2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,800 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 30 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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That Bearded Dude

Saturday mornings, I typically frequent my favorite Upper West Side diner. Sitting with a cup of coffee, I often wondered if I would ever find romance. Grindr, Tinder, & Okcupid, I was on every dating site. Yet, I couldn’t even get a handshake from perspective dates.

Something peculiar happened when I left for a holiday in Portland. I met a guy, at a gay bar. I only happened to travel 2,454 miles to find him. On my last night in Portland, we sat across from each other at a wine bar, which could easily fit in (New York’s) West Village.

It was utterly romantic and terribly cliché. “Hey do you wanna go to Voodoo donuts,” he asked. Secretly, I did want to go. Rather than playing it cool, I shook my head with great enthusiasm.

Noshing on maple-bacon donuts, I glared into the pavement. It was gritty and grungy, the great 90’s alternative rock bands would approve. While eating our hearty donuts, we decided to take the plunge. I experienced some fear, since it had been a while. He grabbed my hand and led me to a dark den with glowing lights.

I know what you’re thinking this isn’t a romance novel, is it? Correct, we didn’t end up some seedy hotel room, but in a video game arcade. It was the boozy, 21 and over arcade, naturally. We competed with each other on various video games.

As expected, I really sucked at shooting ducks and driving racecars. Continually, he beat me in every game. I hated loosing. In my defense, I hadn’t played a video game, since the Clinton administration.

Sensing my frustration with continual loses, he grabbed and kissed me. In the midst of pinball machines and Japanese pop music, I fell for a guy in the most unexpected of places.

We took a walk alongside gritty Burnside, holding hands. Then we came to an obvious, but shocking fact. “What are we going to do now? It’s your last night. I live in Portland. You live in New York, but I’ve never felt this way about a guy before,” asked my beloved, Oregonian.

Frustrated, I had fallen off the puffy cloud of fantasy. In the echoing sounds of street musicians and wind speeds, I grew dumbfounded. “That’s right, we just happened to have a whole continent, separating us,” I said, with relative sarcasm.

It was a terribly emotional moment. “Why couldn’t I’ve met this guy in New York? I wish he would just move in with me.” The awkwardness grew. Rather than dwell on specifics, we reveled our last night together.

Toward the end of the evening, I walked him to the Max (the Portland streetcar). It arrived, too quickly. Giving him one last kiss, I bid him, farewell. It was truly the end of a spectacular holiday.

The next day, I was riding in a cab to Portland International Airport. I received a text, “You’re complicated, but I adore you” he wrote. Giggling, I wrote back, “It takes a complicated guy to know a complicated guy. I adore you too.” He sent a smile-y face.

Taking in a deep breath, I stared at his picture. “If this is actually true romance, I’ll be seeing you again soon,” I declared with confidence. I arrived at the airport, hoped on a plane and left my heart in Portland.

The Raindrops of Portland

Fun-employment was a miserable, but (surprisingly) exciting era for me. After interviewing for countless jobs in New York and not garnering a new position, I decided to nourish my bohemian roots.

Rather than dwell on what I didn’t have, I focused on art, writing and experiencing a new culture. Although, I couldn’t afford to climb the Himalayas, play on Rio de Janeiro’s beaches, or walk the Great Wall of China, I opted for a grand bohemian retreat on the West Coast.

After experiencing too much sun in my native California, I longed for rain, lots of rain, and bacon, lots of bacon with a tasty brew, of course. As my plane took off to Portland, I tear nearly ran down my cheek. “Repeat after me, rain, rain, rain, coffee, coffee, coffee, bacon, so much bacon and plenty of cute bearded men,” said my quirky brain.

Predictably, I was met with rain, upon arrival at Portland airport. The drops were so massive. They practically needed their own zip code. Delighted with the puffy clouds and rain, I made my way into the rain-slicked pavement.

Food carts were clustered together on SW Washington Street. My stomach rumbled. While dashing toward the den of food porn, I was presented with a curious situation.

“Blood, blood, blood, I hate blood. Oy, I couldn’t be a doctor, since I am terrified of my own blood.” Said I. On the road to curing a rumbling tummy, I slipped on the rain soaked sidewalk and scrapped my knee.

Running back to my hotel, I screamed “disappointment.” I was shocked to have slipped on my first hour in Portland. A part of me wanted to stay in the hotel room and just cry over a minor injury. Instead, the warrior and adventurer in me prevailed.

I placed a bandage over my knee, and merrily walked back to the sidewalk. Rather than crying, I ventured to Powell’s Books (world’s biggest book shop) for some much needed book therapy.

Growing lost in the rain, I had a terrible time finding the legendary bookshop. Even though, Portland was on a grid, I was lost. Finally, I decided to actually ask for directions.

“Burnside divides SW Portland from NW Portland,” said the kind Oregonian. With her help, I finally found my bearings on the directions. From a distance, I saw Powell’s Bookstore.

It was one of those places in the West Coast; I’d always wanted to visit. When I flung the doors open, my mouth open wide. Powell’s Bookstore fit every adjective associated with the word, huge. Books upon books lined shelves. They towered to the ceiling. It was a cathedral dedicated to the written word.

Feeling like a seven-year old running around the world’s greatest toyshop, I gleefully read excerpts from my favorite authors. I also discovered local authors. Buying books on Maya Angelou and Gertrude Stein, I felt well accomplished.

Leaving Powell’s bookstore was difficult, since I always felt there was more to explore. The rain intensified and I had forgotten about my previous slip. Instead, I found great joy in exploring Portland and getting immersed in the dizzying array of Pacific Northwest-ness. It was the ideal bohemian retreat.

Pacific Northwest

Portland is ideal for a sweater appreciative crowd. Raindrops, grey skies, hills with mighty pine trees, coffee shops and crisp winds, make sweater shopping a treat

At the shrine to vintage fashion, the Buffalo Exchange, I met my match. In a sea of skinny jeans, flannel shirts, and denim jackets, I found my dream sweater. While trying to hold back my lust, I stared at the sweater.

It was black wool, with an interesting edgy thread design. More importantly, it fit my frugal budget. “Oh, this sweater is so edgy, and would go wonderful with a button-up shirt and tie,” said I.

Hours later, I prepared for a night on the town. While coordinating outfits, the fashion gods played a cruel trick on me. “Shit, I left all my ties at home, now my outfit scheme has been ruined,” said I.

This folks is another edition of first world problems, brought to you by the glorious first world. Rather than crying, I went out to dinner and didn’t shed a tear over my missing ties.

Portland has always been famous for it’s love of bacon and coffee. Naturally, I had bacon and coffee for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Afterwards, I took an enchanting walk alongside Portlandia’s quiet, but charming pavements.

“Whisky, whisky, whisky,” said my thirsty brain. The flashing lights of a gay bar welcomed me. Only, I was intimidated by the thought of drinking alone at a gay bar. Persistently, my brain kept singing the “ I want whisky song.”

With thirst ravishing my soul, I said, “fuck you” to intimidation and bolted toward Embers, a downtown gay bar. It was a quiet night. Drag queens wandered around, ready for (as expected) a drag revue. Others sat with friends and enjoyed a beer.

Ordering a whisky on the rocks, I quenched my thirsty soul. Glancing over, I noticed an adorable blond guy, sitting opposite me. He wore a tie and shirt. I was charmed by his appearance. Impure thoughts raced through my head. “Gee, I bet he has a great tie collection.”

Avoiding intimidation, I took a seat next to him. Introducing myself, I was expecting him not to respond, positively. Then our eyes locked. “Shit, he’s cute, uh-oh, somebody cue the simply cheesy pop tunes.” Repeatedly, “Honey,” by Mariah Carey capitalized on the romantic moment.

“I want to take you on a surprise adventure,” he said. I shook my head in agreement and off we went into the chilly, Portland night. Unexpectedly, I was struck in the head. It was okay, since it was Cupid striking my head with an arrow.

With bravery in my heart, I kissed him. We locked eyes. It was magic. His surprise adventure, you ask? It was a trip to the video game arcade, which had a long cue. Instead, we went out for pizza and more boozy adult beverages.

There was a mystery, which dumbfounded me about him. “Shit, I don’t know what his name is?” As we spoke in detail about our lives and struggles, I kept trying to brainstorm cleaver ways to find out his name.

As the night wrapped up, I handed him my phone. “Here, put your info on here,” said I. It worked and I never forgot his name again. Even after kissing him goodbye at the bus stop, we kept in touch.

A few days later, he spoke to me with seductive words. “I hope you like pork, I am going to make you bacon mac n’ cheese and ribs,” he said. Unlike myself, he loved to cook. Hence, I was invited over for a home cooked dinner.

After the lavish feast, we relaxed on the couch and watched Troop Beverly Hills. On a very chilly December evening, I was charmed by a fellow, who I was falling for and he could cook.

In the grand scheme of gay dating, bacon, sweaters and a fancy tie are the way to a man’s heart. Cheers to Portland for all the bacon, I’ve consumed and the lovely fellow, I have met.

Hiking In A Cardigan

In old New York, a boy from Harlem randomly ended up on the Upper East Side. With deep seeded lust in his heart, he took a riveting plunge.

“Everything bagel, cream cheese and lox; Oh and also a small coffee,” said I, standing at a quintessentially New York deli. I took a bite of New York’s most beloved nosh, and glared into Lexington Avenue.

“Oh boy, I feel like a modern day bohemian, going on this big expedition out west, “ said I. As the fusion of cream cheese and salty lox seduced my tongue, I nearly melted.

“Gee, I will miss the bagels here. However, when I return to New York, I’ll be filled to the brim with fabled tales of Portland and California,” said I with great illusion.

Afterwards, I reveled in Gotham’s revered wind chill. “I’m freezing. I’m freezing, but I feel so Jackie O’, strolling in the Upper East Side, all dolled up.” Said I, marveling at Madison Avenue’s opulent shops.

I took the scenic route, crosstown. Central Park always represented tourists and crowded fields of green. While walking around the park’s many reservoirs, precious trails and nearly barren trees, I finally marveled at it’s green charms, but something distracted me.

“90’s alternative rock (with the sounds of Nirvana, the Cranberries & Everclear, naturally), cute bearded men, coffee, rain & more rain were thoughts, which dominated my head.

You’re probably saying, “hey Mr. New York. You could you get that shit in Brooklyn or the East Village. To you, I respond with this. There’s just something special about having those things in Portland, a new frontier for this cardigan wearing, Uptown boy.

After reaching 96th street, I strolled into Central Park West. “ Goodbye, Central Park and hello, west-coast style laid back-ness, said I. Somewhere between New York and Portland’s cloudy skies, the sun arose.

Indeed, I was in the beginning stages of my trip out west. Sitting at a Starbucks in Riverside (my hometown), I continued writing my novel. Only, the words weren’t flowing like a river. They were dried by the valley’s penetrating sunrise.

Feeling like a failure, I longed for New York. “Maybe, I can only write in New York City?” I asked myself. Regret filled my heart as I questioned taking such a long voyage.

Like any proper author, I let my mind go on vacation. It needed a Pina Colada and burrito in order to function, once again. After taking a few days off, I drove to a local coffee shop and sat. Once again, I couldn’t write. The words were not flowing.

Panicking, I took another drive. “I’ll never finish my novel, never. New York, I miss you,” were my exact words. While parading around Downtown Riverside’s historic district, I found a bit of Brooklyn. “Oh, this coffee shop is wonderful. It could easily fit in New York,” said I.

Blasting some retro tunes, I sipped on a coffee and the cloudy skies returned. “Hello, konishiwa and bonjour, inspiration,” said I. Happily, I returned to novel writing after a brief hiatus. It was sweeter than the chocolate chip cookie, which accompanied my caffeine fix.

Excitedly, I wrote, everyday. Thank you, Riverside for providing me with a bit of New York in the suburban sprawl. Dearest, Portland, crank up your 90’s grunge rock, I’ll be in you soon.