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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

New York Questionnaire

It turns out that getting from the airport to Manhattan will only require a couple dozen trains and 13 or 14 transfers, so I'm sure I'll be ready for a nice cocktail once I get settled in.

So, I need to get a quick tally. Who is buying me a drink in New York? I want to know how much money I need to bring.

If you plan on buying me a drink this weekend, please respond to this short questionnaire! You can e-mail me the answers or just leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback, because it will help me prepare financially for this trip.

1. Are you buying me a drink in New York this weekend?
2. I don't want to create a financial hardship for you. Are you sure you can afford to buy me a drink?
3. Well, is there someone you can borrow money from?
4. Maybe you can sell some of your used books or old clothes?
5. I appreciate your generosity. How close is your apartment to the bar?
6. Would you ever consider moving to Oregon?
7. I don't blame you. Does your apartment have room for me to move into it?
8. Can you get me a job in New York?
9. May I have another drink?

Seriously, I am looking forward to this trip. It will be so great to see so many people who I've come to know through their words. And I really want to remember my conversations, so I need to watch how much I actually drink. Will I see you in New York? Let me know if you'll be there (if you haven't already)!

Oh, and thanks for this, Patrick!

Monday, November 29, 2004

No Title

I'm heading to New York City on Friday, but I'm not titling this post something cliche like "Start Spreading The News" or "If I Can Make it There" or "Regular Coffee Has Cream In It" because I'm sure others have used those titles for blog entries already.

This week I doubt I'll be able to write about anything other than my upcoming trip. I haven't been to New York for about 8 years, and I'm really looking forward to meeting all my fans and stalkers.

Several friends have written to ask what I would like to do while in New York. I have given it a lot of thought, but it is hard to provide my friends with input because I'm mainly going there to make out with people. It has been months since I've made out with someone. It seems like it's easier to get someone into bed than it is to entice them to make out. But I think I will have better luck in New York. If I can make out there, I'll make out anywhere.

I'm sorry about that last sentence. I was pushed away from my keyboard by a vaudeville comic named Shecky or Bucky or Hermy or something. He had me physically restrained as he typed. Thankfully he was removed by a large hook, so it's me back at the keyboard now.

Of course I am looking forward to the sites and sounds of New York. I definitely want to see The Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore while I am there. Hopefully, I will have some time to wander through The Castro and visit Jim Morrison's grave too. Of course I can't wait to taste some New Yorkish food. I want to have some chili mixed with spaghetti, which I hear is all the rage, and I want it at 4 a.m. because nobody ever sleeps there.

It is really amazing to me that there is a whole city where nobody sleeps. Somehow, it makes sense, though. Sleep deprivation definitely explains some of the strange blog entries I've seen from New Yorkers. As we say in my gang here in Portland, Oregon, "New Yorkers are Whack". Yep, me and my gang say that all the time. Then we go throw rocks through the windows at Starbucks.

I am looking forward to meeting lots of whack New Yorkers. And when I say "meeting", I mean "making out with", of course.

And when I say "making out with", I mean "moving in with and marrying" of course.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Hot Toddy's Sweet Potato Pie

Happy Thanksgiving one and all (except for you, fucker) and God Bless Us Everyone!!

Today I have a special treat for you. I have decided to share my recipe for Sweet Potato Pie with all the loyal readers of Hot Toddy's Toaster Oven. This recipe has been guarded by my family for generations. My great-grandmother was killed by the Nazis or Hutus or something, because she refused to share the recipe. I took a solemn vow when I was three years old that I would never share this secret recipe. But my mother pissed me off when she informed me that the Donny & Marie albums I had stored in her attic were lost in the fire that destroyed my parents' home yesterday. Because of her failure to climb into the burning attic and retrieve my albums, I have decided to put this recipe on the Internet. May this tasty treat remind you of the importance of family and unconditional love for others throughout the year. Not just at Thanksgiving or Arbor Day.

2 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup half-and-half or evaporated milk
3 tablespoons sugar
1 unbaked 9-inch deep dish or 10-inch regular pie shell

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Run to the store for all the ingredients.
3. Remove burnt leftover pizza from oven.
4. Open all the windows in your house and clear the smoke.
5. Have a quick nip of whiskey to calm your nerves.
6. Head back to the store for the sweet potatoes you forgot.
7. Before you get to the store go back home and turn off the oven.
8. Go to the store and buy candles and licorice.
9. Turn around on your way home and go back to the store for sweet potatoes.
10. Return home and have some more whiskey.
11. Combine sweet potatoes, brown sugar, butter, beaten egg yolks, ginger, cinnamon, cumin (out of nutmeg) and salt in a mixing bowl.
12. Remove sweet potatoes from the mixture and boil them.
13. Put sweet potatoes back in the bowl and beat until light and fluffy or until your hand gets tired.
14. Put on Annie Lennox album and play "The Saddest Song I've Got".
15. Put the song on repeat, cry, and drink more whiskey.
16. Go look at pictures of your ex and remember that Thanksgiving at the coast.
17. Drink some more whiskey.
18. Drunk dial your ex and cuss him out.
19. Add half-and-half to the lumpy mixture.
20. Beat egg whites with electric mixer.
21. Attach stainless steel beaters to electric mixer and continue beating egg whites.
22. That works better now.
23. Call your ex and apologize and invite him over for Thanksgiving.
24. Cry and drink whiskey and wonder why he had to be so terse on the phone.
25. Add sugar, one tablespoon at a time, and beat until stiff peaks form.
26. Look at the stiff peaks.
27. Go watch porn.
28. Wash hands.
29. Gently fold egg whites into the sweet potato mixture.
30. Run to the store and get pie shell.
31. Pour filling into an unbaked pie shell, and put the pie in the oven.
32. Go watch porn.
33. Drink some whiskey.
34. Check on the pie and turn the oven on.
35. Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes.
36. 45 minutes later, smell burning pie and remove pie from oven.
37. Drink vodka after whiskey runs out.
38. Call mom and scold her about the Donny & Marie albums.
39. Ignore her complaints about spending Thanksgiving at The Salvation Army shelter.
40. Wish mom a Happy Thanksgiving and ask if she can send a couple hundred dollars.
41. Take a bite of the pie and throw it out.
42. Finish the vodka and go to bed.
43. Wake up at 3 a.m. and jot down an idea for a blog entry.
44. Watch porn.
45. Turn off oven and go back to bed.

Cashmere Fantasy

I am so excited to visit New York City. But I have to admit that I'm starting to get nervous. I need to clear something up for anyone I might meet in New York (or elsewhere). Today I am going to post pictures that have never been seen before. I am going to prepare you for the truth.

There is no way I will be as funny as you think I will be. Look. Here is proof. Most boring post I've ever written? Probably not, but it helps make my point. Sometimes after I make a joke you can almost hear the crickets chirping.

There is no way I will live up to your expectations as to my charm, disposition, looks, wit or intelligence. If you expect me to be one of the nicest people you've ever met, I can pretty much guarantee I won't let you down, but in the other areas, I feel grossly inadequate.

But it's your fault for worrying me. Because some of you are sending me e-mails that make me think you're expecting too much. I've been told I "write like a hot guy" and that I "would look good in cashmere". I can't say I really understand either of those statements. I'm not even sure what cashmere is. I thought it was a city in Asia or the Middle East. Anyway, I implied from the tone of the e-mails that these statements were meant to be compliments. Another blogger suggested I may get an invitation to see his loft after we have a couple drinks together. I am so appreciative for the encouragement, and more than a little intrigued, but I'm also concerned that I will dissapoint.

My anxiety reminds me of college when my friend Dan would introduce me to people as "The Funniest Person Ever", and new acquaintances would ask me to "say something funny". I would stare blankly and swallow hard. And say nothing.

That picture of me at the top of the page? It was taken last February by The Midget. She is a brilliant photographer. She made me look good, but, in spite of her brilliance, The Midget captured a few dozen photos that were much less flattering. You never saw some of other pictures I rejected. I don't have digital copies. so you can't see them. But, trust me. They're the kind of pictures the National Enquirer would put on the front page under a bold headline proclaiming "Hot Toddy a Cokehead!" or "Hot Toddy's Toaster Oven Gains 75 Pounds!"

Here is a picture of me in my glasses, ripped jeans and a sweatshirt I've had for over 10 years. It was taken at The Executive's beach house. See how round my face is? See how messy my hair is? See how I'm getting drunk with The Handsome Prince? See what a booze hound I am? And I'm probably not saying anything funny either.

I have gained 13 pounds since May, most of which will still be with me in New York City. I have been so erratic about getting to the gym for the past three months, because I've been - um - distracted. Sometimes I can't think of anything funny to say. I freak out and panic when I think about certain social situations, and this upcoming trip is one of those situations.

I'm not getting through to you, am I? You still think I'm HOT Hot Toddy.

Look how huge my head is. This was a picture taken, once again, by The Executive.

See how cute and normal-sized The Executive is? I'm sitting down on his garden wall, because if I stood up my face would not be in the picture. As a Texan recently told me, I "couldn't fall off a mountain", which I think means I am really, really tall.

Look, I do like myself. I probably think way too highly of myself. Anybody who proudly refers to himself as Hot Toddy is a total narcissist obviously has a healthy ego. But you shouldn't think too highly of me just yet. Have you seen my morning hair? (Very few get to see this side of me without earning it by spending the night. Well, until now.)

Okay, I didn't want to do this. You've forced my hand. The Handsome Prince has seen the ugliest side of Hot Toddy more than practically anybody. In fact, true to his nature, THP has captured my ugliest side on film more than once. Earlier this year, when we visited Vancouver, BC, I was hungry and needed coffee. I was in a bad mood. I had a headache. I refused THP's request that I pose for a picture. He ran up next to me on the sidewalk and took this picture against my will.

It's blurry, because I wouldn't stop walking. You can see the irritation in my face. If you look closely enough, you can see the portal to hell in my eyes.

A wonderful guy recently sent me an e-mail describing his experience upon meeting other bloggers. He met a few of them, and had this to say:

"In the middle of the night after [meeting them], I woke up sad because I didn't feel like I connected with them the way I wanted to. I sent my friend an email about it explaining that I shell up because I got picked on a lot for being different when I was a kid."

This blogger friend of mine concluded his e-mail with words of reassurance that made me want to hug him through the Internet. And, so it comes full circle. People who read my blog are making me nervous. And people who read my blog are making me feel safe and loved.

I guess I'll just make the trip, and you can decide for yourself what you think. It shouldn't matter anyway, since those who have actually seen my ugliest side love me anyway.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Lessons Learned

The wedding was fantastic, and I learned so much. I attempted to summarize everything in my journal yesterday as I flew from Burbank to Portland. But the cute flight attendant (Hi, Ryan!) kept refilling my glass with complimentary wine. I couldn't focus on anything. Well, except for Ryan.

This morning at my office, I did manage to complete a list of lessons learned from my trip:

1. In spite of a horrible banging sound as my car smashes into cement, she CAN make it over the median just fine if I accidentally try to enter a highway using the exit ramp.

2. Some people in this world are nice enough to chase you through the airport if you leave your ATM card in the machine.

3. My friends from Texas are aging at a faster pace than I am. Yet I'm pretty certain I'm partying harder than they are.

4. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to get two feet of unexpected snow in the San Bernardino mountains prior to February.

5. Always bring extra money even if you think you're only going on a quick weekend getaway.

6. Bring some kind of vegetarian protein supplement when going out of town.

7. Lamb tastes like a sweet innocent victim.

8. People over 70 freak out if they are trapped in the mountains without their medication.

9. People over 70 can't walk through the snow unassisted.

10. People over 70 can pack a lot in their suitcases, but can't carry them unassisted.

11. People over 70 very much appreciate being taken care of and will reward you with extreme gratitude and love if you give them a hand.

12. I may be an attention whore, but I am also extremely caring and patient. Especially if you are over 70.

13. Getting down a mountain in the snow is not easy when your car doesn't have chains.

14. Just because a car has four tires, doesn't mean it has "four wheel drive".

15. I'm pretty good at driving in snow.

16. Flying standby and getting the last seat on a full flight is the best feeling in the world.

17. After a long weekend caring for old people in the mountains, there's nothing like treating yourself to a soak in a hot tub.

18. My bathhouse membership expired.

19. Renewal is pretty reasonable.

20. There's no place like home.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

The Perfect Weekend

I know lately it seems all I do is talk about love. I told you this would happen! It is NOT my fault. Venus is in Libra right now, people. Do you have any idea what that means? My ruling bitch planet is sitting smack dab in the middle of my ruling sign. It's beyond my control, so please cut me some slack.

Anyway, I'm sure I'll get over it soon enough. I am leaving town for a few days. I'm sure I won't think about love at all, because I am just going to be spending time in the beautiful moonlit mountains under the stars attending a freakin' wedding and sleeping alone in my romantic room at the beautiful bed and breakfast. So don't worry about me. I plan on walking around saying, "Gee, I sure hope nobody here wants a relationship. Cause I'm not looking for one. It's the last thing I want right now. I hate the idea of falling in love. I just want to be alone, for god's sake."

Think that will trick Venus?

I really do need a break from all this nonsense. I realize I've been obsessed lately. This isn't the Toaster Oven's usual permanent horny broil setting. This is an all out "When-Harry-Met-Sally-Joe-vs.-The-Volcano-Sleepless-in-Seattle-Every-Other-Tom-Hanks-Meg-Ryan-Movie" romantic seizure. It will pass. Given enough whiskey and several hours in front of my Playstation 2 with Final Fantasy X2, I'll be able to clear my head and get back to the things that are important. Regular workouts at the gym, eating better (and more) food, drinking less. All the stuff I was doing back in June before I got off track.

Unfortunately, I don't know if this weekend will help. Nine years ago I had a few nights of passion with a guy in Texas who really cranked up the heat in my oven. I stopped seeing him because he had a boyfriend already, and I was feeling too guilty. But he is supposed to be coming to this wedding and is currently unattached. What if we're staying in the same hotel? Anything could happen. It has been nine years since I've seen him, so who knows if we'll still have the chemistry.

Oh, Lord, when will you dry up this river of horniness I see before me?
(Margaret Cho homage)

The good news is, I won't have to use my cell phone to call for advice or help since some people around here just "feel my energy" and know when I need them.

Hey, I'll see you next week. I promise not to talk about love. I'll also bake those pumpkin squares, do your algebra homework and rotate your tires for you when I return.

I LOVE YOU!!! Bye!

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Hot Toddy Takes Your Calls

Hot Toddy's inbox has been pretty busy lately. I've received many e-mails from friends expressing a similar point of view that love will only come to those who do not search for it.

I feel as though I need to explain a couple things. First of all, I am not one of those guys who desperately dates anything, pardon me, anyone dumped in his path. I am holding out for someone who really captures my attention, and right now there is nobody who is making me broil. I don't compromise my basic dating requirements of honesty, intellect, physical attraction and maturity. I also don't ask for a commitment until both of us want that. In fact, I have never asked for a commitment from anyone, but I have agreed to commit in the past, when asked. Just because I blog about wanting a relationship doesn't mean I'm telling the hot bartender at CC Slaughters that I want one with him. Oh, I guess there is one person making me broil, so forget what I said a minute ago. But, I promise, I'm not desperate.

You still have questions for me? Let's open up the phone lines and hear what some of you have to say.

Go ahead caller.

Q: Hot Toddy, are you looking for someone to complete you?

A: Absolutely not. I am probably already way too complete. I think I'm a bit more than most guys can handle. I fill up a room pretty well on my own. What I am looking for is someone I can share with. I'm interested in finding someone who wants to interact emotionally, physically and intellectually with another man on a regular basis. I don't want to be completed so much as I want to exchange, share and give to someone else. Of course, I wouldn't complain about finding a rich famous guy who wanted to pay for me to travel the world with him. You know, as payment for all the love he gets from me.

Let's take another call!

Q: Hot Toddy, first let me say that you are very cute and I would totally love to date you, but I live three zillion miles away and have a partner. Anyway. Don't you think that love comes when you stop looking for it?

A: Well, I have some questions about that, and let me know if you ever break up with your partner and move closer to Oregon. The whole topic of relationships is fascinating to me. I've always been this way. When I was a kid, my Matchbox cars were divided into boy cars and girl cars. And they want on dates. When I went to the grocery store, I paired the groceries together on the conveyer belt at the checkout. I pretended they were couples going to a party. Ketchup and Mustard were pretty hot and heavy for years. Hot dogs dated Buns, of course. I never really found a good boyfriend for Carrots. Peas had a crush on Corn, so Carrots usually went solo.

The way people connect, the chance meetings, the unexpected romance - it's intriguing. I don't pretend to think I am normal. I forgot to mention that I used Old Maid cards to play "The Dating Game". Anyway.

Why doesn't love come if you look for it? Every time I have dated someone I have had this same open heart of wanting it to work. One relationship came to me when I deeply wanted it, and it was a good one that lasted a long time. For me, that instance negates the whole idea of love only coming when I don't want it. That's not ever the way it has happened for me.

If you don't ask for something, you're almost guaranteed of not getting it, aren't you? If I sit at home not looking for someone to love, I'm pretty sure there won't be many dates in my future. I believe the first step to finding love is to open your heart to it and say, without apology, "I want this, and I will have it."

Here's another caller. Go ahead!

Q: Um, hi. I hear voices in my head sometimes, and I think my phone line is being tapped by the CIA. But that's not why I'm calling. I just wanted to say that I think you are wrong. You should never say you want a relationship. Especially, don't ever say that to another person you might be interested in. They will run if you tell them that. Okay, bye.

A: Thanks, schizo! Let me explain something. Unless you are The Rock, I will not tell you I want a relationship with you as soon as I meet you. But I don't think it is wrong to express your heart's desires to someone, whether it is a friend or a potential lover.

I hear people say things like, "I really want another job. I would be much happier in a different line of work." How come nobody ever replies, "You just have to stop looking for it. Do nothing. It will come to you. Above all, don't tell anybody you want a new job! If you seem too eager, nobody will hire you." Oh, and sorry about the voices in your head, but I am not authorized to prescribe medication.

Hold on, there is another caller who has something to say.

Q: Hot Toddy, you idiot. You suck. You can't be happy on your own. You're pathetic. I'm slamming the phone down now, but you can't tell because it's a cell phone.

A: Thanks for the call. I do suck, it's true. It's one of my favorite things to do. As for being pathetic and unhappy, I have to disagree. I'm one of the most fun happy people you'll ever meet, you grouchy loser. Sure, I've been a bit more introspective lately than usual. But I just broke up with someone and, see, when I date someone I give my heart. Giving your heart sets you up for some pain, but I think it's worth it. It doesn't matter if I date a guy for a month or three months or a year, I go out with him because I like him. So, it hurts when it doesn't work out. I find this to be pretty rational behavior. You should have seen the way Mustard fell apart after Ketchup dumped her for Barbecue Sauce that one time. The thing is, Mustard met Pickles and the chemistry was undeniable. They are still together, and as soon as condiment marriage is legalized, they plan on making it official.

That's all we have time for today. I look forward to next time when we will explore an entirely different subject...

Stalkers: Are they criminals? Or just very enthusiastic romantics?


Last weekend I watched one of my favorite shows, Inside the Actors Studio, hosted by James Lipton. [Pop Quiz! True or False - James Lipton is related to the Liptons of Lipton Tea. The answer is at the end of this entry.]

At the end of each episode, James Lipton asks each actor a series of questions from the "famed Bernard Pivot questionnaire". You know Bernard Pivot, right? The guy who invented that move basketball players and ballet dancers sometimes do? Well, when he wasn't inventing movements, Bernard Pivot sometimes wrote questionnaires. Anyway. Renee Zellweger's answer to the question "What is your least favorite sound" was disturbing. She said a bored sigh was her least favorite sound.

"Oh, man. Renee Zellweger would hate me," I thought to myself as I emitted a bored sigh. Ever since this weekend, I have been obsessed with Renee Zellweger's opinion of other aspects of my personality and lifestyle.

This morning I put on my maroon and blue robe and wondered if Renee Zellweger likes those colors. I can't remember if she indicated her favorite color, but I don't think it was blue or maroon. I would have remembered that answer.

Renee Zellweger would probably like hanging out on the patio with me. She didn't specifically state "The Vortex" as a favorite destination, but she never said it wasn't her favorite place either. Her favorite sound, the sound of her dog's tail hitting the floor, is something I could probably simulate. Maybe if I used the sash from my robe to hit the floor, it would make her smile. I so want to make Renee Zellweger smile.

My favorite activity just happens to be Renee Zellweger's favorite swear word. So we're good in that department. But as I go throughout my day, I can' stop wondering of Renee Zellweger's personal preferences. Yesterday, I bought a silver ID bracelet engraved with "WWRZT" to remind me always to consider her thoughts towards me. I wonder if she would have preferred gold.

One thing I know Renee Zellweger would love is the new blog written by my dear friend Auburn Pisces. Auburn Pisces is an insightful writer, and her expressive heartfelt words would delight Renee Zellweger, and hopefully you'll enjoy them as well. Please drop by and wish her well.

*Answer: I don't know.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Sense and Sensibility

Thanks, friends, for all the comments. Many have told me that I need to stop looking for love and just let it come to me. Maybe it's just my perception, but it seems like this advice mostly comes from people already in a relationship. You make me jealous. The truth is, there is a better chance that I will become an auto mechanic than there is of my giving up on the search for love. But I appreciate the fact that you care, and maybe I am not approaching the issue with enough logic and reason.

I do have common sense. Trust me. It doesn't manifest itself when I am pitching over the waves flailing in the sea of emotion and lovesick stupidity, but after the storm passes I can be quite rational. I'm not exactly all that sane at the moment, which makes for a good blog entry, if nothing else.

I am sensibility right now. Not sense. I'm deep emotional feeling. It's all on the surface. Yesterday I cried three times before getting to the office. All three instances were a direct result of hearing a song that moved me. After work I cried once, briefly, and then made an insane phone call to someone I used to date and told him I would drive several hours to visit him for one night this week only to turn around and return to Portland so I could go to the office the next morning.

Sensibility. Not sense.

I hesitated to finish a bag of tortilla chips this week, because Pony had brought them over a few weeks ago. I wanted the bag to still be there in my cabinet. If that makes no sense to you, I can't explain it. You wouldn't get it. Remember when I saved an empty ketchup bottle to remind me of Crunchy? It's like that.

Sensibility. Not sense.

Fortunately, I have friends with sense. They encourage me to throw away old ketchup bottles. They discourage me from stalking ex-boyfriends.

They write me wonderful sentiments and words of encouragement in e-mail. Today I received this bit of hope from my friend eclecticon:

"Mr. Right might be just around a corner. That also means that YOU are a Mr. Right who's just around the corner from a lonely guy who's wondering whether he's doomed to be lonely forever..."

I know I'm someone's Mr. Right. I would be the best boyfriend in the world for the right guy. Thanks, eclecticon! You inspired me to make this list:

Top Ten Reasons Hot Toddy is Mr. Right

1. I'm not a cheater. If I commit to you, I will honor that commitment.

2. I communicate. I don't often shut people out. If something is bothering me, I'll want to talk about it. If something is bothering you, I'll want you to tell me.

3. I don't make mountains out of molehills. I've learned how to pick my battles. I'm not going to fight with you over where the end table should be placed in the living room. I won't get mad if you want Thai food for dinner even though I'm in the mood for Mexican. I believe in compromise, especially when it comes to the little things.

4. I love music and love to share great songs with someone I love. I can sit for hours just listening to music. You can play for me all the songs you love the most, and I'll listen and probably grow to love those same songs because they are special to you. I'll harmonize with you unless you're one of those nuts who can't stay on the melody when you hear harmony. If you are one of those nuts, I'll tease you about that, for sure.

5. I love sex. I can't remember ever saying, "I'm not in the mood," to any past boyfriend. Ever. Hot Toddy's Toaster Oven is always on the Broil setting.

6. I'll make you laugh. It's one of my favorite things to do. One guy I dated told me that life with me was one big comedy act. "I say that with all the love in the world," he told me. That's one of the best compliments I could ask for. The world needs to laugh harder and more often, and I'll do my best to help out.

7. I'll embrace your friends and family. I'll give them my whole heart if they are important to you, because I want to value the people you care about.

8. I'll take care of you when you're sick. I'll drive you to work if your car breaks down. I'll make you mac & cheese every single night of your god-forsaken life. Okay, so cooking isn't one of my strengths. How about I just take you to dinner?

9. I'm open to trying new things. I'm not "set in my ways" and probably never will be. I love change and experimenting and being flexible.

10. I won't give up on you. I don't know how to give up on a person, unless they ask me to give up. When a man wants me to give up, I will let him go. But not before.

Maybe I'll marry myself. I sound pretty good considering I'm insane.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Screaming Queens

This weekend, while attempting to console me during a particularly difficult moment, The Handsome Prince wiped my whiskey tears and reminded me that I came out rather late in life. I was telling him my fear that I'll never find the right person for me. I have worried lately that I might seem like a rather pathetic person.

The Handsome Prince is my best friend for many reasons. One reason is that he doesn't coddle me, but he also won't allow me to be overly hard on myself. He reminded me that I shouldn't feel pathetic for feeling lonely and not having a boyfriend because I didn't even start dating men until I was 29. Then I went right into a relationship that lasted seven years. I didn't even start dating until I found myself single at age 36. Now I am 38, and I always thought I would be firmly entrenched in a lifelong relationship at this age.

Life has other plans for me, I guess.

This Friday I am going to attend a wedding outside of Los Angeles. My friend, Carolyn, who originated the role of Hot Toddy's Fag Hag, is getting married. She was the first person I ever told I was gay. I had just moved to Dallas, Texas and was performing in a musical with Carolyn. One night I revealed my deep dark secret to her. She was delighted. Carolyn has always identified as a gay man in a straight woman's body, so she embraced my homosexuality with all her heart.

Soon after I dropped the gay bomb on her, Carolyn invited me out for a night on the town with her gay entourage. The group of about 12 flamboyant gay men were very interested in meeting me. I was what you might refer to as "fresh meat" for this brood of cackling, shrieking, very horny gay men. On the agenda for the evening was a viewing of "Priscilla Queen of the Desert" followed by a late night dinner at Good Eats.

By the time we sat down to dinner, I was feeling completely overwhelmed. I had been called "girl" all night. The pronoun "he", which I'd become quite accustomed to, had been replaced by "she". "She's cute," the other guys would say about me. "Girl, why don't you come home with me," another, um, "guy" said. Everything we talked about had a sexual undertone. The food, the straws, the silverware, the servers, and the other patrons were all fodder for sexual jokes. Our big fat gay table held center stage, and I slumped as far down in my chair as I could go.

They screamed, "We're here! We're queer! We're the most obnoxious group of screaming queens you'll ever encounter!!"

Well, they didn't really say that, but they may as well have. At the end of the night I sat in Carolyn's car. She asked if I had fun, and I started to cry. "Carolyn, I don't want to be that way. I know I'm gay, but I don't want to be called a girl. I don't want to shriek and camp it up. I don't fit in with gay men, I guess."

Carolyn just laughed and said, "Honey, my friends are weird. All gay men don't act that way. You can be any kind of gay man you want to be." I felt so relieved at this reprieve from a life of effeminate affectation. I was under the mistaken notion that being gay meant you had to "act gay". I've learned over the years that being gay just means being yourself in whatever way that is manifested.

I've loosened up a lot over the years. Now I'm the one who makes lewd remarks about phallic food and comments on hot waiters. But I always do it in my natural baritone voice. I don't sashay around, but I do stumble a lot if I've had too much Maker's Mark. I like Bette Midler, but I don't love Bette Midler. And I've never once called another man a girl.

I guess I've found my own identity as a gay man while still enjoying my community. I feel comfortable around all types of gay men now, from the most nellie queen to the butchest bear. But I no longer feel as though I have to adopt the gay mantra. In fact, my own gay slogan is much less intrusive. I am, after all, a Libra.

"I'm here. I'm queer. You don't have to get used to it, but I'm not going to change, so just tell me if I get too loud in the restaurant, and I'll try to keep it down. Can I have your phone number in case you're 'The One?'"

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Fixing Dolly

I drive a Mazda Protege that is cluttered with coffee cups, props from shows I did two years ago, directions to friends' houses, tapes (no CD player) and Mardi Gras beads. The car is green and has a big sports bra on the front. Because my car has a big bra, I call her "Dolly".

Dolly is a little bit sick, I think. She is making a very high-pitched squeal when I drive her. I can't describe the sound, but it resembles nails on a chalkboard. Actually, the car sounds a little bit like Mariah Carey.

I've been told it may be a problem with one of the belts. Pony's friend, Chopper, rattled off a bunch of other possible problems last night at the bar. I think he mentioned checking the dance belt or the bible belt. He might have said something about an antennae or alternator or alpenhorn as well.

I keep trying to pop the hood. I know that is usually the first step to fixing a car. I tried "opening the hood", but was told that is the wrong terminology. You open a door. You pop a hood. Unless you are in England. Then you do something else entirely. I think you ring the lorry or boot the bonnet or something.

Anyway, every time I try to pop the hood, the trunk opens. I tried pushing the button on the steering wheel to see if that would pop the hood. Every time I push that button, a loud blaring honk resounds. Presumably, this is an alert telling me I am pushing the wrong button. The other buttons in the car don't make any noise when I push them, so I guess the steering wheel button is the most dangerous one to mess with. I'm not touching that one again!

I've tried everything. I opened and closed the glove compartment. I even removed all of my gloves from there first. Like most people, I keep a couple dozen pairs of gloves in my glove compartment. One of my friends has a jockey box in his car. He keeps underwear in it, but he's odd. He's from Canada or Zambia or something.

Back to my problem. I would change my wiper blades to see if that's causing the squeal, but I lost the manual to my car. I've tried driving the car both with and without the keys. I've tried several different driving outfits, but am not sure it makes a difference. When I wore just my robe and a shower cap, the sound of my car was still loud but not as loud as the people on my street shouting and laughing at me.

Help! I welcome your suggestions. Now, if you are one of those smart mechanic types (you know the type - people who can make pies and do math and stuff like that) and are thinking of telling me to try reclining the driver's seat a bit more, don't bother. I tried it, and the squealing persists. The only thing I've found that seems to fix the Mariah Carey squeal is if I counteract it by playing Christina Aguilera very loudly in the tape deck.

It seems Christina trumps Mariah when it comes to squealing.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

This One's For You

I might be psychic. Or psychotic. Or something.

I had a strange sensation as I sat in The Vortex on Saturday night. I felt someone, but I don't know who it was. It was a strange sensation. I was feeling a bit lonely, and then the thought came to me that someone "out there" was lonely too. I could feel this person's loneliness distinctly. It was almost as if this person was sitting next to me and telling me about the pain they felt.

I started thinking about the people who read Hot Toddy's Toaster Oven. I know several of my readers personally. I work with a few of them. Several are actors in Portland. Some are friends who reside in New York, Missouri, Ohio, Louisiana, California...

But there are so many who read anonymously. I am sometimes shocked that I average over 200 hits a day and yet only know about a couple dozen regular readers. I would like to know more of you. Especially if you're going to infiltrate my thoughts without telling me who you are!

If you were reading Hot Toddy's Toaster Oven on Saturday night and were feeling lonely, maybe it was you I felt. Is that weird?

Icicles - by Patty Griffin
From the album "Impossible Dream"

I sing soft and low
Just like the moon
Over the snow
I hear icicles falling in the dark

We're just like anyone else
We just want a little bit
Of sun for ourselves
And a little bit of rain
To make it all grow
Maybe a minute or two
To get lost in the glow of love

There's always someone throwing matches around
Waving the shiny new knife
The first to run when the house burns down
I've seen it everyday of my life
I must confess there appears to be
Way more darkness than light
I want to fall like a pearl
To the bottom of the sea
There no one will find us tonight

It might look pretty bad
We might lose everything
We thought that we had
But shadows will pass
Smoke, it will clear
If something survives of us around here
I'll be glad 'cause I know
I was lost in the glow
Of love

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Hot Penis

There was a man at CC Slaughters last night who had a really hot penis.

When I am hot, the temperature normally rises through my entire body. But this poor older gentleman seemed to be suffering from regionalized heat. Only his penis was hot, so he pulled it out at the bar and sat there with it hanging from his jeans like a cocktail weenie only smaller. He had his coat on, so that is how I know only his penis was hot.

By the way, if you are finding Hot Toddy's Toaster Oven because you googled "penis was hot" or "hot penis cocktail weenie", welcome! I hope you will find exactly what you were looking for here!

Anyway, I debated the proper response to this poor old man with the hot penis. I considered approaching him and saying, "Sir, they have swizzle sticks at the bar if you need one," but decided against it. I just didn't think sarcasm was the right approach. I feel so sorry for old people who go to the bars looking for some action and think pulling out their gherkin is the way to get it.

Maybe I am just jealous. Now, I have never spoken about my own appendage on this blog, and I hesitate to do so now. But this is relevant to my story. My own penis, which does not have a clever name, is subject to significant size fluctuations. Am I being clear? Probably not, but I'm too embarrassed to continue.

Let's just say if my penis was hot and I pulled it out at a bar like that old guy last night, it would probably not be very impressive. However, if someone were to make me hot in that special way that many boys can, I may be more impressive than you would initially expect. Or maybe not. It depends. Apparently my claim of being too embarrassed to continue this topic of discussion was a lie. Don't be angry. I didn't realize I was lying to you until just now.

Help, I'm talking about my penis, and I can't stop typing.

What I am trying to say is that people who saw me in 10 Naked Men commented on my performance, not on my endowment. Of all the cast members, I was the only one who didn't have time to "fluff" before going onstage naked. I barely had time to rip off my clothes and put on the handcuffs and blindfold before being dragged out and thrown to my knees center stage.

By the way, if you are finding Hot Toddy's Toaster Oven because you googled "barely had time to rip off my clothes and put on the handcuffs and blindfold before being dragged out and thrown to my knees center stage", welcome! I hope you will find exactly what you were looking for here!

What is the point of this post? Well, if you can't clearly see the lesson I am trying to teach you, perhaps I should provide you with a short pithy phrase:

Don't judge an old man's penis by its size, but it is entirely acceptable to look away if he pulls it out at the bar.

That would make a good fortune for a fortune cookie, don't you think?

Friday, November 05, 2004

My Next Job!

I'm so excited! The Food Network is looking for someone to host a cooking show!

We've heard it a million times: You want your own Food Network show.
Here's your chance!

Tell us why you should win your very own TV series by sharing your
view on food and preparing your signature dish through a 3-minute
video pitch. Stay focused, be yourself, and give us a taste of your

Completed applications and VHS tape/DVDs must be received by November
30, 2004.

I'm halfway there. I've got a signature dish: Annie's Mexican Macaroni & Cheese with Smart Dogs.

Here are some notes I'm making so that I can really convey my view on food in a three minute audition video:
1. Food should be prepared by a roommate whenever possible.

2. Food should come in a box and be something that can be left unattended on the stove as I drink wine in The Vortex.

3. Food must be able to stand in the pot getting cold for three hours or more as I continue drinking wine in The Vortex.

4. Frozen vegetables prepared in a microwave are easy to make and will definitely keep overnight should you forget to remove them from the microwave.

5. The best wine to drink while cooking is Charles Shaw Merlot.

6. Maker's Mark is really good to drink as you make dinner too.

7. All vodka is good. Potters is cheap and good.

8. Have you ever had a mojito? Those are awesome.

9. I wonder if someone will buy me a Maker's Mark when I visit New York City next month?

10. It would be so nice to get laid soon.

11. The Smart Dogs can just be thrown in the pot for about a minute before the macaroni finishes cooking. Then just drain through a collander.

12. I wonder who gave me that yellow collander I have? It seems like it belonged to me and CT, but who can remember?

13. Gin works too.


What an understatement.

That's a sign in a Portland window sent to me by The Executive.

Here are some more understatements. Words fail me when I think about all the joy these people bring me...

Crazy Myron, your e-mails are very uplifting. Thanks!

Crash, your gift made my day. Thanks!

Jeff, the music you sent is coming in very handy right now.

Juju, You still give the best advice, and I loved the card you sent.

Handsome Prince, I love you unconditionally too. Meet me at The Vortex tonight?

Auburn Pisces, I'm glad you feel my energy when I need your help. You are amazing.

Hot Toddy's Toaster Oven Readers: You make me happy. I love knowing you're there for me IRREGARDLESS.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Pulling My Hair Out

A few years ago in Dallas, Texas I appeared in a show called "Lyle the Crocodile". No, I wasn't Lyle, but I did play a fireman, an old lady and a crocodile. One of my friends, Holly, played "Loretta the Cat". She was so much fun to hang out with and we used to go drink margaritas together a lot. What I mean is, we used to go drink a lot of margaritas together. A lot.

Anyway, Holly told me one night that she had a problem. She pulled her hair out to relax. Sometimes she pulled out nearly every hair on her eyebrows. She pulled clumps of hair from her scalp. She even pulled eyelashes out. I don't recall ever hearing about people doing this to themselves. So I was surprised yesterday to see a woman on Dr. Phil who does the same thing. The Hollywood actress featured on the show claimed that she couldn't stop pulling her hair out. And her name was Holly. Wait a second.

Holly, my old friend, appeared on Dr. Phil. She's working as an actress and pulling her hair out in Hollywood now. It was a shock to see her on Dr. Phil discussing the same issues she shared with me back in 1996 in Texas. It made me wonder. Do we ever get a new set of issues to work on, or are we doomed to struggle with the same problems until we finally end up on national television talking to Dr. Phil?

I wonder if I'll be on his show someday. I'm a perfect candidate for televised psychological counseling, and the commercial breaks would be very accommodating for my Attention Deficit Disorder. Plus, maybe I'd get a Dr. Phil t-shirt or something. I never got a t-shirt from my last therapist.

Anyway, we're not talking about t-shirts right now. I mean, I am, but I'm supposed to be talking about repeating mistakes. See, I have repeated the same patterns in relationships my entire life. Nobody has ever broken up with me. I am always the one to end it. But I have never once split with someone I didn't still love. When I end a relationship, it always hurts because it doesn't ever really feel over in my heart. I feel like I'm giving up on people.

Nevertheless, I can't bear the idea of being emotionally idle while I wait for someone I care about to come around or catch up with me. Sometimes I feel like an old lady in a casino who plays the slot machines for hours and gives up right before the payout. Then the next person comes along, puts three quarters in the machine and wins $100,000. That's why it is so hard to give up. What if the next pull wins me the jackpot?

I must be very hard to keep up with emotionally. Having no filters and throwing open my heart so quickly often makes me vulnerable to heartache. People who know me well always tell me this is not a flaw. Allegedly, being such an open person is an asset, but I've yet to really see it pay off.

Crunchy told me that many people wear their hearts on their sleeves but that I basically carry my heart around in my bloody palm and shove it in people's faces. Spoken like a true stand-up comic, huh? The other night my friend, The Politician, said, "Toddy, you don't wear your heart on your sleeve. You carry it in front of you on a stick like a pinata". Great. We all know what happens to pinatas.

Sometimes it's enough to make me pull my hair out. Uh-oh.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Not Again

Yes, the rumors I started are true. I'm back on the market. Actually, I was never officially off the market, but I pretty much stick to dating one man at a time, so I hid myself away in the stock room for a couple months.

Still, I think I need a minute to catch my breath. Based on my horoscope, it looks like I might not get one:

11/03/2004 Transiting Venus Conjunct Natal Venus
This is not the best time for dealing with the practicalities of everyday life, but it certainly is conducive to meeting someone whose touch melts you or whose silky voice makes you swoon. If you're not careful, you may be hit like a ton of gooey, yummy chocolate by love at first sight.

She is such a bitch.

I have to admit, the idea of being hit like a ton of gooey, yummy chocolate evokes images of The Rock. Maybe I'll meet an African-American bodybuilder? Caramel would be just as good as chocolate given my passion for Asian men. Hell, I even like white chocolate.

As long as he's gooey and yummy, I won't complain.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Open Letter to God

Dear God:

We haven't talked in a while, but I have an important favor to ask you. Can you please let us have a new leader? President Bush claims that he's your guy, and I'm sure that embarrasses you terribly, so please prove otherwise.

My mother said that you don't want us to hate. She also said you don't want us to say "shut up" or "crap", which I never fully understood. Yes, I digress, but it's your own fault for giving me Attention Deficit Disorder, isn't it?

Anyway. I'm sure it is your preference that we don't hate. On the other hand, it seems certain that we are expected to hate some things, right? I've yet to meet someone who doesn't hate projectile vomiting, for example. Most people I know also hate lima beans and Andie MacDowell's acting. I am pretty sure you will be understanding if I tell you that I hate our leader. I'm sorry, but I do. I can't look at his face for four more years. I can't listen to that voice. I can't bear to be oppressed by him and have the rest of the world hate us so much due to his policies.

I can, however, promise you that I wouldn't hate him so much if he weren't the president. I wouldn't hate him so much if he were just a dumb guy on television who said stupid things like, "I've coined new words, like 'misunderstanding' and 'Hispanically'". But he's not just a dumb guy on television. He's in charge, and that scares the crap heck out of me! Please make him just a dumb guy again so that I can hate less. I don't want to hate.

God, there are tons of other requests I could make from you, but this is the most important one: Please give us another president tonight. And thank you, God, for reading Hot Toddy's Toaster Oven. Leave me a comment sometime!

Monday, November 01, 2004


As we enter this season of thanksgiving, let us ponder our blessings. Let us contemplate the joys of our lives and focus on what we have rather than what we lack.

For example, I am thankful that no matter how bad my life may seem at times, I am most certainly not a candidate for ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

Last night The Handsome Prince climbed into my bed and under my down comforter with me to watch the popular reality show. Last night we experienced the plight of The Ali Family. The mom lives with her two sons in a cramped attic. I am so thankful that I haven't had to sleep in an armchair for the last 12 years as she has. Although I did spend a night facedown on the sidewalk near the bar in Dallas, Texas one evening, that was my choice. I could have just as easily stumbled all the way to the alley behind the 7-11 and passed out there. But Lucy Ali had no options.

I can't watch this show without crying. Actually, I can't watch Candid Camera without crying, but that's beside the point. ABC dredges up the most tragic people and, in cooperation with Sears (Good life. Great Price), showers them with home improvement manna from heaven. Next week I will need a whole box of tissues to watch the story of the deaf parents who have a blind son. This show would drive me to drink if I wasn't already such a lush.

In addition to being thankful my life doesn't suck as much as the poor souls on this show, I'm thankful that Extreme Makeover: Home Edition was not around during World War II. Think about it. Ty Pennington, the buff but big-mouthed host of the show, opens every episode by shouting into a megaphone at the families huddled trembling in their homes. Had Ty Pennington and his noisy megaphone been around during World War II, this startling scenario would most likely have occurred:


Voice over describes how Otto, his wife, his children Anne & Margot and several friends and acquaintances have lived in squalor within a secret annex while hiding from the Nazis for over a year. The crew then demolishes the annex outfitting them with new furnishings, lots of bright sunny windows, a laptop for Anne so that she can blog, and maybe even a rooftop hot tub...

I know, I know. Now I've gone too far.