Sunday, December 31, 2006

Wild Boys

Well, it looks like both the Giants and the Jets have clinched wildcard spots. Woo-hoo!

My Beloved Tiki surely shut up the naysayers with his record-setting runs on Saturday, and watching the Jets win today was totally awesome (dudes).

It helped that they recruited trolls and orcs for third down plays.

Do I think either team will go far in the playoffs? Eh. Although I have a little more faith in the Jets than the Giants. We shall see.

In the meantime, you can go check out my photos of the game here. They'd be a lot better if I had about $800 more worth of camera (not to mention sideline passes), but I'm fairly pleased.

And that's it for our New Year's Eve activities. We made it home fairly early and had pizza to top off the stadium junk food. We are pooped, going to bed, and very glad not to be anywhere near Times Square tonight.

Happy happy to all of you, and may all of your dreams come true for the new year... except the really creepy ones. Nobody needs naked zombies walking around.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Aw, Poot.

I am so behind the times. I was just listening to The Darkness' last album on my iPod, and wondered to myself if they'd be touring the U.S. anytime soon. Well, lo and behold, it turns out their wildly entertaining frontman, Justin Hawkins, went and quit the job this past October, on account of a cocaine addiction.

Now I applaud anyone who has the guts and resolve to straighten him or herself out from a major addiction and do what needs to be done to keep from relapsing. But come on, this is rock n' roll! Couldn't he have hung in there at least long enough for me to see them live once? How disappointing.

Most of all, I think I'm mad that I missed the giant boobies.

Friday Cat Blog - You Can't See Me

My in-laws' cat, Samson, cleverly hiding behind this branch. It's natural camouflage in action!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Crotch Rockets

Ah, Christmas in Brooklyn. After our traditional pannetone-and-eggnog french toast breakfast and present exchange, I have awoken from my second nap, no children to appease or guests to entertain - only a girlfriend to smooch and some cats to torture. It's good to be home again.

We are such lesbians. Other than the Rufus tickets, I gave her slippers and jewelry, and she gave me football tickets. Don't worry, I don't fix transmissions and sport a dark moustache. I use creme bleach!

Normally, I'd be disappointed that Mrs. Nator couldn't get Giants tickets, but they suck so hard this year I'm glad we're going to see the Jets. She's even going with me - and on New Year's Eve! Should be fun.

The one thing I don't get is the placement of the logo on the football player on the tickets. Did they really think hard about their marketing?

What'djyoo get?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

We Has A Tree! Pt Teh Dos

Well, Mrs. Nator's back started spasming, then she had to fly to Atlanta - poor thing is a stressed-out mess. So, it was up to me to decorate the tree by myself. It lost a lot of needles (I told you it was dry), but here are the results.

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbuam, Das ist nicht as giltzy as I hopeden...

Tacky tree, Sputnik lamp and plaster holes that look like continents: a study. ...And disco ball.

Spotlight on: a spotlight! Actually a vintage tacky tree topper. Does not come with 78 recording of heavenly chorus and harp music, but should.

Bird's eye view: this little gold glass birdy can see some vintage glass ornaments, a Mexican tin rocking horse, a home-made Sculpey turtle and my masterpiece Xmas Moai shrinky-dink.

Here we see more vintage ornaments, tin icicles, a Balinese carved cat angel (we're all multi-culti here, n' shit), wooden toy and another fabulous Sculpey creation - this time a depiction of our bed with all three cats on it. Please, don't push - you'll smudge the bulletproof glass protecting it.

This here's my stocking. I felt kind of crummy when my stocking was lost and I had to borrow one for several years, so I enlisted Mrs. Nator's help a few Christmases ago to make The Stocking of My Dreams. She made the red velvet footie topped with fake fur, and I made the Santa Cat with bag o' toys with felt and other crafty crap. Damn, when did I ever have the free time to do this kind of stuff...?

Look into my crazy-ass felt eyes! Muooahahahaaaa!
(Note actual feline hair stuck to face for added authenticity.)

And that's the tour! Now I'm off to Atlanta tomorrow, and my back is bothering me! Joy to the motherhumpin' World, childrens! Have a Merry...

Monday, December 18, 2006

We Has A Tree!

This is not it, nor is this our cat, but a looks a little like The Doodle, so what the hell?

Yes, as late as Friday I was having a stress and exhaustion induced breakdown and weeping that I didn't have the energy to do anything, much less decorate for Christmas. I'm not sure what did it - a decent night's sleep, perhaps, or the sugar from cookie consumption, but yesterday I not only did some much-needed cleaning around the house, but went out, bought a tree, lugged it home and up 4 flights of stairs, set it up and put the lights on, all by myself! The only hitches I hit were a severe lack of needle retention (it was the last tree at the store, so, although it turned out to be the exact perfect size, it was a wee bit dry), and angling it through the curvy stairways in our 19th-century building.

I wanted to surprise Mrs. Nator with it, but I had to call her at her office party to ask where the recharged battery for the power saw was. It didn't help me any, because she had no idea, but it proved a good story for her coworkers, as she told them how concerned she was about what was going on when I suddenly called threatening to use power tools for some unknown reason. "Honey, put the cats on the phone..." Anyway, the needles tracked up the staircase would have been a dead giveaway when she got home, that is if she wasn't too drunk to notice...

Anyway, now all we have to do it decorate it tonight with some of my ridiculous collection of vintage ornaments. I'm feeling tired today, but I will be glad to have it done for the days I will have off and be home for the holidays (provided no cats destroy it while we're in The Dirty South). Nothing is quite so cozy as a Christmas tree twinkling away. And it covers the smells of cat piss and turtle funk, too!

By the way, we got all our care packages mailed out this weekend, too, so clearly we are totally awesome. I'm sure you are dying to know what sorts of cookies we sent out, so here's a list:

  • Chocolate/candied ginger drops
  • Pecan sandies
  • Lemon iced cookies
  • Chocolate shortbread with a white chocolate/peppermint fondant
  • Linzer cookies &
  • a caramel/chocolate cracker bark (very white trash and utterly addictive)
Aren't we special?

One more day of work to get through, now, and I'm off until the 28th. Woo-hoo!

If you do any holiday prep, what is it? How's it goin'?

Friday, December 15, 2006


1. It smells like cookies up in our joint.

2. The words "rufus wainwright" have finally oustripped the words "horse dick" as the keywords most searched for this blog.

That is all.

Friday Cat Blog - Teh Cuteness

Maurice and The Doodle say "whaaa...?"

Why is it they always know when you are sneaking up on them to take a picture of cute snuggling behaviour, and move?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Wainwright Family Christmas Album

Well, we had a lovely time at the show. It definitely had a very seat-of-the-pants, family living-room feel to it, which made it both endearing and a little odd when you realized you had paid over $60 to witness it in Carnegie Hall. Mrs. Nator has a theory that Rufus Wainwright was told since he was born that we was the most wonderful, prettiest boy in the room, and thus he feels free to do whatever he feels on stage and people will still love him. I imagine he's had some criticism, particularly from his father, but a combination of talent, charisma, privilege, defiance, lack of performance anxiety and naturally massive ego overcame it. Thus endeth the psychological analysis.

Anyway, there were definitely rough parts to the show, but overall it was enjoyable. David Byrne was a no-show, but Laurie Anderson was vintage weird Laurie Anderson (she can do no wrong with me since she asked me onstage with her during a performance piece in, Lord, 1989 or 90 I think), and Lou Reed was vintage New York-cool Lou Reed, playing it up for a funny duet on White Christmas with Rufus. Teddy Thompson and family added a bit of British humour to the mix, including a folksy rendition of Wham!'s "Last Christmas" and a ditty which began "Christmas is crap." He has a very nice voice, indeed. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (go figure), while not the best singer, performed a very earnest anti-war Christmas song he wrote which induced Mrs. Nator to dub him a lesbian. I thought Jimmy Fallon would irritate me, but he did a self-mocking version of the Ramones' "Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight)" and a gleefully goofy duet with Martha Wainwright on "Baby, It's Cold Outside" that won me over.

Speaking of Wainwrights, Martha wins me over, as well, a little bit each time I see her. I find her compulsive writhing while singing a bit annoying, and sometimes her voice irritates me, but other times she hits just the right rough-edged soprano reminiscent of Cyndi Lauper and Kate Bush that is very impressive. Anyway, she was nothing in the writhing department compared to Antony (of Antony and the Johnsons), whose performance style was like Joe Cocker goes gay emo goth. I'd never heard of him before; he does have a very arresting voice, for sure, but I'm not sure I could listen to a full CD of depressive drama. I'll have to find out more about him.

Others in the Wainwright clan who appeared included Sloan Wainwright - who rocked a very soulful version of Queen's "Thank God It's Christmas" - assorted cousins and others, including Lily Lanken, who sung in a clear soprano on almost every song but looked like the world's most embarassed, self-hating teenage while doing it, and both Anna and Kate McGarrigle. Kate only played on one song and the encore, giving a tearful speech thanking everyone for coming and her family for taking such good care for her. I'm not sure what illness she has that has weakened her so, but it made it worth the expense of tickets to think some of that money might go towards her medical costs.

Naturally, Rufus was the star of the show, and whereas Mrs. Nator favoured his version of "O Holy Night" in the original French, my favourite was his soaring, aching, gloriously over-the-top rendition of “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve," which brings out my inner weeping drag queen every time (that and Judy Garland's late-life rendition of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" - oy, the Weltenschmerz! But I digress...). Oh, and I loved his little Tyrolean-style hat and outfit, no doubt in homage to his boyfriend, Jörn Weisbrodt, who works at the Berlin Opera. Makes you wonder if he's going to write the opera the Met commissioned in German. (God, I'm such a queen.)

Anyway, we had a great time, despite being berated by an usher for "recording the music". (I showed him that my "recording device" was a camera, much like other people were using, and he said "other people" would think I was "recording", so if I didn't put it away they'd take it from me. I did get some photos, though, which you can see here.) The most important part was that Mrs. Nator had fun and was inspired to re-consider and perhaps actually sing at her office Christmas party as everyone has been requesting, so Merry Christmas to her!

As for me, I've been asleep most of the day, and now have several dozen cookies to make. Excuse me if I croon while I bake...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Thoughts For The Day

or, three whines and a W00T!

1. Don't you hate it when you buy something for someone on the Interwebs and it's not as you thought it would be? I can't get more specific than that, 'cause it's a present for Mrs. Nator and she reads this sometimes, but grrr...

2. Thank you to the guy standing several feet from me on the subway last night whose breath was so bad that it was coming out of his nose and stinking up the entire end of the train. I was concentrating so hard on blocking the odour out that I missed my stop and had to sit near it that much longer. USE A BREATH MINT, DUDE, for reals.

3. Holy Exodus, Batman! The most-likely gay character on NBC's Heroes seems to have been unceremoniously de-gayed. The show, which involves people with superhuman abilities much like the mutants of X-Men comic and movie fame, seemed to have clearly outed the character "Zach" in it's last episode, not to mention his fictional myspace page. Now, it seems, despite clear and precendential analogies between anti-gay and anti-mutant rhetoric in the geekdom zeitgeist, his marketing materials have been skewed straight. See for more on this bicurious backpedalling.

and finally,
4. Baby, I'm ready to go... out to dinner and the concert tonight, that is, and then on to my day off tomorrow! Even though I have several tasks to do on my little holiday, I have been so exhausted and stressed lately that I am inordinately excited about seeing the show at Carnegie hall and not having to go to work tomorrow. Also, I just had a giant-ass mocha. So: yee-haw!

So, how's by you?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


4 out of 6 kinds of cookies down. 2 more left to make for our Christmas care packages. Mrs. Nator made most of them, but I'm still exhausted. Cookies and little tchotchkes may be cheaper than large gifts, but not by much, what with the ingredients and shipping. Then there's the baking and packing. It's a labour of love - awwww!

It would be nice to get them done tonight, but I'm not going to kill myself to do it. I took Thursday off, since we'll be doing Mrs. Nator's big present Wednesday night - going to the Wainwright Family Christmas at Carnegie Hall. Actually, it was going to be her big present, but, as usual, I couldn't stop buying her stuff, so she'll be getting some nice stuff on Christmas, too.

Me, I will be broke.

Anyway, I'd like the day off to be a day off, but I have the feeling I'll be baking and wrapping and packing.

How I wish those were all euphemisms!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Friday Cat Blog - Queen Annie

Here is my mother's marmalade kitty, Annie, waiting to be served.

"And I expect the sardines to be fresh..."

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I found out last night that my friend J passed away. Her funeral is on Saturday.

I've been pretty numb about it. After all, the last time I saw her, I was so stricken by her condition that I not only knew the end was near, but I hoped it was, to end her suffering.

Still, it's starting to seep in. She was a wonderful, kind human being, a talented photographer and cycling enthusiast, whose eyes would twinkle with childlike excitement when something interested her. She was always looking for ways to be nice to and help those around her, and she was not yet forty years old.

It's not just a loss for those of us who knew her. The world can ill afford losing such a loving, amazing person.

I wish I still had the confidence I used to that after death comes a better place. Sigh.

So. Sad.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

While You Were Away...

Since I stopped doing animal communication over a year ago, I have gradually stopped checking my old site email (I have an automatic response that says I'm not practicing now and refers clients elsewhere). On a whim, I decided to purge the electric tons of spam in that account inbox, and stumbled upon this:
Date: Fri, 6 Oct 2006 16:52:49 -0400 [10/06/2006 01:52:49 PM PST] From: xxxxxxxx To: xxxxxxxxx Subject: ABC Television is looking for a family to feature!

Dear [Da Nator],

I am the Casting Producer for ABC Televisions hit show, Wife Swap. I havebeen researching pet communicators/pet psychologists and found your website! I am looking for a family where mom or dad is a pet communicator or pet psychologist! I thought it couldn't hurt to reach out to you to see if you were interested in this opportunity.

In case you are unfamiliar with the show, the premise of Wife Swap is to take two different families and have the mom's switch place to experience how another family lives. Half of the week, mom lives the life of the family she is staying with. Then she introduces a "rule change" where she implements rules and activities that her family has. It's a positive experience for people to not only learn but teach about other families and other ways of life.

Wife Swap airs on Disney owned ABC television on Mondays at 8 pm- the family hour! There is another show that copies ours. We focus on having fun, learning and teaching. They focus on conflict. I just want to make sure our show doesn't get confused with theirs!

Requirements: Each family should consist of two parents and at least one child over the age of five and should reside in the continental U.S.

If you and your family meet the requirements as stated above and are interested in this opportunity, please contact me right away! If not, perhaps you know a family that meets the requirements and might want to apply! This is a very unique experience that can be life changing for everyone. In addition, each family that tapes an episode of Wife Swap receives a $20,000 honorarium. I know your time is money as well so if you refer a family that appears on our program you will get $1000 as a 'thank you" from us.

I know this is an unusual request but I appreciate you taking the time to read this. If you have any questions, please call me at the number below. Please let me know if you may be able to help me. Thank you for your time.

xxxxxxxxxx | Casting Producer| ABC Television Wife Swap

Oh my goodness! I am so sorry I missed out on the opportunity to "teach about other families and other ways of life"! Do you think they would count our cats and turtles as children? Perhaps they could arrange to have Mrs. Nator and I legally married so we could participate!

Oh, wait, it turns out Wife Swap has already featured episodes with gay men and lesbians... and there was no conflict in those at all! Too bad I don't have children, or I might get to spend several weeks being hounded by cameras while I endure "living the life" of a homophobic family who eats cats and dogs raw, and their mommy teaches my children that lesbians go to Hell and how to make turtle soup out of our pets! Whee!

Oh, the missed opportunites for learning and fame...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

What's All This I Hear About Banning Trans Fats?

Banning trans fats is a terrible, terrbile thing. So many Americans are overweight nowadays, and that's hard enough. It's not their fault that they feel they're a different gender! Sure, it may be a little hard for them to find clothing that fits. But sending them out of the city is blatant discrimination...

Huh, what? Ohhhhh...

Never mind.

Busy, Busy, Busy

No time to write a real post right now, maybe later.

In the meantime, tell Santa what you want.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

State of the Nator

The bad news: I'm fatter than ever and my chronic "feminine troubles" (that's being delicate just for you, Beast) are back in full effect, so it's time I went in for another round of the dreaded medical testing.

This time, however, I'm going to try to find a decent endocrinologist and finally determine if all my various health issues are somehow related. Some of you may recall that I've tried to do this before, only to be scared away by an endocrinologist with the bedside manner of Ted Bundy. Well, I'm going to try again. I'm not optimistic, but my goal is to find a doctor who
1. is competent or better
2. is a fairly pleasant/sympathetic person
3. is not going to put me in the poorhouse, &
4. is actually available for appointments

Those of you familiar with the American "health care system" probably know what a quest this is, even for someone like me, who is not destitute and has decent insurance. Add to that difficulty around a decade of emotional and physical abuse by practitioners who can't seem to find my records half the time, much less come up with a diagnosis or treatment, and you may see why every time my medical issues reoccur I spend several months grinding my teeth and hoping they will magically disappear, so I don't have to go through it all again. Wish me luck, please.

The good news: it looks like I will get my fondest wish for Christmas, which is to stay home with Mrs. Nator and the Nator critters, with our own tree and cocoa in bed, and everything! I confessed to Mrs. Nator recently that I was yearning for this, and, after considering that the holiday falls on a Monday this year, she negotiated with the fam so that we will have our celebration in Atlanta on Christmas Eve morning, but will be back in NYC that evening. Hooray - no Christmas morning chaos! Thanks, Mrs. Nator - it's the best present ever!

(P.S.: I just bought Mrs. Nator one of two presents I think she's going to luuuuurve, btw, but best not reveal what they are here, as she might be reading. Shhh!)

Howzabout you-all? Started your holiday planning, yet?

Friday, November 24, 2006

Feral Friday Cat Blog

Blogging from the wilds of New Jersey - ain't modern technology grand?

These are the feral kitties my mom's been feeding. There were five - a mom, dad and three kittens, but the others have disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Ma Nator especailly misses the kitten she thought was cutest, because it reminded her of her grandbaby kitty, Maurice. But at least these two seem well, and we hope they'll stick around long enough for her to have them trapped, neutered, and placed at a nearby farm in a few weeks.

Sorry for the blurriness, but these wary beasts only come out at night, and are prone to slipping away quickly!

Hope y'all had a nice turkey day. I'm still stuffed!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

New York Minute

This morning, leaving for work at an odd time, I saw something I'd never seen before: a brand, spanking new subway train, all shiny, with the seats still wrapped in plastic.

Of course it stopped at our station, and then sped on, without opening the doors to let us in.

I wonder if that's the MTA's big tease train? They can point to it and say they're deploying new cars, but never let anyone ride them. Also, they can make riders think they're getting on a new train, then giggle "psych!" as they pull out.

I'll be catching another train down to fabulous New Jersey for vegetarian turkey with Ma Nator, then Mrs. Nator and my anniversary/birthday getaway in quaint New Hope, PA. I am so excited, and so outta here.

You all have a happy Thanksgiving, even if your country doesn't celebrate it, ya hear?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Divine Justice

Ms. Maya Nator, the deaf white cat of the family, sheds prodigiously. She also likes to sleep stuffed right between us, preferably with some part of her body shoved into one human's mouth, while the other person is blessed with at least one foot draped over her shoulder (sing ditty called "The Foot of Love" to the tune of Bacharach's "The Look of Love" here).

Anyway, what with all this very cute, very dangerous and very furry cat ass all up on us every night, many's the time Mrs. Nator and I hack on white hairs, pick them from out of our teeth, nose, underwear, you name it. But we put up with it in the same way many folks put up with their toddlers sleeping with them and drooling all over. (Sing "What I Did for Love" here.)

Still, it gave me great satisfaction when, after responding to the infamous "ork-ork-ORK-GUCCCH!" sound of cat hacking, I found a lovely, large slimey whitish hair ball on the floor. Why the satisfaction, you may ask?

It was liberally tangled with long, curly, red Mrs. Nator hairs.


Incidentally, if my death certificate contains the word trichobezoar, do not be surprised.

Things To Do In Brooklyn When You're Bored

I know I've been a bad blogger, lately. Truth is, I've been so overwhelmed by craziness at work, Mrs. Nator's craziness at work, both of us fighting colds, my friend J taking a severe turn for the worse, family stuff, and getting ready for the holiday/our anniversary/birthday getaway that I can barely talk coherently, nowadays, much less write an interesting post.

So, instead, I give you some stupid videos of us nuking leftover Peeps jack o' lanterns. All artwork, including the stunning black icing portraits of us, by me.

You're welcome.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Licensed To Be HOTT

OK, you know when you have two lesbians all a-twitter about seeing his turn as the new 007 - and one of them was mad when Pierce Brosnan was booted - that Daniel Craig is smokin'. Seriously, check it out:

Tuxedo or not, can you say rough trade, boys and girls? I knew you could.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Linebackers on Logo

Halfbacks on Here! And, of course, Backs on Bravo. Time to queer up the NFL, people.

Why? Well, first of all, none of my friends will watch football with me. Now, I could go out and make some more straight boy, sports-loving friends, but... no. So I got to thinking, what would induce some of my peers to root, root, root for the home team with me? How about a little porn?

This occured to me while watching the Jets/Patriots game on Sunday. Two cute, little jock/twink looking quarterbacks duking it out, looking very touch-me-in-the-prep-school-locker-room boyish and all. What if, at the end of each game, the loser had to bottom (or top) for the winner, on camera in the locker room?

Tom & Chad in: Illegal Formation!

Tom & Chad in: "Illegal Formation!"

Instant porn hit, I tell ya! And not just for the gay boys, who, after all, already have piles of straight jock/locker room porn. I'd say, judging from the Internets, that there's a good number of women, slash-fic afficionados and just dirty girls, who would look forward to the all-American sport of men slamming violently into each other if it was followed by a real high-stakes game, if you know what I mean, and I think you do. And think of the relationships that could be formed: lover battling lover on the field for the big game! Why, you've got fodder for three or four poorly acted, angst-ridden softcore soap operas right there.

Plus, the ads would be so much more fun. It wouldn't be just beer, beer, car, car insurance, beer. It would be beer, beer, car, Altlantis cruises, Black Party, car insurance, beer.

So whaddya think? Oh, and don't worry. It doesn't always have to be the quarterbacks. I mean, for the Bears/Giants, Rex Grossman is acceptable, but you've gotta substitute Tiki Barber for Eli Manning. That boy belongs on the Sexiness IR list.

How I Feel Today

This says it all, really.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


1. Ma Nator is fine. Everything went even better than expected, and her health is great. :o)

2. It's nice to be missed. There was much rejoicing and snuggling when I got home to the Nator flat last night. I'm still picking cat fur out of my teeth.

3. I am crazy busy trying to get shit done before I go away tomorrow to visit Sis Nator, B-I-L Nator, & The Exceptional Niece & Nephew Nator.

4. For once I didn't vote because I was out of town and HOLY SHIT - THE DEMS GOT THE MAJORITY AND RUMMY RESIGNED! W00T W00T!

Not that I trust the dems to make things better, but there's slightly more hope.

You know, my football teams always win when I can't watch, too. Maybe I should stop voting so I don't jinx the country...?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Old Gay River

Had a lovely outing this past Saturday. We took a cruise up the Hudson River set up by the Friends of Hudson River Park. The themes were Fall foliage and seeing the present and developing status of the park from the water, but for Mrs. Nator and I it was more of a grand day out. Personally, there’s very little I enjoy more than perching myself at the front of a boat and letting the wind and water spray slap me as I’m enjoying lovely scenery go by. This trip may not have included dolphins, whales, volcanoes or tropical beaches, but the sight of New York City from the water is something to behold, and the cliffs and trees up towards the palisades are gorgeous.

Spanning the world...

Fortunately, we had a perfect day for it – crisp and sunny. Well, perhaps a bit too crisp, as it got downright cold lingering at the bow of the boat too long. Not that I let that deter me, shivering through it even when Mrs. Nator went inside to warm up and eat potato chips. Firstly, there was the call of Art to fulfill, i.e. I wanted to take some pictures, as is my wont. Secondly, I wasn’t going to miss out on getting a a bit of outside air and having the rare opportunity to see the sights from the river. It was like having a vacation while never leaving the city, and I’m not one to spend my entire vacation indoors with a lot of people eating a buffet, if I can help it.

Interesting crowd, at that. It seems a couple organizations had gotten together groups for the trip. I’m not sure what the second one was, but the first was SAGE/Queens. SAGE stands for Senior Action in a Gay Environment, which is pushing it a bit in the acronym department for my taste, and Queens does not stand for men who are light in the loafers, as you might expect, but the borough of Queens, where this particular chapter of the group makes its home. In other words, besides the general, pleasant diversity of my fellow tourists, which included people of many ages and colours, there was a large contingent of elderly gay people on the boat, which made the crowd more fun to observe, and friendlier in general, from my viewpoint.

We did chat a bit with some folks – about the scenery, this & that, but being somewhat antisocial New Yorkers, we tended to end conversations awkwardly. One unsettling exchange happened when Mrs. Nator and I were sitting inside on the way home, she semi-reclined against me with her head on my chest and my arm around her. One older woman, clearly from SAGE, approached, smiled at us and said “you two are very brave!” I must have given her a confused look, because she repeated “you must be brave, to sit like that.” I think I just made a bit of a face in return, as I wasn’t sure what to say. It wasn’t that I didn’t understand what she was saying, it was just that I didn’t feel brave. Mrs. Nator & I live in a very liberal neighbourhood in a very liberal city. Most of our friends are queer or very queer-friendly. We knew not only that the boat was filled with gay people, but I’m sure we’d made the sort half-conscious assessment of the crowd on boarding and labeled it safe for some PDA. So, to have that called brave seemed not only odd, but both somewhat enervating and sad.

The truth is, it reminded us both of what dangers might face us and what discriminatory and threatening experiences that woman and the other SAGE members have been through in their lives. I, personally, have been aware and careful at times regarding my level of outward queer appearance any number of times in my life, mainly because I grew up in an environment where I was often an outsider and perceived target, even though when I was young it was due to my race, rather than being gay. Having developed a certain amount of cautious paranoia early in life, I have always had a self-protective eye out for any sort of aggression towards me from other, be it due to race, gender, sexuality or any other facet of my appearance. That said, even though I've also taken pains at times to be as "out" as possible, even in less-than-wecoming situations, I’ve never been gay bashed. The worst I’ve suffered has been some name calling and a bottle thrown from a distance, and I generally feel pretty comfortable in the areas of NYC that I frequent. The older woman’s comment reminded me of how precarious that comfort can actually be.

Mrs. Nator, being several years younger and having reached a height over six feet by age eleven, never has had much real fear of physical assault. She hasn’t experienced much in the way of discrimination, and pretty much refuses to brook it when she does. For her, the woman’s comment was not just sad, but a little shocking. She suddenly realized that there were people who would not just be offended by our touching, but physically hostile. Even though when she’d given me a kiss earlier I’d joked about the crew threatening to “divert this ship”, à la the recent American Airlines incident, she didn’t really get it. Now, faced with this woman’s assumptions, she understood that the other gay people on the boat were not just happy and open, but had been through more pain and fear through discrimination than we ever would.

Neither of us felt brave. We barely felt defiant. We just felt lucky. And we are.

The rest of the trip was delightful (despite the unfortunate appearance of a co-worker on the boat). The foliage was pretty, even if we’re not having a the best season for it, the scenery breathtaking, even if the current dissuaded us from going as far up the river as we’d hoped, and it was good to be out and about. Afterward, we did a bit of shopping (for fun things, not necessities) and had a delicious and romantic dinner. All that fresh air and roaming tuckered me out, as I spent much of the next day sleeping, but it was worth it. If you ever get a chance to go on one of these outings, I recommend it.

Doesn't look like The Bronx, does it?

Now the work week’s begun, and I’m busy getting many things done before I go down to New Jersey to assist Ma Nator. My mother is having a surgical procedure done tomorrow, and I’ll be there to drive her home and help her out for the next couple days as she recuperates. The operation is supposed to be fairly straightforward and low-risk, but, this being my mother, of course I’m a bit nervous. Of course, I’ll try not to show it, as I know she’s nervous, too. It’s far less threatening and complicated than the spinal fusion I had last year, and yet I’m more jittery this than I was about my own painful procedure. I guess when it’s your mom being anaesthetized and sawed on, some rational perspective just goes out the window, no matter what.

Wish us luck kiddies, and have a lovely few days…

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Feelin' Good

When I got home last night, Mrs. Nator was all dressed up in costume.

And it wasn't for Halloween.


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Welcome To My Nightmare

or, Welcome To My Fat, Old Halloween.

1. I went to the tailor to get a couple of pairs of pants hemmed. They were too tight. They had been fine when I bought them. LAST WEEK.

2. The girl who went into the store in front of me was trick-or-treating. I was buying cat food.

3. There are two schools behind my office. Notes on the kids' costumes:

a. Listen, kid - have some pride, already. When I was your age, I had to have a complete costume, with accessories. You have a cape, and... that's it. Just a cape. Either wear a costume or don't, is what I'm saying.

b. Jesus on a Luge, how are all the parents in NYC allowing their 14 year olds to go out in the skimpiest ho-bag costumes ever? Note: if your little girl's Halloween costume came from Frederick's of Hollywood, SEND IT BACK.

c. OK, props to the tall, gangly young man in the curly blonde wig. I'm not sure who or what he was supposed to be, but he was in drag, fishnets and old-school rollerskates, and he was fierce. That's good enough for me.

& d. Dang, even the kids who really worked on their costumes look... like playing little kids. Remember when you were a kid, and when you put on your costume you thought it was so convincing that other people actually thought you were scary/adult/Conan the Barbarian? Well, not so much. The illusion is lost. Sigh.

4. My girlfriend went home early feeling gross and I want to go home to bed. Also, I think my kidney hurts.

Well, at least no ghosts, so far.

Happy Halloween. Bah, humbug.

The Haunted House of Homosexual Horror!!!

It’s All Hallow’s Eve, and thanks to some inspiration from FN, I’ve decided to share one last personal ghost story with you. So turn off the lights, put on some Bach organ fugues, and let’s get this party started…

When I was about 17, I took a ride with some friends to the town of New Brunswick, NJ, to meet up with some people I didn’t know who were sharing a house there. I don’t remember the purpose of the visit – I think perhaps one of my friends had a romantic interest in one of the Rutgers boys there, or somebody wanted to score some pot. Anyhow, we parked the car and made our way to the house.

The street was nothing fancy – just your standard New Jersey small city neighbourhood feel, with older, small suburban-style houses closer together than in the actual suburbs. As we approached the house in question and started up the front path, however, a sudden feeling of acute uneasiness gripped me, and I found myself stopped in my tracks. I looked around; the day was fine, the lawn was green, the house was clean if a bit careworn. Yet, when my gaze traveled up the front steps and settled on the door, I found myself seized with inexplicable fright.

By this point, my friends were knocking on the door, then pausing to turn around and ask what was keeping me. I distinctly remember saying “I feel weird; something is wrong, guys. I don’t know what it is, but I do not want to go in that door.” They questioned me a bit, but I could give no other explanation but that something just felt bad and wrong about the place. The door had an unusual, round, porthole-like window, but other than that, appeared to be like any other door. We went back on forth on this for a minute, until they began to tease me, as I’d already been annoying them with an adolescent bad mood on the way. One of the resident boys answered the door then, and I had no choice but to push myself to enter, all covered with gooseflesh, even though my brain was telling me to ask for the car keys so I could circle the block – anything but enter that door.

Still, we went in without incident, and after going upstairs to the second floor and a bit of conversation, my friends finally joked about how I’d had some weird episode and didn’t want to come in the house. The boy who lived there was instantly intrigued, and began to ask me what I’d felt. All I could say was what I’d already said – that I didn’t like that door, it felt forbidding, somehow – and, to be frank, I wasn’t thrilled about the front hall and stairway, either. It was then that things got even stranger. “No way,” the boy said, “that’s so weird that you said that, because we all think that door is haunted.”

It took a minute of bemused questioning from our group to get the story. Apparently, before the group of students had rented or bought the house, the residents had been a gay male couple. Details were sparse, but apparently one night, after weeks of constant arguing and a late returns, one of the lovers opened the front door to the other and killed him on the spot, then killed himself. Since then, the residents could not keep the door locked or unlocked. They would lock it securely at night, only to find it gaping open in the wee hours, or leave it standing open, run to the car for groceries and return to find it closed and bolted, with no one else in the house. There was a good reason I’d felt weird about that door: the ghost of the murderer and/or murdered lurked right there!


Well, of course, I did not want to believe this. I thought they had to be putting me on. “Very funny,” I answered, but the boy was insistent. “C’mon, we’ll ask my roommates,” he urged, dragging me down to the first floor. It was there that two other roommates, who had not been privy to any of the previous conversation were playing video games. “Hey,” the boy asked them, “guess what? She was afraid to come in the door earlier, and said it gave her a bad feeling!” Again, I got a chorus of “no way”s. “Tell her what happened,” the boy prodded, and the next thing you know, the other roommates, who could not possibly have heard the story he told me, repeated the exact same story.


You can best believe I got the hell out of there as quick as I could, despite them telling me that nothing more sinister had ever happened there, save little things going missing and a few lights being turned on and off. That was enough for me, and my friends, after they’d paid their respects and gotten whatever they came for, were pretty freaked out as well. There was a lot of nervous laughter, and peering at me out of the corner of their eyes on the ride back, like I was different. Later, I would find out just how I might turn this unexpected ability to discern lingering energies and presences on and off, but for then, I just wanted to forget it, even though I never would…

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Weekend Round-Up

Is it just me, or is everyone exhausted? You’d think with Falling-back, and all, we’d be caught up on sleep. Still, whether it’s the changing weather or the shorter days, I and everyone I know seems weary of late.

After the wedding-related hijinks in the ATL, night of the long knives at work and emotionally draining visit with J last week, I was so tuckered out I had to take Friday off and rest. Well, mostly rest, but I had to do stuff for work, too. Damn them.

Later that night we went to the annual Halloween thingamajig at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. They decorated the place up with fog and spooky lights, showed Nosferatu with accompaniment by an organ (I don’t think it was the big pipe organ, as last I heard it was still being repaired after the big fire, but whatever it was it sounded great playing Bach’s Tocatta & Fugue in D Minor), and had the annual “Procession of Ghouls”. My camera batteries were dying, but I snapped a few pics. This, combined with the week’s candy corn and watching It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown made me feel like I had actually done something festive for Hallloween, to my satisfaction.

Mrs. Nator & I were actually pleased when we received a call saying that our leaf-peeping cruise up the Hudson river was postponed from Saturday. This was because, one, we were so friggin’ tired and two, it was raining with wind gusts of 50 mph. The only leaves we might see in that weather from a boat would be whipping past us or on the bottom of the river with our cold, drowned corpses. No, thanks – we’ll do it next weekend!

Had a nice conversation with my father, until he told me that his wife has been diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. That’s a lung disease that they basically have no clue how you get or what to do about it. It involves the lungs becoming fibrous and stiff – losing elasticity and thus function. There’s no known effective treatment and prognoses vary widely, although the average survival period without lung transplant is thought to be around 5-8 years. Being 60-plus years of age, I’m thinking my father’s wife will not be high on any transplant lists.




After that I felt more tired and cranky. Brewed up some mulled cider and lugged it and a pumpkin to some friends’ Halloweeny brunchy-thing. Many in that crowd have toddlers and babes, and some were in costume, which was adorable. Took some photos there, too, but haven't uploaded them. Ate waaaay too much food, and everyone got too damn tired to carve pumpkins, loaded down with all those nummies and diaper bags. Now I’ve got a perfectly shaped pumpkin at home, and I’m trying to decided if I want to carve it Jack'o-stylee after all or sacrifice it to the Pie Gods. And bread and soup gods. It’s a big pumpkin.

Mmmm… pie.

Grumbled over TiVo messing up my football games, watched Jarhead and went to bed a bit depressed afterwards - that was it. Work is still weird, today. Mrs. Nator & I still avoided going to the gym and are tired. I don’t know if I want to go to my neighbourhood parade tomorrow night and take photos or if I am too old, tired and grouchy. We shall see.

Tell me how your weekend was. Also, tell me what I should do with my life. I need a new direction. One with more lounging and vacations. And cats.

Happy Monday.

Friday, October 27, 2006


When I was a teenager, I watched my stepfather die from cancer. In actuality, I spent a lot of time avoiding watching him die from cancer, as his diagnosis and my move off to college happened at around the same period. I spent my time doing school work, working several jobs and clubbing all night during the heyday of the Tunnel and Limelight. I rarely came home, and when I did I spent a lot of time sleeping and just avoiding interacting or feeling too much. Over time, each trip I made home he looked worse. I didn't know what to say to him, how to act, what to think, so I shut down. The truth was, when it was announced to the family that he had cancer, everyone else immediately began insisting he'd beat it and discussing possible treatments. For me, however, with the word the sound of a death knell tolled in my brain. I never had any hope.

A lot of this time is very hazy in my memory. Sure, I was in a whirl of a new environment, studies, odd hours of work, adolescent hormones, discovering my sexuality and way, way too many drugs. But mostly I think I was getting through things and allowing my brain to erase them or build walls around them thereafter. It's a coping technique that started early in my childhood, and there are vast tracts of my life that I simply cannot recall, unless strongly prompted. However, there are always things that stick out and persist in my mind's eye. In this case, whenever I remember my stepfather, I remember two images of him. One, him progressing slowly towards the bathroom with his equipment for his daily, lengthy coffee enemas - a treatment recommended by some naturopath in Germany he'd consulted- and two, him lying on his side on the couch, too thin with sagging skin, dead-eyed, his robe too large and falling open, watching television or watching me watching television or maybe watching nothing at all. Just sad and wasted and wasting away. Tired. Dying.

I can't tell you how angry this makes me. I am enraged that this is now my main memory of him. Yes, when I reminisce, I can recall him when healthy and strong, the stubborn, abrasive, incredibly intelligent, loving, alcoholic, damaged person that he was. But, this picture always comes first. And I feel it taints everything.

I am also angry at myself. Yes, our relationship was complicated, and at times I could barely stand the man. But I shut myself down when he was dying, and avoided him. I can't even remember exactly how I acted, but it was not in the supportive manner I retroactively expect of myself. I try to forgive myself for being a wounded, confused teenager, who'd already decided to expect the worst from life, and thus had begun mourning and detaching myself from him at the moment of his diagnosis. Still, I wish I could have been better, I wish I could have been kinder, and I wish I'd had or given myself the chance to resolve or understand the man and our relationship more before it was too late.

Last night, I spent the evening with some friends visiting our friend J. J was diagnosed with cancer some time ago, and after a long period of unsuccessful treatment, she is now at home receiving hospice care, with no hope of recovery.

In all honesty, I had been avoiding J since her diagnosis. Although I'd known her for around a decade, we had never been truly close. She had once dated a good friend of mine, a roommate, and I got to know her over time through that and other group interactions, like the documentary another friend filmed mostly in my apartment that featured us both. Still, I never really called her just to talk or do things together. I would just hang out with her in groups, until over time we began to move in different circles, and I only rarely heard second-hand about one or another occurrence in her life. So, whereas I knew her to some extent and thought her to be a kind, fun, life-loving, inquisitive and talented person, her diagnosis stymied me. How do you talk with someone you don't know well about such an important, intimate, terrifying surprise in her life? Moreover, given my experience with my stepfather and my pessimistic, fucked-up emotional issues around cancer and the nature of life, how could I possibly be supportive, say the right thing, even hold myself together in her presence? I didn't think I could, so I, sometimes consciously and sometimes not, blocked out the situation and hid.

I don't know why I finally decided to visit her last night. Possibly because time seems to be growing much shorter for her now, and who knows how many opportunities there will be. Certainly because friends had been visiting her more often, and, knowing that she'd like to see us all but some of us were having difficulty feeling strong enough to go alone, a group pizza dinner was coordinated. And maybe there is a small part of me that has grown up since my stepfather's passing and doesn't want to make the same mistakes, to disconnect myself again. I'd like to think so. I don't know.

I had a mini stress attack before I entered, but I made it in. J was, as I'd feared and expected, looking terrible. In a wheelchair, lost hair, painfully thin in most places and oddly swollen in others. Her eyesight is seriously deteriorated, her hearing a bit off, her speech low and slurred. Her poor, small, bare feet poked out from beneath a blanket, looking oddly purplish and burned or frostbitten, probably from the chemo and radiation. She can use one arm. She doesn't talk or eat much. She can't watch TV and she doesn't want books on tape. Her health care aide and her mother massage and feed her. She is around my age, but she looks like the 90-something year old residents of my grandmother-in-law's nursing home. Frail, pained, exhausted, oddly soft and tender.

But she's still J. She still insisted on paying for the food for everyone, because she loves doing nice things for her friends, and hates accepting gifts or handouts. She still likes to laugh, painfully, at silly things, and thinks some of us are crazy. She still takes moments to remember kind things about everyone and say them out loud sincerely. She said nice things about me. I don't feel I deserve them.

I am glad I went. Glad I saw her, got to share some time with her, make her chuckle. Glad I didn't shrink away and avoid feeling and act like an ass. Afraid I did or said something wrong. Outraged at it all, and sad... so sad for her, for us, for her family. So angry and sad that I don't understand death or suffering or life, and that now, when I think of her, this will be the image I have. Not her as a vital, tender hearted, energetic firecracker of a woman who always seemed younger than her years, but this: the wasted body, the hurt, the unfair, inexplicable, surreal mutation of who she is on the inside showing out. The same as it was with my stepfather.

There is no "right" way to deal with all this. No way not to be awkward in some way, stuck in one's own head. But I'm trying. I hope to visit her again. I don't want to see her like this. I don't want to cry and feel that the world is a cold place. I don't want her to die. But I want to know her, to honour her, to be something of a friend. I wish I could save her and protect her. It's so not fair.

I love you, J.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Bride of Son of The Definitive Halloween Candy List

Well, it's that time of year. Time to dust off - or shall we say, re-animate - the old Halloween candy list. I've already eaten more candy corn than I actually wanted this year, and I'm of an age where, although I still love Reese peanut butter cups, eating one does not induce the release of chemicals similar to an orgasm in my brain. Come to think of it, maybe adult orgasms are the trade off God gives us for the loss of childhood candy love. Man, that's deep.

Anyway, all that said, I still remember these candies fondly. This list features the major candy food groups of my youth, so your definitive list may vary depending on your age and where you grew up. What would you add or remove?

$100,000 Bar Chewy caramel, milk chocolate and crispy crunchies. Later changed to "100 Grand," which annoyed me, 'cause I liked the old jingle.

3 Musketeers Puffy nougat covered in milk chocolate. Light and sweet. The major appeal for me was the cool Musketeers emblem. I always wanted to be a Musketeer.

5th Avenue Probably my favourite of the crunchy peanut stuff in chocolate variety, just because of the swank name and wrapper design.

Almond Joy & Mounds Because sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't! Have I mentioned I really dig coconut?

Apple Watch out for razor blades!

Astro Pops I know a kid on Gun Hill Road who got his eye put out by one of those things!

Atomic Fire Balls The classic hot cinnamon ball of the time. Only a quick burn before you got to the sweet part.

Bar None bar A brief-lived chocolate, wafer and nut bar. Pretty good.

Baby Ruth Nuts, caramel and chocolate, in a fetching red-white-and-blue wrapper. The most interesting thing about this candy bar is the controversy over its name.

Bazooka gum Rock hard and covered in powder, an American classic. Came with cartoon strips that were never funny, and offers for items in exchange for 7 bajillion wrappers. Did anyone ever send in for those things?

BB Bat Hard taffy on a stick, like a fruity Sugar Daddy. Acceptable.

Beeman's gum (Blackjack, Clove & regular) VERY rare in my era of Trick-or-Treating but classic. Either you love 'em or you hate 'em. I fall on the loving side.

Big League Chew "The Original Tobacco style Bubble Gum!" Shredded gum in a pouch originally invented to turn ballplayers off from tobacco, but actually a great way to train your kids for the weed and the throat cancer. The best part of this was the ad campaign of ball players playing ball and blowing huge bubbles, and the drawings on the pouches that looked like they were by one of the Mad magazine illustrators.

Bit O Honey Almond bits blended into a honey flavored taffy. A danger to your fillings but sooooo addictive! If you were lucky enough to get a whole bar of these divided by the distinctive interwoven wax paper, you might try to save some for later - but always fail.

Blow Pops The classic sugary bubble gum inside a lollipop. A bit sweet for me, but fondly remembered.

Bonkers Your basic extremely artificial "fruit chew". Like Starbursts, but cheaper and waxier.

Boston Baked Beans Mere candy coated peanuts, yet somehow better than the sum of their parts. The colonial brick-style packaging whispered of patriotism in the bicentennial era. Seriously awesome.

Bottle Caps Sugar candy shaped like bottle caps. Some people loved 'em. To me? No big whoop.

Bubble Gum Cigars Another training device for smokers, these were generally made of low-class gum, although the banana variety was intriguing. Chocolate cigars also existed, but were rarer in Trick-or-Treat bags.

Bubble Yum One of the many of the multi-variety gums that came out during the 80s bubble-blowing-contest craze. Innocent times, man. Probably my favourite of the type.

Bubblicious Another of the big bubble gums.

Butterfinger A version of the crunchy peanut bar covered in chocolate. A bit crisper and sweeter than some of the others. Maybe too much so for me.

Butterscotch An olde-timey favourite, whether in disks, rectangles, balls or squares.

Candy Buttons Dots Oh, yeeaaahhh! Suckin' the nasty cardboard-y sugar from the soggy paper! Rock the f**k ON!

Candy & Bubble Gum Cigarettes Came in all different kinds of packaging designed to look like popular deathstick brands. Tasted like crap, but they made you look too cool and grown-up to resist.

Candy Corn Dare I say it? THE ULTIMATE HALLOWEEN CANDY. Brach's is the hands-down favourite version, made softer and richer with a touch of honey. "Indian" candy corn and even pumpkin and other novelty shapes are acceptable for kitsch value, but the standard orange, yellow and white type is still number one. Which section of each kernel do you eat first?

Candy Necklaces and Bracelets The number one way to be stylin' AND chip-toothed.

Charleston Chew Sort of a taffy-ish nougat in vanilla, chocolate or strawberry, covered in chocolate. They were a favourite with my older siblings, especially frozen into cement-like blocks. Not high on my list back then, but bring some nostalgia.

Charms Square hard fruit candies. Whatever. Good name, though.

Cherry Clan Ooh, me so racist! Later renamed to "Cherryheads" to go with the other varieties in the Lemonhead family, but who can forget the slanty eyed-little buggers in straw coolie hats? I think I was horrified even then.

Chiclets The name and advertising made them seem so fun, but really? Just little rectangles of hard gum. What a disappointment.

Chick-O-Sticks Apparently, these were quite popular with some people. I don't know if I ever ate one, as the once or twice I got one I mistakenly took it for a cylindrical form of Chicken-in-a-Biskit and traded them off.

Chocodiles Yes, one did occasionally get snack cakes in one's treat bag (or jack-o-lantern shaped plastic bucket, as the case may be), and if one did, it was most likely these, due to their popularity and the fact that they came in single packets. Basically a Twinkie covered in chocolate, but definitely a product kids of my generation were screaming for after seeing the lovable cartoon crocodile mascot, "Chauncey."

Choward's Violet gum and candies Not common in trick-or-treat sacks but a classic nonetheless. Taste like that perfume you were given as a kid. No, not the Love's Baby Soft, the Violet! Duh.

Chuckles Your standard sugar coated jelly-gum drops. Bleah.

Chunky Ah, yes. Your basic huge block of chocolate. My favourite was the raisin and nut variety. Open Wide For Chunky!

Circus Peanuts Evil. EEEEE-VIIIILLLLL!!!

Clark Bar Another one in the vein of 5th Avenue and Butterfinger. I believe this is the earliest version, though. Nice wrapper.

Cow Tails I didn't get many of these, but they are basically a long version of the Goetze's Caramel Creams. I never was sure whether I found the name attractive or off-putting.

Cracker Jack Not usually found in treat bags as the boxes were pretty big, but OH BOY if you got one! Slightly over-caramelized sugar on popcorn with peanuts, AND a surprise treat with a joke or riddle. Too bad the surprises have been getting lamer and lamer as time goes by.

Dentyne What the…? You've been given adult cinnamon gum! KAAAAHHHHHNNN!!!

Dots Another gum drop incarnation of the slightly firmer type. Meh.

Dubble Bubble Remember when you used to, like, blow a big bubble? And then, no wait, you would, like, blow ANOTHER big bubble INSIDE of that one? Yeah. You could do it with any other bubble gum, too.

Dum Dum Pops Does it get any more iconic? Root Beer and cream soda flavours were high on my list, but who could resist the mysterious "?" flavour?

Freshen Up A gum with a syrupy liquid inside. The commercials made it look like a huge burst of flavour. Not so much.

Fruit Stripe Gum Yipes, stripes! It's Fruit Stripe gum!! SOOOO awesome. That zebra! Those stripes! That strikingly tart-sweet fake fruit flavour that fades in seconds! And later on it came with temporary tattoos?! Bow before their majesty.

Garbage Pail Candy Hard, sour candy shaped like various pieces of garbage that came in a small replica of a garbage can. Dig it.Not to be confused with…

Garbage Pail Kids Candy A chewy candy that came with a card featuring one of the popular 80s gross-out cartoon characters, the Garbage Pail Kids. These kids were a phenomenon born from an unholy union of Rat Fink and Cabbage Patch Dolls. Not my cup of tea, but very popular.
Note: and yes, there was a Garbage Pail Kids movie.

GatorGum Gum made to taste like Gatorade. Hmm. Do I hate it, or do I love it? Well, I'll keep trying it to make up my mind.

Gobstopper Otherwise known as the Everlasting Gobstopper. Balls made up of layers of candy that change colours AND flavours as you suck them away. Pure genius!

Goetze's Caramel Creams Now this is old school, son. A little carboard-y, a lot sweet, 100% memory lane.

Goldenberg's Peanut Chews I think I just had an orgasm. Again, like the caramel creams, a bit oddly carboard-y, but rich and addictive. Slightly bitter dark chocolate surrounding a fudgy chopped peanut filling. And who else has the guts to include a name like "Goldenberg" in their candy's moniker?
NB: Since the original writing of this list it has come to my attention that the Goldenberg company has changed the old, familiar packaging to a new, "playful" version. I am not amused. What's next, "New" Coke? Oh, wait a minute...

Goobers Chocolate covered peanuts. Better known as movie snacks. 'nuff said.

Good & Fruity Cylindrical fruit gummi chews with a resistant coating. See Mike & Ikes. Meh.

Good & Plenty Charlie says: Love my Good & Plenty! The much loved licorice in snazzy white and pink candy coating. Not the most decadent of candies, but very classy.

Gummi Bears The first of the multi-flavour gummi incarnations. At one time, they were positively ubiquitous.

Gummi Worms A later gummi item. Softer and more popular amongst some kids due to the gross-out factor. Gummi continued to spawn umpteenthousand varities, with no doubt some gummi gonads in there somewhere.

Heath Bar A nut toffee bar with a slightly burnt taste, covered in chocolate. A more adult item, which made one feel classy because it contained the word "English" in the description.

Hershey's varieties (milk chocolate, dark chocolate, Mr. Goodbar, Krackel & various Kisses) Do I really need to elaborate, here? Standard fare. Big points for the special dark and Mr. Goodbars, especially since your friend at school told you that Mr. Goodbar was named after a dirty movie.

Hot Tamales Hot cinnamon version of Ike & Mikes… or is that Good & Fruity?

Hubba Bubba Another big-bubble gum, this time with cowboys in the commercials. I do think this one had the most flavours, though.

Ice Cubes Basically a cube of smooth, decent chocolate. Hmm.

Jaw Breakers Ow! OwOwOW! I bit through it!

Jelly Bellies jelly beans A bit more of an Easter snack, but well loved for its many varieties, despite the fact that it got tied in with Ronald Reagan, somehow.

Jelly Rings Ew.

Jolly Ranchers You know you traded them at school. What beats watermelon? Sour apple, my friend. Sour apple.

Junior Mints More movie oriented, but enjoyed in your treat box.(Did that just sound dirty?)

Jujubes A firm fruit gum drop.

Jujyfruits <Coach Z voice> Jeeorrgyfruits! </Coach Z voice> A firm fruit gum drop, but I think shaped like fruits. I don't know, I always traded 'em.

Kit Kat Gimme a break! Wafers and milk chocolate. Not high up there, but the chocolate was deceptively good.

Kits Taffy Weird little low-quality taffy bits. Why did we love them so?

Laffy Taffy Kicks Kits' butt, if just for the name alone. Not to mention the greater size.

Lemonheads (+Grapeheads and Appleheads) A series of slightly sour hard sucker candies. Lemonheads was the first and most popular.

Lifesavers Oh, you know. The only cool part was when you got something like Wint-O-Green so you could try to make sparks in your mouth or Butter Rum so you could think "Oooh, I'm eating RUM and my parents don't know it!"

Lifesaver Lollipops Do they still make these? Remember when they came in swirled flavours? Good times. The Crème Savers are just not the same. Bring them back. And while you're at it, where the hell are the Pudding Pops?!

Lik-M-Aid Wait, you get a stick of sugar, and you get to cover it in spit and then dunk into different varieties of sweet-sour powder? I am SO THERE.

M&Ms (plain and peanut) Old faithful. You know 'em. But remember when they were tan and not red?

Mallow Cup Truly seems like a candy Homer Simpson would have invented.

Marathon 1 inch by 8 inches of braided caramel covered with milk chocolate. Delicious, but discontinued. Now available as the "Curly Wurly." Who thought that one up?

Mars Bars Kind of like a milky way with almonds. Originally more often found in the UK.

Mary Janes Most people hated them, but I loved them. That peanutty taffy goodness! That coy, come-hither look on the little girl's face! Definitely a treat for a developing lesbian.

Melster Peanut Butter Kisses Much like Mary Janes, but with no name on 'em. Oh, come on, you remember them. They came in orange waxy twisted wrappers. Yes, they had a name. Yes, usually old people gave them out. Remember now?

Mike & Ike See Good & Fruity.

Milk Duds Chocolate sacs filled with milky caramel goodness! What's not to love?
(Shut up, Bunche.)

Milky Way You got your nougat, your caramel and your chocolate. Next.

Necco Wafers Why? Why on God's green Earth are these so beloved? I would have used them as poker chips, if they didn't all break in the bottom of my bag.

Neopolitan Coconut candies I know, ew. But, kinda yum, too.

Nerds A box with two separated flavours and some cute little cartoons really sold this one. Admit it - you loved 'em.

Nestlé Crunch (Yawn.) Moving along…

Now and Laters Eat some now and save some for later? Yeah, right. These rocked with a severe righteousness. Also, you could build up a little business of selling off the singles from the packs at a ridiculous markup to desperate kids in the cafeteria. What? No, I didn't end up a Wall Street trader…

Oh, Henry! Kind of like a Goldenberg's Peanut Chew, but bigger, sweeter and softer. Another one that's had some controversy over it's name.

Palmer's Chocolates You know the ones. Those little balls or discs covered in brightly decorated seasonal foil wrappers. You open them up and… the chocolate is seriously foul. They also made those chocolate footballs - you know, the ones that always ended up at the bottom of the bag as the dregs? I hear Palmer's has improved a lot since back then, but for now all ridiculously bad and disappointing off-brand chocolates will retain the name "Palmer's" in my mind.

Pay Day Gotta love me some peanuts. Of course, you can simulate these with a bowl of candy corn mixed with Planter's.


Planter's Peanut Bar Your basic very peanutty brittle thingy. Satisfying.

Pop Rocks Yes, they rocked. No, Mikey didn't die by eating them with Coke. Haven't you watched VH1?

Push Pops I don't know. These seem dangerous, somehow.

Rain-Blo Gum Er. Kinda lame hollow gumballs. Okay.

Raisinets Oh, you know.

Raisins Just... no.

Razzles "…first it's a candy and then it's a gum!" Unfortunately, the whole time it sucks.

Red Vines/Switzer's/Twizzlers Everybody has their favourite version of these, but they're basically red fruity "licorice". Only good in a pinch, as far as I'm concerned.

Reese's Peanut Butter CupsALL HAIL THE REESE'S PEANUT BUTTER CUP!!! So simple yet so perfect in it's salty sweet-ness, this was the number one sought-after item in my treat bucket. WOE BE TO THE MAN WHO EATS MY PEANUT BUTTER CUPS! I HAVE SPOKEN!

Reese's Pieces E.T…. phone home…
I'm sure Mars, Inc is still kicking themselves.

Reggie Bar Only memorable for having been named for Reggie Jackson.

Ring Pops Candy Bling!

Rolo You can roll a Rolo to your pal… but why would you? Save them all for yourself.

Root Beer Barrels Me and pappy used to suck 'em on th' porch at th' gen'ral store. Pappy liked 'em cause he didn't have no teeth.

Runts What was so good about pressed candy shaped like fruits? I don't know, but didn't you always save your favourite fruits for last?

Sixlets Gum Kind of like Rain-Blo but a bit better, and more attractively packaged, 'cause… there were six.

Skor Bar Another classy toffee bar variety, but this time with a harder butter toffee. And yes, I did know a girl who went on a Skor Bar diet in High School.

Sky Bar This candy bar is divided into four sections with four different centers... caramel, vanilla, peanut and fudge covered in milk chocolate. Pretty awesome, but it would be better if the candy itself were of higher quality.

Smarties/Rockets Little rolls of pill-like sugar candies. A bit overrated, in my book, but much reminisced over in pop culture.

Smith Bros. Cough Drops What, you never got these as a treat from some cheap-ass jokester? Hey, they were really candy, anyway…

Snickers A Milky Way with peanuts. What will they think of next?

Snowcaps Nonpareils, mon ami. But of course.

Sour Patch Kids One of the first seriously sour candies. Frightening, yet compelling.

Squirrel Nut Zippers Another peanutty taffy thingy. Very popular in the South. Got a band named after 'em.

Squirt Like Freshen Up, but more hyped.

Starburst Probably the best known of the fruit taffy chews. Remember when they only came in the yellow wrapper variety?

Starlight peppermints Okay, whose freakin' grandma put these in here? No, I do not want fresh breath, it's HALLOWEEN for f**k's sake!

Sugar Babies Mini, even sugary-er Sugar Daddies. Wow. That's a lot of sugar.

Sugar Daddy A caramelly thing on a stick. You know.

Sugar Mama A caramelly thing on a stick. Covered in chocolate.
That's one sweet chocolate mama!

Swedish Fish Originally only in red, probably the first popular gummi animal. How… Nordic.

SweeTarts Like they say, sweet…and tart.

Tangy Taffy Another taffy, this time from Wonka.

Teaberry gum What the hell is a teaberry? I don't know. But I feel very sophisticated chewing this gum.

Tidal Wave Bubble Gum See Squirt and Freshen Up. Enough, already!

Toffifay Marketed as a premium chocolate, this one captured my snobby little heart with it's "European" flavoured advertisements. A nougat enrobed hazelnut topped with a dollop of chocolate and placed in a caramel cup, it even came in a gold plastic tart-pan setting. Niiiiiiiice.

Tootsie Flavor Rolls Tootsie rolls in different flavours?! Let me try that…

Tootsie Pop Mr. Turtle, how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?
I never made it without biting, ask Mr. Owl.
Mr. Owl, how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?
Let's find out. One… Two-whoooo… Three. CRUNCH! Three.
How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop? CRUNCH!
The world may never know.

P.S.: My favourite flavours are orange and chocolate.

Tootsie Roll "The world looks mighty good to me, 'cause tootsie rolls are all I see..."

Trident Gum What the hell are you, a dentist?! See Dentyne.

Twix & Peanut Butter Twix I just love me some Twix. They came a little late for my trick-or-treating, but I've gotta include them. A cookie covered by caramel and chocolate? Right on. The peanut butter version? Equally good. I tip my hat to you, Mars, Inc.

Wax Bottles, Lips, Fangs, Mustaches, Harmonicas, etc. Fangs for the memories...
Ok, seriously, can there be any doubt that the wax fangs were the best? Oh, sure the bottles had liquid in them and the harmonica could be played, but WAX FANGS? Ruled.

Werther’s candies Relatively high-quality butterscotches, toffees, and the much coveted Reisen chew. How European!

Whatchamacallit Another great marketing campaign for this one, a crunchy peanut crisp wafer with caramel and chocolate. I was very much into them for a while.

Whistle Pops Okay, sugar that makes a piercing noise, and you give it to children. There is a Satan.

Whoppers I loves me some malted milk. I just do.

Wrigley's gum (Juicy Fruit, Spearmint, Doublemint, Big Red) Juicy Fruit was the bigger winner in my book, even though it lost its flavour pretty fast. Big Red, however, was popular and benefitted from some good marketing, as did Doublemint. Who knew there were so many blandly attractive twins in the world?

York Peppermint Patties When I bite into a York Peppermint Patty, I get the sensation that my teeth are rotting out… but I like it!

Zagnut See Clark, 5th Avenue, Butterfinger, etc. This one did benefit from a cool name, though.

Zero Bar Caramel, peanut butter, almond nougat bar covered with white fudge. Honestly, I rarely saw these things, but they do strike me as a bit weird. Um, okay.

And that's it! 'til next, spooooky year! WoooooOOOOOOooooo!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Weird Shit Goin' Down

It seems that my new boss may (or may not) have been fired last night, but nobody's filling me in. Yikes. More later...

Update: Well. Even weirder. Later in the afternoon my now-former new boss' boss - the director of the department - called me in to the office. He reassured me that this was not about me, and I'm doing an excellent job. Today, however, was his last day.

Come again?

There followed a rant on how the new head of the organization was a damaged, damaged person who can never be satisfied, and how, after all the incredible progress in sales we've made in the last few months, working for him was like being in an abusive relationship. It wasn't clear if this meant the director had quit or been fired. But he was going.

Which leaves me in a different department from, but reporting to... my old boss, again. And we're reporting to... we're not sure.

Apparently, I am not fired. Because I'm only one of two or three people on location that actually knows how to do several important things, and the only one who's job it is to regularly do them. That's right, me. The one who tried to get herself laid off in the last year. The one who probably least cares about her job. Still here.

Of course, once they figure out some new ways to handle things, who knows?

But it kind of makes me giggle a little bit.


Happy Bday, GWB!

No, not that GWB (shudder). I mean the George Washington Bridge, sillies!

75 years ago, this amazing structure (seen here in an approprately autumnal shot from Ft. Tyron Park) opened, setting the record for the longest main span in the world at the time. While it may have been surpassed in this and other records since, it's still pretty impressive.

I'm hoping to get a good view of it from the underside, as well as as the Jeffrey's Hook, a/k/a "the Litte Red" lighthouse, when we go on our Hudson River leaf-peeping cruise on Saturday. If it doesn't freakin' rain on that one day of the week, that is. Ahem.

I'm also determined to land on Bannerman Island someday, but that is another story.

Anyway, happy birthday, you amazingly engineered old grey lady, you! May you continue to hold strong against the mighty punishment of the elements and NY/NJ traffic.