Thursday, May 31, 2007

Clowning Around

I threw the door open just as a bolt of lightning flashed, making the rain almost glow as it pounded the windows. The light switch proved useless so I ran into the room. “Robbie?” I always hated this part and sure as Hell wasn’t going to allow it to happen this time.

“Robbie?” I stumbled against the wooden chair at the end of the bed. A crumpled blanket lay around its feet, trailing beneath the bed. Shit! More lightning followed by a loud clap of thunder. The house shook slightly.

I rounded the bed only to find Robbie, dressed in his red long johns, unsteadily reaching down to lift the comforter for a peak beneath the bed.

“Don’t do that!” He jumped at my voice, screaming with fright. He dropped the edge of the comforter and backed into the wall. I knelt before him, grabbing his shoulders. “Robbie, listen to me. You need to get out of here. Now!”

“Who the fuck are you?” His breathing was rough, frightened. “What are you doing here?”

“No time for that. Get out of here.” I tried to get him to stand.

“I can’t. I need to look under the bed.”

“No, you don’t. Really.” He started to crawl toward the bed, but I blocked his path.

“But, it’s what I’m supposed to do.”

“Robbie?” a tinny falsetto cried from under the bed. “What’s the hold up?”

“Some guy just appeared,” Robbie replied, “and won’t let me look under the bed.”

“What?!” I turned toward the bed as the comforter lifted and long, multicolored arms dragged a small body from its hiding place. The bright blue hat with white puffy ball on the top appeared, followed by the orange-red hair and plastic face. Its eyes looked at me. “How the Hell did you get in here?”

“I’m not going to let you do this!” I couldn’t believe I was talking, shouting to a doll.

“Listen, pal, you can’t prevent this. I’ve been pulling little Robbie here under this same bed since 1982. It’s one of the scariest scenes in the film.”

“I know!” I shouted. “The first time I saw this scene, I slept with my bedroom lights on for almost three months. But I can’t let it happen again.”

“It’s not like you can do anything about it,” he – it – replied. “This will happen whether you want it to or not. Right, Robbie?”

I turned my head just in time to connect with Robbie’s fist and fell backward. The doll’s hands wrapped around my neck, and I struggled to try ripping what I thought would be flimsy material. Those surprisingly strong little arms dragged me closer to the bed. “One way or another,” it said, “the show must go on.”

a work of fiction, © G.A. Carter, 2007 (458 words based upon the prompt: You find yourself in a movie. What is the movie and what scene do you find yourself in? See more responses here and here)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Pride Parade Pics

I finally found my camera cable hidden among my boxes! Woo hoo! So I downloaded all the pictures to my computer -- all 70+ pictures. Here's just a sampling:

The city of Long Beach placed banners such as this along the parade route weeks before the actual parade -- even during the Toyota Grand Prix!


Great Autos of Yesteryear: coffin car


RG with one of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence


And, of course, some of the many, many shirtless men marching down the parade route


You can click here to see the rest of the parade pictures. Enjoy!

Friday, May 25, 2007

First Line Friday

Congratulations to Cincy Diva for correctly naming the First Line from two weeks ago:


Shop Around performed by The Captain & Tennille; music/lyrics by Bill "Smoky" Robinson and Berry Gordy


The song was originally released in 1960 by The Miracles and became the first #1 single on the Tamla (later to be known as Motown) label, selling 1-million copies -- also a first for Motown. The Captain and Tennille's version reached the #4 spot on the U.S. Billboard charts in 1976.

Since TB and I still must shuffle through and around piles of boxes and furniture, we will be spending the Memorial Holiday weekend putting the apartment in order. With all that hard work in mind, I chose something fitting for this week's First Line, an '80s classic from Loverboy:

Everyone's watchin' to see what you will do
Everyone's lookin' at you, Oh
Everyone's wonderin' will you come out tonight
Everyone's tryin' to get it right, get it right


I have pictures to download from last Sunday's Pride Parade and should have those posted by Monday. If I can find the cables. Remind me to label the boxes before I shove them into my car....


Image from DVD Verdict.

fagbug

If you haven't done so yet, head over to fagbug. During the 1tth Annual Day of silence, her VW Beetle was vandalized with red spray paint -- "fag' and "u r gay" all over the hood and sides of the car. She decided to leave the graffiti and instead, is driving the car to schools to give talks about the experience and filming a documentary about it. Check it out!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Misfortune

“I want my money back,” he said to the waitress. The other guests at the table self-consciously sipped water through straws or moved bits of rice around their plates.

“I’m sorry, sir, but we can’t give refunds for this. We didn’t make them. Besides, things like this happen sometimes. The printer runs out of ink, the paper slips by too fast, the –“

“I don’t want your excuses. You provided a faulty product, and I demand my money back.”

A manager hurried to the table as the man’s voice rose higher and louder. “Good evening, sir. What seems to be the problem?”

“This seems to be the problem.” He handed a small piece of paper to the manager whose face whitened as he turned it over and over. “I come in every Wednesday, eat my fill of kung-pao chicken, wash it down with your bland tea, anticipating the moment at the end of the meal when I can finally crack through the fortune cookie shell. Only to find this. Whoever heard of a fortune cookie with a blank fortune?!”

Sweat beaded on the manager’s forehead. He whispered something to the waitress. Her eyes widened, lips down-turned slowly at the edges. She glanced at the man, dropped her eyes quickly and hurried away. The manager swallowed hard, his eyes pointed toward the floor as he spoke. “I’m very sorry, sir. Your meal is on the house. Please accept our apologies.”

“Now, that’s more like it,” the man said, sliding proudly from the booth. “A manager who knows how to get things done. Knows how to keep his customers happy so they’ll come back again and again.” The other guests quietly gathered their gray coats, black bags and briefcases, and leftover-filled containers and hurried through the door. The man stopped at the cashier’s and selected a toothpick from a small glass beside the register. “And I will definitely be back.”

The manager dropped one of the plates as the door closed.

a work of fiction, © G.A. Carter, 2007, (329 words based on the writing prompt: Opening a fortune cookie only to find a blank fortune. Find other responses Christian and Joel)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A Deluxe Apartment in the Sky, pt. II

Friday night. The first official night together in the apartment. I fell into the sleep of the exhausted after the heavy lifting and constant climbing of stairs. I think I woke up at one point to remove the batteries from my alarm clock, but it's all a bit hazy. When we did wake, The Boyfriend (TB) retrieved the cat from under the covers to show him his food dish and the litterbox. The cat immediately returned to the safety and warm darkness of the comforter when TB let go of him.

We both cleaned up, and TB drove his car to West Covina for a major service appointment while I hooked up the DVD player and VCR to the TV and cable. I put the Lion King 1-1/2 DVD in the player, then unpacked a few more boxes -- well, some of my knick-knacks, to be more precise. The apartment came with two built-in, glass-doored cabinets surrounding the heater to form a makeshift hearth so I took it upon myself to claim one of the cabinets. I carefully placed my hand painted bone china bowls on the top shelf, between two small jade obelisks. The next shelf would hold my Mickey Mouse figurines. The next, some of my favorite books. The four would showcase my Snow White figurines, followed by a final row of books. (As of this writing, my books remain boxed so those particular shelves are empty.)

TB returned much later than anticpated. Even though he had an appointment scheduled for 9am, he still waited about 45 minutes for a technician to help him. Because of the type of service being performed, the dealership gave him a free rental, which turned out to be an SUV. So we took advantage of the oversized vehicle to stop by his apartment to pick up more boxes and belongings for the new place as well as bags of clothes and other items for donation to the AIDS Assistance League. We stopped by my car -- which I had to park about a quarter-mile away -- for my donations, happily gave them away, then rushed to Hof's Hutt for a late lunch.

Finally, back at the new place, we only had time to unpack a few items and run a load of laundry before my friend RG arrived from Lake Elsinore -- our first Official Guest. RG had been circling the neighborhood for 15 minutes before he called my cell, somewhat frustrated. I rushed down, hopped in his car and directed him to where I parked. Sure, we had a bit of a walk back, but that's Long Beach; at least it gave us a chance to catch up and to discuss the details of his moving into my old place in Huntington Beach.

I showed him around the apartment, and like my parents before him, he absolutely loved it -- the large rooms, the comfy kitchen, the shirtless college boys in the neighboring backyard. I left him to enjoy the view and unpacked a few more items before we were to head to the festival. (I guess I forgot to mention that this weekend happened to be Gay Pride in Long Beach.)

Once RG had cleaned up, the three of us walked to the Park Pantry for dinner and conversation, then waited for one of the Passport buses heading to the festival area. RG had the brilliant idea of calling our friend CS to see if he wanted to join us, perhaps drive us, too. I caught him just as he put his key into the doorknob, and he happily agreed to pick us up, just give him 15 minutes to change. We waited at the bus stop, and when he arrived, a police car immediately pulled up behind him. He rolled down his window, told us to meet him down the street. The police officer blurted over his loudspeaker for him to move his car as he was blocking traffic, that the cars behind him were waiting to turn. (Funny how no cars were actually behind the police officer....) CS turned the corner, going through a red light in front of traffic, only to have the police office chew him out over the loudspeaker. People leaned over their balconies, pedestrians turned to watch the police car flip on his lights and pull him over. When we finally reached him, the police officer had only given him a warning, telling him that he needed to take a driver education class to learn how to drive. "I thought I was doing the right thing by waiting until it was clear or until the light turned green. Who knew I could just pull into traffic without bothering to pay attention!" "Then, the officer would have given you a ticket," said RG.

That was much more exciting than the festival. Lots of drunken teens trying to cut in line to get in (seriously, a group of about 30 tried to pass us in line), having all their sports bottles confiscated because of the heavy alcohol smell, causing the rest of us in line to be frisked. Most of the booths already closed for the evening, though it was only 8pm and the festival closed at 10pm. Very few service organizations present, but lots of tacky clothing and underwear vendors. Loud bass thumping form the latin and dance tents while Sophie B. Hawkins warbled even louder from the main stage. We walked among the tents/booths, picked up our free Men of Mortuaries calendars, and stopped by a t-shirt booth so RG could purchase a black shirt with "Dip me in honey and throw me to the Bears" printed on the front. We wandered for about an hour, then headed toward the exit, stopping long enough to watch the Indigo Girls perform to a huge crowd.

From the festival, we decided to try a pub crawl. With the bars being only a few blocks from the new place, why not? Each bar was overly crowded and we sandwiched through the crowds like sardines, not drinking anything until the third bar -- The Brit -- which offered great peoplewatching. Around 1pm, TB and I were beat so we called it a night. I can still remember when I used to be able to stay out until 4am. Man, am I getting old!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Interlude: 8 Oddities Meme

I was tagged over the weekend by Dancin' Fool to list 8 random facts about myself. I promised to get this done today, and I like to keep my promises so here I go:

1: Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.
2: People who are tagged, write a blog post about their own 8 random things, and post these rules.
3: At the end of your post you need to tag 8 people and include their names.
4: Don't forget to leave them a comment and tell them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

  • I must have music/noise of some kind in the background while working, reading, writing, etc. The sounds help me concentrate.
  • I pick up language pronunciation fairly easily, even if I have no idea what I'm saying.
  • I can sight read music.
  • When I was much, much younger, a friend of my Mom's convinced me that a cookie tree would grow if I planted chocolate chip cookies. Which I did.
  • As I mentioned in a previous post, I constantly check and re-check and re-re-check a door that I've just locked to make sure it is, in fact, locked. (I'm slowly breaking myself of this habit.)
  • My skills at parallel parking amount to almost nothing.
  • I have never dressed in women's clothes, not even for Hallowe'en.
  • I freely admit to loving The Carpenters.

As for tagging other bloggers, I'll leave that up to anyone reading this if he/she would like to participate.

Monday, May 21, 2007

A Deluxe Apartment in the Sky

My entire body aches.

The Boyfriend and I spent the majority of the weekend hauling boxes crammed with books and DVDs, overstuffed suitcases, dusty furniture and other knick-knacks and boxes up and down narrow stairs to our new 2nd floor apartment. Almost all the rooms are filled with cardboard or clothes or pictures, patiently waiting for us to find homes for them. The Boyfriend's brother helped him move the sofa bed and futon on Thursday while I stayed at my place throwing everything I could into boxes. Friday we both took the day off from work, and with the help of our folks, moved -- him from a few blocks away, me from Huntington Beach.

A thin green staircase ran up the back of the apartment, facing the alley, and my Mom worked out a system: unload the SUV at the bottom of the stairs, then carry the items up the steps to the landing where she would take them into the apartment. I've never walked up and down so much in my life, and I seriously doubt that my calves or knees will forgive me any time soon. (But on the bright side, what a cardio workout!!) My parents were impressed with the place in spite of the stairs -- from the size of the bedrooms, the two bathrooms and the fact that we had a garage and a parking space in Long Beach to the pond hidden beneath a gigantic lemon tree and the views from both the front windows of the apartment (over the rooftops, almost to the ocean) and from the back porch (all the way to Signal Hill). My Dad asked about the door at the opposite end of the porch. "So you have neighbors?" I told him no, that the door lead into our bedroom. "Geez-oh!" was all he managed through his surprised look.

After they left, the cable man hooked up our two TVs and the Internet, showed us how to program the mind-boggling remotes and went upon his merry way. I unpacked a few boxes, arranged the coffee table and rug, placed Mickey figurines on shelves while The Boyfriend walked back to his apartment to fetch Diesel. Poor kitty, the move traumatized him more than we thought it might as he remained hunkered at the back of his carrier though the door to freedom stood open before him. When he realized neither of us was going anywhere, he cautiously stuck his nose and front paws outside, tested the air before skittishly darting beneath the coffee table. And when we decided to call it a night, he dove under the covers and remained there through most of Saturday.

...to be continued...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Bread

A bespectacled bag boy nervously folding a piece of paper and shoving it into a back pocket normally doesn’t catch my attention. But it’s what he did afterward, as what I would assume to be his manager waddled quickly down the bread aisle toward him, red-faced and screeching, index finger pointing accusingly. The bag boy reached for a loaf of Wonder Bread and hurled it at the man, hitting him squarely in the nose. He grabbed another loaf, another, another, nailing his target each time with deadly accuracy.

“Stansen!” the besieged manager screamed, slowly edging forward and raising his arms as a shield.

The bag boy opened a package of bagels and frisbeed them at the manager’s stomach and legs. “Ugh!” Even I cringed as that one egg bagel struck its target in the groin. The manager fell to his knees, hands cupped around his privates, but the bag boy continued his bread barrage swamping the fallen enemy with loaf after loaf. “Please…stop….” a muffled voice pleaded.

He finally stopped, dropping the last loaf at his feet. His shoulders hunched up and down as he swallowed the air. He removed his glasses, wiped what I believed were tears from his eyes, reached into his back pocket to fetch the paper. He opened and stared at it for a few moments. “How could you?” A woman who had been watching from the produce section visibly shivered at the anger used to say those words. The bag boy crumpled the paper into a ball, tossed it onto the bread pile. The automatic doors swished open, shut as he ran into the parking lot.

The manager smoothed the paper and began reading, his lips moving silently along with the words. His eyes widened, he covered his mouth. He slowly pushed the loaves away and unsteadily stood, staggered to the back of the store, still staring at the paper.

Like everyone else who had been staring, I quickly returned to what I was doing, placing my groceries on the conveyor at the cashier’s. She scanned the items, and as I reached back to find my wallet, a defeated voice spoke through the intercom: “Clean up on Aisle 3.”

a work of fiction, © G.A. Carter, 2007, (364 words -- based on the writing prompt: "A bespectacled bag boy nervously folding a piece of paper." For more responses to this, go here and here.)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Bookwhore Chronicles: Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
7th grade algebra. Our teacher, Mr. L, agreed that he'd been too hard on us with the past few tests. Forcing us to answer 3-paragraph-long word problems and countless other forms of numerical torture were very taxing on our fragile, little minds so he decided to offer a prize (our eyes lit up) to anyone who answered a bonus question of his choosing (our heads drooped, crestfallen). We knew right then that all hope was lost. He told us that by the end of the class the following Monday, he would write a question on the blackboard. We would have the entire week to figure out the answer. The first to answer the question correctly would win a little special something. I spent much of the weekend trying to figure out what kind of prize I would want: an automatic A on the next test? permission to skip class for a day? a week? Knowing Mr. L, though, it would probably be something like a calculator or a slide rule or a pocket protector. Maybe even a shiny new math textbook, the pages razor sharp along the edges, the ink fresh from the printers. Something math-related that would make our stomachs grumble and churn.

Monday afternoon, we trudged into class. Mr. L stood at the blackboard, his back to us, gleefully writing on the board. The bell rang, and he turned his wide grin to us. He'd thought of a wonderful question for us over the weekend and pointed to his writing:

If it takes a hen and a half, a day and a half to lay an egg and a half, how long does it take a one-legged cowboy to kick the seeds out of a dill pickle?

We groaned. We pouted. We wanted to wad our homework and throw at the teacher. What the hell kind of question was that?! We couldn't possibly answer it. There probably wasn't even a real answer anyway. Mr. L told us not to look so glum; we had the entire week to figure it out.

And that's what I tried to do each night. I would finish dinner then head up to my room, spending hour after hour until bedtime ripping my hair out because I didn't know what the hell one and a half chickens had to do with a dill pickle. Why would a one-legged cowboy even need to kick those damned seeds? Better yet, could he even do it? Finally, I realized Mr. L knew that the question didn't have an answer so that made me even more determined to give him one just as much b.s. as that question. And on Friday at the beginning of class, I handed him my answer.

What does this have to do with Even Cowgirls Get the Blues? Last Sunday, I read about Sissy Hankshaw and her unnaturally large thumbs, how they continued to grow while she ate her breakfast, while she studied history, while she slept, and while she studied arithmetic. And then, this line appeared: "If a hen and a half can lay an egg and a half in a day and a half how long will it take a monkey with a wooden leg to kick the seeds out of a dill pickle?" I nearly shot Dr. Pepper out my nose. I couldn't believe it: 20some years later! Thanks to author Tom Robbins, the entire episode from the seventh grade replayed in my head. I relived the unbelieving look on Mr. L's face when he read my answer and grudgingly gave me my prize.

My answer? It would take until the last seed was kicked out of the pickle.

My prize? A can of Coca-cola.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Slide Show

Neither of us could believe the parking Friday night at the Ford Amphitheater: pockets of cars sourrounding the hillside like mountain goats on rocky outcroppings and stacked parking -- thankfully, we were one of the last cars to park so we wouldn't have to wait for other cars to move. Dodging people as they wandered without paying attention among the dozens of cars still vying for parking. Once we made it down up and down the hills, we faced the myriad steps to the entrance to the theater which resembled more of a castle with high, imposing walls and even more stone steps and stairwells. I stopped to use the restroom along the way so The Boyfriend waited in line for two bottles of water and a lukewarm, lukesoft pretzel (about $11.50 total). Then, up more steps and finally into the theater itself.

We stood in the doorway, scanning the almost full seats for anything that might be open and chanced upon two near the very back of the theater on the aisle. I didn't notice next to whom we were seated, but The Boyfriend recognized him from somewhere, though he didn't know his name. That summed up quite a bit of the audience: very recognizable faces but from where? TV? Movies? Porn? A woman walked by us, causing a small commotion. Tall, thick blonde hair, dark sunglasses in an already dim theater, a cup of something in one hand. She asked the ladies in front of us if the three seats next to her were open and moved on down the aisle. That's when we I whispered to The boyfriend, "Wasn't that Cybill Shepherd?" "Yes!" We watched her as she headed toward the front of the theater, crossing just in front of the stage, hugging a few people, then found some empty seats next to a woman with a sideways mullet: long on the right but close-cropped on the left. "I think that's one of the composers of 'The Color Purple'." He squinted, trying to get a better look. "Are you sure?" "I think so. I saw her on a special about the show." I squinted. "But I'm not sure."

The lights dimmed as a voice announced the world champion hula hoop-er who came out on stage and wowed us with his dancing. He had those hoops undulating up and down his body, his ankles, neck, wrists, forehead. He surrounded himself with almost twenty shiny silver hoops, disappearing in a blurr of colors, moving like a rhythmic gymnast across the stage. The audience went wild! After his bows, the screen at the center of the stage lit up, the organist tapped away at his Wurlitzer, and Charles Phoenix stepped onto the stage to take the audience on a nostalgiac trip around the United States via slides from the 40s, 50s and 60s. We saw everything from one of the original pop art Jack-in-the-Box restaurants to early Disneyland (when Tomorrowland represented the ultra-futuristic 1987) to the neon lights of Vegas casinos long gone. We joined in with family Thanksgivings, portraits with everyone decked to the nines in polyester or matching homemade dresses, a Hawaiian feast complete with Grandma bringing in the roast pig. The old White Front stores. McDonald's when it was still a drive-up with neon arches. Even some slides taken during the production of Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments with Charleton Heston standing on a bluff in front of a blue screen to part the Red Sea. Phoenix even made a heaping bowlfull of ambrosia -- complete with fruit chunks, whipped cream and hot dog bits -- and presented it to a delighted woman in the audience. We laughed. We oohed and aahed. And, I learned a new phrase which I've already overused: "Long Beach is the New Jersey of Los Angeles."

By 10:30pm, we managed to fight our way through the throng of theatergoers to find the car and headed to West Hollywood for a very late dinner.

Friday, May 11, 2007

First Line Friday

Congratulations to Claudia for correctly naming last week's song:


Cry Wolf from a-ha; music by Magne Furuholmen and lyrics by Pål Waaktaar & Magne Furuholmen


This was the second single from a-ha's 1986 album Scoundrel Days. The song didn't fare too well in the states, reaching only #50 on the singles charts. But I like it, and that's all that really matters, right? Here's what else Claudia had to say about a-ha:

"A-ha kept on releasing music right up until 1994. Then they took a break for 4 years and indeed all do different solo projects during that time. Guitarist Paul formed a New York based band called Savoy, keyboard player Magne got into visual art and wrote music for Norwegian films, while singer Morten released one English solo album and one Norwegian one.

They got back together as a-ha for the occasion of the Nobel peace price ceremony of 1998, held in Oslo, where they sang one old song and one newly composed one. Then they decided to make more music together as a-ha and have since released 3 new studio-albums.

They are these days alternating a-ha and solo efforts, and are at the moment busy with writing their 9th a-ha album, which will be released some time early 2008." Thank you for the update!!!

Onto the First Line for this week. From one of my favorite groups of the '70s comes a classic. The group? The Captain & Tennille. The song?

Just because you've become a young woman now
There's still some things that you don't understand now
Before you ask some guy for his hand now
Keep your freedom for as long as you can now
My mama told me


The original version of the song, released in 1960 by The Miracles, was the first Motown single to reach #1 on the R&B charts. Since I will be moving next Friday, you have until Friday, May 25th, to figure out this one.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Let's Talk About Sex

“So, how many guys have you had sex with?”

Hank choked on his popcorn, coughing loudly enough to garner stern looks from the few other people in the theater. He took a long sip from his soda, turned to Mitch. “You don’t waste time, do you?” He half-smiled.

“Hank, we’ve been dating for about three weeks now. Don’t you think it’s time we had ‘the talk?'”

“’The Talk?'”

“Well, yeah.” Mitch tried to make himself more comfortable in the smallish seat, turning slightly toward Hank. “How many people have you dated? Any prior long-term relationships? You know, so we can get to know each other better.”

“And you want to do this now?”

“Sure.”

“Right before the movie starts?”

“It’s not like the movie will start on time. Remember, they have 10 minutes of previews.”

“But what if I like the previews?” Hank tossed another piece of popcorn in his mouth, eyes sparkling mischievously in the dim lights.

“C’mon, Hank.” Mitch ran his fingers along Hank’s right arm. “I think we’ve got something good started here, and I want it to continue. But I feel we should know a little bit more about each other’s past relationships.”

“Can’t we talk about it after the movie?”

“The idea just popped into my head, and it’s going to eat at me until we talk about it.” He turned down the corners of his lips, batting sad dog eyes set to charm. “Please?”

Hank swallowed from his soda, gazed directly into Mitch’s eyes, sighed loudly. “Alright, if you really want to do this now….” Mitch smiled and grabbed Hank’s hand. “I’ve dated,” he counted on his fingers, “one, two…seven people. Had sex with five of them, if you mean oral sex. I’ve had anal sex with only two people. Oh, and a one-night stand that I met at a bar in Hollywood. Don’t worry; I insisted on condoms. And had two long-term relationships, the last one ending two years ago. Lasted four years.” Hank sipped from his soda. “And you?”

The lights dimmed as the projector focused its beam on the screen. Music blared from the speakers. Mitch turned to the screen. “Oh look, the previews.” Settling into his seat, he didn’t notice Hank removing the lid from his soda and tipping it toward his lap.

a work of fiction, © G.A. Carter, 2007

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Il Mondo Era Vuoto

My Mother enjoys the theater almost as much as I do. In fact, at one time she owned season tickets to the Ahmanson, working her way from the cheap seats to almost dead center orchestra. Until The Phantom of the Opera made its Los Angeles debut, refusing to leave for five years, and bumping her to a smaller theater in a less-than-savory part of town. She tried season tickets for other theaters, but that excitement seemed to have disappeared. So I decided to get her back into the theater mood, and a few years ago, took her to see Amy's View for Mothers Day. We've attended a play or musical every year since, including everything from Grease to The Lion King to Alan Ayckbourn's The Norman Conquests. With no change in plans this year, I treated her to The Light in the Piazza.
Just after WWII, Margaret Johnson travels to Florence with her daughter, wanting to show her where she and her father honeymooned. While strolling through the piazza, a soft wind blows Clara's hat from her, gently falling into the hands of a handsome young Florentine, Fabrizio. The attraction is immediate, much to Margaret's dismay as her daughter isn't quite the woman she seems. Try as she might to thwart the romance, young love wins out in this bittersweet story of love and letting go. A beautiful, almost operatic score. Some songs in Italian without the benefit of translation, but with the fine acting (Christine Andreas as Margaret, David Burnham as Fabrizio, and Katie Rose Clark as Clara), translation isn't really necessary.


My Mom loved the story, the voices, the acting, she couldn't stop talking about the sets and how tall, magnificent, reminiscent of Florence they were. And just as before, I found myself starting to tear up toward the end. We talked about it so much during the drive back to my parents' house that my Dad decided he wanted to see a show, too. So I'm taking him to All Shook Up next month.

Don't you just love how theater brings a family together?

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Trek from the LBC

I decided to spend last night at The Boyfriend's in Long Beach, leave this morning from their to gauge what my commute would be like beginning next week (next week!!!). His cell phone rang at 6am, Donna Summers' Hot Stuff waking both of us and the cat from pleasant dreams. For some reason my uncoordination decided to wake up, as well, and I couldn't open the danged phone to shut off the alarm. Showered, dressed and out the door by 6:40am, onto the 405 South a little thereafter. Total distance: 22 miles. Horrific visions of a parking lot of cars on the freeeway solidified my decision to leave so early, and guess when I arrived at the office? 30 minutes later. I turned into the parking lot at 7:15am. I didn't have to be at work until 8am!! Perhaps I just hit the traffic window at the right time, but I really don't want to arrive that early again.

Although, maybe I can leave at 4:15pm??

--

I decided to try the Wiki Meme as post on Cincy Diva's blog:

Go to Wikipedia, and type in the month and day of your birth (no year). Then list 3 events, 2 birthdays and 1 death

OCTOBER 3RD

Events:

1283 - Dafydd ap Gruffydd, prince of Gwynedd in Wales, becomes the first person executed by drawing and quartering.
1955 - The Mickey Mouse Club debuts on ABC.
1990 - Re-unification of Germany. Both the German Democratic Republic, and West Germany ceased to exist, and East German citizens become part of the European Community, which later became the European Union.

Birthdays:

1873 - Emily Post, American etiquette expert
1925 - Gore Vidal, American author

Death:

1226 - Saint Francis of Assisi

Friday, May 04, 2007

And How Is YOUR Day?


First Line Friday

Congrats to Matt who correctly name the last tune:


Everyday I Write the Book by Elvis Costello & The Attractions; music/lyrics by Elvis Costello


From their 1983 album Punch the Clock, this song became a Top 40 single in both the U.S. and the U.K. The music video is noted for the use of Prince Charles and Princess Diana lookalikes.

My last post dealt with a coyote which inspired me for today's First Line -- one of my favorite songs from the Norwegian group a-ha:

"Night I left the city,
I dreamt of a wolf..."


By the way, whatever happened to them?


Image from Wikipedia.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Coyote

He stood in an opening between the patches of drying grass and ice plants, watching the creatures move forward briefly, stop, move again, stop, the great herd of them trailing off farther than he could see. Sometimes their eyes flicked on, shining an unblinking white that nearly blinded him. He thought at first they meant to chase him and tightened his haunches in case he needed to sprint away, but they continued following one another, not noticing him standing so brazenly in their faces. And what sounds they made! Grumbles and roars, strange thumpings, squawks like birds being hunted.

Each of the creatures carried something inside, other creatures perhaps, food for its family. He did not know. Was not certain that he wanted to know. What if they were dangerous, hunters like himself? Territorial. Would they fight him, bare their sharp teeth if he stepped too close?

He turned quickly toward a sharp yelp from one of the creatures. It yelped again and again as the thing inside beat its limbs in a vain attempt to escape. Other creatures yelped a reply, some short bursts like a large bird. But none came to help or to take advantage of the weakened creature, staying in the same place moving, stopping, moving. He turned back to watching the long migration, ears flattening half-turning at the sounds from the creatures.

A sudden flash. One of the things inside held something in its limbs, pointed it at him. Another flash, strange high-pitched sounds like an angry hawk. A frightening sound. He turned his haunches to the migration and quickly ran down the hillside, disappearing into the bushes.

a work of fiction, © G.A. Carter, 2007

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A Festive Weekend

My weekend began with a Friday night visit to Disneyland -- probably the most crowded place on a Friday night in Southern California. Strollers as far as the eye could see, teeny boppers gawking at the High School: The Musical mini stage production, men and women wearing touristy outfits that should have been burned before they left the stores. I stood through only one line (for the Tower of Terror) that was supposed to last 35 minutes, but ended up taking up over an hour of my life. From there, I hurried to the other end of Downtown Disney to quiet my grumbling tummy with a cheeseburger and fries. I called The Boyfriend as I walked to the parking structure to tell him I was on my way.

Saturday was the big day for us, though; we officially signed the lease for the new apartment. Move in date: May 16th. Now comes the time to search for boxes, movers, etc. The move also coincides with Long Beach's Gay Pride Festival so we are expecing a fun weekend to inaugurate the apartment.

After signing the lease, we drove to the L.A. Times Festival of Books on the UCLA campus. We wandered around the tents for a few hours, snapping pictures, helping to solve three of the giant crossword puzzles scattered throughout the festival grounds, pointing our celebrities to each other (Henry Winkler, Wendie Malick), even chatting with Charles Phoenix about his upcoming retro slideshow. A little disappointed at the lack of gay/alternative presses and the glut of mainstream book stores (Borders, etc.), we didn't end up buying too much. The Boyfriend discovered a few discounted children's books for his great-niece and a bilingual counting book from Cinco Puntos Press; I picked up a Stanford University Press reprint of Ungodly by Richard Rhodes, a novel about the Donner Party. Last year, I walked away with at least five titles, but neither of us really got into the festival mood this year.

We helped with our friend M's baby shower on Sunday, buying cases and cases of soda along with bags of ice. I don't know how many people eventually showed, but M opened presents for about an hour and a half. Lots of baby and toddler clothes for both a little boy and a little girl, scads of diapers and Desitin, burp towels, strollers, car seats, etc. We ate way too much as you do with finger sandwiches, bowls of chips and pretzels, candies, and cake. Finally, around 7pm, I had to leave to pick up my Mom from the airport. She returned from her week-long cruise to Belize, Honduras and Cozumel, and since my Dad doesn't drive at night, I stopped by the airport on my way home, then drove her to Laguna. I didn't arrive back at my place until near midnight, left the extra cases of soda in my trunk and collapsed onto the bed.