Category Archives: Uncategorized

Fashion Trends

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My new raincoat was delivered yesterday and in a stroke of serendipitous timing, it rained all day today so I could take it out for a test drive.

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It was an unqualified success.  Cozy warm, it kept me completely dry with none of those annoying seam leaks, and best of all, the hood fits.  Since I have long (some would say swanlike, but not me of course) neck, hoods are always problematic.  I bought rain gear last summer to be prepared when the rains finally came only to discover when they did that the coat’s hood was way too shallow leaving my face and glasses out in the rain.

I understand a dark (I thought it was black, but the picture makes me assume that it’s really navy.  That is mrpeenee’s fashion sense in one sentence) unremarkable parka would not rate as fashion for most people, but since all the rest of my clothing purchases in the last decade have been identical replacements for whatever tee shirt wears out, this was a pretty extraordinary event.

Because I bought the first one so long ago, I don’t remember what made me pick it originally.  Probably it was the first thing listed on the Land’s End web site that day.  As I mentioned, it fit oddly, with sleeves long enough, but the tail too short to cover my butt and the stupid hood perched on the back of my head.  Both coats though came loaded down with all sorts of velcro and zippers and odd pockets that I have no idea what to do with.  It seems sort over engineered for San Francisco’s undemanding weather.  Part of the description for the new one promised something about the pockets that would keep the snow out.  What?  Perhaps my readers more familiar with snow can explain why that’s a thing.  Does snow sneak into your pockets?  I wouldn’t put it past it; I’m very suspicous of snow.

In other news:  naked guys far away from cold gray weather

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That’s called a “tan.”  Perhaps you have forgotten about them.

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keeping warm is important during these trying times.

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Sunny, warm, tropicale.  Even in California it calls to me.

 

Seen on the Street

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One of the best features about my new (new-ish) apartment is the gym right next door.  Not that I use it for working out.  Eeks, no.  But it does pretty much guarantee a steady stream of really cute, well built guys streaming past my front door.  I would consider joining it just to go and ogle the boys changing, but all of them look like they come in their gym clothes already.  While that improves the streetscape, it does cut down on the ogling chances.

I’d prefer something like this:

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Also, while we’re down here on the street, I’ve recently seen a return of a graffiti (I believe there is a different noun for a single piece of graffiti, but I’m too lazy to look it up. You can if you’d like to.) I’m very fond of; the street koi.

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These have been around for years, sort of on and off.  I like them because they’re unusual, being on the street, and the play with a sense of perspective, as if you’re looking down into a koi pond.   And now, apparently, the artist has been commissioned to cover up temporary construction walls, so good for him.

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As I said, the koi come and go.  Imagine my surprise when I was in New Orleans once and stumbled upon a bunch of them there.  My friend Stephen said he was acquainted with the artist, but not fond of him.  He said the local theory of the random appearance of the art was that the artist would inevitably wind up with enough restraining orders against him that he would leave town until they built up in his new environs at which time he would strike out for new horizons.  I don’t know, I’m just going on Stephen’s possibly biased deductions.

I’m a fan of graffiti.  I think it can be charming and amusing and even beautiful.   Well, not when people jus splatter their tag up and call it day.  That has all the appeal of a car alarm going off.  But when it’s funny and makes you think, isn’t that art?

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In Which We Go Back A Bit

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For those of you who missed them the first time around, or those who still miss them, here is the 1980s wrapped up in one video:

Let’s see, do we have all the parts?

  • Bleach blonde, pouty lipped pretty boy singer?  Check,
  • Hyper stylized clothes that make you look like you got dressed in a hurry, in the dark?  Check.
  • Synth laden music ripping off better, more original music (in this case, Spin Me Round by Dead or Alive)?  Check.
  • Ronald Reagan’s poisonous spirit looming around?  Check.
  • The terrifying mystery of AIDS just off camera, but very present?  Check.

Turns out the last is more important to this bit than was originally intended since the singer, Paul Lekakis, admitted in an interview with POZ magazine that he had lied about his HIV status to his customers while turning tricks in Los Angeles in the 90s.  The interview and, maybe, Lekakis makes this sound unpardonable and shocking.  Sweetie, I was there and I remember that by the late 90s when Lekakis was working West Hollywood what AIDS was was unquestionable and how it spread was well established. What he did was bad, but was it that shocking?  If you ask a rentboy about his HIV status and then take his word for it, you are simply too naive to be hiring one.

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In other 80s news, Buttocks of the Past:

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Mike Timber

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Buck Hayes

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Mike Betts

Merry Xmas, with Extra Bits

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My christmas present showed up today.  Yay!  Totally not sarcastic for once!  Genuine yay!

When I was in Austin earlier this month, the charming Diane von Austinburg led me to a small gallery we both like called Yard Dog.  Totally cool.  If you’re in Austin, you should drop in there on South Congress.  I was very struck by, and then bought,  a constructed piece called Who Breaks a Butterfly on a Wheel?  Photo below:

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As we stood there arranging for it be shipped halfway across the country, Diane remarked that it was never going to make it all the way out here in one piece.  Or words to that effect.  Diane is never snarkey and I can never imitate her measured tones.

Proof of Diane’s prescience:

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I think the frame holding the components might have started out life as a really big wall clock (although it seems too shallow for that) or possibly a whatnot shelf.  It’s mahogany and the little feet allowed us to stand it up in the gallery since I was thinking of displaying it that way rather than hanging it.   All those little bits ‘n bobs there on the left are the pieces I found in the bottom of the shipping box.  I only found the legs that had busted off by sifting through the peanuts. All of these pieces seem like what you could have found in the back of any good grandfather’s garage when I was a kid.  Even the eight ball.  Now it’s art.

God knows, the very nice guy who owns Yard Dog did the best he could in packing it.  There was enough styrofoam peanuts to account for a small slip in global warming.  The padding also included some scraps of bubble wrap taped together in a way that suspiciously implied they may have at one point provided the basis for a wacky Halloween costume.

Still, in the end, it was not enough.  Looking it over closely now, I am pretty sure no human effort would have sufficed.  I’m not convinced this baby could have made it from the gallery to the car without at least one piece falling off.

The artist’s attitude towards construction seems to have leaned towards the lassiez faire, with a fair amount of glue and possibly spit.  He also seems to have depended on gravity with somethings apparently just resting on top of others.  “It’s art,” it implies “How much are you really going to be moving this around?”  Good point.

And to be honest, this brings up the interesting idea of how closely do I have to hew to the artist’s original when reassembling all this?  In the picture of the piece before its shipping trauma, you can see a big semi-petrified handball on the top right corner.  I thought at the time that it threw the proportion off and didn’t really work.  And now it’s fallen off!  Do I have to put dutifully back in place?  If you think the answer is yes, you just don’t know me well enough.  My theory is, if I have to put it back, I get to put it where I please.

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Art.  Plein air art, in fact

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My theory is, if I have to put it back, I get to put it where I please.

Tales of Pasta and Terror

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How bad of me to skimp on recounting my recent visit to Austin and the charming Diane von Austinburg.  We had a lovely, lovely time.  Our definition of “lovely” might not match up with other’s, but do we care?  No, we do not.

Essentially the visit consisted of us visiting many of the finer thrift stores in town and canvassing their aisles while keeping up a running diss of their merchandise.  Or “merchandise.”  To quote myself from several previous times “This all looks like the leftovers from a bad garage sale.”  But that’s the best part.  We examine a mind numbing array of the chipped and should-have-been-discarded, items of dubious function, and what we were sure was the contents of hundreds of dead grannies’ homes, shoveled into the Goodwill maw by their undeserving heirs and then we don’t buy a single thing.

I did fall sort of in love with a love seat upholstered in a velour Union Jack.  Fortunately, Diane was there to quietly steer me away even as I was scheming how to ship it here, to an apartment where there is absolutely no room for it.

And then we went out for enchiladas.  Oh, such good Mexican food.  High class fare from interior Mexico, low class Tex-Mex in a joint that had started out life as a laundrymat, and a great place we love with such delicious tortillas.

Of course it was not all beat up Pottery Barn rejects and guacamole.  After all, there has to be some low point.  Who would have dreamed it would turn out to be pasta?

I was staying the very fancy Fairmont hotel.  It was excellent.  When I made the reservation, I signed up for their benefits program, which I always do wherever I stay.  Usually it’s not much, maybe a free bottled water  (Whoo-Hoo) but this time it turned out to be a goldmine, baby.  From a private registration desk (oh, right this way, Mr. mrpeenee,) and this cool concierge lobby with snacks of a most delicious nature (a dessert bar at night with these adorable miniature French pastries.  Another six cream puffs?  Why, I think I will.)   And a big, comfortable room.  What more could you ask for?

Well, that’s where the pasta comes in.  Diane works nearby and had come to meet me after I checked in.  We hit the Happy Hour snack bar and should have just stuck with that, but instead decided to slide downstairs to their real restaurant and have real food.

The dining room had a theme, which in my experience is never a good idea.   If you’re a restaurant, your theme should be “food.”  Instead, this place had the walls lined with fake facades of an old timey Texas town.  I think?  It was hard to tell.   It was very Disneyland. I was willing to ignore it and hang with Diane, but I ordered pasta carbonara and that’s where the real trouble came in.

Perhaps you are familiar with pasta carbonara?  It is one of the simple dishes that is not easy.  It consists of eggs, bacon and cheese over pasta.  The secret is how you add the ingredients, but I’m not here to give away my culinary secrets, I am here to gripe.

We both got our dinners eventually and started in while chatting.  After a few bites, i realized my pasta was missing the bacon.  Called the waitress over, explained, she took it back to the kitchen, reemerged with (possibly) a new plate, which I poked around in and announced, “This is the same thing, there’s no bacon is this either.”  She valiantly offered to make another run at it, but she had a look on her face, a look I have myself worn at times, a look that said “The chef is a screaming, egomaniacal lunatic, please don’t send me back in there.”  So I just said never mind, take it off the check, we’re fine.

Despite that, before I could finish stealing most of Diane’s excellent Asian pot thing, a manager type slithered over with a third bowl of the pasta.  You’ll never guess what was not in there!  As she was standing there, I demonstrated my now honed technique for bacon hunting.  “The chef says it’s called ‘pancetta’ and he slices it very finely.”  The whole “pancetta not bacon” pushed my blood level up a few notches and I offered her 20 bucks if she could find any of this finely sliced pancetta.  Sliced on a microscopic level, I don’t know.  I did explain the dish only had three ingredients, it seemed difficult to overlook one of them.

I waved it away.  Diane approved, noting that by then, one of the ingredients no doubt included spit.  She went home and I went back up to the fancy guests’ lobby and to wait for the dessert bar.

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mrpeenee asks “Where’s the meat?”

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…and the universe answers

peenee Henge

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mrpeenee’s personal street light

My living room is a triangle walled in enormous windows which makes one more conscious (or as conscious as I ever am) of the light and the way it shifts and settles in the room.   I was wandering around the apartment in my charmingly vague way the other evening when I realized the setting sun had become perfectly aligned with those windows to shoot all the way down the crooked hallway that leads to the front door.  It was like something of out of Raiders of the Lost Something or the Other.

I know in New York a similar phenomenon of the setting sun lining up with the east-west streets is called Manhattenhenge, so I’m stealing that for my own little almost-solstice-but-not-quite celebration.  Since I ignore Christmas, it seems very handy.

I was going to try to take a picture of it tonight, but, of course, it decided to rain instead.  I’m all right with that.  After those weeks of choking smoke, having our brisk clean air back is an immense relief.  Plus, sitting up here in my aerie, looking down out at the fog settling on the tops of hills, the streets shiny with rain, The street lights and traffic lights all glittering and reflecting, and the pedestrians scurrying along with their floppy umbrellas, it all seems terribly cozy.  A ginger cat curled firmly up on my lap helps.

An added charm: the street lights here are old timey ones, cast to look like lanters.  I’ve always admired their solid 19th century charm and now I have one directly outside and I happen to be on the exact floor that puts the lantern part right out my window.  I think of it as MY  street light, much as a hooker chasing other bitches off her patch would.

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Let me reiterate: I like’em big and stupid.

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But having cozy little digs could only be improved by having more than a ginger tabby to lean on.

Tie Finish

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Back in the day when I had a job (and what a satisfying way to start a sentence that is) I had to wear a tie to work every day.  I had nightmares of being choked by them.  Eventually I threw off the yoke of a necktie by simply not wearing one.  I extended my Casual Friday wardrobe to the entire week and my Fridays turned into One Step Above Slob Friday.

Even then, I would periodically have to show up at some event with something knotted around my neck.  R man didn’t have to wear one to his job, but he loved to buy them for me.  And I have to admit, a tableful of neckwear arranged tidily by Nordstrom or Saks or the like, is a lovely experience.  They’re so pretty and jewel-like.  By the time he died and I retired, I had quite a collection.   Then I moved and in packing up I realized I was never going to wear a single one of them again.

And so I put an ad in Craigslist announcing I was looking for someone to make a quilt out of them for me.  I got a surprising number of eager replies including one from the second place winner in quilting at the Marin County State Fair.  That was good enough for me and so she came and scooped them up and went off to do her quilting magic.

Time went by, as it does, and she would send me messages about the progress.  I would reply something along the lines of “That’s nice.”  Then she popped up last night, quilt in hand.

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Shine on, you crazy diamond.

It really is gorgeous, shimmering and with the individual squares of the cut up ties cleverly placed to cohabit esthetically with its neighbor.

I slept under it last night, of course, and was surprised at its texture.  I had vaguely thought it would be supple and, well, silky, but I had forgotten ties have to be made with a heavy silk with lots of body so that the knot will be nice and substantial.  That means the quilt itself is stiffer than I had imagined, but not at all uncomfortable.  It has a flannel backing so it’s very warm.  Snuggy.

I had considered saving one tie in case of funerals, but should that sad obligation arise, I can always nip into any thrift store and have my pick them for a couple of bucks.   Or I might return to Nordstrom’s and those shining reefs of sartorial splendor.

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This man is not wearing a tie.

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Nor is this one.

 

 

Like a Hole in the Head

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I need to preface this by explaining that I am so near sighted that when I wear my glasses instead of contacts, I have absolutely no peripheral vision.  None.  I go through life with literal tunnel vision.  The guy who taught Drivers’ Ed in my high school was shocked when he performed a standard test to make sure the 16 year olds he was preparing to launch into the world at the wheel of gigantic 1970s death machine autos could hopefully see what was coming their way off the starboard bow.   I scored so dismally low, he considered flunking me, but in the end must have decided “Oh, what the hell…” because I got my license and, to the best of my knowledge, never killed anyone.

Sos anyway, I was wandering out of the kitchen, mentally composing an email to our dear Diane von Austinburg and wondering what the other song Alphavile had besides Big in Japan and certainly not on the look out when I blammed into an open cabinet door.  I must have been cruising at some considerable speed since the blow knocked me to ground and took a pretty big chunk out of my scalp.

So what was the song by Alphville I was distracted by? Not that it takes much to distract me.  It was Sounds Like a Melody, which I recall was a favorite of my queer friends and me.  I’m not sure our enthusiasm would have survived seeing this video and the appearance of Martin Gold, their lead singer.  Those teef!  Dear god.  And parachute pants! I am sort charmed by the keyboardist’s sullen contribution, jamming with one pouty finger. And are those backup dancers roller skating through all the smoke machine output?

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Obligatory naked guy.

Bal Masque

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One of the odd aspects of all this smoke in the air here is the proliferation of masks.  Days ago, the state health department advised that the elderly and kids and sick people wear a mask that filtered out smoke.  Then they upped it to everyone should wear a mask and now they’ve just thrown in the towel and said everybody should simply stay indoors.  It’s like the start of a zombie movie.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have seen every permutation on face coverings just short of Darth Vader.  It’s gotten to the point where there are generally more people wearing one than not.  I do so hate to be left out of any fashion rage.

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Man-on-the-street mask.  A really cute man on the street to boot.

I’ve also been hacking pretty impressively every time I venture out, so I gave in and decided to go buy one.  Naturally, both of the hardware stores in my terribly stylish neighborhood were sold out.  But I persisted and this afternoon I went in to my favorite one and snagged the very last one they had.

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I think it has a certain raffish charm to it.  Since I have a really skinny head, it only sort of fits and I wasn’t convinced it was doing anything until I took it off before going into the grocery and I was suddenly struck by the very strong smell of smoke from which it must have been protecting me.

So yay it works.  It also fogs up my glasses, but I’ll take breathing over seeing any day.