Thursday, August 31, 2006

Beach Trip, Part Seven...Matty

Thanks and appreciation for my partner of 7 1/2 years. He puts up with a lot from me. I have never been the easiest man to be with. I am very particular about too many things. I have a touch of OCD...ok, I really have OCD, but not like "As Good As It Gets".
You see, I have serious trouble in situations where I feel like I don't have control. We took a bus trip to 141st. St from 13th, and I thought I would explode from anger and panic on the way. I felt my dog getting farther and farther away from me, and got mad that we were going so far for a buffet that was probably similarly found closer.

Everytime that we travel, I am the biggest stress factor.
Going to NYC, I drove, and was a mess driving the purple wagon through the crowded Matt frequently jokes, "We broke up 3 times on the trip".
In Vegas, I was terrified of the flight, and terrified anytime we ventured outside of the Venetian.
Eleasha also helped me calm down while others were at the buffet of the Phillip's on 141 St.
Why do I freak out at unfamiliar situations? I never used to be like this...what happens that brings this on?
I keep trying to expand my horizons...
Last night at Outback, I tried a "Blooming Onion". Today, while collaborating with Karma Camp on My Fair Lady, I ate about 4 pieces of apple...
Each time I go to a new restaurant, I feel a triumph.
Each time I go to a new place I feel like I have grown.
I try to try new ways...but it is very hard for me...
To quote "As Good As It Gets"...
"You make me want to be a better man..."

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Beach Trip, Part Six..."Beaches" Homage

Eleasha spotted a photo booth on the boardwalk on Friday night, and couldn't resist. She shouted for me and Matty to come and take a picture with her...Matty was entranced with 2 guys playing "Dance-Dance-Revolution"...(one who looked young from the back, but when he turned around looked like Dorian Gray's portrait in the latter stages), so she literally pulled me into the booth, as the picture was about to it did...the first picture captures the dazed confusion of why she was pulling me in so quickly...I then turned to her before the next one was shot and said...this is just like "Beaches"...we laughed and joked that for the third, we would have to do the "crazy" picture...I was taken back by her attempts at "crazy", which you see in picture 3...then, everyone always does the "serious" picture.

Later that evening, we passed the booth again, and this time pulled Matty in with us.
Notice that our attempt at "serious" looks a little manic. A few more cocktails were imbibed from photo booth shoot one to photo booth shoot two.
I still will treasure these pictures, as they represent the spontaneous and combustible fun that we had on the trip. It started quickly, and in an instant, four flashes later (read: days), it was done as soon as it started.

Beach Trip, Part Five..Equestrian Events...

On Thursday night, I was talking with Equss, one of my best friends in the world, on the phone from the balcony of the Safari Motel.
He was having a hard time with a relationship that had come to an end. He needed some healing time, I felt. He had Saturday and Sunday off...I invited him to come up for the weekend...he laughed for a second, then considered ..and said..OK!
He met up with us Saturday afternoon, and chugged a few beers to catch up with me in the hotel room. (yes, we are still stuck in college...we went to college together).
We joined the others on the beach, and partook in the waves and sun in unison.

The best part of his companionship on the tail end of the trip was that he would go with me on random late night food (pizza) treks, including a search that spanned about 8 blocks looking for no avail.

He also went with me to walk the dog whenever I took him after he arrived....where I took this now classic picture on a hung over morning.
He left feeling recharged by the sea and sun, as we all did. I was happy to share this trip with such a good friend, and among so many other good friends.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Beach Trip, Part Four...Eleasha's Ordeal

On Saturday night, Eleasha suddenly noticed that she was missing her cell phone.
We looked high and low, and in every possible place that it could be...but to no avail.
I shrugged this off at first, thinking that she would just have another expense and get another phone. I know that this is not always an easy ordeal, but one that I have been through twice this year.
I found out that there were videos and messages on her phone from and of her mother, who passed away this past Christmas Eve. This phone had within it the only tangible gateway to her mother that she still possessed.
We all went on a mad search after we knew this.
We looked high and low, but found nothing. We retired to the fourth floor balcony, and as she gazed over the sea, I saw tears come down her face. My heart was broken.
I cannot even think what hers felt like.
Here is a picture of her being diva (with Priscilla on the left and Danny on the right), earlier in the day, before this even happened.

I offered to go downstairs and get her a glass of white wine. She said yes, and I went down to floor one, room 104 to get it.
I went back up, and watched her cry into her white wine as she watched the beach combing machines go over the spot we were lounging on the beach...Matty and Eleasha had searched this area twice, but to no avail.
We all went downstairs to the room, because we were planning on going to the Boardwalk...she wasn't really feeling up to it, so I wanted to put some music on to cheer her up, and to get Danny going, and hopefully take her mind off of her loss.
The CD player was behind the dog tent, so I moved it forward, and she spotted the phone under our bed as soon as the kennel was moved...
"THAT'S IT!!!", she screamed, as we pulled it out and she jumped for joy.
It truly made the vacation to go through these awful emotions and then come through them with triumph.
She then said, "Alright, I'm ready to go out, who's coming?".
We were back in business. That was our best and worst night on the beach...

Beach Trip, Part Three...The Food

I went out in search of Grotto's pizza, as I was told by many that it was THE thing to eat at the beach for me. I looked everywhere, but to no avail. The pizza that I found to eat was sufficient. During the day, I got pizza from "The Hungry Surfer", and at night from "Tugo's". Yes, I basically ate pizza the entire time. Except in the the mornings, I would eat a ham, egg, and cheese on toast from Phillips, which was next door to the Safari. (pictured above).
I adored them. The best I ever ate, actually....with real thick ham. Almost like country fried, you know? mmmm.

One of the best parts about the beach is that the restaurants are about 60 feet behind you. I could saunter up, get 2 pieces of pizza, and flop back on the beach to feed. And since there were so many places to eat, and SO many pizza joints, you hardly ever had to wait in line for anything.

There were many "All you can eat" buffets around...(none of which allowed Pugs, unfortunately). I shied away from these, as I am not good in a buffet situation...I don't usually eat a whole bunch in one sitting. Matt and Eleasha went to Phillip's Breakfast buffet, but I opted for the ham, egg, and cheese form Phillips for take out. (and one for the pug...I gave him the ham and egg, and ate the bread myself).

The one time that I went to a dinner buffet was also at Phillip's...
They primarily serve seafood. I cannot eat seafood. Nor shellfish.
I was not least Priscilla had the eating habits of a ten year old, just like me. Notice our disdain during the dining hour...

Thank God there was a children's section of the buffet that served fried chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers, ect. I stole 2 hot dogs for the dog. (he wasn't eating his dog food....guess he thought that he wanted to eat like hell on his vacation too.
After the night at Phillip's buffet, I really didn't want to even look at food again...ok, I lied, I repeated my usual diet the next day...ham,egg,cheese in the morning, pizza in the afternoon, pizza for dinner...sigh.
It was lovely.
What was more satisfactory about this ridiculous binge was that after all that, I came home and weighed myself...I lost 1 pound. ? Then I remembered all of the walking, and hours of wave surfing, and I guess it makes sense...
Therefore, after this coronary culinary kamikaze of a vacation diet, stepping on the scale, I felt no remorse...why should I?
How many times does it not matter what you eat, how you spend your day, how dirty your feet are?
Not many.
Viva la Beach.

Beach Trip, Part Two...The Cast

Here is the cast of the weekend of Beachiness...

1st off...
The pug, Buddha. Secluded most of the weekend to the confines of the Safari Motel.

Priscilla...who did not spend nights in the Safari, but spent the nights with Danny, her gay boyfriend in Delaware. Priscilla discovered SPARKS through this trip, and was fine since. She was a welcome presence at any given time, dispatching laughs and fearing the sea (due to fear of critters) She overcame this fear and got in the last 2 days. I was proud.

Danny, who I affectionately term "Slut". He being the summer denizen of the beach helped to lead us to hot spots and hot shots, including some shot he made us all do called something like "Purple Jesus". All I know is that they lit it on fire before we shot it, and I remember not much of the night after that.

Equss (Matt Diess), who showed up on Saturday afternoon and helped to make the stay as beer full (He bought 4 cases) and fun filled as could be...

Eleasha, who is always a joy in any amount you can get her in. She had a harrowing experience happen to her while there, but came through stronger for it (details to follow). I view her as my touchstone, and she helped me battle my OCD so much while there (details, again, to follow).

Matty...always the life of the party, and the barometer of fun times had. He was the lifeblood of the trip, and the gauge of what was fun or not. I thank God that I have a partner that is so able to put up with my instability.

Stephen Gregory (me)...OCD ridden, moody, not able to eat at every place you go to, worrying about the dog constantly, too hot from the sun, too drunk from the beer.

The next 3 days will show the tale of our adventures together. I have set the scene and the characters playing in them. Stay tuned.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Beach Trip, Part One...Safari Motel

The motel. Wow. First off, we were not supposed to stay here. We originally were to stay with Danny at his mother's Beach House. This met with some unfortunate circumstances involving lingering visitors at the house, so we decided to make it easier on all involved and rent a motel room that excepted pets.
We found the Safari Motel.
Well, I love the whole tic-tackiness of Ocean City. That is part of the whole appeal for me in the first place. This place was just as tic-tack as it gets. The jungle motif was hysterical. This huge ape guarded the 4th floor balcony. We all took pictures with it. Too much.
I named him George.

In the spacious and luxurious lobby..heh...was this stuffed Lion, along with other African masks and random tiki totem poles...I felt right at actually reminded me of some of our library's decor. I could have easily moved into the Safari Motel and wanted for nothing more.

One of the best parts of this place was the balcony. In the nights and in the mornings, we would go out here and either welcome the day, or say goodbye to it. Well, let me amend that. Matt would welcome it with coffee. I would kiss it goodbye with Yuengling. (natch).

I loved sitting up here and watching life go by beneath my feet, four stories below.
Moments like these are few when you have the chance to savor what you have right in front of you.
The sound of the ocean crashing to the shore. The sound of gulls squawking. The ocean breeze intermittently caressing your face. The grit of sand that you feel on your legs and feet.
And the cheap looking, yet effective room 4 floors below.
God Bless the Safari.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

I'm Home...

Travel exhausts me. I had a fantastic time, and will post a whole mammoth post with pictures and all when I get my thoughts together...We stayed at a dive motel that allowed pets called...the Safari Motel...quite the jungle theme going on...
Here are a few pictures to tide you over...


Thursday, August 24, 2006


From what it is now to what it was then. This was my latest project.

Beach Bound

I'm off...I will be taking lots of pictures there, and I will post them all next week.
Enjoy the post below while I am gone, and everyone have a great weekend!


Just because. Have you read his interview with me yet? Leave a comment and let Matt know what you think. I put a fantastic interview with one of the hottest men alive up on here and everyone is too shy to say word one?
Come on folks, this I leave as a challenge to you...


The last time that I was at the beach was 2000. I started to think about the differences of time involved.
In 2000..
I didn't know Eleasha.
I did not own a cell phone.
I didn't use e-mail or the internet much.
I didn't own a cell phone.
I had only been with my partner for 2 years ( almost 8 now)
I had no inclination of adopting a dog.
I did not own a DVD player.
We lived with Stephen R. Hayes at time.
There were no thoughts of terrorism then.
I had no aspirations of anything more than making a living in dinner theatre then...before Burn Brae closed.
I was about to start rehearsal as Bobby Child in Crazy for You.
I discovered my allergy to shellfish on this trip.

Monday, August 21, 2006


Yet again, in honor of the 1 year anniversary of this old blog, here is a dashboard re-cap of the "In the Heels of..." series. Below this entry is the re-cap of the "In the Shoes of..." series.
If you missed these interviews, enjoy them...they are touching, enlightening, sometimes funny, always entertaining...if you read them before, read them again...I have found through archiveing these that you catch more upon the second read.
In preparation for a beach vacation starting Thursday evening, I have posted about 5 posts below...feast on these, since I will take most of tomorrow to get ready for the beach.
I will post more to tide you over while I am gone in the next 2 days.