While Monica Drake was busy filling this space up for me last week, I was busy riding the romantic (and yes, barely one step up from Greyhound) Amtrak train south, where I found myself sitting beside the most fearsome creature known to public transportation: the droning, conservative codger who wants to talk. This codger was in his early 60s, hailed from Poulsbo, and was retired after a stint in law enforcement, a tour in the military, and "30-odd years" as a train engineer. Interspersed between the codger's tiresome yarns and pop quizzes on various railroad-related minutiae (train wheels are called "bogies," dontcha know) were several curiously probing questions and scrutinizing glances. Maybe it was my haircut, or the ultra-polite way I didn't bitch-slap him and tell him to shut his frickin' piehole, but something alerted him to the fact that I was, yes, a bona fide fruitcake. This made him secure enough to unburden his twisted little soul (lucky me). In a close and very conspiratorial whisper, the codger dropped the bomb that he was en route to visit his new boyfriend (!) for a drippy, gooey, sex-drenched rendezvous. I smiled, nodded my head politely, and tried desperately to change the subject as this man who could have been my grandpa leaned too close and--with breath that could fell a Sasquatch at 20 paces--whispered way too many details about their forbidden love.

"So what in the name of bleeding Jesus does this have to do with your biting and sagacious gossip column," you ask? Well. The codger had another dirty little secret that he was just bustin' to share: In San Diego, circa 1983, he placed a sex ad in a trashy alternative newsweekly (imagine!). This ad was answered by none other than (drum roll, please!) Richard Gere. According to the codger, he spent three blissful days violently sodomizing the unmistakable Mr. Gere (who is currently co-starring with Winona Ryder in Autumn in New York, and, of course, gave a fake name) in some impressively imaginative locales (i.e., sinks, showers, and flower boxes). He rudely concluded the tawdry tale with, "And let me tell you, if that gerbil story AIN'T true, it sure as hell COULD be," wink, wink, wink. SO! Is the codger lying? I don't know. Is his story unique? Hell no. Do I believe him? I'm not saying. But! I suffered three nauseating hours of droning codger-breath to bring this story to you, so there it is.

Elsewhere: The talent-free little wanker known as Eminem (yes, I sez you iz) was living up to his true spoiled-brat potential at the official "Up in Smoke" after-party, held at Federal Way's Cafe Arizona, for Christ's sake. Although I would agree with Eminem that the party was indeed "wack" (mini-quiches and store-bought cookies, and ironic little white-bread sandwiches, ha, ha, ha), Little Mr. Grumpy Britches tossed aside the fact that he was paid to attend, and sat in the VIP room for a mere 15 minutes before stomping out for unknown reasons.

In unrelated news: I've been getting countless reports of Late Night host Conan O'Brien tooling about town with his longtime gal pal, who is a Seattle-area native. IAT informants have confirmed that Conan is gigantic (over 6'2''), has a face like a pubescent pizza (rude, RUDE informants!), and drives an ultra-crappy VW Jetta with a smashed-in door and missing hubcaps, even though he can certainly afford quality transportation. Like the train.

I am watching you. Try to be interesting. Send dirty dirty dirt to adrian@thestranger.com.