Obscurity Knocks

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

Monday, February 18, 2008

Wisconsin primary

The Wisconsin primary is tomorrow. I'll be voting for Senator Barack Obama. In fact, I even made a donation to Senator Obama's campaign, the first time I have ever made a financial contribution to a political candidate. I think that Senator Obama has a better chance of winning the general election in November than Senator Hillary Clinton. Plus I'm ready for new leadership in Washington and think that Senator Obama is more apt to seek bipartisan consensus that benefits real people.

My concern is that the Democrats will once again "snatch defeat from the jaws of victory." For evidence of this, one need look no further than all of the talk about superdelegates and whether or not delegations from Florida and Michigan will be seated at the Democratic National Convention in August. One thing I'm sure of is that we need to get the Republicans out of the White House; it's time for a Democratic president. I just hope that the Democrats won't louse things up again in 2008 like they did in both 2000 and 2004.

Closer to home, there's a hotly contested race for Milwaukee District 3 Alderman. I attended a debate with all of the candidates last week at Lake Park Lutheran Church (ELCA). Before the debate, I was inclined to support Patrick Flaherty. He's a 'mo like me, and it would be nice to have more gays and lesbians holding elected office. Patrick Flaherty is qualified for the job, and he's also an alumnus of Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, where my friend Mers works. However, I found Patrick to be awfully smug and even condescending at the debate. As such, I'm now voting for Sam McGovern-Rowen. Sam is the grandson of former Senator George McGovern from South Dakota. The United States would have been better off if Senator McGovern had won the 1972 presidential election instead of Richard Nixon. My mom was born and raised in South Dakota, and people with South Dakota roots tend to be grounded, reasonable, and nice people. In addition, Sam's mom is a member of my church, Plymouth United Church of Christ. I feel bad not voting for the gay guy, but let's face the facts: neither Patrick Flaherty nor his twin brother (my friends Barbie and Kat told me that Patrick has a twin brother) are going to help me find a boyfriend. Oh wait, this post isn't about me trying to find a husband. In all seriousness, after the debate I got the feeling that Sam McGovern-Rowen will be better for Milwaukee than Patrick. It will be interesting to see the results.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

speaking of 'I Need a Lover (That Won't Drive Me Crazy)'

Speaking of the John Mellencamp song, "I Need a Lover," my brother and I had this email exchange on August 8, 2007:

Steve: Last night I heard the song, “I Need a Lover” by John Mellencamp. This particular song has a tremendously long introduction. The intro must be one of the longer intros ever played on commercial radio. It must be close to 4 minutes, if not longer. And it’s not a great song, if you ask me. Thoughts?

Dave: Matt K. and I always enjoyed that song back in college. Thinking about it now I would say it is average at best. The intro seems to me to be a rip off of Springsteen.

-end of email exchange-

First, the facts. The version of "I Need a Lover" that I purchased yesterday on iTunes is 5 minutes, 36 seconds in length. The introduction on this version is exactly 2 minutes and 30 seconds. While not 4 minutes as I suspected in August, 2 minutes and 30 seconds is still a heck of a long time for a song introduction. And particularly for a song that found success on commercial radio. I would also note that about 2 minutes into the introduction, it sounds like he's about to start singing. But no, John has other things in mind, namely 30 more seconds of guitar-driven intro. On second thought, I may have been too harsh about this song in August. True, the lengthy introduction is excessive and, as Dave points out, seems to borrow heavily from Bruce Springsteen. However, the reality of my life is that I do indeed need a lover that won't drive me crazy. Because not having a lover is kinda driving me crazy. Not that my OCD tendencies need further demonstration, but I've listened to "I Need a Lover" 11 times since purchasing it yesterday. It used to be a song that when it came on the radio, I would have to think for a while about what it was going to end up being as a result of the 2:30 introduction. But now I am familiar enough with the 2:30 intro that I'll know right away that it's "I Need a Lover." And I *do* need a lover that won't drive me crazy!

'Amazing' mural

And then we saw this "amazing" mural on the side of a dentist's office building. If only life could be as exciting and fun as this mural.

Dresden Restaurant and Lounge

Mikel recommended that Lesley and I check out this lounge act at the Dresden Room Restaurant in Los Angeles. He did not recommend that we eat there. Yet we ate there anyway. The Dresden is like the many supper-club type restaurants located here in Wisconsin, particularly in areas outside of Milwaukee. I'm sure that the old-time supper-club experience is a pleasant novelty for people who live in Los Angeles, but it was a disappointment for me, who has eaten far too many times at these establishments. In my opinion, the food at these kind of places is usually mediocre, heavy, and leaves you with a feeling of regret.

Following dinner, we did see Marty and Elayne perform in the lounge. Marty and Elayne have been performing at the Dresden since 1982, so you have to give them points for longevity and persistence. The photo of them on the web site is from 1982; the years have taken their toll since then. Marty and Elayne were amusing and entertaining in a cheesy and ironic sort of way. But after eating such a heavy Wisconsin-esque dinner and since it was after 11 p.m. Pacific Time, I was really tired. My body was on Central Time (two hours ahead), so that didn't help matters. Fortunately, Lesley recognized that I was shutting down, and we left after seeing Marty and Elayne perform a few numbers.

continuing on that same theme...

Here's a photo of Lesley in front of some strange store. And me in front of the Twenty-Eighth Church of Christ Scientist in Westwood. Twenty-Eighth? Where are the other twenty-seven?

Disclaimer: I am not a member of the Twenty-Eighth Church of Christ Scientist.

Thank You Mart

So Lesley and I think that things like this are funny, but most probably aren't as amusesd as we are. It realtes to Lesley's amazing "Thanks!" post. Thanks, Thank You Mart!


I am a major fan of Pinkberry. While I had Pinkbery, Lesley wanted to be different and she chose Piccomolo Italian Ice Cream. We were both happy with our sweets!

I Want to Know What Love Is

I am turning to all possible sources for inspiration and guidance in my search for a boyfriend. So why not consult Foreigner? They had quite a few major hits, after all. "I Want to Know What Love Is" by Foreigner is now my new mantra. I believe that Foreigner can help me find a boyfriend. Please, Foreigner. I am using your song as my mantra. I humbly beseech you to aid my cause to find love. Thank you in advance, Foreigner, for any aid and comfort you can provide.

I Need a Lover That Won't Drive Me Crazy

So John Mellencamp, do you have any grand philosophical advice for me? You know, John, I've been single for more than three years now. I'm 34 and would like to have a boyfriend. I'm ready to find a man. I have a history but no baggage, John. In light of that reality, what advice to you have for me? I'm listening, John.

Speaking of Anne's August 2000 party

Speaking of Anne's party in August 2000 where Jim Christie was so sunburned, I found these other photos from that evening. I should mention that this was Anne's 26th birthday party. At the time, she was dating Andy H., but no one knew because Andy insisted that things be kept clandestine. Of course the truth always comes out, and I remember the many phone calls the next day confirming the fact that they were indeed dating. Fortunately Anne's good sense prevailed, and she ended up getting engaged to Brad in 2003 and marrying Brad in 2004. In any case, the photos are:
1. Anne with her birthday cake.
2. Michelle SD, me, and Michelle Sp (aka Astro Michelle).
3. Anne and me.
4. Me with Tim F., who I think was dating Mattress at the time. I haven't seen Tim F. in years. I used photo #4 on Yahoo Personals back in 2000 and early 2001. It helped me land an honest-to-goodness boyfriend in January 2001.

In Memorium: Jim Christie

I received an email from Michelle letting me know that our friend Jim Christie had died. He was only 43. I met Jim back in 1998 through my friend John A., who was Jim's co-worker. I had a second connection to Jim through Astro Michelle and the Mad Planet group including Al H. and Craigo. Jim and I weren't close friends, but I would run into him at various parties and at Mad Planet. He was always kind, friendly, and non-judgmental. I went to Jim's funeral on February 10. It was at an ELCA Lutheran church in Cedarburg. Michelle, Sarah French, and Mark were there for the visitation but didn’t stay for the service.

I was able to greet Jim’s parents before the service. I’m sure they had no idea who I was, but they seemed grateful that so many people were there. They seemed like nice people. The church was pretty much full for the service.

There was a choir comprised of members of the Milwaukee Symphony Chorus. Jim used to sing with that group, so it was nice that they sang at the funeral. That added a really nice element to the service. The first hymn was “Precious Lord, Take My Hand,” and all of the music was beautiful.

Two of Jim’s friends gave reflections. One was a woman I had never met, but she had known Jim since their freshman year of college at UW-Madison. Al H. gave the other reflection, and he did a really nice job capturing Jim’s personality. He talked about his unique and infectious laugh, and how Jim was always late for everything. Al also mentioned how everywhere Jim went, he knew people. It was very touching.

The pastor did say in the sermon (and he had permission from Jim’s family to do this) that Jim suffered some human difficulties I won't articulate here, but those things did not define him; his spirit and love were more powerful than those afflictions.

I found these photos of Jim. The first two are from my 26th birthday party in September 1999. That party was hardly out of control, but my neighbors called the police, who showed up notifying me to keep it down or they'd give me a citation. The first one is Al H. and Jim. The second is Al H., Michelle, some guy I don't remember who might be Little Mike S., Craigo, Jim, and Gina (who I haven't talked with in years, but by choice). The third photo is from my favorite Jim Christie story. It was August 2000 at Anne's birthday party at her then-new condo. Jim had been out in the sun all day with no sunscreen. He was so sunburned; it looked quite painful. To help soothe his sunburned face, Jim had a little spray bottle with him. Every few minutes, he would spray his face with the cool water to soothe his sunburn. It was hilarious, and so fitting for his personality. He was the life of the party that evening. I'm glad that I had the opportunity to know Jim.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Jason Workman

I'm still trying to find Jason Workman. I sent him the letter below after obtaining his address from a theatre in Michigan where he did a show a couple of years ago. Unfortunatley, Jason never replied to my letter.

December 12, 2006

Mr. Jason Workman
XXX Address
Santa Monica, California

Dear Jason:

This is probably a rather odd letter, but please bear with me. I have been a fan of yours for many years. For the full story, please check out this link and read the entry that I wrote about you in my blog. Here’s the link:
Hopefully you will read it in the sprit of admiration and respect in which it was written. If you’re single, know that I’m interested! I do get to the Los Angeles area a couple of times each year. If you’re not single, might I ask if you have a copy of the MGF magazine I referred to? If yes, would you be willing to autograph it and send it my way? I’d be quite grateful and would be glad to reimburse you for the postage and for your trouble. Regardless, know that you have a long-time fan in Milwaukee. One suggestion: you should have a web site to keep your fans apprised of your theater appearances.

Thanks for taking the time to read this note. I hope to hear from you.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Lunch with Mikel

To recap: Barbie went to junior high and high school with Lesley. Barbie went to college with Mikel. Barbie and I met in February 2001. Barbie introduced me to Lesley and Mikel.

Lesley, Mikel, and I had lunch recently in Los Angeles. It's always good to get together with Mikel. Unfortunately, I only see him about once a year, but that's better than not at all. Mikel has a rather dry sense of humor that I appreciate. Although I must confess that I'm a bit afraid of Mikel because he's so darn smart and he doesn't suffer fools gladly.

I can't remember the name of the restaurant we went to, but I think that it was in West Hollywood.

Dance Like There's No Tomorrow

Of course everyone knows that Paula Abdul is a train wreck. But when I heard that she had a new song out, I was intrigued. You see, I'm an unabashed fan of late 80s and early 90s pop, and Paula was certainly a big part of pop music in those years. In my opinion, "Straight Up" is a truly excellent pop song. So are "Opposites Attract," "Cold Hearted," and "They Way That You Love Me." In light of her history of providing danceable pop hits, I didn't hesitate to pay 99 cents for "Dance Like There's No Tomorrow" on iTunes. I figured that Randy Jackson's involvement as producer would ensure a well-crafted pop tune. Well, I was wrong. "Dance Like There's No Tomorrow" is certainly adequate, but it doesn't have the power and fun of Paula's hits from the late 80s and early 90s. Color me disappointed. Why does every woman in pop feels compelled to run her vocal track through a computer/synthesizer? To me, that detracts from a song. Also, the tempo of "DLTNT" seems a bit slow for a comeback dance/pop tune. Oh well.

Blue Bayou dinner

All right, all right, this is the last Disneyland post. One of the final activities our magical Disneyland day was dinner at the Blue Bayou restaurant. I was honored that Lesley wanted to take me to the Blue Bayou since she has enjoyed many special meals there with both her dad and with Barbie. So it was nice of her to want to add me to her Blue Bayou experiences.
One of the many things that I love about Lesley is that she has a sweet tooth and isn't opposed to ordering dessert. Here we are with our pirate ship chocolate brownie sundae. It was a sweet and tasty conclusion to a memorable and special meal. Thanks, Lesley!

nearing the end of Disneyland posts

Lesley is so much better as posing for photos than me.

shutting down

Two moments when Lesley started shutting down: tea cup fatigue and when she came across this awful Precious Moments figurine.

Peter Pan

I actually bought this hat for $8. When you buy it, they add a red feather plus your name embroidered on the back. Excellent!

yummy bread bowl

for Barbie

So these photos are a set-up to get a reaction from our mutual friend Barbie. You see, Barbie loves the Haunted Mansion, and particularly so when they put the "Nightmare Before Christmas" overlay on the ride. Lesley has experienced the Haunted Mansion countless times over the years with Barbie, including the moment when Barbie turned 30 on the ride. So Lesley couldn't resist having some fun with the fact that the ride was closed when we were there. I, being more dutiful to Barbie, was appropriately disappointed that we couldn't experience the Haunted Mansion. Lesley, seemingly welcoming a raiased eyebrow and possible chastisement from Barbie, was in a celebratory mood in reaction to the news that the ride was closed.

And them some French fries

Lesley was not amused here because she had just gotten pretty wet on Splash Mountain.


After all the excitement, Lesley needed a Nescafe.

I'm late!

I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date! No time to say hello, "Goodbye!" I'm late, I'm late, I'm late!
You can see that I take promptness more seriously than Lesley.

we were only stuck for about 5 minutes

We were only stuck for about five minutes, so it was fine. But there were moments when we wondered if we'd ever make it out of a place where everyone is happy and gets along. Lesley was more relaxed than me. (Well, I was posing for dramatic effect.)

it's a small world breaks down

it's a small workd broke down - while we were in the middle of the ride. Fan-tastic fun! Fortunately, Lesley recorded a few moments of the event.

it's a small world, before

All seemed fine on the way into it's a small world, holiday edition. But you can see that Lesley had a feeling that not all would be well...

I always need a churro at Disneyland

Fried dough dipped in sugar. What's not to love?

I like this photo

I like this picture of Lesley and me taken just before we rode the Mad Tea Party. Hi Honey!

Dumbo the Flying Elephant

The crazy skinny guy in the green shirt on the left is posing as Lesley instructed.

The Three Fairies

This store is called The Three Fairies Magic Crystals. With me in the photo, there are now four fairies.

Mr. Toad many hours later

Well, in your mid-30s, things deteriorate after being at Disneyland for 12 hours. Here is the commemoration of our second Wild Ride of the day, courtesy of Mr. Toad. Note that in the final photo, Lesley is behidn the wheel. This is to recognize the fact that she drove from LA to Anaheim and that we made it safely.