Pink Trash Travels

It's a "Moo" or "Cluck" for Me

When eating, Chris has taught me I should try everything once. So last night I sampled fried cricket tacos.

I quickly swooped the taco in my mouth only to immediately return the popular Mexican delicacy to my plate. After a few deep breaths, I shoved the tortilla filled with crunchy insects back in my mouth and bit down with determination. At first, it was like eating those burnt pieces left in the bottom of french fry bins. Not bad. But then an odd after taste took over so I swallowed without delay. Unfortunately, a cricket leg remained lodged in my teeth which immediately ignited my gag reflex. I diverted the vomit catastrophe with a swig of purified water.

There's something to be said for being adventurous. But after last night, I'm ready to stick with protein selections that "moo" or "cluck." I'll save the rock dwelling appetizers for another day.

Escaping to Puerto Vallarta

Because it was easier to gather our friends South of the border rather than them flying overseas for a vacation, I now find myself in Puerto Vallarta until next Sunday. Luckily, we escaped Chicago inbetween snow storms - and without delays. 81 degree weather greeted us as we settled into our five bedroom, five bath beach villa complete with staff and never-ending margaritas (however, for some, the tequila should have been capped around midnight). Look for more updates throughout the week as I'm sure I'll find it therapeutic to comment on everything from the overexposed sun queens at the gym to other local favorites I uncover in beautiful Puerto Vallarta.

Morphing Into Mom

When I was little, my mom installed white carpet. Her odd flooring choice required us to take off our shoes before entering the house. I always thought it odd. It’s a house. It’s carpet. It’s going to get dirty. But now, after living in a city where streams of urine run from the corners and poop land mines fill the sidewalks, I’ve found removing street shoes are a necessity. Am I turning into my mother?

In Chicago, we didn’t care as much as we do in Paris. With our house located in a neighborhood with grass, the sidewalks seemed cleaner. Dog poop was reserved for the lawns and rarely did we have homeless people peeing outside our door. I did, however, start to have our pooches wear shoes when rain or snow created unwanted mud pools. I guess that was stage one of my transition into behaving like my mom.

The idea of having dogs wear shoes ran its course fairly quickly however. Not only would it take what seemed hours to velcro them on, as we walked through the neighborhood they’d fall off – one at a time. So in Paris, I opt for baby wipes stationed outside our front door. They sit inside a basket some hallway traffic fools mistake for garbage, but it makes life easier for everyone.

For guests, on the other hand, I ask them to remove their shoes – but not at first for new acquaintances. I don’t’ want to scare them off (not at least within the first five minutes). Good friends, sure, I don’t wait to announce house rules and regulations. They already know I’m a freak.

Does this idiosyncratic behavior overflow into other areas of my lifestyle? Not yet, but I see it coming. For starters, do you ever examine your theatre seat before resting your head? Briefly consider how many oily heads rest on that very same patch of red and blue fabric. Do you ever think about where your butt has been before sitting on your couch – where eventually you might lay your face while watching a movie? Don’t get me started. Don’t even get me started.

So with my age apparently comes the realization that my upbringing is catching up with me. My mom asked us to vacuum everyday. She asked that we dust the dressers, the tables and armoire everyday. She presented a neat and orderly home – white carpet and all. I may not vacuum as much, nor dust as much, but I strive to keep the house clean and void of feces. Maybe mom does know best.

Goodbye Taco Bell

Today I opted out of "My Local Taco Bell" email alert. I blame it partially on our cooking a Taco Bell home kit last Sunday. It was so salty we couldn't finish our Enchiritos.

As I unsubscribed, I realized how much I've changed over the past two years living in Paris. I no longer crave the Bell. I'd rather run away from the border and all it's processed and bloat-inducing ingredients then head there for Fat Girl Sundays. That may change once we return to America. But for now, when home, I'm sticking with Chipotle.

Tells U How Much I Know

This weekend, while Chris and I were shopping at the Monoprix, I spotted a hot guy walking around filling his baskets with various goodies. I pointed him out to Chris to which he replied, "Ehhhh." He wasn't impressed.

Then, while waiting in line to check-out, I noticed the hot guy in front of us waiting to pay also. I made note of his short hair, sideburns and scarf. Due to his height and build, I thought he was a model. Turns out he's Tom Brady - the quarterback for the New England Patriots. It wasn't until I saw a picture on with him wearing the same scarf and sideburns that I realized who the mystery man was. I've never claimed to be a sports fan. Now it's confirmed.

My Power to be Nauseous

It's taken five months for us to experience what most have you were able to enjoy last fall - the season premiere of Heroes. The number one new show in America finally made its way over to the UK and our satellite dish. It didn't disappoint. But that's not a suprise considering most of us at one time or another have daydreamed about having a superpower. I've thought about flying. I've speculated what it would be like to know if someone likes you - with a red glow for no and a green for yes. But tonight's two episodes made me wonder what my superpower would be today. As Chris pointed out, it's my power to be nauseous.

I'm nauseous in a car. I'm nauseous in a plane. I'm nauseous when I eat. I'm nauseous when I don't. In essence, I'm nauseous all the time. It obviously took years for my superpower to become full strength. Now that I turned 36, it's apparently kicking-in.

Know this, I will only use my superpower for good. I won't hurt people by making them slip and slide on the result of my nauseous behavior. I won't allow my budding talent to turn me nasty towards movie attendants. And finally, my ability to get queasy won't impact my judgement when buying groceries in the 100 degree Monoprix.

I'm looking forward to learning more about the Heroes on NBC and how their abilities compare to mine. So far, a few of their superpowers seem just as effective as my ability to make my tummy turn. Evil girl in the mirror? Let's just hope there's not a Sylar hiding in our foyer. That would definitely stir my senses.

Nerves Kicking In

With my article in Instinct Magazine hitting mailboxes and newsstands this week, I'm a bit nervous. Not for the article itself. I know what I wrote. Instead, I'm unsure of the photos they used. And considering Chris and I have very few pictures of us together, especially on the streets of Paris, I had to submit one that wasn't my favorite.

In one of the photos, I feel as though my hair is a bit orange (from the reflection behind). Chris isn't quite happy with his image either. So here's to hoping they keep that shot small and use others that are more flattering - like my pose with the Queen of Hearts. I know, it's vain. But since some back home only get to see us once or twice a year in person, it all comes down to photography. And without hair and make-up, sometimes I'm not ready for my close-up Mr. Deville. Blame it on me freshly turning 36.

My Pursuit of Boris

There's something to be said for fantasy. Fortunately for Chris and I, it's one of those topics we discuss and share. There are no secrets. There are no lies. We openly communicate our thoughts on everything - including the attractions we have to others. And right now, there's one in particular who I can't stop thinking about. He's from an Eastern Bloc country I met at our gym last year (and considering he disappeared for months, I migrated my feelings towards a hot, yet frosty French model). Let's call him Boris. Now that Boris is back, I'm as giddy as a school girl.

When we first met, I thought he was a bit aloof. But as our encounters at the gym became more frequent, I had a chance to get to know him better - even with a slight language barrier. And it turns out he's not distant, just slightly shy. But then sadly, he vanished.

Now he's returned. And when I saw Boris for the first time in months, with his longer hair and stockier frame, he walked by without giving me notice. Apparently, my new doo and weight gain masked my identity. But then yesterday, while dressed in my usual colorful Adidas wear and speaking English in the locker room, he made the connection. As a result, we said hello and exchanged cheeky kisses - all while he stood only in a towel. With Chris watching from behind, he could only chuckle as I turned, expressed my content, and headed upstairs with a smile on my face.

And today, as was the case last Sunday when I saw Boris for the first time since last summer, he arrived around 2. I was finishing my workout when he approached me from behind to assist me with my last tri-cep dips. It was an unexpected surprise but one I appreciated greatly. And when it was time for another, I hoped he once again would come to my rescue. When he didn't, I asked him, "Where was my help?" He replied, "Maybe later." I almost died.

Finally, after showering, I waited for Chris in the lobby. As I enjoyed my protein drink, Boris sat beside me. He asked if I liked his longer hair. My reply? "Very much so." I wanted to add, "You are very handsome" and "Very sexy" also, but with an audience watching from across the sofa, I kept my mouth shut. I'm hoping my caressing of his leg sent the message loud and clear. What message? I don't know.

I will say, it's fun to dream and think of the possibilities. If anything, it makes life exciting. Besides that, I have better workouts knowing that Boris isn't far away. He's quite a motivator.

A Sign of the Times

Found outside many public buildings in Paris, these cigarette butt holders have become smoker's new best friend since January's ban on lighting up. Just like the habit, it's pretty don't you think? Then again, maybe that's the idea - blend them in with the surroundings. But seriously, with all the smoke clouds, who could see them anway?

Munich's Tasty Gem

Last week, while we were apartment hunting in Munich, I sampled a slice of heaven one morning in the hotel restaurant. Frankfurter Kranz, or Frankfurt Crown Cake, is a tasty treat filled with butter cream. The best part, however, is the crunchy outer coating that reminds me of Dolly Madison Crunch Gems. If Puerto Vallarta wasn't days away, the hotel staff would have had to roll me away from the buffet table. It was that good.

Time to Pull a Vivian

After my dinner meeting in London on Monday, it appears as though I'm going to begin freelancing with McDonald's UK. Apparently, they need help "spicing things up" creatively in terms of their communication efforts. For me, it's better than full-time in that I'll have control over my schedule. And with no set timetables, I can end the relationship if necessary. Better yet, I won't have to fly to the UK every week (just once every two or three). But now another problem arises - my wardrobe. "Blanana Republic" just won't cut it anymore. And considering that's mostly what I have hanging in my business casual closet (tragically dating back to 2005), it's time I pull a Vivian in Pretty Woman and go shopping - less the knee high boots of course.

Pee Alert!

This morning around 7 a.m., Chris startled a homeless man peeing on the first floor of our building. Of course, the bum couldn't aim for the wood flooring - allowing for easy clean-up. Instead, he drenched the carpet. Just another reason to say au revoir to Paris and hallo to Munich!

I hear being #1 is so passé and that #2 is the new black. As such, we’re all the rage in 2007 as we lost our first choice apartment in Munich on Monday. Luckily for us, we immediately jumped on plan B as other offers came pouring in today.

Of course, it’s the only apartment where I failed to take pictures. But imagine this: an office space that’s been converted into an apartment. It feels a bit loft-like with light pouring in on all sides. There’s one large bedroom that we’re asking the owner to convert into two or three bedrooms with a wall of closets. There’s a deck to be built within the next four to six months. Two bathrooms (in odd locations) can be found alongside a large kitchen that Chris apparently can help to design. It’s on the first floor, tucked away from street within a very active and chic neighborhood filled with eclectic restaurants, coffee shops and theatres (it’s all about location). Sure, it’s across of My Sport Lady, a small women’s fitness club, but we’ve been told they close at 10 (and it’s not like we’ll be paying attention to their clientele).

So cheers to #2. Just like Domino’s or Diet Pepsi, the runner-up position can be very rewarding. Just don’t tell that to Justin Guarini.

Running to Rehab

When your career is in turmoil, apparently the solution is to run to rehab. Robbie. Lindsey. Keith. It's a never ending list of troubled souls looking for a main course of attention with a side dish of help.

Funny Hah Hah?

It's funny what a haircut and color change can do. As I was leaving the gym today, I ran into my favorite Russian who I haven't seen at L'Usine in months. He looked amazing with his hair a bit longer and his European five day scruff (and as a result now overtakes Sebastien as my number one gym hottie) . But apparently, he didn't recognize me. With my long blonde hair gone and replaced with a short brown doo, he glanced at me then continued walking. What's a guy to do? I could have tried to explain to him in French who I was (as I've done with others in the past), but the moment slipped by all too quick. Is it possible to grow my hair 8 inches and dye it blonde before our next encounter?

Munich: Recap Day Two

Now that we're back from Munich, here's a recap of our our final apartment shopping day along with a few random thoughts regarding Munchen:

1) It looks like we've found an apartment. It's under construction so there's no pictures available. But with it being in the center of Munich, we couldn't say no to this two bedroom (or possibly three), two bath flat with an amazing outdoor terrace. Chris returns to meet the owner on Tuesday to discuss the contract as well as our request to reconfigure the layout. Because apparently in Germany, renters are allowed to change elements while under construction. I find it odd that an owner would permit someone who rents to comment on design. But in this circumstance, he's getting the benefit of two gay men's opinion - thereby adding value to what he previously suggested. In short, "You're welcome!"

2) Did I mention Chris' new boss looks like Uma Thurman while her husband speaks like Arnold Schwarzenegger? We had dinner with them on Thursday night and they couldn't be nicer.

3) German's apparently are very law abiding citizens. For example, when the cross walk signal is red, nobody moves. Even if the streets are blocked for miles, with no car in sight, the Germans still would wait for the little green man to appear. And if you ignore the signal, be prepared for those around you to yell nasty comments. It didn't happen to me, fortunately, when I crossed without permission. If I'm ever again impatient, and they do scream, I'll just pretend like I don't know what they're saying. Because most likely, I won't!

Update from Munich

It's the end of day two in Munich. Before heading to bed, I thought I'd share a few tidbits from our trip so far including:

1) Last night for dinner, I ate the world's most expensive chicken nuggets. Based on the hotel concierge's recommendation, we visited a Thai restaurant on the outskirts of town. My sweet and sour chicken was overly sweet so I was forced to fish out my chicken. For 8 pieces of soggy "goodness," I spent 25 euros.

2) The Sofitel where we're staying is a beautifully designed upscale hotel. Yet, for all the money they spent on lighting concepts, architectural significance and spa extravagance, the French developers forgot to invest in the fitness center. Five cardio machines, a yoga mat, flex ball and futuristic Techno Gym apparatus does not classify as a workout facility.

3) We visited three apartments today. The first was a prison. The second had only one bedroom in the main living area with a second bedroom two floors up behind a bullet proof door. Finally, the third was "Bohemian Quirky" and one we'd consider. But with it being furnished, it's out of the running. Onto day three.

4) With the dress code more relaxed in Munich, it's nice to know I'll be able to visit the grocery store in something less than couture.

Off 2 Munich

Wednesday we go to Munich to look for an apartment. I'm not sure what to expect. I submitted my "wish list" for the flat including three bedrooms, fireplace, terrace, hardwood floors and more. German traditional with a modern twist would be nice but considering most buildings are new in Munich due to the war, traditional may be limited to the Disneyfication of the property. I also highlighted what we don't want including anything remotely near a restaurant. No more fish for me. We're there until Friday so check back for photos on what we find and hopefully secure for our next living adventure in Europe!

Robbie in Drag

Even though his experimental CD Rudebox relatively bombed in Europe, he continues to release singles from the electro-tinged record for his own amusement. Additionally, it was noted this week that he'll be appearing in Las Vegas next August to promote his "comeback" swing CD - jump started to appease money hungry record executives. In the meantime, check out his latest video below where he appears in drag. One word: fugly.

Cash 4 Sacs?

Today at the grocery store I stumbled into the "pay for sacks" line. Yes, there's now a line at the Monoprix that requires you to actually pay for plastic. Not that I can't afford thirty cents for something that's free in America. It's the point behind the ludicrous requirement. And it wasn't even an express line!

Super Bowl Party for One

After scouring the net for information on the Super Bowl, I found out it was being shown in France on channel 2 at 12:25 a.m. It's telecast in French (obviously) with French commercials (no Budweiser, no Pepsi, no Rubberband Man). So needless to say, it's a bit odd. And knowing my friends are back home in Chicago watching the game together, I can't help but be a little homesick. They're having hamburgers and hot dogs. I'm alone trying to stay awake. Cue the violins...

Doh! No Super Bowl!

I set our Sky satellite PVR to record the Super Bowl tonight. The chances were slim that I'd get to watch the commercials, but I felt it was my duty to support the Chicago Bears. When I tuned in at 11:00 p.m. Paris time, a note appeared instructing me to call and subscribe. Yes, it's a gay cliché - I didn't include the sports listings in our satellite package. So, no Super Bowl. No commercials. Here's hoping I can watch online. But with our internet down often, I don't have high hopes. Doh!

Nude Workout

A gym in the Netherlands is planning a Nude Sunday. Sure, at first it sounds promising - especially if there's anyone at Fitworld resembling Sebastien from our club L'Usine. But most likely the only ones participating on Sunday's will be those trolls who blowdry themselves naked for 10 minutes while the rest of us try to avoid direct eye contact.

:30 Second Afterschool Special

The British sure aren't squirmish. It seems as though they like creating drug campaigns that make you cringe. I guess that's the point. Check out their latest for alcohol below. Consider it an after school special on crack.

Smoking? No. Napping? Yes.

Today the French wake up to wave one of the new no smoking ban. But as they do, now comes word that they are pushing for naps on the job. Apparently, 56% of the French complain poor sleep affects their job performance - and that's with a 35 hour work week and almost two months of vacation. Honestly, I take side with those on the quest for power naps. Based on my eperience, a 15 minute nap does wonders for the senses.

While at Rand McNally, I would routinely drive my Jeep Cherokee to the park, open the sunroof, eat my Subway sandwich and take a short snoozer. With the sun warming my face, I'd enjoy the soothing sounds of lite FM as I re-energized my body. Once I returned to work, I was refreshed and ready for more useless meetings to decide what color should represent state lines.

So I applaud Health Minister Xavier Bertrand's call for more nap studies. And if that fails, pull a George Costanza and build yourself a place to nap under your desk as he did in The Nap episode number 152. Just don't include an alarm clock.