Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Farewell 2008 and Happy New Year!

new_04

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ready to leave, or The End of Xmas 2008

Like my shoes? Campers, of course.

My Xmas gift

Do you think he'll like my apartment?

Strawberry trifle

My mom made it for Marc's birthday--light and delish.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

All I Want For Christmas is You

And you and you and you and you.

Happy Christmas everybody. I'll be on a plane tomorrow, but it's just the beginning of the great Xmas Roadtrip 2008. Stay tuned!

Do you think this is true?



Thankfully I walk everywhere--a benefit of living in SF. But, I know some of you are a little too happy when you're behind the wheel. But, is it really "drunk" driving? I mean, I can barely go to the mall unless I'm a little buzzed, and you expect me to get on the highway stone cold sober?! Now THAT would be dangerous.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mock Peanut Brittle

I rarely share recipes, but I'm craving this right now. Make some and ship it to me. Now!

Nina's Mock Peanut Brittle

1 cup white corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
8 cups corn flakes
(You don't have to be exact with the corn flakes)

Bring corn syrup and sugar to a full boil. Remove from heat and add peanut butter. Stir until peanut butter is melted. Pour over corn flakes [that you had previously measured into a large bowl] and stir until coated. Pour out onto waxed paper or a cookie sheet and let cool. Store in a tightly sealed container if you want it to be crispy, if not so crispy, leave a little crack. Eat!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Beer Pong!

Coming in Spring 2009 from Chronicle Books. Watch closely because I make a cameo. I played two games that day. I lost the first. Renee and I were shamed by Dan and Tom. Then, I ditched Renee, got a new partner, and whipped my opponents' collective buttocks. Ah, sweet victory.


Beer Pong at Chronicle Books from Todd X. on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Socially Conservative Arguments Don't Hold Water

Thanks to Jon Stewart for pointing out the inherent illogic of the socially conservative argument against gay marriage. And thanks to Mike Huckabee for continuing to spout it so we can dissect it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

An Old Friend Died Recently

Actually, two, but I haven't found the words for the other yet.

Laura Beach née Willis and I knew each other through elementary, junior high, and high school--a lifetime for people of a certain age. As with most people I grew up with, I had lost touch with her, but that doesn't negate the impact of her passing. I told a ridiculous story in her memory last night while having margaritas with Rand and Renee. Imagine Laura and me, junior/senior prom, a fake prom date, meeting up with her real boyfriend whom the parents didn't like, and me getting a phone call from Laura's parents the next morning asking if I knew where she was because she never came home. Ah, Laura. It was fun. And, I love the idea of our prom photos floating around out there somewhere.

I wish her family all the best.

*******************

December 9, 2008

Laura Shannon Beach

Laura Shannon Beach of Fair Grove, Mo., passed away Sunday morning, December 7, at Cox South in Springfield at the age of 38. Laura was born February 25, 1970, in Springfield, to Bruce and Claudia Willis. She was married on October 30, 1994, to Tony Beach, and is survived by four children, daughters Tara Beach and Autumn Willis, and sons, Logan and Travis Beach. She is also survived by her parents; a grandmother; a brother; a sister; many aunts and uncles; and numerous nieces and nephews. Visitation will be Tuesday at Northside Christian Church from 7 to 9 p.m. Funeral services will be held Wednesday, at 10 a.m . at Northside Christian Church with burial to follow at Cedar Bluff Cemetery in Fair Grove.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I <\3 Paula Deen

What's that you say? You don't understand my new fabulous symbol? Well, you know what <3 stands for, right? <3 = love or, as I prefer to say, "heart." So, <\3 is code for "heart attack." And Paula is a prime heart attack candidate.

Watch this for proof:



I Heart YouTube.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Analyzing YouTube

The Panopticon is real, and we have happily embraced it in our effort to market and promote ourselves to the world. In the past, an event like this would have been an activity to experience, not necessarily something to record and broadcast. Imagine the things that have been done in fraternities and friends' apartments in the past. Now, imagine all those things online, immediately accessible, permanently viewable. Would our current leaders be so self-righteous? Would they be our leaders? Would we be more forgiving of youth and its foibles? Give us twenty years and we'll find out.

And, I wonder, whose idea was it to film this particular video? I'm voting for the guy on the left. You?

FedEx

FedEx and the hidden arrow

Have you ever noticed the arrow that is formed between the E and the X?

Good or bad design?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Call your mother!

It's the holidays!



I saw this on my way to Clark's for Thanksgiving dinner. Is it art? Is it the evidence of rage? Or just play?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Only floss the ones you want to keep



I went to the dentist today and got a clean bill of teeth. I think I need to change my dentist, though. It's too expensive. I did manage to snag a new toothbrush and some floss, though. That's sure to offset the cost of the cleaning.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Tahoe!

tahoe

Ah, the fireplace. It was so nice to get out of the city for a while and lounge in front of the fireplace with a good book. Rand and I went to his parents' place in Tahoe with our friends Sean and Blake. We had a couple of good dinners, played some cards, watched some scary movies, and enjoyed the peace and quiet of Tahoe before the start of the ski season.

I'll be back when it snows so I can build a fort. :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Chronicle Books Friends & Family Sale: 35% off and free shipping now through Dec 5th!

This holiday season Chronicle Books offering 35% off and FREE shipping on every item purchased on our web site. With a huge selection of cookbooks, art and design titles, children's books, craft kits, stationery, gift packs, and more, you're sure to find something for everyone on your list! Don't delay; start shopping today!

The sale runs now through Friday Dec 5th. Use promo code FRIENDS at checkout.

http://www.chroniclebooks.com


Mark Doty wins a National Book Award

It's always great when one of your favorite living poets receives the recognition you believe he so richly deserves. This happened for me this week when Mark Doty won a National Book Award for his most recent collection Fire to Fire. Congrats Mark! I can still remember meeting him for the first time back in college. I guess I've been reading his work for nearly twenty years now. Um, I mean five, yes, five years now. :)

Here's what the National Book Foundation said about his work:

Elegant, plain-spoken, and unflinching, Mark Doty's poems in Fire to Fire gently invite us to share their ferocious compassion. With their praise for the world and their fierce accusation, their defiance and applause, they combine grief and glory in a music of crazy excelsis. In this generous retrospective volume a gifted young poet has become a master.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Jay Brannan at The Bottom of the Hill

Jay Brannan

I saw Jay tonight with Rand, Brian and not Clark. It was good. He
totally wanted me. It was so obvious--embarassing really. The audience
was decent except for one particular loud-mouthed woman and the people
near the bar who wouldn't shut up while Jay was singing. I hope he
doesn't tell Vancouver we were terrible. :(

Thanks for coming to SF, Jay. And eat something. You look too thin!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Let's have a vote; Or, You may not be gay, but you may be next.

Which of these major steps forward in the arena of civil rights would you like to see up for a vote?

* Brown v. Board of Education (school desegregation, major blow against "separate but equal")
* Roe v. Wade (reproductive freedom)
* Shelley v. Kramer (racially restrictive "covenants" in real estate - This one's definitely on Glady's list)
* Bailey v. Patterson (segregation in intrastate and interstate transportation)
* Batson v. Kentucky (basically says you can't put, say, a Black person on trial and exclude Black people from the jury)
* Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson (defined "hostile work environment" as sexual harassment under the Civil Rights Act of 1964)
* Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Serv. Inc. (same-sex harassment can be the basis for a sexual harassment claim)
* Romer v. Evans (overturned Colorado amendment prohibiting protection of LGBT rights)
* Lawrence v. Texas (decriminalized sodomy, overturned sodomy laws)
* Grisswold v. Connecticut (overturned law banning contraception, right to "marital privacy")
* And of course the major civil rights acts of:

o 1957 (established the Civil Rights Commission)
o 1960 (federal inspection of voter registration polls)
o 1964 (prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, sex, and national origin)
o 1968 (Fair Housing Act)

Yes, we live in a representative democracy, but some times democracy needs a guiding principle (like the Constitution) and a guiding hand (like the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches) to protect it from the tyranny of the majority.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Saturday Night Live Does It Again

Okay, SNL is having a great season. And this spoof of the making of Beyonce's video is priceless. I mean, Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg in unitards? You cannot put a price on that.

video

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Celebrity Sighting at the Protest in SF

Do you watch "Color Splash" on HGTV? Well, I do--when Rand forces me to watch HGTV. I mean, it's not like I object or anything, but I'm more naturally inclined to watch reruns of "Seinfeld" or something. Getting back to my point, look who was protesting with us today in San Francisco: Mr. David Bromstad. Looking good, David!

David Bromstad from "Color Splash"

Day of Protest in San Francisco Against Prop 8

Friday, November 14, 2008

And with the brilliance of a thousand suns, he shone down upon us

Once or twice in our lives, we encounter people who change us. People who seem to breathe a rarefied air and glow with an aura of difference. These bodhisattva are no mere human beings. They are special, they are here to teach us, they are here to make us better.

With the advent of YouTube, our chances of meeting these people have increased greatly. And we are the luckier for it. I'm pleased to present to you one such person of extraordinary talent, skill, savoir faire, and humanity:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Overheard in the elevator tonight

(Scene: Me in an elevator with yuppie female powersuit who is talking on her cell phone)

YFP: Hey, I have the house keys. We're going to dinner. Get ready and come out with us.

Hooters.

What? You're too good for Hooters?

C'mon. Come out and have dinner with us. Well, not dinner. Drinks and wings.

I hate you. Don't ever call me again.

(End scene)

Check the Closets at Work

You never know what you're going to find. Such as this lovely ensemble, found in the closet on my floor.

In the closet

These people are WEIRD!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Protest March Against Prop 8 in San Francisco

This was catharsis, folks. I'm still angry, bitterly, deeply angry, but the peace and goodwill generated during this march on Friday was healing. Thank you to the thousands who marched.












And the gathering spot in Dolores Park:

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My response to casual discrimination

My fellow blogger Matt at Debriefing the Boys had a shocking email sent to him recently by a so-called friend:

Hi Matt,

I also want to thank you for your impassioned e-mail. We should chat soon, but I have been wanting to send you a note to let you know that I voted Yes on Prop 8 to protect the sanctity of marriage. This is nothing against you my friend, but something that I thought and prayed long and hard about over the past week. I'll be interested to discuss further with you when you have the time.

Any new news on your end? Congrats on Obama's big win! Exciting times for the United States.

Looking forward to seeing you over the holidays.

Your Friend,

(____)


Matt is torn up over this, and I fully understand. His friend's email is outrageous and demands outrage as a response.

So, I wrote:

Matt,

I think his email was shockingly dismissive--much like the easy way in which over half of Californians voted to ELIMINATE rights from fellow citizens. Casual discrimination is, perhaps, more vile than the outright hatred we see from evangelicals and blatant bigots. He is complicit in this crime. And, yes, it is a crime: a crime against the fundamentals of our state constitution and a crime against the larger belief that all of us are equal.

Tell him his email was unacceptable. Tell him he has hurt you and thousands like you. Tell him he will be judged poorly by history. Then say goodbye.

We shall not suffer discrimination.


I hope he takes my advice.

I, Too, Sing America



I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

Tomorrow,
I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"
Then.

Besides,
They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--

I, too, am America.

by Langston Hughes

Prop 8 Protesters and the Mormon Church

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Gay Writers Respond to Proposition 8’s Win in California

From Publishers Weekly by Wendy Werris

California’s Proposition 8, the controversial anti-gay-marriage measure that was fought furiously on both sides for several months and included Tricycle Press’s children’s book King & King as a negative spin in supporters’ TV commercials, won a stunning victory on November 4 in the state’s election. Gay writers responded to the win with outrage, concern and heartbreak.

John Rechy, the Los Angeles-based PEN International Award-winning gay author expressed a sense of outrage and betrayal by the passing of Prop. 8. Noting what he called fear tactics used by its backers in their ads, Rechy said, “Of course it helped Prop. 8 to use a harmless children’s book (King & King) about gay marriage in its campaign of minority intolerance. My fear now is that all of gay literature will be more closely scrutinized, and that free speech will become even more endangered.” Rechy and his partner of more than 30 years were recently married.

Although the head of the California Teacher’s Association stated on many occasions during the campaign that marriage is not taught in schools, Prop. 8’s supporters seemed to state otherwise in their ads that used King as an example of what information children would be privy to if gay marriage was not banned in California. Charles Flowers, executive director of the LAMBDA Literary Foundation that supports the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender book communities, noted the complexities that lie ahead because of this misinformation. “The use of a children’s book definitely worked in Prop. 8’s favor,” he said. “Now that it’s passed, these people have instilled a lot of fear in the minds of parents about text adoptions and gay-themed books in schools. This will put gay teachers under much more scrutiny as well.” Flowers is also concerned about the legal limbo the passing of Proposition 8 has put California’s 22,000 married gay couples in.

Novelist Christopher Rice, president of the board of the LAMBDA Literary Foundation, is well aware of the power of the written word. “The image of a kid holding a book (about gay marriage) is profound. Unfortunately, the backers of Prop. 8 used King as an example of how a young mind can be corrupted, rather than how it can be opened.” Rice also blames the measure’s backers for using the book in a dishonest way, saying it’s opened a “psychic wound” in gay writers everywhere who are on the frontlines of unfiltered and candid information about the way they live their lives.

Only children who are signed up for Comprehensive Sex Education in California schools are taught about gay relationships and sex. “This decision is entirely up to the parents,” Rice continued. “The backers of Prop. 8 distorted the truth about this.”

Another gay California writer, novelist Dorothy Allison, married her longtime partner on November 1. “My heart is breaking,” she said. “The way the pro-8 spokespeople concentrated on how gay marriage could be a threat to kids... that was the big thing. They propagandized the loving theme of King by turning it into a fearful message to parents.”

Shame

Kate Kendall speaking at the rally in San Francisco last night about November 5th and the passage of Proposition 8:

"It is a shameful day and it is a day the state will live to regret."

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I am the Battleground

Abandoned by both parties and shunned by my nation, I am the new political battleground in this country. My gay brothers and sisters are an army of lovers, and we will not surrender, will not lay down, will not crawl back into the closet, and we will not, cannot, must not fail.

Todd

Photo by StudioVoxPop

Rally Against Prop 8 in San Francisco

Civic Center Prop 8 Rally

Come on down! Civic Center steps.

Legal Groups File Lawsuit Challenging Proposition 8

(San Francisco, CA, November 5, 2008)—The American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and the National Center for Lesbian Rights filed a writ petition before the California Supreme Court today urging the court to invalidate Proposition 8 if it passes. The petition charges that Proposition 8 is invalid because the initiative process was improperly used in an attempt to undo the constitution’s core commitment to equality for everyone by eliminating a fundamental right from just one group lesbian and gay Californians. Proposition 8 also improperly attempts to prevent the courts from exercising their essential constitutional role of protecting the equal protection rights of minorities. According to the California Constitution, such radical changes to the organizing principles of state government cannot be made by simple majority vote through the initiative process, but instead must, at a minimum, go through the state legislature first.

The California Constitution itself sets out two ways to alter the document that sets the most basic rules about how state government works. Through the initiative process, voters can make relatively small changes to the constitution. But any measure that would change the underlying principles of the constitution must first be approved by the legislature before being submitted to the voters. That didn’t happen with Proposition 8, and that’s why it’s invalid.

“If the voters approved an initiative that took the right to free speech away from women, but not from men, everyone would agree that such a measure conflicts with the basic ideals of equality enshrined in our constitution. Proposition 8 suffers from the same flaw it removes a protected constitutional right here, the right to marry not from all Californians, but just from one group of us,” said Jenny Pizer, a staff attorney with Lambda Legal. “That’s too big a change in the principles of our constitution to be made just by a bare majority of voters.”

“A major purpose of the constitution is to protect minorities from majorities. Because changing that principle is a fundamental change to the organizing principles of the constitution itself, only the legislature can initiate such revisions to the constitution,” added Elizabeth Gill, a staff attorney with the ACLU of Northern California.

Election Results in California

Chickens: 1
Gays: 0

#44

44

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Too little, Too late?

Obama Wins!

Am I jumping the gun? Sure. But McCain needed to win Pennsylvania and that's not going to happen. So congrats to President-elect Obama.

As for Prop 8, the jury is still out.

Wolf Blitzer just beamed a someone into the Situation Room

WTF. Is this Star Trek or what?

Not Ideas About Equality But Equality Itself

The moral soul of California is on trial today. Each voter is a juror casting his lot for the future of our state. You see, this November 4th finds us in the unfortunate position of waiting to see if our neighbors will decide to write discrimination into our constitution and simultaneously declare us--California's gay and lesbian citizens-- to be less equal, less worthy, less safe, just less.

This potential stain on our constitution, Proposition 8, seeks to remove the right of same-sex couples to marry. Marriage is not a right for which we're fighting; it's a right we have in California, right now, this very day, at this hour. Of course, now we know, this could change in a matter of hours. And I say to you, where does it end?

Equality, I propose, cannot be negotiable. I do not seek tolerance. I do not require acceptance. I do, however, demand equality. It is my birthright, our promise to all Americans. No more do I want to hear discussions on the Gay Rights Movement. That time has passed. We're here, we're queer, and all that jazz. I believe that rights are inviolable, and the trajectory of our nation's history is clear: we extend rights further; we do not rescind them.

But.

Today is different. I am worried. And I am angry. And tired. Tired of people telling me the gays are moving too far, too fast. Tired of hearing that civil unions are a big step. Tired of religious demagogues stoking the fires of intolerance with the bodies and souls of my gay brothers and sisters. Finally, I am tired of America talking about the idea of equality and not simply exercising that equality.

So, I say "Enough!" If you believe equal treatment under the law is a fundamental right, then you must vote no on Proposition 8. If you do not believe this, then you should prepare yourself. This slippery ethical and philosophical slope on which you have based your moral foundation is giving way. And one day, you too will find yourself sliding down the ravine, looking up and reaching out to your neighbors for help. And they will stand idly by, following your example.

Martin_Niemoeller

Please vote no on Prop 8 today.

With respect to Wallace Stevens.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Truly Frightening

On this Halloween, I hope you get a chance to dress up, scare some kids, and eat some candy. If, along the way, you imbibe a cocktail or two, you have my full support. If, however, you decide to wear this outfit, I will have to put you out of your (and my) misery. You've been warned.

Truly Frightening

¡Ya Voté! No on Prop 8

ya vote

I hope I can count on everyone else to do the same.

Happy Halloween!

The Todd-o-lantern

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Finally, Ronald Reagan and I Agree On Something

Obama's Speech Tonight AKA "The Obamamercial"

In case you missed it, here is Barack Obama's 30-minute pitch to the believers and the uncommitted. I liked it and cannot wait to have this man as our President.

The Boys in the Band on DVD

There's a great deal to dislike about this movie: the self-hatred, the stereotypes, the collars. But, I can't deny its place in the history of gay cinema. If you haven't had the pleasure of seeing on AMC or the Bijou, then you can rent it on DVD as of November 11.

If you can't wait until then, here's a little taste.

KOR: Water Bottle as Fashion Accessory

RKS Design has finally created a water bottle for the ages. No longer will you have to be saddled with your second-rate Evian or Dasani bottles. Never again will you hide your face as you walk down the sidewalk with a Fuji bottle in one hand and a "Kick Me" sign in the other.

Now there is KOR. And don't call it a water bottle. It's a hydration vessel.

KOR_actualsize3

From their website: "Not intended for a trek to the Outback or the Himalayas, the KOR ONE is designed to be equally at home on an executive's desk, in a yoga studio, and at your side throughout the day. With intuitive, one-handed operation, the innovative cap hinges back to provide clear access to a mouthpiece small enough for a sip, yet big enough for a thirst-quenching chug. Made from BPA-free Eastman Tritan™, the KOR ONE transforms drinking water from a reusable bottle from something we're supposed to do for the health of our bodies and our planet, to a little bit of luxury we can treat ourselves to throughout each day."

As an iced tea drinker, the thought of imbibing just water is anathema to me. Taboo, really. But, I recognize that some people feel the need to constantly hydrate sans the refreshing buzz of caffeine. They need to have their H2O within arm's reach 24/7. To those people, I recommend this:

water_glass

If, however, you feel the need to part with $30 for an over-sized and over-designed Thermos, then watch CEO Eric Barnes as he sells you on the idea of a sexy water bottle (I mean HYDRATION VESSEL!!).

But she used to be so funny. . .

Victoria Jackson quote

Don't believe it? Visit her website: victoriajackson.com What exactly is the link between bleach, christianity, and bigotry? I'm sure there's a formula out there somewhere that explains it.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I'm a scientist now!

Rand and I visited the California Academy of Sciences on Sunday. As you may have heard, they just opened the new building designed by Renzo Piano. The building is indeed impressive. It blends in well with its surroundings, i.e., Golden Gate Park. I have a small bit of fear that in twenty years it will look like a building designed in the Seventies does now. Time will tell. And inside, the exhibits are big and informative (if a little depressing--apparently there's something called Global Warming I need to be worried about). And the kids seemed to be having fun as they dragged their parents along.

But.

Taken all together, I have to say I was underwhelmed. The weekend was so busy that I had no chance of seeing the Planetarium show. The aquarium pales in comparison to Monterey. The line to see the Rainforest exhibit was hours long and, frankly, looked like it would have been anticlimactic after such a wait. Add to that the $25 entry fee, and I have to say, "Just buy the book."

Nevertheless, I had to take a few photos. Enjoy.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Tia Carroll and Hard Work at Yoshi's San Francisco

Tia Carroll at Yoshi's San Francisco

Rand and I went to see Tia Carroll, my former colleague, at Yoshi's on Thursday. As expected, she made that Fillmore juke joint jump. I still have the phrase "Ain't no thing but a chicken wing" stuck in my head. And now she's in Estonia entertaining the former Soviet bloc. :)

When she gets back, though, you need to check her out. Blues and R&B will be tonic for your soul during this difficult economy. Visit her website and mark your calendars.

Here's a video to enjoy in the meantime.

Phone Banking for Obama today



I took some time (and cellphone minutes) today to call voters in Indiana and remind them to vote for Obama and vote early. Shout out to Logansport!! Please take a few minutes to call anyone you know in the swing states and encourage them to vote for Senator Obama and vote early if they have that option.