Blog

August 31, 2004

I am apparently a good quilter. After my first quilting class, at which I performed such miracles as sewing two pieces of fabric together evenly and drawing a triangle–both of which feats somehow managed to be beyond the ability of some of the other people in the class–the teacher, on her way out, remarked to one of the women working behind the counter at the store where the class is held, “This one’s going to be another John.”

Another John? I thought. Hell, once I hit my stride, these people won’t even remember who John is.

That was two months ago.

Now I have been reduced to a quivering mass of despair, hoping fervently that, once I am discovered, the women who run the store and teach the class aren’t going to be talking about me on the phone, saying, “Faustus? We had such high hopes for him, but he’s turned out to be nothing but one disappointment after another.”

But the thing is, it’s really not my fault. I blame Island Batik.

When I made this block, it was only the first step in my grand design, which was to lead to the creation of a beautifully-designed queen-sized quilt using these colors and this pattern as a foundation. But the design hadn’t reached full maturity when I bought the fabric; I realized, therefore, that I needed more blue. So I ordered a few more yards of it.

Only to find that it had been discontinued. Island Batik had stopped making it just long enough ago that nobody had any left. And I mean nobody. I called like fifty of the stores listed on Island Batik’s web site, and not one of them had any of this fabric.

And now, knowing that the perfect fabric for my quilt exists but is forever beyond my reach, I am completely paralyzed. I can’t buy a less suitable fabric and make a quilt that I know to be inferior. And yet how can I walk into class on Thursday, after two weeks off (the teacher was judging some quilting competition in Vermont), knowing that they’ll think I’m a pathetic loser who doesn’t deserve the appellation “quilter,” having failed utterly to come anywhere close to the expectations they had of me? How can I even live, knowing that I will be eternally dogged by the shadowy figure of John, perfect John, in John we trust, always a Faustus and never a John (well okay except for that one time but I was really lonely)?

I have somehow managed to turn quilting into something at which I can fail. Up next is napping.

If you don’t see any posts from me for a while, it’s because I will have put my eyes out with a basting needle (size 7).

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 6 Comments

August 30, 2004

A friend asked me why I was staying in town for the Republican National Convention.

The answer is simple: I have a fantasy that a huge sinkhole will open up under Madison Square Garden and swallow the entire Republican Party whole, and I want to be here to see it happen.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 8 Comments

August 29, 2004

N.B.: I’m futzing with my template. If I’ve linked to your blog in the past and the link seems to have disappeared, don’t worry–I’m in the middle of figuring out how to bring it back in a slightly different format.

After a whirlwind weekend of travel to places like New Paltz and Long Island–where I was part of a group that someone actually addressed as “youse” today–I have finally counted the votes for the Blogalike Contest.

Here are the results:

Sixty-eight people cast votes. Coming in in third place, with eight votes (12% of the total votes cast), is entry #7:

Today I am the happiest man on earth.

This is because I just found out that The Golden Girls is being released on DVD. It’s just the first of seven seasons, so it’ll be a while before I have all 175 episodes (at which point I will host a marathon), but still–my heart is leaping for joy within my breast.

Furthermore, it occurs to me that this may be just the impetus I need to finish the Golden Girls version of Clue that my ex N.T. and I started developing. The characters were the four girls, of course, as well as Dorothy’s Eastern European cousin Magda, who visited the girls and fell in love with capitalism, and Dorothy’s friend Jean, who visited the girls and fell in love with Rose. The rooms were the girls’ bedrooms, the kitchen, and the lanai. It was the murder weapons that stymied us in the end. We came up with four that seemed to us to make the grade: a cheesecake knife (obvious but necessary), a St. Olaf story (with which the victim was bored to death), poisoned Spierhoeven Krispies (the St. Olaf treat that stank to high heaven but, if you held your nose while you ate it, tasted more delicious than anything you’d ever eaten in your life, although in the episode in which Rose makes them, the plate she’s holding is actually empty and the girls are miming putting things in their mouths), and the Curse of the Strega (performed on Dorothy by Lena Pacerelli and reversed by Sofia’s kissing a fool, helping a holy man, and revealing betrayal of a loved one). Options that we dismissed as not being funny enough were Shady Pines pamphlets (with which the victim was paper cut to death) and one of Dorothy’s fat dresses (strangled and/or smothered).

Clearly, though, we were on to something. And once I get those DVDs, I’ll pick the two remaining murder weapons, convince Parker Brothers to put this game out, and watch as I become fabulously wealthy when every gay man on earth buys it.

And if you try to stop me, the next Spierhoeven Krispie you eat may be your last.

Coming in in second place, with twelve votes (18% of the total), is entry #11:

I am paralyzed by indecision.

Ordinarily, of course, this is so commonplace an occurrence as to hardly bear mentioning (unless I begin to post such observations as Gravity continues to hold my furniture to the floor of my apartment or Breathing sustained life, so E.S. and I took oxygen into our lungs according to our custom.)

No, today’s dilemma is all due to a numerologist.

In my continuing quest to understand the complexities of my dog, A., I have consulted veterinarians, groomers, and an animal communicator. A friend had recommended a numerologist (for me, not for A.), and I thought perhaps the mystical art of numerology could reveal her innermost drives and urges. Or at least, shed some light on what drives A. to such heinous acts as peeing where I’d prefer that she not.

The consultation was over the phone, with a woman apparently based somewhere in suburban Connecticut. I explained that this reading was not for myself, but for my … friend. Somehow I choked on the phrase, “This is for my dog, who is lovable but maddening,” and instead said that I was trying to improve a relationship which has had a mystifying series of ups and downs. After supplying A.’s relevant numbers, we were off to the races.

I was astounded at how well the numerologist, Y., seemed to understand A.’s multifaceted personality. Apparently, her essential number is 5, which is ruled by the planet Mercury, making her gregarious, energetic and fun-loving, but also somewhat fickle, and … well, mercurial. After half an hour, I was overjoyed, at last having some further understanding of A.’s changes of mood. Of course, I thought. She’s a 5.

“She follows her impulses, although she may often regret them later,” the numerologist said.

“Exactly,” I said. “When she pooped in my knitting bag, she was very apologetic.”

Silence.

“Excuse me?”

After a mortifying moment which seemed to last approximately a week and a half, I confessed that, no, we were not talking about my friend so much as my pet.

“A. is a dog?”

I stammered that indeed she is.

“The numbers are completely different for dogs. I have to recalculate. I’ll need to charge you another hour.”

Now to the paralyzing dilemma: do I tell A. that she is a 5, ruled by Mercury, fun-loving, curious and fleet of intellect? Or do I tell her that she is instead an 9, ruled by Mars, making her active but prone to jealousy and aggression?

And that in either case, I’d prefer that she stay out of my knitting bag.

And in first place, with eighteen votes (26%), is entry #3:

I have previously mentioned that one of the few and yet highly lamentable downsides of having a boyfriend in the first year of his medical residency is the loneliness I suffer during E.S.’s overnight stays at the hospital. You can imagine my excitement when I hit upon a way to alleviate my anguish: the documentation of our bedroom activities for later perusal at my leisure. As a bonus, any materials produced could provide an inexpensive alternative to my recent patronage of TLA Video, which has reminded me that we gay men are charged appreciably more for our onanistic aids than our heterosexual brethren. E.S., as is so frequently, surprisingly, and wonderfully the case, was game. After the procurement of my brother’s digital camera (allegedly to be used for “landscape photography”), a photo shoot was quickly arranged and went off without a hitch.

E.S. and I almost instantly uploaded the photos to his computer, at which point I came to a terrible realization.

The entire idea was a disastrous mistake.

And I need to go on a diet immediately.

I will keep you in suspense no longer. I wrote entry #7.

I came in in third place in a contest for people to write like me.

Even if I had gotten her vote (and by the way I don’t know how I could possibly have forgotten about the red ink and Fernando, but I will be forever grateful to you for reminding me and getting me that much closer to the fulfillment of my dream), it still wouldn’t have made a difference. I would still have come in third.

Even my therapist voted for somebody else.

The second place entry was written by this man‘s boyfriend, who has been a good friend for almost seven years and has confessed that he knows I would have no qualms whatsoever admitting to a numerologist that I’d consulted her to figure out my dog.

And the winner of first prize, and a gift certificate to Powell’s City of Books, is a man who, unfortunately for you, has no blog for me to link to and whom, unfortunately for me, I have never met. My first contact with him came a couple years ago when I responded to his hysterically funny Planet Out profile; in his response, he revealed that he was a friend of my brother’s from college. My brother, who keeps in touch with him, mentioned my blog a few months ago, and our winner has apparently read enough of it to out-me me.

Congratulations, mister.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 11 Comments

August 26, 2004

N.B.: Voting for the Blogalike Contest continues through midnight (Eastern Standard Time) tomorrow, Friday, August 27. If you haven’t voted yet, please do so, and help somebody win a gift certificate to Powell’s City of Books!

Today is a first on the Search for Love in Manhattan.

Someone has written me and asked me for advice.

What makes this event even more exciting is that the question is from Milksop, whose tenure as a guest blogger here was one of the highlights of this blog’s first year.

And so, my first advice column.

Dear Faustus,

I have a unique predicament involving both etiquette and pronunciation, so naturally, I turn to you.

I know the correct pronunciation of Ayn Rand’s name, but every time I use it, I feel pretentious. I realize the ideal course of action is not to use her name at all, but sometimes it is unavoidable, as she often makes a good punchline.

–Milksop

Dear Milksop,

I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to be asked at last for my opinion, and how doubly thrilled I am that the request should come from someone as fabulous as you. I have received any number of calls for assistance from people like Peter Ighene of Zimbabwe, whose father had the foresight to put $24,000,000 in a bank in Johannesburg before President Mugabe’s Land Act Reform apparently led to the massacres that killed him. Yet there has always seemed to be a touch of–how shall I say it?–the dramatic in these cries for help, and so I have found myself regrettably unable to come to the aid of Mr. Ighene and his ilk.

You are wise to have turned to me. The world is, alas, full of people who fail to navigate successfully the Scylla of incorrectness and the Charybdis of pretension. This leaves us with, on the one hand, people who pronounce “forte” (meaning “strong point”) “fortay” instead of “fort,” and, on the other hand, Alex Trebek. Those who do not wish to be part of either group have a very narrow strait to sail.

That said, you have asked me a question to which I do not have an easy, ready answer. Nevertheless, it would be churlish of me not to attempt a reply, and so I have compiled a list of some of your options.

1) You can just mispronounce her name and call her “Ann.” This is, in fact, what I do (hence my lack of an easy, ready answer), because my hatred of Ms. Rand and her shallow and morally destitute works is so vast that I am unable to express it except by pronouncing her name in a way to which she objected. However, I understand that not everyone may be capable of such boorishness.

2) You can call her by her given name, Alisa Rosenbaum. In the quite likely event that your conversational partners express confusion, you can give them either a) a condescending “oh, of course you don’t know that, you’re cretins” smile or b) a “God, I knew you were losers, but this is beyond ridiculous” eyebrow lift (with voiceless laugh), and then pronounce Ms. Rosenbaum’s chosen name with painful correctness. If you want to be really patronizing, you can even do that little quote-unquote gesture with your fingers.

While effective as a way of scoring points off rivals, this method leaves something to be desired when what’s called for is a punchline.

3) You can say her name correctly but very quickly and casually. This way a) the listener who thinks it’s pronounced “Ann” will hear what he or she expects to hear, b) the listener who knows it’s pronounced “Ine” but thinks it’s pretentious to pronounce it that way won’t be exactly sure what he or she has heard and will have to give you the benefit of the doubt or risk accusations of being unAmerican because of the whole innocent until proven guilty thing, and c) the listener who knows it’s pronounced “Ine” and thinks people who pronounce it any other way are morons will immediately include you among the cognoscenti.

I suspect that this last option is the most appropriate for your purposes. The problem, however, as my friend A.N. (who is smarter and funnier than both of us put together) reminded me, is that Ayn Rand, having been born in Russia, had an accent so thick as to be nearly incomprehensible, and actually pronounced her own name more like “Awn” than anything else.

Which is, in some ways, the most attractive choice of all.

I hope this discussion has been of some assistance to you. I encourage other readers who have questions about anything and everything to write me.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go fantasize about how Chris Meloni, John Stamos (who, I just found out, is divorcing his wife), silver diving medalist Alexandre Despatie, and I might pass an evening together.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 13 Comments

August 24, 2004

N.B.: Words cannot express how thrilled I am at how many people are expressing so many different opinions in the Blogalike Contest. Voting will continue through midnight this Friday, August 27; if you haven’t voted yet, please make yourself heard!

I had a whole post worked out about UPS and how they are the source of all evil in the world, but then I read Jake’s comment about how Chris Meloni works out at his gym and I find I am unable to think about anything else.

Jake, whoever you are, if you tell me what gym this is, I will do, quite literally, anything you ask. Note that, as I speak four languages, am flexible and fit enough to do a round-off back handspring back tuck, and can recite “Jabberwocky” while standing on my head, the possibilities are, while not endless, certainly wide-ranging.

As of this moment, I know only that Chris (who, by the way, hugged me in my dream last night) often patronizes the Starbucks at 93rd Street and Broadway. I’m about to leave my house and go sit and wait for him there, forever, if need be. But, Jake, if you e-mail me, I can get the e-mail at Starbucks (I’m sure they have a wireless network there) and go and join the gym in question immediately, and wait for him there, forever, if need be. So I suppose I ought to amend “quite literally anything you ask” to “quite literally anything you ask as long as it can be done within the confines of whatever gym Chris Meloni works out in.”

The advantage of seeing Chris Meloni sweating at the gym vs. seeing Chris Meloni buying coffee should be clear even to the dullest of dullards out there.

Actually, it just occurred to me that I could get a job teaching aerobics at the gym in question and convince Chris Meloni to take my class. Except then I’d probably die of joy.

Come on, Jake, baby, come through for me here.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 6 Comments

August 21, 2004

First of all, I want to thank everybody who sent me submissions for the Blogalike Contest. Some of them sounded so much like me that I wondered if I was actually setting up e-mail accounts in my sleep and e-mailing myself entries for my own contest. (I tried and tried and tried to come up with an equivalent for “somnambulate” that meant “write while sleeping”; the closest I could come, however, was “somniscribe,” which was just revolting.) But in the end this whole exercise nourished my ego so much that I find myself not even minding that some of you write more like me than I do.

In any case, without further ado, here are the entries. Please vote, in the comments, for the one you think I wrote. The person who gets the highest number of votes will win a gift certificate to Powell’s City of Books, unless I happen to get the highest number of votes, in which case the gift certificate will go to the person who gets the second-highest number of votes. My only request is that you refrain from saying mean things about entries you think aren’t mine. (You can say things as mean as you want about the entry you think is mine.)

#1.

Today I caught the subway to my new gym. I ceased attending my previous gym because the nice boy from Laurel, Mississippi began attending my spin classes. He wasn’t, as I am, reluctant to reveal publicly the details of our previous meeting to anyone and everyone.

As I boarded the train a rather ungainly, enormously fat woman boarded with me, muttering like she had Tourette’s syndrome. As would be my fortune, she decided to stand next to me. I spent the entire ride trying to avoid her flabby parts bumping into me, lucky I’ve been practising my tumbling as it came in handy.

To add the day’s misfortune, I asked E.S. to tape the Golden Girls special on HBO last night while I was at gay cheerleading squad practice, I have returned to the cheerleading squad for the glory of attending the upcoming Gay Olympics, and because they begged me. E.S. had to set the VCR in between studying life saving techniques for his final the following day. I really don’t see why this would have been difficult, learning CPR and using a VCR would seem one and the same. I had asked E.S. to use the VCR as my Tivo has been behaving rather oddly lately, it seems to think I like rodeos, while I don’t mind the odd hot cowboy, I have not ever in my life enjoyed watching grown men ride bulls.

This evening I sat down with a hot chocolate and my dog A. to watch the three hour Golden Girls special, only to find myself watching the Republican Convention for the 2004 election! My horror at reliving the event was only mildly assuaged when I noticed Donald Rumsfeld on stage with his fly undone.

#2.

Apparently I am not quite as clever as I sometimes know I am. Or so E.S. would leave me to believe after a brief conversation we had last evening about the entries for my Blogalike Contest, also known as the self-serving shrine to my ego.

I had asked how he thought others would try and mimic my oh-so-original writing style. After reviewing and agreeing on several of the more obvious accoutrements that a duplicitous entry might contain, we parted ways about whether or not naming individuals via their initials would be a likely technique appropriated.

Being justifiably proud of the algorithm that serves as the foundation for this way of preserving others’ anonymity, I suggested most entries would likely consider this route and include an initialed I.D. or two. After all, it is a clever conceit most other bloggers do not use as artfully.

With a verbal admonishment that physically would have turned my cheek red, E.S. had the audacity to suggest my approach is not particularly sophisticated at all.

Perhaps he has a point.

Truly clever would most definitely include all three initials masking any individuals being named . . . just as they would be found on the 100% Egyptian combed cotton bath sheets hanging on the heated rack in any self-respecting homosexual’s bathroom.

#3.

I have previously mentioned that one of the few and yet highly lamentable downsides of having a boyfriend in the first year of his medical residency is the loneliness I suffer during E.S.’s overnight stays at the hospital. You can imagine my excitement when I hit upon a way to alleviate my anguish: the documentation of our bedroom activities for later perusal at my leisure. As a bonus, any materials produced could provide an inexpensive alternative to my recent patronage of TLA Video, which has reminded me that we gay men are charged appreciably more for our onanistic aids than our heterosexual brethren. E.S., as is so frequently, surprisingly, and wonderfully the case, was game. After the procurement of my brother’s digital camera (allegedly to be used for “landscape photography”), a photo shoot was quickly arranged and went off without a hitch.

E.S. and I almost instantly uploaded the photos to his computer, at which point I came to a terrible realization.

The entire idea was a disastrous mistake.

And I need to go on a diet immediately.

#4.

I love taunting Goths. Or one Goth in particular. His name is Andy and he insists that he is not Gothic, but rather Industrial. Apparently this is similar to the difference between a chardonnay and a Gewurztraminer. They both look like white wine, and taste like white wine. But one’s slightly more pretentious. Andy’s 26 going on 13, and likes nothing better than to wear black with a silver finger claw to offset it. I’m equally enthralled and amused by his stroppy moods, and tend to play with his emotions like a cat might play with a slightly dazed moth. Not that I’m jealous of the attention his weirdness gets. Not one little bit.

#5.

Last night, I was there at the traffic cross-junction with K.T. and fyi, K.T. is a straight-like-ruler guy who wasn’t even aware I am gay, and might even be homophobic for all I know; I never probe though.

Strangely enough, I was there to provide a listening ear. He just broke up with his girlfriend, and out of his numbing grief, he questioned about love. I wasn’t even prepared.

“Faustus, do you sometimes wish that you are in a relationship?”

I pondered and dug deep to say something worthwhile, and replied, “Yes, but I don’t see myself getting a girlfriend anytime soon.”

I drove my point deeper, “I crave a relationship, but I don’t want a girlfriend.”

He furrowed his brows and quipped,

“You sound like…”

At that very moment, I thought he was going to say ‘gay’. I braced for the word.

“…like my ex.”

He missed my drift. I hate myself.

#6.

Last night, I got a call from the gym’s fitness manager. At first I was hoping he was telling me that the open cardio sculpt class that I had done before was now mine thanks to a seemingly spectacular performance on my part. Then the dread that in fact I wasn’t going to get the spot eventually took over and I spent the majority of the phone call holding my breath waiting for him to tell me I had the job.

No, he just wanted me to sub in another cardio class as that instructor was stuck in Florida as her flight back from her vacation in Miami was canceled. I wanted to ask about the cardio sculpt class I had done before and whether or not I would be leading a worshipping mass of people into better physical condition on a regular basis but I held off lest I appear to be as desperate as I felt at that moment. I opted for the more optimistic viewpoint that he wanted me to audition one more time and then I would have my own raving mass of exercisers willing to do my bidding with the simple yell of “Double quads!”

My raving mass was a whopping eight people. Again, I took the hopeful stance that it was because everyone else who normally takes this class was already at work and had done the earlier cardio sculpt class which, naturally, draws the larger crowd or, perhaps, the oppressive heat had kept everyone indoors. Regardless of the circumstances, I had eight people ready to do my bidding and with the 80s dance mix a mere play button away, I was ready to go.

Things were going smoothly and even I was impressed with myself and how I was handling the class. Of course, it’s at the moment when I’m the proudest of myself that fate has to come up and bitch slap me across the face. Just after I shouted out, ‘Grapevine left!” and pointed the class in the direction we were to go, the toe of my right foot caught the back of my left heel.

I fell. In front of my class. The group that I was to turn into my exercising robotic slaves performing at my will. I wanted the floor to open up, swallow me whole, and spare me the embarrassment of having to stand up and look at my class in the mirror and come up with some explanation for how I, their entrusted leader, could do something so graceless as fall. Of course, I couldn’t just lay there for the next fifty minutes so I slowly got up and kept going with the routine. Somehow I managed to squeak out, ‘Now you know why my figure skating career failed.”

At least they thought it was funny.

#7.

Today I am the happiest man on earth.

This is because I just found out that The Golden Girls is being released on DVD. It’s just the first of seven seasons, so it’ll be a while before I have all 175 episodes (at which point I will host a marathon), but still–my heart is leaping for joy within my breast.

Furthermore, it occurs to me that this may be just the impetus I need to finish the Golden Girls version of Clue that my ex N.T. and I started developing. The characters were the four girls, of course, as well as Dorothy’s Eastern European cousin Magda, who visited the girls and fell in love with capitalism, and Dorothy’s friend Jean, who visited the girls and fell in love with Rose. The rooms were the girls’ bedrooms, the kitchen, and the lanai. It was the murder weapons that stymied us in the end. We came up with four that seemed to us to make the grade: a cheesecake knife (obvious but necessary), a St. Olaf story (with which the victim was bored to death), poisoned Spierhoeven Krispies (the St. Olaf treat that stank to high heaven but, if you held your nose while you ate it, tasted more delicious than anything you’d ever eaten in your life, although in the episode in which Rose makes them, the plate she’s holding is actually empty and the girls are miming putting things in their mouths), and the Curse of the Strega (performed on Dorothy by Lena Pacerelli and reversed by Sofia’s kissing a fool, helping a holy man, and revealing betrayal of a loved one). Options that we dismissed as not being funny enough were Shady Pines pamphlets (with which the victim was paper cut to death) and one of Dorothy’s fat dresses (strangled and/or smothered).

Clearly, though, we were on to something. And once I get those DVDs, I’ll pick the two remaining murder weapons, convince Parker Brothers to put this game out, and watch as I become fabulously wealthy when every gay man on earth buys it.

And if you try to stop me, the next Spierhoeven Krispie you eat may be your last.

#8.

My boyfriend can no longer buy me expensive French dinners.

I have always been intimidated by the thought of eating at a first rank French restaurant. I’m so afraid that if I do something wrong they will tear off my epaulets and break my fork.

Last night’s festivities began promisingly. A waiter with a rugger build and flushed cheeks gave an unobtrusive nod to my choice of Tranche de Foie Gras avec Epices.

The night progressed without any gaffes and I grew giddily empowered. I began to imagine some chef could beat a Hemingwayesque exit were I to have the authority to wrest their third star away.

I wanted to refill E.S.’s glass when it appeared that all the waitstaff were in the adjoining room.

A MILLISECOND after my fingertips grazed the wine bottle he flew at me. If I had attempted to insert a Derringer into Bush’s rectum there wouldn’t have been a more rapid response.

“Permit me.”

My reckoning is that Michelin brownshirts were watching our every move.

I am sticking to Country French now.

#9.

One of the many joys of dating E.S. is that he is always coming up with new reasons for me to shower him with praise. This might make others cower in his perfection, but I am pleased to be constantly reminded of the prince he is. With all the frogs I’ve kissed (see posts passim), I have more than earned the karma needed for someone of his stature.

Last night, he decided to suprise me with a romantic candle-lit dinner for two in his apartment. Unfortunately, I ruined things by returning home earlier than expected from my class at the gym, and was ushered into his room, his hands covering my eyes, until everything was just so.

I begrudgingly went into his room and did my best to pout like a five year old on time-out, but it was to no avail; he turned and left to continue his work. After a few minutes of sitting on the bed, organizing the drawer he gave me and straightening the books on his shelf, he called to me and asked if I wanted to help.

Of course, I leapt at the opportunity.

I made my way to the kitchen and did my best to divert my eyes from the candles and flower petals scattered on the table. I snuggled up beside him at the counter, and asked what he needed me to do.

“I’m making Chicken Oriental with Sesame Seeds, and since you’re my favorite onanist, I thought maybe you’d like to scatter the seeds.”

“I’m your favorite what?”

“Onanist, like Onan in the bible. I love it when you spill your seed, especially when I can eat it afterwards.” With this, he kissed me.

Pardon my pun, but it is at this exact moment when I realized my search for love had indeed proved fruitful.

Yes, last night I did use the L-word, and he (thankfully) returned in kind. Fret not, gentle readers, as this blog is not going anywhere in the near future. I’m sure that there will be more than a few angst-ridden posts in the near future, and that I am bound to screw up somehow.

In the meantime, in need of a new title, and The Search for Activist Judges in Manhattan seems premature.

Suggestions are welcomed.

#10.

What if my readers submit blogalike entries and reveal that they are stupid, insipid, or can’t write? My dream of being loved by a global community of intelligent, discerning readers will be shattered by the reality of slovenly perverts and the fringe group of quilters/knitters who inadvertently hit on this site and avert their eyes at the majority of the content.

Or if they actually do me better than I do–smarter, funnier, sexier?

What if the contestants show themselves to be motivated not by skill and appreciation of craft but by greed for the free prize?

What if, in trying to capture my inimitable style, they demonstrate that they find me shallow, self-involved, and contemptible?

What have I done?

Wait, everyone liked it when I just wrote about porn?

#11.

I am paralyzed by indecision.

Ordinarily, of course, this is so commonplace an occurrence as to hardly bear mentioning (unless I begin to post such observations as Gravity continues to hold my furniture to the floor of my apartment or Breathing sustained life, so E.S. and I took oxygen into our lungs according to our custom.)

No, today’s dilemma is all due to a numerologist.

In my continuing quest to understand the complexities of my dog, A., I have consulted veterinarians, groomers, and an animal communicator. A friend had recommended a numerologist (for me, not for A.), and I thought perhaps the mystical art of numerology could reveal her innermost drives and urges. Or at least, shed some light on what drives A. to such heinous acts as peeing where I’d prefer that she not.

The consultation was over the phone, with a woman apparently based somewhere in suburban Connecticut. I explained that this reading was not for myself, but for my … friend. Somehow I choked on the phrase, This is for my dog, who is lovable but maddening, and instead said that I was trying to improve a relationship which has had a mystifying series of ups and downs. After supplying A.’s relevant numbers, we were off to the races.

I was astounded at how well the numerologist, Y., seemed to understand A.’s multifaceted personality. Apparently, her essential number is 5, which is ruled by the planet Mercury, making her gregarious, energetic and fun-loving, but also somewhat fickle, and … well, mercurial. After half an hour, I was overjoyed, at last having some further understanding of A.’s changes of mood. Of course, I thought. She’s a 5.

“She follows her impulses, although she may often regret them later,” the numerologist said.

“Exactly,” I said. “When she pooped in my knitting bag, she was very apologetic.”

Silence.

“Excuse me?”

After a mortifying moment which seemed to last approximately a week and a half, I confessed that, no, we were not talking about my friend so much as my pet.

“A. is a dog?”

I stammered that indeed she is.

“The numbers are completely different for dogs. I have to recalculate. I’ll need to charge you another hour.”

Now to the paralyzing dilemma: do I tell A. that she is a 5, ruled by Mercury, fun-loving, curious and fleet of intellect? Or do I tell her that she is instead an 9, ruled by Mars, making her active but prone to jealousy and aggression?

And that in either case, I’d prefer that she stay out of my knitting bag.

#12.

It should go without saying, if only because I have said it so many times already, that my relationship with E.S. is a thing of wonder and beauty about which it would be churlish to complain. Even so, there are times when going out with such a prodigious doctor/humanitarian/sexual athlete can make one feel a little overshadowed.

When, for example, he is arranging to go to the Medecins Sans Frontieres Volunteering Information Evening while I am merely struggling to remember four blocks of aerobic choreography, the disparity between our achievements is hard to ignore. This must be what it is like to be a superhero’s
sidekick; a magician’s assistant; a base cheerleader.

As it happens, I know exactly what the latter two experiences are like, but (for reasons to be discussed in some future post) have lately given up cheerleading, while being sawn in half at the age of twelve turned out to be an event of such excruciating embarrassment that even now the memory can induce spontaneous vomiting. I immediately forswore all contact with the Dark Arts and (ignoring the occasional Voodoo curse raised against an ex-lover) have never looked back.

Which leaves the first option. If nothing else, the superhero sidekick business does have a certain erotic potential. I can see myself playing Boy Wonder to E.S.’s Caped Crusader quite happily.

As long as the outfits are right.

#13.

The last time E.S. and I went shopping, we found ourselves in a stationer, and I began having my usual fantasy about a stationery wardrobe. Those of you who read Miss Manners’s books or were alive a hundred years ago know that a stationery wardrobe is essential for social survival. On what else could I write long, chatty letters and issue engraved invitations to fancy dinner parties?

Incredulous, E.S. reminded me that I can barely bring myself to write two lines in an email and that the last time I invited people over for a dinner party, my guests ended up sitting on the dusty floor eating tortilla chips from the bag. Actually owning a stationery wardrobe, he reminded me, would necessitate an upheaval in my personal habits unparalleled since I became a cheerleader and began my enforced daily visits to the gym.

So I ordered one.

The stationery should arrive in two weeks, after which time I’ll be able to issue engraved invitations to fancy dinner parties. It remains to be seen whether this will be sufficient personal motivation to keep my floors vacuumed, but it does at the very least give me an excuse to keep plenty of tortilla chips on hand.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 70 Comments

August 18, 2004

The other day I was watching Law & Order: Special Victims Unit not that I have a thing for Chris Meloni or anything oh no not at all and the episode started out in a church, where the custodian discovered the dead body of a woman next to the confessional. My mind spun off on an interrogation fantasy involving my daddy Detective Stabler. I was sort of paying attention to the episode as Benson and Stabler discovered that the woman was actually a transvestite prostitute. . . . “Faustus,” Stabler would say, “I’m very angry at your refusal to give up your friend.” . . . The tranny prostitute had been raped and horribly mutilated. . . . “You’ve been very bad, and I’m going to have to take extreme measures to get you to talk.” . . . The word “peccavisti” had been scrawled on the confessional wall. . . . After cuffing me to the table, Stabler would undo his belt and pull down his pants. . . . Benson and Stabler asked a priest what “peccavisti” meant and he told them it was Latin for “I have sinned.” . . . He would rip off my WHAT!?

My shock and horror destroyed utterly the fantasy I’d been enjoying.

Because “peccavisti” doesn’t mean “I have sinned.” It means “you have sinned.”

Rape, mutilation and murder are one thing when you’re fantasizing about Chris Meloni. But bad Latin is something else entirely.

I watched the rest of the episode, dismayed, until forensic psychiatrist Huang pointed out the mistranslation, which in turn gave the detectives the information they needed to apprehend the criminal. So it was all part of the plot!

After the episode was over, I googled “peccavisti law order” and came up with this. I thanked God I wasn’t the only one who was concerned about such things.

Then I went back to my fantasy about Detective Stabler; this time the conclusion was much more satisfactory.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 19 Comments

August 17, 2004

Photocopying scores for twelve actors for the reading of your musical about the concentration camp Terezin: $212.64.

Taking a cab to your apartment and back when you decide in the middle of rehearsal to restore the old opening number, meaning you have no idea how the material will play: $46.

Finding out that the producer of the reading has invited both a woman who was an inmate of Terezin and the man who captured Adolf Eichmann, and they’re both coming: uh . . . priceless?

Luckily, they both liked it, or at least they said they did. I was so terrified that she would tell me my musical had made her wish she was in the concentration camp instead of in the audience or that he would leap up at the first entrance of the guy playing the commander of the camp and shout “Rahm! I’ve been searching for you for sixty years, and now I’ve finally found you!” that I could barely concentrate on what was happening.

But it all turned out okay.

I mean, not the Holocaust. That didn’t turn out so okay. But the reading.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 3 Comments

August 15, 2004

N.B.: Thanks to everyone who submitted entries for the Blogalike Contest. I’ll post them later this week so you can vote.

Can we talk about Governor James McGreevey?

More specifically, can we talk about how anybody ever thought he was straight?

I mean, come on, look at his nails.

But seriously, wouldn’t you have sex with him?

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 10 Comments

August 10, 2004

N.B.: You still have a day to send me your entry for the Blogalike Contest.

On Friday I’m having another reading of my musical about the concentration camp Terezin. (For those of you who’ve joined us recently, I’m the composer of the piece.)

I wonder if spending so much time setting lyrics like

And to the ones who cry compassion,
Whining, “Hate is not the answer!”,
I say humans must hate Jews
The way the surgeon hates the cancer.

is having any sort of deleterious effect on my moral fiber.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 3 Comments