Sunday, November 30, 2008

Battle of the Bands

Well, I thought it was called battle of the bands. Turns out there was no battle.
Last night I went to Sneaky Dee's for this band lottery. Local Toronto musicians put their name in a hat and form bands in the morning. They have all day to write and practice a few songs and then perform them that night.
I thought it was some kind of battle and voting thing. I asked my friend Joe how do you vote, by paper or by cheering and booing? He explained there was no vote, the winners were everyone who went to see the show, which seemed anti climatic.
I actually had an amazing time and loved being out and stayed until about 2 am. Some shots:

This band was my favourite. Great energy and songs and the fellow in back in orange hugged his boyfriend before they got on stage. And they had a crazy lady with a harp who was great at first but wore thin near the end of the set.

I don't really remember these people but everyone was pretty good except:

This band was crazy. I got this shot of this one guy as he wore a very short shirt and you kept seeing like his entire underwear and back and it wasn't a good thing and it got much worse as the set went on. Isn't there someone who could have said "You're wearing a child's shirt and you're not attractive" other than me?
Plus the band decided to model their songs on a vampire theme and each song was more terrible than the last. Their final song was based on a spiritual chant and they encouraged people to sing along. It was death.
Luckily we were standing beside a cute boy photographer:

I didn't have the nerve to take his picture full on, I must be losing my touch.

I am going on a gay cruise and need to get a bathing suit, I can't wait. I want to go to some gay shop and pay a lot of money and get something cool. I picture it being like a Cathy comic come to life. (Click to enlarge)

Basically I need some kind of suit with like fireworks built in so I can cause a distraction when I take my shirt off. In the James Bond movie "Die Another Day" he drives an invisible car. Is that technology commercially available for swim suits?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Free Will

I was at a restaurant tonight and saw poutine on the menu and ordered it.

I haven't eaten this in years as:
  • it's fattening
  • the gravy contains an animal
  • cheese forces cows to be pregnant and die early
  • I am allergic to milk
  • It makes me sick
And yet I still got it.

The theory is the only thing separating humans from animals is free will.

So why is it people so often choose to do the wrong thing?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Consume Me

I am spent,
a shell,
the husk of what I was once.
I am fragile
and you are hungry.

Consume me.
Feed on me.
Take me apart.

Tear off my legs
and eat my fingers.
Leave nothing.
Consume me.

At the end
where there were two
there will now be one.
Still hungry.

The Man in the Iron Mask

The feelings have drained from my body.
The will to talk, to think, to feel,
all gone.
And I pick myself up
and I head on with life
and I set my face
and it gets hard.

Lightning strikes from others fall off me.
Inconsiderate words and thoughtless actions
they hit me
and bounce off.
It all makes me harder.
My veneer will not crack.

And I am tested
by people I thought I loved
and by people I wanted to love
and by the very essence involved
in being a part of the world.

And I don't hide.
I take the blows, deflected off me,
I wear my iron mask.
And today nothing will penetrate.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Tonight is difficult.
I've been on this medication for 4 years or so and now I'm off it and yesterday I was feeling jumpy, and today just sad.
I worked late just to not go home, and then I left at 7 and here I am.
This weekend and week I have plans every day but not tonight.
I was supposed to hear from an old friend but he didn't call.
I spoke with the fellow I'm dating, but I didn't really communicate I was feeling lonely. He's busy tonight, what would it matter? And it was nice to hear from him but then I'm left with a dark apartment and I'm turning 30 and holy shit, this is life?
How did that happen?
This is really the best time of my life. I'm dating, I'm busy, I'm traveling, I'm happy at work, I'm happy with myself, but occasionally, like tonight, none of that seems to matter, and it just seems bleak.
Tonight, feeling melancholy, I'm wishing things were easier.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Turning 30

I'm turning 30 next month and then I will be 30 for the rest of my life. When I'm 70, I will say I'm 30. On my tombstone, put "Age 30" instead of the years. Unless I die in the next 12 months, then put "Only Sweet 16".

Anyway, I want to get a massage on the day, at lunch. There's a place across the street but they only have women and I want a hot guy.

I picked up the gay paper and found a couple decent fellows, and enquired about one, and then as I was walking to lunch today, I saw a big sign in the window saying "Massage". I looked in the window and saw the prettiest boy I've ever seen. It was like a slow motion movie where he's running along the beach.

He's blond and slim and about 35 and yum. His name is Gabriel. I said to the receptionist "I'll have that one!" She said he is good, and I said I can see that. I wonder if he's on google anywhere, let me check.

Nothing. How do people keep their google record so clean? Mine is probably a disaster area.

Let's hope this adventure has a happy ending!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

True Holywood Story Pt 1

I thought this might be a good forum to explain some things in my life.

This one is about my father.

My father left when I was 3. He lived with another woman named Pam and had a child with her. When I was about 8 he came back into my life. I started having visits with him, all about him. We went to fish stores, the hockey hall of fame, whatever he was interested in. I suppose now that he thought a good father took his son to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

When I was 16 I moved in with him. It wasn't an easy decision. I was living with a homophobic old couple who wanted me out so I moved in with him. The second day there he started laying down ultimatums, he didn't want me there. So I left. I went back to my mom's.

Later my mom told him I was gay and he flipped, he called me a piece of shit so I hung up on him. A year later, I saw him again, at my grandmother's funeral. He asked if I was ready to apologize for hanging up on him yet. I did, I was a kid.

Things were distant for years. When I was 22 I saw him again. I had explained how I didn't have a ride home from work and I had to pay $20 for a cab every night to get home so he gave me a ride home. He explained how he had changed. How he had given up alcohol. He talked all about himself. I told him to start drinking again, how at least when he was drinking he was happy. We didn't talk after that. The last thing I said to him is that I would not brake if I saw him crossing the street.

He contacted me a year ago. Through my aunt he said he was sorry. Apparently now it's 2007 and being gay is ok.

What's funny is my mother did the same thing. When she found out I was gay, she asked me not to molest my 1 year old brother. But with time, although she never apologized, she has made it up. I think she understands now. There are still times, like last night, when she says she can't understand how I'm attracted to the same sex, where I remember the distance, and I remember the prejudice. But the effort has been made.

My father is looking for the shortcut and that will not happen.

I once heard a saying, when you are black and discriminated against, you fight together. But when you are gay you fight alone.

I am not in a position to fight right now. I meed some time to heal. So I will not be attending baseball with my father this season.

Who's Who - #1 Matthew Shepard

It amazes me, while talking to some people, that they don't know who some of the most prominent gay figures in history are, they've never heard of them. For example, I think many people didn't know who Harvey Milk was until the recent movie.
For that reason, I wanted to start a new section called "Who's Who" and highlight those who have gone before and have personally made an impact on me.
I believe no story has had more of an impact than that of Matthew Shepard.

Matthew Wayne Shepard (December 1, 1976 – October 12, 1998) was a student at the University of Wyoming who was tortured and subsequently murdered near Laramie, Wyoming. He was attacked on the night of October 6–October 7, 1998 and died at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado, on October 12, from severe head injuries.

During the trial, witnesses stated that Shepard was targeted because he was gay. His murder brought national as well as international attention to the issue of hate crime legislation at the state and federal levels.

He was described by his parents as " optimistic and accepting young man [who] had a special gift of relating to almost everyone. He was the type of person who was very approachable and always looked to new challenges. Matthew had a great passion for equality and always stood up for the acceptance of people's differences."

However, Shepard faced his own inner battle. During a high school trip to Morocco he was beaten and raped causing him to withdraw and experience bouts of depression and panic attacks, according to his mother Judy Shepard. A friend of Shepard feared his depression caused him to become involved in the local drug scene during his time in college.

[edit] The attack

Shortly after midnight on October 7, 1998, 21-year-old Shepard met McKinney and Henderson in a bar. McKinney and Henderson offered Shepard a ride in their car.[4] Subsequently, Shepard was robbed, pistol whipped, tortured, tied to a fence in a remote, rural area, and left to die. McKinney and Henderson also found out his address and intended to rob his home. Still tied to the fence, Shepard was discovered eighteen hours later by Aaron Kreifels, who at first thought that Shepard was a scarecrow. At the time of discovery, Shepard was still alive, but in a coma.

Shepard suffered a fracture from the back of his head to the front of his right ear. He had severe brain stem damage, which affected his body's ability to regulate heart rate, body temperature and other vital signs. There were also about a dozen small lacerations around his head, face and neck. His injuries were deemed too severe for doctors to operate. Shepard never regained consciousness and remained on full life support. As he lay in intensive care, candlelight vigils were held by the people of Laramie.[5]

He was pronounced dead at 12:53 A.M. on October 12, 1998 at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins.[6][7][8][9] Police arrested McKinney and Henderson shortly thereafter, finding the bloody gun as well as the victim's shoes and wallet in their truck.[3]

The two men had attempted to get their girlfriends to provide alibis.[10]

[edit] The trial

In court the defendants used varying rationales to defend their actions. They attempted to use the "gay panic defense", arguing that they were driven to temporary insanity by alleged sexual advances by Shepard. At another point they stated that they had only wanted to rob Shepard and never intended to kill him.[3]

The prosecutor in the case charged that McKinney and Henderson pretended to be gay in order to gain Shepard's trust to rob him.[11] During the trial, Chastity Pasley and Kristen Price (the pair's then-girlfriends) testified under oath that Henderson and McKinney both plotted beforehand to rob a gay man. McKinney and Henderson then went to the Fireside Lounge and selected Shepard as their target. McKinney alleged that Shepard asked them for a ride home. After befriending him, they took him to a remote area of Laramie where they robbed him, beat him severely (media reports often contained the graphic account of the pistol whipping and his smashed skull), and tied him to a fence with a rope from McKinney's truck. Shepard begged for his life. Both girlfriends also testified that neither McKinney nor Henderson was under the influence of drugs at the time.[12][13] The beating was so severe that the only areas on Shepard's face that were not covered in blood were those where his tears had washed the blood stains away.[14]

Henderson pleaded guilty on April 5, 1999, and agreed to testify against McKinney to avoid the death penalty; he received two consecutive life sentences. The jury in McKinney's trial found him guilty of felony murder. As it began to deliberate on the death penalty, Shepard's parents brokered a deal, resulting in McKinney receiving two consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole.[2]

Henderson and McKinney were incarcerated in the Wyoming State Penitentiary in Rawlins but were transferred to other prisons due to overcrowding.[15]

[edit] ABC's 20/20 report

In late 2004, ABC's Elizabeth Vargas reported on an investigation into the murder for the television program 20/20. Though Vargas primarily relied on personal interviews with people involved with the matter, the report was billed as exploring "New Details Emerging in the Matthew Shepard Murder."[3] At the forefront was the possibility that the murder had in fact been motivated by drugs rather than Shepard's sexual orientation. McKinney, Henderson and Kristen Price (McKinney's girlfriend) claimed in these interviews that the attack was a result of heavy drug use, a robbery and a beating gone awry.[3] Price, in her interview with Vargas, ultimately openly remarked: "I do not think it was a hate crime at all. I never did."[3] This statement contradicted Price's first interview with 20/20 in 1998, in which she said (of McKinney and Henderson's attack): "They just wanted to beat him bad enough to teach him a lesson, not to come on to straight people, and don’t be aggressive about it anymore.”[16] In the report, Price and McKinney's long-time friend Tom O'Connor, on whose property McKinney and Price once lived, both stated their belief that McKinney was bisexual. O'Connor stated that he and McKinney had sex in the past. However, when Vargas asked McKinney whether he had ever had a sexual experience with another male, he said that he had not.[3]

The 20/20 report also mentioned a statement by O'Connor that Shepard told him he was HIV-positive.[3]

Retired Police Chief of Laramie, Commander Dave O'Malley — who was also interviewed by ABC and criticized the 20/20 report — pointed out that the drug motive does not necessarily disqualify the anti-gay motive: "My feelings have been that the initial contact was probably motivated by robbery because they needed money. What they got was $20 and a pair of shoes ... then something changed and changed profoundly... But, we will never, ever know because Matt’s dead and I don’t trust what [McKinney and Henderson] said."[17]

[edit] Hate crime legislation proposed

Henderson and McKinney were not charged with a hate crime, as no Wyoming criminal statute provided for such a charge. The nature of Matthew Shepard's murder led to requests for new legislation addressing hate crime, urged particularly by those who believed that Shepard was targeted on the basis of his sexual orientation.[18][19] Under current United States federal law[20] and Wyoming state law,[21] crimes committed on the basis of sexual orientation are not prosecutable as hate crimes.

In the following session of the Wyoming Legislature, a bill was introduced defining certain attacks motivated by victim identity as hate crimes, but the measure failed on a 30-30 tie in the Wyoming House of Representatives.[22]

At the federal level, then-President Bill Clinton renewed attempts to extend federal hate crime legislation to include gay and lesbian individuals, women, and people with disabilities. These efforts were rejected by the United States House of Representatives in 1999.[23] In 2000, both houses of Congress passed such legislation, but it was stripped out in conference committee.[24]

On March 20, 2007, the Matthew Shepard Act (H.R. 1592) was introduced as federal bipartisan legislation in the U.S. Congress, sponsored by Democrat John Conyers with 171 co-sponsors. Matthew's parents, Judy and Dennis, were present at the introduction ceremony. The bill passed the House of Representatives on May 3, 2007. Similar legislation passed in the Senate on September 27, 2007[25] (S. 1105), but President Bush indicated he might veto the legislation if it reached his desk.[26] He did veto the bill in 2007.

On December 10, 2007, congressional powers attached bipartisan hate crimes legislation to a Department of Defense Authorization bill, though failed to get it passed. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, said "she is still committed to getting the Matthew Shepard Act passed." Pelosi planned to get the bill passed early in 2008[27] though did not succeed in that plan. Following his election as 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama stated that he is committed to passing the Act.[28]

[edit] Public reaction and the aftermath
See also: Cultural depictions of Matthew Shepard

The anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, led by Fred Phelps, picketed Shepard's funeral as well as the trial of his assailants,[29][30] displaying signs with slogans such as "Matt Shepard rots in Hell", "AIDS Kills Fags Dead" and "God Hates Fags".[31] When the Wyoming Supreme Court ruled that it was legal to display any sort of religious message on city property if it was legal for Casper's Ten Commandments display to remain, Phelps attempted and failed to gain city permits in Cheyenne and Casper to build a monument "of marble or granite 5 or 6 feet (1.8 m) in height on which will be a bronze plaque bearing Shepard's picture and the words: "MATTHEW SHEPARD, Entered Hell October 12, 1998, in Defiance of God's Warning: 'Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind; it is abomination.' Leviticus 18:22."[32][33][34][35]

As a counterprotest during Henderson's trial, Romaine Patterson, a friend of Shepard's, organized a group of individuals who assembled in a circle around the Phelps group wearing white robes and gigantic wings (resembling angels) that blocked the protesters. Police had to create a human barrier between the two protest groups.[36] While the organization had no name in the initial demonstration, it has since been ascribed various titles, including 'Angels of Peace' and 'Angel Action'.[29][30] The fence to which Shepard was tied and left to die became an impromptu shrine for visitors, who left notes, flowers, and other mementos. It has since been removed by the land owner.

Many musicians, including Melissa Etheridge and Elton John have written and recorded songs about the murder. Three narrative films and a documentary were made about Shepard: The Laramie Project, "The Matthew Shepard Story", "Anatomy of a Hate Crime", and "Laramie Inside Out". "The Laramie Project" is also often performed as a play. The play involves recounts of interviews with citizens of the town of Laramie ranging from a few months after the attack to a few years after. The play is designed to display the town's reaction to the crime.[37][38]

In the years following Shepard's death, his mother Judy has become a well-known advocate for LGBT rights, particularly issues relating to gay youth. She is a prime force behind the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which supports diversity and tolerance in youth organizations.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Not every day can be a good one.

I went to see "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence" last night. It's a Bowie movie from the 70's. How could that be bad?
Well, throw in a score that sounds like someone knocking on water pipes for 2 hours, a lack of plot, an extended flash back sequence that made no sense, and stop the movie half way through for a fire drill. That's how.
I woke up at 9:30 this morning and watched the last new episode of "The Mentalist". A great new show, it's on Tuesday nights. It's about this guy who used to be a TV psychic and now solves crimes with the police. He's very charismatic and carries the show, but as you watch it more you get into the supporting characters too. It's like CSI but with less violence and some humour.
Anyway, I went back to sleep. I woke up and had to leave right away or be late for the Cinematheque showing of "Oliver Twist" from David Lean, 1937. It was a great movie but on the way down it was cold, it started raining, and my bike got a flat tire.
After the movie I left to deal with my flat tire and found someone else had locked their bike to mine. I couldn't move it.
So I hung around in the cold for about an hour, then left a note explaining what had happened and said "Thanks!"
I've had better days.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Bad Boys Night Out.

So I had a good time tonight.
Archives hottie and I went out for dinner and drinks and "dancing".
So I was a bit nervous as I hadn't been "dancing" for a while. What if no one asked me to "dance"?
But when I walked in, I had no self doubt. I kind of hung around a while, it was nice to be around a bunch of gay men. There's an idea in your mind, at least when you're younger, that these "dance" clubs are for other people. Younger, cuter, better. And I am 29, young, handsome, I felt just as good as anyone else. I had no self doubt.
I "danced". It was good.
I felt free, and confident, and happy.
Good night.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I have everything

If I had everything I want from life, what would that look like?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I had a dream

I had a dream where everything was perfect.
No, not perfect, but clear. Everything was clear.
It was a fantasy land
where reality was as simplistic as the plot of High School Musical.
I knew my intentions, my desires, I knew myself.
I knew where things were going
I could measure them by where I'd been
and things were said
and they were straightforward
and honest
and direct
and I knew everything.
I knew where I was. Who I was.
I knew my spot in relation to the world.
And there was clarity.
No need to write cryptically.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Good pictures of me

I find so few shots of me that I actually like. Here are a few at the cemetery in Paris.

At Jim Morrison's grave:

Speaking French, asking for directions:

Archives dinner

Wow, I had the best time of the year Saturday night. It could not have been better. My mom came down, but for blog purposes and because she's being hunted by the KGB for war crimes, I will not be posting her picture. What about after she's dead? After the KGB catches up to her? I'll have to ask.
We started off going to the distillery district for an art gallery I had been trying to get to for a month. Here I am in front of a photo from another exhibit there:

And here are the cool shots I had wanted to see:

They were stunning in the resolution and quality and size, each about 7 feet long. Plus the district was very cool, all the building had been rebuilt from the distillery and had a historic feel.
Before we left the house we had been watching a special on early childhood play and what it later says about adult sexuality. What does this say:

Axe murderer?
Here's a great shot of my good friend Gerry, who was running the silent auction all night:

I won 2 tickets to an upcoming play at Buddies hosted by Keith Cole in January. Part of which I already had a subscription for I realized later. Oh well. I can use my subscription to see something else. Oh, and I won the 50/50 draw! $220! My mom got a quarter of it. The lucky streak continues! When they were calling the numbers, the guy was taking forever, he goes, "The first number is.... zero...." and I stood up and set "Yes! I won!" which got a laugh, and then I actually did win! I felt kind of bad winning in front of other people. The trip was different, I didn't see people's faces when they lost. To see people who you know need the money more than you holding their non-winning tickets while you claim the prize, well it was a bit of a downer. But my mom needed the money so I'm glad she got some.
Here's me with the hottie former manager:

I think I'm over my little thing for him.

I never posted his name as sometimes people Google themselves. For example if you Google Benjamin Clost images, my blog is the first hit! It's difficult to stalk someone when you're their first Google hit.
Here's the ceiling:

The building was fantastic:

I couldn't believe how many people were there. I expected it to be a motley assortment of volunteers but there was 200 people and I didn't know most of them. I expected the food to be basically KFC and it was catered in a grand ball room. Stunning.
Deb Pierce was the host, here she is as Anne Murray, "Man Murray":

She was great fun all night long. We talked a little, she's so outgoing and very personable. I love that we have Proud FM and I get to listen to such quality every day.
A display:

The evening entertainment continued with BoylesqueTO, a male burlesque troupe:

Who were ok but really used the weakest routine from their show. They also had square dancers (not pictured).
A fantastic night, worth twice the price of admission and I'm so glad I went!