Sunday, May 30, 2004

Weight: 198 lbs.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!!

A good holiday weekend so far. Friday, we closed the office early so Sean and I decided to catch a movie over at Metro Pointe. Not his favorite place to see a movie, so I'm not sure why he chose those theaters -- too many people, especially children 2 years old and younger; wannabe gang types; small screens (in his opinion), though each theater has stadium seating. But who am I to argue when he's paying for the tickets? We wouldn't make it in time for the last of the matinees so we opted for the 7:10 showing of The Day After Tomorrow. We arrived at 5:30, bought the tickets then grabbed a bite to eat at the Mexican restaurant downstairs. At 6:30, we rode the escalator back to the theaters and were amazed that the line was already winding into the upper parking lot. The doors opened at 6:45, and though most of the seats were filled by the time we trudged into the theater, Sean found two seats near the back row along an aisle.

In the two rows directly in front of us, the groups brought small children with them, one of which could not have been more than 14 months old. Why bring such a small child to a disaster flick that's sure to be filled with lots of loud noises, flashes, some foul language, etc.? I soon learned that children under 3 are allowed in free to the movies. Great! Instead of hiring a baby sitter, annoy everyone in the theater with the wailing, crying, screaming and chatter that a toddler or younger is apt to employ for attention. (Though, in all fairness, the 14-month-old slept through the entire film. And, for the most part, the other one behaved herself...until he mother left the child with the father for the restroom with 15 minutes remaining. Then, she screamed and screamed for her mother and ran down the stairs after her.)

The movie turned out better than I expected, and I found myself caught up in all the action and special effects. The script isn't all that fantastic, but Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid, Sir Ian Holm and Sela Ward do an admirable job with it. Especially Jake, who pulls off the semi-nerdy teenager-in-love very believably. Oh, and he looks good in his boxers. But, the special effects take center stage, and their creators do a marvellous job wreaking havoc in New York and Los Angeles. A great popcorn flick.

Saturday, while Sean toiled away at the bookstore, I watched the documentary Super Size Me at the Edwards University near UC Irvine. It's a great look into the fast food industry and its effects on our health and eating habits. Morgan Spurlock's humorous, scary and eye-opening experiment -- ulitmatley putting his health at risk -- is definitely a wake-up call, not only to the government but to every person who eats fast food. I don't know if I could have handled eating McDonald's 3 meals a day for 30 days. With my own dieting, it's been incredibly difficult to give up the drive-thrus just because they are quick and easy. I don't have a huge mess of pots, pans and dishes to clean up. This film should have everyone re-thinking what and how they eat.

Later in the evening, C came over, and the three of us attended Desk Set at the Huntington Beach Playhouse. It wasn't quite like the movie, in which Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, while battling over the supposed time-saving computer called "Emmy," ultimately fall in love. The play focuses more on the relationship between humans and the advance of technology. There's no romantic notions between the Tracy/Hepburn characters, which, I admit, was a disappointment. The local cast did a fine job, though, and we were all in hysterics during the second act.

Not much palnned for today. I finally finished the E.F. Benson book of ghost stories which I started last October and am just going to relax today. Maybe read a little more, watch a DVD or two. Take advantage of the three-day weekend.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Gay=Fat?

I don't know where Lord Tebbit is getting his misinformation, stating that being gay leads to obesity. He obviously does not go to the same gym as I do nor has he watched any episodes of Queer as Folk (the American version). He's probably never been to West Hollywood (granted, he's in England) and seen the musclemen vying for each other's attention as they cruise down Santa Monica Blvd. At the clubs, it's usually wall-to-wall fit, men, either showing off on the dance floor or having dollar bills stuffed into their G-strings.

The Gay community is probably more health conscious than Lord Tebbit cares to admit, and yes, much of it has to do with how looks-oriented our culture can sometimes be. But, there's also the idea of staying healthy, warding off disease, increasing life expectancy. I've read blogs and articles in gay magazines in which health and fitness play a large role in the daily lives of the writers and of the readers. Personally, I obsess about my weight because being overweight tends to run in my family. My Dad's suffered four heart attacks already, and, as much as I love him, I don't want that for myself. I've passed a kidney stone which my doctor said was partially due to how overweight I was. Plus, I didn't like how I felt about myself when I weighed 230 lbs.

Trying to blame obesity on gay culture is, quite frankly, stupid. It's not a matter of gay or straight. We each have control over what we eat and how much of it we eat. We can take the steps to exercise or not, it's our own decision. I realize for some that it is a matter of genetics or a health condition that affects the weight, but we can take whatever steps are necessary to gain control.

So Lord Tebbit, in your honor, I'm having a greasy cheeseburger for lunch along with fries and an iced tea. See you at the gym after work!

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Rolling, rolling, rolling...

While en route to work this morning, my car just eked past the 30,000 mile mark. Somehow I thought it would be a more exciting moment: trumpets blaring, champagne corks popping, six hunky motorcycle cops escorting me to work amidst a tickertape parade. But, I turned the corner from Adams onto Harbor and voilĂ , the digital meter changed. I almost missed it, too, trying to pay attention to the traffic. Better to be safe than roadkill.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Word of the Week
from Merriam-Webster on-line

taradiddle (noun)

How to pronounce it: tair-uh-DIH-dul

Definition: 1) fib, 2) pretentious nonsense

Sentence: The speech was so full of old-fashioned taradiddle and conjecture that no one would take President Bush seriously.

Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the blogger. Maybe a few others, as well....

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Weight: 196 lbs.

After lounging in bed until about 10 AM, we finally decided to hit the road for Long Beach Pride via Company D in Anaheim. My friend JP, who works at the one of the Disney Resort hotels, gave me a special pass that allowed two non-Disney employees one-time access to their discounted items. It's the stuff that you could find in any of the shops on Main Street or anywhere in the theme parks -- Shirts, sweatshirts, stuffed animals, bobble heads, photo albums, art work, posters, etc. -- with discounts ranging from 50% to 75%.

I have to admit that the store is very non-descript. It's located close to the resort area but just on the other side of the I-5, and if you weren't looking for it, you would miss it. No big neon sign or Mickey ears to signal its location. Once inside, a very chipper employee explained how Company D works, that the general public normally isn't allowed into the store unless accompanied by a park/resort employee. Everything is marked down, usually starting at 50%; some items have set prices. Once we were ready to leave, we must forfeit our entrance pass. Blah blah blah. Let me at the discounts!!!

First off, I'm not really that much of a shopper. I fall into the Straight Man category here: I know exactly what I want before I go into the store, find it, pay for it, and leave. I try not to linger. Unless it's a book or music store. Then, I have to lock my credit cards in my car.... Second, it is a special Disney store which I will probably never have the opportunity to visit again in my life. I might as well take advantage of it. With that said, I spent $138.73 after discounts, buying a $250 Aladdin -- The Musical jacket for $100, some gifts for Sean's niece and nephew, and two hand-blown glass Haunted Mansion Holiday dated ornaments. All told, I saved $238.40. I may not be much of a shopper, but I do know when to take advantage of a good deal.

In the parking lot, we were trying to decide the best route to get from Anaheim to Long Beach and decided to take the 22 West to the 405 N to the 710 S. That would take us right to the Festival grounds. But, because neither of us had eaten anything since the night before, we made a lunch stop at a Red Robin on Harbor Blvd. Sitting in the air-conditioned dining hall, sipping our dirnks, awaiting our gourmet burgers, we thought about the Festival. No one we knew was going (J and R were at a book signing in LA; R and S has some relatives down for the weekend; C had to work until 6). None of the musical acts grabbed our attention. Would it be much different from last year's? Probably not, and since they upped the price from $15 to $20 per person (plus $10 to park), we opted not to go. Why go the Festival to see cute, gay men for $50 when we could see them for free at Disneyland? I called C at work and asked if he would like to join us later in the evening for a movie in Downtown Disney. He did, so Sean and I headed back to Disney to wander around the parks and to see Shrek 2.

After purchasing the tickets, we headed for the Monorail station in Downtown Disney, promptly sat down in one of the trains only to have it break down. We sat in that stifling little box for 15 minutes before they decided to let us out. A bit discouraged, we walked through all the shops and restaurants to the side entrance of the Grand Californian and into California Adventure. We laughed at people getting drenched on Grizzly River Run, rode the Sun Wheel, then Sean headed for the lounge of the hotel while I road The Tower of Terror (yet again). By the time I returned to the lounge, it was nearly 7 o'clock. C. was waiting for us at The Lost Bar, munching on a burger. Sean joined him for a gin & tonic while I gulped down two glasses of ice water. Then, we were off to see Shrek 2.

I didn't think it would be possible with a sequel, but this was even more hysterical and charming than the first one. All the same voices are back with the addition of Julie Andrews, Rupert Everett, John Cleese, Antonio Banderas, Jennifer Saunders (from Absolutely Fabulous), and Larry King as the Ugly Step-sister. A definite send-up of Hollywood, Beverly Hills, the movie industry, and the Hollywood ideal of looks over substance. Great animation, non-stop hilarity for both kids and adults (just wait until you find out what Pinocchio is wearing), fabulous music and voice work. There's so much to see, so many little sight gags and references to other movies, that I'm definitely going to see it again, just to look for what I missed the first time.

So much for the Festival....

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Not much has been happening of late. Well, not much interesting, that is. Just the same old, same old. All that should change this weekend, though. On Saturday, we're attending the Long Beach Gay Pride to be held near the Long Beach Convention Center. It's one of the more fun Prides in Southern California, in my opinion anyway. A more relaxed atmosphere, good food, thousands of friendly men and women, great entertainment. This year's entertainers include Patti LaBelle on Friday night, Eddie Money and Tiffany on Saturday, and Sheena Easton on Sunday; last year, we saw Celia Cruz and Pat Benatar perform. Still...I've noticed that many of the Pride events, that were designed to develop cultural pride in being gay/lesbian, have turned into meet/meat markets and gay swap meets. The churches, Gay and Lesbian Centers, and other community services are still present, but more and more, it's about selling t-shirts, tchotchkes and the unattainable images of the perfect man or woman.

I haven't returned to the LA Pride in quite a while for just that reason. LA's was the first one I ever attended, and while it was interesting to meet Mr. Blackwell and to watch all the drag queens and go-go boys, I sensed an almost exclusionary attitude. I remember walking around the grounds with a co-worker's boyfirend (who was very good looking), and every time we passed a booth that offered a freebie, such as cologne samples or t-shrits, the male workers made a bee-line for him, once literally knocking me out of the way to get to him. That same idea that looks are overly important just permeated my whole experience there. I had the same feeling the next year and have never returned to that one.

I was hesitant about Long Beach Pride, but found it to be the opposite. I felt more welcome, and everyone was incredibly friendly. I made many new friends and even met the first man I ever dated while at the Long Beach festival. When I volunteered with The Center, I manned their booth and even marched in the Parade at Long Beach. I try to return every year.

But....

Before we even reach the Festival this year, we're taking a side trip to Company D, the store exclusively for Disney employees. A friend who works at one of the resort hotels gave me a pass for two to check out the store where everything is marked way, way down. (This is great for us since Sean's niece and nephew will be here at the beginning of June, and they love Disney stuff!) See? I really am a Disney geek....

AIDS Walk Update

Yea! I'm at $1,265 and counting!! If you haven't yet donated, there's still time!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Found this nifty little quiz over at his blog. And yes, it is true. I'm such a nerd!!

speak and spell
You're a Speak & Spell!! You nerd, you. Just
because you were disguised as a toy doesn't
mean you weren't educational, you sneaky
bastard.


What childhood toy from the 80s are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Mood ring color: blue-green

Monday, May 17, 2004

Word of the Week

I decided to make this an educational blog by adding a Word of the Week. Each Monday, I will scour the dictionary and display the latest word. (Kind of reminds me of those "Ways To enrich Your Word Power" quizzes in Readers' digest.) Today's word:

borborygmus (noun)

SYLLABICATION:
bor·bo·ryg'·mus

DEFINITION:
A rumbling noise produced by the movement of gas through the intestines.

SENTENCE:
I blushed a new shade of red as the loud borborygmus coming from my dinner date caused all heads to turn in our direction.

Ain't edumacation grand?

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Weight: 196 lbs.

Did a little house cleaning today. I hate house cleaning. Not because the dust is thick enough to grow potatoes or the trash is overflowing the cans (though I emptied them not more than three days ago). No, what I hate most about cleaning is that the majority of the mess isn't mine. Empty wine glasses and wine bottles (I dont' drink); dirty clothes strewn about by the sofa and on the kitchen chairs; letters and bills piled upon the kitched table (though a promise was made once the new table was assembled to keep it a clutter-free zone); boxes, boxes everywhere.

I admit that I'm not Mr. Clean, but I'm constantly taking out the trash cans, placing the big cans curbside (and bringing them back the next day), doing both our laundry, watering what's left of the grass, scrubbing the tub and sinks, washing the dirty dishes, etc. That's why I hate house cleaning. It makes me question things. It makes me furious. It makes me want to get in my car and drive until I reach Oregon. And, it makes me sneeze.

But it feels good to vent my frustrations. I'll probably wind up deleting this entry -- or most of it, anyway -- before the day is done.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Disney Geek

Yes, it's official. I am a Disney geek. I just spent the entire day in California Adventure, riding the Tower of Terror over and over and over and -- you get the picture. Back in high school, this would definitely be viewed as "normal" behavior. But for a 33-year-old? What happened to the parties? The movies? The Friday nights at Main Street in Laguna Beach listening to the sultry sounds of our own Diva Karen Cobb? The weekends spent at the bars and clubs, stuffing dollar bills into the G-strings of the go-go boys?

My life slips into the rut of come-home-read-a-book-go-to-bed, with the highlight of my weekend being yet another trip to Disneyland. Sometimes, I feel so pathetic wandering around the parks by myself. I imagine folks watching me, thinking how pathetic I must look.

Or, maybe I'm being too much of a drama queen....

Friday, May 14, 2004

Bookworm

Books have always been a large part of my life, thanks to my Mother. It's from her that I picked up this affinity for the written word. I remember growing up that she had a book with her most of the time, either hidden in her purse for lunch breaks at work or stacked beside her nightstand. She still reads constantly and is a member of at least two (or three) book groups. Along the same vein, I'm always reading at least three to four books at a time, a habit picked up in high school.

But, it's not just the best-sellers and popular books I read. Take a look at my current reading list, and you'll see what I mean. I enjoy reading what others like to call "heavy literature:" you know, all the stuff you were supposed to read in high school and college. So much is out there, so many writers, so many different genres. Stories about life, about being gay, about takinga stand against society. Fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, adventure, romance, biography, true crime, ghost stories, horror, drama, culture, society, history, gay/lesbian, life. I want to experience as much of it as I can.

One time in high school, I found a sweatshirt in a PBS-like gift catalog -- you know, the kind of catalog that just appears in the mail, but you don't recall how your name made it on that particular list. A white sweatshirt with large red and blue letters proclaiming: CELEBRATE FREEDOM! Read a banned book!. A list of roughly 30 books followed, titles that had been banned at one time or another in some part of the United States, including such classics as Flowers for Algernon, The Color Purple, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Catcher in the Rye, and The Great Gatsby. I bought the sweatshirt, wore it proudly to school, and promised myself to read each and every book on that list.

And, I did, too.

Mood Ring Color: purple

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Hitting the Mark



Woo hoo!!! I actually surpassed my fundraising goal of $1000 for the AIDS Walk! The kindness and generosity of everyone is wonderful! (And, I still have a few more people from whom to get donations!!!)

I'm very psyched now to walk the 7.5 km. Can my legs handle the pressure?! I hope it won't be too hot....

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Weight: 195 lbs.

Yippee!!! Just 10 more pounds to reach my goal of 185!! According to health reports which I've checked on the web, though, my ideal weight is 172 lbs. That's just too skinny for someone my height. I'll be happy at 185. :-)

Yesterday, Sean and I had planned to see Van Helsing but weren't too keen on it after hearing some of the reviews. One friend told me that it was copmared to Leaague of Extraordinary Gentlemen of which I wasn't too fond. Relied too much on special effects and too little on character development. But, it is the same director from The Mummy films so I may sneak out to see it this weekend. Instead of the film, we traipsed around California Adventure, finally riding The Tower of Terror in daylight. I still felt that rush of terrified adrenalin afterwards and was pretty much pumped for the rest of the day. We even splurged and bought the photo of ourselves at the top of the ride, just moments before the first drop. Once I've scanned it in and uploaded it, I'll post it. And please, no laughing at how goofy we look....

Happy Mother's Day!

I spent the day with my family down in Laguna at my parents' house. Mom, Dad, Brother, Grandma, Aunt, Uncle and my Dad's friend J. Nothing fancy for dinner, just a couple buckets of KFC, potato salad, fresh fruit, and the most delicious chocolate cake I've ever eaten! I can't remember the last time when the entire family was together for one of these occasions. With my cousin living in Spain or my brother having to work (thanks Alberston's), we never seem to have all eight of us at one time. If we could ever afford it, the entire family should fly to Madrid since D. and R. fly here much of the time. Let's visit them for a change!

My grandmother is the only member of the family whom we haven't told that I'm gay. She's 84. What good would it do her? But, she said something funny tonight while I was in the living room with my Brother and Dad. She walked up behind me and said, "When are you going to hire some cute girls?"

I stared at her, wide-eyed with the implications that phrase were causing to run through my mind. "Grandma, I work for a temp agency. We hire all sorts of men and women."

My brother buried his face in his hands while my Dad shook his head, trying to contain a few giggles. "I know. But, tell your boss to hire you some cute girls." With that, she walked back to the family room.

The three of us looked at each other. "How can she not know?" my Dad wondered aloud. "You talk about S. quite a bit. She's met him and seen you two together." I didn't know how to answer that. I still don't. I just laughed it off and went for more chocolate cake.

AIDS Walk Update

Once again, I've had to update my overall goal. What started as an attempt to reach $250 has blossomed, thanks to the donations and sponsorships of many friends, family and co-workers. My goal now is $1000, and I'm just $140 shy of reaching it. A few more weeks of fundraising to go, though. I think I can manage the $1000. Fingers crossed....

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

A little gay fable

This is a cute little gay fable about a young boy coming out. I hope you'll get as much of a chuckle out of it as I did. :-)

Rusty is a Homosexual
Work Woes, Pt. III

All the missing paperwork has been received and has been filed. Things look rosey so far! Now, If I could just get the client to input those outstanding work orders, I'd be incredibly happy. :-)

AIDS Walk

It just keeps getting better and better! So far my donations/sponsorships total $610, and I still have many more people to ask. I even sent an email to Margaret Cho, just on a whim to see if she might consider sponsoring me. It never hurts to ask....

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Weight: 196 lbs.

So far, so good...with regards to getting back to the gym. Now, my weight actually needs to fall below the 196 mark instead of lingering there in some sort of fatty limbo....

Work Woes (pt. II)

Things quieted down by the time I left on Friday. We've worked out a truce with the client, but it all hinges on what happens with 8 specific talent we have on assignment with them come Monday morning. Each has a specific form that needs to be turned in by 9 AM, or we may have to pull them. I can tell that B. isn't exactly thrilled, but he brought up a good point: now, the client is going to check for this specific paperwork from all their secondary staffing agencies. K., my boss in LA, seems to be satisfied with how we have handled the situation so far.

I still want to kick myself for the oversight. I can't believe I let this slip!!! I ought to be castrated...no, wait -- that's going a bit far, but I still feel that there will be some kind of repercussion on my part.

AIDS Walk OC

Wow! So far, my donations have surpassed my original goal of $250, and I have therefore increased it to $500. Thank you to everyone who has sponsored any of the walkers so far. The money raised will greatly help the 9 health care service agencies in Orange County, CA, that have been affected by budget and grant cuts from the federal government. If you would still like to sponsor me, the link is just above the Links menu on the right side of my blog.

Malice in Wonderland

Last night, C. invited us to attend the Orange County Imperial Court's annual coronation ceremony at the Irvine Airport Hilton. Sean declined so I tagged along with C. Neither of us had ever attended one of the Imperial Court's events, even though we see the members all the time at The Center. In fact, the past Emperor 30 Beartrap Russ St. James also heads one of the other organizations that meets at The Center, and we always--

What's that? You don't know what the Imperial Court is? To put it simply, the Orange County Imperial Court consists of men and women -- gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual, transgenered, transsexual, etc.-- who express themselves by sometimes dressing in extravagant and elegant costumes, dresses and other attire. I can hear some people already saying the words: drag queens. Some of them are; some of them aren't. Not all the males in this organization wear high bouffants, shimmering, slinky dresses and ultra-high heeled shoes. Neither do all the women wear men's suits and wingtips. The Imperial Court, from what I have seen and the people I've met, is an organization of people expressing who they are, and they are one of the most supportive groups in the GLBTQ community in Orange County. They stage revues with the tips made by the performers going to charitable organizations and scholarship funds. In the past 10 years, they have given over $43,000 in scholarships to GLBTQ individuals. (This year's recipient of the $2,000 Harvey Milk Scholarship was a young man who was emancipated from his parents at 16, lived on the streets and still managed to put himself through Tulane University in Lousiana. He's now working on his sociology degree at UC Irvine in order to help gay youth.) They run food and clothing drives for the Youth Shelter at The Center OC. They work with other Imperial Courts throughout California and the West Coast to raise awareness in the community. If you look back far enough into gay history, it's the drags queens who stood up for our community at Stonewall in 1969. They've never been afraid to be who they are.

And, who wouldn't be intimated by a six-and-a-half foot tall man wearing six-inch stillettos who can knock you flat with one punch to the face?

Back to the coronation. After a vey good meal, with food provided by the Hilton, the ceremony began, first with the singing of the National Anthem. Three invocations followed, one the traditional church blessing; the second perhaps a bit more pagan and calling upon the four symbols of nature (fire, wind, earth and water); the third VERY unorthodox with a poem written and read by two of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Next followed a very long procession of Emperors and Empresses, Dukes and Duchesses and various other regents from Imperial Courts all over California, Hawaii, Nevada and Washington state. They were followed by past Emperors and Empresses from the OC Imperial Court, with some celebrating 20 or 30 years. C. and I were even called to the stage as unofficial representatives of the Gay and Lesbian Center of Orange County. (Neither of us had been expecting this, and we were both surprised and honored.) The night was punctuated with with many performances by some of the visiting royalty and local court members, each with a long line of guests waiting to give them tips. (I'm not sure how much money they raised last night, but I bet it brought in quite a lot. I know I tipped at least $20 total.) And the two emcees, Mimi and Irene, were hysterical, trying to follow along with the script, poking fun at it, ripping it up and then winging it. The night ended with an incredible tribute to Empress 30 Augusta Wind-St. James, who passed away in February of this year due to a brain embolism. Not having ever met the Empress, I could still feel how much the entire company loved her. Very few faces were dry of tears. I was especially moved that her family attended, and they showed just as much love to everyone there as they were receiving.

We thanked Emperor Russ before leaving, honored to have been allowed to share in that wonderful evening.