August 2006


Well I am here typing away on Pete’s computer in beautiful Schenectady (Skin-eck-ta-dee), New York, pondering my time spent in Orlando, Florida. I can remember the night, some three months ago in May, mulling around this hairbrain idea of having a so called Southeast Bloggers’ Gathering. I had been getting so many comments, emails, etc. from bloggers and commenters visiting my newly established blog. Some of them were beginning to feel like family. So in a passing conversation with Pete, I threw out the idea of this gathering and asked him if he’d meet up with me in Florida should the Florida bloggers be up for the call. And so I shared the idea with Spider, whom I’ had been emailing and just starting to speak with on the phone. Without any hesitation, Spider welcomed the thought and promised to convey the idea to those bloggers he was meeting in Orlando. The positive response snowballed from there.

And now, the long-awaited event has come and gone. This is my second blogger gathering in the past four months, the last being in San Francisco where I spent time with the likes of BrettCajun, Moby, Homer, Kel, Dan, Chad, and Brandon. This go-around I spent time with 6 totally different personalities, Spider, Hypoxic, Sorted, Derek, Cola Boy, and Pete. If I were asked to compare the two events, I couldn’t because they were two totally different experiences, each unique. When I went to the April SanFrancisco gathering, I was perhaps a bit more cautious and admittedly focused on getting to know one particular person. Those S.F. relationships have since grown proportionately as some of those individuals have become better acquainted with me through the blog I established after the Bay Area event. However, my Orlando experience was far more relaxed. I knew well in advance that the people I was to meet would be true to their image in every imaginable way. These six men, Spider, Hypoxic, Sorted, Derek, Cola Boy, and Pete, are in every essense of the word…FRIENDS! They are what I envision as my family of choice. While I know each of them has uniquely different views on issues, I know that they will always accept me for who I am and how I chose to live my life, even if it may fall a tad outside ‘perceived gay norms.’ For that element of welcoming and sense of comfort I am eternally grateful. To our Orlando hosts, Spider, Sorted, and Hypoxic, thank you from the bottom of my heart for an experience that will be cherished for the rest of my life. Thank you for the incredible time spent at Island of Adventure, for the evening at Savoy’s checking out all the hunky waiters/dancers…ugh!, for the airboat trip, for the tour of the city, for the KANSAS concert in downtown, for the numerous meals at all your local hangouts, and for that special ‘Ribs and Martini’ dinner at Sorted’s condo. You guys ROCK as hosts! Hell…Orlando ROCKS!

So where does that leave things? Pete and I arrived in his hometown yesterday, Tuesday. We were greeted with rain but I don’t ever let that stop things. Pete was most gracious in giving me the grand-overview tour of Albany and Schenectady. The arhictecture and neigborhood developments are so different from Orlando ~ old brownstones, older brick buildings with remarkable cornice detail. Again the desinger in me was taking over…I have already been planning the urban redevelopment and revitalization of Albany…hehehe! We finished my first day by hitting Cornell’s Italian Restaurant in the Little Italy quarters of Schenectady~ a fitting way to end the day. Tomorrow I am not sure what we are doing but those plans are in the hands of Pete, my New York host. I can’t wait!!








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Another Tuesday, so it’s time for my HOW DO YOU LIKE IT? post for the week.
Stepping right into it, my question for you today is:

How do you like to be seated in the plane ~ aisle, window, or sandwiched in between the the other seats?

For me, give me a 1-2 hour flight and I want a window seat so I can enjoy the sights. Put me in a long-distance domestic flight or international flight…the airlines better have an aisle seat for me. Otherwise expect one irritable passenger. I need to stretch this 6 foot frame, namely the legs, into the aisle so I can be one happy camper.

So let me and the readers know what you like.

As for posting about my trip thus far, I am hoping to do that in the next day or so from Pete’s home in New York. Have just been running short on time. And it’s a bit tight when three people are trying to share the same computer. Hugs to all. Miss not reading all of you on a daily basis!

Well…this is my first post since arriving in Orlando, Florida. I am having incredible fun. I arrived here Wednesday about fifteen minutes late but had a great flight. As I walked into the main airport terminal I was greeted by a tremendous smile from Spider. What a great feeling. A new friend! He truly has been the most gracious host, welcoming me, and now Pete (yes, he arrived yesterday in tact!) into his quaint little COTTAGE. I love it. I’ve had to restrain myself from providing oodles of design advise! No, no. It truly is Spider’s place and I love it. It’s just the designer in me always wanting to improve something.

Thursday it was off to the beach for some fun in NATURE. Needless to say that was taken away thanks to arriving at the State beach and finding out that the beach had been closed due to the upcoming Shuttle launch this Sunday. But we quickly came up with another plan of attack…Islands of Adventure for an afternoon of rollercoaster riding. GREAT CALL! I hadn’t ridden a rollercoaster in over fifteen years. And I love’em! This big man turned into one big kid. Spider had to tell me to slow down a couple of times. Hehehe! Spider and I finished out the day with a nice quiet dinner at Market City Cafe right on Lake Eola. And dessert? Let’s just say it was ‘yummy.’

Yesterday (Friday) Spider and I had lunch with Cola Boy of Mountain Cabin. CB is a riot. He had me laughing constantly. Let’s say I learned a little more about Spider. *EG* CB manages to keep this straight, serious face while ripping out the one-liners. I love him. After that, Spider and I had to make a quick run over to good ol’ BEST BUY Electronics. This bud here needed to pick up another digital camera as the one I borrowed went on the fritz. Hence the reason you have not seen any posted photos of the trip thus far. I promise that there will be some from this point forward.

The big event yesterday was the gathering at Friend’s, one of Orlando’s gay-owned restaurants catering to the local gay community. It was Prime Rib night. That was ticket for the night! In any event, I met Hypoxic face-to-face for the first time after talking to him several times on the phone prior to coming out here. A great person. He is a another keeper for a friend. And Hypoxic….”PANDAS!!!” LOL. Sorted was there too. Sorted is Mr. Social. He provided a large chunk of our entertainment and socializing last night by knowing half the of Orlando’s gay population. Let’s just say that I had an inside joke going with him last night with my imaginary tally board. I lost count after 69! Lordy, did I say 69. Sorted is another keeper. The group was rounded out with Spider and Pete (the ShortBus). They were keepers a long time ago.

The night finished at Savoy’s, one of the local gay bars. Lots of eye-candy! Hypoxic and Pete were quite content in their strategically-located, outdoor patio seats. They had a clear view of the hunky waiters and bartenders coming and going out of the bar’s break/dressing room. Let’s just say I saw a number of raised eyebrows and smirks going on between those two. Again I lost count.

And so that leaves today, Saturday. Yes Spider, this post is coming to a close! Patience bud, patience! Derek is joining up with us at around 11am today. Then it’s off to go airboating, possibly catch a free local concert headlining Kansas, and then dinner and whatever later tonight. Hugs! More to come….
So much has transpired this week and it seems there is a need to start moving back toward some normalcy. Marc, you are not forgotten, and I know you’d want things running status quo. With that, I am stepping back into my HOW DO YOU LIKE IT? cycle, one day late. However, I am going to twist things up a bit this week.

What I want to ask you this week is:
In one sentence, long or short, HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED? What I am asking in essence is what would you like to appear on your epitaph. Let it be about you…serious, comical, enlightening, whatever. If you have more than one sentence to put forth what you need to say, then by all means don’t let me stop you. Post it.

My first thought in my head for an epitaph was a tad X-rated and comical but probably not representative of me… “SIMPLY FLIRTATIOUS, FUN, AND ONE BIG ******!” (Clean that mind up guys!) But nah! I think I would want it to say…”HE’S SIMPLY BEGINNING ANOTHER JOURNEY OF FRIENDSHIP.

***On a side note, at 9:24am PST I begin my flight trek out to Orlando. I am so excited. I am not sure if I will be posting at all. I am going to try to see if my dear Spider will let me borrow some time on his computer while I am in Orlando. With some luck I’ll be able to post some pics directly off my camera, depends. I am hoping to do the same at Pete’s house in northern New York state before the two of us head down to New York City. Otherwise I am gone until Tuesday, September 5. Hugs y’all!

I was truly amazed yesterday at all the wonderful tributes left in blogland for Marc of Voyeur Nation. I believe he would have been overwhelmed by all the blog readers who shared how he had touched their lives. I know that each of us will keep a part of Marc alive in us whether it be through participation in Gay Men Rule, through what we chose to write about and how we write it in our blogs, through those we ultimately reach out to willingly and unselfishly.

So today, I have chosen to postpone my typical Tuesday HOW DO YOU LIKE IT? post until Wednesday. Death often stirs so many emotions and for some, a need to let go of fears and sadness. In the place of my usual Tuesday post, I have a poem in honor of Marc and a loving brother, Josh, who stood by his side those last hours. Hugs!

MY SPIRIT SOARED

My spirit soared high today
In this all too familiar, but oh, so unfamiliar world.
Reminiscing of all that has passed,
Yearning for a day far more beautiful.

As it soared, my spirit’s senses were lost,
Lost in earth’s pleasurable abundances.
Abundances bestowed by a Heavenly Father,
A Father far greater than one can comprehend.

My spirit felt nature’s cool breezes
Like loving caresses a mother bestows upon her baby.
It basked in the piercing rays of the sun,
As if they were the smiles of every human beaming the day’s joy.

My spirit felt the midday’s gentle rains,
Its streams like soft tears cast to the ground.
The soul relished the ever-sweet scent of earth’s gardens
Like the overwhelming feeling one has when arriving home.

But my spirit grew weary,
Like a child stumbling to the ground.
It somehow knew this pain was temporary
Much like the darkness of night casts on daylight.

Now my spirit flounders aimlessly in space
Much like a newborn puppy clings to its mother’s breast.
Until another day beckons
Like an explosion far greater than before.

As my spirit soars this time,
It recognizes this day is different than any other.
For the day’s beauty is far more brilliant.
Its aura far more suggestive of a place called home.

And then my spirit languishes in this place of peace and serenity,
As if an eagle nesting high above the forests’ tree tops.
My spirit has no other desire
For it is HOME in Heaven’s garden.

Author: Tony
……..CONSCIOUS – SMILING – BRAVE

The words used to describe Marc’s last moments here on earth before departing for HOME. My choice today is to honor Marc with silence. Miss you already!

The Gay Dude ~ Voyeur Nation
Headed HOME: 8/20/06, 2:45 pm
XXXOOOOXXXOOO
I find myself at a loss on what to write about today. I have reason to be excited. I am off to Orlando in three days to spend time with some incredible guys. I have the next two weeks to take in sights I have never seen in other parts of the U.S.

But I think I know why the doldrums have surfaced again. I was much more upbeat today after writing my post about Marc at Voyeur Nation. I got my workout in and lounged by the pool. I had my phone chats with Pete and Spider. All was fine. Then I came home, pulled up my blogs that I like to read, and proceeded to read them one by one. I got to Gay Men Rule, read Josh’s post there, entitled THANKS (8/20/06), and my mood changed 180 degrees. How can I write knowing that someone is leaving us very soon? My mind has no room for other thoughts.

So about all I have to share is what I obtained for my grades last quarter. Those results were delivered by the good ol’ U.S. Postal Service Friday. I walked away with 2 “A’s” and 1 “B.” The A’s came in my Ecology class (remember I had told you in a post that I was confident I had aced the test!!) and in my Senior Portfolio class. I was most happy with the Senior Portfolio grade after the money I invested in getting the help of a graphic artist. My B came in my Senior Project class…a bit disappointing but not the end of the world. You all know how I am struggling with these last few classes anyway, desiring to get back out into the real working world again.

That’s about all I have to put out today. Thinking of you Marc and Josh!

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