Aug. 7th, 2017 11:10 am

Boy trouble

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So now that the initial excitement has worn off on all my new flings, the flaws of each are coming into view. None are insuperable, but they're enough to dampen my enthusiasm to the point where it can't overcome my general level of sloth and irritation with humanity.

I should just give up on Eyefield. There were hints before that his situation was a little too fucked-up at the moment to make him a compatible choice, but he stored up some good will by being genuinely considerate on a number of occasions. I also may have some lingering guilt feelings for blowing him off during Bearfest. Unfortunately I'm learning what a really terrible communicator he is in general and I'm not sure I'm willing to keep taking up the slack.

I've already been forced to accept that he'll show up anywhere from 30 minutes late to an hour-an-a-half and he won't do much to keep me apprised of his progress. The final straw came the weekend before last. We'd arranged to go shopping, but he'd set up an appointment for the morning which he missed because he'd misplaced his passport. Long story short, he left me hanging for four hours and was then like, "Oh, I forgot we were doing something. Make other plans." Sounds like a generally-applicable admonishment.

I'll put up with an unreasonable amount of nonsense from someone I want to bone badly enough, but it's not even clear he's still interested in having sex with me. I came close to telling him off but I decided just to let things die a drama-free death instead. And now here he is again today texting me about going out to a bear night somewhere. Well, that might work as a way to get myself out on a evening when I'd just as soon stay in as long as I'm resigned to the fact that he'll show up late if he shows up at all.

El Reconquistador could give him a run for his money in the poor communication and not coming through competition. Months ago he'd proposed taking a trip together for his birthday in June, but June came and went without me hearing from him. Then the Sunday after Eyefield's fiasco (nearly two months later), he texts me about getting dinner that evening and then gets annoyed when I don't reply immediately. We did meet up and it was fine but, again, he doesn't seem that interested in sex and I'm not sure how much bullshit I want to deal with just to socialise.

And what of Uncle Betty? His problem seems to be he just doesn't propose plans. Like, at all. I realised a couple weeks ago that he hadn't invited me to do anything with him all year, something I'd normally take as indicating a lack of interest. But he's always into me when we get together and receptive to seeing me (as long as he doesn't have other plans), so I finally texted his ex Diego and was like, "Is this just him?" and the answer I got was "Yes". And that just doesn't work for me--not in general, and certainly not when so much of my energy is tied up just battling depression.

So I'm taking this as a sign that I need to focus less on fuck buddies and more on genuine friends--like Fig, who sent me a lovely text Saturday night encouraging me to go out and get groped instead of moping around the house or my college pals, who have arranged two successful get-togethers in the time that none of these dumb boys has managed more than one. Then there's the gaming group and the German-speaking bears and other little promising knots of acquaintances who may be good for more, not to mention my fellow widow(er)s who know how to be there for me on a level everyone else can only approximate.

Still, much as I'd rather have sex with friends than sex with strangers, I'd rather have sex than not. Maybe it's finally time to get on Growlr?
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Yesterday featured an upsetting e-mail from one of my oldest pals among the GLB. He goes back even further with Monshu (who taught him high school English) and I should have known something was up when he and his husband missed the memorial, but we've seen so little of them since they located out in the burbs. Even they were ambushed by how quickly the cancer has progressed so even if we'd been in better touch I might not have had much time to prepare myself.

The idea of someone my age going into hospice care is upsetting. The idea of someone losing their spouse to cancer is upsetting. The two together--devastating. You older queers who lived through the AIDS epidemic: How did you do it?

They wanted advice on hospice, which caused me to sift through my recollections to come up with things they might not know to ask or consider, and that left me pretty wrecked by the end of the night despite finding time for some cinematic escapism. (Really irritated to hear Eric Tsang dubbed over with someone who sounds nothing at all like him.) In particular, one time two years ago when Monshu apologised for being too much of a bother made me regret again for the nth occasion every time I made him feel like he was imposing on me.

So it was a bad night's sleep and when I awoke I had a text from another old pal asking, essentially, "Can I drop a bombshell on you, too?" Is "no" really an option in that situation? On the one hand, I'm glad to hear he's finally in NA and dealing with his shit, but the fact that I was one of the half-dozen or so people he chose to confide in creates a feeling of obligation I'm not at all comfortable with. He keeps asking if I have questions and my only real question at the moment is, "What's the least I can do for you without ending up disappointed in myself?"
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I was supposed to host cocktails a week ago Saturday, but I bailed. Only two people checked in with me about them, Eyefield and an ex-bartender friend, so I told both of them they were still welcome to come over if they wanted. The latter chose instead to schedule brunch with me for yesterday while Eyefield opted to meet me at the bar instead.

Later in the week, bantering with him via text took a weird turn. We ended up having a rather serious conversation, I got another glimpse of how maybe we were more attached that we make out, and we made plans for dinner on Thursday that got scuppered by his ex, who's moved back into the house he still owns half of. He sounded mollified when I rescheduled for Saturday, but Saturday came and went without him getting back in touch to finalise plans.

Maybe I should've insisted more, since I'd hoped to use the opportunity to get to know him better and clarify things. I told my therapist earlier in the week that I was dallying with two guys (let's not scare the horses too much) but that they understood nothing serious would come of it because it's Too Early. "Are you sure they know that?" she asked and I took the hint.

You might ask why my usual tendency toward obsessiveness didn't kick in and the answer is basically that I was too darn busy. Fearful of another weekend of staring at the ceiling, I overbooked: Counter-protest Saturday morning, Printers Row Book Fest Saturday afternoon, dinner out Saturday evening. The aforementioned brunch Sunday morning, the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE) Sunday afternoon, and dinner out again Sunday evening.

So rather than pester Eyefields, I figured if he really wanted to see me, he'd do something about it, and after killing time at Printers Row helping my colleagues at the Press re-place books knocked over by sudden gusts, I accepted an invitation from Bunj to come and hang out. He'd been hunkered inside with a possible cold, but felt better when I arrived and took me on a stroll around his neighbourhood, a fast-changing corner of River North.

By the time I got home, I was tired and hungry, but I saw how the unseasonable heat had wilted the grounds and threw myself into watering them. Dinner ended up being some reheated rice and beans on tortillas and before I went to bed, I told myself, "I'll sleep soundly tonight," which I mostly did.

Despite lollygagging the next morning, I would have been spot on time for brunch if not for the behemoth of Midsommerfest acting like a planetary body, curving the paths of CTA busses with its huge centre of gravity. One block away from Vincent, my namesake texted me, "We've made a terrible mistake"; Vincent, as it turns out, only opens at 11 a.m. "Why not Big Jones?" I asked, since it was just around the corner and I knew it was open.

We ended up spending most of our time chatting about alcohols and mixology, so I proposed a visit to the local liquor store afterwards. They disappointed me by not having my preferred apricot liqueur in stock, but we had plenty of time to ogle and chat. He wanted to do a lap of the fair, which was just filling up, before heading home and I accompanied him on the first leg before sprinting off to CAKE.

JB had gotten there nearly an hour earlier and systematically worked his way around the perimeter of the main vendor space. We started on the fleshy heart of the room and were joined by GOP. One of our fellow gamers from Necessarily Evil was wrangling volunteers that day and introduced us to some fresh meat recently transplanted from Boston. But JB and I needed a bite to eat and I pointed out that martinis were half off at the lounge across the street.

Small plate service didn't start until 4 p.m., so we contented ourselves with fries and two "candy manhattans" while GOP opted for a big blue drink. An hour of girl talk, and who should come by but Mr New Meat. He was in the company of a member of the Rogers Park Bear Crowd that I knew well enough to call by name and not draw a look of confusion. He even noticed the absence of my hair so I had to explain why I'd been so scarce the year before.

I convinced them to stay for drinks and, in return, New Meat convinced me to have a third martini (and fourth drink of the day from the julep I'd had at brunch). Everyone else drifted away and it was just the two of us talking about his pending divorce and recent move to Chicago. He's another Missouri boy who's lived most of his life somewhere else; he's also another Far North Side bear working around the corner from my brother.

I ended up so drunk I thought I'd forgotten my phone when I hadn't. Of course, it took walking all the way back from the Addison platform, where I'd seen NM onto a southbound train, to discover this. Again, I'd expected to hear from someone regarding afternoon/evening plans and again I'd heard nothing. This time, though, I still treated myself to dinner out, though there was more watering to be done when I got home.
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Jun. 2nd, 2017 03:27 pm

MDW I

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So while it was a very good Mem Day weekend, it wasn't quite the end of my recent depressive streak as much as an interesting interlude in it. So much happened and I'm not sure what I want to talk about or how.

I did get a lot of sex. Miss Cleveland saw to that. It was his impetus for making the trip. "I could fuck a brick," he told me--and that was afterwards. I don't think I want to be that much of a horndog when I'm his age (I think he's about a decade older?). The really interesting thing is the role reversal between him and BigBones. I used to get the feeling he was the driving force behind their sexcapades and MC was long for the ride, now it's BB telling boys at the baths, "I'm not really here to do anything" while his hubby is sticking his thing wherever it will go.

But I was more focused on bonding. Playing around with Miss Cleveland was fun, but more fun was playing music for him. He's given up cooking as a hobby so I guess he's prowling for new distractions and you can't be getting the D all the time. I couldn't believe it when he asked me if I'd heard of a band called "Oh, I can't remember the name, it's a bunch of letters starting with a 'k'."

"KMFDM?"

"That's it!"

So even though I was coming off three nights of bad sleep, I stayed up to expose him to Einstürzende Neubauten, X, The Beat, Vance Joy, and more. He wants me to make him some playlists. It's like having a friend to exchange mixtapes with again only I'm not limited to the paltry selection of albums I could afford to buy used but I've got the whole banquet of YouTube at my disposal.

The next day I was a real party pooper, staying at home while they went to shop for plants and crawling back into bed the moment they were out the door. In the end, I had to renege on my promise to take Eyefield to the leather mart. I'm not sure if he's forgiven me for that yet. I'm also not sure I care, because if I had, I would have missed out on my most interesting experience of the weekend.

But more on that later.
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muckefuck: (zhongkui)
My favourite story from Saturday's memorial stems from a chance encounter. I can't remember what I'd left the party room to check on, but it was early and the adjoining dining room was mostly empty. One chunky bear type was loitering there, leaning against a wall. I must have looked puzzled when he greeted me because he immediately identified himself as a friend's boyfriend.

"It's great to finally meet you," I replied.

"Actually you've met me before a couple times."

I scrutinised him further.

"At Touché."

My eyes widened. "Wait, are you Helicopter Balls?"

To say he looked chagrinned at that would be an understatement. But let's back up a couple of years.

Bear Night at Touché. There's a cute guy lingering in the hallway. I've tried catching his eye a couple times already, without much luck. But he's wearing a FREE HUGS t-shirt so finally I screw up my courage and ask him, "Is that a genuine offer?"

"Yes it is."

We hug, but it's a little awkward. I can tell from chatting that he's not really interested--he keeps glancing at the men passing by. So I find an excuse to slink away again. I don't remember running into him again that evening.

Another Bear Night at Touché, maybe late in 2015. I run into him in the same hallway. He's not wearing the t-shirt and I make no references to our previous encountre. He's warmer this time and we actually chat. Eventually Big Tim joins us. Free Hugs asks him if they've tricked before. BT considers it a possibility but he isn't sure. FH, however, gets more and more convinced they have. When BT goes, he professes disappointment that their one-night stand wasn't more memorable.

It's during this conversation that I learn about his special talent. He claims to have a scrotum so dangly that it can be twisted around several times and then let spin "like a helicopter". Naturally, I demanded proof and the conversation turned a little flirty. But nothing came of it. At one point, I got the notion that he wanted me to follow him to the backroom, but when I arrived, he was chatting up two other guys and barely took notice of me. You know, the usual. So I went back to the front room to see if anyone I knew was still around.

He left shortly after, but stopped on the way to say goodnight. He said he only got out about once a year and after telling him I'd remember him as "Helicopter Balls", I asked him his real name and made a point of committing it to memory. I figured the next time I saw him, I'd embarrass him with the nickname before revealing that I remembered more about him than just what he could do with his genitals.

But I never saw him again after that. True, I wasn't as faithful an attendee at Bear Night, but I made it more often than not. In all likelihood he wasn't there since he and my friend began dating almost a year ago to the day. So instead of playing out in the corridor at a leather bar, the scene I'd rehearsed was staged in the early afternoon at an Italian restaurant.

I was so amused, I covered my mouth to stifle laughter and spun around. He said, "I guess you did call me that." And then I added insult to injury by adding, "You look different in the light."

Shortly after the buffet was opened, he and his other half took their leave. (They told me they had to work, but I later saw photos of them having lunch with Scruffy at a restaurant in Wrigleyville.) They extended invitations to come visit them in Indiana detailed enough to sound sincere. And just before he left, FH/HB asked him how long I'd been together with [livejournal.com profile] monshu.

"Nineteen years," I said.

"Any advice for keeping a relationship going?"

My response amounted to, "Don't sweat the small stuff." I gave the example of loading the dishwasher and of hiring cleaning women to stave off arguments about chores. "That was $200 a month well spent," I told them. Will they make it that long? I can only wish them the best.
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Jan. 9th, 2017 12:16 pm

Plunging

muckefuck: (zhongkui)
I went out over the weekend. It was fine.

After brunch Saturday morning, even before I remembered it would be Bear Night, I thought it might be nice to go out. Then a friend whose offer to take me back to King Spa I'd previously rejected asked if I was free for dinner. We batted back choices before deciding to take a chance on Hopleaf. I had some half-baked idea that the cold might keep people away. We only waited about 40 minutes for a table despite arriving right around 7, so perhaps I was right.

Afterwards we ventured DILF night at SoFo. I've probably complained before about how impossible the crowds become there later in the evening. My buddy also pointed out how the daddy/chaser ratio drops as the old men go home and are replaced by younger pups. By about 10:30, we'd had enough. I'd caught up with a few acquaintances and successfully talked to a few cuties. So we headed up to Touché.

Here there were more people I knew, mostly in the bar buddy class. One was without his husband for the day; by the evening's end, he was coming on pretty aggressively. Another was a friend from the Great Lakes Bears going way back ("Don't do the math," he pleaded) who was seeing me for the first time in a couple months. "This isn't the appropriate place for this," he said before giving me a crushing hug beside the back bar. I've always appreciated running into him, since he's also lost a husband (at the same hospital, even) so there's a depth to his sympathy most others can't approach. He acknowledged upfront how worthless words were even while conceding the importance of saying them.

I also ran into one of the cuties from SoFo. In our brief exchange, he'd given me reason to hope. In the course of chatting, I quickly learned that he'd been roommates with [livejournal.com profile] clintswan, which told me he was good people. (Well, that plus the information that they were still on speaking terms.) I also learned about his boyfriend in Little Rock, which again indicated that he was a decent sort and not one of the game-playing assholes I'm told the gay dating scene is rife with. We left at the same time, and wished each other a pleasant rest in our respective beds.

The next day, I met up with Diego for the beer bust at Big Chicks. This was something I didn't even do when I lived in the hood. (Sunday afternoon always meant dinner with [livejournal.com profile] monshu--generally at my place, so I'd be busy with preparations.) I ran into my buddy from the night before plus Coleman and some other regulars. All very pleasant and affirming (everyone likes the new do, apparently) and I'm entertaining making it part of my regular routine.
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muckefuck: (zhongkui)
I felt fine Saturday, just not much like doing anything. The weather wasn't inviting so I decided not to walk down to Andersonville after all. All I really needed was currants for the bread I was baking and golden raisins were just as good. For lunch, I just made scrambled eggs with a bit of leftover salmon.

The tesenn safron came out perfect, by the way:

tesensafron

We had a couple slices after dinner. (I was particularly gratified that the Old Man at first said he wouldn't have any, then agreed to one, and finally went back for a second.)

Cocktails were a bust, however. I was feeling pretty listless, but I tidied up anyway, set out the bread and some cheese, and looked up the recipe for the Royal Union. Nine o'clock came and went and no one came or called, so I cracked open a book and started to read. I struggled to keep my eyes open and gradually a pounding sinus headache was building on the left side of my head. I put The Mekons on to keep my spirits up.

I finally heard from one friends around ten. He asked when things were starting and I told him I was packing it in. Another pal texted shortly after and I told him the same. I stayed up a little longer in case one of the other invitees got in touch, then I carefully put every thing away and crawled into bed to read more of Hamilton's Speckled people.

I slept soundly until four a.m., when I was up for two hours. My sleep after that was punctuated by vivid dreams, concluding with one where I was an abdicated monarch packing up my dorm room with several college pals. Hidden in my closet I found an old jumper of my son's with his princely shield on it. A friend told me it was dangerous to keep it--you never knew what might be inspected in transit--but then I overheard someone travelling with us, a tall dark man who was a vampire and a wizard, explaining to one of our party how he could use his powers of illusion to change the appearance of some of her garments. I suggested he do the same for me, and he agreed. Then I had to find some place to pee and woke up.

I shortened the morning by sleeping in a bit and then had to be off to [livejournal.com profile] vianegativa's for the game. It was a rousing session, with a Tarantino-esque setpiece ironically involving those characters with the least talent for violence. Ultimately, we succeeded in splitting the party four ways, which isn't going to backfire one anyone. JB says he can foresee ending in about three or four sessions, after which he'll take a break while he contemplates retirement. His recording device died so I agreed to send him a writeup from my notes (which I've kept fanatically ever since Fal*Ken*stein).
muckefuck: (zhongkui)
Wednesday I had a terrific lunch with my newest colleague where I learned both that we have closely shared tastes in fiction and that the new Chinese place downtown is good. However, I managed to forget the risks of having several cups of oolong with lunch and, as a result, slept pretty fitfully. Then I had to get up early for a start-of-the-day meeting followed directly by an all-staff in a chilly former chapel across the street. But after that I broke free.

It was [livejournal.com profile] itchwoot's last full day in Chicago and I was flattered that he wanted me to be a part of it. Since it was his clean-up day, I left the itinerary up to him and he announced an interest in the vintage store on Belmont between Clark and Halsted. Remembering his interest in music and a conversation we had about grits, I suggested combining this with a meal at Wishbone and a trip to Reckless. It was like a trip back to my misspent youth.

As always, though, I misjudged the distance from the Belmont station to Lincoln and the interest value of that stretch. I was completely surprised by the huge construction pit on the northeast corner; whatever complex they're building there, I'm sure it's going to be just awful. Lunch at Wishbone, though, was anything but. They do their seafood chowder the wrong way (i.e. with tomato sauce), but their fried green tomatoes are almost as good as Dixie Kitchen's and their crabcakes are better.

Even though I promised we'd take the bus back, I needed a little time before I was ready to rise. Reckless had moved, but only down the block and across the street. We spent over an hour there pawing through shelves of CD inserts in small mylar sleeves, so I would call that a success. We spent at least as much time at Hollywood Mirror, which wore on me as we inched toward 4 p.m. and my damn backpack kept getting heavier. Still, I offered up the comics store up the corner, but his response was "Lassn uns mal in ein Café".

I couldn't think of a good spot nearby and, since his next stop was Loyola anyway, I decided we'd get a jump on rush hour and head directly up to Granville so we could visit Metropolis. At this point, his tiredness was finally beginning to show a bit as well and the conversation drooped at times, but we managed not to push things past the point of diminishing returns before the time came to walk him up to [livejournal.com profile] dedos' and say our farewells.
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Feb. 9th, 2016 08:28 pm

Paunchy Day

muckefuck: (zhongkui)
Today's excursion with [livejournal.com profile] itchwoot moves one more person from the column of "LJ Friends I've Never Met" to "LJ Friends Known IRL". At this rate it will take only, what, 600 more years to meet you all?

He got in town last Saturday, but I was tied up with opera and gaming and such so it was Sunday evening before I was able to touch base with him. Fortunately I'd already asked for Fat Tuesday off since I'd been invited to a New Year's banquet the evening before and didn't know how late that would go. (Until near 11 p.m., as it turns out, so that was a good call.) He's got over a dozen people to see on his visit to Chicago and it seems almost none of them are free on weekdays before dinnertime.

Which is how I got him all to myself after I sleepily texted him around midmorning and invited him over for pancakes. Pączki were all over our flist, however, and he asked if we could score some of those instead. I was primed for that suggestion by the sad realisation I was missing Pączki Day at work, so I gave him directions to Swedish Bakery and told him I'd meet up with him on the bus. But he'd only ridden the El before, so I killed time chatting with my neighbours while waiting for him to hike the kilometre from the Berwyn station. (One even offered me an earlier number gifted her by one of the several people who lost hope at the size of the line, but I turned it down lest I get called before he arrived.)

The whole concept of taking a number at a bakery turned out to be novel to him, and he was amused at the prospect of buying Polish treats at a Swedish bakery without even realising that the staff serving us were Mexican. He bought three and I got two, thinking I'd give two to [livejournal.com profile] monshu. Then it occurred to me he might find even the fruit ones too sugary so I bought two hot cross buns as well. There's no place to nosh at Swedish Bakery (there's barely room to stand most days) and he needed coffee, so we hiked down to La Colombe and hid in the corner so we could secretly pig out. He observed that his pączek had a lot more filling than Berliner Pfannkuchen and it was true that I felt so full from my "cherry cheese fudge" selection that I didn't feel I needed anything else for a while.

He'd bought a book of coupons for Chicago attractions, but a couple were redeemable for only one of two alternatives, so he'd burned his Art Institute ticket on the Planetarium. "I'm a member," I said, "I can get you in for free." So that became the plan. I insisted we check out the Stieglitz exhibit in the basement, but after that we spent the rest of our time in the modern wing. They'd gotten a sizable gift since my previous visit, so there was plenty of new stuff to see alongside my old faves.

(As an aside, it was interesting to realise how little my taste has changed over the course of my life. When I toured Europe at age 20, I was drawn to the Dadaïsts, Surrealists, and Expressionists. Not only do I get as much pleasure out of them as I ever have, but my roster of favourite artists still hasn't changed much--though I did come out this time with somewhat more regard for Max Ernst than I'd had previously.)

I learned about this from an Englishwoman (who only referred to herself as "British" despite being originally from Chesire) we met in the café when we broke for tea. (Well, parsnip soup for him and smoked whitefish spread for me.) She sat down a few seats away and warmly struck up a conversation. Her husband splits his time between here and Ottawa, so sometimes she accompanies him to Chicago and consumes culture while he's tied up with work. I recommended Hinterland to her when I learned her mother lived in Cardiganshire (she's seen it) and she suggested River, a BBC crime series.

Afterwards, [livejournal.com profile] itchwoot had plans to meet another LJ friend for dinner, so we rode together as far as Loyola and I went home to [livejournal.com profile] monshu, who'd put together a second vegetarian New Year's dinner, this one featuring sesame noodles and headless lion's head soup because Mariano's was out of the crumbles he was going to use to make no-meatballs. Ah well! One more pączek and I sure the hell ain't going to bed hungry.
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Jan. 24th, 2016 08:56 pm

Twisty

muckefuck: (zhongkui)
I'm going to chalk down the limpness of last session to a combination of the absence of [livejournal.com profile] vianegativa and everyone's need to reacquaint ourselves with the system and setting after such a long break, because today's session was terrific. I still feel like I'm not quite holding my own with the other players, but two of their characters are so OTT that I feel a certain responsibility to play someone, well, responsible. This has left me casting about a bit for a story arc, but now I'm thinking it could be Dante's in Clerks: the realisation that not everything rests on your shoulders just because you claim it does.

A few days ago, it had occurred to me that, at about this point in Necessary Evil, [livejournal.com profile] vianegativa had found a way to make my skin crawl with he'd done with a character of mine whereas JB hasn't come close to that, so I began to question whether he really had that in him. I think I have my answer now, and I didn't have to wait for my character to get screwed over in order to find it. Enjoy your new body, Boo! Hope it suits you better than your last one.
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Jan. 2nd, 2016 11:07 pm

Soft open

muckefuck: (zhongkui)
I vacillated about hosting cocktails tonight. I wondered whether people would be up for more pseudodebauchery so soon after New Year's. Then my cold really took hold and I questioned whether I wanted a bunch of drunk people over at my house. I decided to take the path of least resistance and wait to see if anyone contacted me. No one did until yesterday when Fig responded to my New Year's wishes with the question, "Are you hosting?" And I was like, For you, yes. I contacted the couple across the street and secured their participation, then notified Scruffy and left it at that. I also moved up the time an hour in deference to an Baoigheallach, who had just flown back from Ireland, and to facilitate [livejournal.com profile] monshu's participation. This worked out beautifully, as things broke up shortly after ten and before much longer I will be crawling into bed.

The cold is fading, but it's leaving a painful sore throat in its wake. I'm nursing myself the best I can with mug after mug of tea impregnated with the raw honey [livejournal.com profile] monshu's folks sent us from Oregon. My cocktails were hot toddies with only enough whiskey for flavour. The transition to my ordinary schedule will be rough enough without any additional burdens.
muckefuck: (zhongkui)
I think the weekend had a good balance of staying in and going out, even if I was more of a slug yesterday than I meant to be. I did consider returning to the beach once it became clear that the thunderstorms were a no-show once again, but I thought it might be anticlimactic after the great time I had Saturday.

You could not have asked for better beach weather: hot, but not too humid (not for this Missourian, at least), and a bit of a breeze. As expected, everyone and their lover was there, yet somehow I managed not to see anyone I knew when I arrived. (It only occurred to me after I'd been there a while that a chunk of the Far North Side Mature Bear crowd would be attending the wedding of two of our own and a number of the remainder would be in NOLA for Decadence.)

After a time, however, I ran across BDA and his two frisky friends, which allowed me to lay my towel very much in the thick of things. At times I was like a weathercock, not sure which direction to turn in. One advantage to the company I was in was that whenever any of us fell silent for a moment, there was no reason to ask why or to excuse oneself. As they left Diego came by, then his hot new Peruvian daddy.
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muckefuck: (zhongkui)
Saturday was a very full day and Comic-Con really deserves its own post. Sunday was much more relaxing. Unfortunately, part of the reason for this is that the game seems to have fallen apart. One player couldn't be there for the very understandable reason that his father had recently suffered a heart attack and another was crushed by work, so [livejournal.com profile] vianegativa cancelled the session. Shortly after that, he announced that as four out of six characters had completed their arcs (which was news to some of the people playing them), we'd be having one more wind-down session before he stepped down from GMing and we filled the gap with one-shots until JB felt like taking over.

This was a plan we'd agreed upon before, but we also agreed there'd be about four more sessions before taking a break. As I told [livejournal.com profile] monshu, I enjoy one-shots, but the downside is that there's far less pressure on players to attend in the absence of an ongoing campaign. So I'm concerned that we'll quickly lose the two players with the most demanding work schedules, which may dampen the enthusiasm of the rest of us. I guess the way to make sure that doesn't happen is to step up and do what I can to give everyone a compelling reason to turn up in two weeks. No pressure.

In the meantime, I seized what I thought might be my last opportunity of the season to finally make it to the beach. I met up with a very nice young man I'd met at the game night the evening before and we staked out a spot close to the water. I was determined to go in; he took a lot of coaxing. And for good reason: the water was absolutely dick-shriveling. Another game night attendee swore that it had been warmer during his last visit, but I don't see how. (He also had an ulterior motive for getting us waist-deep, but we were having none of it.)

Attendance was decent enough, but I saw hardly anyone I knew--just the Loyola Classics prof and a radio deejay friend I ran into also at the Arts Fest and who I need to get together with to compare notes on eldercare for health-challenged husbands. I talked the most with MOE, who--despite being only 28 and recently transplanted from Tulsa--impressed me with his maturity and thoughtfulness. He's sharing an apartment with his twin brother (who looks different enough that I initially mistook them for boyfriends) and that's led to some hilarious incidents, one of which he related to me as we crossed the family portion of the beach.

I blew off all my chores and I won't get to any today because we're supposed to meet up with the fam one last time before they fly back out west. [livejournal.com profile] monshu will be their cicerone for the Field Museum and I'll find them in whatever restaurant they end up at, if I'm not too done in after a rough day of readjusting to a weekday schedule. (But it will probably happen since we're talking the Loop now and not someplace in the wilds of the northwest burbs.)
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Jul. 20th, 2015 10:09 pm

Fested

muckefuck: (zhongkui)
Actual summer weather has arrived and with it such a flurry of street festivals that I can't keep track. Yesterday, Nuphy met us in Chinatown for our first trip to Xi'an Cuisine and we found ourselves smack in the centre of the Chinatown Summer Fair. This may not be the most useless Chicago festival, but it holds the distinction of being the most useless one I've ever attended more than once. It's the weekend of the year when all the souvenir shops dump their tacky junk on folding tables in the street so that instead of sifting through it in air-conditioned comfort you get to do it in full sun and suffocating humidity along with a thousand other clueless merrymakers. Hold me back.

The weather was perfect for a beach day, and when I posted this, a friend said he was tied down working the "Celebrate Clark Street World Music Festival". This said nothing to me, and I assumed it was in Lincoln Park. No, it's just the same old local street fair rebranded to highlight its musical acts. Personally, I think of it as "DILFest". I don't go for the music or the food but for the "stroller meat". My friend owns a pet accessory store (what else do you call this proliferation of little shops full of treats and chew toys but no actual pets?) and hanging out with him and his cronies was way fun. One thing about the homo world which will never cease to amuse me is how often I learn more about a man's sexual tastes than I could tell you about those of people I've known since highschool even before I learn his name. There's more of a range there than merits the alternative nickname "Papifest", but for those of us who love Latino daddies, it is sort of one-stop shopping.

Meanwhile, there were at least two other fests the same day, plus a White Sox game. I'm glad to have dodged all of these coming back up from Nuphy's place by bus and bus even if it did take a real bite out of the afternoon. The Old Man and I were still too full from lunch to fix a real dinner, so we nibbled on cheese and fruit and then I had a bite of a squash blossom quesadilla and two filled churros. (Not my wisest choice ever.) Between the meat-heavy lunch and the meat-and-salmon-heavy appetiser dinner of the night before, I expected a gout attack and was pleased to experience none.
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muckefuck: (zhongkui)
This was a banner weekend for gaming. First there was JB's one-shot on Friday night. He's been eager to run a game of something called Apocalypse World with this group and persevered despite lack of sleep and more players than he'd bargained for. Only one member of the six-person alternate Sundays group couldn't make it, but Grergory roped in two young friends, making it a mercy that both his and [livejournal.com profile] vianegativa's partners ultimately took a pass.

I'll admit, I suppressed an eye-roll at the fact that we all started out in a bar. I cut JB slack since, after all, one-shots don't exactly leave a lot of time for the characters to get to know each other. The Powered by the Apocalypse system actually allows for an extensive amount of cooperative character-creation, but with time so short we skipped this stage and folded it into play.

I should know by now to have more confidence in this group. I learned a great deal playing with [livejournal.com profile] princeofcairo, but one of the most important lessons is that, when you have good players, you can trust them with a lot of the creative work. Hmm, that comes across as a bit of a slam on players who are less skilled at improvisation. Let's say "the right kind of players" then. Munchkinism (or, to be polite about it, "powergaming") is a legitimate style of play. But it's boring to me compared to the mindset which first asks the question, "What would my character do?" and only then considers whether this is advantageous in the context of gameplay or not.

We actually had a terrific example of that in Sunday's game, where [livejournal.com profile] dedos acquiesced to having his Atlantean lord possessed by demons because it furthered his goal of becoming Emperor of Atlantis. Of course, now he's in the difficult position of deciding whether or not to continue with the character (thus obligating all the other players to find some means of exorcising him and bringing him back to the fold) or switch to a new one halfway through. But that's how it works: the interesting choices spawn more interesting choices.

But back to AW. Within short order, we'd figured out that Grergory's go-go dancer was the bar's primary draw, that my bouncer and Bigboy's onsite healer (incongruously using a template named "Angel") had an organ-harvesting sideline, and that [livejournal.com profile] vianegativa's florid Capote-esque mentalist was as ubiquitous as he was hated. The new boys, being both mercenaries, had a certain rapport with my character, a rapport which blossomed into the session's most unexpected romance. Oh, and JB had determined that the whole shebang was located on a former oil platform about to be attacked by marauders with jetskis.

There was at least one moment during play of pure magic (involving the touching apotheosis of [livejournal.com profile] dedos's stammering vegatable-pedlar), aside from countless moments of hilarity. I honestly can't remember the last time I've laughed so much in such a compressed span of time. I encouraged Grergory to act out bits of his big dance number, and he not only obliged but sang snatches of the cub DJ's mix. "This is a world where Smashmouth is the greatest band ever," he informed us. After a moment of spectacular denseness on his part, one of the other players blurted out, "Oh my god, so basically, you're playing Zoolander."

Of course, this only made it harder to readjust to the unengaging unidimensionality of his character in Necessary Evil. I initially had the impression that our group divided naturally into half powergamers and half deep roleplayers. Now I see that, really, everyone has good roleplaying chops, some just haven't been exercising them as much. [livejournal.com profile] vianegativa acknowledged as much in our post-game discussion of the next game. "This is a group that really likes character development," he said before suggesting perhaps something in the Storyteller range next time. If it brings out the full range of what the players are capable of, I'm all for it.

He did reassure us, however, that he wasn't getting bored yet with the current game thanks to our ingenuity at confounding his expectations. "As long as you guys keep doing things like possessing one of the other PCs with demons, I won't get tired of running this." Will I get tired of playing it, though? My character isn't much like I conceived of her and she's accomplished both more than she set out to do and much less. For the first several sessions, I was always bracing for the cutthroat endgame when the PCs inevitably turn on each other. It's still not clear that bloody climax will ever come.
muckefuck: (zhongkui)
Good weekend, with the right mix of leisure, work, and socialisation. Friday I went to work on the parkway corner. At some point, I decided the amount of sand in the subsoil dumped in the middle wasn't sufficient to loosen up the dirt enough (Dad warned me later that adding too little sand to clay and "you end up with concrete") and lugged a 70-lb bag back from Clark-Devon Hardware for this purpose. Mixing in more compost would also help, but without Scooter's assistance, I wasn't about to attempt our plan to empty the composter into the wheelbarrow and work it all in. All that effort left me more worn out for the barbecue that evening with Turtle and Turtlewife than I wanted to be. When's the last time I was the one nodding off in the front room while [livejournal.com profile] monshu kept chatting away?

Saturday, however, my power nap turned into a two-hour sleep binge, so making it through cocktails with [livejournal.com profile] mollpeartree's coworker and two of his female friends was no problem. To my surprise, the Old Man not only made it through fireworks on the roofdeck afterwards but was up at home reading until past midnight. I know this because I was up until nearly two carousing at Touché and at some point realised I didn't have my phone. Before panicking, I decided to stroll home and check and found it sitting on the computer desk from whence it had never made it into my pocket. (I did not want to get down and start searching that floor!) Slow night, with few of the regulars about, but I did run into a couple nice fellas I hadn't seen in a while.

Besides, I'd shoehorned my Bear socialisation earlier. [livejournal.com profile] dedos and his better half hosted an impromptu game day, where I was introduced to Gloom, a cheery card game where the aim is to make your extended Gothic family as miserable as possible before bumping them all off in ghastlycrumb fashion. I was very close to winning the second hand until karma bit my ass and took my most miserable relation out of play. I don't know what it is about the warmer weather, but JB's game night went so well he's got another planned for this Friday. I'm wondering if I shouldn't get into the action myself one of these days.

Sunday it was back into the fields. I finally got tired of waiting for the new neighbours upstairs to remove their tulips and did it myself so I could transplant the bargain kale, carrots, and beets while they still had some time left to mature. The cardoon is looking pretty sad; I'm not thinking will get anything from it at this point, but now that I've had time to mound it properly (à la asparagus) we shall see. Fig came by Friday morning with more plants and diagnosed an earwig infestation, so we're going to lay some traps and hope for the best.

Oddly, given last week's revelations, Scooter was around all weekend, doing chores (such as watering the grass) and hanging out with his wife as if nothing were amiss. So who even knows what's going on there. Thursday night I ended up chatting for a couple hours with the Bear Upstairs and he eventually joined us, quite visibly lit. He was a teetotaller until recently, something which--given that he bartends--I'd always ascribed to alcoholism. So I'm not sure if this is a cause of the current rift or a response to it (and probably shouldn't be speculating either way).
muckefuck: (zhongkui)
It's been a long time since I did any gaming on a Monday night--since I regretfully left [livejournal.com profile] princeofcairo's longrunning RPG, in fact. I'm just not good with late nights during the week, and that's without starting out still recovering from whatever fun I had on the weekend (which due to Pride was considerable). But JB was having us all over for a little distraction during his Bachelor Week and I couldn't refuse.

He'd originally planned a one-shot, but was himself too tired to pull it off, so we settled for card games. Now that I think about it, they were the same two games I played in the last time he had me over: 7 Wonders and slash. And I did about as good this time around as I did then, which is to say not well at all. I had an early coup in slash with Jaws/50-ft Woman, but whatever I learned in the way of strategy the last time I played the building game I managed to forget completely and wound up dead last.

But the point isn't to win, it's to have fun (as JB's husband reminded him per telephone during the proceedings, prompting us to punctuate every decision with, "But will it be more fun for JB?"). Which, by god, we did. JB "crossed the streams" by inviting a player from one of his other games. He's in an opposite-sex marriage, so everyone read him as straight, to the point that we joked he was "insurance" to prevent an orgy from breaking out. We stayed guarded only for a short while until it became clear he could hold his own at a game whose raison d'être is kinky non-hetero matchups.

The champion of these, however, was Grergory. Later, when the rump of us were dishing the alternative Sunday game we play it, we lamented that he didn't bring the same commitment and creativity to Necessary Evil, instead playing an aggressively one-dimensional character and resisting my attempts in particular to give him some depth. If [livejournal.com profile] vianegativa goes ahead with the notion of D&D3.75 for the next game, that will definitely split the group, which as it stands is an unstable coalition of serious roleplayers and more munchkinny types.

I feel less bad about that than I once would have since I'm seeing more of the guys outside of gaming sessions. More than half of us were at the Big Bear Barbecue on Sunday, leading to the usual "long time no see" yestreen. I'm eager to host some more game nights at my place and dig deeper into JB's hoard of un- or little-played games. And who knows? Maybe without a token Kinsey 1 around, that orgy will break out after all.
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muckefuck: (zhongkui)
I'm feeling very good about my gay friend group right now. It's important to say so because of how much whining I do. I really do know some good people. And some very funny people and some very clever ones. And some who are all three, plus talented to boot. And I know a lot more people who will put up with me, even when I'm being something of a dick or wanker. I'm tired and still a little buzzed, but tomorrow will be an easy day and there's gaming to look forward to in the evening (with a selection of these same gay friends).
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Jun. 22nd, 2015 11:57 am

All wet

muckefuck: (zhongkui)
Thunderstorms have become such a regular visitor to Big Tim's block party that they're being incorporated into the tradition. This year we added a new wrinkle to the practice of porch hopping: some families with food to spare sent representatives door-to-door in order to unload it. We said "no" to the deli sandwiches, but I couldn't resist homemade ćevapčići with kaymak and somun. And this is despite shooting my wad on seconds of the custardy bread pudding that was served warm from the oven.

Shortly after I arrived, I was put to work. I asked BT about the fresh pineapples in his kitchen and he was like, "I need to cut those up for grilling." He clearly had his hands full so I put myself forward. I thought there'd be bears up in his apartment to keep me company, but I was on my own. At least it gave the Old Man a chance to catch up with Greysong, who was up from Chattanooga for the day, and I had plenty of chances to chat with everyone during the seven hours or so that I lingered.

Greysong has got a new beau, and though I was excited to learn he's from the same parish as the Cajun dialect I've been learning, I figured he didn't speak any of it and I was right: the transmission breaks right before his generation. I did have the pleasure of introducing him to one of the event masterminds, a native of Bywater in the Ninth Ward who relocated here after Katrina, and listening to them chat about food. (Apparently there's an acceptable Louisiana restaurant just over on Broadway.) And explaining a bit of Chicago dialect to him. ("She told me to put this 'in the gangway', but I don't know where that is.")

Other new faces who stood out were the almost unnervingly friendly adjunct from Governor's State, the big bearded bear from OK City (who bears a more-than-passing resemblance to a guy I had a crush on for years), the sweet young cub from [livejournal.com profile] mikiedoggie's sports teams, and an earnest musclebear who wanted to talk philosophy of language. I recommended he read Lakoff and follow up with me if he had any questions.

Speaking of young musclebears, one just bought into our condo. I got a good look at him Sunday afternoon when he locked himself out of his apartment and Scooter had to fetch the folding ladder so he could climb in through an open window. He must've apologised half a dozen times. Of course, he's most likely another naïve new owner who'll need to be educated into the joys and responsibilities of owning in a small self-managed building with a fatally dysfunctional board, but at least he'll be easy on the eyes while we're doing that.
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