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Making pancakes, as I learned at AP's birthday bash at the beach this weekend, is an unbelievably tedious chore. I don't know why I...

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Channel Surfing Through My Mind

I hope you'll watch the debate this evening. There is a good chance Kerry and Shrub will be discussing the issue of the new design for Hot Toddy's Toaster Oven.

SHRUB: Hot Toddy's putrid orange theme must be brought back!

KERRY: Wrong again, Dumb Ass. The new design is a significant improvement and a step in the right direction for all Americans.

Well, maybe they won't actually discuss my blog in the debate. Believe it or not, I am often accused of having an overinflated sense of self importance. I've mostly been accused of this by people who are less important than I am, so their opinion really counts for nothing.

Maybe the candidates will at least make mention of yet another exciting new facelift!

Well, at any rate. I don't want to talk about the debate. I've changed my mind. Enough about boring politics. Let's talk about more important things like Heinz Ketchup.

No, I think we've talked about ketchup enough, haven't we? Oh, I know. How about if I tell you about two interesting cell phone conversations!

Yesterday, Auburn Pisces told me about her attempt to call me to make arrangements to join her at a lesbian bar in town. Instead, she accidentally called my housemate/best friend/tormentor, The Handsome Prince.

Because Auburn Pisces and I work together, we find it necessary to cover for one another so our bitch troll from hell supervisor doesn't know our whereabouts. Yesterday, I was over at the fitness center working my back and biceps, because I'm really wanting to look good for my upcoming trips to Los Angeles and New York. But that's not really important for you to know because it has nothing to do with the story. By the way, I had forgotten my gym shoes, so I was wearing my ugly brown work shoes with my (silver) shorts and t-shirt, and I looked really stupid, but it's not really a cruisy gym since it is actually a corporate fitness center, so it's not like I'm going to meet a hot guy or anything, besides I really am not looking to meet anyone right now, but that's not really the point either.

Anyway, although my calendar claimed I was in a meeting, I was, in actuality, working out at 3:00 p.m. Auburn Pisces wanted to see if I could leave early to go to the bar. She thought she was calling me on my cell, but she had accidentally called my home phone and woke THP from his nap. He was home sick.

That was an exhausting set-up for this story, by the way. I barely have the strength to tell it now, but I'll muddle through somehow in the off chance that one of my readers has actually managed to make it this far through today's post.

Here is an actual transcript of the conversation, which I obtained through FBI records because my phone is tapped for reasons I can't discuss. I'm not even really supposed to tell people that phone calls to my house are being recorded, but I don't think anyone from the FBI reads this. But anyway, here is the conversation:

THE HANDSOME PRINCE: *cough* Hello? *cough*, *tremble*, *moan*

AUBURN PISCES: What are you doing?

THP: I was sleeping.

AP: Sleeping? I thought you were "in a meeting" right now?

THP: No, I'm at home. Sleeping.

AP: You went home!?

THP: No, I didn't go home. I've been here all day.

AP: No you haven't.

THP: Yes, I have.

AP: No, you haven't.

THP: Yes I - - who is this?

AP: Toddy, it's Auburn Pisces.

THP: Oh, Auburn Pisces, this is The Handsome Prince.

AP: Oh, I was trying to call Hot Toddy on his cell.

THP: You called his house. But when you reach him, tell him I said hello.

AP: Okay. Bye, The Handsome Prince.

THP: Bye, Auburn Pisces. Hey, do you think it's okay to call each other by our real names?

AP: No, I think Hot Toddy wants us to always use the names he calls us on Hot Toddy's Toaster Oven, The Handsome Prince.

THP: Okay. See you later Auburn Pisces.

Auburn Pisces did finally reach me. Shortly thereafter, I received a message from Pony saying he would die if he didn't see me soon because it had been nearly 24 hours since he last held me in his arms. Or something like that. So I returned his call.

HOT TODDY: Pony, come be a lesbian with me! We're going to the Egyptian Club for drinks.

PONY: Okay, Hot Toddy's Toaster Oven. I am on my way. Anything you want.

HT: (speaking to a car trying to pull out in front of him) Go ahead, little blue car. (To Pony) There is a blue car pulling out. I think it is a volks - no - that's not the word. It's a station wagon! A station wagon!

P: You don't know what kind of car it is. Admit it.

HT: It is a station wagon or something. It has a logo on the front with stars and a cross.

P: That's a Subaru.

HT: You're good. So, come to the bar, you big dyke. See you there!

In light of the confusion, it's a wonder we all managed to meet up at the bar. Ms. Karma joined us too. Her mom also came to be a lesbian with us and bought our drinks. So Mama Karma is now one of my favorite people.

But I don't want to talk about the bar anymore. Or phone calls. Let's talk about the debate. Or did we already do that? Is Survivor on tonight?

The preceding post was brought to you by Attention Deficit Disorder. Confusing Hot Toddy and anyone who listens to him since 1966.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Settling Into My New Oven

I met Juju for lunch the other day, and we chatted about how much life has changed for us in the past year. She couldn't believe how much my attitudes about sex and dating have changed. I've loosened up a lot. (No, not like that. Not necessarily like that.)

I couldn't believe how much her attitudes about relationships and commitment have changed. She's no longer living the single life of a neighborhood Jezebel.

There is nothing so constant as change (Mom, please get out of my head, I'm trying to blog) as we all know. With a new site design (thanks again, Pony) and a new outlook on dating and my future, I'm feeling like it might be time to change my name again. How's Esther sound to you? No, I don't care for it either. Okay. I'll remain Hot Toddy for now.

The other night at Scandals, where Pony and I were watching ignoring a pool tournament, we started talking about passion and talent. So many times we underestimate our abilities. We perceive ourselves as less than we are. The mirror shows us flaws that we buy into, even if they are untrue. It's all about perspective, really.

That night I went up to the bar to fetch Pony another beer - in spite of the fact that this makes Pony rides so much more bumpy and clumsy - and a guy approached me to ask how tall I was. I told him I was 6'6" (not an AOL 6'6" - a real 6'6") and he smiled. "Wow, being that tall, I'll bet you can get a date like that," he said and snapped his fingers together.

I smiled and shrugged and felt stupid and turned away. I don't think of myself that way. I don't think I can get a date "like that", and, as much as I love men, I rarely know quite how to approach them. I think it's funny that other people can see us so differently than we see ourselves.

The Handsome Prince often reminds me that I like to talk as if no men are ever interested in me. A few months ago, I mentioned that I made such a statement in front of four guys. Three of them were people I had slept with and one of them had a crush on me. THP replied, "I don't know what world you are living in Todd, but it is not the real one".

Pony confided in me (and I'm revealing it to the world) that he wasn't sure people would really like his redesign of Hot Toddy's Toaster Oven. But yesterday both he and I received lots of positive comments and e-mails. In fact, I had more comments yesterday than I've ever had. All of them were nice, except for one, which came from some jealous guy in NYC. And I want to thank everyone for their compliments, because I think Pony got the message that his talent is real and valuable. I know it is to me. You can't believe the talent and intelligence he possesses.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Oven Warming

Sometimes dating Pony feels like winning the lottery. A lottery in which you're awarded the privilege of playing with a ten-inch dick and getting a free new site design.

How good is my life?

If I weren't myself, I'd be jealous of me.

So, this is the new Hot Toddy's Toaster Oven. If you don't like it, you're an idiot. It's awesome. I didn't have to do anything except look cute and, well, some other stuff, in order to get a brand spanking new site design. I hope you like it as much as I do.

I feel a little bit guilty. It's like when Nellie Oleson got that new doll and flaunted it in Laura Ingall's face, which totally pissed Laura off, so she pushed Nellie down the hill in that wheelchair, which Nellie totally deserved, causing the smug prairie bitch to land face first in a muddy pond.

But the point is, I have a new site design. And a boyfriend with a 10-inch dick.

Okay, okay. I'm not really that shallow. He's also a good cook. He made me dinner tonight. And he puts up with crap from me that none of you will ever know about, because this is blogworld, and, as far as you know, I am perfect and fabulous and anyone would be lucky to date me. Which is totally true, of course.

What were we talking about. Right? I have a new site design. Enjoy.

My, my, at Waterloo, Napoleon did surrender.
Oh yeah, and I have met my destiny in quite a similar way.
The history book on the shelf,
Is always repeating itself....

Saturday night was a celebration. A month after my first date with Pony, I returned the favor and took him out for a night on the town. Although we've been spending a lot of time together and even went away for a weekend, this was our official "second date", so I was relatively sure I would get to second base with him - whatever that is.

After dinner at one of my favorite actor hangouts, Pony and I went to see the big surprise event. Amazingly, I was able to keep the concert a secret until moments before we entered The Crystal Ballroom to see Bjorn Again, the ABBA cover band. As we were waiting in line, Pony was searching for clues and suddenly saw, hanging in a window, the poster advertising the event.

It was a great night, and our voices were horse, er...hoarse, after a night of singing along. The choreography was the dorkiest thing I've ever seen, but I'm pretty sure these moves were authentic to ABBA's style. I took advantage of a couple of the slower songs to pull him close to me, but mostly I just glanced over to enjoy watching him smile and sing.

After the concert, we went to a party thrown by one of Pony's friends. There were some shocking moments and some memorable encounters with party-goers. One young lady, who Pony understates "was very forward" was convinced her strap-on dildo was bigger than Pony's real deal. She felt compelled to conduct research to confirm her hypothesis. Sad, really, how deluded she was.

There were lots of other surprises in store for me that night, and I had the time of my life. I still don't know what "second base" is, but I think I may have gotten to at least third. Whatever. It felt like a home run to me.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

You Hate Me. You Really Hate Me.

55% of Hot Toddy's Toaster Oven readers want to see this site design updated. And by updated I mean they want to see the putrid orange pumpkin color scheme "blasted into oblivion never to be seen again".

Pony has come up with an awesome logo for HTTO, and now I need to provide him with some quotes from fans, stalkers and enemies.

If you would like to submit a review, critique or simple sentence or two for consideration, you can e-mail me or just leave a comment. Please do so now.

I said now.

No, don't give me that, "Let me just finish this latte" or "but, wait, my Lobster Bisque is on the way, and I don't want it to get cold," or, "hang on, he's almost there, and I want to see his eyes roll back in his head". Don't keep me waiting. Think how wonderful it will feel to see your quote on the new Hot Toddy's Toaster Oven. It will be almost like you are part of the bond between Pony and I. It will be almost like we are having a threesome. Or not.

Nothing So Constant

Yes, yes, I know you hate my site design.

We're working on it. And when I say "we're working on it" I mean "someone else is working on it".

Soon you will experience a completely redesigned Hot Toddy's Toaster Oven, and you'll love it. I promise.

The past few months have been a time of great change for me. My mom used to say "There is nothing so constant as change," all the time. I asked her to stop, but she kept saying it. Then I threatened to move out if she didn't stop saying "There is nothing so constant as change," but since I was only six I wasn't sure of the bus routes and had to stay in her house listening to her talk about the constancy of change for a few more years.

Anyway. She was right. Recently I blessed The Handsome Prince by moving into his house. One thing I love about our house is its fascinating history. Did you know that brilliant scientists once lived in our home!? It's true! I recently discovered that the reason all the windows in our garage are painted over is because there were secret experiments taking place in the "Meth Laboratory". I don't know much about Meth research, but it sounds very important. I'm proud that our home was used to conduct this impressive work.

As if the history of our home were not impressive enough already, a neighbor just told me that some acrobats once lived there too. Apparently these young ladies turned tricks at the house. I'll bet they were female Cirque du Soleil members who used the house as their home base. And I'll bet they invited neighbors over to the backyard (now known as The Vortex) to watch them twist and turn and do their amazing tricks. I wish I had been lucky enough to see them perform.

Someday maybe when The Handsome Prince screws up royally and can't pay his mortgage and they take the house away from him, I hope some other nice people move in and say, "I can feel the energy of the former residents. There was a lot of love in this house. I'll bet a famous blogger once lived here."

Oh, if these walls could talk...

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

You Gotta Work It, Part Three

If you think reading about my past jobs is boring, try working them. I spent the first few days at my parents' home lounging around the pool and thinking about what type of work I should do. I knew I wanted to act, so the best option seemed to be waiting tables. That is, after all, what actors do for a living, isn't it?

I was hired at IHOP, but I had an interview at Chili's the next day. When the manager at Chili's asked me why I wanted to work for them, I replied, "So I don't have to work at IHOP."

Chili's Bar & Grill - Dallas, TX
As I mentioned yesterday, I began going by my middle name when I moved to Texas. So when my coworkers said things like, "Todd, you're order is up," I rarely even responded. It took a few weeks to get used to being called Todd. But Todd had a lot more fun than the old me. He went out to the clubs almost every night after work. He kissed boys. He didn't preach to anybody.

Why it Rocked: I had time to swim every day and always had cash in my pocket.

Why it Sucked: Living off tips, carrying trays of sizzling fajitas, and forcing myself to address customers as "y'all" because they didn't tip as well when I called them, "you guys".

The next short-term job I had was working for Target. You can read about that one here.

What did I learn from all these jobs? I learned never to give up. Never to quit. Even if you're bored, stick with it until you complete your task.

Yeah, right. I'm so bored with this list of jobs right now that I'm going to stop writing about them. So I never told you about the last nine jobs. So what.

That's right. I quit.

Wow, that feels good. There's nothing like the satisfaction of a job not done.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

You Gotta Work It - Part Two

In observation of my fifth anniversary with my employer, I'll continue my rundown of the many jobs I've held since college. Looking back, I feel I may have missed my calling. I should have become a pirate, but rum makes me sick to my stomach. So I had to find jobs that didn't involve raping and pillaging and plundering.

National Crime Prevention Council - Washington, DC
I was an editorial assistant and an annoying Bible bashing cult member during this period.

Why it Rocked: There was a good coffee place nearby. I liked working on K Street, which is a pretty happening part of town.

Why it Sucked: Because I was annoying and preached to people at work. I was in the throes of cultdom and brought my Bible to work with me. So, basically, I was a crime fighting religious superhero. Yuck.

Environmental Protection Agency - Annapolis, Maryland
The cult leaders asked me to move to Annapolis to help start another branch of the cult there. I obtained a temporary job assignment working for The EPA. No longer was I a crime fighting religious superhero. Now I was an environmental religious superhero.

Why it Rocked: I was trying to be a good Christian, but I remember having a lot of phone sex from my desk at this job. That rocked.

Why it Sucked: There were soil samples and jars of earth stuff everywhere. The office felt like a ranger's station. Not my scene.

Arthur Anderson - Baltimore, Maryland
This is the job where I was asked to use paper clips to scrape black ink marks off client proposals. They treated me like a trained monkey.

Why it Rocked: I didn't like the people who worked there, but I do remember there was free Advil available. That was helpful.

Why it Sucked: Everyone who worked there had a very high opinion of themselves. I don't think they ever called me by my name. I was just known as "The Temp".

IBM - Baltimore, Maryland
I was hired as an Inside Sales Representative, which meant I was supposed to sell products (the AS400, specifically) to IBM customers. When I began calling my customers in the database, I realized I'd been lied to. Most of my customers were sheriff's offices in West Virgina and North Carolina. I remember having to explain to one woman what IBM was.

Why it Rocked: The location, Inner Harbor in Baltimore, was a great place to work. I remember taking a lot of walks by the water on spring days. There was a fantastic sushi bar near the office, and I ate there a couple times a week. It was during my time working here that I decided to pack up and flee the cult.

Why it Sucked: I worked with someone else who was in the cult. Her name was Vera. She kept tabs on me, and I knew she would tell my brothers in the cult if I sinned in any way. The day I quit I had to wait to give notice until Vera went home so she wouldn't tell anyone in the cult I was leaving. I secretly left my resignation on my supervisor's desk, got into my car, and drove four days to Texas.

I'll continue with my list of jobs tomorrow. After I left Maryland, I moved home with my parents. I also changed my name and came out of the closet. The year was 1995, and I had only been out of college five years and had worked at least 12 different jobs.

Financially, I was bankrupt. According to my records, I made less than $5000 in 1995. I also know for a fact that I gave over $1500 to the International Church of Christ that year.

I pulled into my parents driveway that summer of 1995, and I was exhausted. I was so tired of being poor, being unhappy, being sexually frustrated. I was tired of trying to be straight, trying to be a disciple of Christ, trying to put off my creditors, and trying to be everything everyone else wanted me to be.

But freedom, sweet freedom, was just around the corner for me...
Happy Birthday BoBo

I'll be posting my second series of jobs soon. In the meantime, you may wish to pop over and wish The Executive a happy birthday.

BoBo, for your birthday this year I have decided not to throw up over your balcony. I know you'll think I'm being far too generous, but that's just the kind of guy I am.

Now is a good time to remind everyone that you have about 17 shopping days until my birthday (unless your religious practices don't allow you to shop on Saturdays/Sundays).

A true egomaniac knows how to incorporate a personal birthday plug into his wishes for a friend's happy birthday.

Monday, September 20, 2004

You Gotta Work It - Part One

I wasn't looking for a commitment. Can't we just take it one day at a time? I don't want to make any long term plans with you. Let's just enjoy the moment, okay? I can't even promise to be faithful.

In spite of the fact that I've said those things ever since I began this relationship, today is...gasp...my five-year anniversary with my employer.

Five years? How did I commit to this job for five years? My professional track record indicates that I am a free spirit. I always fancied myself as someone who can't be tied down. As evidence, I present you with my jobs since college graduation (1990)- Part One...

Joseph-Beth Booksellers - Lexington, Kentucky
I was a bookseller with the responsibility of overseeing the Religious and Occult sections. I was given those particular categories because nobody else who worked there knew anything about the Bible, not because of my service to Satan. That came later.

Why it rocked: Free coffee. We could drink wine on Friday nights in the employee breakroom. I had sex in the bathroom once too.

Why it sucked: The pay was lousy, and the Christian and Occult books were in the same section, so I had to break up arguments between customers debating spiritual issues.

Winn-Dixie Supermarkets - Lexington, Kentucky
After three days of stacking boxes in the meat freezer, I never went back.

Why it sucked: You need to read the last sentence again.

Why it rocked: It didn't.

Structure/Express - Lexington, Kentucky
I worked in the stock room shared by Structure and Express.

Why it rocked: French music and commercials played in the stockroom, and I didn't have to deal with customers.

Why it sucked: I don't even like to hang up clothes at home, so why would I want that to be my job?

The Salvation Army - Washington, DC
I was the Special Events Director and Volunteer Coordinator.

Why it rocked: One perk was participating in a brass band and getting to go on a tour of Scandinavia. We also had free snacks at our two coffee breaks as well as free lunch every day.

Why it sucked: Since this was a religious organization, I had to sneak up to the roof to smoke. I found a great place to stash porn in the office, though. I wonder if I left anything behind when I left?

Heritage Court Reporting - Washington, DC
I was a court reporter and also transcribed the proceedings for 93 cents per page.

Why it rocked: I mostly worked at the US Court of Claims and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Most of the cases were dull, but sometimes it was interesting and one of the judges looked just like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. If the attorneys spoke quickly, I was getting paid tons of money for transcribing the proceedings.

Why it sucked: The attorneys didn't speak quickly, so making good money was difficult. I corrected grammar in the court transcripts for the nice lawyers, but if they were rude to me I would capture every incorrect grammatical phrase they uttered and put it in the transcripts.

National Cooperative Bank - Washington, DC
After about six months as a court reporter, I decided to try working for a temp service. For the next several years I worked a series of short-term assignments in which I learned valuable skills (how to break into other people's voice mail and listen to their messages) and performed important duties (scratching ink marks off legal contracts with a paper clip). The stint at National Cooperative Bank (NCB) had something to do with real estate, I think.

Why it rocked: A cute gay guy worked in the NCB file room, and I liked flirting with him even though I was still in the closet.

Why it sucked: At about this time, I decided I wanted to be a professional actor and turned down a generous job offer from NCB so that I could pursue my dream of making less than $5000 a year.

Those first six jobs were all held within the first three years after I graduated from Asbury College. In 1993, my whole life changed as a result of my involvement with The International Church of Christ (Boston Movement). My already erratic employment history was about to get even crazier. Stay tuned for Part Two...

Friday, September 17, 2004


I'm happy tonight. That's about all I have to say. I'm just happy.

Pony came back home from Dallas tonight. He's been working there all week. I missed him this week, and it makes me feel like smiling just to have him in the same room with him. We're hanging out at his place right now. He is pouring me a glass of wine as I write this. I'm using his laptop to blog (awesome!) and he is chatting on the phone with a friend and laughing. The cat (Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe) is talking to me, and we're watching Comedy Central. Everything right now is peaceful and happy. Sometimes life just feels "right", you know?

Sometimes we make life too hard. We forget to appreciate the simple pleasures. Just sitting in the same room with someone you care about and knowing you have a weekend ahead of you, wine in your glass and money in your pocket is enough. Isn't it?

Tomorrow I'm going to the coast. Pony and The Handsome Prince and his boyfriend, The Math Whiz are driving to Pacific City to spend time at The Executive's beach house. I'm really happy right now. That's about all I have to say.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

An Open Letter to Portland, Oregon

For Corin...because he asked.

Dear Portland, Oregon:

Isn't it weird the way I fell in love with you? I remember when I lived in Dallas, Texas with CT, and we were trying to decide where we should move. We talked about Seattle, Chicago, Minneapolis, Santa Fe...

You weren't even in the running, Portland. Then I picked up this book about great cities in which to live, and, Portland, your chapter just called to me. So, after a surprisingly short discussion, CT and I decided to give you a chance. Without ever having seen your face, I came to you because I just knew it was what I was supposed to do.

CT and I moved into The Frank Estate, which was a beautiful old estate that had been transformed into an apartment community. I remember driving into the estate with the windows down that August afternoon. I was immediately struck by your fragrance, Portland. You may no longer be an actual rainforest, but you still smell clean and fresh and lush. Such a welcome relief from the concrete, dry, humid smell of Dallas.

I've never lived in a city like you, Portland. In addition to your surrounding rivers, The Columbia and The Willamette, I also love seeing Mount Hood in the distance. Granted, you hide the mountain from us most days, but when the sun comes out I feel like a child as I point with glee and say to anyone who may be near me, "Look at the mountain today!"

Portland, you brought tears to my eyes the first time I saw Pioneer Courthouse Square. I even whispered to myself, "I'm home..." because I'd never before lived in a city with a "living room" for her citizens. Here we can lounge for hours as we watch the human circus and participate as much or as little as we choose. Thank you for the free concerts and special events we can enjoy here, especially Sand in the City, the sand sculpture competition.

Portland, as much as I love your great transit system, proximity to the ocean and mountains, and laid back energy, you have a few things to work on. I hope I've been living here long enough to be honest with you. You're kind of lazy.

Sometimes I cheat on you in my mind, Portland. I think about New York City and how exciting she is. I could easily find a hundred things to do after midnight if I lived in New York. Why can't you be more like her? Maybe it's because you give us so much rain, and it makes everyone want to cuddle with a loved one at home rather than venture out. Maybe everybody is too busy smoking pot to get out and mingle.

And while we're at it, where's your diversity? I love mixing with people of all races and nationalities, but you're just so damn white, Portland. The Handsome Prince and I always comment on how great it is to live in a truly diverse neighborhood, but it would be nice to have more variety city-wide, not just in specific neighborhoods.

I know I shouldn't complain. As beautiful as Oregon is, you are a rare gem of progressive liberals amongst a state of conservative, um...scary people. Portland, I hope that your influence spreads throughout the state, because some of us are facing horrible discrimination. Thankfully, you encourage all of us in your fair city to become involved and express our views. Maybe it is because you are a city of writers, artists, thinkers, political activists and innovators.

I love you, Portland. I should let you know this more often.

Hot Toddy

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Relationship Rules

Juju and Metro return from Tokyo tomorrow. It will be great to see them, and I'm looking forward to some therapy from Juju. She always gives me the best advice.

It has been difficult to navigate my way through the murky waters of my mind without Juju's input, but I think I've done okay. I actually worked up some guidelines for relationships yesterday while having coffee with Ms. Karma.

It all started when Ms. Karma tried to give me some relationship advice. "Make him feel guilty!" she said.

"That is the single most destructive piece of advice I've ever heard," I answered. "And it cracks me up," I added. We decided to compose some other rules for building great relationships, and, behold, a new blog entry was born.

So, without further ado annie, here are Hot Toddy and Ms. Karma's Rules for Relationships...

Make Him Feel Guilty
There is no way to get someone to do what you want unless you use guilt or sex. You can use guilt to get sex. And sometimes you can use sex to feel guilt, depending on your value system.

Keep Score
Who set up the last date? Who initiated physical contact last time? Did he take your hand, or did you take his? Is it his turn to call? Did he link you in his blog yesterday?

Let it Fester
"What's wrong?"
Be sure to look away after you say "nothing" to maximize the fester effect.

Never Forgive. Never Forget.
What's done is done. It can never be erased or forgiven. In fact, you should dwell on every little mistake or transgression for all eternity.

Nag and Rehash
In addition to remembering wrongs for all time, make sure to bring them up a lot. Use the powerful tool of your nagging voice to remind him of your presence, your needs, your desires, and all the ways he has failed you in the past.

Compare Him to Your Ex
If your Ex was better at something, make sure he knows this.
If your Ex mistreated you in any way, make sure he knows that he reminds you of your Ex when he does those things.

Find his "Hidden Meaning"
Everything he says to you has a hidden meaning. It is your job to second guess every action and interpret every word so that you can figure out his hidden agenda. Taking people at face value is foolish. Trust no one.

Take Everything Personally
If he says he is too tired to go out dancing, it is because he's ashamed to be seen with you.

Investigate. Interrogate. Confiscate.
Background checks can be expensive. If you find yourself lacking funds to hire a detective, at least do your own legwork. Google him, talk to his friends, his enemies. Get all the dirt. Don't forget to ask him questions about everything he's ever done and everyone he's ever done. Confiscate his mail, especially his cell phone bill, and research his activities. If possible, kidnap him and take him to an evil scientist who will remove his memories and play them on a video screen for you. Don't let him have any secrets. Above all, break into his apartment (unless you trick him into giving you his keys while you "take care of his cat for him") and read his journal.

Pursue HIS life. Not yours.
In order to have a successful relationship, you must give up everything for him. Stop hanging out with your friends. Don't pursue any outside interests unless they are his. How else are you going to be able to spend every waking moment with him? How else are you going to be able to keep tabs on him?

Be Dramatic. Let Emotion Reign Supreme.
Crying, wailing, threatening suicide and breaking stuff are the building blocks of effective communication. Your job is to get him to notice you. Always, always take your Academy Award moment. People don't win Oscars for discussing things rationally.

Mark your Territory
It is crucial that you maintain physical contact in public so that everyone knows you are together. Leave your possessions at his house. If he won't wear the t-shirt you bought him that proclaims "Property of Hot Toddy" - or whatever your name happens to be, at least make sure he gets a tattoo of your name somewhere on his body. Preferably his forehead.

Juju will be so proud of me for coming up with these rules. I wouldn't want to get too dependent on her advice. And, Pony, if you're reading this...it's time for you to call me to check in.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Tending the Stable

I'm guest blogging at Ugly Pony today. Unlike last time I "guest blogged", today it's really me.

Pony and I are "special friends". We're at that awkward stage of casual dating when you never call each other boyfriends, but your friends do. Weekends together are never assumed. Plans are made no more than two or three days in advance. I know how Pony drinks his coffee in the morning, but I can't remember his sister's name.

It's fun to take it slow for a change. I'm not even going to rent the U-Haul until September 25th. Go visit the stable now, and please leave your hoofprint.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Rolling Up My Sleeves

I have decided to take action against the dark sadness pervading my soul. No longer will I be a slave to the gray clouds of gloom. I'm going to do something bold to break the chains of depression. I'm going to default on my student loan.

Just kidding. I actually have a much better idea. I am going to do volunteer work. I believe it was Mother Teresa who said, "If people would just stop bitching and get off their ass and help somebody, the world wouldn't be so fucked up." And she's right.

I went to a volunteer organization this weekend for an interview. This organization, GOYA, or "Get Off Your Ass", helps match volunteers with opportunities that appeal to their unique skill sets and talents. I arrived at the office eager to be matched up with a volunteer opportunity that matched my gifts. Unfortunately, the volunteer coordinator, Ursula, said there were no organizations currently requesting my skill set. "But, I don't even use my teeth," I pleaded. She still said no.

We went through a list of opportunities. Most of them were just not a good fit for my skill set. It was frustrating. I finally had to level with Ursula. "Look," I told her, "if I could cook or build stuff or fix cars I would probably have a boyfriend already and wouldn't be bored and lonely enough to volunteer, so stop trying to get me to build houses and prepare meals for the homeless." She ordered me out of her office, and I had to go to another agency to fulfill my desire to help others.

Thankfully, I found SPIT. "Save Poor Innocent Tikes" is one of those charities where you sponsor a disadvantaged child in another country. You get a picture and occasional letters from your adopted child. I was disappointed to learn that most of the children don't have computers, because I was really hoping my adopted kid could just read my blog to keep in touch with me. I also don't remember how to use a pen and actually write a letter, so I doubt the kid will hear much from me until he/she gets a Gmail account.

I sat down with Rex, the volunteer coordinator for SPIT, and looked through some photos of poor disadvantaged children. "This is, Rosa," said Rex, weepily, as he shoved a photo across the desk. "Her family has one goat and one chicken that provides all their food," he said sadly.

"She has a chicken? AND a goat? Man, what a lucky kid. I don't have a goat. I don't even have a goldfish," I complained. "I'm not helping her."

"But Rosa has no shoes," Rex started to explain.

"Tell her to sell the goat, then. I'm here to help disadvantaged kids, not children who have their own petting zoo," I snapped.

Rex looked like he might cry. "But - - "

"Next picture," I said firmly.

We went through several other photos. One boy in Gambia was kind of cute, but he had buck teeth. And his skin wasn't great. I didn't want pictures of him showing up at my house. Too depressing. We kept examining pictures together, but most of the other kids just, frankly, seemed a bit too needy. I hope that doesn't make me sound selfish, but I just don't need the pressure of knowing I am saving someone's life. I am afraid I will become arrogant if people start depending on me that way.

I felt disappointed with the sponsorship options I was being presented with, so I asked Rex if there were any Asian boys over the age of 18 who were into bodybuilding and just needed a pen pal. I was answered so rudely, that I'm not even going to tell you what Rex said to me. But let's just say I won't be supporting SPIT in the future.

Tonight I am going to attend an orientation meeting for a literacy program that helps teach people to read. I figure this is a volunteer opportunity that matches my skill set and will also benefit me directly. Clearly, the more people I teach to read, the more hits I will eventually get on Hot Toddy's Toaster Oven.

What can I say? I'm a giver.

Friday, September 10, 2004

A Not Very Fun Vortex

I'm going to try hard not to whine. Other people are facing bigger challenges. They're not whining about it. (I'm thinking about you, A, and I'm in your corner)

So, I haven't posted in a couple days. I've been busy.

No, not really. I'm actually in a vortex. Not the fun Vortex - this is a vortex of fear and worry and loneliness, and I can't climb out right now. And I don't even really want to talk about it. But I will because I can't just leave the same post up day after day. Who wants to keep reading about my birthday? Although it serves as a nice reminder to get those presents ready.

I miss Juju. That's one thing on my mind. She's vacationing with Metro in Tokyo right now, so I can't just call her up and tell her. I miss seeing her every day, laughing with her, receiving free therapy from her, talking about boys with her. She instilled so much hope in me every day. She always inspired hope in me. I need some advice and a listening ear, and she would know just what to say right now.

I'm upset with CT my yucky ex. He's horrible. CT let "this guy, Kevin" take care of our dog while he was out of town. Even though I asked CT to let me watch him. It probably sounds so silly. Not as silly as the two hateful drunken phone calls CT received from me last night.

I'm unsure about so much right now. There are things going on in my head that I don't want to share on my blog, so I am filtering. And I hate filtering. It sucks worse than CT does.

This vortex is not very fun.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Birthday Backtrack

Last night I downed a couple vodka tonics, had a piece of german chocolate cake, and perused a copy of Men's Fitness. I began reading an article about workouts for middle-aged men. Apparently, men in their midlife need to allow more rest between workouts than guys in their twenties. This upset me.

I'm not opposed to time off between workouts. Actually, I would love to stick to a "one day on, six days off" workout program. And if I ever find a fitness magazine that recommends sips of Maker's Mark between sets, I'm buying a lifetime subscription. I have no issue with allowing my body extra recovery time between workouts. I do, however, take issue with the idea that I am middle-aged. Frankly, I need some stress relief.

In exactly one month, I'll turn 38. This is unacceptable. According to Jessica Simpson, turning 38 means I am almost in my mid 30's. But, wait, I don't look 38. Due to my Norwegian background (thanks, Mom) I look significantly younger than my years. I still get carded when I go to a new bar, and I haven't even thought about using skin care products yet (okay, technically, I just thought about it - but only because I was typing "skin care products" just now).

So that you can accurately wish me happy birthday in a month, I wanted to give you plenty of time to search for the perfect "Happy 28th" birthday card. That's right. I've decided that on October 8, I will be 28. Everybody got that? 28.

Why have I decided to reduce my age by 10 years? There are lots of reasons:

1. If I am 28, I can stay out late at CC Slaughters on a school night.

2. If I am 28, I will hang out with people in their early thirties and realize they are more responsible than I am.

3. If I am 28, I can drink lots of Maker's Mark and not get really bad hangovers.

4. If I am 28, I can date guys my own age. Like, 27, or something.

5. If I am 28, I will watch television shows aimed at a younger demographic. (Hello, MTV's Real World - I'm talking to YOU)

6. If I am 28, I can quote "my peers". People like Jessica Simpson.

7. If I am 28, I can blog about boys and fly across the country to meet boys and write plays about boys and obsess about boys.

8. If I am 28, I can owe tons of money on my student loan and still not feel guilty about buying silly stuff like CDs or the complete Little House on the Prairie tv series.

9. If I am 28, I can spend hours with my Playstation2.

10. If I am 28, I can refuse to learn how to cook.

Doesn't life as a 28-year-old sound fun? I can't wait to see what 29 brings!

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Vortex Weekend

Late afternoon on Sunday, I stepped out in front of my house, blinked my eyes against the glare of the sunlight, and realized I had spent all day in The Vortex. Everything looked so different and so new in front of the house. I rushed to get the pizza and hurried back to safety of The Vortex as quickly as possible.

The Vortex, if you haven't been paying attention, is the covered patio in our backyard. This is where we play cribbage for hours, listen to Patty Griffin and, much to The Handsome Prince's dismay, country music and dance mixes sent to my by other bloggers. We drink whiskey and beer and vodka and gin and wine in The Vortex. We eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in The Vortex. We suck our friends into The Vortex so they can't leave. If you sit in The Vortex, you won't want to get up ever again.

Friday night we had a spontaneous party in The Vortex. AuburnPisces and Pony were there. Of course The Handsome Prince and his boyfriend The Math Whiz were there. If you were there and I forgot to mention you...sorry. And tequila made an appearance, although it was only a dress rehearsal for Saturday night in The Vortex. For, on Saturday night, Tequila stole the show, my sobriety, and my virginity. Tequila stole my innocence. The Executive, bless his heart, actually mistook me for someone else. He seemed concerned that I was drinking too fast and suggested I slow down. Isn't that cute?

Pony was back for the party on Saturday night too. He didn't get much benefit from my tequila stupor at all. While Tequila made me quite amorous, it also made me quite prone to passing out. Poor Pony. I made it up to him later.

So, why did I cheat on whiskey with that slut, Tequila? I wanted something new. Something different. I'm only human. Hopefully, whiskey will forgive me and let me come back to him.

The rest of the weekend was wonderful. I finished a draft of my play for Cold Comedy Concoction. That's huge, folks...Also, I had pizza with friends (in The Vortex, of course) and did lots of reading there too.

In regards to my tequila stupor, should I clarify how I made it up to Pony? I took him to dinner, of course.

Friday, September 03, 2004

My Muse Has Spoken Slurred

She woke up. My muse came out of her margarita-induced coma, vomited her idea out, muttered something incomprehensible, and passed out again. But I managed to jot down everything she slurred, and I think I got enough out of her to begin rewriting this weekend.

In addition, I have many friends to thank. Patrick called me with an idea this morning, and Pony e-mailed me with another idea that will most likely find its way into the script. The comments yesterday had some great ideas too. Even if I don't write The Osmond Family Christmas right now, that is such a great idea that I have to eventually bring it to fruition. Nobody knows the Osmonds like I do. I remember watching a television special with my ex, CT, and the Osmonds were singing. Alan, Wayne, Merrill, Jay, Donny, Jimmy and Marie were all singing. Then Tom came out to join them.

"Who's that?" asked CT.

"That's Tom. One of the hearing-impaired brothers. But I don't know where Virl is," I answered. "I hope Virl is okay."

"You know the names of everyone in the family?" he inquired.

"Yes. The parents are George and Olive," I told him. He was surprised until I reminded him that I cried when I read the book, "On Tour with Donny and Marie," when I was 12. I wanted to be an Osmond so bad that it brought me to tears of frustration to realize I may never tour with Donny and Marie.

But I'm not here to talk about Donny and Marie today. I'm here to talk about the "Ole Cafe" downstairs at my office. I get breakfast there every morning. Today I went in and ordered my usual breakfast sandwich. "We ran out of english muffins, but we hid one for you and told the other customers we were out," said the girl behind the register. That made my morning. But I'm not here to talk about breakfast sandwiches. I'm here to talk about The Handsome Prince.

This morning The Handsome Prince told me something that he wasn't supposed to. It was a secret about someone he works with. He said I wasn't allowed to tell anyone I know this secret. "You already told me that secret last week," I said.

"Great. Not only did I tell you something I wasn't supposed to tell - I told you twice," he said. I love that boy. He makes me laugh every single day. This morning he didn't greet me with his usual, "Good Morning, Mary Sunshine," because I told him last night (over a drunken feast of Taco Bell) that I hate it when he says that to me first thing in the morning. I'm kinda grouchy in the morning. But I'm not here to talk about how grouchy I am in the morning. I'm here to talk about...

I forget.

Oh, yeah. My muse woke up. I guess you probably could have guessed that after reading this rambling post.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Cold Comedy Concoction

It's probably best not to reveal this publicly. So, of course, I'm going to. (As I've said before, filters are for coffee makers. Not Toaster Ovens.)

Nobody has ever paid me to write anything. I do it because I love it, and because I need attention desperately since I wasn't born an Osmond, which I've always felt was my unrealized destiny.

This summer, I was offered a chance to write for Stark Raving Theatre and actually get a little dough in exchange for my words. Now is the time where I should be exhibiting supreme confidence to inspire the Portland Theatre Community, and stir excitement about the upcoming production of the Cold Comedy Concoction.

Instead I am trembling on a ledge with a gun to my head and questioning whether I should jump or take the bullet. I am paralyzed. I can't write.

I worked on the draft of my play last night. It reads like a very special episode of Seventh Heaven. It's not funny. It's sappier than the episode of Little House on the Prairie (click the link - it's worth it to hear the sappy Casio keyboard rendition of the theme song) when Half-Pint spent the night on a mountain asking God to take her away and return her stillborn baby brother to Ma and Pa.

What the hell am I going to write?

I have to deal with the theme of cold or winter. Should I write about a penguin family Christmas? Or a bride with cold feet? Or tell the story of the Titanic from the iceberg's point of view?

Every artist has failures. Will this show be my Gigli? Will the actors hate me for giving them a crappy script to perform? Will the whole town mock my play and exile me from Portland theatre?

I am so desperate for ideas that I was actually trying to find material from this morning's conversation with The Handsome Prince about having our gas oil tank filled to heat the house. As we discussed heating our home, I found myself silently pleading, "say something funny, Handsome Prince. Please, god, let him say something funny about cold weather to inspire my play..."

Pony talked me down off the ledge last night. He said I was brilliant and would think of something. We'll see. He also told me he's helping me out with a design for a new look for Hot Toddy's Toaster Oven, which made me very excited. You should see the logo he designed. It's awesome. I stopped sniffling and whining and felt much happier after we talked. But I'm still scared.

I think my muse is still in a coma. Here's hoping she wakes up before this weekend.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004


I didn't know what to write about today. I just walked by my co-workers desk and she griped at me for not posting. AuburnPisces calls Hot Toddy's Toaster Oven her "bible", and she reads it every day. So I decided that today is the day to write about her and let you know what kind of friend she is. Especially since she is bitching about needing me to post.

Why I Love AuburnPisces:

1. She surprises me. When I first met her at work, I hesitated to tell her about my wild nights (they happen now and then) and karaoke parties. I pictured her sitting at home with her cats every night, and I didn't want to make her jealous. Then one day she casually mentioned going to a flogging demonstration. Turns out she is active in the Leather Community (don't you love how EVERYTHING has its own community now? Blogger communities, Knitting communties, Bathhouse communities). AuburnPisces spends her nights (and lunch breaks) in wilder ways than I ever will.

2. She saved my ass. Earlier this week, AuburnPisces went to the Director of Security, Daddy Warbucks, at our company and told him I was being treated poorly by our boss, who we call Sherlock LowWatt (an ex-navy female golfer). It's true. I was. But I try not to rock the boat, so I was going to let it go as usual. Well, I no longer work for Sherlock LowWatt, thanks to AuburnPisces. Daddy Warbucks has always been rather protective of me since the days I started at this company as his Administrative Assistant. Now, once again, I work directly for Daddy Warbucks. He immediately contacted HR and had my status switched so that I report to him. He is the kindest boss I've ever had. I'm luckier than lucky now. Thanks to AuburnPisces.

3. She comments on my blog every day. I can hear her laughing at my stories from over the cubicle wall. She begged me to put Tuna Meltdown back in the "Laugh at Me" section.

4. AuburnPisces gives great advice and listens to me. We take breaks together at work (along with Ms. Karma - who totally rocks and will get her own blog entry one day). Our breaks keep us sane. We crack each other up. She's helped me through Crunches and 80 Percent Straight Boys. She's listened to "Bo" stories and, lately, Pony stories. She's seen me cry over my dogs, and I've seen her cry too. She's laughed at my stories of The Handsome Prince.

AuburnPisces, I don't know why it has taken me so long to write about you. But I'm so glad I met you.

I love the way we take care of each other, and I love you.