Friday, June 29, 2007

Don't Cry For Me Etobicoke-Lakeshore

My heartfelt congratulations go out to Pink Girl from the dollhouse. I guess I should start using her real name so I can get her as much publicity as possible – as she is now the official candidate for the NDP in our riding! Leading up to her landslide victory were fundraising events and many hours of toiling. She had a garage sale to help raise funds, an all week sash making session in preparation for the pride parade and many a meeting where she rubbed elbows with power-brokers and deal-makers of our little enclave.

I am hopeful she will be triumphant in the election this fall (you have my vote) and that she will lobby Starbucks to set up shop! I am not a big fan (I don’t even drink coffee), but now that I am a homo (homeowner that is) in the hood, I want to help drive up property values! And what better way to do that than with chain stores and a lesbian politician?

Starbucks aside, I would like to see the dream of our Etobicoke-Lakeshore-Gay-Lesbian-And-Friends community bus come into being. A large mini-van that will allow us to commute to work, trip to Buffalo, get downtown for dancing and any other adventures we can think of. Our little group alone could trade in six vehicles for one. How good is that for reducing congestion and pollution?

Now I have to admit, we have not always seen eye-to-eye on certain political issues, but that won’t stop me from throwing my support behind her. And given the candidate for my usual favoured party (I miss you Jean!!!) I will do so happily! On the off chance you don’t win, I say a cout d’etat is in order. I can be underling #2 (I know the second dollhouse girl would be #1) sent to ‘talk’ to people about seeing the error of their ways. After a few years, I see you living the life of a glamorous exile along the lines of Imelda Marcos. All 1000 pairs of your shoes would be pink!

There is one nagging issue that as a gay man, I find challenging to accept. That is, the green-orange combo of the party colours is less than ideal. She however, manages to pull it off with both style and grace by adding a dash of pink. That always makes things look better.

Congratulations Madam Prime Minsiter.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot

Just like New Years, Pride is celebrated once an annum here in Toronto. There are of course Easter, Eid, Passover, Thanksgiving etc. But Pride is on par with the excesses of New Years (and maybe Halloween). Although I at least like to think the costumes slow you down a little. Unless you are dressed like a mummy, then you can run like the wind!

This year, our little band of merry makers found ourselves sans Fab rooftop patio. For the last few years, Pink Girl had secured us access to a superb vantage point, but given her recent change of occupation (and the magazine is not the better for it I must add) this was not possible. Each time I walked by it was completely empty and sorely missed.

Little Yellow Fire Hydrant came to the rescue and saved me when my dogs started barkin’. As much as I love Pride, I say no, no, no to the crazy lines. A friend of his was kind enough give us access to his rooftop pool and patio. Ahhhh. Much more civilized it was to have a bird’s eye view of the whole thing.

Don’t get me wrong, we had a fantastic time milling about for a while. But when you want sitting and a beer that is what you want. To quote CJ, “if you want sittin’, you just want sittin’”.

Poor KitKat was earmuff bound due to an unfortunate liquid build up/torn ear drum. There was talk of needing a skin graft to fix it, but he seems to be on the mend. There were numerous Helen K. jokes that were told at his expense and we made him read lips most of the day, but he seemed to have a good time.

Of course Pride wouldn’t be Pride without at least one unfortunate incident. A certain AC had one too many and before any of us could stop him, he plopped down on the ground and wet himself. Naturally I snapped a photo and then asked him if he was okay (through fits of giggles). Okay, truth be told, he was just telling a story and I poured club soda on his crotch, but still, it makes a good photo no?

Mr. Underpants also sustained an injury at Lord Fauntleroy’s post-Aqua BBQ bash. There was a big goose egg and a little blood, but nothing a burger and pink lemonade with vodka wouldn’t fix. Speaking of Aqua, I owe CPB a big thanks for that "one more drink". I also owe him an apology for leaving a scratch on his nose from a failed attempt at greasing his lenses.

One of the Twins was out from Vancouver this year and that was a real treat. I haven’t seen him for years and it was affirmation that some things never change. He has mellowed (a little) but is as delicious to hang around as ever. He had to disappear for a couple hours to find a fax machine as he sold his condo back home and had to sign the papers. Damn BlackBerrys! Damn them to hell!

The Girls in the Dollhouse and CJ were marching in the parade this year and were tres hungry afterwards (and responsible for a huge cooler) and we never did manager to hook up. But, much like New Years, Mr. Underpants and I are heading over there shortly to nurse ourselves back to health with more good times. July and August are going to be meat and alcohol free for me, so I need to ready myself.

Happy Pride everyone!!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Death On Two Wheels

The picture on the left is my new bicycle Daphne. I tried calling her Josephine (and those of you who LOVE Some Like It Hot will know why) but it was Daphne that triumphed. Better luck next time Joe.

For a while now I have been looking for ways to reduce my carbon footprint on our little blue marble. Selfishly, I want this planet to last as long as I do. But more importantly, I want my niece and nephew to enjoy it too. I keep telling myself one person can make a difference. And one person, two feet and a bicycle can! Especially when the bicyclette (that is French for bicycle) is as sassy as Daphne.

With a basket in the back and one in the front, she hauls groceries, wine/beer, dogs, plants, tools, blankets, books et al like nobody can. And she makes my ass and thighs look good to boot!

I just hope that this joyous experience with a bike does not meet the same untimely demise as others. Back in the day, when I had to walk to school, up hill, both ways, my dad was keen on family outings on the family bicycle. And I mean that quite literally. We had one bike. Well two really, but my mom flew solo.

On my dad’s handlebars was a car seat type contraction (less the seatbelt) that one of us sat in, spawn two sat on the cross bar, the third child on the seat and my dad stood and peddled. God bless him. One day, while I was sitting upfront, we were out and about when there was a rather sudden stop. Did I mention there was no seatbelt?

I was a loud child at the best of times so you can well imagine the fuss I made after pealing my face off asphalt. Luckily there was no permanent damage and I turned out cute as a button. Instead of a facelift on my 40th birthday, maybe I’ll just throw myself down a flight of stairs.

Tempted as I was to tell my mom that it was this event turned me gay, it would be just messing with her head. And besides, how do you explain my sister? Well there was that wheelbarrow race (with the real McCoy) where her head got pinched between two of them. But I still think not. Could you imagine all the seatbelt ads they would run in the Bible belt? “Buckling up prevents the spread of gay”. Hee hee. I wish George Bush’s parents hadn’t used seatbelts. Oh well.

Then there was the time when I was 16 and had been home for lunch. (Still uphill, both ways, but at least I had a bike). On my way back to school I stopped at a red light and a huge (is there any other kind?) cement truck pulled up alongside me and decided to make a right hand turn. For anyone familiar with Streetsville, you know that the corner of Britannia and Queen (hey, I love Britain AND I am a queen….dum dum dum) used to be quite small.

Needless to say, to make the turn, the back tires jumped the curb and ran me down. So young, so tragique (that is French for tragic). A litany of profanity reigned forth from my mouth as I begged for my life.

Freeing my leg from the metal monster, I hobbled up the street and collapsed in front of a store. As I looked back, the truck went back-and-forth over my bicycle about three times. The driver later explained that he didn’t know if he was still on me or not and wanted to make sure he gave me a chance to free myself. Or kill me. Who knows?

As policemen and firemen arrived, (God, even then a man in uniform did it for me) I managed regain my senses establish a certain level of decorum and explain what had happened. As I was being loaded into an ambulance, they asked where my parents were. I knew my mother had just left to go grocery shopping and explained where my father worked.

By the time I arrived at the hospital, dad was already there. I began to regale him with my tragic tale only to be shushed by the nursing staff. What can I say, I told you I was a load kid. But still beotch, let me tell the story!

Mother (love you!) later revealed that she was in the check-out line when two policemen arrived at the FoodPort to deliver the dire news. “What am I going to do with the ice cream?” she asked. Ummmmm, hello. Leg. Trapped. Under a cement truck! They placed my mangled bike in her trunk and sent her home. She too was soon at the hospital number one and number two on the speed dial in tow.

I spent the night in the hospital after they wretched open my leg to repair the damage and clean out the dirt. The next day I was presented with the pants that had been cut off me - thank goodness I heeded mother’s advice and wore clean underpants! They said, maybe my mom could sew the seams back together and cut them off into shorts. Yeah. Good idea. How did you become a doctor again?

Several weeks and a skin graft later, my leg was on the mend and I was able to get around with crutches. Having to change my own dressing was pretty gross at first, much like trussing up a turkey. But you either get used to it or you get gangrene as the nurse explained it.

Daphne is equipped with lights (front and back) and I, a helmet. These accessories and an ever increasing number of bike lanes should keep me safe. But just in case, Emily gets my pearls!

Monday, June 11, 2007

33 Monkeys Jumping On My Head

Last week I found myself in front of a 7th grade class. I feared it would be a nightmare but it really wasn’t that bad. Don’t get me wrong, I now know why some species eat their young, but all in all, it was a fun day.

I have a new found respect for my dad, all teachers in fact. I once toyed with the idea of becoming a teacher, but the final nail is now in the coffin lid on that idea.

It was through Junior Achievement that I found myself standing in front of a class at Greenbriar Senior Public School. It is a program that has people from the ‘real world’ come in and talk about various topics. I was there to discuss diversity and acceptance. The subjects du jour were gender, age, disabilities, ethnicity and sexual orientation. There were giggles a plenty at the mention of that last one.

The reality of my day was quite different from my preparation. The guide had tips like ‘use the kids names, they like it’ and ‘tell them why you are participating in the program.

Use their name? I wanted to give them all a number. Get used to it kiddies! Between your student number at University, bank account number, passport number, drivers license number and SIN, you’re a number from here on out, so suck it up. We did have tent cards for all of them and they dutifully put their X on them and placed them on their desks. I saw one smarty pants that had put ‘Lucky’ on his. I asked him to put his real name. Well, my bad, apparently his parents either really wanted a kid and finally got one or are compulsive gamblers. Oh that reminds me, prison number. That is another one!

As for telling them why I was there, life lesson #2 two my puberty challenge friends. When your boss is asked to do something they don’t want to do, they will tell you what a great opportunity it is for you! It is called being ‘voluntold’.

I have to say I was surprised by a few things. First, how much fun I had once I realized their energy (for the most part) was because this was fun for them. A break from their routine.

Also, I expected them to be, well, 12 and 13 years old. And as such, a bit, how shall I say this? Dim witted. In fact, they are very perceptive. Our first gender activity compared ‘male jobs’ (i.e. firefighter) and ‘female jobs’ (i.e. perfume sales). There was a discussion around if both men and women could do the jobs and why or why not.

When we got to the perform jockey, it was mentioned that men shouldn’t sell perfume because they “don’t care about how they look or how they smell” (that was a boy’s comment by-the-by). One of the girls said “well Robert looks like he knows how to dress”. One of the boys said “yes, but he is very feminine”. God, so much for my fooling anyone. Ever!

The day was exhausting (my voice is still strained) but rewarding. I learned, candy is king when it comes to control. Not yelling.