Sunday, June 22, 2014

Ahhh, Gay Paris! Ooo-la-la!

     So, here I sit…. Now, if I were English, I'd probably say, ‘I sat here’. Really? 
     Update: I have driven K.C. Wells and the hubby nuts with ‘lovely’ all week long. They are sick of it. Of course I don’t say it just once. I say it at least three or four, okay maybe five times, so they're really get sick of it. ‘Lovely! Isn't that lovely. Oh, lovelylovely. Aren't you lovely.’ I’m sure they are going to stop saying it completely when all is said and done. If so, my job is done. I figure if I'm going to be miserable, so should they. After all, they helped, right? Pfft, teach them to tease me about one of their own bloody countrymen getting that thing stuck in my head!

     Okay, now for Paris, or I should say Gay Paris. Without realizing it at the time, K.C. and I booked an apartment in the gay district in the heart of Paris. It has been a very long time since I've seen this many gay men in one area. HOT gay men at that. We both sit at the Open Café, having coffee in the mornings and cocktails in the evenings watching them as they pass by. It truly is a wonder we've not gotten whiplash as our heads spun about. At times I guess it looks as if we were watching a tennis match. Just so much to see, don’tcha know. Poor hubby. He has put up with so much.
Don't ya just love the T-Shirt?

     I must say, this has been a very productive trip for me. Did the book signing, saw things I've always wanted to see and ate so much pastry I may explode. The food here has been amazing. What I really enjoyed though, was going to the shops to buy groceries. The French have it so spot on. Small shops to get cheese, meats and then the bread. It is the way it should be. Ahhh Viva la France! 
     Of course I had to visit Pere Lachaise, probably one of the most famous cemeteries in the world. Of course I saw Jim Morrison’s grave, but I specifically went to see Frederic François Chopin. He has to be my all-time favorite composer. Yes, I even played one of his polonaises, while there, in tribute.

     I think one of the things I like most about Paris is the way they live. They seem so casual and laid back. They live life. It appears to me that they make time to live, if that makes any sense. Of course they work and do all the things like Americans do, but they stop work and go live by doing things you're supposed to do to be happy. 
     Let me see if I can explain a little better: As most of you know, I'm an early riser. When I wake up here, there is no one really moving about. The trashmen start about seven in the morning. There is nothing really moving around here at that time. I mean no traffic, no one really out walking. Nothing. All is quiet and calm. In Atlanta…hell, you'd be lucky not to get run over by that time of the morning.

    At eight or so, they are queuing up for their fresh bread and pastries. The cafes are open and people are sitting there having their morning coffees, reading the paper. Things really don’t start really getting what I'd call busy until nine!

Night time…again, something new for me. The French tend not to eat dinner till nine or ten in the evening, unless they have children. They tend to it eat earlier. Oh, and the kids here? Wow, what a difference. They are much better behaved than most of the ones I've witnessed in the states. Such a difference. (Not yours, Jackie. Yours are near perfect.) 
    Scarfs. That is something else you’ll see a lot of in Paris. Everyone wears them. Men and women. They make them look so chic. Of course I'd put one on and look like I was trying to hang myself or something. Funny thing about those Parisians, they can make anything look chic. Gotta say, they are some beautiful people. 
    Okay, so you know how I'm always preaching about doing something nice for others? Now I have proof and a witness that it works. One night, the first night, while walking down the street, coming back from the Open Café and several cocktails, the lovely Ms. K.C. Wells and I pass this young man on the street. He has a backpack and a cup out asking for money, as he sat in a doorway. I noticed that he kept rubbing his heel. It was almost raw from walking it seemed. The next night, again he wasn't there.        The second night, I had some change in my pocket. (Another peeve about you Europeans that I'll cover in a moment.) I tossed it in and kept going. I hate change in my pocket. The next night he wasn't there. The third night he was back. I had a little more change and I tossed it in his cup. 
     Thursday night he was back. I really had a load of change in my pocket. I told K.C. a few nights before that he reminded me of a character in one of her books, Gareth. He could easily have been this young man on the street. She gave me her change as well. It was quite a sum of money. I dumped all the change in his little cup and asked his name. Alexandre. 
     The following night, our last night in Paris and we passed him again. I didn't have any change to give him but he stopped us. He held out this cheap little phone and explained to Ms. Wells (since she speaks French) that because of the money we'd given him the night before he was able to get this little phone so he could get work. He'd also had a good meal. 
     He was smiling and excited. A huge difference from the man the night before who seemed downtrodden and looked hopeless. It wasn't all that much money to me or her, but it was huge for this young man who now had a fighting chance of getting a job and perhaps getting off the streets. It didn't take much, but it was enough to give him hope and a hand up, not a hand out. So you see? A little kindness can make a big difference in someone else’s life. Made Ms. Wells cry. 
     Okay, now for the pet peeve of the week. You Europeans have it all wrong! In the UK you have five pound notes and nothing smaller in paper. In Euros the same thing. Don’t you know there are strippers out there who are starving!? I mean really. How are you supposed to tip a stripper with coins? Huh? There’s no place to tuck the damn things. And then there is the issue of it wearing your pockets out. I mean, come on people. There is only so much change a man can carry. It bulges your pants out, and not in the right way. So, y'all need to get this taken care of. Get more paper money. Save a stripper! 
     I gotta give a special shout out to our favorite waiter at the Open Café, Nicolas. He was great. Super sweet young man. He didn’t make me feel like the strange foreigner that I was. He has a great smile and a personality that will take him far. If y'all ever get to Paris and go to the Open Café, look him up. Tell him hey from the crazy American, Max Vos. “Hey, Nick!”
Nick from Open Cafe

     Ahhh, Paris. Perhaps one day I will be lucky enough to come back. I've enjoyed your history, your culture and your FOOD! Maybe one day… I will return. (No, I did not get laid, you dirty minded pervs. I know you were thinking it too, so don't even try!) 
     INSERT: Why the blog was a day late. Finally, back in the UK. It was one of the worst travel days I've experienced in a long while. Flight delayed four hours. Bad airport food. Bad attitude of some passengers. Running like crazy to catch the ferry. Lots of traffic. I was so done in by the time we arrived I begged to go out for a pint or four! UGH. I was whooped. 
     I am lucky enough to be going back to the Isle of Wight. A few days R&R with the lovely, simply lovelylovely, lovely, K.C. Wells. Then we will be off to London for Gay Pride. Yippee, another major city to explore. I hope my feet hold up just a little bit longer. I'm told there are more urinals to exploit! YAY!
Have no idea who this is but what would a post be without at least one naked guy, right?

     Tune in next week to see what I find out. 
     Once again, it is time to remind you to go and do something else for someone else. Remember, you get more out of it than they do. Trust me. It’s true. 
     Have a grrrreat week, y'all! 

Friday, June 13, 2014

So, here I sit...

     So, here I sit next to the…uh-hmm…lovely K.C. Wells, having my morning coffee. It is interesting to see the view she has while writing. It reminds me of home in Tennessee.

What a view.
   I'm hurrying trying to get this written before I have to run shower, pack and get ready for our trip to Paris. This is a lifelong dream of mine. I've always wanted to visit Paris, and the rest of France actually, and eat my way through it. Can’t help it. It’s the foodie in me. BUT before our early morning flight tomorrow morning, we are going to tour the Titanic museum and do a little tour of the town. Another thing on the bucket list being checked off. I can't FUCKING wait!

     However, there is a small rant I've got to do. I have to get this off my chest before I explode. The English. When are they going to learn their own language? Christ on a crutch, they have some of the most strange phrases I've ever heard. “Gone pear-shaped”. What the hell? And there are some who I know are speaking English, but I can't even understand hardly anything they are saying. They might as well be speaking Latin for all I know! 
     This leads me to the basis for my rant— 
     I flew Virgin Airlines over to the UK. The staff on board were all English, or I presumed at any rate, by their accents. There was this lovely flight attendant named Becky. She was great. Very attentive. Very polite and quite lovely. However, she had this thing about using the word lovely
     “Oh, lovely. Isn't that lovely. Lovely, lovely. Oh, you’re lovely.” Honestly, before I got off that plane, I was ready to strangle her. And it gets worse! Now I can’t stop saying it! Everything is so fucking lovely! I’m going to get a rubber band, place it around my wrist and snap it HARD every time I say it. It is killing me. I have never in my life used that word so much as I have in this past week. I mean really? Can you see me running around saying how lovely everything is? Really? Me? Ugh, I'm ready to slit my wrists. It is ruining my whole persona! Patrick Darcy… HELP! 
     What makes it all so much worse is that both K.C. Wells and her hubby have picked up on it and are now teasing me about it. ARRRRGGGGHHH. So painful. 
     Speaking of which…her hubby has quickly become my best male friend. It has been a long time since I've really had a male friend who I get along with so well. We are so much alike. We get on like a house afire. The problem here is he is soooo very English. I have to laugh because there are times I know I will say something and he looks as if he'd like to crawl under a rock. Poor guy. I do kinda feel sorry for him. 
     I'm actually writing this a day early because I know I won't have time to do it tomorrow and get it posted. Have an early flight in the morning, and even though I get up early, there won't be enough time I'm afraid. This leaves me to ask a question of everyone. Would you prefer I keep, or try to keep, with the Saturday posts, or would you guys like another day? Sometimes Saturdays get really hectic for me. Just wondering. Didn't used to always been like this, but things do change. 
     OH! There’s another thing…public restrooms here. I nearly fell over when I saw what they call them here in the Isle of Wight. Get this… ‘Public Conveniences’! BWHAHAHAHA

     I went from watching guys whip it out in public and piss in a bullet shaped open-air urinal to ‘public conveniences’. Talk about a contradiction. I'm now looking forward to Pride in London to see if they have those same type of out-in-the-open-for-all-to-see urinals. I'm told they do. If they do, I'm going to grab Petranella and stake them out again, this time in old London town. See if we have as much luck in bribing the boys to do a Full Monty. I swear I'm going to get pics this time!

     Before I can do that, I must eat my way through Paris. Major book signing on Saturday at Librairie Les Mots a la Bouche. I've been told that this is the largest gay bookstore in Paris. Not quite sure what to expect. I'm sure I'll find out. Look out Paris, here I come. 
     I also will be doing something that I have been working on for some time now. I think y'all will be pleased with the finished product. I'm a terrible tease, aren't I?

     Okay, till next week… Stop reading this trash and go do something productive. Do something nice for someone else. A total stranger. Trust me, you'll make them and yourself feel better. 
     Be kind, y'all. 
Because I can.

Monday, June 9, 2014

     Do you ever wonder why you do the things you do? Like, why in the hell do I wake up when I do? What the hell? It looks as if I am doomed to wake up at five a.m. every morning, even in the UK. 
     While I had this bit of quiet time, I thought I'd post this little tid-bit. No naked me this time guys. Sorry. 
     So here I sit, at the lovely home of K. C. Wells and her husband, looking out over the rolling green hills of the Isle of Wight. It truly is lovely. The sculpted, rolling landscape of an island covered in shamrock green, glisten in the morning light. What the fuck, it’s still only 5:30 in the morning. With only five hours sleep, I know it is going to be a long day. Thank the powers that be that she showed me where the coffee was!

     I guess that if I have to sit here, I might as well be productive, right? Sure, why not? So I'm reflecting on this past weekend on the UK Meet, held in Bristol. What did I do? What did I learn? Would I go back? These are just a few questions I'm asking myself. 
     Would I go back? Damn skippy I would. I had a great time.

     What did I learn? Well, I learned things about blogging, making my voice heard and things that I could do better. A lot of things that I had already learned were confirmed. I also learned, sadly, that it seems that most of the gay male population of Bristol don’t care for Americans. That’s too bad. There are a lot of decent Americans, just as I am sure there are a lot of decent people all around the world. You can't really go judging others by their individual countries politics.

     What did I do? I had a total blast. Not only was the interaction between other authors, there were the readers, who were the real gems of the weekend, in my mind at least. I think that some of the other authors may have missed out a bit on this point. 
     Of course we are there to promote ourselves, sells our books, make ourselves more marketable, but I think sometimes we lose the connection that makes it all work. The one small piece of the puzzle that gives you the whole picture. I think that some of the readers just want to get to know their favorite authors, but in doing so, they let the authors get to know then, whether know it or not. That is what I found to be the best part of the weekend. 
     If I had to make one complaint about the weekend, it would be that from my point of view, the readers kind of got lost in the shuffle. Most of the workshops seemed to be focused on the writers, not so much the readers. They may not be all that interested in all that stuff. They want to know about their favorite books and characters and the people who wrote them. That’s what I was hearing at any rate. 
     This is something that I learned: I think the readers who wanted to meet me were wondering if I was really the rambling, blithering idiot that I've portrayed online. Well, duh. Having worked in a professional kitchen, one tends to not have much of an internal filter. That’s a good thing because I really didn't have much of one to begin with. Now that I'm basically retired, I really don't have one. What I'm saying is, I really don't give a flying rat’s ass what anyone thinks of me anymore. I’m not out to impress anyone. So if they were looking for the in-the-flesh, raw Max Vos, I think they may have found him. Not like I'm hard to find. 
     I’m afraid that I may have proven that the stereotype of Americans being loud, boisterous and obnoxious. Truly, that is not how all Americans act. However, that is just me. I rarely hold back. I try to say what I mean, and mean what I say. I also try to do what I say. If I say I'm going to be there at a certain time, by god I’m going to do everything I can to be there. That is just the way I am.

     So back to the UK Meet… 
     I’d like to thank all those who put so much hard work and so much of their time into organizing this event. It was quite obvious that a lot of time, care and love went into it. It showed. 
     Thank you to all the readers who reached out to me and made my weekend, and first trip to the UK so memorable. You guys rocked! 
     Thank you to my lovely hostess, Ms. K. C. Wells for putting up with all my antics and bad behavior. Yes, I behaved, badly, of course. 
     A special thank you to Mr. Patrick Darcy who I am proud to call my friend. You may be an auld hore, but you still have some catching up to do. Bless his heart. I can only hope that my trip to Paris and then onto London proves to be as much fun.

     Thanks again, y'all. 
     Now…go…do something, preferably for someone else, no matter how big or how small. 
     p.s. Yeah, so I lied. What is one of my posts without naked men!

Just because I can.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

     Better late than never I say… 

What's the UK without a little Paddy, eh? 


     So here I sit, on a terrace in Bristol, UK. Just came from a workshop about blogging With Monique and Mark. Great workshop. It’s good to know that I got a lot of things right. That was purely a mistake, or should I say luck. I didn’t get much wrong, but missed a few things. Oh well…shit happens. I’ll have to work on that. 
     Today, I’m missing my sister a bit. I know she would have loved being here. Perhaps one day I’ll convince her to leave the farm and go on a trip with me like we used to. That would be so much fun. 
     Anywho… The UK Meet. What a blast. Gotta say it didn’t start off so well. Got here late Wednesday afternoon and basically got something to eat and died. BUT I have to say that I had one of the best meals I’ve had in a very long time. 
     Now, of course I’ve always heard that the UK was notorious for bad food. Well Aqua, near King Street, Bristol proved that theory wrong. OMG, it was fabulous. Now for those who know me, know that I am a total foodie. They had a pre fixe menu that included fish croquettes, a rump steak (a first for me) and a tiramisu that was one of the best I’ve ever had. It was the croquettes that blew me away. Just perfection. Okay, enough of my food experiences. OH no, not quite. 
     Another meal… ICK. Sothern Fried Pickles. Epic fail. Enough said. 
     More about the UK. So the second night we were here, we meaning, me and K.C. Wells, bless her heart, we went to see the gay nightlife. Sigh… seems that most of the younger population in the UK do not care for Americans. One came right out and told me so and exactly why. Okay, that was one person. So we went to the ‘Bear Bar’, which of course fits me to a ‘T’, right? Nope. No one said a fucking word to me. They went so far as to even avoid eye contact. Needless to say I was pretty bummed out. 
     Hey, it got better. It got a LOT better. The other authors here are so much fun. Catching up with old friends, meeting new ones has been great. The one thing I really got a kick out of was meeting the readers over here. They are hysterical. They have kept me laughing the entire weekend. 
     I gotta tell a little story here. Not really a story because it did happen. I still am giggling about the whole affair. After the dinner Friday night, I sat with Petra, Sam and then Hendrik, outside on a short wall. Why? It seems that they have these public urinals here. OPEN urinals. Really, the guys just walk up, whip it out and take a piss. Right there in front of god and country. No one seemed to bat an eye. I was, needless to say, intrigued. Ha! I went with Petra, got some beer and did what Patrick Darcy called appalling, which is saying something coming from that old whore, bless his heart. What did I do, you may ask? Well hell, what I’ve always done. I got these young college men to do the Full Monty for a beer! Did it work? Of course. Duh. I’m an old hand at this.      
Public street urinal. Too funny!

     We laughed and carried on for hours, sitting there on that wall ,watching these guys take a piss, drinking beer and getting the lads to do a bit of a show. I had a total blast. Sadly, I paid for it the next morning. The older one gets the harder it is to recover from drinking. And boy did I drink. As I predicted… Darcy just couldn’t hang. Seems he isn’t all that well versed with tequila. Poor boy. One day the good Irish lad may be as demented, as I. As he said, “Is there no end to your debauchery?” Nope, Patty, there isn’t. Take notes.

Patrick with his clutch bag. 

     Saturday night we had the gala dinner. It was lovely. Great fish. Not overcooked, thank goodness. Hake has always been a favorite of mine. (Sorry, the foodie in me just pops out.) The entertainment was good, but it was the ‘butlers’ that got me. Of course several had to come and get me to see before they even started their night of entertainment. Three men wearing nothing but little aprons. I was in little piggy heaven.      The one named Alex had my name written all over him. His ass was a work of art! OMG, my tongue was craving rug burn. As you can see, I did get pictures. I was also allowed to pet the glorious, fur covered orbs. SIGH it was lovely. I’m still salivating over that ass. I didn’t want him. I just wanted to play with him like I would a cuddly puppy. So cute. Well…maybe that isn’t quite the truth, but I could have been happy with that for a bit.


     Today, the wifey and I, K.c. Wells, and I will be off to the Isle of Wight. I’ve heard so much about this place that I’ve got to see it. So much there I want to see and do. This will be the vacation I’ve been needing. Will be so good to see my buddy, Andrew as well. Great conversations we have together. 
     A great bit thank you to all who put the UK Meet together and to those attendees who made my first UK trip special. 
     Next week… a major surprise! Stay tuned. :D 
     As always, please take the time to do something nice for someone else. Brighten their day. It will do wonders for you as well. 
     Till next week, y’all!