Thursday, November 08, 2007


Sunday could not have been more different than Saturday. The day was clear and chilly and the sky was as blue as blue could be.

Tate had risen early and called me up to let me know he was ready to stretch his legs so we met up fairly early and decided to take a walk around Beacon Hill.

Making pigs of ourselves on BBQ the night before seemed to have recharged our batteries. And so I once again drove the hapless Tate through the streets, bloviating at him. I was able to point out such historic sights as a townhouse on Mt. Vernon Street where I had once had some of the most boring sex of my life. The only reason I remembered was because the place had been so beautifully decorated. Tater wisely guessed that I was screaming such endearments as "Where did you get that carpet?" during the throws of passion.

The disappointments of the day were that both Gavin and RG were unable to join us. I feel particularly bad about Gavin's weekend long indisposition. Really, he was the impetus for this gathering when he announced he wanted to come to Boston for the weekend to go to a Celts game and things snowballed from there. I really didn't get to spend as much time with Gavin as I would have liked and will have to live with communicating via email for a while until the next time the bloggers gather.

As Tate was being mercilessly pontificated at about the Hill and it's significance in Boston history and more importantly the tawdry history of my now defunct sex life, the phone rang and it was the Farmboyz. The were over at the Public Gardens and ready to meet us for brunch. Tate foolishly thought that respite was at hand but after meeting the boyz at the ass end of George Washington's horse, encouraged by the prospect of fresh victims, I began a forced march up Charles Street, running my yack at a mile a minute until my hapless companions were ready to drop from hunger.

I am not a completely merciless Ganome. I had actually hoped to go to a landmark greasy spoon called The Paramount, however there was a long line of yuppies waiting in line to be ironic about their eggs and hash browns.

I was beginning to understand how the Holy Family must have felt in their search for an inn. I of course in my starring role as the jackass.

So the forced march continued. After a couple more instances of hopes that food and rest were dashed we finally chose a place on the one saving grace that it presented. There were empty tables.

Since having to wait over long for food was a major theme of the weekend, the staff at this little eatery seemed to have got the memo and ignored us. I was starting to think that this place somehow existed soley to lure in expectant and hopeful diners only to torment them with the prospect of food and have them ultimately leave in disgust.

As chance would have it my bb sized bladder was calling for attention and I went in search of the rest room that they claimed to have, which a sign proclaimed was only for the use of patrons. I went up to the counter to determine the location of this exclusive convenience and also informed our hosts that we would like to order.

They seemed perfectly able to direct me to the bathroom, but seemed a bit confused by the concept of paying clients. None the less we did eventually manage to get a waitress and ordered what turned out to be an adequate if lack luster meal. The dessert case however looked very tempting, and having blown my diet out my ass by this time, I ordered the chocolate cake that appeared to feature cake, mousse and ganache. This was my downfall.

Having rendered myself into the condition of a python that has just swallowed a whole pig, the Farmboyz seized my lethargy and fled to Newbury Street to do some shopping and Tater had to get back to his hotel in order to check out and get off to the airport.

We said our goodbyes to the Farmboyz and I walked Tate back to his hotel and we said our goodbyes in the lobby and parted with a big hug.

The weekend was exhausting and I haven't had such a good time in ages. Handsome is as handsome does and all of the guests were easy on the eyes and easy on the soul.

Really, it was a peculiar situation. Meeting people you essentially have only a long distance contact with and then when you meet in the flesh, there is an ease and genuine connection.

Father T has a theory that what attracts us and allows for this ease of movement between the virtual and the real is that we are all curious people. We are interested in other people and their ideas and what makes them tick. I think there is something to this idea and I am looking forward to meeting up with these characters again and hopefully with some additions. Lynette consider yourself put on notice! No more excuses.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Fortune Cookie

I got this in my daily dose of spam.

"It is the size of ones penis which determines success"

Is it just me or does this look like a fortune cookie motto?

Saturday (part 2)

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is an eccentric institution to say the least. It is an Italian villa that was constructed by Mrs. Garnder to do double duty to serve as a museum to house her collection of Renaissance art as well as to be her home. It is located in Boston's Fenway neighborhood, behind the MFA and at the time of it's construction looked out over the city dump. The land which was largely a tidal swamp was filled in and now is part of the Emerald Necklace park system and a residential area.

The Niece and I having seen Tate and Gavin off at the streetcar stop headed over to this oddball museum.

Once you have made your way through the admissions area and been exhorted not to take pictures, talk on your cell phone and to check your bags and coats you are greeted with an atrium sculpture garden.

As part of Mrs. Jack's rather complicated will, the museum has it's own greenhouse and a staff of gardeners to continuously refresh the atrium with set pieces, each display dictated down to the last plant changing with the seasons in an order dictated by the will.

The will is as much a part of the museum as any of the artwork. It is an amazing documentary example of how dictatorial one could be at the beginning of the 20th century if one had enough money. Among the provisions are the terms that none of the exhibits are to be changed in any way, (Mrs. Jack had decided where objects should be placed and no others opinion mattered) and that no art was to be loaned or removed. If any of the conditions of the will were broken, the collection was to be broken up and all the art was to be sold. This caused a small flutter in 1990 when the museum was robbed. 13 works were stolen from the museum in a bizarre turn of events, where the robbers presented themselves as Boston Police officers investigating a call and proceeded to tie the guards up and went on a shopping spree. There are a number of theories about who paid for this heist and who received the art, but in fact it remains a mystery and it can only be hoped that eventually the paintings will find their way home to Boston.

The Niece is an engineer by training and managed to avoid art education, therefore the museum was all new and the it's collection were all a fresh experience to her. I gave the poor woman a crash course in renaissance and late medieval art. I told her how Mrs. Jack and her agents stripped villas and palazzos of architectural details to ornament the building. We wandered up the 3 floors past dimly lit tapestries examples of religious art and depictions of classical mythology. I pointed out one set of wrought iron railings that are actually a pair of ornate headboards, where from I have never bothered to find out

With the gloom of the day and the controlled lighting of the facility it was all a bit spooky, the galleries all in a half light. I made sure that we also visited the Sargent portraits of our hostess and told about the, at the time, rather scandalous nature of the famous portrait of Gardner and her famous pearls.

We made our way finally back down to the ground floor and ended our tour with El Jaleo. It wasn't planned but it was a sufficiently dramatic end to the tour, standing in the Spanish Gallery looking at on of John Singer Sargent's greatest works.

But, by this time the hour was getting close to our rendez vous with the others at Redbones in Davis Square.

We took a short break stopping at the pigsty that I call home where Alice pretended to by shy when introduced to the Niece. It was good to get off my feet for a few minutes. I was enjoying myself but I was also starting to flag a bit. After about a half an hour it was time to head off to the T and over to Somerville.

In some ways this was a new experience for me. Hitherto I have only enjoyed the artery clogging goodness that is Redbone's BBQ via take out. I had never actually sat down in the restaurant and so I learned some very important things.

One being that it remains wildly popular and by the time we got there at 6 it was already packed. I also found out you have to leave your name with the hostess and the EXACT number of people in the party. You will not be seated until all of your party has arrived. This was a bit of a problem since I didn't know exactly how many of us were going to be there so I hazarded a guess at 8 and waited for the others to show up.

The first to arrive was Atari, followed shortly by the Farmboyz who had gotten slightly lost on the way from the T stop, but managed to find their way there. I introduced the Niece and people started talking. The topics ranged from urban living, cell phones and the idiots who use them, SUV sized strollers and the evil yuppie assholes that push them and the sensible idea of controlling motor traffic in densely populated urban areas, and the best places to find cheap sex and the conventions thereof in different areas. RG arrived and the talk continued to flow as we were increasingly jostled by the throng either waiting to be seated or out for a Saturday evening drink or 3.

Tate had not yet arrived and I was starting to wonder. RG and I went outside so I could call and we could take a much needed cigarette break. My call went straight to Tater's answering service. All we could do was shrug and hope Tater was on the way and we headed back in to rejoin our companions. We continued to wait and I have to admit, my good humor was starting to flag. I was tired and hungry and by this time the happy crowd of would be diners were starting to get on my nerves.

RG and I went back outside and I tried Tater again. Once more I got his service. At this point I really was getting concerned. I also was getting crankier and I am sad to say expressed this to RG. Fortunately, RG tends to be good humor itself and did the right thing which was to ignore my bad humor. He suggested we just go in and tell the hostess that there were only 6 of us and we would deal with the situation when Tater arrived. Just as we turned to go in, my phone rang. It was Tater. He had been unable to get at cab and had braved the T. He had made it to Davis fine, only to be grossly misdirected when he asked for directions. Between his bad directions and some triangulation via cell phone we met up on the corner of Elm and Chester right near the restaurant. Gavin was not well enough to join us, so I amended the count with the hostess to 7 and good humor was restored.

After all, with such great company how could anyone maintain a bad humor. We were soon seated and began to peruse the menu. We had a cute somewhat goofy waiter. The Niece took pictures of the group and at one point the waiter took a shot so that the Niece could be included in the photos. Dinner got ordered conversation continued and shortly food was on the table. I was not the only one who was hungry it would seem. With the arrival of the plates, silence descended on the table as we all tucked in.

Everything that was on my plate was as good as I remembered, especially the cole slaw. This may require a little explanation. For some reason that I have never understood, Bostonians seem to think sugar is a necessary ingredient in cole slaw. I personally consider this an abomination. Redbones has not bowed to this perversion and it's cole slaw is still crunchy and tangy.

Everyone cleaned their plates in short order, with the exception of RG and Atari, who had ordered the hungry man plates and wound up with the next days lunch in take away bags. We are talking about serious, ovehanging the sides of the plate territory here. A bit more conversation and then time to get out and make way for other anxious diners. Outside the restaurant, RG talked one of the smokers standing outside to take our picture and you can see it over on his blog. By this time, we could see that the heavens had finally cleared and it was a relief to see stars in the cold night sky.

Father T and C decided to stop at Starbucks for some coffee and dessert, and the rest of us were ready to head off.

The T was unusually cooperative and before we knew it we were on a train headed back to Boston. There was more talking and joking around and Tate, the Niece and I said good-by to RG and Atari at Park Street as they headed down one more stop to make their connection for the Orange Line. I directed my charges to the correct platform, with the promise of seeing Tater again in the morning and then was up the stairs and on a street car pretty quickly myself.

I barely remember the walk home from the T stop and I got through the door of the pigsty at about 9:00. I swear I was asleep before my head hit the pillow. It had been a great day in spite of the weather all because of the great company.

Saturday (part 1)

I got home on Friday night well past my bedtime and went into my fractious 5 year old act. I have become a creature of habit and if I stay up too late I have a hard time getting to sleep regardless of how tired I am. I was up and down all night, until finally at around 4:30, my usual rising time I gave up and made some coffee.

Mark Twain has been credited with saying, "If you don't like the weather in New England just wait and it will change". Friday had been a clear chilly day, perfect for wandering around gawking, Saturday, tropical storm Norman had decided to come up the coast and pay us a visit. The day promised to be an example of pure New England.

As nor'easter's go, on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being "You call this rain" and 10 being, "Oh shit, we're all gonna die" it was probably a 6. A low 6. Sure it was raining and was pretty damned windy, but it wasn't that black sky, rain literally coming down in sheets, thunder and lightening, water rising up above the tops of your shoes type of day that makes you wonder if it will end, or if you will be washed out into the harbour. I don't want to down play the situation. It was nasty out. Horizontal rain, cold and raw with a miserable dark gray sky and while it could have been worse, it was far from ideal conditions for sight seeing.

After I had poured a sufficiency of coffee I poured down my throat, I sent Tater a text, not wanting to wake him if he was still asleep, asking him to call if he still wanted to go to the gym when he had achieved a sufficient state of caffeination himself.

RG called to tell me Gavin was doing poorly, having injured his back. My immediate reaction was to ask rather pointedly, "What did you do to him?" Somewhat to my surprise, Gavin's woes had been brought on by using a gas powered leaf blower earlier that week and not due to the, er, vigorous attentions of a certain blogger.

Tate called to say he was still recovering from his flight and the late hours and was going to use the hotel pool and call back when he was ready to face the world.

A little while later Tate called to say he was ready to face the day and by around 8:30-9:00 I met up with Tater in Government Center. Tate by the time I met him had wisely given up on the idea of an umbrella and we went off on what turned into a quest for plastic rain ponchos. And a quest is what it turned into by the way. I can't remember precisely, but I think it took 4 tries at different CVS's before we found adult sized rain poncho's.

We then wandered around and killed time before meeting the Niece. I called T. to see what he and C. were up to. They were opting for a quiet day and simply asked for directions to the YMCA on Huntington so C. could play raquetball.

I called Gavin to check in. He was still not feeling well and we headed back over to Government Center to pick up the Niece who had called from the entrance of the T.

So, there was the greeting, introduction and handing off of what turned out to be a very timely birthday present for the Niece. I had given her an Aran sweater, which she found herself in need of. She left Marblehead feeling adequately dressed for the day only to step off the train in Boston to be greeted with much colder weather. That actually became a theme of the day, major temperature fluctuations.

By this time middle aged bladder was calling. I voted, okay I dictated that we would run over to Faneuil Hall so I could make use of the facilities, justifying this with the fact that I had not as yet shown Tater the place.

As we made our way over City Hall Plaza the rain started to let up. Tater said that he was game to try going over to the North End to check out the Old North Church and the Revere House. We entered Faneuil Hall and started working our way through the series of buildings in search of a rest room.

As we moved from building to building the rain began to pick up again and with each successive building the rain picked up a little more. By the time we reached Atlantic Avenue the rain was once again horizontal. Even Tater's willingness to brave the elements gave out and we decided to head to the MFA. We made our way back through the market and as we got to the end of Quincy Market my phone went off. It was Gavin calling to say he was feeling better and wondering where we were. As it would happen, we were in front of Gavin's hotel and before we knew it I was meeting a handsome fellow who turned out to be him. Gavin introduced himself around and then we headed off to the T and took the train to the museum.

It is a quick ride from Government Center to the Museum on the E line and before we knew it we were at the museum.

After we got tickets we headed to the current exhibit of Japanese art, "Drama and Desire, Japanese Paintings from the Floating World" which is an exhibit of depictions of theater, courtesans and erotica. It is actually a beautiful exhibit and Tate almost got thrown out for taking pictures. Though in fairness, you are suppose to be able to take pictures as long as you are not doing flash photography and Tate was using his iPhone so there was no flash involved. I can only assume that the guard was being officious because she could be.

Once we had got our fill of Japanese art, we decided to just wander and wound up in the American wing. One of the first rooms we came to was the Copley room which is all portraiture by John Singleton Copley of Revolutionary Era Bostonians. Tate made the amazing discovery of a portrait of one of the founding drag queens. Really, none of these folks were going to be finalists in a beauty contest, but this horsey babe even had a mustache. A good deal of irreverence was expended at the expense of these portraits and Gavin had joined in and seemed to be enjoying himself.

We worked our way through a few galleries, but by the time we got to the Sargent portraits, Tate was ready for a break and by then Gavin was starting to feel poorly again.

It was decided to head out for something to eat after I suggested we could get something for lunch for a reasonable sum outside the museum. We went a short way down Huntington and stopped at an Au Bon Pain. It was soup weather and for a chain, they do serve good soup.

Gavin decided to pass on food and by the time we had finished lunch, Gavin said he thought he should head back to his hotel and take a lie down. Tate decided that he would go back over to the waterfront as well and the Niece and I decided to head off to the Gardner Museum, since she had never made it over there.

to be continued

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


After a weekend which involved eating chicken parmesan, southern barbeque, clam chowder, beer and such otherwise forbidden items as bread, butter and cream, topped off at Sunday brunch with a substantial slab of gooey chocolate cake, I decided to face the music and get on the scales before I headed off to the gym.

I have lost 3 pounds.

So much for the rewards of virtue.

Monday, November 05, 2007


Friday the bloggers came to town. I had (as it turns out, wisely) taken the day off from work. I fiddled around the house a bit and took care of a few pressing chores and relaxed a bit before people were due to start arriving. By the time 4:00 rolled around I had wandered over to the waterfront to meet the first arrival, Tater.

As it turns out he had just got settled in, but was game for heading out to see some of Boston. He had a friend's pass to get into the Aquarium and not having been there for a while, I agreed it would be fun. I love the penguins!

However, just as we were walking up a tour group of students were mobbing their way to the entrance and we decided to rethink this.

Thus began the death march. Poor Tate. I dragged that man through historic Boston, boring him insensible with the history of the city and how it was developed. Through downtown, past the common, through the Public Garden into Back Bay and eventually to our rendez-vous in the South End with Will and the Farmboyz.

We got to the Cyclorama in the South End and I gave Will a call. He had already shown up and was just at the other end of the block and we found each other and started to talk about where to eat. The cell went off and it was Father T calling to let us know they had been delayed in traffic and would be arriving in about a half hour. We had already decided to eat at Picco in the the Boston Center for the Arts, so we went in to get a table. Thus began what was to be a theme for the weekend. Waiting to be seated. We were told it would be about a half hour. It is to laugh. The boys showed up and we waited and waited and waited. Eventually, when we were ready to expire from hunger we were seated and I began the weekend long assassination of my diet.

Once we got seated though, all else was forgotten because T and C started to converse. If you ever need to be entertained by anyone with good conversational skills, the Farmboyz are your men. I got to hear all sorts of interesting tidbits about Father T, C, Tate and Will. Dinner flew by and then the Farmboyz brought us by to see the building they were staying in. Specifically, the lobby, which had been Phillipe Stark'd within an inch of its life. Merciful heavens! I will leave it to T's descriptive powers so for the moment, suffice it to say I was... uh... impressed with the use of plastic.

After a quick tour we went over to meet Atari and Monkey. We were also joined by my friends C and Michele. Will and Atari know each other and people were introduced around. Have I ever mentioned that Atari is a little hottie? Just for the record he is. (Note to Atari, the first words out of La Simpatica's mouth were, indicating you, who's the cutie?) Drinks were ordered. Drinks were consumed. At one point the subject of my X rated tattoo on my back came up and as soon as I hiked up my shirt to show off, the cameras came out. I am assuming that Tate and the Farmboyz will be posting. Will got in on the act and displayed his own rather impressive collection of ink. More drinks were ordered and my friend La Simpatica discovered that fat bartenders in gay bars are somewhat immune to pretty women when he looked straight through her and asked Monkey what he wanted. She was understandably annoyed and frankly so were the rest of us. She did by the end of the evening however win the prize, when she told the really hot barback who was clearing glasses that she wanted his baseball cap. He laughed and told her is was dirty and she told him it could be cleaned up. We all got the impression that he was more interested in her than in any of us. And possibly having La Simpatica demonstrate her cleaning skills. Ain't it always the way?

Not long afterward, people were ready to head off and get some sleep. I got home past my bedtime and went into my over tired 5 year old act and could not get to sleep. The rest of the night was spent up and down, which wouldn't have been bad except I was doing it alone. Sigh.

Next up: Saturday, Reflections on New England weather, and how we spent the day and evening during a Nor'easter.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Quick post

I will be posting in greater detail about the blogger weekend here in Boston, but in the meantime here are pictures of Tate, the Farmboyz and Will and some relatives I ran into in the lobby of the building the Farmboyz were staying in.