Saturday, July 29, 2006

Crazy Is As Crazy Does

Kim Wilde - You Keep Me Hanging On

Set me free why don't you babe
Get out my life why don't you babe
'cause you don't really love me
You just keep me hangin' on

Verse 1:
Why do you keep a comin' around
Playing with my heart
Why don't ya get out of my life
And let me make a brand new start
Let me get over you
The way you got over me yeah

Verse 2:
You say you still care for me
But your heart and soul needs to be free
And now that you've got your freedom
You wanna still hold onto me
You don't want me for yourself
So let me find somebody else

Not too long ago, I blogged about Chad's mysterious return. The history of Chad is explained pretty much in that link.

So against everyone's better judgment, I decided to try and pursue a friendship with him. I couldn't see myself in a relationship considering his mood swings.

He wound up calling me the next night after his return. Of course the topic of choice was the ending to our ill-fated second date. He was upset about my reaction to his kiss. As funny as it was trying to talk about events that happened months ago, I explained that his kiss was unexpected and I overreacted. I didn't get the sense that he understood that. He just said that he wouldn't let it happen again, which was fine with me. We agreed to try and start some kind of friendship.

Chad always was a man of issues and he had new ones. He recently purchased a new Saturn ION after his old car had major mechanical issues. Since he's only been driving for a little over a year & was 26, he was having a challenge finding reasonably priced insurance.

Then there were some job related issues with Stringy and his boss. Some other drama I can't recall. Oh, oh, oh, oh, drama!

So Hemingway after listing his issues, he stated that once he gets things squared away, he'd contact me again. Okay.

A week or so passes by and he calls. Same stories, different days. I suggested we hang out for breakfast or lunch. He said he'd let me know.

Now I wasn't feeling him as much as I did during "My Foolish Heart" period. However I was genuinely interested in trying to establish a friendship. Why? I'll never know. Maybe I was still being foolish and just didn't want to admit to it.

So Hemingway I didn't hear from him for another week so I decided to call him. I got his voicemail and left a message. A day went by and he didn't return my call. So I called again but didn't leave a message since I had left one previously. Two more days pass no call back from him, you'd think I'd be done. Wrong! I decided to text him this time. Of course I got no response to the text.

I then did something I normally never do. After work last Thursday, I decided for the heck of it to swing by his place. (Yeah, I can see the 'is he crazy' voices already...*LOL*) I saw his ION parked outside his apartment building so I knew he was there.

I decided to park in a different lot and walk over to his building. I went up the flight of stairs and went up to his door. I put my ear next to the door to see if I could hear anything. I heard what sounded like a TV so I decided to knock. I nervously stood by the door. I mean, I don't know if he'd answer or what his reaction would be.

He opened the door and I could see he had this shocked look on his face. We exchanged greetings and as I looked inside, I saw that he had company. An older white lady that he called his 'play aunt'. I quickly introduced myself and told Chad that I'd call him later. He said that he would call back as well.

He dialed me 20 minutes later as I was making my way home. He was saying that he called because he wanted to keep his word (like he always did in the past, right...*LOL*) on calling me back. He said that he wasn't mad that I stopped by and understood that I did it because he didn't contact me back. He then said that his 'play aunt' (who seemed a pleasant enough lady) thought I was handsome and said that she sensed that I was into Chad. Actually that wouldn't be a lie since I did go through the trouble of dropping by. Fortunately it wasn't too much of a hardship since he lives along my daily route. So he said he'd call me tomorrow. Okay.

He actually does call me the next day (Friday). It's after 10PM and to my surprise he's calling while he has company at his place. A guy he identified as an ex-bf that he's still friends with. Hmmm. We made a little bit of small talk. He then mentioned that he'd like us to hang out and there's a 95% chance of that happening tomorrow. Heh. He said he'd call me tomorrow to let me know.

So fast forward to Saturday. I go about my day. I get my workout on. The day's about over and no call from Chad. Sunday goes by. Monday. Tuesday evening he calls. I decide not to answer the phone. He doesn't leave a message.

He calls again the next evening. I happen to be away from my cell phone. It was actually being charged. I went to check my messages and this was what Chad said:

"Hey, it's Chad. Umm, this is not a sociable call. Umm I'm actually calling you to tell you something. Umm, I did...I called you yesterday because I wanted to ask you did you want to hang out Thursday. I was planning on knowing if you wanted to go to dinner or something like that. Umm...but due to the fact that you didn't answer you phone when I called nor did you try to call me back..umm..which I understand. I mean...I ain't like in the best person in mind. But like I told you , I be going thru some things and I was trying to warn you from the beginning about how I am. But since you didn't answer your phone, that's cool. Umm, we don't have to hang out. In fact , you know, I don't even want to hear from you again. Like I don't want you to call me...erase my number...I don't want you to stop by my house...I don't ever want to see you again and I don't want to hear from you.

So I just wanted to let you know so you will not waste your time or try to call me back when you feel like it or call me back later. Because I was upfront with you from the beginning. I told you that I go through my little moments sometimes and I mean no harm. That's just the type of person I am. And that's right, you don't have to wait around for it. If you're trying to teach me a lesson by not answering your phone call (something inaudible).

I hope you find what you're looking for and take care dude. And again don't call me...don't call me, don't come by....none of that. Alright."

So I'd say Chad decided to finally set me free. Good riddance I say!


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Comcastic, My Eye!

I have my Internet Broadband service with Comcast. I remember when Comcast finally offered it in my area in December 2003 how quickly I couldn't wait to jump on the bandwagon. Dial-up was played out years ago and after getting usd to high speeds at the job, it was a drag coming home to dial-up.

I was so happy once I signed up with Comcast. Pages loaded way faster than with dial-up and downloads tooks merely seconds or a few minutes as opposed to many minutes and hours in the past.

For the most part, I never had any real issues with my Broadband service. That all changed this month. Two Saturdays ago, I was unable to get online period for over 6 hours. Then it somehow magically reconnected afterweards. The same thing happened Sunday. It was a bit of an annoyance but I figured the powers that be at Comcast were working on whatever issue is going on. But then my online connectivity problems persisted for a few days more after that. Things then were back to normal for a week or so. Until yesterday. I was unable to get online for the entire day. Well at least the hours that I wasn't working.

I called customer service (got someone offshore I'm sure) and the best he could do for me was schedule a service call. My service date is August 5th. Well I could've had July 31st but ummm, I sorta have to work...*LOL*. How annoying! I wonder if Paris Hilton called with connectivity issues if she'd have to wait that long for a service call. That's assuming she even knows what the Internet is. *LOL*.

And from what I've read in different message boards, the technicans at Comcastic don't know anything. It seems the norm customer service experience is to go several rounds with people constantly having to call until it gets escalated. I've heard rumors from the issue being their so-called "Power Boost" having bugs. Something about DOCSIS version 2.0 not working properly and going to a modem that still uses DOCSIS 1.0. I don't know if that's related to their FIRMWARE, which from what I understand they automatically upgrade for you without warning. But a lot of people seem to be having issues with Comcast, though at least the majority of them are able to connect. They just have issues with page loading, uploading, and downloading speeds, which I admit to occasionally having issues with myself if I'm actually able to get online.

Aside from DSL, I'm wondering if there's another game in town when it comes to Internet connection. I'm almost contemplating paying for a back-up dial-up service just in case I have future issues. It's annoying.

The kicker was that the Comcastic idiot I spoke to said that if they came and concluded that the issue was something involving my computer (which I seriously doubt), that they would have to charge $49.95 for the visit. Wow!

So how's everyone doing? :-)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Good Bally Hunting

It's amazing all the action that goes on at Bally's. From the moment I walk down the parking lot and head towards the building, I can see the eyes staring from those on the treadmills. What are they thinking when they see me? Do they see a stylish, virile (heh), strapping negro brother? Or do they wonder what the heck he's wearing? Are my shorts too short and skimpy? Do they see the sweat stains from my athletic tee from the day before?

I can't say that I'm innocent either. As I enter the gym, I'm eyeing the joint for some interesting eye candy. Occasionally I hit the jackpot. But I dare not let any guy know that I'm staring at them. You know...that whole gay stigma thing. Although if I were going to an actual Chicago area gym (as opposed to the burbs), I could definitely stare with no shame in my game. Not that I do...since you know, I do go to the gym primarily to work out. But in Chicago, the gay males are in full force as I found out during my working it out date months back. Dudes jacking off in the shower area while staring at me, dudes purposely brushing up against me in the locker. Okay it was two dudes in all but there didn't seem to be a shortage of others that wouldn't do the same.

Eugene and I got into a discussion recently about a couple of encounters he's had at the gym. Eugene's about twenty pounds heavier than myself so he seems to attract more of the muscular athletic types than I do. So Hemingway he was telling me how he caught this hot chocolate 220-lb solid frame brotha staring at him as he walked towards the water fountain. That same said brotha later on situated himself inside a shower where everyone in the lockerroom could see him in all his naked glory.

Then there's this other athletic brotha that actually chats with Eugene whenever he sees him, the brotha even going as far as flexing his muscles in front of him.

I told Eugene that since I'm visiting him mid-August, I'll have to go to his Bally's and check these hot commodities out for myself. I then lamented how I rarely get any attention from those type of guys.

Eugene then began this extensive discussion on what he calls the "Masculinity Index". Basically all guys can be rated anywhere from 1 (Little Richard) to 5 (Mr. T.). Eugene first asked me how I would rate myself. I told him that I know I'm not the most masculine guy but I don't think of myself as overly femme either so I gave myself a 3. I rated Eugene as a 3.5.

Of course, Eugene had different opinions on that. He rated me a 2.75 while he rated himself a 3.8.

The ratings obviously are subjective to individual opinions. One person's 4 could be another person's 2 and so on, and so on.

So we continued the discussion as we rated various guys in our lives on the Masculinity Index scale. My highest rated guy had a 4 while Eugene's highest had a 4.2. For lowest, I rated one guy a 2 while he rated his lowest a 2.5.

Both of Eugene's encounters were rated by him to be 3.5 or higher. He then pointed out that a lot of guys rated that high wouldn't want to be seen chatting with someone that's less than a 3. Someone like me...*LOL*. So in other words, that was the logical explanation why I never get encounters such as he described.

It was an interesting theory. And with all theories, nothing is 100% foolproof as there's always exceptions to the rules.

You know what, though. I don't really go in the gym for a manhunt. But that doesn't mean I don't look for some pleasing stimulation. Nothing like a hard body to keep one motivated to keep coming. Eugene himself told me that if the hot chocolate 220 brotha even showed a smigdeon of interest in him, he'd become a gym junkie quicker than I could say "I've fallen and I can't get up". I told him I hope he does and he needs to do it before I get there. That way, he can introduce him to me and I could try to be the exception. Heh.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Work Woes The 2nd

The last couple weekends I've had to log into work for the same production issue. The problem it appeared stemmed from bad data received. But oddly enough, a different version of the same job works perfectly when it ran the following morning. It was truly a mystery.

Worse I couldn't test the job due to issues with the test file that another group maintains. It took them a week to fix it. When this was finally done yesterday, I was able to run both versions of our program, confirming that one version had the problem while the other didn't. I realized that the issue was inadvertently caused by another group that snuck in changes to the code without my knowledge. I hate when folks do that.

I've been there before. Two years back, a group needing data from one of our files decided to recreate our file into the format that they needed. Only thing, by doing that, they messed up how our normal process handled the data. That took several days to make right and the people responsible barely acknowledged what they did.

They didn't even say sorry. It's amazing how folks go around changing your code on you without even letting you know or bothering to test it out. Fortunately the group responsible for the latest fiasco has been keeping me in the loop regarding changes to other programs I own. What they're doing is part of a company wide change to upgrade our COBOL VS programs to COBOL 370 since IBM no longer supports VS.

The good thing too is that the version of the code that was messed up only runs on Sundays whereas the other version of the code (which is unharmed but is on the list for upgrading) runs Monday through Saturday. Thank goodness they didn't change that one. The miraculous thing is that the job didn't go down while I was in Charlotte. Thank goodness for small favors.

Unfortunately for me, even if we fix this issue, I'm still going to have to work this weekend, the third weekend in a row I have to work. This is due to the company's annual "disaster recovery" exercises that happen to be taking place this weekend. It simulates what would happen if our data center was lost due to a disaster and what would it take to recover those files. Basically in a nut shell, I'll need to manually run our production processes that morning. No rest for the weary...:-(

Nine more months to go!!!!!!


Friday, July 14, 2006

Brain Drain

Anyone miss me?

I can't believe it's been almost a week since my last update. That's a lie. I do believe it.

The blog was the first and last thing on my mind these past few days. Work has been crazy this week. I was logging in some 10-12 hour days for half of the week. I was in a training class for several days not only learning but also co-ordinating it with the instructor, a happy go lucky Panamian man running his own training company.

He didn't rent a car so I was dropping him off at his hotel every night this week.

I was so drained that I neglected my workouts, though I had a nice bit of help spraining my ankle earlier in the month. It happened the evening of the 7th as I made my way to a Chili's. I misjudged a step and wound up twisting my ankle.

I was in pain all night and into Friday, even taking off work. So yeah, that affected my workouts.

Luckily my ankle's much better now (aside from an occasional light soreness still) and I broke my hiatus away from the gym by going this past Thursday morning and resuming my Friday evening workouts. Yay!

The highlight of last weekend was my meeting fellow blogger No_The_Game, one half of the dynamic No Game Team that runs their relationship blog. Our meeting was a long time in the making. I know she was dying to meet me as I was her. We could never get things straight until last week.

No_The_Game met me inside of a Caribou Coffee shop. I knew it was her right away based on a previous picture I've seen of her. She had no idea who I was and told me that I didn't look like she expected me to. There I go defying all stereotypes again...*LOL*.

Hemingway we went to an Indian buffet restaurant for lunch where we both threw down to some good eating. I love Indian food since I was first introduced to it when working my first job for a predominantely Indian company.

She's a great person to talk to. She's very full of life and I look forward to hanging out with her again real soon.

In the midst of all the craziness, I wound up meeting a guy. Actually we were chatting before the crazy week. This guy cooresponded with Eugene, who in turn pointed him my way.

Mr. Lemonade seemed too be a real cool guy. He was born in California and raised in New Orleans. He seemed really into his family (recounting his parent's 50th wedding anniversary party) and is very smart, finishing high school at the ripe old age of 15 & graduating from Xavier college before he turned 20 in Electrical Engineering. He said that he worked for the CTA as an Electrical Engineer, working the crazy hours of 6PM-6AM.

Hemingway to make a long story short, I made the mistake of meeting Mr. Lemonade at his place after work on Monday. He's off from his job Sunday-Tuesday. I should've made a suggestion we meet for dinner instead of assuming we'd go to dinner.

I wound up breaking my six month celibacy and having sex with him. I should've stopped him but I didn't. We cuddled for a bit and afterwards he then did the whole 'I'm tired' spiel and while not telling me I had to leave, he didn't exactly make me feel welcome anymore. When he started dialing folks on the phone, I knew it was my cue to go. I'll be damn if I'm sitting there while he's talking to other people.

As I made my way to the door, he got up and kissed me. I was about to leave but remembered I left my umbrella there, so I went back to get that.

Other than some IM's I received when getting home apologizing for being tired, I haven't heard a peep from him. Sex kills. I know it but I still do it.


Maybe I should go to the Gay Games. Lord knows games are what gays are good at...*LOL*.

With that, I wrap up on my 200th post!!!!


Saturday, July 08, 2006

Carolina On My Mind II

Previously on Tit & Tat....

Day 2 of my weekend trip to Charlotte began with a planned trip to Border's in the South Park district of Charlotte. Before heading there, I returned Frenchy's phone call from the night before. We had a pleasant chat with him telling me how much he enjoyed meeting me at the party. He mentioned that he looked forward to us being friends. I told him that was cool but something in his tone seemed to imply he wanted more. I didn't push it, though.

When I told Frenchy of my morning plans, he mentioned that South Park was nicely developed with a major mall and numerous other mini-mall establishments. I thanked him for the info and made my way to South Park.

As I neared the Border's, I realized that I hadn't eaten breakfast. There was a Burger King's a couple blocks from the Border's so I made my way there first. Near the Burger King's was an establishment called Carolina Smoothies. It had been a week or so since I had a smoothie so I decided after my trip to Border's, I'd go there to get one.

The morning was pretty uneventful so I won't bore you with much detail. The one interesting note was that it was hard finding books that focused exclusively on what Charlotte has to offer. The only books I found were ones that lumped the southern region into one or focused on sites all over the U.S., including a snippet of Charlotte.

Another interesting note, the few restaurants I found of interest were closed on Sunday. I assume it's a southern thing.

After killing three hours in Border's, I got my smoothie and then made my way to SouthPark mall. It was your typical mall. Nothing more, nothing less.

Later in the afternoon, I went back downtown to check out the area. I stopped at the Afro-American Cultural Center and learned the history of shotgun houses, which was basically one-story shacks that you can run in the front and out in the back in seconds flat. In theory, one could shoot a bullet through the front door and it'd pass out through the back. This style of home was prevalent in the South. The cultural center had two such houses preserved, one of which was on display for visitors to see.

I then drove to the heart of downtown in search of a place to eat. While walking I ran into a slightly deranged older black man who seemed to be looking at me with disdain. He rolled his eyes at me and said "England?". I was wearing a T-shirt with the word England displayed across my chest. I sorta laughed and sheepishly shrugged my shoulders as he walked by, still eyeing me. After he got a good distance from me, still looking at me nastily, I went "so what".

I guess t-shirts with country names on it seems to generate lots of attention. My Brazil futbol t-shirt also generates lots of interest when strangers see it. I actually wore that while on my flight to Charlotte and a couple started asking if I was from Brazil and then the conversation turned to Brazilian steak.

Hemingway I wound up going to RockBottom Brewery, which appeared to be the only restaurant open. I ordered some of their "home brewed" beer along with a New York Strip & mixed veggies. I took their dessert sampler to go and headed back to my hotel accomodations.
I pretty much didn't do much the rest of that evening, save some phone calls to Eugene and Frenchy, the latter actually asking me out on a date for the next night. I accepted.

Day 3 found me getting an uneventful workout on at a local Bally's, a sucky bowling session, and a tour of the real estate opportunities in the Charlotte area. When I got back to the room later that day, I prepared for my date. Since Frenchy didn't drive, the plan was to pick him up at his job & have dinner at an asian eatery called Mama Fu's and then catch X-Men 3.

So I did just that. I knew seconds into the date that I would only be interested in him as a friend. Whatever magic I may have felt the first time we met was gone. I think he lost me with his pastel green sweater & Queer Eye Carson ways. But I would like him as a friend and by the end of the evening, he came to that conclusion as well.

By the end of Day 3, I was having a serious head cold and while my flight back to Chicago was late the following evening, I decided I wanted an earlier flight. Clyde actually called me at some point Monday evening. That went straight to voicemail. I knew I didn't want to take him up on his offer and my head cold gave me a perfect excuse.

On Day 4 while preparing for my escape from the ghetto, I decided to call Clyde and tell him the news. I got his voicemail, which made it easier to leave. I was able to get on a 3PM flight.

So ended my adventures in Charlotte. Overall I enjoyed the trip and could see myself living there. I may make another trip in October, except RC wants me to visit Raliegh. That'll be cool....maybe I'll even see Ladynay.


Thursday, July 06, 2006

Carolina On My Mind

It's great to be back home. If you're ever in the Charlotte area, don't stay at the Days Inn I was at. It was ghetto as hell. I couldn't even say ghetto fabolous. It was just ghetto. The outside grounds were nasty and the inside wasn't any better. I had to switch rooms because the sheets in the one room looked really old and there was the matter of a cigarette butt in the toilet. The other room was slightly better but I still didn't trust the sheets so I went to a local Sears and picked up a cheap set to tide me over for my stay.

What it comes down to is you get what you pay for. The rate was only $50 a night so you know that was bargain basement.

I was reminded of the 'quality vs. quantity' debate Eugene always has with me. Eugene states that he likes quality while I tend to go for quantity. In other words, I try to cut corners whenever I can. In this case, quantity didn't pay off. I think my next trip, I'm gonna treat myself to a 4 star hotel, regardless of the cost.

As if to prove my new quest for quality, I went so far as to purchase a $140 pair of Ecco shoes at Dillard's. while on my errand to find sheets. They were so comfortable. I may never buy a pair of $60 shoes again....*LOL*.

Hemingway the only solid plans I had was the Sting basketball game I alluded to in my last post. It was pretty exciting being so close to the action. Unfortunately Sacremento whipped Charlotte's butts despite a good attempt by Charlotte to try and take back the lead.

During the game, an older lady that sat two seats away from me was marveling about a baby that was in her Mom's lap two rows in front of us. She was amazed how quiet the baby was despite all the noise going on, even falling asleep at various points. We later learned that the baby belonged to Allan Iverson, who himself was sitting where the coaches normally sit. We figured the baby was probably used to all the noise. I didn't get to take a picture of Iverson, though. Oh well. It was a pretty cool evening.

Earlier that day, I was in contact with my Raliegh connection (RC) and he mentioned there was a get together in Charlotte for a few of the 30-something gay men in the area. RC put me in contact with a dude named Doog. Doog sounded sexy as hell on the phone. I was trying to picture what he looked like while he was explaining the particulars of the event. Doog told me to call him after the game to get directions.

So the game finishes and after I take a mini-tour of the downtown section I was in, I give Doog a call. He starts to give directions but then has the owner of the home give me further clarification. Clyde does that briefly.

After a brief stop at the wrong house, I make my way to Clyde's place. I step outside and walk towards it. Clyde lives in a relatively quiet subdivision, which was cool.

As I reach the front, I'm greeted by Doog & some other guy I can't remember. Doog was fine as hell and just what I like - a real man's man. He appeared to be about 5'11 and weighed around 215-220 lbs and was quite solid. He was so handsome and unfortunately so taken. Story of my life...*LOL*.

So Hemingway I'm mingling with the guests at the party and two guys take a clear liking to me. One of them is Clyde who's being the perfect host and goes out of his way to make sure I'm comfortable. He also seemed to want to get me drunk.

The other guy Frenchy seemed to be into me as well. We conversed about the state of gay relationships & whether two black men could sustain a healthy relationship. I have my doubts...*LOL*. But yeah, they do exist. The only negative I could see was the smoking.

So Hemingway, somehow during the course of the evening, I found myself parked in the sofa next to Clyde. By this time, I had chatted with several guys, including Beyonce2. Beyonce2 actually kept us in stitches trying to imitate the infamous Beyonce. He's the furthest thing from looking like her, though. He actually on the outside is a bodybuilder type guy with nice pecs & big shoulders and the flat stomach. But he smoked which was a turn-off. Nonetheless he was a nice guy.

Beyonce2 wanted to sit down between Clyde and myself but Clyde refused to move. I couldn't because I was sitting at the end of the sofa. It was a bit hilarious. At some point later, Clyde stuck his hands on my lower back. I didn't move but I thought he was being rather bold. Luckily he didn't try getting in my pants or I would've screamed.

Later on I somehow got pulled by Clyde to chat with his core friends, of which Doog was included. Clyde wanted to inflate a mattress for one of them. He wanted me to follow him upstairs on the pretense of helping him with the mattress. Yeah..*LOL*.

Fast forward to twenty minutes later, I'm in Clyde's room and he starts making out with me. It's been a minute for me so I actually went with it. I'm not going to lie. It felt good. But truth was I wasn't really feeling Clyde despite his best attempts. And there was no way I was going to make out with him with guests in other rooms. I mean what kind of hoe did he think I was...*LOL*. I knew I had to stop him before he tried to take it to that next level. Seeing my resistance, he asked if he had to go with me back to my hotel. I laughed. It took me a minute but I finally broke free.

He made some noise about us hanging out Tuesday. I knew the time if I agreed but to keep the peace, I told him I'd think about it. Since I felt a bit awkward afterwards, I decided to leave the party. I ran into Frenchy and we exchanged numbers.

Of course after I left, I was on the phone with Eugene giving him the lowdown. It was after 2AM when I arrived back in my dingy, ghetto hotel. The room was a bit cold with the A/C blasting but the minute I turned it off, it got hot again. So I kept it on and continued chatting with Eugene. I noticed that while chatting with him, Frenchy was calling on the other line. I didn't switch over. Eugene commented that Frenchy was looking for a bootie call, which cracked me up.

I did feel an attraction to Frenchy at the party but I knew that wasn't going to happen. I wind up watching back to back episodes of Next before eventually calling it a night.

I'll post the rest of my adventures in Charlotte, including an unexpected date and a hilarious street altercation I found myself involved in later.