Thursday, November 30, 2006

My Second Life

Last weekend at a cocktail party in Brussels, the subject of Second Life came up. I like to think I am a hip, happening man of the world but this whole Second Life thing was completely new for me. I looked into it and was totally and completely amazed at what I learned and also of the possibilities that exist within a totally virtual environment… Commerce. Sex. Terrorism. All the stuff that makes life interesting. I decided to set up my own character and suddenly the insecurities and doubts began. Would I be human? Animal? Alien? What would I wear? And for the first time, I started having gender questions… What sex would I be? And what would my orientation be? Was this my chance to be a lesbian or have hot sex with Superman? What career would I choose? Drug runner, pole dancer or talk-show host? I found so many questions paralyzing until I saw that I can change anything and everything about myself at anytime with the exception of my name. That meant I needed a name that could go anywhere and be anything.

I searched through my favorite books and found one from “Wicked” that I decided to use and set up my own profile. I picked my avatar (a hunky guy in a tight white t-shirt) and downloaded the program. As I installed the interface I slipped into daydreams of meting total strangers or movie stars in disguise. I had visions of owning my own island that would be inhabited only by the most beautiful and rich avatars. I was drunk on power and fame.

Once the installation was complete, I double-clicked on the icon and started up the program. And then, just like that, my fragile little bubble was burst into a million tiny pieces as I got the message that my video card was no supported by the program.

As if being rejected I my first life wasn’t enough, I was being rejected in my second one as well. I tried it again an again and each time I was not allowed past the velvet rope but instead was kept outside among the tired and huddled masses of the other Second Life rejects.

I guess I will just have to be content with a second cocktail instead.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Hills Are Alive

Just when you think you know someone… They surprise you…

The other day, there I was on MSN chatting my fingers to the bone when my friend Joe sent me a link to a music video and before I knew it, I was looking at a well accessorized nun singing her little nun heart out:

High on a hill was a lonely goatherd
Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo
Loud was the voice of the lonely goatherd
Lay ee odl lay ee odl-oo

I saw Joe last weekend, and while strolling through the city of Brussels, he would just suddenly break out into a chorus of lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo and folks in a town that was quite remote heard lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo. Yes, my yodelling Egyptian friend has been happy as a Sphinx since the all but lost art has made a rather glamorous comeback thanks to Gwen Stefani. In fact, it was all I could do to keep him from tearing down the curtains and making his very own hieroglyphically embroidered lederhosen from his own pattern. My already frail nerves which are still recovering from my near death robbery experience were quickly shot and suddenly I felt the need for a cocktail but then imagined men drinking beer with the foam afloat hearing lay ee odl lay ee odl-oo and decided against it and suggested a good dose of Julie Andrews and a good night’s sleep.

Then, my curiosity got the best of me. What, I wondered, makes one want to yodel? How did yodeling start in the first place? I realized I had no idea and not wanting my friend to go around shouting out uneducated lay hee hoos, I decided to do some research. According to Wikipedia, yodeling “was probably developed in the Swiss Alps as a method of communication between mountain peaks”. That makes sense, however I would think that with the handy little invention of the mobile phone, such a mating call would no longer be necessary. But then given the choice, I am not sure if I prefer the annoying ringtones or yodelling. Lucky for Joe’s friends, he has both so we don’t have to force our friend to give up either one...

Odl lay ee, odl lay ee
Odl lay hee hee, odl lay ee
Odl lay odl lay, odl lay odl lee, odl lay odl lee
Odl lay odl lay odl lay


Tuesday, November 28, 2006


“I really don’t want to lose you. I really hope we can be friends”

Will someone please pass me the airsick bag because I am going to toss my cookies. What is it with everyone wanting to be friends after they break up? You can’t even start to date someone without having the “if all else fails we will always be friends” conversation. I too find myself saying those same words but I wonder if I really mean them. I wonder if there isn’t perhaps a better, more therapeutic way to deal with the collapse of a relationship, regardless of the length of time spent together. In the gay world an hour of mediocre sex and a quick trip to IKEA constitute a long-term relationship and so again I have to think, what’s in it for me? Why suffer through another round of IKEA if I am not allowed some post relationship venting?

I want to break up with someone and then make their lives miserable. Show them what my momma taught me. Whatever happened to the good old days when one could have a shag, a short-lived romance and then get have some fun when it ended? Bring back the blackmail, public humiliation and character assassinations. Someone dumps you, I think a brick through the window with a hate note attached is a lot healthier than having a dinner to discuss next steps for moving forward in a communicative and supportive relationship. You can’t give me that when we are together, I sure as hell don’t want it when we are apart. I want to walk up to an ex at a party and toss my drink at them, slap them, spread vicious rumors or just sleep with their current lover, best friend or brother. I want them to have sleepless nights wondering if that is just a branch against their window or someone standing outside peering in. A restraining order never hurt anyone and stalking gives the dumpee something to do to occupy their time while working through the pain and we all know that misery loves company.

Misery also loves to leave phone messages at 8:05. 8:07. 8:11. 8:11. 8:11. 8:13. We want to scream into the answering machine “I know you’re there, your lights are on and I can see you moving… Pick. Up. That. Phone. Damn. You” but we decide to have some dignity and we just hang up, leaving only a busy tone at the other end. Best not to leave too much incriminating evidence.

So I ask you to join me in bringing tire slashing, rabbit boiling and harassing phone calls back into vogue.

Monday, November 20, 2006

One World

What a weekend last weekend turned out to be. I arrived in Brussels one suitcase lighter than I left with, which meant no clothes, toothbrush or any of the essentials. Luckily I was staying at Nik’s and when he heard I was practically homeless and naked, he told me to help myself to anything I needed. That sounds like a generous offer on the surface, but the fact of the matter is, I am about twice the height of Nik. Well, maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration, but I would not have been able to borrow a pair of jeans without setting off all sorts of Katrina like flood warnings.

My favorite color is cashmere and Nik has tons of it, but I ended up somewhat disappointed. See, I have had my eye on a certain jumper of his, but it was nowhere to be seen. .. I searched high, I searched low but could not find a trace of it, so had to choose a tacky Gap jumper instead, which turned out to be a better choice than the cashmere after all. As if being robbed at gunpoint (ok, so there were no guns, but there could have been) wasn’t bad enough, there I was in Egmont park, leaning against a sculpture of Peter Pan, looking at the different colors in the trees, enjoying the smell of the autumn leaves, listening to Caruso when and basking in what may be the last sun of the year when a little bird decided to poo on my sleeve. Well, not my sleeve, but Nik’s sleeve, but while I was wearing it. Of course, I did not notice this until after I had met up with Joe and we were walking through the center of town on route to afternoon drinks and stopped in one of my favorite stores. Suddenly, there it was, small but there. I was stunned, shocked, mortified and thankful it wasn’t my clothes, but then I remembered that the only reason it wasn’t mine is because they had been taken hostage at Mechelen train station. A quick trip to the gents and I was good as new. I can honestly say that if you are ever stranded in Brussels without your luggage, stay at Nik’s. His medicine chest is like going to the cosmetics counter at Harvey Nichol’s or Galleries Lafayette. He doesn’t just have everything you need, he has 10 different varieties. I was paralyzed by the choice and ended up washing my hair and body about 8 times during each shower just to give each gel and shampoo an equal opportunity. Not only that, but he is also stocked to the ceiling with drugs from the US. That is one thing about living in Europe, you can’t just go buy Benadryl or any old thing you need over the counter. Even nasal spray requires a trip to the doctor and a prescription.

Sunday was relaxing. I woke Joe up and invited myself over for some coffee and a quick breakfast before heading out in the rain to Leuven to meet some friends. Everyone I asked said it was a 20 minute train ride from Brussels to Leuven. What they didn’t tell me was that there are two types of trains… The direct one which takes 20 minutes, and the one that goes via the airport which takes 45. So, of course I end up on the train going via the airport. We pull into the airport and as we pull out, we start heading back to Brussels. I start to panic thinking I am on the wrong train. Then it becomes clear we are not heading to Brussels, but we start speeding through the countryside and after what seemed like an eternity, we start pulling into this small city. I start to panic realizing I had no idea where I was. I thought I had been to Leuven before and it was a small village. It turned out that everything was ultimately OK, and the small city was indeed Leuven and I have actually never been there. Senility is one thing, but to remember being someplace I have never been is a bit frightening.

I stopped by the police station just before leaving on the train from Brussels back to Amsterdam, but there was still no sign of my luggage but they told me to check back next Friday when I am back in the Belgium.

Today I ended up giving into my sinus infection I have had for the past 4 days and left work early to wrap myself in blankets and drown myself in chicken soup and the Benadryl that I stole from Nik’s. In between sleeping, shivering and ladeling soup down my throat, I went onto and came across a brilliant, concept titled “One World”. The idea is to write a simple message on your hand and submit a video of it. I quickly became obsessed with it. It is just a simple idea and absolutely brilliant. I have included the original video in this blog. There are a lot of response videos on YouTube which are definitely worth checking out... And of course, add your own.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Railway Adventure

Another weekend, another trip to Brussels. I was ready for a few days of fun, adventure and cocktails and it is not yet 2300 and already I have had more than enough adventure. I had been imagining lots of champagne while surrounded by all sorts of beautiful people until the wee small hours of the morning. What I got instead, was a police report from the little station at Brussels Midi describing the small suitcase that until 30 minutes before had been in my possession. At the last stop before hitting Brussels, some guy inn a striped sweater ran through the car, grabbed my suitcase from, the overhead rack and ran out the door just before the doors closed. Fortunately for me, I had my wallet, keys, iPod, phone and passport in another bag I still have with me. That would have been a disaster. I am now at Nik’s, having borrowed his flat while he is in Amsterdam, have located the Bacardi Razz and Sprite and made myself a rather strong cocktail. I still have no idea how much of everything to mix, so I use the old logic that if a little is good, a lot must be better. So here I sit, mourning the loss of my favorite Prada sweater, my favorite Prada shirt and my favorite Paul Smith shirt.

Tomorrow will now be a day of shopping as I have no socks, underwear, toothbrush and worst of all, no product for my hair.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

What I Don't Know...

I haven’t been updating my blog the past days as I really feel I have nothing to say. It scares me to think that at the tender age of 39 I may be talked and typed out, my head void of the fabulous thoughts and ideas that are usually knocking on the windows of my mind begging to be set free. It is just a bunch of empty space in need of major redecorating.

Perhaps an idea for a new TV show… My Brain, Your Brain. Of course my brain is more like a 5 star vacation at the Four Seasons in Singapore where I don’t really have to do anything but remember to breathe in and out and drink the occasional Diet Coke for nourishment. With my luck I would have to spend some time with the brain of someone that would require real work which might even result in dirt under the cerebral fingernails and I just had a mental manicure. Perhaps I should just stay in my luxury suite wrapped in the soft and squishy bathrobe of silence.

But then I realized so many people without any imagination or anything to say manage to do an enormous amount of mindless pontificating and I thought that if they can do it, I can too. After all, since when do I need to make sense or have something worthwhile to discuss to feel like I have something to say? I suddenly feel like I have something in common with most of the CNN newscasters… Just make stuff up to eat up the airtime in a futile attempt to entertain the tired and huddles masses gathered around their TV screens like moths to the flame… I shouldn’t be so harsh on CNN, I love infotainment and they do it all so well. If it wasn’t for them, I would know nothing about Anna Nicole’s woes. Now there is a brain I would like to go spelunking in for just a few short minutes. Of course, I would have to be careful not to get lost in such a cavernous space. I wonder what it is like to think in an echo. I find it somewhat scary that I simply have no idea. And then I wondered what else I don’t know and suddenly it occurred to me…

I have no idea how much my penis and testicles weigh. What if I ever needed to send them to a third world country like Malawi, for example? What would it cost me? What if I wanted to sell them at the village market as one is wont to do? How is it possible I have lived my entire life without this knowledge? Suddenly I feel as if I don’t even know my body, as though we are strangers who merely cohabitate. I guess I need to bond more with my body. Well, there was only one thing to do, find out what all the averages were, do my own measurements and then compare information and come to some educated conclusions and then share my findings with the rest of the world.

Can you believe that with all the information on the internet, I was unable to find any information about how much a penis weighs? Oh, I found a lot of sites about penile weight lifting, a sport in which I will gracefully decline to take part. I don’t get the point. It just seems like a whole bunch of pain to me. I tried to find other sports to keep my nether regions otherwise engaged and in shape, but there doesn’t seem to be any other sports out there. Perhaps a gap in the market. A new business opportunity. I am imagining the possibilities as I type. I must jot that down on my “to-do” list and underline it several times, making it a top priority. Golly, I’ll even highlight it in bright yellow. Suddenly I feel like I have a direction. My life now feels somewhat meaningful in a useless sort of way.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


What a world, what a world. It seems to be such a tragic and depressing place these days that I find myself searching for a reason to get up out of bed in the morning. First it was Bobby and Whitney, then it was Ryan and Reese and now, as if my heart can take any more bad news, Britney is getting divorced. Will she never find happiness? Is she destined to live this life of white trash she has so effectively carved out for herself? Round and round the world goes, becoming even more confusing than Days of our Lives.

Then I read that two college guys have filed a lawsuit about how they were portrayed in the film ‘Borat’, claiming they only made those racist and sexist remarks because they thought it would only be shown outside of the US. I guess it’s ok to be a small minded, sexist, racist, chauvinistic pig as long as you do it on someone else’s turf.

And just when I thought I had seen it all, I saw something new and unimaginable compliments of a 22 year old guy from the UK. Things must be really boring in the Sunderland. What else can explain someone coming up with the brilliant idea of launching a Black Cat Thunderbolt Rocket from his behind? I am just trying to get a mental image… In a public area on Bonfire Night, our hero shucks his shorts, assumes the position, places one rocket up his bum, and ignites the fuse. I can imagine that when he played this out in his head and went over all the risk factors, he never imagined what would happen next. The rocket, as rockets sometimes do, had a little trouble on the launch pad and instead of heading for the moon, decided to self destruct where it was, igniting the methane gas the body naturally produces, causing a small internal explosion, scorching his insides. Ouch. A spokesperson for the Firework Association described the bizarre prank as "beyond belief"... hmmmm, I wonder… He said: "We have spent a long time working with the government to create laws that make fireworks safer and better for the public. That project seems to be going really well…

Please, to anyone reading this, please do not insert rockets or any other fireworks into any of your (or anyone else’s) body cavities. No matter how fun it may seem in theory, it's just not a good idea.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


This morning, after a week long hiatus, in which my body came crashing down around me, I am back at the gym getting myself whipped into something that Santa may just slip under someone’s Christmas tree, eliciting ooohs and aaahs from the happy recipient. Hard to believe that there are only 8 weeks left in this year and suddenly I feel the pressure to go out and get my aluminium Christmas tree which I will decorate with poodles of assorted colors, thus showing just how hip and happening one person can be. But first things first…

I need to go on holiday and so have been peeking around here and there, looking for the right destination. Why is it that there only seem to be vacations with pictures of scantily clad honeymooners or some ugly family bonding over the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet? What about those of us who do not fit into either scene but who also do not want to lower our standards to the level of an EasyCruise? EasyJet is one thing, EasyCruise is something else. There are only so many sunburnt British any one person should be subjected to in a 12 month period, and believe me, I have reached my quota for this year.

The problems with holidays is that there are so many decisions to make. City or nature? Beach or mountains? Which continent? Romance or sex? Rest or total sensory deprivation? It is all just too overwhelming at times and I find myself wondering if I should just not stay home. Currently on my preferred list of places to go are: Istanbul, Tel Aviv, Athens, Nice, Ferrara, Barcelona, Morocco and Iceland. I just can’t decide what to do or if I am going to do it alone or with someone… Anybody up for a holiday?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Wash My Hands... Wash My Hands...

So much going on, I hardly know where to begin. I know, let’s start with one of my favorite subjects, performing arts…

The Cadance is a bi-annual modern dance festival that is currently underway in The Hague. Last night I went to the premiere of ‘Bespoken’ which was choreographed by my friend Paul and I thought it was amazing. I can only imagine how it must feel to see your own creativity and imagination take form on stage and it was so nice to see a beaming Paul after the performance. I had seen him perform several weeks ago in a production called ‘The Finalisten’. That was the first time I had seen him dance and I was amazed to see this side of my friend that I had only ever heard about.

I have just come back from having a coffee with Paul and telling him just how amazing I thought the performance was. He is one of those people that in a very short time became very important in my life. He has been a constant source of support, the occasional shoulder and a great sushi partner. Whenever Paul hears even the slightest dip in my mood, it is off for sushi or coffee and a long talk. He has that rare gift of asking just the right questions - even if they are not the questions I want to hear or answer – and cutting right to the heart of an issue. I can only hope I am as good of a friend as he has been to me.

After coffee with Paul, I stopped by DOM to see what was new in the world of funky and fun household fashion and I have discovered the must have accessories for this holiday season. Black mirrored disco balls, silver aluminium Christmas trees, glitter candles in assorted colors and hot pink garland. This just may be the year to have a ‘Trailer Park Christmas’ complete with the appropriate beverages.

Speaking of appropriate beverages, Nik and I were brainstorming the other day about opening up a cocktail bar in Brussels and we came up with the perfect idea. We want to convert an old church into a loungy place serving fabulously mixed cocktails with religious names… Imagine slinking up to the bar to order a ‘Virgin Mary’, ‘Immaculate Conception’ or the soon to be popular ‘No Room at the Inn’ from a muscled bartender wearing little more than white angel wings or horns. Naughty or nice, there will definitely be something for everyone. Of course, there will be more black mirrored disco balls than should be legal in any one place and we will let only the most fabulous people in. Nik will be our very own St. Peter of the black velvet rope and will hand-pick the lucky devils who will be allowed access to our fashionable sanctuary. Marco will be our Deified DJ, spinning all types of sinfully delightful beats to keep everyone in a heavenly mood. My job will be to keep everything properly lit as I truly believe that the secret to a great anything is proper lighting. Do you think Miss Evangelista would be as fantastically fabulous if she were to stumble into some poorly thought out second rate lighting?

After DOM, I stopped by the American Book Store for one of life’s essentials, Vanity Fair magazine. No sooner had I bought this issue with George Clooney on the cover than I saw the cover for next month's issue. A wet Brad Pitt in his undies and holding a gun. Supposedly Mr. Angelina Jolie is unhappy about the use of an ‘unauthorized’ picture but I say bring it on and keep it coming. Unless of course they can get Freddie Ljundberg nude on the cover. Demi, Scarlett and Keira have all been naked on the cover, but why is it always the women? What this world needs is a good dose of pecs and abs. Why should evangelical leaders get to have all the fun?

Now onto yet another favorite topic of mine, arrogant leaders who wrap themselves in morality while swimming in the sea of sin. Maybe it’s just me, but this whole Ted Haggard issue seems to be a replay of Bill’s “I did not have sex with that woman” speech. First he denies even knowing the guy and then he admits he went to him for a massage, but what exactly he got massaged is open for debate and then he says that he did buy methamphetamines but got rid of them very quickly but didn’t use them. Is that going to be the new “I smoked pot in college but I didn’t inhale”? I can hear it all now in the next elections, “I secretly snorted highly addictive drugs that reduce sexual inhibitions in a dingy hotel room with a homosexual prostitute but then I sneezed.” I read on Wikipedia that meth users “may become obsessed or perform repetitive tasks such as cleaning, handwashing or assembling and dissembling objects” and I wonder what Mr. Haggard did while not under the influence. Hasn’t he learned anything from Whitney? Perhaps he should stop by our bar and order a "Hail Mary".

Well, I have other things than an evangelical leader’s fall from grace to keep myself occupied today . I have decided to embrace my inner Bree van de Kamp and do a bit of washing, dusting and vacuuming. I know, I am as shocked by my flagrant and unexpected display of domesticity as you are. Hey, did someone slip me some meth while I wasn’t looking?

Well, I am off to wash my hands… wash my hands… wash my hands…

Thursday, November 02, 2006


I hate this time of year, when the weather turns colder, the sky is painted in shades of Michelangelo and there are so many more hours of dark than light. I always have a difficult time making the adjustment into winter and today is one of those days when it just seems to hit a bit harder than usual. Like Sade sings, “it’s just a day that brings it all about, just another day and nothing’s any good.” Hopefully tomorrow will be better. After all, tomorrow is another day.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Black And White

This morning, I woke up as I usually do, showered, dressed, looked in the mirror and marveled at how good I looked and stormed out the door to work like every other weekday. Except this wasn’t every other weekday. There I was, crossing the street in front of the office when I looked down and to my horror saw two different shoes on my feet. And not two kind of different shoes where I could imagine making such a mistake, but they were so different that there is no possible way this could have happened. There I was with one sleek white Bikkembergs sneaker and one clunky black Prada shoe. The realization that not only had I walked from my house to the tram stop, sat on the bus for 20 minutes and then walked from the bus station to the office in total ignorance of my early display of Alzheimer’s, but I would have to do the journey in reverse and hope that nobody noticed. I tried to restructure my DNA so that nobody would know it was me and I ran into a colleague of mine who had a huge laugh at my expense. I will get you back one day… Just wait! On my way back home, I scanned the streets looking for others who shared my pain but obviously the coordination gods were smiling on my neighbors this morning and I was the only one, chosen to walk that road alone.

I ran into my house and then could not find the matching shoe to either one of them and panicked even more. I finally fond the matching shiny white one and sped off back to work. I wonder if this is how Cinderella felt when she only had the one glass slipper. Did she walk around her village all mismatched?

And to make matters even worse, this is not the first time such a thing has happened to me. Last summer, I went to meet up with Garad and Adam to go to Media Markt. I walked from my house to theirs, along the canals of Amsterdam, met them, got on the tram then connected to the metro and when we were almost there, I noticed I had on two different shoes. At least they were both white so nobody noticed, but Garad immediately took photos so he could blackmail me at some point in the future. As soon as I am home, I am going to make a sign and put it o my mirror that says “Have you checked your shoes today?”