Friday, January 30, 2004

101 Uses for a Dead Cat

A few weeks ago, I finished the novel P.S. Your Cat is Dead, a darkly comic novel from James Kirkwood. It's the story of Jimmy Zoole, a 38-year-old actor who is having the worst three months imaginable: his girlfriend dumps him on New Year's Eve, his best friend suffers a heart attack and dies, his apartment has been burgaled twice (the novel he's worked on for a year was stolen the last time), and his cat dies while at the vet's. So what does he do? He sits in apartment, wallowing in self pity until the idea pops into his head to catch the burglar.

I remember seeing this in its theatrical version a few years ago in a small theater in Garden Grove, the audience laughing hysterically through the entire performance. So what do I do? Against my better judgement and protestations from many other sources, I rented the movie version.

Big mistake.

Adaptations, in my opinion, are difficult to pull off. Either I enjoyed the book and hated the film or vice-versa. Granted, exceptions do occur, such as The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Shining, and Psycho to name a few. (Then again, the remake of Psycho left little to be desired.) Most of the time, I have a preconceived notion of what to expect, and when that doesn't happen, I'm put off by the film. Such is the case with this one. Characters were changed, much of the plot was reworked and moved out of sequence from the book, no time was allowed to get to know the characters, so-so acting. I sat there anyway, mesmerized with badness of it and wondering where the humor went....

I thought the cat was lucky to have died near the beginning of the film.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Ted: Food & Wine Connoisseur

Which Member from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy is your type?
brought to you by Quizilla

I enjoy these little personality tests. What kind of movie am I? What LotR character am I? What world leader am I like? Give them enough time, and they'll match your personalilty to a microbe or a disease.

Monday, January 26, 2004

I just deleted a "spam comment" from my comments for the last posting. Why would anyone want to put a spam message in the comments? And, how did I know it was spam? Well, it was in Portuguese so I copied and pasted it into the translator at AltaVista. Some kind of crap that didn't make sense at all when translated. Thank goodness haloscan has a way to delete those pesky things!!
Updated my links, adding two new blogs called "Out There" and "Glennalicious." I like the writing style of both. It doesn't hurt, either, that they're both quite nice to look at....

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Weight: 203.5 lbs.

Two more pounds! I really do think that walking on the weekends has helped, especially since I didn't go to the gym on Friday after work.

Instead, G. and I took our parents out to dinner for their birthdays which both fall during the month of January. G. brought his girlfriend; Mom and Dad brought Grandma; and Sean waffled the day beore about whether or not he was going to join us. He felt bad about not having gifts for either of them. I tried to convince him that it didn't matter, as long as he just showed up. At 6 PM, I waited in front of the restaurant, wondering what his decision was, and only too happy when his car pulled into the parking lot. The seven of us dined at Waters in Irvine on one of the man-made lakes. Great seafood and pasta, if you're ever in the mood.

Grandma actually ate an entire bowl of clam chowder and 1-1/2 crab cakes! But, she wouldn't touch the iced tea. Said it tasted too much like perfume. (It did, though it was meant to be Passion Fruit.) Dad was having a grand time until one of his crowns pulled loose while eating his filet mignon. We think he swallowed it. G. is actually growing a beard, now that he stands on the picket lines most of the time. He hates the strike, but he forces himself to stand on the lines because should the workers be allowed to return to work, he will be able to finish up his two years and enjoy his pension. Strange to say this, but it's almost as if the workers are the pawns between the union and the supermarket chains. Some good, though: CalPERS and the Longshoremans Union are joining in to help the striking workers. CalPERS is a powerful organization. Maybe this will signal a turn in the talks. Keep your fingers crossed.

Saturday, Clark joined us for a musical at the Huntington Beach Playhouse titled Stars in Your Eyes. The story is a bit cliché: man who is supposed to marry a rich woman falls in love with another, less-well-off woman. Some subplots are thrown in about saving the town's observatory and about a young girl being the first to enter a prestigious all-boys school in the 1960's. The leads had fine voices and acted well. Good songs and music, too. Not a bad production for local theater.

In keeping with my resolution to see at least one play a month, so far I have planned:

  • January: Stars in Your Eyes
  • February: Antigone
  • March: Showdown at Rainbow Ranch, The Underpants
  • April: Safe in Hell
  • June: Equus
  • August: Pageant of the Masters

Bookwise, I've set aside The Silmarillion. It has much great information for LotR fans, but it reads like a textbook. Very tedious and, because many of the characters have different names in different languages, it's difficult to follow who is speaking about whom. I may try it again later. I finished After the Banquet and should have my review on Amazon shortly. My current reading is:

  • Artful Players: Artistic Life in Early San Francisco by Birgitta Hjalmarson
  • Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin
  • The Female Man by Joanna Russ
  • The Collected Ghost Stories of E.F. Benson

Friday, January 23, 2004

I'm not sure why, but I found this news article somewhat funny. I've read books in which the police entrap someone by posing as a homosexual, such as Strange Brothers by Blair Niles, but this just had me in stitches....

"Officially" Attractive Cop Guilty of Entrapment

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Updated my Links section, as well as my previous post about my 10 Sexiest Men.

Changing the subject...

Tuesday night at The Center was great, as usual. We found out that due to budget cuts, The Center may be moving into a more cost-effective bilding. That's a shame. The Center's been in the same locale for nearly 30 years.

On a good note, I managed to convince my company to donate 8 hours of temporary graphic/web design work to The Center's silent auction. This will be held on March 13th in conjunction with a gala dinner/fundraiser to be held a the Disneyland Hotel. All proceeds from the dinner and the silent auction will help to fund Center programs. Yea!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

It didn't dawn on me until I read the report on, but all the actors up for "Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, TV" at this Sunday's Golden Globe Awards are all characters from the GLBTQ culture! How cool is that?!

Golden Globes Nominees

Monday, January 19, 2004

The review editors at finally pissed me off! I wrote a review of Letters to Montgomery Clift, and they cut out three-quarters of what I wrote, leaving only two sentences from the last paragraph. Two sentences!! That doesn't give anyone information about the book! Who would buy a book because someone writes simply that "It's engrossing" and "a good story about the love between mother and son?" My review said so much more because the book is about much more than that. It's about family. It's about homosexuality. It's about the harshness of the foster care system in the US. It's about the horrors of the Marcos regime in the Philippines and its effects on one young boy.

Friday night, Sean and I shopped a bit at Barnes & Noble in Metro Point. I know what I said before concerning Dr. Laura, but Sean enjoys going to that one to check out the books. I don't like their gay/lesbian section, or rather, their lack of one. On the drive back home, Sean unintentionally cut someone in a Dodge Ram off. The guy honked, Sean maneuvered back into the correct lane andthe guy passed. No harm done, right? Sean takes it as a major offense and pulls into the lane right behind the truck, flashing his brights and honking his horn. When traffic moved again, he drove as close as possible behind him, still flashing and honking. I tried to get him to stop, but he flat out told me to shut up becuase it was his car....

Saturday, I commenced my weekend walks along the beach. An hour breathing in the slightly salty, damp air was incredibly invigorating. If the parking weren't metered, I probably could have walked all the way to Seal Beach and back. Back at home, I finished Letters to Montgomery Clift by Noël Alumit, about a young gay Filipino separated from his parents in the Philippines due to the Marcos regime. A great, powerful book! Later that afternoon, I purchased tickets for Sean, Clark and me to see Stars in Your Eyes, a play being performed at the Huntington Beach Playhouse. I used a coupon from my Entertainment Guide for one copmlimentary ticket. Coupons -- they're not just for grocery stores anymore.

Sunday, my parents and I saw Calendar Girls. One of the funniest and most charming movies I've seen in some time. Helen Mirren and Julie Waters are immediately likable. The story is true and well-told. The three of us thoroughly enjoyed it.

Reading list update:

  • Artful Players: Artistic Life in Early San Francisco by Birgitta Hjalmarson
  • After the Banquet by Yukio Mishima
  • The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien (why didn't anyone tell me that I was misspelling his name?!)
  • The Collected Ghost Stories of E.F. Benson

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Weight:205.5 lbs.

Just a quick note, as I'm getting ready to head down to my parents' to take them to a movie. I've lost 4.5 lbs.! Woo hoo! The gym and the change in diet are finally working!! I've also thrown a little something else into my exercise routine that, I hope, will make a small impact. Saturday and/or Sunday mornings, I walk for an hour along the beach. Huntington Beach offers public parking along a small stretch of the beach between Goldenwest and Seapoint. I park and walk north from the city beach into the lower half of Bolsa Chica State Beach. Somehow, I manage to keep a steady pace for the hour-long trek. For now, the beach at morning isn't too crowded, but as summer approaches, parking spots will be harder to find.

Gotta run!

Friday, January 16, 2004

I finished P.S. Your Cat Is Dead and posted my review on Amazon. It's one of the few books that had me laughing out loud during some of the scenes! I love it when a book can do that. I'm still struggling through The Silmarillion. It reads more like a textbook, and I'm finding it difficult to keep track of who's who. Very slow-moving. Somehow, I thought it would be more like Tolkien's other books.

I also started to read After the Banquet by Yukio Mishima (one of my favorite authors) and Letters to Montgomery Clift by Noël Alumit. Normally, I read only one book at a time, but my stacks have grown enormous and are taking up space. I need to clear room for more books. :-)

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Just returned from lunch with my folks. My dad is having minor, outpatient surgery tomorrow for an infected ingrown toenail. Yech! Not pleasant at all!! The nail became infected while they were on vacation last week in Lake Havasu, AZ. He went to a doctor over there, but the infection was too bad for them to do anything but prescribe some antibiotics. Nothing could be done until the infection had cleared up. So tomorrow he's having the ingrown nail removed.

I've been through that surgery before. I must have been in thrid grade and remember that the worst pain was from the needle of novacaine. That hurt much worse than the nail. The removal didn't bother me at all. In fact, I watched the entire process completely fascinated by it. I was back in school the next day, gloating over the fact that I got to wear flip-flops to school for two weeks while it healed.

On Sunday, I'm taking the two of them to see Calendar Girls. I think the last time that I saw a movie with either of my folks was Return of the Jedi with my Dad and my brother. Wow, that was ages ago.... I feel so old....

Monday, January 12, 2004

In case you hadn't noticed, my Comments are all at zeros. Why? I ran into a few bugs with blogspeak, meaning that the comments would appear and disappear all weekend. This morning, they jsut never came back so I signed up for HaloScan -- another free comments service. So dfal, Joyce, Joel, Doug and Rafa, I apologize. :-(

Other news from this morning, I arrived to find the fax machine out of toner, its memory completely full, and my voice mail box filled with message saying that they tried to fax their time sheets in but received a message that the number had been disconnected. Wonderful! Just what I needed on a Monday morning! I straightened things out and had the fax line back up and running within 15 minutes.

Calgon, take me away!!!!

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Well, I decided to see what the hype was all about so I saw Big Fish this afternoon. I was originally going yesterday, but Sean didn't want to go as usual. Since he works on Sundays, what better day to go by myself? (I often go to movies by myself. Most films Sean prefers to see on DVD so if I don't go alone I will also have to wait for the DVD. Seeing a movie on the Big Screen is part of the magic of the cinema, though. Take Titanic for instance. I've only watched it once on the small screen and can't stand the fact that I can tell from the outlines surrounding the actors when they're performing in front of a blue or green screen. I saw the film twice in the theaters, though.)

I chose the AMC Marina Pacific 12 in Long Beach not because of the showtimes...okay, PARTLY because of the showtimes, but also because I wanted to try out a different theater. It's located on Pacific Coast Highway, and it was such a clear, sunny day that I thoroughly enjoyed the drive up the coast. With the exception of the cyclists. They tend to swerve into the right lane often, especially when they ride in packs of three or more. Dangerous. The theaters themselves are contained in two separate buildings with the box office in between. The rows are stadium style, with big, comfy seats -- perfect for watching a movie.

The movie is fantastic! I loved the story and the acting and the visual effects, all earmarked with Tim Burton's distinctive style.

As for my reading, I finished At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O'Neill a few hours ago and should have my review on Amazon by tomorrow. My updated list:

  • P.S. Your Cat Is Dead by James Kirkwood
  • The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • After the Banquet by Yukio Mishima
  • The Collected Ghost Stories of E.F. Benson

Weight: 210 lbs.

I didn't lose anything, but on the same not I didn't gain. I feel as though I lost a little something. My pants fit a bit easier about the waist. Perhaps, the non-weight loss is muscle gain from the machines at the gym.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

After returning from the gym last night, Sean and I drove to Metro Point for dinner at the Karl Strauss Brewery. Before anyone says anything about my resolution, I ordered a grilled turkey burger with gorgonzola cheese and a side of cole slaw instead of French fries. I skipped the soda, too, and drank iced tea.

Sean is on a D-Day kick -- he's watched the DVDs for Band of Brothers at least 8 times -- so we stopped at the Barnes & Noble afterwards to search for some more reading material. He didn't find anything that interested him, but I purchased Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith, the novel that served as the inspiration for Hitchcock's film of the same name. As we headed toward the escalator, we passed a sign touting which authors were to be in the store this month for readings and book signings. Staring me in the face glared a portrait of Dr. Laura Schelssinger!!! I was appalled! (I still am, too!) One of the least popular persons in the gay community was going to be at one of my favorite bookstores in Orange County. I almost lost my dinner!

I don't know if I can set foot in that Barnes & Noble again....

Friday, January 09, 2004

I'm sticking to my first resolution so far, about losing weight. I've hit the gym three times this week, cut out the fries and soda, and am only weighing myself once a week. Holding back on weighing myself is difficult; I want to know NOW if I've lost anything. But, the way I'm telling myself to look at it, if I were to weigh myself every day, then my emotions would be in constant flux, just like my weight. One morning, I would be ecstatic at the decrease in poundage. The next, somewhat letdown because I'd gained the pound or two back. Not good!

As for the gym, I find it to be a necessary evil. My arms, legs, chest and back hurt like the dickens while I'm exercising. Not to mention it's also difficult looking at myself, straining at the effort to lift moderate weights, breathing heavy, and then seeing the really in-shape, muscular guys zipping through the same exercises with heavier weights and barely breaking a sweat. I'll sit at a machine during a break from the reps, watching one of the musclemen going through his routine. I wonder, what the hell I'm doing there? I'm never going to be in that kind of shape!

I remind myself that I want to be healthier, I want to lose the weight, I want to feel better about myself. It isn't necessary to look or to be like one of them. Stick to my own goals and quit feeling sorry for myself. Then, I focus on a spot on the far wall and start my next set of reps. Finally, completely exhausted and only in minimal pain, I trek back to my car. On the drive home, I feel good, energized. Riding high on the endorphin rush. Yee-hah!!!

Monday, January 05, 2004

The first Monday of January followiing New Year's Day. EVERYONE in Orange County must have made the same resolution about losing weight because the gym was packed! I know, I know, it's one of the more popular resolutions -- I myself have placed it on more than one New Year's list. This is the first time, however, that I had to circle the parking lot for a space, and then, once inside, to wait for at least 10 minutes to use some of the machines!! Some of the overly plump women would sit at the machines and chat with their friends, not actually using the exercise equipment as it was intended but instead as a seat. I asked one if she were through because I would like to use the chest press. She frowned at me and went right on talking to her comrade.

I predict that at least 40% of these people will not stick with this resolution through the end of the month. I hate that thought.

Some of the reasoning behind my desire to lose weight is, yes, I do hate the way I look. But, deep down, I really do not want to be like my father. About 5'9", shaved head, almost 275 pounds. He resembles a caucasian Buddha, as his last kindergarten class called him. He survived at least 4 major heart attacks before turning 60. I remember with his last one, my mother hadn't retired from teaching yet so he was home alone. He said that he started to feel funny, a tingling in one of his arms. Instead of calling for an ambulance, he took an aspirin and drove himself to the hospital. The doctor said that if he hadn't taken the aspirin, he probably wouldn't have made it to the hospital. His heart doctor placed a stent into one of his blocked arteries years ago using angioplasty. (A stent is a tiny mesh tube that is set on a tiny balloon. The balloon is then inserted into an artery via the inner thigh and is directed to the blockage. When the balloon inflates, it pries open the blockage, pressing the stent into the artery walls. The stent remains to increase the strength of the artery and, hopefully, to prevent another blockage.) The doctor also instructed him to lose weight, trying to convince him that the weight loss would help stave off future attacks. My father sticks with it for a while, then....

I scares me. I don't want to end up like that.

So I put up with the crowded gym.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Making good on my first resolution, I will weigh myself every Sunday morning and record the weight here. I also plan to cut out the sweets, French fries (or do they still call them Freedom fries...) and sodas. Tomorrow, it's back to the gym three times a week. Without fail. Rain or shine.

Weight: 210 lbs.

Saturday, January 03, 2004

New Year's Resolutions!!
I'm sure that many of us have been asked what our resolutions for the Year 2004 are. So, in an effort to stem the flow of questioning, please find below my resolutions. Ta-da! ...trumpet fanfare...

  1. Lose 1-2 pounds a week I think almost everyone resolves to do something similar to this at the beginning of every year. I know I do.... 3 years ago, when I first met Sean, I weighed 185. I now weigh in at 210, which, according to some of the on-line health guides I've checked, is obese for my age and height. I hate the way I look, but moreso, I hate the way I feel. As if I were carrying a backpack filled with sand in front of me. I figured a goal of 1-2 pounds was realistic and that I could easily achieve it.

  2. Edit/publish one short story I have an accordian file in my closet with some of the stories I wrote for a college creative writing class as well as for a home course through Writer's Digest. Not to mention the story ideas that creep into my consciousness all the time.

  3. Attend at least one play per month Theaters abound in Southern California, from the big ones such as The Ahmanson and The Orange County Performing Arts Center to smaller theaters such as Newport Theater Arts Center and Rude Guerilla Theater. Prices range from inexpensive to "maybe if I saved for a few years...." But, I love live theater and don't see enough of it.