A Little R & R
I've decided to take a 4-day weekend. So much has been going on lately with family and other personal issues that I feel a little off-time is way overdue in my life. With that said, I won't be posting anything until Tuesday. Unless I get lucky over the weekend, then I'll finally have something interesting to write about, and I won't be able to keep that bottled up.
It should be an interesting weekend. S is hoping to be ready to leave on Sunday. Am I ready to come back to an empty house? And on my birthday, even? I should be upset, but knowing that S has been anxious to get moving and to begin anew in Reno and that the parting is a mutual split, I just can't find any anger in me. A little sadness, yes. But no anger nor animosity.
Now comes the hard part: do I want to jump back into the dating pool? Or, sit back and drink in the joys of being single for a while? Decisions, decisions....
Thursday, September 30, 2004
A Little R & R
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
I Wonder If PBS Knows....
I found this little quiz thanks to him and just had to see what my deep, dark Sesame Street secret was. Should I be surprised by the outcome?
Bert & Ernie's Gay Love Affair
Look, everyone knows you two are lovebirds. Why not do the brave thing and admit it to the world? The times are kinder nowadays. There may be the odd ultraconservative bigwig or overprotective mom, but so what? Piss on 'em. Come on out of the closet. It's ok.
Which Sesame Street Muppet's Dark Secret Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
Monday, September 27, 2004
A Disney World
Okay, not so exciting a title. But apt for how I spent most of the weekend. Saturday, S wanted to visit the parks one final time with just the two of us before he leaves for Reno. We ate lunch in Tomorrowland, marveled at how few people were in the parks and rode a few of his favorite attractions - Pirates of the Caribbean, the Jungle Cruise, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of the 4-Hour Line. Over at California Adventure, he sat in the air-conditioned Animation Studio while I rode the Tower of Terror twice. We circled the boardwalk, then watched as people were drenched by the geysers of Grizzly River Run. At last, we stopped for a drink in the lounge of the Grand Californian before heading home.
Sunday, S was taken to breakfast by his boss as a Farewell Gift. Being up so early, I surfed the internet for a little while, then decided to see a movie. Once again, I trekked back to Disneyland, this time because they have one of the cleaner movie theaters in Orange County. The seats are still in one piece, your feet don't stick to the floors thanks to spilled sodas or gum, and all the theaters are stadium seating. The movie I chose was Hero starring Jet Li, and since it didn't start until 2:35, I killed some time by - you guessed it - roaming around California Adventure.
(At this point, it should be painfully obvious that I am a Disney Geek. Many of my past posts involve trips to the parks, and I'm fairly certain many future posts will contain references to the same. While I don't eat-sleep-drink Disney, I do enjoy spending the day at the parks and never seem to tire of it. Kind of like blogging.)
I ate a bowl of broccoli/cheese soup in a Boudin sourdough bread bowl from the Pacific Wharf Bakery, rode the Tower of Terror (again), tried to win a stuffed frog on the boardwalk, then sauntered back to the movie theaters. And wouldn't you know it? I was the only one in the theater. I love watching a movie on the big screen like that. Makes me feel special, as if the movie is being shown specifically for me and no one else. And, what a fantastic movie! Great acting, an involving story, wonderful cinematography (the use of color is astonishing), and some of the best, most intricate fight choreography I've seen. Much better than Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. If you only see one Chinese kung-fu movie this year, make sure it's Hero.
Back home, CS arrived around 7 PM for dinner and to watch the season premier of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. We're all hooked on that show: S and I, because we like that they're helping families in need; CS because of Ty Pennington and his obligatory shirtless shots. A little something for everyone.
As a side note, I guess it's finally hitting me that S is really leaving. After 4 years of spending our lives together, he'll be on the road to a new life by the end of the week. Wow....
Saturday, September 25, 2004
I've felt like that recently. My facial problem hasn't completely subsided; moments still arise when it feels as though my left sinuses are inflated with compressed air. My left shoulder and neck pulse with a dull ache from time to time that trails down my left breast along the ribcage and into the armpit. The Biaxin XL didn't really do a thing, and my doctor's not sure what it is as my sinuses are clear. He suggested that maybe it was neuralgia or neuritis. Sometimes the nerves just do funny things; we should wait to see if it dissipates on its own. Great! The doctor has no idea. Comforting.
I've been wondering if it isn't stress related, thanks to all that's been going on in my life: multiple sick family members, co-worker deciding not to return to work after her pregnancy, splitting with my boyfriend and him still in the house until he moves next weekend, not having sex in such a long time that I think my virginity has grown back.
I'm giving the doctor one more shot before I go for a second opinion. (Though, I should have done that earlier.)
On the family front, my Dad is recouperating nicely from his hip surgery. He was under for about three hours, and they did have a minor scare at one point: his blood pressure shot so high, so fast that the stroke unit was called in. Luckily, the pressure dropped on it's own, but the unit stayed in the OR to monitor him. I visited with him on Thursday at the hospital, and he looked great. He was ornery as ever, giving the nurse a hard time as I walked in. He'd already walked up and down the hallway, too, which is a good sign. My Mom and Aunt were also there so the four of us chatted, until the nurse came in to change the dressings. Mom, my Aunt and I grabbed a bite to eat at Chili's just down the street then came back just in time to say goodnight. My Dad had taken a percocet for the hip pain and could barely stay awake.
My Grandma isn't as well. The doctor called to say that they didn't remove all the cancer. My Aunt had driven down on Thursday to take her back, but when she arrived at my Grandma's apartment, Grandma was in the bathroom being terribly sick. She's still sick as of this morning, too. Hopefully, she'll be well enough for the next operation on Thursday.
Enough with all this talk of sickness! I'm going to Disneyland today to take my mind off things. See you in Toontown!
Friday, September 24, 2004
Take the quiz: "Which Random Irish Gaelic Phrase Are You? "
Is maith liom bananai
Is maith liom bananai - 'I like bananas.'You're laid-back and you enjoy the simple things in life. Some might say you're a little too laid-back. Just what is it you're smoking, anyway?
Thursday, September 23, 2004
Random Kibbles and Tasty Bits
Last night, I rented a Japanese film titled Onibaba, an eerie tale set in war-torn medieval Japan, concerning two peasant women who kill lost samurai then sell their clothing and weapons for food. A neighbor returns from the war and stirs up jealousy between the two women. The older of the two women finds a demon mask and uses it to trick the overly-superstitious other but suffers a greater consequence than she ever imagined. I wasn't sure what to expect when I read the synopsis on Netflix, but I'm glad I rented it! Love a good creepy story!
Yes, I sat on the couch last night and watched the premier of Lost on ABC and am hooked. A large ensemble cast with enough quirkiness and personality dysfunctions to last for quite some time. Also, I'm intrigued about the island itself and the creature or whatever it is that's roaming through the forest. Okay, I admit that seeing Matthew Fox shirtless may be part of the reason, too.
A Little More Mascara
The woman in the greenish Saturn in front of me rushed to put on her eye shadow this morning while we waited at a stop light. I glanced into my rearview mirror and witnessed the woman in the Honda behind me doing the exact same thing. Wouldn't it be much simpler - not to mention safer - to do that at home? Or when you're in the parking lot with the motor turned off? You don't see me standing on the car seat to shave my balls while driving down Beach Blvd. Not that I've ever shaved my balls. Though I have dropped trou to moon people while crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. But, I digress. Ladies, so as not to be in such a rush next time, either set your alarms a few minutes earlier or complete your touch ups at work. You're behind the wheel of heavy machinery. One little push of the pedal at the wrong time and no one's really going to care with what shade of glittery blue you've decorated your eyelids.
Putting the "Duh" in "Duhbya"
Bush: Terrorists May Plan More Attacks. Really? I never would have guessed. I was under the impression that they attack only once, then never again. Thanks for knocking that silly notion from my head.
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
My folks emailed this to me last night. I think every child is embarrassed about his or her parents at one point in their lives. This, however, takes the cake. Smart kid:
Little David was in his 4th grade class when the teacher asked the children what their fathers did for a living. All the typical answers came up : fireman, policeman, salesman, doctor, lawyer, etc. David was being uncharacteristically quiet, so the teacher asked him about his father.
"My father's an exotic dancer in a gay cabaret and takes off all his clothes in front of other men and they put money in his underwear. Sometimes, if the offer is really good, he will go home with some guy and make love with him for money. "
The teacher, obviously shaken by this statement, hurriedly set the other children to work on some exercises and took little David aside to ask him "Is that really true about your father?"
"No," said David, "He works for the Republican National Committee to Re-Elect George Bush, but I was too embarrassed to say that in front of the other kids."
Speaking of Father's, mine just entered surgery about an hour ago to repair his hip. The doctors said the operation should take a few hours, then they'll move him to the Cardiac Unit before allowing him into the regular recovery area. He's suffered through so many pre-operation exams just to make sure that his heart could take the strain of the surgery. Then, he sat through an informational video meant to explain the procedure. He said it was VERY detailed and told the doctor that if he had seen the video before agreeing to the surgery, he wouldn't be anywhere near the hospital. I can imagine it must have felt like watching Red Asphalt back in high school driver's training. (It's graphic, so be careful!!) They won't allow any visitors, except for my Mom, until tomorrow so I'm heading down as soon as I can.
Sunday, September 19, 2004
Grandma and Jude Law
Yesterday, the family gathered at my Grandmother's apartment in Laguna Woods to celebrate her 88th birthday. The little girl from Puyallup, WA has seen the world change. World Wars, radio, talking pictures, TV, vinyl LPs, CDs, party lines, touch-tone phones, cell phones, computers. Advances in medicines, the ways that we travel, the ways that we communicate with the rest of the world. Two daughters and three grandchildren. She's a sports fanatic, and don't even try to pry her away from the TV or radio while the Dodgers or Lakers are playing; my brother inherited that from her. I picked up a love for books and reading; granted, I still can't bring myself to read one of those trashy Harlequin romances that she loves. She has traveled around the world and has passed that love of travel onto everyone in the family, but my cousin picked up on it the most.
On Friday, she had surgery to remove the remaining skin cancer from her left cheek so no one knew if she would be up to having the whole family for a visit the next day. But, she was up and about, sharp as ever and enjoying her vanilla ice cream cake. She joked about wearing white pants to make sure the doctor didn't spill anything on them. And, that the doctor was too young, about the same age as my brother. We stayed for a few hours, helped her to open the gifts, discussed the prices of homes, Las Vegas, the hurricanes pounding the East Coast and just enjoyed the time laughing and talking. We don't do that often enough as a family.
Later that evening, I met S and CS at the Irvine Spectrum to see Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow starring Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and - thanks to some interesting technology - the late Sir Laurence Olivier. Sky Captain's a very stylish movie, reminding me of the old Superman cartoons from the 1940s by Max Fleischer. But, I think the creators are relying on the nifty look of the film too much. The story is good, but watching the scenes, I would remark to myself how much that resembles The Wizard of Oz or Raiders of the Lost Ark or Jurassic Park. CS even leaned over at one point to comment on how he picked out scenes from Star Wars: A New Hope and, of course, The Wizard of Oz. The acting was good, especially Jude Law and Angelina Jolie. Paltrow was stiff and I didn't believe for a moment that her character and Law's were in love. It's an okay film, but if you absolutely must see it, go to a matinee so you don't pay full price.
Friday, September 17, 2004
My good friend CS and I made a joint New Year's Resolution this year to attend at least one theater event each month. We both love live theater. I don't know exactly why, but I get a kind of rush from watching the actors, getting involved in their stories, much more so than with a film or TV show. Maybe it's knowing that no two performances are alike, that the show I'm seeing now will be subtly different from the one tomorrow so I'm treated to a something unique.
Last night, we saw Rent at the OC Performing Arts Center. ( Just to give a little background info, I've seen this show twice before, and it's one of the very few musicals that I will pay good money to see over and over again; CS is a first-timer and wanted to make sure he could keep his pink card and perhaps reach the microwave oven level.) He managed to get some great seats in the sixth row orchestra level, a little off to stage right but with a full view of the stage. Perfect for this show since most of the action takes place either near the front of the stage or dead center so it wasn't necessary to strain to see anything. I forewarned CS that this wasn't going to be a typical musical - nothing like the Rodgers and Hammerstein productions he's used to. The music is very contemporary, ranging from rock and pop to R&B, soul and dance.
We looked around at the audience, filled with everyone from teenagers to seniors. And quite a few hunky gay men. Okay, A LOT of hunky gay men. (Another reason to love the theater....) Everyone was chatting away noisily until the lights dimmed, and the music began. The company belted out the first number, Rent, and kept up the same energy level throughout the entire show, without flagging or missing a cue. By the end of the show, CS and I both had that nervous excitement like riding a looping roller coaster for the first time, and my eyes were red from tearing up a few times during some of the songs.
All through the drive home, the lyrics from one song in particular kept running through my head. At one point in the show, three cast members, whose characters are living with AIDS, start to quietly sing three sentences. This builds and builds, with more of the cast coming onto the stage, singing the sentences in a round, until the goosebumps crawl across your arms. The lyrics: "Will I lose my dignity?/Will someone care?/Will I wake tomorrow/From this nightmare?" Short and simple, but incredibly powerful and memorable.
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
I am a fan of computer games such as Myst and its sequels Riven and Myst III: Exile. They're first-person games with an interesting concept: no instructions. (Oh, and they're non-violent.) You have to figure out what to do, where to go, how objects work, etc. I've never gotten into violent games such as Doom or Quake in which the whole point seems to kill everything in sight. That doesn't appeal to me.
So, thanks to Wanda Wisdom, I've become hooked on another on-line game: The Blue Chamber. You find yourself trapped in a locked room and must find your way out. Plus, two other rooms await you once you've escaped the Blue Room. Totally addicting!
Monday, September 13, 2004
That Was The Weekend That Was
Saturday turned into a day of rest and relaxation. Nothing special, just took it easy, copied a few CDs for S to take with him to Reno, finished The Fancy Dancer, surfed the internet. The 100-degree-F weather precluded me from venturing outside except for a haircut and some liquid refreshments. (I'm hooked on Arizona Green Tea with Ginseng and Honey.) I have no idea what's up with this weird weather. The heat and humidity are unusual along the coast, and even more so in September. Then, I remember: Southern California is a desert! Duh!
Sunday was my Funday. I found a group of gay Disney Annual Passholders on Yahoo! and decided to join them for their monthly foray into one of the parks. Normally, I visit the parks on my own and have a great time. I can ride the attractions I want, when I want, as many times as I want. But, it gets old by myself so I thought it would be fun to see the park with a group. I lathered myself in sunscreen and scurried out the door.
The gathering was scheduled for 1 PM is Disneyland, and, of course, I showed up about 20 minutes early so I wandered along Main Street. I wasted much of the time in the penny arcade watching the old one-cent moviolas with Charlie Chaplin and other stereographs from the 1910s and 1920s. I also spent my quarter to have my fortune told by Esmeralda. That machine has been in the park since I started visiting way back when I was in elementary school.
At a little after 1 PM, I wandered over to the meeting place and found about 25 people waiting and chatting under the eaves at Coke Corner (so called because the eatery at that corner is sponsored by Coca-Cola). I introduced myself and chatted with Chmee from San Diego and T from Apple Valley while waiting for any stragglers to show. Around 1:30, we split into four groups to traipse around the park. My group consisted of all the "virgins," or those of us who had been to three or fewer meetings of the Gay Passholder Group. Our goal for the day was to ride only non E-Ticket rides. (For those who don't know, when Disneyland opened in 1955, it didn't have a set admission price. Instead, you purchased books of tickets for each of the attractions. The A-Tickets were kids stuff such as riding the fire engine or the carousel. The E-Tickets were the thrill rides, like Pirates of the Caribbean or the Mad Tea Party, a.k.a. The Tea Cups.) Our first attraction was the horse-drawn trolley. Nine of us piled in and rode from one end of Main Street to the other. I saw Will Sasso and some of his friends in front of the Emporium! The horse dropped us in front of our next stop, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. Our leader JW hadn't seen this show for perhaps 10 years so he was unprepared for the 3-D sound experience. Guests wear headphones inside the theater which are designed to immerse you in the time and place of the show. All I will say is that everyone freaks out when the haircut starts because it sounds as though the scissors are right at your ears, and you can almost feel them clipping your hair.
Next stop was the Astro Orbiter, or for you old school Disney folk, the Rocket Jets. I pointed out the statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse. Why? Because if you look at it from the correct angle (from the entrance to Frontierland), Walt appears to have a hard on thanks to the placement of Mickey's nose. Classy, huh? I didn't think I could ever shock a gay man, but the collective gasp let out from that group would have knocked me over. After the Orbiter, we ran into two of the other groups waiting in line for Alice in Wonderland so we rode that followed by Peter Pan's Flight and Snow White's
Hazy Scary Adventures. Now, normally I wouldn't comment on the Snow White attraction. It's a short ride wihtout much going for it. However, once our car entered the first door, the heady aroma of pot wafted through the entire ride. I thought I was back in Humboldt County. We wondered if Disney finally decided to upgrade that attraction. Lord knows it would make the black lights all the more interesting. We headed for the fudge shop afterwards, and I inhaled a chocolate/peanut butter cup fudge square. Mmmm!
We met with the other three groups for rides on Star Tours (some were quoting the dialogue!) and Honey, I Shrunk the Audience. I, unfortunately, couldn't join therm for dinner and Disney's Electrical Parade as my friend CS was coming over for dinner and a movie. I walked with everyone to the exit gates, made my good-byes and headed back to the parking structure. What an enjoyable time! I can't wait until the next gathering!!
Sunday, September 12, 2004
The Fancy Dancer
by Patricia Nell Warren
Father Tom Meeker relishes his work at the little parish in Cottonwood, MT, listening to confessions, participating with the church council, feeling grateful to spread God's word. Then, a young Blackfoot Indian named Vidal Stump enters his confessional. A bit wild in his ways and comfortable with his homosexuality, Vidal takes Father Tom on a journey of discovery and reveals to him what he's been trying to hide for a long time.
The Fancy Dancer is by no means a tawdry tale of homosexual love. The relationship between Father Tom and Vidal is played out very realistically, dealing not only with their interactions with others but with their inner struggles with themselves. They truly do love each other in every sense of the word.
Warren makes Father Tom's struggles to reconcile his new-found self, tinged by his own feelings guilt, with his love of the Church the center of the novel, revealing insight into the attitudes of the Church toward homosexuality. Surprisingly enough for a novel from 1976, it is very relevant with the state of the world today. And, what I really liked is that this is a positive novel, without the stereotypical ending with death or suicide.
Saturday, September 11, 2004
Has it really been 3 years? It seems unbelievable that so much time has already passed. I remember watching the news that morning much like Rcktman and hundreds of thousands of others across the country. Shock. Horror. Grief. Numbness. I still managed to make it to the office that morning, figthing the urge to turn around and to head for home. Because I couldn't watch it anymore. I didn't want to watch it anymore. And yet, that's all we discussed at the office. How could we talk of anything else? The phones continued to ring with our clients telling us they were closing for the day, or with our talent crying into their receivers. We listened. We re-assured them. We told them it was okay to cry, to do what they needed to make it through the day.
September 11th will never be just another day anymore. I will remember it always as the day the world stopped. I wish peace to the families and friends of those lost that day.
Friday, September 10, 2004
Returned from the doctor a short while ago. He prescribed more pez, er, Biaxin as it seems to have helped with the sinus congestion. Another week should just about clear it up. As for the discomfort on my left side, he hasn't a clue. No swelling. No tenderness. No alien ready to pop from my chest cavity. My chest sounds clear so what I'm experienceing doesn't mesh with the sinus stuff. He suggested taking Aleve or Tylenol.
Why can't Dr. McCoy just beam down to give me one of those little pills from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home? You remember: he gave it to the elderly woman on dialysis, and her kidney healed completely in a matter of moments. Some girls have all the luck....
Enough of this chatter about being sick! I'm sick of it! I need something to take my mind off it. Any ideas? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
Thursday, September 09, 2004
No fancy title this time. Just a little update. I'm seeing the doctor again tomorrow for a follow up as my sinus/face problem has cleared up a little, but I'm still feeling the heaviness in my cheekbone, eye and ear. Plus, throw in that my neck hurts on the left side and the new twinges of pain I've been feeling around my left nipple, down the chest wall and into the armpit, and you've got yourself one heck of a mystery. And, me being the silly goose that I am, I tried to determine what the problem was myself.
I hate Yahoo! Health. No definite answers but just enough to get me edgy and nervous. I know that I should wait until I see the doctor tomorrow, that trying to diagnose myself is, actually, rather stupid. I have no knowledge whatsoever of the human body in medical terms. It's probably not anywhere near what Yahoo! tricks me into thinking it is. I just want it to be over and done. Sometimes, I want to stick one of those liposuction tubes up my nostrils and suck out all the bad juju that's amassed in my head. AARRGGHH!! Will the madness never end??!!
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
Watching the World Go By
I've been lax in posting to my blog lately. I used to post daily, but now, I just haven't taken the time to sit down and to write. Maybe it's a touch of melancholy. Or, the Biaxin that I'm taking for this wacky sinus problem. (Did you know that it tastes like Pez? The Biaxin, not my sinuses.) Whatever it is, I promised myself to add something to my blog tonight, even if it's simply a lot of nonsense.
East of Eden
Finished on Friday. Joela, CS and I discussed the story last night as the first installment of our little salon. Tea cakes and finger sandwiches would have made it a pleasant affair, but I'm not going to knock those iced circus animal cookies with the sprinkles. Yummy!! East of Eden re-tells the biblical story of Cain and Abel, setting it in the Salinas Valley of California from just after the Civil War through the battles of World War I. At the heart of the novel is humanity's constant battle between good and evil, and how history tends to repeat this struggle -- Cain vs. Abel, Adam Trask vs. his brother Charles, Caleb vs. Aron (both the sons of Adam). Steinbeck has also created one of the most vile characters with Cathy Ames. She's what would be a bitch, and that's being nice. He has also fashioned the novel into a semi-autobiographical tale about early California and his own family history (by making his maternal Grandfather, Samuel Hamilton, a main character in the novel and by making himself the narrator.) Sorry for the slight review, but there's so much to say about this book, and I don't want to give any spoilers. Just read it for yourself, and I think you'll enjoy it as much as we did.
Our next selecton is I, Claudius by Robert Graves.
What Ails Thee?
It would appear that almost everyone in my family is sick, in one form or another. Dad: hip surgery on Sept. 22. Mom: severe bronchitis. My brother: just received an epidural (7 shots!) this afternoon for his herniated disc. Me: sinuses aplenty. My aunt: cataract removed from one eye a month ago and, I believe, is scheduled to have one removed from her other eye soon. Add to that what I just learned today: my Grandmother had a cyst removed from her cheek last week. The results came in today, and it turns out to be cancerous and a fairly bad strain. She's to have more tissue removed sometime this week. Keep your fingers crossed that they find it all!
It's as if my family were disease magnets! Maybe I should start wearing a surgical mask to work.
The Boob Tube
As my Dad used to call the TV while we were growing up. I never saw any boobies on it. Well, not until I was in high school. If you consider the times when I tried to watch the scrambled Playboy Channel. Anyway, I discovered an hysterical show on BBC America a few weeks ago: The Kumars At No. 42. Of course, it's not a new show to British audiences, but we tend to run a little behind when it comes to British comedy. The Kumars is a mixture of talk show and improv show, with the hosts being an Indian family staging the show inside their house. They interact with their guests (including Richard E. Grant, Lulu, Robson Green) instead of simply interviewing them, and it's the funniest thing on TV! Meera Syal who portrays Granny Shushila almost made me wet myself, she was so funny!!
Poštanska dopisnica from the Edge
I received a postcard from my Cousin and his partner who recently returned from a trip through Croatia. They kept going on and on about how all the slavic blood created these god-like men, walking around the streets. Everywhere. Just walking.
Where's my ticket? My passport's already up-to-date! Who has a Serbian-to-English dictionary that I can borrow?
And on that note, I bid you all so long! Farewell! Auf wiedersehen! Good night!
Sunday, September 05, 2004
Saturday afternoon, S and I headed to Long Beach, presumably to check out some used bookstores and the new shopping center beside the Long Beach Convention Center, but we were actually killing time before Bingo Night at Hamburger Mary's. The games began at 8 PM so we decided to make a day of it.
I enjoyed the drive north on PCH, taking in all the bikers and surfers, the kites, the shhips waiting to dock at the Port of Long Beach, and a unique windsock. Anchored to a string from one of the campers at Bolsa Chica was a large pair of legs wearing red shorts and feet clad in cletes. Stringing from that was a huge soccer ball windsock. When the wind currents changed, one of the legs bent as if to kick the ball. Very clever!
Once in Long Beach, we headed for the new shopping area called The Pike just across the street from the convention center. First of all, parking SUCKS. The structure next door must have 7 levels for cars, but the directional signs have you going every-which-way so that by the time you can find a spot, you have no idea where you are. (Exiting is an even bigger nightmare, but I won't go into that.) We eventually found the elevators and hurried across the street to the shopping area. What a disappointment! It's an outdoor mall designed, I think, to recall the old days when Long Beach had a pier/fun zone: art deco styling to the buildings and signage, a bridge resmebling a rickety white roller coaster to take you across the main street. Only 25% of the shops are occupied so it felt like a ghost town. As we walked around, you could tell that visitors were expecting something big with lots of shopping and places to eat and a hug emovie theater, and all they were seeing was emptiness. We stayed about 15 minutes.
S swore that another new shopping mall had opened up somewhere inland, along the 710 Freeway so we made our way through the Port of Long Beach, dodging big rigs that had just picked up their loads from the ships anchored in the harbor, and onto the 710 North. After half and hour, we turned around because we were well past where this "new mall" should be. (In fact, we almost reached Boyle Heights.)
Back in Long Beach once again, we decided to try Shoreline Village, another shopping area across from The Pike. It's been around for I don't know how many years; my family always took us there when we were visiting my Great-Grandmother. Great restaurants, some kitschy stores, but a lot of fun. We shared a sandwich while watching the pelicans and various ships come in to dock then roamed around, playing games in the Fun Zone. I almost one a portable CD player from one game of chance!
We left there at 3 PM, still needing to while away a few more hours. S knew of a huge used bookstore that he used to frequent so we drove around until we found it, then spent another hour and a half browing through their possible 10,000 titles. (There were p=robably way more than that!) I bought 5 more books to add to my ever-growing stacks. Always the bookwhore.... With still some time left, we stopped at The Library on Broadway for some coffee and a little bit of reading. I started one of the books - The Sibyl by Pär Lagerkvist - while S caught up on the newspaper.
Finally, around 6 PM, we headed for Hamburger Mary's and some much-needed hamburgers. (Okay, so I slipped off my diet and had the French fries, too. And, they were good.) S ordered a veggie burger with a side of cottage cheese. Mine was a Bleu Boy Burger, smothered in bleu cheese and bacon and served on Hawaiian Sweet Bread. Messy and good, just the way I like my burgers. To me, a burger isn't worth a damn if it isn't falling apart while you eat it. That shows it's been handmade and cooked right then, not pre-processed like McDonald's. AFter we decoured those, it was just a matter of waiting until 8 for the Bingo to start. However, true to GST*, the hostess was running late and didn't start the show until 8:45 PM. We had a blast, though once things started rolling. Our hostess was a drag queen named Sabreena who kept making jokes about "playing with her balls" and drinking a little bit. She seemed to like saying "O-69" quite a bit, too. The prizes were fun, like free drinks, t-shirts, dinners, etc. S won a pink Von Dutch cap, a martini shaker, and a purple pool raft. I managed to win the most coveted prize of the night, a huge glass, which was more of a big bowl on a stem. What made it so prized? Free drinks all night. Being the non-drinker that I am, I gave the glass to S who hurried to the bar and returned with a bluish drink called an Otter Pop, something with blue curaçao and vodka and a host of other liquors. Some really cute guys (like Brian the waiter who already has a boyfriend. Damn!) and some drag queens came up to the table with straws to help him finish it.
By 10:30, I think we were both exhausted so we didn't stick around for the dancing. I must be getting old.
* GST = Gay Standard Time
Saturday, September 04, 2004
I left the office at 3 PM yesterday in order to make it to my 4 PM doctor appointment. I probably should have left earlier, knowing how traffic would be on the Friday of a 3-day weekend. And sure enough, the parking lot that is the 405 N Freeway lived up to that distinction. The drive from Irvine to my doctor's office in Huntington Beach -- only 10 miles away -- took an hour and a half.
I sat in the lobby, and had about 5 pags left of East of Eden, when the nurse called me back. She took my vitals, asked some questions, wrote a few lines in my file and said the doctor would be in shortly. "Shortly" meant 20 mintues later, but I didn't mind. I just wanted to get this weird heavy feeling on the side of my face taken care of. The doctor walked in, reading my file, and asked me to show her where the heaviness was. I pointed out the entire left side of my face going down into my neck. "You've just pointed out all your sinuses on that side," she said. She then used that little scope with the lighted cone on the end to check my ears and nose, followed by a tongue depressor in the mouth. "Yep. There's a lot of mucous in there. All your sinuses are clogged." She prescribed an antibiotic and suggested buying some zinc lozenges and a saline nasal spray. "Spray each nostril 15 times. That'll get the salt in there to work its magic. Then spit it out." I think I blanched at that remark.
She saw my copy of Steinbeck, and we had a small discussion about books, politics, Noam Chomsky, "Super-Size Me," Michael Moore, 9/11 and the internet. Okay, she did most of the talking while I insterted a few comments and nods here and there. All I can say is that she despises President Bush. I left with a list of items to buy at the drugstore as well as a few book titles to check out from the library. As if I didn't have enough to read already.
Friday, September 03, 2004
"Illness is not something a person has. It's another way of being." —Jonathan Miller, The Body in Question
Yeah. Uh-huh. I don't feel like I'm a higher plane of existence. More like someone is pressing both sides of my head together. It's not pleasant, let me tell you. The left side of my face feels thick and heavy, like it's slowly reviving from a shot of novacaine. The thickness surrounds my eye, up to the temple, down along the nose and cheekbone to the ear, and trailing down my neck into my shoulder. Thank goodness there's no numbness, but the feeling is creeping to the right side of my face. Not to worry; I have an appointment today with my doctor. What a way to start the holiday weekend!
On the lighter side, joela, CS and I started our own little book group, and this coming Tuesday, we discuss our first selection, East of Eden. It's a daunting book at 600 pages, but well worth reading. I should finish it today. Then tomorrow, S and I are probably heading into Long Beach to have dinner and play some bingo at Hamburger Mary's. We haven't eaten there since my birthday last year, and all I can remember is that our waiter, Moose, gave an incredible shoulder rub and was trying to get me drunk. (He couldn't believe that I don't drink!) I think the food was good, too.
Have a great Labor Day Weekend!!
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
Hips and backs and everything in between
My Dad will be having hip surgery within the next few weeks. Not a complete replacement, but more along the lines of repair work. He's had difficulty walking for more than a year. At first, the doctors told him that all the pain was coming form his knee. So he suffered through an MRI only to find out that nothing was wrong with his knee. They quickly changed their minds and blamed his back. Another MRI showed a small problem with one of the lower disks. After minor surgery, much of the pain was gone, but not all of it. It's progressed so much that he can barely walk for more than 10 minutes, has difficulty standing, and suffers bouts of terrible pain. His doctor sent him for another MRI a few weeks ago, this time to check his hip. The results showed a lot of arthritis and a hip socket in disrepair. Within the next week, my Dad's going under the knife to have the arthritis cleaned out and the top of the ball joint repaired. (The hip is a ball and socket joint.) In 6 weeks, he should be up and about without any pain.
In the meantime, my Brother suffers from horrific back pain. He can barely walk or stand, the pain is so bad. He's on Workers' Comp and is, for want of a better word, miserable. The company doctor, after much hemming and hawing, finally authorized an MRI, which showed a 10mm herniation to one of the disks in his back. In medical terms, that's HUGE! So much so that the only remedy is back surgery to either repair or to replace the disk. He's not too happy about that. What's worse is that the company doctor placed him on limited duty while waiting to authorize the surgery, meaning he still has to get up, drive the 10 miles to the store, then do light work that requires a lot of standing, thereby aggravating his already painful disk. I hate seeing him so miserable! Schedule the damend surgery already, doc!! Don't drag out the pain!!
Today, we give notice to the landlord that S is moving at the beginning of October. We've found someone to move in so that I can stay until my place is ready. The past few weeks, we've been sorting items for moving and for the garage sale, dividing the DVDs, and cleaning the place. 4 years of pictures, books, movies, knick-knacks and furniture. Soon, it will simply be over. No arguments. No throwing coffee cups across the room. No dumping clothes out the window and onto the driveway. Just over.