Obscurity Knocks

Earnest, empathetic, industrious, unpretentious, gay Virgo in Milwaukee with a great life, amazing friends, and a wonderful family.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

My pretend boyfriend

I'd very much enjoy getting to know him in real life.

Two movies

Ruben already wrote about both of these films, so I won't add much.

Hot Fuzz. Watched at Barbie's final "Movies Under the Stars" for 2007. Entertaining, but I couldn't get as into it as much as my friends. A fun and smart screenplay was damaged by too much gratuitous violence in the last third. 3 stars.

Madinusa. Saw at Milwaukee International Film Festival. One of the most awful movies I've seen in years. What was the point, other than misery for all of the characters? I couldn't come up with any theme or redeeming quality in this obtuse film. 1 star.

Mad Planet

After the symphony I had a message from Brad letting me know that he was going to Mad Planet. Since I hadn't been dancing since April, I decided to join him. It ended up being Brad, Todd, Michelle, Kelly, Jennifer E., and me.

They played some good songs, including "Let the Music Play" by Shannon, "Sheila Take a Bow" by The Smiths, "Love Song" by The Cure, and "Desperate But Not Serious" by Adam Ant.

I called John Mo on my way home from the symphony. He's a Sagittarius and my friends told me that Sag's like spontaneity. Unfortunately, John didn't answer. I left a message saying that on the spur of the moment I decided to go dancing at Mad Planet and wondered if he's like to join me. I said to call if he wanted me to pick him up. Unfortunately, he hasn't called or emailed since I left him that message last night. Oh well, it was a fun night nonetheless.

Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra new season

Last night I went to the opening performance of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra's new season. They played my absolute favorite concerto, the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2. That entire work is sublime, and listening to the second movement is a particularly transcendent experience for me. The soloist was Adam Golka, who is only 20 years old. I heard him play the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 last season. I'd say that he did a better job with the No. 3 than he did with the No. 2. The No. 3 is such a technical feat, and Golka had the youth and intensity to pull it off. The No. 2 is more emotional and passionate, and I thought that he wavered a bit in some of the transitions, particularly in the second movement. I think that he may have missed a few notes about two-thirds of the way through the third movement. But he threw everything he had into his performance, and I respect that. His performance of the No. 2 will likely improve as he ages and learns to appreciate the passion of it as he gains life experience. Last night he was about an 8.5 on a 10 point scale, so I can hardly complain.

The second movement is so emotional that I was moved to tears hearing it performed live. I was overcome by the power of Rachmaninoff's exceedingly beautiful composition plus overwhelmed thinking about how my quest for a husband thus far has been an exercise in futility and wanting John Mo to reciprocate my feelings for him. It was a good emotional release, but one without resolution at this time.

The orchestra also played Barber's First Symphony, which I had not heard before. It was quite beautiful. They concluded with the Beethoven Symphony No. 5, which is certainly one of the great musical accomplishments of all-time. I was particularly struck by the cellos and violas in the third and fourth movements. Each time I hear a work by Beethoven performed, I'm conscious of the fact that the audience is not just applauding that particular performance, but also the composer's genius.

Addendum: Broadway shows I've seen

This is a supplement to a previous post, Broadway shows I've seen. I need to add:

13. Jersey Boys, 2007. August Wilson Theatre. This was an entertaining show chronicling the story of the The Four Seasons, in particular the partnership between songwriter Bob Gaudio and singer Frankie Valli. I enjoyed the musical numbers, and the show has some semblance of a plot. Overall, it was entertaining but hardly spectacular. The average age in the theatre was about 60. The people from that generation who grew up listening to The Four Seasons had much more of an emotional connection with the show than me. Since music connects with people on such a deep emotional level, it stands to reason that the generation who grew up with The Four Seasons would be more into the performance than me. I'm sure that I would have a similar reaction to a musicl about Erasure or The Cure 30 years from now.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Joseph Fiennes is hot

Joseph Fiennes is so incredibly hot. He's an actor who has appeared in many intresting films and is probably best known for playing the title role in "Shakespeare in Love." I would love for him to be my boyfriend.

I Don't Know How to Love Him

So I met this guy named J-Mo. He has an extremely positive disposition, is very friendly, and happens to be incredibly cute. He's about two years older than me. After a number of good conversations, I asked him to lunch; we went to Jimmy John's. Since that went well, we next went to dinner at La Perla at his suggestion. He bought dinner, and we talked at the table for two hours after finishing our meal. Since he loves creme brulee, I suggested dinner at Elliot's Bistro for our next meeting. We had a great dinner at Elliot's and split a bottle of wine. The conversation went so well that we ended up walking to my condo after dinner. We discovered a mutual interest in 80s Swatches and in freestyle music. So my reason for inviting him back to my condo was to show him my 80s Swatches. After doing that, we ended up sitting in front of my comptuer listening to freestyle music and watching two videos on YouTube: "Stay" by Shakespeare's Sister and "Operator" by Midnight Star. He said that "You're My One and Only" by Seduction was one of his favorite songs. I didn't have it, so I downloaded it at his suggestion. On the advice of friends, I touched his arm, hand, and leg numerous times when we were at the computer, and he didn't pull away. Unfortunately, he didn't really return the favor, so not sure what to make of that. In any event, it was most definitely the best date that I've been on in many years.

Thinking that things were progressing nicely, last Thursday I asked if he wanted to get together over the weekend. He emailed back saying that he was going to be out of town. Unfortunately, he didn't suggest getting together this week. We talked in person yesterday and then exchanged emails. He sent me a nice message this morning, but again, no suggestion of getting together.

I'm not sure what to think. It's possible that he's not comfortable with his sexuality. It's also possible that he's on the shy side and wants me to make the moves, which I'm happy to do, provided he's open to them. So far he has been, but I want to be careful not to overstep my bounds.

The more I get to know him, the more I like him. Unfortunately, he’s on the shy side and/or isn't comfortable being gay, which would not bode well for a relationship. I’m trying to be confident and positive, but then I over-analyze everything and just want to tell him that I really like him. He’s the nicest guy I’ve dated in YEARS, so it would be great if something comes of this. In other words, I worry about screwing things up.

Am I that different from most people in that I’d love it if someone told me that he liked me or had a crush on me? My friends, who I trust, are cautioning me not to do or say anything like that, and I respect their advice. But why not try to move it along to the proverbial next level. If not kissing, maybe hand-holding?

I'm thinking about it so much because, as I mentioned, the more I get to know him, the more I like him. Plus I think that we complement each other quite well and I could see us having a relationship.

Time will tell.

My confusion about how to proceed with J-Mo is the reason why my theme song of the moment is "I Don't Know How to Love Him" from Jesus Christ Superstar.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I'm Oregon, even though I've never been there

You're Oregon!

When people talk about peace in the valley, they often think of you.
After all, you've inspired countless people to traverse rough terrain in search of you
and even think about you when playing popular computer games. Are you really up to all
the hype or are you all wet? You take shelter from the storm beneath trees, felled by
either loggers or beavers. If you were a shade of pink, it would be salmon.

Take the State Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Mikel will not be amused by this, seeing as how he's from Oregon and I've never even been there. But that's too bad because he has a boyfriend and he still won't link to my blog from his blog.

As Nate pointed out, I'm probably more like Maine than Oregon: rocky shores, more harsh weather, yet beautiful in its own unique way.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Walt in Bethlehem, PA

When I was in graduate school at Lehigh University circa 1996-1998, I lived at 427 Seneca Street in Bethlehem, PA. The house immediately next to the flat I rented was owned by a guy named Walt. He was a stockbroker who drove a black Mercedes sedan. Walt bought this beautiful house and worked hard restoring and remodeling it. He did much of the work himself but hired contractors for major projects. In any event, Walt was in his late 20s at the time. I was 22-24, and not as bold or confident as I am today. Walt was one of the hottest guys I've been fortunate enough to lay eyes on. He had short-cropped sandy blond hair, blue eyes, a slender yet muscular build, and shaved his chest. Walt wasn't shy about working in his yard shirtless. He mowed the lawn, pulled weeds, and washed his Mercedes shirtless. It was quite nice to have such a handsome man living next door. Unfortunately, I was rather shy back in my early 20s, and I never said more than hello and a comment about the weather.

In the summer of 1997 things got even more interesting next door when one of Walt's friends moved in with him. Peg, my landlady, said that it was to help Walt pay for all of the renovation projects. I can't remember the roommate's name, but he drove a BMW 325 sedan from the late 80s. He had thick, dark, short hair, incredibly hot legs, and he also shaved his chest. I could tell because, like Walt, the roommate wasn't shy about being shirtless. The roommate was a runner, and I'd oftentimes see him on the Lehigh River canal towpath when I was riding my bicycle or running. I could see his chest stubble, which was too hot for words.

One summer evening Walt and his roommate were outside washing the Mercedes and the BMW. Both were shirtless. This provided me with "material" for months, and still brings a smile to my face 10 years later.

I wanted Walt and his roommate to be gay, but I wasn't sure. There would sometimes be women who came to the house, but so far as I could see, none ever spent the night. Well, maybe once, but it could have been Walt's sister. Who could say?

I visited the Lehigh Valley's only gay bar, the Stonewall in Allentown, just once during my two years living in Bethlehem. I was sitting at the bar alone, the door opened, and Walt and the roommate walked in. I almost passed out. My heart was racing, my hands were trembling. Did they see me? Yes, they saw me. Should I say something? What would I say? Unfortunately, I was too afraid to say anything. The Steve of 2007 looks back at the Steve of 1997 with frustration and says, "get some cojones." Alas, I missed my opportunity for anything to happen with Walt and/or the roommate.

Maybe they were gay. Or maybe they were just enlightened guys. Who knows. I wonder what Walt and the roommate are doing these days. I wish that I had Walt's last name so I could look him up and thank him for providing such great eye candy when I lived next door.

Birthday reality

One of my friends had a gentleman caller sleep over last night and showered with said gentleman caller this morning. Another friend left on a romantic getaway to Hawaii with his boyfriend this morning. Yet another friend made out with a 22 year-old guy on Friday.

This afternoon I made a recipe called "better-than-sex casserole." I'll be eating it with Dave and Sara tonight. I asked Sara to make brownies. So even though I have no boyfriend, I'll be eating well tonight.

Birthday presents

I received some great presents last night.
#1 - a gift card
#2 - "Slutty Girls," an aptly titled CD from Ruben and Mark (well, not sure how aptly titled since I haven't even kissed a guy since last fall)
#3 - "Ladies First," a CD from Ruben and Mark
#4 - one of numerous cards to include references to alcoholic beverages using the word "bitch"
#5 - a stuffed letter S (for Steve) from Sarah French. This "luv letter" is the most unusual gift I've received in quite some time.

Classic Slice photos

Here are some photos from my birthday dinner at Classic Slice in Bay View:

#1 - with Jennifer E.
#2 - Sarah French, Michelle, and Ruben
#3 - John M. and Kelly
#4 - Dave H. (his t-shirt is awesome) and Barbie (with the classic Swiss Miss braids)
#5 - Mandy and Mark, who is doing his best impression of yours truly

I am 34 today

Today is my 34th birthday. I can remember when I thought that 34 was old; not anymore! True, it's not young, but it's hardly old. The fact that I don't have a boyfriend on my 34th birthday is potentially depressing, yet I'm not down at all today. I'm fortunate for many, many reasons: I'm healthy; I ran 20 miles yesterday and it felt good; I'm going to run my fourth marathon on October 7; I have a good job and great co-workers; I had a delicious birthday dinner with my parents, brother, and sister-in-law last week; I had a birthday dinner at Classic Slice last night with John M., Sarah French, Kelly, Mandy, Jennifer E., Michelle, Ruben, Mark, Dave H., and Barbie; and Nate and Lesley both called today to wish me a happy birthday. I'm truly grateful for my loving friends and family - that's the best birthday present of all.

Random photo

Here's Lesley and me atop a fake cow at the 2003 Wisconsin State Fair. We were clowning around at the Herb Kohl milk stand.


Here are two recent photos of Abby, my incredibly cute niece. She's adorable!

Rice cooker

This is a photo of Nate holding a box containing a rice cooker. Those who know him can complete the joke on their own.
On a completely separate subject, I'm glad that I'm not ashamed to be gay.

Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers at Ruben & Mark's wedding

Amongst the alcoholic beverages provided at Ruben and Mark's wedding, the surprise hit were the Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers. I particularly enjoyed the strawberry daiquiri flavor.
Back row: Michelle, me, Nate, John M.
Front row: Andy, Kelly

More Ruben and Mark's wedding

With Ruben and Mark at their wedding reception. It was a memorable and fun day.

More Ruben and Mark wedding photos

#1 - With Anne and Brad. Anne's "girls" were looking extra great.

#2 - Barbie and Nate (aka Queen Boots of Orange County)

#3 - With Ruben and Jennifer E.

#4 - With Barbie. I loved her dress at the wedding.

Ruben and Mark's reception

After Ruben and Mark's ceremony, I changed out of my suit because those newlyweds put us to work. We had to get their reception set up and put together. Our group of workers included Michelle, Jennifer E., Nate, John M., Sarah French, Andy, and Kelly. I must say that we did a great job and everyone pulled together to make things happen. Ruben and Mark were pleased with how everything turned out, so we felt good about our labors.

Last photo (clockwise): me, Michelle, Nate, John M., and Sarah French.

Ruben and Mark's wedding

Even though I'm a big 'ol 'mo, Ruben and Mark's wedding was the first same-sex marriage I attended. The nuptials took place at the Unitarian Universalist Church West in Brookfield. You've got to love the UUs (and the UCC) for being so gay-friendly. It was a beautiful ceremony that included a rendition of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time." Congrats, Ruben and Mark! You provide hope that someday I'll follow in your footsteps by finding the right guy and getting married.

Novak Djokovic

I would be remiss if I didn't mention Novak Djokovic in this series of tennis posts. This 20 year-old is quite the phenom. He's presently ranked number three in the world, an achievement that he has rightfully earned. The Serb had an amazing run in the US Open, reaching the finals and losing to the machine that is Roger Federer. Similar to Roddick's match against Federer in the quarters, if Djokovic would have been playing anyone other than Federer he would have surely won. Instead, Federer prevailed 7-6, 7-6, 6-4. Djokovic watched seven set points slip away, which is testament to Federer's greatness. It was an excellent match to watch, but incredibly frustrating since I was pulling for Djokovic to win. I'm confident that we'll see Djokovic win a major in the next year or two.
In addition, Djokovic is incredibly hot and isn't shy about prancing around shirtless. Wow, would I love to be the object of his affection.
Dokovic also has a winning personality, which came across in spades at the US Open in his hilarious imitations of Maria Sharapova, Andy Roddick, and Rafael Nadal. All can be found by entering Djokovic's name into youtube.com

US Open notes

Justine Henin is unquestionably the best women's player. Her style of play is beautiful to watch, and I've never seen a more perfect backhand. She beat both Serena and Venus Williams on her way to the US Open championship. Not only is Justine one of the best to ever pick up a racquet, she has real class.

Even though he retired in his fourth round match versus Andy Roddic, Thomas Berdych is a player to watch. I was impressed watching him defeat Simone Bolelli in the second round and Fernando Verdasco in the third round.

Jelena Jankovic, one of the highly touted Serbians, is an excellent player, and she also has a sparkling personality. I'm sure that she'll win a major before too long.

I wonder if Andy Murray will ever become a top 5 player. He throws everything including the kitchen sink into his game. Sometimes that works, but he oftentimes self-destructs on the court. I enjoyed watching him defeat Jonas Bjorkman in the second round in a great five setter. However, Murray has battled injuries this year and hasn't improved as much as his counterparts in their early 20s. I'd like nothing more than to see Murray become the first Brit to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936.

When not attending matches in person, I prefer the USA Network television coverage (weekdays) to that on CBS (weekends). The team of Ted Robinson, John McEnroe, Tracy Austin, and Jim Courier on USA is better than Dick Enberg (who is a living legend, but Ted Robinson has better knowledge of the game), Mary Carillo, and McEnroe in CBS.

How many people in the United States feel about the NFL and the NBA is how I feel about professional tennis. I can't get enough, particularly during the four majors. And being at the US Open in New York is an amazing experience. I could never sit through half of an NFL game, let alone an entire 3.5 hour ordeal. I just don't like football at any level, professional or college. I do enjoy college basketball, but wouldn't dream of watching an NBA game. No hockey, either. And if I go to one Brewers game per year, that's plenty. But tennis is a different story. I love how the game combines the physical and the intellectual, and how ultimately it's personal victory or loss on the court.

Jimmy Connors

Here's a photo of my dad and me in front of the Jimmy Connors plaque at the Court of Champions at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Jimmy has been coaching Andy Roddick for just over a year. The teaming of these two has been interesting and fun to watch. Jimmy had been out of the public eye for years, and it was great for tennis fans when Roddick brought the entertaining Connors out of his self-imposed seclusion. Jimmy has always been a showman, and that remains true today. Watching Roddick live at the US Open, I always look over to Jimmy in between points. There's no question that Jimmy is still a passionate guy. having Jimmy back in tennis is good for the sport since it adds some much-needed personality to the game. Roddick and Connors have similar personalities, and it's been fun to see Jimmy helping Andy become more comfortable with his game. Andy has the misfortune of playing at the same time as Roger Federer, who is probably the best tennis player in history. The Roddick v. Federer match in the quarterfinals of the US Open was frustrating to watch. If Roddick had been playing any other player, he would have certainly won. But against Federer, who seems almost more machine than man (emphasized by his all-black Darth Vader-esque outfit at evening/night matches at the Open this year), Roddick lost 6-7, 6-7, 2-6. You know that Jimmy and Andy downed a 12-pack (or more) of beer after Andy's loss to Federer. There have been rumors, one of them here on kennethinthe(212), that Roddick and Connors would part ways, but that has yet to happen. I, for one, hope that Andy keeps Jimmy as his coach for a while because it makes the game more interesting. Plus it's fun when a smug married like Kenneth is wrong.

photo wall at National Tennis Center

The photo wall at the Billie Jean National Tennis Center is a popular attraction for visitors attending the US Open. I had my picture taken "with" James Blake and "with" Andy Roddick. We saw Roddick defeat Jose Acasuso, and we were at the match where Blake beat Fabrice Santoro in five grueling sets. It was the first time that Blake had won a 5-set match. The Blake v. Santoro match was ugly to watch, plus it didn't end until after midnight.

Serendipity 3

Michelle is all about Serendipity 3. Yes, it's a total tourist trap because of the John Cusak film of the same name (without the number 3). However, the food is good and the desserts are out of this world. On her recommendation, I ate there in 2003. I returned a few weeks ago, and had to end the meal with a huge hot fudget sundae. Yummy!

Top of the Rock

My parents and I at the Top of the Rock rooftop observation deck, Rockefeller Center.

A few final photos from the shower

The first photo shows Andy and Michelle. It was rather momentus that Andy showed up, because since his 35th birthday in October 2006, he's been in a self-imposted seclusion. So it was nice to see him, and I think that he had a good time.

As befits a woman of her Leo-ness, Michelle sat on a high stool and oversaw the festivities. You can see John M and I paying her homage and doting on her every word.

Ruben and Mark shower photos, the evening progresses

Additional photos from the Ruben and Mark wedding shower. After everyone arrived, we had a champagne toast in Ruben and Mark's honor. After all of the stress of putting the shower together, I found particular enjoyment from my glass of champagne. So much so that I finished off about 1/3 of the second bottle by drinking it directly from the bottle.
I somehow knew that as the host, I was expected to give a hostess gift to everyone. I found some crazy notebooks in the back-to-school section at Target, so everyone went home with a cool notebook.