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Seething Cakes of Hatred

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, November 30, 2006

I Heart My Zip Code

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you that AP is back to blogging and answering all your gynecological questions. Go visit her and say hi!

Juju thinks it is funny that I love my zip code. Is that weird? But I do. I love it. My zip code has a nice ring to it. I've never loved a zip code quite so much, but it is a wonderful feeling. Can you imagine going through life hating your zip code? What an uncomfortable and unsettling feeling that would be.

I mailed my rent check last week, and it arrived at the property manager's office in several ripped up shreds. I swear the check was in one piece when I mailed it. This is a postal error, and I am blameless.

I think I should get a free month at my apartment, but they actually want me to write out and mail another check. Does that seem fair?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Andy, Drag Queens, Broken Teeth, Time Zones, and Cooking

The holiday season is a perfect time for making new friends. Last week Andy was here visiting his family, and I adopted him as my new bar buddy. Andy, who lives in New York City, joined me for the Madonna concert viewing at CC's, and I also took him to Drag Queen Family Feud on Sunday night. It was great getting to know him, and I think you should check out The Last Debate so you can get to know him too.

I am trying to claw my way out of a backlog of e-mail. Yesterday I replied to an e-mail that I received in February of 2005. I'm not even kidding. And this was an e-mail from a friend I have known for 20 years. This is a friend who took me to his house for hot chocolate that day in college after I knocked out my front tooth on the sidewalk during a rousing game of Duck, Duck, Goose. This was the friend who did not make fun of the fact that I was the only person actually playing Duck, Duck, Goose while my friends stood in a circle chatting with each other.

I am unworthy of such friends.

Last night I intended on participating in a chat session at Lovetastic.com, but when I signed in, nobody was there. Maybe it is because the chat was scheduled for 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, and I logged on at 8:05 p.m. Pacific Time. Yeah, that might have been the problem.

I may be falling behind in my correspondence, and I may be trying to live my life in a different time zone, but I do have something going for me. I am trying to learn how to cook. Actually, no. That's not the right way to word it.

I am trying to learn how to follow a recipe. That's all. I just want to make a dish from a cookbook, and I want to meet the following criteria:

1. I actually use ingredients from the recipe and don't have to find a way to improvise in the middle of preparations.

2. I cook the food for the amount of time indicated in the recipe and do not end up with a burned or semi-raw dish.

3. The food turns out tasting great. Not just "okay". GREAT.

4. I don't need a drink to calm my nerves as I attempt to prepare the recipe.

I made tuna steaks on Sunday, but I had to make about three phone calls to friends for advice in order to complete the task. Furthermore, I had to go to the grocery store twice because I forgot to get some of the ingredients in the recipe.

Yesterday I made carrot soup. It was supposed to be creamy, but I encountered several carrot chunks as I was eating it. I also added way too much salt, so it was sort of like drinking a bowl of Pacific Ocean with floating carrots.

I'm not giving up. I will triumph! Yesterday I found a recipe for Tequila Turkey, and now that I know what a cutlet is, I think I'll try it out.

Monday, November 27, 2006

I'll Miss You Till I Meet You

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving day with Juju and Metro (and his family)...
Delicious bourbon whiskey, great friends, a warm fire, and sensible portions of delectable food.

I did notice that everyone who was there had a significant other with them. I try not to notice when that happens, but I did. Thanksgiving was the one-year anniversary of my being dumped. It still stings a little bit.

I am loving my life and enjoy being alone more than I ever had. Why, Juju even told me that she hear a lot of comments at her party a couple weeks ago that I seemed very happy and looked great. That is so nice to hear.

Every once in a while, I still hear a song that makes me realize I still want someone special in my life. Dar Williams is on my iPod right now, and I'm loving her album My Better Self.

I still crave a companion, but I know that I'll be okay alone. I am still waiting for this person to show up. I have no idea who he is.

But whoever he is, I sure miss him.

I'll Miss You Till I Meet You
Words & Music by Dar Williams

I tried again. I went last night.
Another date was just night right.
And as I drove myself back home,
A little voice said just be alone,
But sometimes I think I see you in a crowd,
It's not picture perfect. You're just meant for me somehow...

And I'll miss you till I meet you,
Oh, I'll miss you till I meet you,
I miss you all the time.

I love the world just as it is.
And I won't lose my faith in it.
But there are days I think of you
Saying, "Hey, that's beautiful,
Yeah, I see it too."
It all goes by so fast, like waving hands
You want to capture things,
find someone who understands...

And I'll miss you till I meet you,
I'll miss you till I meet you,
I miss you all the time.

Can you keep me awake?
I thought you could help,
Just to feel my way,
Find my better self.

I'll miss you, I'll miss you, I miss you all the time.

The morning's gone, all dreamed away,
But that's all right, it's Saturday,
When people think that they might see
The next chapter, their destiny.
And when Monday morning comes around,
I'll get the work done, but I'll listen for the sound.

And I'll miss you till I meet you,
I'll miss you till I meet you,
I miss you all the time.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Podcast Cook-Off

This year for Thanksgiving, I decided to aim high. I decided to actually cook something.

The Todd & Pony Show Thanksgiving Special will feature a dinner party with Pony, Juju and me. Each of us cooked something delightful to share with each other.

As you know, I am not known for my skill in the kitchen, but I chose to create the following world-class cuisine...

Ladies, and Gentlemen, allow me to present Hot Toddy's Ham & Swiss Turkey Rolls:

Is this not a mouth-watering dish?

Notice the golden bread crumbs...

the creamy melted cheese...

the luscious turkey...

Here are the results of my culinary expertise.

I know, I know. Let me explain. The recipe called for turkey cutlets. I wandered the unfamiliar territory of this thing called a "grocery store" looking for the cutlet section. I did not want to ask for help, because I figured my question about cutlets would be mocked and ridiculed by the all-knowing meat counter people. So I had to rely on my own instincts, as well as a mastery of the English language.

I figured that "cutlet" must mean "a small slice", so I bought deli meat.

I realize that this is where I went wrong. I now understand that I should have prepared the recipe using uncooked turkey. Again, it is not my fault that the grocery store did not put out a sign indicating where to find the CUTLET section.

When I got home, I realized that I didn't have a pastry brush to coat the roll-ups with a light mayonnaise, which would aid in adhering bread crumbs to the meat. So I used the back of a fork, since that utensil most resembled a brush. Unfortunately, the toothpicks got in the way of the bread crumb coating process. You can't roll meat when there are sticks impeding your way (get your mind out of the gutter).

When I added the white wine, broth and butter combination (is that a roux?), to the skillet, I pretty much washed off the bread crumbs. Said bread crumbs then proceeded to form a layer of sludge in the bottom of the skillet.

At that point, I opened a bottle of vodka and started drinking. It was 1:00 p.m.

Here is another shot of my tantalizing turkey roll-up next to a photo of the prepared dish as featured in the cookbook.

They say that everyone has something to be thankful for at Thanksgiving time. If you are struggling to think of something for which you are grateful, let me help you out.

Be thankful you did not have to eat my cooking.

Monday, November 20, 2006

A Lovetastic Hot Toddy Promotion

Today, I feel like Oprah. You'll find out more about this in a moment.

A couple years ago I found myself in bed with a stranger. It was about 2:00 in the morning, and I was messing around with this person I had met online. Suddenly, his mother started pounding on his bedroom door and told him to get off the phone.

"I'm not on the phone, Mom! I have company," he shouted.

"Oh my god, she's not going to come in here is she?" I asked.

Thankfully, the man's aged mother did not come into the room. As I drove home that night I shook my head and recounted the sordid details of my hook-up. Here was a man who was 10 years older and 50 pounds heavier than his picture on his profile indicated. To make matters worse, he lived with his mother. But the worst thing of all is that I agreed to go to bed with him anyway. After all, I had driven all that way for sex, and at the time I thought bad sex was better than no sex. I felt disgusted with myself. And that was the last time I ever met someone online for a hook-up.

Every once in a while I check out online dating services. I get so frustrated when I fill out profiles that require descriptions of my preferred sexual positions, habits, preferences and fetishes. Then I have to check a box that defines my body type. Did you know there are only 5 body types in the world? Yes, it's true:

A Few Extra Pounds

That's it. Those are your options. To clarify, you must then define whether you are hairy/smooth, pierced/unpierced and whether or not you have tattoos. Once you have filled in all that information, along with the size of your penis, you can begin choosing someone to hook up with.

I have friends who met their partners that way, so I am not condemning online dating. Far from it. I'm just saying that I have not personally had success with this method of meeting guys. I quit chatting on Gay.com because I practically had to create a macro that would reply, "No, thanks. Not looking to hook up for sex tonight."

Well, I have some lovetastic news. Ryan Norbauer and David Kooy have founded an online dating community for marriage-minded gay men. You can read more about it in this Washington Blade article.

After exchanging a couple e-mails with Ryan Norbauer, I decided to check out Lovetastic, and I was really impressed with what I saw. First of all, there were no check boxes attempting to pigeon-hole my haircut, sexual positions, or body. Each profile also comes with a randomly generated interview, so no two people answer the exact same questions. I loved this feature, and I had a lot of fun coming up with my responses.

Here's the best part, and this is why I feel like Oprah today. Remember when she went nuts and gave out all those cars to her studio audience? "You get a car! You get a car! You get a car!"

Well, I have a gift for my marriage-minded gay male readers out there. Ryan was nice enough to provide a special offer only for listeners of the Todd & Pony Show or readers of Hot Toddy's Toaster Oven. (You don't need the link. You're there.)

Here is the code to enter when you sign up at Lovetastic.com: todd37

"You get a promotional code! You get a promotional code! You get a promotional code!"

That's all there is to it. Enter "todd37" as the promotional code when you sign up, and you will get a free month subscription to the site. Anyone can create a profile, but if you want to take advantage of the other features, you'll need a subscription. After you try out the site, you can decide if you want to keep your account active or not.

That's lovetastic news, isn't it? Make sure to send me a message if you sign up on Lovetastic.com! I look forward to "meeting" you there.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Crazy Friday Night

How long have you been reading Hot Toddy's Toaster Oven? If you have been reading for more than a couple years, you remember that I used to provide lots of crazy entertaining accounts of my shenanigans at the bar on the weekend, and lots of stories about random hook-ups with weirdo boys too.

Well, times have changed. Here it is, Friday night, and my plan tonight is to drink three or four vodka and club sodas and watch Barbara Walters' special at 10 pm. I'm listening to The Satellite Sisters right now, and I lit a bunch of candles. I cranked up the heat on my old-fashioned radiators (love it!) and am snuggled in for the night. It is 9:36 p.m., and I'll either be in bed in a couple hours or, at the very least, snuggled up on my couch (thanks, Pony, for the couch) and watching a movie till I fall asleep.

Maybe someday I will be "wild" again. Maybe not. My life doesn't necessarily make for good blog reading anymore, but you know what? I sure am happy.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

What I'm Into

My aunt used to ask me all the time when I was a kid, "So, what are you into?"

At first I didn't understand the question. Honestly, I'd never heard the expression before she asked me what I was "into". This was the 70's, and, at the time, I guess it was sort of a new way of saying, "what are your hobbies?"

Here is what I'm into right now:

Satellite Sisters - I have always been fascinated with siblings who come from large families. Just ask Juju. I was so interested in her large family that I even committed to memory the birth order and full names of her four siblings (including middle names) even before I met them. The reason I love listening to The Satellite Sisters is that they are five very different sisters who live in different cities, and I enjoy hearing their views on everything from politics to movies to television shows. I am not sure why I'm obsessed with large families, but maybe that is one reason I've always loved the Osmonds.

Taverncast - This is one of my favorite World of Warcraft podcasts. These guys (and one gal) have a great sense of humor. They talk about the game, but I never feel like they are geeking out too much. They are my kind of people.

Kidd Kraddick in the Morning - When I lived in Dallas, Texas I listened to this morning show on Kiss FM all the time. Kidd and Kellie have been co-hosts for about 12 years. Their chemistry is the reason I've listened to the show for so many years. I missed my morning fix of Kidd Kraddick so much when I moved to Portland, but now I'm able to listen all the time, thanks to iTunes.

WoWcast - Another favorite World of Warcraft podcast, this one is hosted by the wise Alachia. Her take on the game is more psychological than one might expect. I find her thoughts on the metaverse to be fascinating. Alachia sounds like someone I'd enjoy being friends with, and she has such a unique perspective on the game now played by over 7 million people.

The Magic Geek - It's like a little slice of home. This Kansan crew reminds me of my midwestern roots, and I find out all the latest news about movies, music, games and technologies from them. They are on top of things. Pony listens to The Magic Geek too, and he really enjoys them. They plug our show, and we plug theirs. It's a love-love relationship.

Todd and Pony Show - Every once in a while I will listen to our podcast and feel less than enthusiastic, but those times are rare. Usually it's just because I get sick of hearing my own voice. But I would say 99% of the time, I am very into the show. Our latest podcast is all about Portland, and I am proud of the way the show turned out.

Heroes - It's so good. It's about ordinary people who discover they have superpowers. And the powers they possess are really interesting. Who can resist an indestructible cheerleader or a heroin addict who paints the future? I can't wait until next Monday. It's X-Men meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Third Watch meets Alias meets 24.

Jericho - Really loving this show too. The episode this week made me cry a little bit. Not the way Little House on the Prairie used to make me cry (did you see when Laura and Mary saved the drowning puppies!?), but I did get a bit weepy. It's a very interesting show that depicts life in a small town in Kansas after a nuclear attack.

Big Love - I initially wanted to watch this show because I thought polygamy seemed like a weird lifestyle, and I wanted to gawk. Somehow, I fell in love with this unconventional family, and now I get angry with the outsider characters on the show who think polygamy is weird and who just want to gawk.

Crater Lake Hazelnut Espresso Vodka - Ho, boy. Heaven. Seriously. I tried it last night at CC Slaughters, and I am going to have to stock a couple of bottles in my bar from now on.

Girlyman - I went to their concert last weekend, and The Handsome Prince laughed at me because I kept shouting their names. "All right DORIS!! Yeah, TY!! Woo Hoo NATE!!" I simply can't wait for their next album, which is they are working on right now.

For Your Consideration Anticipation - Since the movie isn't out yet, I can't say that I'm into it. But I am into the anticipation, and I can't imagine NOT loving this movie. I'm a devotee of Christopher Guest's work, and the cast is outstanding. I hate going to the movie theater, but I'll have to make an exception for this one.

With all this stuff I'm into, how do I still find the time to play World of Warcraft?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Man Diet

In the past two weeks, I lost 3 more pounds. That means I've lost about 15 pounds since September, and I'm halfway to my goal weight. I have been walking 4 miles a day, which has a lot to do with it, but I have also changed the way I eat. I broke down and joined one of those groups where you talk about how your week went and you applaud whenever someone drops a couple pounds. I'm not really into the meeting mentality, and I squirm in my chair when the weekly gatherings start feeling a bit too cultish, but I have learned quite a bit on how much food I need to eat in order to consistently lose weight. I am finally figuring out what constitutes a proper portion size.

I attended a party this weekend, and some of my friends were joking about the cowboy shirt I wore. Around the shirt's chest area, there is a strip of barbed wire. I made a joke about having barbed wire around my heart, but it was really only half a joke. Like food, I'm learning to cut some things out of my life. Right now I just don't need a romance to throw me off track. 'Cause I'll be the first to admit that all it takes to totally derail my train is a man to distract me.

At the end of the night my friends tried to introduce me to a guy they thought I would like, but I protested and rushed out to my truck. The way I fled from the party, you would have thought there was a fire in the house. Then today at my cult weight loss meeting, the cute guy I always swoon over actually spoke to me. Juju encouraged me to go over and chat with him, but I didn't. "Toddy, he is over there by the cookbooks. Go back in there. Now!!"

She is only trying to help me remove the barbed wire, I know. But I'm not in that place right now.

If a guy really wants to get to know me, he will just have to jump over the barbed wire fence before I can even consider the idea of going out on a date right now. I'm not going to chase after anything or anyone that might distract me. I'm very busy being selfish right now. It has been a long time coming.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Too Much Testosterone

I'm back from Orlando, where I attended a conference, drank margaritas by the pool, walked a mile or two every day, and changed tires on a NASCAR. Truly, I did. I was trained by a pit crew to change tires on a race car.

That was a lot of fun. Made me want to dominate someone in sordid acts of carnal pleasure.

You know, between driving a truck and playing softball and working on a pit crew, I'm just about to overflow with testosterone. Good thing I'm going to see Girlyman tonight. They'll help keep me in touch with my softer side. And I will have a chance to spend some time with The Handsome Prince, who really just gets more and more handsome every time I see him.

Monday, November 06, 2006

December 2009

Okay. Whew. Sigh. I've cleared my head after a vigorous walk, and I'm ready to write.

I just finished a very intense workshop and left feeling overwhelmed with emotion. See, I'm at a Buddhist monastery in Tibet right now (not really, but sounds cool) and I just spent some time meditating (that part is true).

So, basically, our facilitator (I don't know what you are supposed to call them - Dalai Something?) led a group of us through an exercise in quieting our minds, becoming aware of the moment and practicing some self-talk and visualization. In order to quiet my mind, Dalai Meditation Man (Dalai M&M) recommended that I focus on a place where I have felt truly at peace. So, for the first ten minutes when I was supposed to be clearing my mind, I mentally rehashed all my favorite vacations. I spent some time thinking about how CT and I fought constantly when we were in Paris, the most romantic place on earth. Right. Anyway, my "monkey mind" was hopping all over the place, and I think it even threw some poop around, but I finally got it to shut up.

Once I reigned in my monkey, things went better. (That applies to my dating life as well. Think about it.) As I listened to Dalai M&M's questions, I felt a lump growing in my throat. My eyes grew wet and I bit my lip.

"It is December 2009. You are living your life three years from now. What does your life look like? Where do you live, and what is your home like? What work are you doing? Are you with a new company? Are you in a cubicle? Do you work at your home? Who is living with you? Who greets you at the end of a day? A significant other? A pet? Are you alone?

What are your hobbies? What do you wish you had spent more time doing for the past three years?" And with that question, the lights slowly came up and Dalai M&M finished guiding us through our meditation time.

The thing is, I could see it all so clearly. My whole life. My dream life. My house, my partner (he's awesome) and my dog. It was both exhilarating and sobering. I know that I am on the right path to have all that I've ever dreamed of, but I also know that I've been lazy in taking some of the steps necessary to become the person I want to be in December 2009.

I'm also impatient. There are many pieces of my dream life that are "yet to come". I do feel that I've been taking the steps to achieve my dream life, but I have a long way to go. Well, at least I have until December 2009, right?

One very clear goal emerged from this time of meditation. In order to make room for some new things in my life, I have some serious clearing out to do. That means a trip or two to Goodwill. How can new pleasures and treasures enter my life if I'm already bogged down and cluttered with the past? I have clothes that are rapidly becoming too baggy on me. They need to be tossed, since the body fat I'm losing is NOT coming back. I have stacks of magazines I always planned on reading someday. Face it, Toddy, you're not ever going to read the April 2003 issue of Travel & Leisure.

I can do this. I know I can. I'll spend some time planning, and I think as a result of this workshop I'll spend a lot more time meditating and visualizing. Now if I can just get my monkey mind off the tire swing!