Jun 28

Unclear on the Concept

Comcast LogoI was up late (as usual) working on a couple of web sites that I’ve been contracted to design when suddenly my internet connection went down.

It was about 3:30AM.

I noticed the cable and telephone wasn’t working either. I guess Comcast likes to be paid for their services, go figure.

I’m just really bad at remembering to pay bills.

Until of course I’m sitting in the dark, with no water and a pile of garbage on the curb… but that’s really not the point of this post.

The point of this post is that I called Comcast on my cell phone (I have apparently paid *that* bill) and went through their automated process that goes a bit like this:

“For English, Press one.
Para Espanol, primo numero dos.”

I pressed 1. I figured that I didn’t want to play with the Spanish speaking reps at Comcast.

“Please enter your phone number.”

So I did.

“For Billing Inquiries, Press 1”

Ok.

“Please enter your sixteen digit account number.”

What? If I’m calling to inquire about my bill, does that mean I really have to have a copy of my bill in front of me? If I had a copy of my bill I wouldn’t be calling, because my question (How much do I owe you?) would have been answered. Crap.

I hung up.

Let’s try another method…

So I go through all the above except I waited to hear:

“For Billing Inquiries, please press 1. For Payments, please press 2.”

Aha! 2.

“Your current balance is $0.00. To pay your bill, press 1.”

WTF? I know my balance is more than $0.

I press 0 hoping to get an operator.

“You have pressed an invalid key.”

I pressed #.

“You have pressed an invalid key.”

Crap. I hang up again.

Let’s try this again…

Repeat all the above except:

“To report trouble with your service, press 3.”

3

“For Cable Television press 1, For Internet Service press 2, For Telephone press 3”

There’s no choice for ALL of the above. So I press 2.

“Please hold for a moment.”

And then I get the cheesy music. Lah dee dah… I scribble on a note pad on the table while waiting for something to happen. Then that pleasant woman’s voice who does all the telephone systems for major companies comes on the line and says:

“If you are experiencing trouble with your Comcast Internet Services, did you know that you can get online support 24 hours a day by visiting our website at www.comcast.com.”

Here’s the note I found waiting for me on the table this morning. I wrote it between doodles at 4 am, just before I got someone to answer the phone, take my payment, and restore my service:

“How in the bloody hell can I get online support from your website if the Cable Internet Service is down and I need support? Idiots.”

Even when I’m sleepy, I’m snarky.

Jun 27

Caption Me

Things are just too heavy over here for me to get any sleep. My mind is running a million miles a minute and I can only stare at the Career Builder webpage for so long before I want to shoot myself in the head.

So here’s something fun for everyone to do…

Create a caption for the following photo:

[WARNING: THE PHOTO YOU ARE ABOUT TO SEE IS NOT APPROPRIATE FOR WORK, KIDS, PEOPLE WITH NO SENSE OF HUMOR OR OTHERWISE EASILY OFFENDED… WHAT ARE YOU DOING READING MY SITE ANYWAY??]

I stole borrowed this picture from Queerclick.

Continue reading

Jun 27

Gay Blogger Summit/Gay Blogger Clique Redux

My post(s) about the Gay Blogger Summit and the Gay Blogger Clique seems to have made me a bit unpopular.

I’ve actually been accused of secretly talking about people behind their backs.

On my blog.

Which is read by an average of over 400 people per day.

If I want to keep something a secret, I try to avoid posting it here.

So I’m going to use this post to put the whole thing to bed. I was going to respond directly to Chad’s comments on Another Update for The Week via email, but since I’ve received a couple of emails from other parties, and since I’ve been oh-so-subtly called out by Nathan, I decided that a post on my own site is less likely to be misquoted or missed.

You can call it whatever you like, a group of friends, a collection of bloggers who know and like each other… paint the picture how you like, it’s a clique.

From Merriam-Webster: clique: a narrow exclusive circle or group of persons; especially : one held together by common interests, views, or purposes.

As I said in my original post, No Fatties Allowed, about stumbling into the midst of the clique, I tried over a period of weeks to engage members of this group. I commented on posts. I sent email to some. I added blogs to my blogroll.

I got no response.

How could I have stumbled into a group of anywhere from 7-12 bloggers all of whom know each other, all of whom share the same exact policy of non-response to comments or contact from outsiders and not thought that it was some exclusive group?

How many contact attempts should I make before coming to the conclusion that the bloggers in question have no desire to respond, interact, or otherwise communicate with me?

A single comment, email, or visit to my blog by any of the clique members might have given me a different outlook.

However, don’t get me wrong, when it really comes down to it, I don’t care. I found the experience to be interesting from a social view point… that people who were presumably discriminated against, or were excluded as youth (as I would posit most gay people were) would grow up to become people who would exclude others. It was interesting in that I could make a parallel between the blog world and the world of gay clubs and even the high school cafeteria.

I wasn’t intentionally calling anyone out. Not Dan, not Chad, not Chris, or anyone else that lives in that circular blogroll. If I had meant to name names, I would have made it quite clear who I was talking about. And until now, I’d say that none of my readers had any idea who I was referring to. The who wasn’t important.

I made no statements about their characters, or writing abilities. Actually, that’s not true. I said that I enjoyed the blogs, I enjoyed Chad’s artistry and sense of humor. I found Dan’s stories about experiences in and around the city entertaining. If I didn’t enjoy the personality or characters, I wouldn’t have bothered trying to engage the bloggers in conversation.

As far as my take on the one and only podcast I listened to, I realize the distinction between saying that the featured clique members “came across as vapid, screeching queens” and “the clique members are vapid, screeching queens” is subtle, there is a distinction nonetheless.

Having met Dan and Jimmi, I can assure everyone that neither of them are vapid or screechy.

I stand by my assessment of the clique as being exclusive, whether intentional or not. And that brings me to

“The Gay Blogger Summit.”

Lest anyone get the wrong idea, my friends and I had a great time at the party on Friday night. Read my recap. Look at the pictures. Do you see the smiles? Do you see dancing, and nudity, and alcoholic beverages galore? Do you see nipple licking, hugging, and groups of people making silly faces and otherwise engaging in frivolity?

Yes you do.

That’s because it was a good party.

I’m sure that it took a bit of finesse and effort to put the event together. I don’t doubt that.

Here’s where it gets a bit icky for me… it’s obvious to me that the expectation was that all (or nearly all) of the participants knew each other already. I don’t think anyone can argue that the core group were friends. There was little thought or attention paid to people who did not fit into that group.

Several weeks ago I asked Dan if it would be possible to get a list of all the participant’s blog addresses so that I could become familiar with the blogs and the writers before meeting them. I didn’t want to spend the whole evening saying, “Gosh, I’m sorry I haven’t read your blog, I’ll check it out when I get home.”

Dan responded that he had been thinking about that, that he thought it was a good idea, and he would put it together but that a good place to start would be his blogroll.

Dan has a large blogroll, and the names on the Evite don’t match up with it. And many of the bloggers who had RSVP’d the Evite aren’t on his blogroll, including UMB, my friend Dan, or myself. (That’s not a blogroll beg, just an observation.)

A week before the event Dan published the list and I spent as much time as I could reading everyone’s site and commenting.

When the day arrived, parking was indeed a bitch. Yes, I know it is San Francisco. I’m well aware of the parking situation in San Francisco. It was a particularly hard day to find a spot, as a ballgame was scheduled and the bar was within walking distance to the ballpark.

Being a typical sports-hating homo, I know nothing of major league baseball’s schedule. And really, I didn’t even give a single thought to the fact that there might be a game. A heads up would have been greatly appreciated.

It wasn’t anything that ruined the evening. It was a minor frustration that was alleviated immediately upon the purchase of my first Grey Goose martini. I even walked in and loudly asked the question, “Ok, who the hell scheduled a ball game at the same time as our party?” Funny, right?

And then there’s the lack of nametags. I realize it’s a really silly thing when you think about it, however, I have a tendency to try very hard to accommodate people who might feel a bit nervous in social situations. I realize that not everyone has the ability to strike up a conversation with a stranger. I’ve been to several gatherings of people who have met through online forums, and I know that there are many of us geek-types are shy or somewhat socially awkward. Approaching someone who has a nametag on with their blog listed is a little touch that could have made others feel included and identifiable.

Did it ruin the party? Nope. Not at all. At least not for me.

I don’t harbor any ill feelings toward anyone. I didn’t before the event. I truly enjoyed meeting everyone. It was a bit frustrating in that I didn’t know a single person there, despite making a sincere effort to befriend many of the people in attendance prior to the party.

So I hope that this horse can now be considered exhaustively beaten. I think I do a fine job of speaking my mind without others having to put words into my mouth or read between the lines to get at some hidden message that isn’t intended.

If you’re still not convinced, then ask yourself if you really give a shit what *I* think anyway. You all have a great group of friends that love and support you and I invite you all to tell me to go to hell.

I’m sure there’s ample parking.*

* See what I did there? I brought it all home with my joke about parking. Why does no one get my humor?

Would someone please tell me the story of how Brett Cajun came to piss all over someone (is that why Darin’s shirt is wet?)?

Jun 27

Courtesy Revisited

Something interesting has been happening around here lately. My off-the-cuff mini-rant from several days ago about Common Courtesy seems to have ruffled some feathers.

Let me first say that I am certainly not the first person to take umbrage with people who do not respond to comments. A quick Google Search on the subject returns about 1,100,000 results.

I guess that I’m just going to have to agree to disagree with bloggers who don’t believe that not responding to comments and interacting on their site is an offense of etiquette.

I do want to address something that Chad said in comments yesterday (please understand it’s not that I’m singling you out, Chad, it’s just that you actually spoke up here on my blog instead of taking it someplace else…):

If one sends an email and gets no response, then yes, it’s bad netiquette. Comments on blogs are different. […]
I have my comments enabled, but I don’t expect anyone to respond to them. When they do, it’s nice, but I certainly don’t expect it.

I view comments as of equal (or even greater) importance to email. Here’s why:

  1. A commenter sought your site out, either because they are a regular reader or because they searched for something you wrote about.
  2. A commenter took the time to read your post, whether it was a topic they were seeking out or not.
    • A commenter clicked a link,
    • waited for the post to reload with the comment form attached,
    • read the comments that appear before his own (usually),
    • wrote a comment pertaining to your post (usually) and
    • THEN jumped through whatever hoops a blogger requires of his readers to leave a note. This could be anything from filling out a name and email address to several anti-spam challenges and email verification.
  3. Most commenters return to the post later to read responses from the author and/or other commenters.

After all of that, I feel the least I can do as a blogger is respond.

The thing that I find the most entertaining about the hub-bub and chatter is that THIS particular point wasn’t directed to any of the “Gay Blog Clique” members. And no one seemed to take issue with anything else I said…

The fact that you (meaning everyone, not just Chad 🙂 ) don’t respond to comments doesn’t mean that I won’t continue to read your blogs, because I may truly enjoy your writing or photos, or whatever it is you do on your blog. It does mean that I won’t comment because I won’t get a response, and no one likes talking to a brick wall.

I know, it’s a big loss.

I’ll give you all a minute to get over it.

* I would like to point out that there are some bloggers who never cease to amaze me with their ability to keep up with their comments, not only on their own blog, but on mine as well. Mist 1 gets a staggering number of comments and answers every one of them, and THEN comes here and to other sites and leaves funny comments. Avitable and Miss Britt do it too. If they can keep up, dammit I need to!

Jun 25

San Francisco Pride Festival 2007

So after all the debauchery at the Gay Blogger Summit on Friday night, instead of heading into the city for the Pink Saturday Party in the Castro, we decided to stay home and nurse our hangovers.

It really sucks getting old.

We did manage to drag ourselves out to the festival today. Hours of fun walking around in the sun and seeing all sorts of things.

Things that we wanted to see:

HotTall and YummyFierce!Oh Madame!

And things we most certainly didn’t want to see:

EwwPhew!

Matt got to meet up with the hot Canadian lawyer, Patrick, again. He was quite excited about this.

Awww Revisited

I hope they get to see each other again in the future. I have a feeling they will.

He Kissed Me!
This is Matt doing a happy skip down the street at the end of the evening. He scored a kiss. Good for him, especially since this was his last boyfriend:

Matt

I’m just playing.

I think.

Group

I always travel with an entourage.

Group

But when you’re as sexy and awesome as I am, you need the extra security.

Marathon Runner

I’m promoting him to head bodyguard.

Instinct BoysThe boys from Instinct Magazine were not only hot, but they were sweet. It’s a great magazine if you’ve never checked it out. I’ve been a subscriber for over 4 years.

Instinct Magazine

Makes you want to subscribe, right?

UMB
UMB would like you to think that he can still party like a rock star… but this is the reality:

Snooze

The whole Pride thing has become very commercial… The parade is one incredibly long moving billboard for all sorts of companies who now support (or claim to support) the gay and lesbian (and other) community.

I never watch the parade. I come to pride to be reminded that I am not alone. I just have to look around at the crowd of hundreds of thousands to know that I do belong somewhere, walking around with my friends, cocktail in hand.

KissesHappy Pride! Seeya next year!

There are more photos in the Pride07 Photo Album, along with their captions… feel free to add your own.

Jun 24

The Gay Blogger Summit

[I’ve uploaded all the photos from the event to the Gay Blogger Summit photo album. If you happen to know who some of the people in the photos are that I haven’t named, please comment them to clear it up. I was a bit tipsy and have a bad short term memory anyway.]

Big GroupI almost talked myself into staying home and forgetting all about the get together.

Dan tried to come up with an excuse why he couldn’t join us. He couldn’t think of a really good one.

Matt had to force himself to get dressed and meet us out. He had just flown in from a trip to Florida and was exhausted, but hadn’t been out in so long that he wasn’t about to turn down an invite to go to San Francisco.

UMB was just along for the ride, and hey, it’s an excuse to drink and flirt with gay guys. That’s one of his favorite pastimes.

I only have two complaints about the event. First, the bar was in SOMA, not very far from the ball park. There was a ball game scheduled, which made parking absolutely impossible. I drove around for nearly a half-hour while my friends waited inside. There was one garage within 6 blocks of the bar, but it was $40 for special event parking, and it was full. I ended up parking about a 15 minute walk away.

Secondly, when we arrived I expected there to be some sort of name tag to make identification and mingling easier. There wasn’t anything like that. A large number of the bloggers that were there (read: the gay clique I’ve talked about before) already knew each other, so they didn’t think it was necessary. I talked to Dan who was organizing the event who said that he and Jimmi decided that not having name tags would force people to mingle and introduce themselves to each other.

I pointed out that a lot of bloggers are used to interacting through a computer while in their underwear, and mingling might not be something they are exactly comfortable doing.

He said, “I normally blog naked.”

“Being naked would definitely help you mingle tonight” was my response.

Matt and Dan were already there and had a head start at the bar. It took us a little while to get good and warmed up before we could start mingling and interacting. Meaning, we need to down a few drinks to get around to it.

I got to meet almost everyone on the list of attendees. Some how I missed meeting up with Danny who comments here, though I’m fairly certain that he was standing next to our table for a while before we started mingling. We’re going to try to meet up tomorrow after the parade.

Here are some highlights:

Near Miss RevisitedI played wingman and landed Matt a super cute Canadian lawyer named Patrick. Cute, smart, foreign… I couldn’t pick anyone better for Matt. Of course if I were single, I’d have made Matt find his own date, and I’d have kept Patrick for myself. I’m a bitch like that.

 

ToastKelly and DanKelly from Who Threw That Ham at Me promised to get me into the gay clique. I doubt he accomplished that, but he did introduce me to the handsome Chad Fox who grabbed me by the shirt and said, “Jester! I admire you and your site soooo much!” And then he kissed me.

I like alcohol.

So does UMB.

Here he is shamelessly flirting with Chris from Hello Waffles.

Drunk!

Here is Chris shamelessly showing off his jockstrap.

Peek A Boo

UMB swears this didn’t happen:

Uh Oh

Or This:

Uh Oh

Kelly Slater‘s gorgeous boyfriend, Jeff, wasn’t about to be outdone, he had to show off his jockstrap, too.

Jock

I don’t really understand the whole jockstrap obsession that a lot of gay guys have… but whatever… I’ll look at an ass when it’s displayed.

I got lots of complaints that everyone had heard of me, but no one had any idea what I look like. I find that amusing since I have a large photo album on this site.

Here’s a photo of me, inebriated and clinging to Matt for dear life.

Aww

JR from Memoirs of a GayChia is a great dancer. He looks a bit like Marc Broussard.

JR

Scorecard:

  • Number of Unsolicited kisses from Strangers: 6+ – Bloggers are apparently a friendly bunch…
  • Number of Unsolicited Gropes from Strangers: 3 – Bloggers are apparently also a horny bunch…
  • Number of Unsolicited Gropes from Friends: 2 – Dan and Matt get handsy when they’re drinking.
  • Number of exposed penises: 3 – I was just too slow on the draw with the camera.
  • Number of bare asses: 4 – I only got two on camera.
  • Number of hot straight French doormen that I chatted up a lot of the night: 1 – Xavier was a lot of fun, and has a gorgeous wife who is expecting their first baby. His brother is hot, too!
  • Number of people who told me that they don’t blog, but wanted to meet the bloggers: 12
  • Number of people who told me that they had never heard of my blog: 3 – My reputation either precedes me, or bloggers are good at lying.

Dan and IanWhen we finally decided that more drinking without any food would result in something very bad happening, Matt, Dan, Ian (Matt’s friend who joined us a bit later in the evening), UMB, and I walked out and ran into Dan the organizer who was walking his dog. Apparently he lived close by…

Dan: Did you guys have a good time tonight?
Me, Matt, Dan, Ian: Yeah!
UMB:… uh.. hell yeah!
Dan: Oh that’s good. *sigh*
Me: You didn’t have a good time?
Dan: NO! It sucked. All I heard was complaints.
Matt: Complaints? It was a good party.
Dan: Yeah, complaints. (He looked directly at me when he said that.) This party didn’t turn out like I wanted. And I’m probably breaking up with my boyfriend over it.
Me: That’s awful. You shouldn’t sweat it, being the planner is never fun. You did a great job. It was a lot of fun.
Dan: Well maybe next year will be better. You’re sure you had fun?
Me: Yes! There should have been name tags, though.

I don’t mean to be an asshole. It just happens.

Jun 23

Sad

I was never aware of his blog before today, but Avitable, Amy, and Miss Britt have pointed me to NYC Watchdog’s blog.

His five year old son died yesterday following an accident at a swimming pool.

Avitable is accepting “donations” in exchange for a sidebar graphic that he will be forwarding on to NYC Watchdog.

If you don’t feel like donating, perhaps you could click over and leave a comment at NYCWD. I know that most of my readers are brilliant and compassionate people who can take the opportunity to lend support even to strangers and friends of friends.

Jun 21

Disturbing Spam

Potted Meat Food ProductI have something like 15 different email addresses. Seriously… all the websites that I maintain have at least one address that goes to me, plus my personal address, plus my “anonymous” addresses…. Mac mail does a pretty good job at filtering out spam and junk mail, but it still lets a few through.

I received this one tonight and it disturbed me. While I realize that this is not an unheard of culinary choice, the directness of the speaker was scary:

Hello my friend!

I am ready to kill myself and eat my dog, if medicine prices here (Link to Hong Kong Website) are bad.

Look, the site and call me 1-800 if its wrong..

My dog and I are still alive 🙂

I think I’ll go dial 1-800 and see what happens.

Jun 20

Hollywood is Out of Ideas

It’s the only explanation I have for the overrun of sequels of Spiderman, Hostel, and Fantastic Four and the disinterment of old franchises like Rocky, Indiana Jones, and Die Hard.

When in doubt, Hollywood simply recycles.

Hollywood makes a lot of money with this formula.

This is just a fancy introduction to some of my old posts you might not have seen before…*

Hey, if Hollywood can re-release shit over and over again, I figure I can do it on occasion too!

* I say that because they never show up in my logs, and there have never been comments there. They are lonely posts. ::sniff::

Jun 19

Common Courtesy

Pardon me while I get this off my chest… and for the record, it’s not directed at any of my regular readers.

/begin rant

  1. If people take the time to leave comments on your blog, answer them. If you are too busy to bother responding, you are too busy to have a blog. Blogs are about interaction… without interaction, it’s a billboard. I hate billboards.
  2. If you are wrong and someone calls you on it, buck up, be an adult and admit it. Deleting their comments and claiming ignorance is asinine and makes you look even worse.
  3. If you don’t know what you are talking about, shut the hell up.
  4. Finally, and this is a big one:

  5. If you’re going to steal content from my blog, even if it’s a stupid fucking meme, have the decency to acknowledge me in the post. Links are free, asshole.*

//rant

* I’d link to the post in question, but I’m not giving another link out to your blog ever again. mmmK? luv ya bye.