAR as dislikable as a few others still around, she didn't quite have the polish and pizzazz to compete with the remaining girls. She reminded me a lot of Tatiana from the second season. An excellent and charming queen, just lacked the finishing touches to carry her to the end. Luckily, Joslyn is a shoe-in for Miss Congeniality. There is no way she won't clinch that title. Her daughter looked more like the Tin Man than a bride, and the wedding dress was just miserable. On the positive side, I thought Joslyn looked gorgeous on the runway. It is odd, though, that the one time she learns to edit, she is sent packing. 

4. Courtney Act (safe)

Stop relying on that body! Remember a few weeks ago when I defended Miss Act? Yeah, I don't agree so much anymore. Everything she's presented has been a deviation of the same outfit she always wears. Something sheer or apparel-less. It's getting a little bland, and so is she. She did look absolutely BEAUTIFUL on the runway, but her daughter was a hot mess. I hated it. The makeup was so reliant on color and it just didn't work with her manly-man's face. The judges nailed it when they called her out for looking way-too-hot for her daughter's wedding. I definitely foresee Courtney smoothly sailing into the top three, but, god, how? She's been so plain for most of the competition! Sigh. I guess we'll see. (OKAY SHE ALSO PICKS ON ADORE AND JOSLYN SO I CANNOT HELP BUT DISLIKE HER)

3. Darienne Lake (bottom three)

Well, I may not like her, but I sort of thought Darienne did a nice job this week. If anything, she did exactly what her drag daughter wanted. And for a wedding? That's pretty damn important. I think Darienne had some tough clients to please, but she played to her strengths. I thought Darienne looked a bit messy, though, which I found surprising. As much as I dislike her lately, she can't be knocked for painting her mug. That hair though? And that dress? Girl. This is season six. Turn it up. Actually, don't, that way you can take your bow after next week's lipsync.

2. Ben Delacreme (top two)

If Ben had been a part of the episode, I would have been more willing to rank her at the top of the list. Unfortunately, I don't even think she was in the episode until the runway! I thought she looked the absolute best out of the competitors, even if her daughter looked a little sloppy. Ben is that little sneak attack this season: she's delivered consistently but somehow manages to fly under the radar. I think the judges really enjoy her, though, so I am hoping to see a more meteoric rise from Dela as we round the corner into the last part of the season.

1. Bianca Del Rio (winner)

To quote her very first line of the season, "Well, well, well." It was no surprise that Bianca was exceptional this week. The dress she created looked so beautiful on her daughter and there was such a strong family resemblance! It was everything the challenge called for. Before the episode began, I was talking with Cole about how the episode was going to shape up. We both agreed that barring a sudden transformation into Magnolia Crawford, Bianca will be America's Next Drag Superstar. With a third win under her belt, it's looking more and more like an inevitable victory is in store for the Queen of Mean. And that would be just fine...with everyone.

Personal Ranking Week X

Darienne Lake
Courtney Act
Joslyn Fox
Ben Delacreme
Bianca Del Rio
Adore Delano

Predicted Order of Elimination

Darienne Lake
Adore Delano
Courtney Act
Ben Delacreme
Bianca Del Rio

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Day LXXIX: Anger

Sometimes I find old journals and take great pleasure in reading the words I wrote. That probably sounds exceptionally egotistical, but, hey, gimme a second.

I like to wonder about what I was feeling that day or what I must have gone through to put such strange thoughts to paper. It makes me feel strong to reminisce. There is so much power in the written word; that I felt compelled to keep track of my experience in one moment in time...perhaps there was a reason.

This was dated March 3rd, 2012. It was--is--titled "Anger."
I don't know where all this anger comes from. I don't remember being so consistently upset as I have been in the last year or so. There's this strange fury that lives in my chest, I didn't invite it in, but it's found a way to create a home. Sometimes, I like to picture the spiraling, angry tendrils working their way through limbs, tattooing my body from the inside out. I guess the ink would have to be my blood? Does that make veins my needles? A tattoo is an apt analogy, I think; this anger feels like it might be permanent. 
When I was younger, I was not an angry child. Even in middle school and high school, I don't remember feeling so heavy with unhappiness. I wonder if being gay has something to do with it, innately. Like that one aspect of my DNA predisposes me to anger, to resentment. I am inclined to think "no." I've known that I was gay for a very long time, much longer than the span of time this writhing clump of ick has been living behind my ribs.
I wonder if I could isolate where it lives. 
I think it lives in my spine. I think it lives in my heart. I think it lives in my head. 
I think I'd like to remove it.
No...that I know.
I couldn't tell you tonight where that anger was or what caused such a strange and fearsome burden.

I just danced and lipsync'd (lipsyanc?) with a house full of friends. Perhaps anger drowns in sweat? Unlikely.

No, I think the real culprit here is confidence and happiness. Confidence and happiness that does not come without a lot of fucking work.

But, really, it's the kind of work that's really damn important.

Monday, April 21, 2014


Did Colorado wear anyone else out?

Oh, just me?

Tomorrow: the real world will be calling my name. Back to desks, back to coffee, back to books. (Let's be honest, two out of three ain't bad)

After arriving home this afternoon, I've been a particularly busy beaver. I made it to Magers & Quinn (twice), Bull Run (twice), and the bank (just once, but it felt long enough to qualify for "twice".) All the while, laundry has been started--currently unfinished--and tea is rolling out of the kettle in endless waves of hot and jasminey goodness.

And me? I am wiped.

My room is considerably cooler after being vacant and windblown for several days. And with the cool weather can only mean one thing: John Deere Blanket.

One Christmastime, my granny gifted me a tie-blanket that was solid yellow on one side, and an intentionally comical spread of John Deere logos in varying shades of blue and green on the back. Of my cool weather possessions, this one takes the cake. Who knows how many toes I could have lost without it?

Complete with two enormous comforters, one stuffed and fabricated fox throw, and eight pillows in varying levels of firmness: rest is just around the corner.

And, boy, is it welcome.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Day LXXVII: Rise

Photos are not in short order around here. There are plenty. While I've been recapping the day before on each of these Colorado-based blogs, I'm taking a break to share some shots from this morning.

Maria and I took a little one-on-one time at 6:15 this morning to hike up into the hills behind their home. After a jaunty ten minute drive, we reached our destination. The base of the hills dipped into the waters of the mountain reservoir and covered the shore in shale and needles.

We looked up.

Rocks loomed heavily above, glowing red as the sun peeked from behind the opposite hill. Pine trees swayed. Birds warbled. Deer leapt. Morning broke.

Taking one last glance down at the car, we stepped foot after foot along the carved, dirty trail into the hillside. We walked quickly, pausing only to press Cheba onward or take a swig of water. Sap glistened, smiling little menaces from every branch we braced for support.

Carefully, we moved through thistle and rabbit droppings. Eventually, we reached the base of the massive rocks we'd seen below. As momentous as they looked from the car, up close: they were mystifying. Shocked by their size, we traded places as we climbed higher and higher, swapping Cheba between us as we pushed and pulled our way to the top.

And how worth it was.

Blue skies painted above, rays of sunlight blasting our cheeks and the back of our necks. We did yoga. We sighed. We ooo'd and awe'd.

Maria scooped Cheeba up in her hands one last time and presented him to the world.

For a brief moment: we had risen. We had risen indeed

And then, it was time for another adventure...

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Day LXXVI: Water

Amidst the the craggy peaks of the Rocky Mountains, my brother's fiance, Maria, and I found the most delightful little place.

I say that like had anything to do with it. It was all Maria's doing. 

In fact, on different shores of the same lake we discovered, Erick and Maria will be getting married this summer! And while they're spending the most wonderful day of their lives together, I will be the on business side of things, ordaining their precious union. 
I'm the lucky minister! (Thank god for online certification!)

Anyway, for the last three months, I've been racking my brain for all sorts of ideas and possibilities to include in my speech during their wedding. I've had some fortunate insight from Todd Mattson--my beautiful roommate Sibley's father--on how to do it right; I think I will be stealing some of his charisma before the wedding in early August. 

Mostly, my ideas have included quotes from Shakespeare and bell hooks, short passages from Take Me to the Zoo, and embarrassing and slightly violent stories from growing up with Erick. 

Tonight, we're going to talk about the different options for speeches that I've come up with, and what they're looking for. I suppose the latter of the two is a little more important... regardless of how quickly I plan on turning their wedding into a horrifying shit-show of older sibling melodrama about my younger brother finding eternal happiness before me.

But they had to know that before getting me involved, right?


Back to the delightful place: there's a beautiful reservoir  in Fort Collins that is nestled between towering, rounded hills and covered in soft waves of prairie grass and small shrubs. And right on the shores of the lake, my brother and future sister-in-law will be saying their vows, kissing the bride, and spending a day in exceptional happiness.

And in this beautiful little alcove, I had a thought.

As we descended a massive rocky cliff, Maria and I traipsed through painful bunches of brittle twigs and brush, careful to avoid  the numerous prickly pear cacti blanketing the ridge. We made our way to the shores of the reservoir, and hesitantly dipped our feet in to the undoubtedly freezing water. And, yes, it was cold. Very cold. A cold that permeates and settles beneath your skin.

But it was equally refreshing. The sort that only comes from water: quenching your thirst, cooling you down, rushing you along.

And that was my thought. Relationships are like water. The freezing kind. There are moments of terse and uncomfortable cold. Getting to know someone can feel so forced and unnatural, but, eventually, you ease your way in to feeling relaxed. Given enough time and work, you feel comfortable. And by the time you submerge yourself in the other, dropping well below the surface, your forget that the water was even chilly to begin with.

I'm sure there's more to explore there, but it was nice thought on a beautiful day, so I thought I'd share.

Perhaps we could all benefit from taking a leap.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Day LXXV: Rock

In the summer of 1997, I traveled with my brother and mom to Homer, Alaska where my aunt was living at the time. It was an unbelievable experience. We spent months in and out of campsites, bathing in hot springs, and gallivanting across the Northern United States and Canada.

The trip was expansive. At eight years old, I learned more about the country I call home than I did throughout my time in middle and high school. A child of the woods and lakes of Minnesota, I was lucky enough be familiar with exploring the great outdoors. Never one to shy from the allure of branching trails and the lofty heights of a maple or pine, a trip to the largest state in the union was the opportunity of a lifetime. 

A year later, I was gifted the same opportunity. I spent June, July, and August of 1998 in a truck with my grandma, meandering to Fairbanks to visit Jennifer. 

I was a rather good navigator when I was nine. Probably much better than I am now! There was something so empowering about predicting the travel time left or making estimations for when we'd arrive at our next checkpoint. Probably something about being right and being on top of our travelling. You'll remember that little Josh loved him some praise.

The mountains quickly became my favorite place to be. Breathing in dust, kicked up by sprinting feet and dirty shoes, never felt abrasive. It was just part of the experience. My hands were cracked constantly, covered in maps of gritty sand and shallow, shale-assisted cuts. And clean clothes? They didn't exist.

Something about Colorado reminds me of those summers. Sweaters and sneakers, freezing lakes and sweltering hilltops. They were some of the happiest moments of my life. Just off the trail, ambling through thigh-high collections of thorny brush and spotty milkweed, spider grass, and fire weed. Or reaching, shoes caked in sand and mud, just one rock higher, just one step further.

Of all of the sunbathed moments that crawl to the forefront of my mind, one instance stands particularly tall above the rest.

Camping in Valdez, Alaska was one the more profound moments of my experience growing up. It's a very small memory. Red fleece, glasses, and buckteeth: standing on a hilltop, peering down over the camp sights, tiny ants and anthills peppering the earth. And me, nine years old, realizing how small we are, how quiet the world can be. And so unequivocally happy! So fortunate! So alive and young and excited.

It's been a delightful first day in Colorado.

I can't believe I get three more.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

LXXIV: Three

The thing about Wednesday: I always end up with a story from the day that I don't get to share because of my commitment to #WigWednesday. And then, because I tend to be the most scatterbrained of all people, I forget what I actually wanted to share with you all.

But not tonight! No, tonight I am on top of things. For you, I have three stories to share from my Wednesdeay. I hope you'll enjoy them.


Wasn't it fun how it snowed and rained all Sunday long? The accumulation of snow and sleet really cemented the beauty of spring.

As you may have guessed from my post on Tuesday, I had a bit of a rocky Monday. Luckily, the blood moon kept me pretty energized throughout the evening and I was able to spring back up on my feet in time for Tuesday to roll around. And while staying up until 3 am enjoying the orange orb in the sky and writing through some weirdness was probably not a great idea, I felt surprisingly ready for the morning.

Teeth brushed, body showered, feet booted: I was ready for the day. Bustling out of the apartment, I was ready to get to work, get through the day, and move on to an exciting night. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and the loud children next door--who are usually unbearable in the early hours of the day--were suspiciously silent. Ah, yes, it was going to be a good day. And then I sat down in my car.

After the rain.

After the snow in the night.

After leaving my moon roof open for 12 ungodly hours.

So with a soaked ass, and not one single ounce of dignity, I drove to work, the butt of my jeans significantly darker than the rest. 
Now, yes, this was Tuesday. And this was supposed to be a story about Wednesday! Fear not: we're getting there. 

Cut to me, standing outside of Bull Run, chatting with my grandpa. We must have talked for 50 minutes! It was a nice long discussion about all sorts of things. Mostly, it was just to catch up. So we CAUGHT UP. For a while! And it was great! But I ended up walking up and down the streets of my neighborhood the entire time we had our conversation. So when it came time to go inside after our lengthy chat, I was little...well...moist.

That's right.



Being in a new space is not without its benefits. The exploration and excitement that comes with a new environment can really contribute to the creative energies of a work space. 

One of the oft overlooked benefits of a different office: new furniture! 

I am fortunate enough to work somewhere that carries an incredibly relaxed vibe. 

So when you're a little jittery throughout the day already--namely: you can't sit still--it's helpful to have a seat that moves along with you. Whether I'm sitting, standing, or kneeling, I have a chair that rolls with the punches. Hell, I can feel my back and my core getting stronger already. If you're looking for something to keep you on your toes while doing mundane tasks, this would be my go to suggestion. 


I've never shied away from talking about naked-time. You know, the time to yourself when you just get to disrobe, hangout--literally--and be yourself in the most basic possible form. I'm a fan. 

The only part of the day that I consistently get to enjoy naked-time, though, is when it's time for bed. I don't care for sleeping with clothes on. I'm a big advocate for showering before bed, so I never feel like my naked self is polluting the perfection of my bed sheets and blankets. Sleeping sans clothing just feels right to someone like me; it's something I genuinely cherish throughout the weaving hours of the week.

So, knowing that I sleep in my birthday suit, can someone please explain to me how I woke up like this on Wednesday morning?

Sweatpants? A sweater (not buttoned correctly...)? Socks?

Color me confused.

I've never been one to sleep walk--have I?!--so coming to on Wednesday morning in more clothes than I wore the entire day before was a bit puzzling. 

When I asked Kyle about it, explaining the predicament I was placed in, he helpfully offered an answer.

"Oh, is this finally when I tell you I sneak into your room and dress you every evening?"

Well, I guess that's one possibility. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Day LXXIII: Queens of Talk

(Editor's note: thanks for reading along--over 9000 views!)

Welcome to another installment of #WigWednesday!

On a beautiful, snowy day such as this, it's important to remember that there are more meaningful aspects to life than the weather. Like an hour and a half of drag queens every Tuesday night and a recapping of their performance in the happiest television show on earth. (okay, I don't watch enough TV to know if that superlative is accurate, but I can't imagine a series with more appeal.)

The blog is going out a little late tonight! I was otherwise occupied last night and for THE FIRST TIME IN HERSTORY, I had to ruwatch the episode on my own. Gotta say: much prefer watching with a group of loud and laughing friends. Still, The Race is consistently delightful and this week was no exception.

7. Adore Delano (bottom two)

Well this basically kills me. But my sweet little angel--and dedicated party girl--Adore Delano was definitely the worst of the week. Watching her interview Chaz Bono and Georgia Holt was painful. Absolutely painful. I think it was markably more difficult because my love for this little creature is so monumental. While I've never shied away from a diamond-encrusted face net (that's a thing, right?), I thought Adore's runway look was a big ol' miss. They were asked to present "Animal Kingdom Realness." Adore looked like Hannibal Lecter had sex with Catwoman and forgot to pull out. 

Not. Awesome.

Still: I am not worried about my little kitten. She's here to play the hard game.

6. Joslyn Fox (bottom three)

You know what's not a great idea? Talking about abortion in the middle of an interview. It's one thing to make a fetus joke--because, duh, hilarious--but I think there are more tactful options to discuss with an 86 year old woman than pro life vs. pro choice. Joslyn's demeanor and pleasant personality completely redeemed her with the judges, though, and it seemed like Georgia and Chaz were quite receptive to the little shih tzu. But Joslyn's performance on the runway was abysmal. She looked like a stripper's interpretation of a rooster. Not the best effort we've seen from her. The saving grace is that this queen is just the sweetest fucking thing on earth. Should she have landed in the bottom? Definitely. Should she have been sent home by Adore? Well, yeah. Am I happy she'll be around for another week? Absolutely.

5. Darienne Lake (safe)

When you're called a "shady elephant" by the biggest bitch (and I mean that in the most loving way possible) in six seasons of the show, you know you've managed to be an exceptionally rude queen. When Bianca called Darienne out on her toxic attitude, I think we all realized that Miss Darienne has lost her charm. It's unfortunate! I was totally sold on her before the show started. Oh what editing can do for your love of a drag queen. Performance wise, Darienne was in the middle of the road this week. A nervous wreck in the interview challenge, she turned the heat up on the runway by delivering and elephant-inspired look that--erect nipples aside--looked pretty damn beautiful. It's weird to see someone so sure in their character be so nervous with others. I think it serves to further highlight this big gurl's insecurities.

4. Trinity K. Bonet (eliminated)

Just as you were starting to grow on me too! Well, damn. Two weeks ago, I would have been praising this exit. But Trinity was NOT deserving of elimination this week. Sure, she rightfully lost the lipsync for your life to Adore Delano, but Trinity shouldn't have slipped into the bottom to begin with. Her massive misstep--calling Chaz "Chad" throughout the entire interview--sealed her fate, though, and the judges were not able to overlook how easily her nerves took over. Let's be real though, the runway look should have kept her around. If Andrew Lloyd Webber had written "BIRDS" instead of "CATS" (which, obviously, I had on VHS), this is exactly what all the characters would have channeled. Ten points to a bitch who can put that many feathers on and still remain grounded.

3. Bianca Del Rio (safe)

Can't knock the consistency of Bianca Del Rio. She delivers! This week, she didn't once speak to Georgia Holt in the interview, and she still managed to be one of the best in the challenge. I would argue she was deserving third place overall this week. Her runway look seemed so expensive! And that's hard to do looking like a jungle cat. The way she painted her body and prepared her hair: I'd say that Bianca was on the prowl last night. Looking ahead to next week, the Makeover Challenge, there's no way that Bianca won't be back on top of her game. Where's that damn crown already?

2. Courtney Act (winner)

A teeny-tiny bit of that entitlement managed to dissipate with Courtney this week. Some of that shiny, stepford veneer finally peeled away and we were left with an impressive queen doing an impressive job in the challenge and on the runway. I mean, sweet Jesus: that wingspan! It may not have been animalistic--since when is an angel an animal?--but it was a fully realized event. Don't kid yourself into thinking that Courtney is relying on pretty. She came prepared to clean house.

1. Ben Delacreme (top two)

Courtney might have won this week, but the real star was Ben Delacreme. After two terrifying weeks of lackluster performances, Dela is finally back where she belongs amidst the best of the best. She was so kind and funny during the interview, I legitimately thought she must have had experience with interviewing guests in the past. Everything was so controlled and relaxed, and her banter was enjoyable to boot! On the runway, Ben was genius. A fly? A FLY?! It was so quirky and comical, I was surprised she wasn't granted victory on the outfit choice alone. Hopefully her win-worthy performance will set the tone for the closing stages of the race. I can't wait to see what she's ready to pull out next week.

Personal Ranking Week IX

Darienne Lake
Trinity K. Bonet
Joslyn Fox
Courtney Act
Ben Delacreme
Bianca Del Rio
Adore Delano

Elimination Prediction

Joslyn Fox
Darienne Lake
Ben Delacreme
Courtney Act
Adore Delano
Bianca Del Rio

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Day LXXII: Selfish

There are few things in the world that are harder to hear than the disappointment in your father's voice.

One of those things is knowing you're responsible for it.


Growing up, I was a good and happy child. I listened, worked hard, enjoyed meeting others, gave flowers to my mother's friends, went to church, smiled at strangers, and was (mostly) friendly to my brother. I obeyed adults. I did well in school. And doing well came with it's rewards. Presents, high fives, hugs, kisses, extra play time, video games, toys. The whole works.

But nothing compared to the praise.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Day LXXI: Versatile

A question you hear a lot as a gay man: top or bottom? 

For day 69, I was really looking forward to posting another sexy-minded blog. 

But it came too quickly.

I'll be here all night.

Any time I include something vaguely sexual in the title, in the body, or in the photographs on this blog, my viewership rockets. Maybe I should just drag unsuspecting readers here under the false pretense of nudes or erotica? Might be to my benefit, really...

Sensationalized headlines aren't really my thing. So that's out. I don't too often feel like getting naked for a camera--a present from me to you. And while I've never tried my hand at erotic writing, I don't think I'd be too deft.

Ah, hell, let's give it a shot.

Amanda tugged at her bra straps. Emory swiped his belt. They met, forged by lust, a hammer and anvil in sweltering, immolating passion. They did unspeakable things. They made sounds like animals. They had sexual intercourse and it was very hot.

Damn: now that's a scene.

Predictably, erotica's not for me.

But that doesn't mean I can't give it a shot. While I may never seize the opportunity to write a masterpiece of entwining limbs and reckless passion, the possibility is comforting. An array of options: that's what keeps us on our toes. It's the same line of thinking that propagates choice as the ultimate freedom. You can do this, you can do that; the blank is never occupied at the end of the question.

That's why I choose to be versatile.

And I mean it. The most beautiful part of existence is that every path, every road, every option is viable, is tangible, is possible. Some take more work than others--and some make no fucking sense. But that's fine. Being open to the possibility of difference and the unforeseen: it's worth it. And so are you.

I used to be on OKCupid. The worst part of a dating site is the setup. I loathe talking about myself (which I understand makes no sense since attention is my lifeblood) and I never felt like it allowed me to represent who I am. I guess the same applies to anything you develop for the world to view. It's always going to be an idealized snapshot of who you are. I like to think that sincerity and vulnerability--two of my favorite qualities--help mediate that, but it's difficult to say.

In many ways, being versatile is my identity.

I don't mind getting dirty.

I'm perfectly at home in a hunting hat and cutoffs.

Or in a wig.

Or looking like this.

Or stepping in a decomposed deer while hiking in flip-flops.


Maybe not that last one. That's a story for another time.

But you get it.

I guess I'm trying to persuade you, dear reader, that being versatile is sexy. That one-note is boring. That opening yourself up to experience is a stunning and crucial part of existence. And being proud of the conglomerated mess that you are is some kind of wonderful.

As for the answer to the question posed at the beginning of the blog?

I think I'll leave it blank.