Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I Scream; You Scream; We All Scream for...

I made a fantastic discover last Thursday evening at my local Target super store. Yes, I know we’re supposed to be boycotting the retail behemoth because they won’t let gay people have sex in the home furnishings department or whatever [See note(1)], but I’ve never been much of an activist and I was in need of several toiletry items that are typically far more expensive at the grocery store. The plan was to dash in, grab my body wash, deodorant, toothpaste, and contact lens solution and be out of there in under five minutes toting a single shopping bag. But you know what they say about the best laid plans…

As it turns out, this particular Target had just completed a remodeling – one which left them with a huge fresh grocery section. To promote the new inventory, they had significantly marked down prices on a number of items, and I quickly found myself trading in my little hand basket for a full-blown oversized grocery cart. I strolled slowly down each aisle, plucking items from the shelves to fill the cart. While pleased at some of the bargains I was finding, the moment of indescribable bliss came when I approached the frozen foods section, or, more specifically, the ice cream freezer. As if it weren’t enough that Edy’s ice cream was marked at a mere $2.69 per half gallon, a radiant light shone down from heaven on two half gallons of an Edy’s Slow Churned flavor I’d not seen in two years – Limited Edition S’mores.

You see, I’d had this variety of Edy’s over two years ago while on lake-house vacation in Pennsylvania. Since returning to civilization, every trip to Safeway, Giant, or Wegman’s had included a hopeful swing down the ice cream aisle, but I’d not been able to locate the delightful combination of “toasted marshmallow and chocolate light ice creams with a graham cracker swirl, marshmallows, and chocolaty chips.” (Description courtesy of the Edy’s official website – I’d never say “chocolaty.”)

I blinked in disbelief, momentarily stunned at my discovery. My eyes darted left and right. Might there be other shoppers approaching poised to knock me out of the way to secure the last two containers for themselves? This was serious stuff. The last time I remember searching so persistently for an item was when my son was seven years old and desperately wanted a red Power Ranger for Christmas. People get killed over stuff like this; it was a time for immediate and decisive action! I swung open the freezer doors, grabbed the sweet creamery gold, and hid the treasures under other more mundane foodstuffs.

Once home, I warned my 20-year-old son that the Edy’s S’mores was NOT to be consumed in total overnight. He grunted something along the lines of, “Whatever, Mom. It’s just ice cream,” but later that night as I sat at my dining room table pecking away on my laptop, I heard him in the kitchen, first opening the cabinet to grab a bowl, then moving on to the silverware drawer for a spoon, and finally to the freezer as he made his play for the S’mores. As is his practice, he disappeared back to his room with the ice cream laden bowl, only to return a few minutes later.

“Mom! I can’t believe that no one invented this flavor of ice cream before! It’s incredible!”

Just ice cream, indeed.

I returned to Target again yesterday and was happy (intentional understatement) to see that the inventory had been replenished. I procured three more ½ gallons – two for my house and one for a co-worker to whom I had described this heavenly treat, piquing her interest. She, too, was a disbeliever until she tried it for herself, careful to ensure her virgin bite included a bit of the graham cracker swirl I’d raved about so enthusiastically. She’s now a fervent disciple of Edy’s Limited Edition S’mores.

As I wrap up this blog entry, I realize I may be shooting myself in the foot by sharing news of this frozen bit of utopia with the world, but I shall post my ramblings nonetheless. All I ask is that you steer clear of the Target in Sterling, VA. After all, I’d hate for someone to get hurt.

(1) The boycott is actually in response to a $150,000 political donation made by Target to a group called MN Forward who supports a Minnesota candidate strongly opposed to gay rights. The candidate would not comment on whether or not he supported the right of gays to enjoy Edy’s Limited Edition S’mores ice cream.

Candy Parker

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Lesbians - The Un-Pampered Chefs

I know there are exceptions to every rule, but lately I’ve been wondering – what the hell is up with lesbians and their lack of hostessing skills? I ask because virtually every friend I have is astounded by my ability to plan and present a dinner party. I serve up a roast, rice, garlic bread, and a vegetable and am greeted with “Ooohs” and “Aaahs” akin to those received by David Copperfield when he made the Statue of Liberty disappear!

Most of my friends are self-proclaimed neophytes in the kitchen, admittedly unable to do much more than is required to “cook” a frozen meal in the microwave. Many have more beer cozies than glassware and readily admit that what they most often make for dinner is a phone call.

I ask – is it really that unusual to be able to host dinner for eight and set the table with complementary dishes and silverware? Does the fact that I count a mundane gadget such as a garlic press amongst my possessions truly render me an anomaly in the lesbian community? Is it, in fact, odd that I can serve up martinis in actual martini glasses? Does the rendering of a complete Thanksgiving meal honestly qualify me for deity status?

I fear many of my Sapphic sisters have gone the way of lifelong bachelors as relates to their culinary skills. I suppose it can make sense for those who came to terms with their sexual preference early in life and were never, therefore, cast in a traditional role in a male/female relationship, though I don’t really attribute my ability to read and execute a recipe to my 11 years of marriage. I definitely had a fondness for Tupperware (which can most likely be ascribed to the fun rainbow colors in which the contraptions were molded) and could easily discern between a gas and an electric stove long before I took my vows.

So pray tell – why the glaring lack of gastronomic mastery, my friends? Don’t be skerred – just get out there, or rather in there, and do it! To get you started, I have recipes/directions for Asado Negro (an amazing pot roast recipe from a Venezuelan co-worker; no racial undertones intended), a three-cheese tortellini pasta salad, and pasta fagioli (my Italian ex-mother-in-law’s formula) all typed up and ready to send out. Just drop a line to Editor@gay-e-magazine.com and I’ll send ‘em along.

GAY e-magazine, the e-zine by lesbians with a sense of humor…who can also cook.

Candy Parker

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Summertime and the Living is...Sweaty

If the holiday season (aka Christmas season in less P.C. circles) is the “most wonderful time of the year,” then I’d like to officially nominate the summer season as the “worst wonderful time of the year.”

As we here in the mid-Atlantic settle in for yet another day under a heat advisory, with temps into the triple digits and the humidity percentage not far behind, I long for the good ol’ days of Snowmegeddon. While it’s easy to say now, I truly prefer shoveling three feet of the fluffy white stuff to living on the surface of the sun.

I marvel at the people who claim summer as their favorite season. Really? You prefer 102 degrees and 75% humidity to the nirvana of spring or fall with their daytime highs in the low 70’s and their fresh, dry mornings? I never knew so many people loved to sweat, at least not while standing perfectly still under a ceiling fan with the A/C working overtime.

Yes, you can swim in the summer – that is if you’re unemployed and actually have time to avail yourself of the community pool. But is the opportunity to immerse oneself in a nasty mixture of water, chlorine, and urine really worth living day-to-day enveloped in what feels like a scorching, wet blanket?

And oh how people love to cook out during the summer. Of course! Nothing says, “Let’s light a radiating hot fire and stand over it grilling meat for hours,” like a sweltering summer day. Mind you, my grill and smoker sit idle in the summer months, lest I contribute further to the oppressive fever plaguing the region during those months. My grilling policy is much like my visiting the state of Florida policy – I don’t do either between June and August.

No thank you, Mother Nature. You can keep your mosquitoes, liquefied air, and blazing orb in the sky. I prefer my days as I prefer my martinis – crisp and very dry. So until a stroll outdoors is complemented by the crunching of leaves underfoot and the joyous perfume that emanates from a crackling fireplace, you’ll find me indoors gazing longingly at my fall wardrobe, tolerating soccer rather than living for football, and cursing my monthly electric bill.

Candy Parker

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Taking a Crack at Saluting Fathers' Day

I know. I know. Women worry about turning into their mothers, not their fathers. But on the eve of Father’s Day and my father’s birthday (June 23rd), I worry that I’m turning into my dad. My father has been deceased for more than four years now, but I believe he makes a return each June to see his kids, a visitation if you will. There are signs, this year most notably, my pants are falling down and you can see the crack in my ass. I thought it was cute, kinda funny, when it was happening with just one pair of jeans. I said to myself, Hey, Cindy, lost a few pounds, did ya? Cool. But now, every single pair of pants I own seems to slouch down below my ass and show butt crack. This is eerie. This is not normal. This is my father haunting me. Pants falling down around his ass, showing butt crack, was one of his trademark poses. Yes, he was the quintessential dad in that respect.

My next door neighbor, this guy who keeps building patios and outdoor rooms in his backyard for no one – he never has any company – was leaning over the other day and what do you think? Major Butt Crack. I had a direct line of vision from my kitchen window to his newly laid out patio where he was leaning and exposing his half naked butt. Dad? You here already? Showing yourself by using my neighbor’s ass as your vessel?

Okay, it’s bad enough when you see your neighbor’s crack or your dad’s, but when you are a woman and the same thing is happening to you, it’s frightening. Every single pair of pants falling down my butt! This is unnatural. It’s downright supernatural. Happy Father’s Day to the dads out there, and Happy Birthday to my dad, up in heaven, or down in that other place, leaning over, no doubt, with his angel/devil trousers drooping down his ass, and channeling me.

Cindy Zelman

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My (World) Cup Does Not Runneth Over

For those of you who count yourself amongst my Facebook friends and are, as such, subjected to my multiple daily status updates, you know that I was summarily underwhelmed by the supposedly supreme world event known as the 2010 FIFA World Cup. I posted my first rant after the disappointing USA vs. England match and haven't let up since, posting the YouTube link to Letterman's "Top Ten Reasons Americans Don't Like Soccer" last night.

As a sports fan and an American, I initially bought into the hype. The USA vs. England match was touted for weeks and by the time the kick-off or tip-off or whatever they call it in soccer rolled around (pun most definitely intended) last Saturday at 2:30pm ET, I was fired up and ready for my underdog Americans to put a revolutionary ass-whoopin’ on those boys with notoriously bad teeth. (Calm down all you folks over in the UK; sweeping generalizations and the perpetuation of stereotypes are permitted for comedic effect.) What I got instead was 90+ minutes of the most disappointing and anticlimactic sporting event since Mike Tyson knocked our Peter “Hurricane” McNeeley in less than 90 seconds. As you no doubt know by now, the game ended in a 1-1 draw, aka a fancy word for ”tie”. That is, no one won and no one lost, kind of like in U-5 soccer.

After witnessing that disappointing yawn-fest, I find myself having a difficult time getting into a tournament governed by rules which would permit such an atrocity. I mean, this is a HUGE tournament. People wait four years for this thing to come around, paint themselves in their home country’s colors, take a month off from work to attend, and have been known to beat each other to a pulp over the outcome. This is supposed to be the Super Bowl, World Series, Stanley Cup, and NBA Championship all rolled into one (again, pun most definitely intended).

Imagine going through the entire NFL season and heading into the Super Bowl. As luck would have it, your favorite team is matched up against your most loathed rival in the opposing conference. You eat, sleep, and dream football for two weeks. You trash talk. You RSVP “No” to your own child’s wedding because you don’t want to miss the game. FOX runs slickly produced commercials ballyhooing the game and you get a little more charged up each time you see one. You have your snacks lined up, your friends gathered around the 52” HD set to rally ‘round the team, and your sports-averse partner has agreed to leave the house so that you may bask in glory that is hardcore, hard-fought, and hard-won competition.

The teams scuffle through the first half to a 0-0 score. “Great defensive battle!” you tell yourself as you replenish the beer cooler and re-fill the dip bowls at half-time, “THIS is what championship football is all about!!”

Defense continues strong as each team manages only a field goal in the second half. Time is running out on a 3-3 score. Your team is driving down the field, almost within your kicker’s striking distance when you notice that the game clock has expired. But wait, the ref is winding his arm indicating that he’s putting more time on the clock, albeit a mystery amount of time to which only he is privy. You watch a few more plays, your team getting closer and closer and then….*SHRILL WHISTLE SOUND* Game over. It’s a 3-3 tie and there is no winner. Thanks for watching; everyone can go wash off their face paint now.

How disappointed are you in that moment? Exactly.

And the world dares call this “soccer” thing a sport! *hrumph!!!*

As a patriot and general sports fan, I won’t say that I won’t continue to follow the US Men’s team as they work their way through the bracket. While I don’t plan to take a day of vacation to watch the conveniently scheduled 10a.m. ET game against Slovenia or Slovakia or SloGin-esburg on Friday, I’ll likely TiVo it and zip through to the “exciting” parts, such that they are. But just as I don’t follow luge or water polo once the Olympics come to an end, you shan’t find me following soccer once the FIFA World Cup comes to an end. Heck if the guys who make the rules of the game don't care who wins, why should I? I know there were high hopes that the USA vs. England match-up would make soccer fans out of us ugly Americans, but unless they unleash a few of those lions or tigers or some other creature native to South Africa onto the pitch to add a little zest to the game (and give the weenies who play it a REAL reason to roll around on the ground acting like they're dying after the tiniest bump or tap), I do believe the world will be waiting another four years to take their shot at making us believe that futbol’ is anywhere near as great a game as football.

(Note: Yes, I know that in the championship contest of the FIFA tournament the game won't be permitted to end in a tie so spare me your detailed explanation of the round-robin tournament-type format and the associated point system.  I'm a girl, but I do "get" it.  I just don't like it.)

Candy Parker

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What I Learned from My Last Relationship

One of the great things about getting older is that over the years, if you’re at all self-aware and take the time to process through your experiences, you grow a little bit wiser with each mistake made, each heart broken, each tear that falls. On the heels of the disintegration (or perhaps “implosion” might be a better word) of my most recent relationship, a nine-year rollercoaster ride lined with carnival mirrors, I realize I’ve learned an invaluable lesson:

I should only date women who work for small companies.

That’s right, going forward all my dating will be what they call in the government procurement arena a “small business set aside,” meaning only women who work for small businesses will be eligible for award, so to speak. Sounds crazy, I know, but read on and you’ll get where I’m coming from on this.

We all know the drill, the post-break up heartache, that period of time when every song is a reminder of better days or when every restaurant you go to is one of “your places” filled with memories of celebrations or hot date nights. That’s all bad enough to cope with, right? Well, try adding to the mix a scenario where virtually every show you watch on television – whether it be a baseball game, a CNN broadcast, or an episode of a thriller like “24” – includes either a commercial for or a product made by the company for whom your ex works? It’s doubly difficult when said ex was a workaholic and the company name was a mantra in your household.

My ex, who we’ll call “Lisa” since that’s her name and because it'll be tremendously upsetting to her to see it in print here should she ever stumble upon it, works for a Fortune 100 company; a huge ass technology company for whom she excels as a national sales rep. As if the memories associated with nine years of music, venues, and knickknacks weren’t enough to keep me in the doldrums, I can’t get through one night of television without seeing her company logo, tagline, products (particularly hi-tech phones or state-of-the art HD video cameras), or commercials for her major client (“America’s Most Reliable Network”) flashing across my screen.

So now perhaps you understand why I think that going forward I’ll stick with women who work for tiny little companies no one has ever heard of – and about which I’ll never have to hear ever again should our relationship go awry. I suppose that’ll rule out a lot of McDonald’s regional managers, auto company assembly line workers, and Walmart greeters, but I’m willing to take the loss on that just to be able to get through my favorite television shows without a box of tissues on my lap. Hey, you process through your relationships YOUR way, and I’ll process through mine MY way. ;-)

The human network, indeed...

Candy Parker

Dear Straight Women: Stop Kissing Each Other

The growing epidemic of straight women kissing each other is getting more annoying every day. Sadly, during the MTV Movie awards last night, which I didn’t watch because it’s three hours of complete suck, Sandra Bullock and Scarlett Johansen entered the ranks of attention seeking straight women. Sandy had a huge shock with the Jesse James white supremacist cheating thing, so I’ve decided to give her a free pass. Johansen gets a free pass too, because, boobs. But they did inspire me to write an open letter to straight women about this out of control epidemic.

Dear Straight Women,

I get it - you are hot; your friend is hot; you’re so sexually open! It’s so great when guys pay attention to you for doing it! Oooo you are so liberal and yet so not wearing Birkenstocks and would never actually go ‘down there,” but still so liberal and hot!

I wish that all lesbians were as hot as you and not plaid-wearing motorcycle mamas who hate men and use Natty Light as lube. IF ONLY REAL LESBIANS WERE AS HOT AS YOU! I’M IN LOVE WITH YOU AND, YES, WHEN YOU ARE DRUNK AND SAD BECAUSE NO GUYS LIKE YOU I WILL BE THERE TO TELL YOU THAT YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL NO MATTER WHAT THEY SAY. Xtina Aguilera style.

However, maybe you don’t have to kiss each other to prove some crazy point about how hot you are. Maybe you can just try being yourself to get attention and not try to get boys to look at you by exploiting and trivializing my sexual orientation.


Natasia Langfelder

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Selfless Act of Swearing off Skinny for Bikini Season

I hate Bikini Season. Hate it with the passion of the Christ. But it’s here, just like it is every Memorial Day Weekend. This year I am extra under-prepared. I haven’t worked out consistently in a month and I’ve been eating everything my chubby little heart desires.

A tub of icing? Yes, please, and pass the sprinkles.

Mozzerella cheeseballs floating in a vat of olive oil? Even better! And I’ll need a loaf of white Wonderbread to go with it.

A bottle of wine? Sure, but what will YOU drink?

The point is, I should probably stop before my cellulite reaches a point where it will scare small children or take over a small Japanese fishing village, blob style. If it were winter, I wouldn’t have to. I could throw on some sweatpants and get back to my Double Cheeseburger McDonalds Meal.

As I get older, it gets harder and harder to starve myself in the name of attractiveness. I’ve been in a long term relationship for about five years now and she has to love me even if I weigh 500 pounds, dammit. At this point, I’m weighing my vanity against my hunger and sadly, I’m just not vain enough. I know! How did that HAPPEN? By being fat this season, I’m letting other girls, possibly single girls, look better by comparison. Maybe one of these girls will find love. Maybe she will fall in love and give birth to the future President of America! So really my not being in shape for Bikini Season is a charitable act that will help others! I wonder if that makes my grocery bill tax deductible?

Natasia Langfelder

My Three White Hairs

Yes the title of this post is a reference to the classic television show “My Three Sons” and no, I’ve never seen a single episode of it. But let’s get down to business.

I’ve had three white hairs since I was 16. At the time, I liked them. I named them Schlameel, Schlamazel and Jo. When I was 16, Nick at Nite played a lot of Laverne and Shirley. And Jo is named after Jo from “Little Women”, not gay “Facts of Life” Jo. I was actually more into Blair. Anywho, these white hairs were expected. My aunt on my dad’s side had started going grey at 16 and I was relieved that these three were the only ones. Also, I like to think that I wore my white hairs ironically, kind of like, pre-hipster ironic.

Schlameel, Schlamazel and Jo continued to be the only white hairs in my life until my 26th birthday last month. All of a sudden, I’ve been finding a new white hair every day. A tiny little reminder of my slow march to old fat-assery. These hairs aren’t even in a place where they can surreptitiously co-exist with me. They sit on top of my head and loudly declare themselves, like freaking assholes. I really hate them. I miss the days when it was just the four of us. Now I feel like my three white hairs invited all their friends and acquaintances over to my house because they were bored with me. Those little whores totally betrayed me.

Basically, the women on in my father’s family have been grey from their early 20’s and my mother’s family has been dying their hair since their late 20’s. You do the math - I’m screwed.

Natasia Langfelder

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Mixed Bag of Mothers' Day

For the last 20 years, Mothers’ Day has been a mixed bag here in the Parker household, a bewildering blend of obligation and elation, dejection and reflection, sadness and gladness, as I mark the occasion as both a daughter and a mother.

As a daughter, I do my Mothers’ Day card shopping in the Shoebox Greetings section at Hallmark, finding the more staid selections disingenuous.

“Happy Mothers’ Day, Mom”

*open card*

“Thank you for not using spit to clean my face when I was a kid.”

That’s about all the sentiment I can muster when selecting a Mothers’ Day card, for while ‘tis true I owe my life to my mother in the most literal sense, ‘tis equally true that any acknowledgement of Mothers’ Day on my part stems from a sense of duty rather than from any deep feeling of love and respect. My mom made “mistakes” too numerous, too selfish, and too disturbing to enumerate in what purports to be a humor blog, but suffice it to say, they don’t dispense Mother of the Year Awards to mothers who leave their seven- and six-year-olds home alone overnight in favor of spending the night with a boyfriend. While my tales of balancing on a chair to cook dinner for my younger sister and myself do make for interesting storytelling, it’s not exactly the stuff after which June Cleaver was modeled.

As a Mom myself now, though, this is also a day where I reminisce about every step in my 20-year-old son Kevin’s life, from conception to the moment he left for work shortly before 10a.m. this morning. This is the stuff of which the more cheerful reflections are made – the eight months of 24/7 “morning sickness” which resulted in my being one of the few women in the world who never actually gained an ounce while pregnant (Yes, as a mom, you find joy even in eight months of regurgitation once that wondrous little creature comes into your life); the photo albums replete with snapshots of my perfectly clad little man, back in the days when I had jurisdiction over his wardrobe; and the countless weekday evenings and weekend early mornings spent on the baseball field or at the ice hockey rink, the latter at which, as an eight-year-old, Kevin once remarked, “I don’t need to carry my equipment bag; I have people who do that for me.” Those “people” were his father and me and we were more than happy to oblige our little Gretsky-in-the-making.

That’s not to say there weren’t some challenges along the way. Getting Kevin through high school remains one of my greatest accomplishments to date and I’ll be happy if he gets through college on the six-year plan.  And we've had our share of shouting matches, the inevitable clashes which mark the late teen years when, as a parent, you're seemingly no longer needed for anything other than financial support and your son becomes all-knowing and omnipotent (in his own mind).  But overall, Kevin's a good kid – kind, smart, witty, and inexplicably handsome.

Today, despite his night owl proclivities, which, let’s face it, he gets honestly, he set his alarm early so he could have breakfast with me before heading off to work a 12-hour day parking cars for the rich folks who’ll be dining “at the club” today for Mothers’ Day. In some uncanny way, I don’t mind not having him around, as any regret for being without his companionship for the day is replaced by an enormous sense of pride, knowing that he’ll be making the day more pleasurable for countless other mothers who are out celebrating the holiday.

I hope all those Moms spending the day at Trump National Golf Club have their day made just a little bit brighter by the handsome blonde-haired, blue-eyed young gentleman who’s working valet parking today. While you may see him simply as the polite valet who’s fetching your car post-brunch, I’m very proud to call that young man my son.

(P.S. – Be sure to tip!)

Candy Parker

Friday, May 7, 2010

Bringing Text-y Back

A CNN blog yesterday highlighted a study released in March which indicated that 10% of those under the age of 25 “wouldn’t mind being interrupted by an electronic message during sex.” Seriously?

This revelation gives rise to many questions, the most prominent of which in my mind is what kind of horribly uninteresting and non-participatory sex are these kids having that they’d not mind being side-tracked by a text message? I have to think that this has to be a straight-people thing, right?

I can envision some poor 18-year-old girl just lying there while her inexperienced, myopically self-concerned, and entirely hormonally-driven boyfriend of the same age grunts and pounds away, completely oblivious to her needs in the matter…

*Lady Gaga “Bad Romance” text alert sound*

She reaches for her iPhone, always within arm’s reach.

“Wat r u doing?”

“Just hvng SEX, but he’s almost dun.”

“Gr8. Wanna meet L8r? Like in 3 mins?”

Girls – if you’re having sex during which you even hear your text message alert, much less pick up the phone, read the message and respond, you and/or your partner are doing something dreadfully wrong.

At the erudite old age of 48, my advice is this - don’t settle for the kind of sex where receiving a text message mid-act is a welcome interlude. If, during sex, you’re thinking about Tweeting, updating your Facebook status, or are in any other way engaged with an electronic device not operated by your partner, ditch the dud – there has to be an App for that.

Candy Parker

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Some Assembly Required

If asked to describe myself, “handy” isn’t a term that I’d list in my Top 100 Attributes. While blessed with enough patience to allow for teaching seven-year-olds to hit a baseball (as a Little League coach – not randomly), I have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to reading and following written directions. And while I think I have a good bit of common sense, when it comes to tasks involving spatial relations, you can color me ditzy.

Amazingly, my shortcomings in this area haven’t served as much of an obstruction in my 48 years as I’ve managed to surround myself with mechanically inclined people throughout my life. When I was younger, my Dad was around to figure out how to get into the battery compartment of whatever darned electronic toy I’d received for Christmas. As a young woman, I always had a roommate with whom to barter skills (“You hook up my stereo and, sure, I’ll help you write your resume.”). In my mid-20’s, I married a guy; a really handy guy who worked as an HVAC repairman, and later as a computer network engineer, so all my home repair and IT needs were met (though, uh, other areas were, shall we say, less than fulfilling…but I digress). When I left him in my mid-30’s, it wasn’t long before I went the U-Haul route with a Texas-raised, rough and tumble dyke who never met a tool belt she couldn’t strap on (mind out of the gutter, kids), so any needs in regard to Ikea furniture assembly were satisfied. And for the last nine years, I was involved with the most attractive and elusive of creatures – a woman who could install a screen door or assemble a gas grill without so much as scuffing her Red Door Salon manicure. She was always fun around the holidays. Sure, she loved the jewelry and Ritz Carlton spa packages, but she positively beamed when tearing the gift wrap off a leaf blower or power drill kit. Sexy, huh?

In any event, I now find myself navigating the uncharted territory of life without someone who knows how to read directions. Even my 20-year-old son is away at college, hence my reluctance to purchase anything that requires assembly. Despite this obvious handicap, after weeks of getting a whiff of the smoked chicken and pork aromas wafting from a co-workers’ office everyday at lunch, I marched myself into a Home Depot a few days ago and purchased a Brinkman Gourmet Electric Smoker.

The box sat unopened in the hallway near my front door for a while, but as the sun rose on my Saturday, I decided there was no excuse for further delay in tackling the task at hand. I had ALL DAY to master this thing, an accomplishment that would both bolster my self-confidence and reinforce my “I’m doin’ fine all by my self,” attitude AND allow me to smoke untold quantities of meat, fish, and poultry. How often do opportunities like that come along?

To mentally prepare myself, I watched the YouTube video of five-year-old Joshua Sacco’s reenactment of the “Miracle” speech given by Herb Brooks to inspire the 1980 U.S. Men’s Olympic Hockey Team. Great moments are born from great opportunities and I was sick and tired of hearing about how hard it was to read directions; this was MY time!

Bolstered by these viral video words of encouragement, and after having removed my contact lenses so as to allow for reading of the fine print in which the directions would no doubt be presented, I opened the box. “Not too bad,” I thought. Some dome-looking thing I instantly recognized as the smoker lid was wrapped in plastic and perched on top. While it is said that familiarity breeds contempt, in this instance it bred confidence, enabling me to tentatively lift the dome from the box.

This was a big self-assurance-sinking mistake. Cleverly nestled beneath the shiny, fire-engine red dome were numerous manuals, bags of smoker parts, and a large packet of something that resembled aquarium rocks. I started to put the lid back in the box and walk away, but knew a defining moment was at hand. Besides, the only task I loathe more than putting things together is returning things to the store, so I carried on.

Not one to welcome the unknown, my first task was to inventory the pieces provided, an effort which revealed that I was lacking a handle bracket for the aforementioned shiny dome lid. Apparently Brinkman plans for this type of ineptitude on their part, as the literature they provided included a flyer printed in bold, 36 point font instructing me to call an “800” number to request any missing parts and imploring me NOT to return the item to the retail store from whom the purchase was made. (Of course, upon dialing the number I was informed via recorded voice that Brinkman's "customer service hours are from 8:30am - 5:00pm, Monday through Friday" - a timeframe so clearly misaligned with the smoker purchasing/assembly habits of Americans.)

Initially, I saw this as yet another opportunity to give up. It’s not my fault I can’t put this thing together – all the damned parts aren’t even in it! But I persevered.

Almost an hour later, having shed my sweatshirt in favor of a t-shirt after breaking into a sweat while trying to secure the smoker door, fingertips rough from handling nuts and screws that only a three-year-old’s fingers are small enough to manipulate, and hands dirtied by something called “lava rocks”, the contraption was assembled. I was victorious! I had faced my fear of written directions and I had won!

The hard part behind me, I flipped through the manual from the “Assembly Instructions” to the much-anticipated “Cooking Instructions,” anxious to put my new smoker to work on a previously purchased pork tenderloin and whole chicken. I’d be the envy of the Business Operations group at the office next week as the tang of mesquite would drift from my office into the hallway. Mmm...

Imagine my disappointment as a perusal of the Owners’ Manual revealed that there was yet a further task which must be carried out before the smoker is ready for the introduction of food, that being a “curing” period in which the smoker, inside surfaces coated with oil or a cooking spray and sans water pan, is run for three hours. Ever impatient, I toyed with the idea of skipping this step, but decided that a pork tenderloin flavored by both mesquite AND enamel paint wasn’t the delicacy to which I was looking forward.

As I type this, my mighty little smoker is “curing” on the deck, my Tundra fire extinguisher at the ready. I’m not quite ready to declare unequivocal victory – that won’t come until I’ve successfully smoked my first batch o’ proteins – but I am feeling a little more self-assured. Maybe, just maybe, Ikea won’t be such a scary place anymore.

Candy Parker

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Kate Gosselin: She'll Soon Be Dancing With Herself

Kate “White Women Can’t Dance” Gosselin who gained notoriety on the TLC series “Jon and Kate Plus 8,” and who most recently has been plastered all over the tabloids as the result of the disintegration of her holy union, stooped to the lowest of the lows last night after her performance (I use the term loosely) on “Dancing With the Stars.” After yet another horrendous performance, the perennial scoreboard bottom dweller shared with viewers that her “kids really want me on the show.” Apparently, the gaggle of mini Gosselins “count the days until Monday” so they can watch Mom dance (again, I’m using the term in the most liberal of applications).

Really, Kate? You’ve not exploited your children enough already? You need to use them to tug at the heartstrings of viewers to keep yourself on a cheesy dance competition show? Perhaps if you loosened up a bit, not only might your marriage still be intact, but maybe you wouldn’t appear to be doing “the robot” in every tango, waltz, and rumba and you’d garner judges’ scores sufficient to keep you in the competition without having to invoke the image of gloomy toddlers.

I really hope viewers were turned off by the manipulative tact employed by Gosselin and that tonight will be the night we’re all put out of our misery. While I’d never be one to assert that caustic Kate should be at home with her kids rather than tangoing with Tony (Dovolani, her unfortunate dance partner/instructor with whom she feuds every week) – after all, women have every right to work outside of the home – exploiting her kids in an effort to influence votes is patently pathetic.

Candy Parker

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My Own Private Hell - The Post Office on April 15th

I'm at the post office. Yes, on “tax day”. No, I didn’t procrastinate; someone else did and I am entirely too kind.

There are 14 people in front of me and only one postal employee manning the desk. The woman behind me is jittery and laughing at something that none of the rest of us seem to be privy to. She is alone and she keeps touching my butt.

The lady directly in front of me is swaying back and forth, her long faux hair swinging unpredictably. I'm trying to get away from the Butt Toucher, but any attempts to escape bring me closer to a face full of fake, constantly shifting hair.

The line isn't moving. I'm miserable. Some lady just walked in with flowers to present to the sole postal employee and now the line has come to a complete halt. I think I’m in hell...in fact, I'm quite sure of it.

J. Allison

Down To One...Again

‘Tis sad, but true kids. I heard the news on the radio this morning and confirmed the rumors via a quick Google search once I got to the office. Melissa Etheridge and Tammy Lynn Michaels are, indeed, splits-ville after a nine-year run.

Now you might expect me to get snarky here or try to find the humor in the situation, but even I – the person who jeered Etheridge and then-partner Julie Cypher mercilessly for their selection of David Crosby as sperm donor in an early issue of GAY e-magazine – cannot find, or at least bring myself to look for, the levity in this event. The news has actually rendered me a bit melancholy.

It’s not that I live and die according to the happenings in celebrity lives. I’m not all that emotionally wrapped up in their doings, nor do I have some distorted expectation in regard to their ability to carry off a relationship with any greater degree of success than the rest of us. Rather, it’s the parallels with my own life and semi-recent relationship demise that have struck a chord today.

While not as extensive as the historical correlations drawn between Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, there are a few comparable circumstances between the Etheridge/Michaels relationship and my own most recent union:

  • Etheridge and I are the same age. It’s a minor coincidence, but a similarity nonetheless. And when you think of yourself as a decent, kind, semi-intelligent, and all-around fun person to be around, it does give one pause as you approach the half-century mark and find yourself un-partnered. While it’s almost instinctive to point the finger at the other party when a relationship initially crumbles, there are two sides to every break-up and if you’re the least bit emotionally mature, you eventually have to pause and ask yourself, “What the heck am I doin’ wrong here?”
  • Etheridge and my ex are both cancer survivors. Thankfully, both prevailed in the battle, but I can’t help but think about the bond that is formed when you go through that type of challenge with someone – or the crevasse that’s created when the afflicted partner shuts you out of the process. I know how my story played out and can’t help but wonder whether Etheridge’s struggle intensified their connection or deteriorated it.
  • Etheridge and Michaels were together nine years, the same duration as my relationship with the woman I thought was the love of my life. Our nine years had stops and starts, movings in and movings out, and more than their share of dysfunction, but even so it was nine years. And when you spend that long with someone, an entire decade of memories are created. Some loom larger than others – historical events, vacations, holidays, birthdays, and kids’ graduations, for instance. Others are more insignificant reminders – Nordstrom’s department store and picking Maryland crabs will forever be linked in my memory with my ex. And, of course, for someone whose entire life has a soundtrack, there’s nary a song from the last decade that doesn’t in some way remind me of her. I know how I deal with the memories and my heart goes out to Etheridge and Michaels just a wee bit as they enter the stage where reminiscing becomes bittersweet.
So, no, you won’t find me scolding or mocking Etheridge and Michaels here today. It’s just plain sad, to be honest. The only upside I see in this (and I beg Melissa’s forgiveness for my selfishness here) is that “Skin”, the creation resulting from her break-up with Cypher, is my favorite of her CD’s. Perhaps something good will come of all of this after all.

Candy Parker

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

On Second Thought, Bunny Slippers Aren't That Bad

I already blame Demi Moore's semi-retarded husband, Ashton Kutcher, for the time-monopolizing annoyance that is Twitter, so imagine the levels to which my blood pressure ascended when I peeped this Tweet.

I'm a waitress and I have better looking feet than these! But the difference between Demi Moore and me is that I have manners and won't stick my bunion-laden hooves in the face of unsuspecting Tweeters everywhere.

The only way this picture could be more disgusting is if there was a green cloud and fruit flies circling around her toes. It's called a foot file, Grandma. Embrace it.

Amber Foster

Britney Spears: Bigger & Uncut

I love me some Britney Spears. She’s my type of woman - a hot mess; the hotter the mess, the hotter the woman. My favorite Britney incarnation is bald, umbrella car-bashing Britney. I would take that Britney to Massachusetts and marry her cheap extension-wearing behind. When I was 16, I used to watch the video for “Hit me (Baby one More Time)” with the sound turned off. In retrospect, I probably should have suspected that I was a lesbian a lot sooner than I did.

In her latest PR move, Britney’s team has released non-photoshopped images from her Candie’s Campaign alongside the photo-shopped images to prove that Britney wants to send some kind of feminist message. They have also provided helpful annotations so we can see what’s been photoshopped out. Please note that in the first set of photos, there is no arrow pointing out the removal of her camel toe and no mention as to what those scary bruises are from. I’m going to pretend they are from a recent dancing injury, despite the fact that Britney probably hasn’t danced since she released “Gimme More.”

In the second set of photos, the touch-up artists removed Britney’s miniscule amount of cellulite and made her butt smaller.

I like both photos of Britney before she was retouched. Hot mess or not, Britney is still a beautiful woman with a great body. My affinity for women with some meat on their bones is a really outmoded view, as I believe it first came into fashion when cavemen roamed the earth in search of sustenance and meaty women were successful women. Still, I would much rather see her real body rather than a computer generated image with absolutely no character. (Although I can live with the bruises airbrushed; those freak me out. What the heck was she doing?!). But my opinion doesn’t matter. I’m just a woman, age 25-35, who has enough disposable income to buy both trashy celeb rags and Candies products.

Natasia Langfelder

And They Call It Puppy Love...

Wow! So, Mike Huckabee has figured me out. I thought I had kept my darkest secrets hidden so well. But apparently he is all-knowing as he figured out that my secret desire is to marry my pet!

There! I said it out loud! I have loved her for over two years now. She is sweet and shiny and loving and kisses me whenever I am sad. She comforts me and cuddles me anytime I need her. She never asks questions and always agrees with me. She is perfect! Why should I not be allowed to marry my sweet little min/pin. Her brown eyes are so very soulful.

That’s right - Huckabee figured out that all of my efforts in support of gay marriage were, in fact, a thinly veiled attempt to get one step closer to being able to have my relationship with my adorable pup sanctioned by the church and legally recognized by both State and Federal governments.

What an idiot! Comparing gay marriage to incest, polygamy, and bestiality as Huckabee did in a speech given to journalism students at the College of New Jersey in Ewing, NJ, last week is just ignorant. Gay marriage hurts no one. These other acts do. Gay marriage is about love, respect, and honor. Incest, bestiality, and even polygamy are about power and dominance, not love.

Mr. Huckabee, I invite you to do your research. Read. Get to know some gay and lesbian couples and their families. Figure out who they are and what they are about and search your heart for understanding and some love of your own. Stop being so judgmental and learn to live and let live. I will keep you in my prayers - Yep, believe it or not, many gays and lesbians do attend church and pray! And if I do ever decide to marry my dog, you will be the first on my guest list. We’ll be registered at PETCO.

Lorraine (The Happy Lesbian Housewife) Howell

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Happy Birthday, David Cassidy

Despite my best intentions of getting to bed at a decent time tonight, it’s now approaching midnight and I find myself caught up in a multi-colored bus trip down memory lane. No, I’m not aboard The Who’s “Magic Bus” - my childhood was far too restrictive for that type of drug-fueled journey. Rather, I’ve been transported back in time almost 40 years and am bouncing along on the bus with the “Careful: Nervous Mother Driving” sign tacked to the back – the Partridge Family’s favorite mode of transportation.

That’s right – it’s David Cassidy’s 60th birthday (DOB: April 12, 1950) so I wandered over to YouTube and tapped his name into the search field. Dozens of videos popped up! Early solo stuff, Partridge Family stuff, and even stuff from the more mature Mr. Cassidy. I can’t make myself shut down my computer, as each video sparks another memory.

Hey! That song was on the very first LP I ever purchased! Got it at the JC Penney’s in Welch, WV where my Grandma worked.

Wow – that’s the song from the episode where the family dog got sprayed by a skunk and the Partridges had to perform in an operating room at the children’s hospital so as not to offend the patients they were there to entertain. (BTW – the dog’s name was Simone and she disappeared after the first season; retain that, people, it’s a great stumper question for the more casual PF fan.)

And, gee. That’s one of the songs my sister and our friends used to lip sync to in our little backyard concert series. (Stop laughing. We were good. Really.)

As an almost 50 year old lesbian, I’m often met with quizzical expressions when I try to explain my affinity for David Cassidy and his early 1970’s television family. Many women my age admit to having had crushes on Susan Dey, but apparently few went for the feathery-haired, pooka shell and hip hugger adorned crooner with the killer smile the way I did. And the subject comes up more often than you might expect, as I have an original Partridge Family lunchbox on the bookshelf in my living room and one of my favorite lucky tokens when playing Texas Hold ‘Em is a little replica Partridge Family bus that I came across a few years back. (I love you, Ebay – xoxoxo.) As you’d imagine, questions arise.

It would take far more words than I will allot myself in a blog entry to explain why my fondness for David Cassidy remains intact after almost 40 years. All I can say is that I discovered him when I was 10 years old, clicking around the dial on the brand new black and white television that my younger sister and I had saved to purchase, and from that very first “I Think I Love You” I was hooked. Part of me wanted to marry him; part of me wanted to be him; and part of me just longed to be a Partridge, a member of a supportive family with a really cool Mom and fun brothers and sisters, because at age 10, my reality was a distant cry from such normalcy.

Today, I still crush on the guy a little bit – c’mon, that hair, that smile! - but mostly I still crush on the music, as corny and cliché’ as much of it is. The music was an escape for me back in the early 70’s as I’d go to my room, close the door, put an LP on the turntable, weight the needle down with a penny or two to avoid the inevitable “skipping”, and the darkness outside my door disappeared as I traveled down an imaginary highway in a color-blocked bus.

The shadows cast these days now take different forms – the weight and responsibility of every day life, a heart break every now and then – but the tried and true elixir of my childhood remains the cure. There’s simply nothing better than “Point Me in the Direction of Albuquerque” blaring from the radio of a multi-colored bus to transport me to my “C’mon, get happy” place again.

Candy Parker

Monday, April 12, 2010

Other Lesbians Don't Talk To Me

It’s beginning to be a real problem. Let me clarify, it’s not that I can’t talk to other LBQs once the conversation gets started or that they don’t like me once they get to know me. It’s that I always have to start the conversation because no one will ever start one with me. It’s getting really tiring, ladies. I have to say. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when I went to a networking event at a lesbian bar and spent the night running from dyke to dyke introducing myself. I guess it was a good work out, but I would love to stay in one place and have women come up to me. Or at least do half the work instead of just lying there. Okay, maybe that last one doesn’t apply to the networking event. Still, this is becoming a problem.

I’ve tried explaining it to my straight friends; whose eyes glaze over until I’m done explaining the problem. “Natasia, you’re engaged, why do you need other lesbians to talk to you?” They ask. “It’s not about hitting on them! It’s about having a conversation with a new lesbian. You know like, what for to make new friends and learn new perspectives on life and shiz.” Then I think we started talking about how men suck. Note to men: Lesbians aren’t man haters, the straight women you have dicked around are. Basically, sleep with one eye open. Take this as a friendly warning.

I’ve also tried to talk to my gay friends about it. Who responded, “We talk to you, of course other lesbians talk to you.” “Actually no, you guys are kind of it.” Then we started talking about how women suck. Note to Leslie P. at Berkeley: Sleep with one eye open…

Finally, I broached the problem with my girlfriend. “It’s because they think you’re straight, honey.” “But I’m not, I’m one of the gayest gays that ever gayed.” I whined. Then we talked about how much I sucked and whether or not I needed to sleep on the couch that night.

Maybe it is the lesbian community. Once we have our circle of friends, we close ourselves off to others. We socialize, date, break up, make up all within our group. Or maybe it’s because I’m just a catty femme-bot like Tammy Lynn Michaels-Etheridge said on her blog? I’ll probably never know. But GAY readers, if you see me in a bar, say ‘Hi’!

Natasia Langfelder

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Showtime - Trading "Real" for "Ratings"

Showtime has announced the cast of their new series “The Real L Word”. *yawn*

Maybe it’s just me, but I thought with the adjective “real” in the title, we might see a little diversity in the cast - diversity in skin tone, diversity in economic status, and perhaps even a little diversity in the types of lesbian women represented. But the cast photo and accompanying descriptions of the women make the original “The L Word” look like a session at the United Nations.

I know I should take comfort in the fact that Ilene Chaiken is involved in the project; after all, she’s a lesbian, too, right? But as with “The L Word” series, I can’t help but feel like this reality spin-off is again catering to some male lesbian fantasy where every woman is a size 4 femme-bot.

At risk of being exorcized from the Lesbian Nation, I’ll admit I wasn’t a fan of “The L Word”, much preferring the storylines and performances in “Queer As Folk”. I watched the first couple of episodes of Season 1 and just couldn’t get past the bad writing and, in some cases, worse acting. As the show moved into later seasons, I read about storylines involving vampires and just rolled my eyes, thankful I wasn’t wasting valuable DVR real estate on such drivel (and a wee bit sad that Leisha Hailey, who’d I seen perform live in the Murmurs in her pre-Alice days, was caught up in that mess). I’d occasionally tune in when I heard something new was in the works, like when Daniela Sea’s character, Moira, was introduced. Finally we were getting a butch character on the show – but wait. The butch chick wanted to be a man, hence our introduction to Max.

Well, hell, of course! All women who are more comfortable in Doc Martens and non-designer jeans secretly want to be men, right? To add insult to injury, Sea’s character was also presented as economically and culturally challenged. As my ex sometimes watched the show, I happened to see the episode where Moira/Max fumbled around like a fish out of water at a restaurant where multiple forks were included in the place setting. After that, I once again swore off the series. I may be the one in the relationship who opens doors and kills the bugs, but I know which fork to use, can select a decent wine, and typically don’t break into a cold sweat when the menu reveals entrée pricing in the $35-$50 range. (Ironically, my one claim to fame – an article in “Curve” - was published in the February 2007 issue for which Sea graced the cover, so we are forever linked in print.)

I think the last time my TV found its way to “The L Word” was back when Carmen was still spinning everyone’s turntables. While the writing and acting were still often horrific, I’d indulge in some Carmen-gawking while muting the volume to avoid any chance of reflexively slinging the remote at the screen in response to the inane banter. When Shane left her at the altar, however, any iota of interest I had in the show was erased. Who does that? Seriously – is anyone reading this going to say they’d leave that Hispanic hottie holding the bag on your wedding day?

But I digress.

The fact is neither “The L Word” nor the “reality” knock-off “The Real L Word” get anywhere near “real” when it comes to representing the full spectrum of lesbian culture. Perhaps that’d be too much for any show to take on, though with the inclusion of the word “real” in the show’s title, I feel the producers owe us a little less male fantasy and a little more lesbian legitimacy.

Showtime, might I suggest some alternate titles for your new series? Perhaps “The Play for the Ratings L Word,” “The Lipstick Lesbian L Word,” or even “The Tiny Slice of Real L Word” might go a ways toward truth in labeling – and you know how we lesbians love our labels.

Candy Parker

Saturday, April 10, 2010

From Ice Cream to Aniston: My Addictions

Reading J. Allison’s blog entry yesterday about her attempt to quit smoking utilizing electronic cigarettes made me think of my own addictions. As a child I developed a chocolate ice cream addiction. I could eat buckets of the stuff. There was no electronic ice cream to help me overcome the grip it had over my soul. I ceased being a chocolate ice cream addict the night I binged like nobody’s business and later woke up, five years old, puking all over the lilac carpet in the hall. I didn’t give up chocolate ice cream forever or completely, but it was never, you know, quite the same, after I saw it laying there in piles at my feet. I know, yuck, TMI, move on, Cindy.

My next addiction was, like J.’s, cigarettes. I began smoking cigarettes in 1976 at age 14 and paid 45 cents a pack. I quit in 2002 at age 40 when cigarettes in Massachusetts were at $4.50 a pack. I hear now they are up to $6 or $7 and cost nearly what marijuana does, which I don’t smoke (long and traumatic story for another time.) I did the math a few years back, based on the average number of cigarettes I’d smoked over the course of my 26 year career as an addict. The results were startling. In my lifetime, I have smoked 287,450 cigarettes and spent between $50,000 and $60,000 to buy them. No shit. No lie. Truly, this is no exaggeration. I’ve done the math. I’m good at math.

I finally quit smoking using prescription drugs, a miracle beyond miracles and I hope all the smokers out there find their miracle.

I do currently have a coffee addiction but it pales in comparison to either chocolate ice cream or cigarettes or honestly, to Frito Lay products. I can eat Fritos Corn Chips or Cheetos without ever coming up for air. I will lick the inside of the bag when I’ve devoured one. And still want more. The junk is better than sex. And yes, it’s embarrassing, especially when you have that fake orange cheese smeared all over your mouth. And you’re in your late forties.

We come to the final and never ending addiction: women. Talk about never being sated. I love women more than chocolate ice cream. I need women more than nicotine. I desire them more than my morning coffee. (I cannot make a comparison to Frito Lay products because it’s truly a toss up.) I can’t find a way to stop loving women or thinking about them or wanting them and I can only hope, someday, if I’m very lucky, I will either find the woman of my dreams or someone will invent an electronic woman to help me get off the stuff.

I could be addicted to her, couldn’t you? Who’d want to get off that stuff?

Cindy Zelman

Friday, April 9, 2010

Step One: Coming Out...

I have to come out. It’s time, really. I mean it’s not like everyone can’t already tell by looking at my photo anyway, right? So I’ll just say it and rid myself of the burden that comes with holding a secret for so long…here goes:

I’m…I’m a smoker.

Yes, that’s right. I've been smoking since I was 17 years old. I guess back then it seemed like a brilliant idea – all the cool kids were doin’ it and all that. I started even though I knew nothing good comes of smoking. Ever. Seriously, when is the last time someone told you all the wonderful, positive ways that smoking has impacted their life? The countless dollars up in smoke, the wintery nights spend huddled outside a bar in the freezing cold just to get a fix, the destructive health implications. All bad stuff with no up side.

So recently I decided to quit. It would be easier said than done, I knew, so I didn’t attempt the dare-devil cold turkey method. Instead, I jumped on the electronic cigarette bandwagon about three weeks ago, and, hell, it’s been fantastic!

The great part about electronic cigarettes is that I can smoke WHEREVER I want to, still getting both my nicotine and physical addictions taken care of, while avoiding all the other nasty crap that traditional cigarette smokers like to pretend isn’t in their cigarettes.

You want to give me a hard time and tell me I’ve really not “quit”? I dare you to! You give me a hard time and I’ll give you a schoolin' on the benefits of electronic cigarettes.

That’s not to say there aren’t challenges with these ash-less gadgets. It’s definitely taking some time to get used to the heavier feel of the cigarette. And there’s also the super-human effort involved to get a decent fix. Sometimes I feel like I’m sucking on the thing so hard I might pass out with the next pull. I guess somehow I'm hoping that If I draw in deeply enough, the next drag will contain all of the junk in conventional smokes that serves to calm my nerves and keeps me from not losing it on every person who walks into the room.

To the average passerby, I probably look like a crazed lunatic sucking away on these butt-less technological wonders, but lemme tell ya, quttin' is a bitch, and anything that helps me be less of one is worth its weight in smokeless vapor!

J. Allison