A Hunt in Boston


My father remembers it better than I do. Apparently I had proposed the idea of finding the family a place in Boston early on in my junior year of college, and the day after he gave the ok to begin the search I was in the city setting up visits to potentials properties. The year was 1995, and the South End was on the verge of taking off. (If you want decent real estate investments, go where the gays are. I wanted to be there for other reasons, but I digress…)

On that fall day, it had rained in the morning, but by the time I got all the way from Brandeis into the South End, the sun was out, the air was warm and humid, and the only remnants of the storm were the wet leaves beneath my feet. On a cobblestone driveway, yellow leaves clung like mushroom caps, muddy and veiny and emitting the tell-tale scent of fall – life and decay in one mossy aroma.

My real estate agent was a cute guy with whom I was already illogically smitten, and he brought me along to our first property – a small condo just across the street from the real estate office. As tempting as it would have been to live there in such close proximity to the man who would surely wear my wedding ring one day, I held my enthusiasm in check. Despite the charming wall of exposed brick, and the enchanting way the afternoon sun drifted in through the windows, it was just a tad too tiny.

For our second property, we looked at a large, albeit divided, floor-through deep in the South End. Far from any T station (too far, really) what it lacked in location it made up for in space. The problem was that the space was cut into so many smaller rooms that it felt disjointed and cumbersome, even if it was a steal for all the square footage. The distance to any transportation would prove problematic too, and I was reminded of the most important real estate adage: location, location, location.

The third try was the charm that brought us to Braddock Park. Great location – right between Copley and the South End – decent space (at least for one person, maybe two if they really loved each other) – and a steal considering that in the time that we’ve had it it’s probably tripled in value. That cemented the deal, and before November ended we had closed on the condo. I never tire of reliving those months.

The last time I was in Boston, the conditions mirrored those I just described – the warm, humid air of a fall day where the sun wins out over the season, the leaves collecting between the cobblestones, and the scent of life and death so gloriously entwined that one doesn’t exist without the other. I thought back to the young man who was searching for love as much as he was searching for a home, and I smiled at his determination.

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Retro Hunk of the Day: Vanilla Ice

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My brother once sat next to Vanilla Ice on a flight to or from Florida, and said he was a great guy. I can see that. Madonna featured him at the tail-end of his white-hot fifteen minutes of fame in her ‘Sex’ book, and since we are celebrating that anniversary this week, he is our throwback Hunk of the Day. His career devolved into reality television work, and though he came off as a bit of a prick in the early days of his fame, he’s evolved into something more.

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I’m Gonna Get You Off


Our ‘Erotica’ anniversary week celebration continues with this extra-cheeky post. (If I’m going to talk the talk, I might as well walk the walk.) Taken a couple of weeks ago at the Standard High Line (where nudity and exhibitionism are strongly encouraged) these shots go well with the daring derriere-flaunting show-off nature of the ‘Erotica’ period. I’ll copy a few lyrics from the extra-special version that appeared in the ‘Sex’ book and remix CD.













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Coming Out Of My Sexual Shell


I’ll teach you how to fuck,” she promised both in song and on paper.

It was October 1992, and Madonna was staking her sexual claim across the globe. Who was I to resist? At the time, my fandom was at its earliest height, and ever since then she has barely been able to do a wrong. Back then, I needed her for something more important than entertainment or amusement: I needed her to survive. In addition, I needed her to break through my shyness and social inhibition, and to help me bust out of the constraints of a conservative Catholic upbringing. All of those issues would end up killing me if I continued in my misguided beliefs, and deep down I knew that.

I was ripe for a sexual awakening, even if I didn’t know whether that would be at the hands of a man or woman, and as Madonna’s ‘Erotica’ album was casting its spell and putting me in a trance, I felt the stirrings of desire and carnal longing. As candles burned and fall winds blew, I conjured my own brew of prayers and wishes, and the hope that the secrets of sex would soon reveal themselves.

It was still such a mystery to me: slightly dangerous, slightly comical, slightly repellent, but supremely enticing. My body reacted to the sight of shirtless men while my mind thrilled to the notion of vulnerability – and as strange as it sounds the male always seemed more vulnerable than the female in my warped sense of of the world. We wore our sex on the outside, unprotected and swinging in the air, easily prone to attack or seduction.

A song like ‘Erotica’ burned red-hot and brazenly; a cut like ‘Rain‘ tripped the lights blue and fantastic. The entire ‘Erotica’ album was a rainbow of aural textures and sextures, each a little story in itself – tales of seduction and carnality as much as love and self-exploration. Coupled with the ‘Sex’ book, it was a project of sexual expression that played with the topic – sometimes coyly, sometimes overtly – and in such an extreme self-display of naked un-inhibition that it culminated in one of the most unpopular periods of Madonna’s career.

There was a wicked little lesson in that too: if you had ‘Sex’ you would get punished. She fought it against it, and ultimately so would I… but not quite yet. Though I would dip my dick in men and women soon enough, back then I kept it all to myself. I flipped the pages of ‘Sex’ and listened to the moans of ‘Erotica’ and dreamt of the day when I would share it with another.

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The Ride Home


Driving in the fall when it’s sunny out is a pleasure that seems largely underestimated these days. When so much entertainment and distraction is at hand on phones and other devices, we seem to be losing the joy in a simple ride through the changing foliage of New England. I’ll never lose touch with that, however, and when given the opportunity I’ll relish these days when all I have a drive ahead of me, and a destination where I can settle in for the night. Home is to be found where one feels comfortable enough to rest a weary pair of eyes, or relax into a state of unguarded ease. Boston and Albany provide both to me.

On this particular day, making my way from Cape Cod back to the Capital District, the sky is slightly hazy, but sections of sun shine through. It’s a ‘Bedtime Stories’ kind of day, and my mind returns to the fall of 1994, when Madonna released her most autumn-like album. Though ‘Erotica’ actually experiences its anniversary this week (bang-up sex-post coming tomorrow) this drive demands a quieter, softer soundtrack. Here are a few links to the ‘Bedtime Stories’ cuts that have already been written about on the Madonna Timeline:

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A Fall Gathering at the Cape


Last week at this time I was setting out to Boston en route to JoAnn’s Fall Gathering in Cape Cod. She sets a wonderful atmosphere, and on the day of the party the whole universe conspired to grant a gorgeous sun-filled afternoon, with just enough chill in the air to make the hot cider and warm dishes all the more delectable. As I cradled a cup of steaming goodness in my hands, and pulled a bulky sweater tighter to my chest, I surveyed the beauty at hand.

JoAnn is the person who taught me how to cut and preserve the bittersweet vines. (The trick is to cut them when their berries have not yet opened; if you wait too long and they’ve already shown some orange, they will simply fall apart as soon as you bring them inside. Cutting them early enough keeps them intact.) She also forces forsythia in the early spring, so I have a pretty good gauge of the seasons based on what I find on her tables.

Having skipped a big fall get-together last year, this was a return to form, and she went all out to make sure the day was perfect – going so far as to hire her own private band for the festivities. Of course, it’s not just the decorations, food, and entertainment that make a party – but rather the guests, and in that respect we were rich and lucky in spirit and attendance.

Though I only get to see most of these folks once every two or three years (and usually at a JoAnn event) they still feel like a group of cherished family and friends (particularly with the advent of FaceBook). The Cape Crew has always proven itself worthy of soap opera dramatics, and getting to watch some of the events unfold from a safe and manageable distance makes this group such an engaging and compelling collection of personalities.

At its heart, though, it’s a group filled with love and passion. There may be fighting, there may be estrangements, and there may be anger and drama and bitterness from time to time, but it’s all done out of love. That’s what binds all of us together. No matter how much time has passed, no matter how far we may travel, and no matter what has come between us, there is always room for healing, hope for a new reunion. I live for those moments, when people are brought together and reminded of all the good times and happy occasions that have gone before.

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OGT Misc.


Though our fall trip to Ogunquit finished up a few weeks ago, the memories still haunt me, in the best possible way, so I’m going to indulge in a lazy look back at some of the scenes seen then.


Until we meet again… after the winter.

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Breakfast & Lunch


In this in-between-hour, I offer you the best of both worlds from our recent trip to Ogunquit. Breakfast at Amore and lunch at MC Perkins. An Eggs Benedict with crab and a trio of fish tacos. This is what happens when fresh seafood collides with late morning hunger, and it’s a damn near perfect collision for my stomach.

Feast your eyes on all the goodness. (I did so with my mouth.)

Yummy yummy.

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Happy Birthday to My Husband


A very special birthday shout-out to Andy, on the one month of the year when he is not responsible for making someone else’s cake. (Well, almost – he already made a few for the other birthday peeps of October.) As the great unheralded support system in my life, he is also the force that allows me to focus on creative endeavors like this blog to keep my sanity. But much more than that, he’s just a fun and warm guy to be around, and whenever I have run into trouble with the world, when I’m feeling sad and disheartened by all the madness around, I find comfort and safety with him. There is something to be said for the safe haven that love like that provides.

On this day, please join me in wishing Andy a very Happy Birthday – and many happy returns of the day!

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Gourdy Gourdy, Look Who’s 40 (+1)


Behold the gourds. Vessels of flesh and seed, bound in strange and pretty skin. Ridged, pebbled, rough, or smooth, each casts a different tactile spell. Some tiny enough to fit in a lipstick case, some too large to be hoisted by anything other than a crane, their variety is infinite, their style and spread too immense to be contained by such a simple assignation.

Signifier of fall.

Representative of harvest.

Bearer of the beauty and wilderness of nature.

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Near the Pond


I arrived at JoAnn’s cozy bungalow, situated just a few steps from Eel Pond just over the Bourne Bridge, early in the day, but only an hour or so before her annual Fall Gathering was set to begin. As is custom, I took a moment to walk to the pond and center myself. It is a peaceful vista – whether summer, winter, spring, or fall – and there is no better way to regroup and refocus than with a breath of that life-giving air. Seagulls flew overhead, those emblematic Cape Cod residents casting shadows in the sky, and water grasses waved gracefully in the slightest breeze. JoAnn is fortunate enough to live near this beauty, and can do this every day. That is one of the perils of being in close and constant proximity to beauty – the danger that we might take it for granted. On this day, at this moment, as my eyes scan left to right across the expanse of water, I take it in and let down my guard.

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Falling in Boston


It is my second favorite time of the year to be in Boston (after spring, of course). Fall carries its enchantment on a brilliantly-colored sleeve of leaves, sprinkling smoke-tinged coziness and seasonal delights along gourd-lined streets. At the start of the weekend, and the beginning of the leaf fall, I walk the roads with the sun at my back. There is just the slightest chill in the air, but it’s not sharp enough to bite. In other words, this is fine weather for any season.

I’m in transit, and Boston is just a convenient one-night stop-over before journeying to my friend JoAnn’s Fall Gathering. Usually, it is the destination in its own right, and I feel a tinge of regret in not being able to stay longer. No matter, there will be other weekends for that. A part of my heart is always here anyway.

As the leaves fall, I’m reminded of old romances. It was my customary practice to fall in love at this time of the year. Not intentionally, it just so happened that a few of my doomed love affairs began in the fall. A telling thing, perhaps, given how they all panned out. (I met Andy at the height of summer.)

Once, I saved a few leaves from the fall in which I met someone I used to love. I pressed them into a thick book, and when they were dry and flat I framed them in glass, in a hanging group of three, and presented them to the man who was not meant to last. I wanted him to remember that fall.

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Hunk of the Day: Birthday Boy Tyler Posey

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This marks Tyler Posey’s second turn as Hunk of the Day, handed out on his birthday, which may be the greatest gift of all. Mr. Posey’s virgin twirl as HOD was well-received, and this will likely serve to bone up his fan base (if it’s even in need of any boning). Congrats to the birthday boy on this latest honor.

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Gratuitous Scott Eastwood Post

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Scott Eastwood has already been named a Hunk of the Day here, and though this isn’t quite his second honor (try an underwear ad, Eastwood) here is something to hold you over until such a glorious day arrives. A couple of shirtless stills and a few teasing GIFs makes the afternoon a pleasant one. Enjoy.

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Autumn Journeys

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Most of the time, it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. At this time of the year, when foliage is ripening into its autumnal hues, and asters and goldenrod line the roadside, that is most certainly true, and on a recent trip to Boston the ride there was just as magnificent as anything I accomplished while in that fine city.

A few cold nights had instigated the turn of the fall color screw, and things had just caught fire as I made my way along the Massachusetts Turnpike. Maples were flaring up in shades of bright orange and yellow, while dogwoods burned crimson both in their leaves and in their strawberry-like fruit. Speeding by the trees and plants at the side of the road, I watched out of the corner of my eye as the colors blurred into a glorious pastiche of rainbow wonder, backed by the kind of deep-blue sky that only shows itself in the fall.

The weekend had just begun.

There was promise in the air, and the smoky incense of burning wood like some sacrificial offering being made to our great fortune at witnessing such beauty.

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