Monday, November 29, 2004

T-Day 2004: A Brief Overview

Instead of poring over every little detail of my Thanksgiving experience and boring all you lovely readers to tears, I've decided to present an overview, giving brief but (hopefully) informative accounts of how I spent my 4-day weekend.

Thursday: drove to my folk's home in Laguna Niguel for our yearly feast. traveled via Pacific Coast Highway, turned inland onto Laguna Canyon Rd/the 133 highway and promptly missed the turn off to my folks, which added another 20 minutes to my drive. (no one to blame but myself.) toured their new motor home. pigged out on Australian macadamia nuts, deviled eggs, and a brick of cream cheese smothered in chili sauce served with wheat thins before finally sitting down to a fantastic turkey with stuffing, homemade candied sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. hours later, rolled home and loaded Myst III:Exile onto my imac and immediately spent 3 hours getting lost in the whole gaming environment.

Friday: decided to see National Treasure and to brave the crowds at the Disneyland Resort. fun movie, if a little slow at the beginning. doesn't hurt that two of the supporting characters, played by David Dayan Fisher and Justin Bartha, are nice to look at on the big screen. afterwards, managed to ride a few attractions - despite the throng of vacationers - in the parks before meeting CS for dinner at Tortilla Jo's.

Saturday: installed new cabinet fixtures and hinges to the bathroom cupboards. (my attempt at being butch) realized the painter we'd hired did a half-ass job in the bathroom: paint is bubbling and peels if you look at it. the guy neither sanded nor primed anything. sat around the rest of the day watching home improvement shows on TLC, blogging and surfing the internet.

Sunday: forced my self to see The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie and enjoyed it. the kids in the audience loved it; the adults marveled at how outrageous the antics and humor were. i then spent a $30 gift card at Tower Records, purchasing k.d. lang's new album and another cd. back at home, i read a bit more in McSweeney book until CS came over for dinner and a game or two of Scrabble.

What a nice change of pace. Just the right amount of activity and idleness to remove the stress from the past few months. So, how long until the next vacation?

Saturday, November 27, 2004

NATAS
Or, The City of Angels, pt. III

We followed Laurel Canyon as it wove its way through the Hollywood Hills. Most of the time, the freakishly narrow lanes and tight corners didn't allow for much maneuverability, which kind of ticked off the driver in the car behind us. He would honk, try to pass us, flash his brights - anything to make us move faster. I'm sure that if I had bothered to look back, I would have seen an old man driving some beat-up Oldsmobile shaking his fist at us young whippersnappers. Eventually, the road widened to two lanes in each direction, and he passed us then cut off another car to make it into the left turn lane. Once out of the hills, we quickly found Magnolia, turned right and drove until we crossed Lankershim Blvd.

According to the web site for the North Hollywood Arts District, our particular theater stood almost immediately at the intersection of Lankershim and Magnolia. It took us a moment, but CS pointed it out; RG and I would have missed it because the theater resembled an apartment building behind a Starbucks. CS pulled into what passed for a parking lot - all 10 spaces - circled around the building, and because we were an hour early, decided to drive up Lankershim to see the sights.

Unfortunately, there weren't any. Unless you get an orgasmic thrill from block upon block of used car dealerships, divey-looking bars and many empty lots. CS turned the car around after two miles, and we searched for parking close to the theater. One lot just north of the theater offered secure parking for a flat $4 fee. Along the streets were many parking meters, each with a vehicle conveniently parked in front of it. We saw an apartment complex adjacent to a business center that appeared to have a parking structure so we turned in and were immediately confronted with a tall golden statue of a winged woman holding a globe above her head. All three of us gasped and shouted, "That's the Emmy!!!" By chance, we had stumbled upon the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the $4 parking lot awaited us at the end of the small drive! Free of the car, we wandered among the statues of the Academy grounds: CS took my picture with Johnny Carson and Lucille Ball; RG snapped a picture of Mary Tyler Moore's bust; we yelled the names of the other celebrities to one another. We spent a good 30 minutes admiring the statues before making our way across Magnolia to the theater.
Our play for the evening: Dorian, a new musical based upon Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray. The setting was changed from early 20th century London to modern-day New Orleans. It was one of the most incredible shows that I have seen in quite a while! A small stage on two levels resembling the interior of an old plantation house and its attic. Magnificent costumes and a score that evoked the jazzy-bluesy feel of New Orleans and Mardi Gras. Incredible singing and acting talent including Max von Essen as Dorian, Kevin Bailey (the original Scar in Broadway's The Lion King) as Henry, Armelia McQueen (from the original Broadway cast of Ain't Misbehavin') as Mama, Adam Simmons as The Portrait, Paul Denniston as Alan Thorndike, and the magnificent Nikki Renée Daniels as Celia. I wondered if they would be able to pull off the story with such dramatic changes as moving it to a different country, adding a mixed race love story, and emphasizing the bisexuality of Dorian's character, but any doubts I had were quickly tossed aside once the singing began. (And, Dorian stripped onstage to pose for his portrait.) Writers James Mellon, Duane Poole and Scott DeTurk kept the essential story of Dorian and his changing portrait intact, much to my appreciation.

The only downside occurred just after intermission. We made it to the lobby, and many of us commented on the pouring rain that seemed to come from nowhere. Back in the theater, the second act has just commenced when RG turned to me and whispered, "did you feel that?" I was about to whisper back when I felt a few drops of water strike the top of my head. I glanced around the audience, and other heads were looking up, hands clandestinely held out. The roof leaked for a good fifteen minutes, but no one made a fuss as we were all enrapt with the show.

We left North Hollywood around 10:45 PM, giddy and excited, chatting non-stop about the musical, and made our way to the Apache in Studio City. It's one of my favorites, seemingly more of a locals bar full of great looking, bearish guys out to talk, play some pool, drink and dance a little with friends rather than stand around posing or hunting down a sex partner for the night. We stayed about an hour, long enough for RG to recognize one of my old boyfriends who, along with a friend of his (I guess), kept staring at us and commenting to each other. RG wanted to go over and smack the ex upside the head for some disparaging remarks he'd made quite a while ago, but it wouldn't have been worth it. After 5 1/2 years, what's the point? We left on a happy note, mainly a man in a FDNY t-shirt accidentally rubbing up against me as we walked out. There was plenty of space for him to go around, but he had a nice chest and cute smile so who am I to complain?

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Porn and Burgers
or, The City of Angels, pt. II

From the Concert Hall, we hopped onto the 101 North and headed for Hollywood. We chatted, cracked jokes, talked about boys, books, movies and such, having a fantastic time just being ourselves. With RG living in North Lake Elsinore, and CS and I not being that much closer, it almost feels as though it's been ages since the three of us simply sat and bs'd. I'd almost forgotten how much fun the three of us have together. As we reached the exit for Santa Monica Blvd., CS and I were talking about a book that I had just loaned to RG called Best Actress by John Kane. Very 1990s Hollywood: catty, glitzy and full of sexual innuendo. CS mentioned one of the characters has decided to come out of retirement and take to singing again, but her doctor refused stating that her vocal chords were unusually stretched. I looked at CS, he looked at me and in unison, we knowingly shouted "Damn that pool boy!" and burst into laughter. I think RG caught the gyst very quickly because he started rifiling through the book demanding "Where is that? Where is that?"

Driving down Santa Monica Blvd. is an experience. The lanes are incredibly narrow and chock full of potholes. Also, very few of the streets have actual left turn lanes so cars can be backed up for a light or two. Shop windows have writing in English, spanish and occasionally Russian. And almost every other building is a tiny hole-in-the-wall theater. The foot traffic runs as thick as the motor traffic, and I stared in awe at the crowd of people waiting at one bus stop (possibly 50-60 people). The closer we came to West Hollywood, though, the number of pedestrians dwindled, and many of the buildings changed into restaurants or shops with rainbow flags or stickers in the windows. Passing one building, RG remarked "Oh, the Tomcat Theater 2. That brings back memories." Then, he realized what he said and sat silently in the back seat as I slowly turned around. After a brief pause I asked if he were in the seats or on the screen, but he wouldn't answer or look at me.

A few blocks farther on, and I pointed out Circus of Books, one of the gay book/porn shops. CS and RG wanted to pull over, and I wasn't about to argue. However, all the spots along Santa Monica were taken so CS turned onto one of the side streets, passing another Hamburger Mary's, and on into the surrounding neighborhood. We found a spot quite close and strolled nonchalantly into the bookstore. Half the store is filled with books and magazines - both clean and just a bit dirty. I managed to find a fairly decent book of gay/lesbian ghost stories called The Ghost of Carmen Miranda for $5, then wandered through the swinging doors following CS and RG.

Those doors open upon a veritable cornucopia of gay porn: videos, DVDs, toys, accessories, candles, lube, cock rings, and two-foot-long dildoes. We wandered among the aisles, checking out the selections, and after about half an hour, we each left with our little goodies. Now, I know it may come as a shock to some of you out there, but yes, I do own a few porn videos - about three to be exact. And, no, you can't take my pink card away for having that paltry amount!! This new DVD I purchased for three reasons: 1) it featured Eric Evans who I find incredibly hot, 2) it only cost $10.95, and 3) who could seriously pass up the title Harry Squatter and the Sorcerer's Bone? We stashed our little slices of fantasy into the trunk and walked the few blocks to Hamburger Mary's.

This one is just like the others I've visited: hot, muscled men as the waiters and the bartender, burgers galore on the menu, and quite an extensive list of alcoholic delights. Only a few customers sat at the tables and two more at the bar, heavily into a drunken conversation. After ordering, RG immediately chatted up our cute, hunky waiter Jerry, and we all sort of drooled over him. I didn't drool as much; I guess I'm still not in the dating/flirting mode yet. Actually, I didn't think that I would seriously have a chance with someone who looked like him so I didn't bother to make a fuss. West Hollywood is filled with so many men that have the muscled body and handsome face that I feel out of place and am relieved when I finally drive away from there. Eventually, the food arrived, and we dug in, toasting each other with our water and iced teas. Just as Jerry brought our bill, tucked away in a bright red, ultra high-heeled stilletto, a crash came from the bar. A young man's stool had toppled over backwards throwing him to the concrete floor and cracking open his head. His companion at the bar immediately got on his cell phone and walked out of the restaurant, never to be seen again. No one moved until a man who had walked in with his son ran over, checked his breathing and ordered the bartender to call 9-1-1. The young man was knocked out with blood gushing from the wound, according to Jerry. My view was blocked by one of the columns holding up the roof. The paramedics arrived quickly, just as the young man came to, stating that he was alright. His voice slurred a bit, but I couldn't say whether it was from the fall or the alcohol he'd consumed. They cleaned him up, dressed the wound as best they could, and moved him on a stretcher into an awaiting ambulance.

We left a short while later, headed for Laurel Canyon and the road to North Hollywood.


2The Tomcat Theater shows films with nekkid mens.

Monday, November 22, 2004

The City of Angels

Saturday morning, I awoke early to a ray of sunlight slicing across my face. Which, at first, struck me as unusual since my bed didn't face the window and the wooden blinds that I'd installed effectively blocked any outdoor light. I fumbled around for my glasses, then -- when I couldn't find my nightstand -- realized that I must have fallen asleep on the living room sofa. A man with great abs silently crunched away in a Body by Jake infommercial on the TV while I stretched and rubbed the sleep from my eyes. That's just too much energy for so early in the morning.

After an hour of lying on the sofa playing Remote Control Roulette, I forced myself to get up. I tidied up the place a bit then spent another hour answering emails and reading blogs. Glancing at the clock I noticed it was now 9 AM and hurriedly stripped and jumped into the shower. By 10 AM, I was dressed and in my car, heading to CS's house to meet him and our friend RG for a trip to Los Angeles.

A few weeks ago, CS found an ad in Frontiers Magazine for a new musical being produced in North Hollywood so we sold RG on the show and purchased three tickets for the Saturday night performance. With the show not until the evening, we also agreed upon spending the day in Los Angeles checking out the shops on Melrose Ave. and maybe some of the fun spots in West Hollywood. Emphasis on the "maybe." I've learned from CS to not always have a set plan in mind. A general outline of what you'd like to do is helpful. However, spontaneous side trips will always occur, and you will wind up having even more fun than you anticipated.
First side trip en route to LA: The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.1 Driving North on the Hollywood Freeway, I pointed out a glass wall with etched angels to RG. When he asked about them, CS told him of the new cathedral and -- you could hear the grin in his voice -- asked if he'd ever visited it. When RG said that he hadn't, CS quickly veered the car off the freeway, taking the ramp up to Grand Ave. and into the Cathedral's underground parking. Exiting the parking area brings you to a courtyard with constellations drawn into the concrete surrounding a large white marble disk fountain. The water erupts from an opening across the radius of the disk and flows across its face to the edges, spilling into a pool beneath the disk. On the marble is etched the quote "I shall bring you living waters" in numerous languages. We then followed the steps up to the main courtyard of the Cathedral. It was commissioned by the Archdiocese in 1996 after the original St. Vibiana's Cathedral had been condemned. They selected the design from Professor José Rafael Moneo whose cathedral made wonderful use of glass and natural light. The large cross on the front of the Cathedral is an immense skylight. When seen from the inside, the light pours in through the panes of glass only to be diffused through thinly cut Spanish alabaster, making the entire Hall glow. We silently walked through the pews, past the numerous tapestries with likenesses of many saints, circled the well of Holy Water and followed the stairs down into the mausoleum. Rows and rows of white marble walls, some with names already inscribed to show where loved ones are or will be buried; hallways ending in stained glass with backlighting to give the impression of sunlight shining through; a small, quiet chapel; the crypt of St. Vibiana. I think what surprised us the most was accidentally finding Gregory Peck's tomb. Either that or the fact that the Cathedral walls didn't come crashing down once We Three Queens entered the gigantic bronze doors.

From the Cathedral, we made the short drive over to the Music Center to tour the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Designed by Frank Ghery who also designed the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain, it is probably one of the most impressive buildings I've ever seen in downtown Los Angeles. Shining, steel-plated walls that ripple as if they were sails caught in the wind. 6 stories tall with a public garden on the 3rd level. Rich wood walls on the inside with indoor lighting provided by the many skylights. It's almost overwhelming at first sight, this bright, shining edifice in the middle of skyscrapers and apartment complexes.

For $10 each, we took the self-guided audio tour that gave us almost free-reign of the inside of the concert hall. We walked around the hall and its grounds for about two hours, carrying billy-club-like listening devices for the audio tour, containing the entire presentation narrated by John Lithgow. At specific areas of the hall, we punched in a 3-digit number and heard specifics about such things as the design of the recital and concert halls, the Blue Rose Fountain in the garden (which is made of shattered Delftware), why so many skylight were installed, the buillding design, etc. etc. Incredibly fascinating. And the views from the garden! Thanks to the clear sky, we were able to see the Hollywood sign and Dodger Stadium. Turn around, and it's the Los Angeles Public Library with its mosaic pyramidal top and the Museum of Contemporary Art, in front of which a commercial was being filmed. (If you happen to be flipping through the channels one day and spy a beautiful young woman in a chartreuse dress getting into a black Porche in front of the Concert Hall, that's what we saw live.)

By now, we were hungry so we left the Music Center and headed for dinner and some shopping in Boys Town.

...to be continued...

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Pics...Finally!!!

I hate no longer having a digital camera. Now, I must remember to take my rolls of film in for developing, and then remember I've done that so I can pick up the pics later. I almost forgot about the pictures from the Unofficial Gay Days 2004. This is one of my favorites: me with the Diva Miss Piggy, looking fine in her slinky red dress. Check out the rest of the pics by clicking here. Just a quick warning, as I'm very much the amateur when it comes to photography. They're pretty much hit and miss, but overall, not a bad set.

Monday, November 15, 2004

If Two's Company, And Three's A Crowd...What's 18?

Traipsing around the Disneyland Resort by yourself can be fun: you can choose what attractions to ride, when and where to eat, how long to stay. Sometimes, you can even jump the line in order to fill in any vacancies for the rides. However, as much as I would like to attempt a disagreement, humans are social animals. We are hardwired to gather with other like-minded individuals for sport, for comfort, for blogging. Even for Disney.

Yesterday, I hooked up with a number of gay Annual Passholders. We joked, rode the rides, took many pictures such as the one attached to this post (that happens to be a picture of a video display monitor), ate a wonderful dinner (with 22 of us in attendance), and stayed well past bedtime to watch the fireworks. Unfortunately, due to high winds the fireworks were cancelled; in an attempt to appease the crowd, though, the "snow" machines spewed forth their bounty of soap bubbles meant to trick people into believing that it actually snowed in Southern California. In 65˚ weather.

No one talked about the elections. No one mentioned the gay marriage bans in 11 states. A few of the couples walked around the parks holding hands; some even kissed in broad daylight. And no one said anything. Or gasped. Or stared. We were a group of friends sharing the day together. What could be more fun than that?

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Blinds

I'm still unpacking and attempting to organize the little place I call home. Yesterday, I moved some boxes into the garage that freed up tons of space inside, and I can now move around without tripping and falling. My biggest coup yesterday, though, was finding some great Roman blinds at IKEA for only $11.99 ea. I have a huge, curtainless window in the living room that measures 5-1/2 feet across with a view looking directly at my brother's house and backyard and that offers no privacy whatsoever. I searched through Home Depot, Linens & Things, Bed, Bath and Beyond, Macy's Home Store, and countless others trying to find something, but no one makes pre-fab blinds in that size. So while trudging around IKEA, I found these, purchased two of them, and what a difference! They fit perfectly, let in just enough light, provide plenty of privacy, and I can feel butch about installing blinds on my own! It's a win-win situation.
All this moving and unpacking gets to me after a while. So on Friday, I called CS to see if he wanted to grab a bite to eat in Laguna Beach and to see a cabaret show at the Main Street Bar. He loved the idea but had to work until 7 PM so we agreed to meet around 7:45. I - not wanting to drive home from work (North) just so I can drive back to Laguna (South) in an hour or two - decided to see The Polar Express near my work. It's a great story, and the scenes are animated very well. Great voice work, too, by Tom Hanks et. al. However, the character animation is a bit odd. Their coloring resembles painted clay figurines and when they move, it's with very stiff motions, as if every part of their bodies had been injected with far too much Botox. This nagged at me throughout the film, but the little kids in the audience didn't mind. They loved the magic and the Christmas spirit of the film. Listening to them ooh and aah when the mound of presents or the gigantic Christmas tree appeared or almost crying when they go through the train car with discarded toys. It's their awe and delight at the movie that makes it a wonderful experience.

My watch read a few minutes after 7 when I left the theater so I hopped on the freeway and made my way to Laguna. CS arrived a few minutes after I did, and we wandered among the restaurants, finally deciding on The Cedar Creek Inn. After our huge meals (me: a cobb salad that could feed a family of four; CS: pork ribs with garlic mashed potatoes and carmelized apples), we drove to the Main Street Bar and sat for a few hours talking, drinking, listening to the cabaret singer. I noticed a handsome young man probably in his mid-to-late 20's sitting in the corner sipping his drink. He and I caught each other looking a few times and shyly smiled. When he walked over to leave a tip in the singer's jar, I made a mental note of how nice his body looked in that blue sweater, his short cut dark hair, how tall he was, the cute little downturn of his eyes when the singer smiled to thank him. Then, he walked to the back of the bar toward the bathrooms, and I never saw him again the rest of the night. I am kicking myself for not saying a quick "hello" as he walked by.

Why didn't I? Am I too shy? Did I think he was too good-looking? Why didn't he say "hello," either? I have to realize that not everyone likes to make the first move; I'm very guilty of that. Saying "hello" can be a difficult thing to do, especially in a bar. (We all know the reputations that bars have for meeting people.) Next time, I need to simply take the initiative and introduce myself. Perhaps I won't get a date out of it, but maybe I will make a new friend.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Remembrance
A day of remembrance for all those who have bravely offered their lives in the defense of the United States. For me, it's a time to remember my grandfather, Sewall F. Carter AMM2c (Aviation Machinist's Mate), who died in a bomb explosion on board the U.S.S. Hancock on January 21, 1945 just outside Manilla. I never knew him, but from the picture that hangs in my parents house - with his white hat and USNR blue uniform and smiling face - my brother is almost the spitting image of him. I sometimes wonder what it would have been like to talk with him about WWII and his experiences, what he thinks of how the world has changed since then. For the better? For the worse?

Wherever you are, Grandpa, peace be with you.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Exercise

So I went to the gym last night - the first time in almost 2-1/2 months. I'm slowly easing myself back into my old routine of 30 minutes on the treadmill then 30 mintues with the weight machines at lower weights. Just to get my muscles re-accustomed to the thrice-weekly strain through which I will be putting them. I think I did fairly well last night; my body wasn't racked with pain when I awoke this morning so I figure that's a good sign.

A few things have changed at my gym. A treadmill and one of the fly machines have been removed. Some of the extra weights for the machines have disappeared, or been stolen. (Though, I can't figure out why anyone would want to steal a 5-pound weight that's the size of a doughnut.) I also didn't ogle stare as much at the hunky men working out as I used to so I was able to focus more on my workout. That doesn't mean that I didn't look; I recognized a few of the men and noted a few new muscle toys, er, boys, as well.

It almost makes me want to jump back into the dating pool. Ah, if only I had their bodies....

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Les Incroyables

More unpacking this weekend. At last, all my boxes have been removed from my Brother's house and now lay empty and flattened on the kitchen floor, awaiting their eventual disposal. The place is beginning to look and to feel more like my house, with - dare I admit it - many Disney-oriented items scattered about: my Mickey Mouse figurine collection, my Big Al piggy bank, some framed sheet music, and various other knick-knacks and collectibles. Oh, and the library of books that I decided to bring with me. I never realized just how many I had until I started unpacking them!
Last night, to take a break from the week-long chore of settling in, I made plans to meet my friend CS at Downtown Disney to see The Incredibles. Great story, wonderful animation, incredible voice talent (Samuel L. Jackson, Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, Jason Lee) and great characters (Edna "E" Mode almost steals the film as a 3-foot-tall superhero costume designer) make for one of the best films of the year. Pixar's done it again! You must see this film, and make sure that you arrive on time so that you can see the short film "Boundin'" also from Pixar.*
Today, I managed to sneak in a few loads of laundry while finishing almost all of the unpacking. And, thanks to CS who gave me the cable last night, I hooked up my VCR and DVD player to the TV via the cable box and was able to watch a fine anime film called Grave of the Fireflies, another brilliant piece of animation released in 1988.** Later this evening, I balled my eyes out at the end of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

All in all, a fairly eventful weekend. Now, I think I'll sit back and read a bit while the rain gently patters upon my roof. 'Night folks!

Friday, November 05, 2004

One Year
One year ago today, I began this little thingie thanks to encouragement from my friend joela. I thought it would just be a phase, that I would soon tire of it and delete or hide it away under my bed with all the other paper journals I'd started. The computer wouldn't fit under the bed, though. And all those dust rhinos scared the pants off me. So I stuck with it, and am still shocked and surprised that others are reading my rambling thoughts. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

In keeping with tradition - and the handy-dandy Anniversary Gift Guide from Hallmark - I decided to give myself a combination of the traditional one-year gift (paper) and the modern one-year gift (clock) by posting a picture of a paper clock. Okay, so it's not highly original, but I think it looks kinda cool. Here's to another year of blogging!!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Damn Yankees
I found a copy of The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant by Douglass Wallop a few years ago at Planet Books in Long Beach. This was back when I was collecting hardcover editions of plays that were extremely difficult to find. I saw the title and wondered about it, quickly skimmed the dustjacket and confirmed that this was indeed the source material for the musical Damn Yankees. So I paid the $35, determined to read this book as soon as I had the chance, and stowed it with my other "must-read" books. And forgot about it.

Until the pennant race this year, when Boston miraculously came from a 3-0 deficit to beat the New York Yankees. This triggered a hidden memory that I had a book somewhere about just such an event, and I rummaged through my boxes of books to find my copy.

The novel tells the story of Joe Boyd, a long-time fan of the Washington Senators who have the worst record in baseball. One night after an incredibly bad loss, Joe decides to take a walk around the neighborhood and runs into the mysterious Mr. Applegate. It turns out that Applegate has been keeping tabs on Joe and his Washington Senators and wants to offer Joe a proposition. How would he like to watch his beloved Senators to win the 1958 pennant? Not only watch, but even help the team by becoming their newest star player? Reluctantly, Joe agrees but has Applegate write an escape clause into the contract. Within a few days the old Joe Boyd is transformed into the 21-year-old Joe Hardy and sets off on a whirlwind ride that moves the Senators up from 7th place to just within reach of the Yankees.

Along the way, Joe begins to realize just what he's given up and what the ramifications are of his joining the team. It's a heart-warming trip, both funny and sad, and delves into a passionate fan's view of the world of baseball. So many temptations to stick with the game, and even stronger feelings tying him to his old life. Until the gorgeous Lola steps into the picture to keep his mind off the old Joe. Author Douglass Wallop's story keeps you enrapt and rooting for Joe and the Senators until the very end, never quite sure just what the outcome is going to be. It's a unique, light-hearted twist on the tale of Faust with many great and wonderful characters.

If you can find a copy of the book, or even a rental of the movie version, do so!

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

P-O-T-A-T-O-E
Before going to sleep last night, I decided to plug in my refrigerator so it would ready when I buy my groceries. I have it next to one of the walls, not exactly flush so some room is available for brooms, a mop, etc. I reached back to get the brooms and noticed a rather large, mutated, Godzilla/cricket type of insect (see pic) sitting near the bristles of one broom. It looked to be about 2 inches long with a thick, brownish body. It didn't move when I picked up the broom, nor when I tried to scare it with the handle. I rummaged through one of my boxes, found a can of Raid™, and gave the insect one quick spray. I have never in my life seen or heard an insect react like this one did. It scrambled around, banging into the walls, crawled beneath the refrigerator and tried to climb up the metal backing. It was loud, like a mouse scurring through the walls, and I sat in the other room listening to the banging and scraping. After 15 mintues, the sounds died away. I slid the refrigerator from its place and saw what I now know is a potato bug, or Jerusalem cricket. Imagine trying to sleep, knowing that a few more of those behemoths might be scampering about the place.

Funny thing is, when I performed a Yahoo! search, for some reason a picture of Annette Funnicello appeared in the images. Huh.

GO OUT AND VOTE TODAY!!!!

Monday, November 01, 2004

Relocation

I know everyone had a busy weekend: buying and passing out candy, donning fesitvly spooky attire, trick-or-drinking. Not me! This was my weekend to move into the new digs so I spent a good portion of Saturday packing and finishing laundry. Sunday morning around 9, I drove to IKEA and purchased 3 sets of vertical blinds called Lindmon, then detoured on the way home to OSH and bought a new deadbolt. And, yes, I was very butch and installed the deadbolt and one of the blinds myself. (I'm working on the other two tonight after finishing the final move.) I stopped back at my old place, loaded the car for the first of many MANY trips that day and met my folks at the new house. Mom helped to unpack the car and then set about cleaning the bathroom and the windows. (Thank you, Mom!) With my Dad still recovering from hip surgery, he sat in his "director's" chair and told me how to screw on the faceplates to the electrical outlets, attach the new deadbolt, secure the blinds into place, et cetera et cetera. My brother and two of his friends stopped by the old place after work to help move some of the larger pieces, such as the refrigerator, sofa, entertainment center, bed, desk, kitchen table and dresser.

I still have a few more things to bring over, but I will be officially living in my new little house tonight!