Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bookwhore Chronicles: Questions about Books

I borrowed this from Matt's blog. Just because.

1. What are you reading right now?

My current list includes: Ring by Koji Suzuki, Numbers by John Rechy and Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh.

2. Do you have any idea what you’ll read when you’re done with that?

I never do, usually poring over my stacks for 10-15 minutes before finally selecting something. I will probably start Only Revelations by Mark Danielewski.

3. What magazines do you have in your bathroom right now?

No magazines in the bathroom. We keep them in the living room, and the stack usually consists of The Blade, Frontiers, INLos Angeles, and Dot, all local gay magazines.

4. What’s the worst thing you were ever forced to read?

I think my friends CS and Joela can attest to this as we all loathed this one. Murder in the Rue Dauphine by Greg Herren. We chose this for our little book group, and all had quite a time struggling through the elementary school sentences and flat characters. But we managed to finish it, if only to rip it apart over dinner at Hof’s Hutt.

5. What’s the one book you always recommend to just about everyone?

I always seem to recommend As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner. Something about how he approached it, with each chapter told by a single character, allowing different view points on events, intrigued me the first time I read it.

6. Admit it, the librarians at your library know you on a first name basis, don’t they?

No, they don’t. I hate to admit it, but I haven’t signed up at the library since I moved a few months ago. The guilt haunts me as the library is a few houses down from me, and I continually tell CM that we need to get library cards.

7. Is there a book you absolutely love, but for some reason, people never think it sounds interesting, or maybe they read it and don’t like it at all?

Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel García Márquez. No one ever shares my enthusiasm for this one.

8. Do you read books while you eat? While you bathe? While you watch movies or TV? While you listen to music? While you’re on the computer? While you’re having sex? While you’re driving?

I read while eating, watching TV and listening to music. The TV and the music usually add a white noise to the background, making reading much easier. Unless, of course, the show happens to be Lost or Top Chef. I never read while in the shower; the pages become too soggy. During sex? Who has time to pick up a book during sex? And if you do, you're doing it wrong. Also, reading and driving don’t mix. Have you ever seen someone trying to read a map while speeding down the freeway at 80 miles per hour? Just plain stupid.

9. When you were little, did other children tease you about your reading habits?

Nope.

10. What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn’t put it down?

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Hey, Zanna! Ho, Zanna!

Friday night, CM and I indulged our anniversarial fantasies with a chocolate chip calzone from the Claim Jumper. Screw the diet and workout, if only for just one night, but the mixture of melting white and dark chocolate in a calzone served with a scoop of fresh vanilla bean ice cream called to us. And we picked up and accepted the roaming charges.

To make up for it, we went to the gym and worked out together. Well, at the same time. He started with cardio while I headed for the weight machines, then after 30 minutes, we switched. We stretched lifted twisted pulled pushed and sweated all that chocolate from our systems. And when we returned home, moved the pieces of a futon from the apartment to the garage on the first floor. Damn, we were feeling butch!!!

We did eventually clean up as we were continuing our anniversary (and our friend CS' birthday) with a show in Los Angeles.

We both thought traffic would be awful heading to LA so we left early, hoping it would give us just enough time to eat and find the theater. To our surprise, traffic moved quickly and we found ourselves driving around Los Feliz with too much time on our hands. So we headed for an early dinner at Home in Los Feliz. To (try to) keep things healthy, we both ordered wrap sandwiches, and I substituted a bowl of fresh blueberries, strawberries and melon chunks for the French fries while CM opted for a salad. We munched our wraps, chatting through mouthfuls, enjoying the cool breeze, until I watched CM's eyebrows scrunch together. His cheeks bulged as he moved something around in his mouth then spit out a large piece from a plastic tie, one of those squarish bits used to close a plastic bag of bread. The waiter seemed more upset than either of us and promptly produced another complete sandwich and salad -- which CM poked with his fork before biting just to make sure.
From the restaurant, we wound our way around Silver Lake and Los Feliz to the Lyric Hyperion theater, run by the West Coast Theater Ensemble. It turned out to be a small, gray building on a corner; we would have passed right by it if not for the hand-painted poster on the side of the building announcing the show: Zanna, Don't!. We u-turned three or four times, finally pulling alongside a curb a bit up the street from the theater. One of CM's co-workers arrived around the same time, and she and her friend joined us while we waited for CS. Once everyone arrived, we waited in the ultra-small lobby -- 50 people crammed into an area probably meant to hold 25 -- until the door opened into the small theater. The two rows of chairs rounded the stage on three sides, with the set and main stage thrust into the audience. The pink and yellow backdrop matched the pink and yellow squares on the floor, and the "Heartsville, U.S.A." sign above it gave the entire space a very gay quality. As did the many gay men in the audience. I counted perhaps 5 or 6 women, and two straight men clinging to the arms of their girlfriends.

When the lights dimmed and the show started, we all forgot the size of the theater. That small ensemble staged one of the funniest shows I've seen in quite a while. Zanna, Don't! tells the tale of an alternate universe in which being homosexual is the norm, and being straight is vilified. Chess ranks higher than football. When someone orders a hard drink, the bartender sets down a shot of Ovaltine, telling them to take it easy with the stuff. Zanna turns out to be a kind of gay cupid, collar of his polo shirt upturned, flitting about the stage with a magic wand and bringing couples together. All seems right with his match making until the quarterback from the football team (male) and the captain of the rodeo/dance squad (female) enjoy a lingering kiss during the high school musical about allowing straight people into the military. The two finally "come out" to Zanna who promises to do whatever it takes to help them. Very funny, with sharp lyrics, great music and fine performances by the entire cast: Danny Calvert as Zanna, Dan Pacheco as Mike the captain of the chess team and Brent Schindele as Steve the quarterback from the football team (and Mike's boyfriend), Rebecca Johnson (wow, can she sing!) as Kate and Natalie Monahan (wow, can she sing!) as her butch girlfriend Roberta. Intriguing, too, seeing a world in complete contrast to our own. I think it shows how ridiculous prejudice against homosexuals is, and does so in a very palatable format. And with good reviews and press, the theater extended the run of the show until September 30th. If you find yourself in the Los Angeles area, go see it!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Two Whole Years!!

Two years ago today, I met CM at a book group in Long Beach. The book: Through It Came Bright Colors. What did I think of the book? Well, I was more interested in getting to know CM and couldn't wait until after the group when we could go to dinner. After that night, we began spending quite a bit of time together for movies, plays, gossiping on the phone about Lost or Project Runway. We eventually met each other's friends and families. And his cat Diesel finally accepted the fact that I wasn't leaving.

And here we are, two years later, living together in a great apartment in Long Beach, hopefully not getting under each other's skin. CM - I love you, and am incredibly profoundly happy to have met you.

Baby, if you could love someone like me
There's no end to the possiblities
Hopes and dreams push away the pain and regret
But lovin' you just lets me know
There might be hope for me yet


- Hope for Me Yet, Marc Broussard


Happy Anniversary, Sweetie!!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Let's Get Physcial

That's me on the left, with my friend Triple Deck-her taken in early July 2007. When I weighed about 210lbs. Before lighting a fire under my big ass to lose the weight and to get in shape. I saw myself in the mirror, disgusted at the tummy hanging over my belt, and returned to the gym. Then, the car accident occurred, and I stayed away so I could recuperate. Two Sundays ago, after waffling and finding excuses not to exercise, CM and I dragged ourselves to the nearest Bally's. The following Monday, I drove directly from work to the gym, exhausted and embarrassed myself in front of the buffed guys using the free weights (because the machines face them --ugh!), twisted my obliques until they squealed in pain, walked for 30 minutes on the treadmill, and made it home much later than anticpated, ready to collapse after a turkey sandwich and a nice shower. I also changed my eating habits, dropping the soda (haven't allowed a drop to pass my lips in almost two weeks), eating more fruits as snacks, and so on.

The day after that first workout, I weighed myself first thing in the morning: 207 lbs. Not great, but a good starting point. Over the days that followed, I hit the gym after work (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and again this week), ate healthier, then weighed again this morning: 201 lbs. Woo hoo! Keeping to the routine paid off! I still have a way to go before I look like Eric Evans, but already I can see the difference in how much flatter my stomach is, how much looser the clothes fit. I set my goal for 185-190 lbs. and will keep the blog updated on my progress.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

S.O.S.

I admit that I haven't attended very many concerts in my 36 years. The Bangles, The Dan Band, Sting -- that's about it. During school, I was always to busy studying to take time away for a concert. Not to mention that I didn't exactly have the funds, either. But thanks to CM, I can add yet another concert to the list: Marc Broussard.
The soulful crooner/rocker brought his show to The Avalon in Hollywood this past Saturday, and what a show it was! We arrived just before the show was scheduled to begin and were both a bit shocked that only a rough one-third of the space was filled with people. And they all crammed together near the stage. We hung back, just behind the sound guy's table, and waited. And waited. Around 8:15pm, two men walked from behind the curtains across the dance floor passing us and disappeared into the lobby. (it wasn't until the show started a few minutes later that I realized Mark Broussard was one of the two who passed us.) The lights finally dimmed, curtains opened to show the backup band jamming working the crowd into a frenzy. Then Broussard strutted on stage, tweed cap pulled low over his eyes, tweed coat waving as he spun and hopped around the stage. The crowd screamed as he grabbed the mic and powered into a few tracks from his latest ablum, his deep soulful voice filtering through the crowd up to the rafters. Each song melted into the next, and his energy never let up. He did take a short break early on, after a cover of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's If I Could Build My Whole World Around You with Shannon McNally, and left her to sing six songs of her own. She rocked on the guitar and probably didn't need the microphone because her strong voice carried across the room to thunderous applause.

Broussard strutted back onstage and belted out soul songs from his S.O.S. album and a few from Carencro. I never thought anyone could do justice to songs by Stevie Wonder, Al Green, Marvin Gaye and Otis Redding, but Broussard more than delivered. He even threw in a song from Morris Day & The Time, just to mix things up. He strummed the guitar and sang his vocal chords raw, without letting the energy drop the entire hour and a half he remained on stage. For the encore, he brought the lights down, and with just himself, the keyboards and a bass guitar, he sweetly sang You Don't Know Me, made famous by Ray Charles, and Donny Hathaway's For All We Know. An amazing concert by an incredible singer.

If Marc Broussard brings his Soul Revue to your town, go! Get tickets immediately!!

Video/Song samples:

Love & Happiness from S.O.S.
Home from Carencro

Friday, August 17, 2007

Butt

“Roll up your window.”

“What?!” Mason must have been out of his mind. “It’s at least 100 degrees in here. Why would I want to roll up the window?!"

“Um, a little thing called air conditioning? It cools the air then blows it around the car? All these here motorized thingies have it nowadays.” His attempt at hickdom, though endearing, made me want to slap him. “And it works better with the windows up.”

I sighed heavily and whirled the handle a few times until the window slid into place. Mason turned a knob on the dashboard, pressed a button and warm air spewed from the vents.

“Cold air, Mason. COLD air!”

“Just give it a minute.” The whole state had been suffering through a heat wave for the past few weeks, and it hit us especially hard because even though we can be at the beach in minutes to splash away the oven temperatures, Southern California is still a dessert. Just look at the clusters of cactus growing Cliffside above the beaches.

Cooler air slowly displaced the warmer. The sweat on my temples froze to my face as it dissipated, leaving me to luxuriate in the cool breeze. God bless whoever invented air conditioning. The car jerked forward a few inches.

Another aspect of living here: traffic. No one knew why the cars bogged down at the same time every day, Monday through Friday, and the occasional Sunday. Yes, all the workers leaving at the same time probably contributed to it somewhat, but after fiddling with the radio dial, the CalTrans stations made no mention of any accidents or roadwork on the route ahead. Personally, I blamed it on the big rigs that wavered between lanes that slammed on the brakes within inches of bumping your fender that took up too much space during premium traffic time.

The unreasonable heat made traffic even more unbearable, and I watched drivers as they stuck heads out of windows hoping for a breeze, gripped steering wheels white-knuckle tight as sweat dripped into their eyes, banged heads against the headrests probably wondering when it will end. A few others had the right idea, like Mason, and through closed windows, I watched their hair waving as if the Santa Ana Winds blew inside the car.

A woman seated in the passenger’s side of the care in front of us jabbered into her cell phone, punctuating everything she said with her cigarette, inhaling briefly before going into another apparent tirade. I guessed that the air conditioner was blowing full blast because even with all that smoke, neither she nor the driver cracked open a window. “How can they breathe in there?”

Mason chatted away on his own cell phone, ignoring me. I leaned back in my seat and continued watching the woman. She took a long drag on the cigarette and started to roll down the window. A plume of smoke escaped and mingled into the air and heat, and I thought the driver sighed with relief. Then, the woman tossed her cigarette onto the shoulder. It hit the pavement and rolled into the dry brush. She closed the window and resumed her call as a small discarded flyer began smoldering.

“Oh geez….” I unbuckled my seat belt and opened the door.

“Wait. What are –“ Mason was cut off by the slamming door. I rushed over to the soon-to-be fire and stamped it out. Of all the stupid…. I scanned the dirt, looking for the cigarette butt, and found it still smoking. I picked it up and walked back to the woman’s car.

She rolled down the window after I pounded a few times. “What? Get back in your car.”

“You dropped this,” and I flicked the butt at her, striking her chin before it disappeared down her top.

“Dammit! Ouch! Oh, help me get it out!”

Mason stared at me open-mouthed as I closed the door.

a work of fiction © G.A. Carter, 2007 (653 words)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I Can Hear the Bells

Okay, so this post is a bit be-lated, but I figured better now than never -- even when I my photos still require a bit of tlc to tidy them up.

CM and I attended my Brother's wedding Saturday, a feat no one in my family thought would ever happen. You see, when she first moved in with my Brother, she gave him an ultimatum: at the end of a year, he either asks for her hand or she moves out. Four years later and no proposal nor any sign of packing boxes or moving vans. Until one night during the Fall of last year, they went for a stroll around the neighborhood and found themselves in a park, dimly lit by the fading sunset and dimmer street lights. He reached into his pocket, got down on bended knee and popped the question.

Finally!

And she said yes.

So Saturday, both families and friends joined the wedding party at a small church in Cypress to witness the two lovers joined in holy matrimony. All those people I knew from high school; family friends from our old neighborhood in Fountain Valley, CA; even family from way out in Sun City and Palm Springs; the bride's family and friends. I think we numbered roughly 100 people with who knows how many generations represented.

We then sped to Khoury's in Long Beach for the reception. And despite the tilted cake -- we think someone from the restaurant may have dropped or bumped it -- everyone enjoyed the festivites. Knives clinked against glasses every so often, demanding that the newlyweds kiss. I danced with the bride during the Money Dance while the husband of one of my Brother's high school friends danced with him. My parents got down and boogied to all the hits from the '70s and '80s, and with my Dad's bad hip, that was definitely a sight to see. My family's side of the restaurant seemed to be much rowdier, perhaps a little tipsier, than the bride's side. As I said, no one in my family thought this day would come.

Today, My Brother and Sister-in-Law leave for a cruise to Cabo San Lucas, to enjoy their honeymoon.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Broken In

Well, it had to happen eventually. And I haven't even enjoyed the car for a week!

I walked down the back steps this morning, making extra noise to let the people rummaging through the trash cans know that I was on my way. Can lids slammed into place, and the wheels of a shopping cart could be heard quickly vacating the area. As I neared the gate into the alley, I caught a glimpse of the woman's red sweater disappearing to the left while she shooed something behind her. Through the gate and walking in front of my car, I noticed a large scratch on the fender, just across from one of the trash cans. Not too deep but a good 6 inches across. The woman dropped her face quickly and picked up her pace when I looked up. I checked the other side of the car and discovered a smaller scratch just below the headlight.

Behind me, a few plastic bottles dropped to the ground. A young boy was trying to gather the many bottles that had dropped to the ground, and I realized what must have happened. They tried to fit their cart between my car and the trash cans, making it easier to deposit any recyclable items they could find.

I fumed a bit as I unlocked the car, upset that in less than a week, the car was already scratched. And not because of another car. The upset turned to disappointment. I'm sure they hadn't set out to scratch my car, and I think from the woman's reaction, she was more scared than I was upset.

Anyway, the scratch can probably be buffed out.

But still, not even a full week!!!!

Monday, August 13, 2007

A Weighty Matter

CM (formerly known as TB) and I stopped at the Bally's in Long Beach yesterday to check on adding him to my membership. (I also wanted to take a peek inside. Maybe a gym close to home would convince me to go more often.) Neither of us knew exactly where it was located, just that we needed to make our way around the Traffic Circle without crashing into any oncoming cars. Drives tend to zip round the circle, weave in and out of lanes, heedless of the other vehicles needing to merge or to exit, but we managed to find a direct lane that didn't merge with the others. We soon found the car turning seamlessly into the tiny parking lot in front of the gym.
As we walked through the doors, the lone associate looked up from the desk and asked us point blank if we were brothers. I gave CM a curious look rather than state the obvious, because my latino boyfriend looked so much like my pasty white Irish self. We figured it to be part of his sales tactic so shrugged it off. CM told him a brief rundown of what we wanted, and the associate said that Bally's could do that. Then he asked to see my card in order which he swiped through a reader to determine what my plan offered as far as add-ons. He called me "George" after my name and plan popped up; I corrected him, but don't think he paid too much attention as he continued to call me "George" throughout our stay. Before explaining the different options available to us, he asked if we wanted a tour to which I readily agreed. He paged someone to cover the desk, grabbed a set of keys and lead us to the elevator.

"Don't get used to this," he said, once the door closed behind us. "We make everyone use the stairs to get to the next floosr. Unless either of you is disabled." We made small talk, asking about the machines, how crowded the gym was, when were the best time for workouts, wondering if we were brothers. (He couldn't get away from that for some reason.) On the third floor, all the precore and many of the treadmills were in use, the steady hum creating enough noise to make us raise our voices. The third floor also contained the exercise/yoga/salsa dancing room as well as a stretching area and the leg machines. He asked about our goals, and I mentioned that I wanted to "lose the gut" and mentioned that I usually did 30 minutes on a treadmill followed by 30 minutes on the machines. His reaction was to tell me how wrong that method was, that I should start with the weights first followed by the treadmill or some form of cardio as a cool down. I would be more likely to burn calories and "lose the gut" if I did so. And change my eating habits. Of course. From there, he lead us to the stairs, down to the second floor which contained the free weights and the machines.

He brought us to a series of gray machines and told us that these would probably be the best ones for us to use. They set focused on the arms, chest and abs, as well as the love handles. "I use only these when I'm here because I don't want to bulk up, you know." He was plenty bulky as far as I could see: broad rounded shoulders, broad chest in just a slightly smaller t-shirt to show off his size, built like a football player. "The free weights are for only if you really want to get big. I'd stay away from those." As he explained more about the machines, I glanced around at the few people working out. Most were around our age and trim, in great shape, and then I caught my reflection. My eyes darkened. I hadn't realized just how much weight I'd put on. I felt as though I were being judged by the "in shape" people, that I really didn't belong because how could someone as overweight as I was possibly think I could ever look like one of them. I wanted to leave. "If you stick with these machines, you should be able to lose the weight quickly," the associate continued. I kept my eyes focused on the ground as we passed the other guests.

Back on the first floor, he showed us the pool, steam and sauna areas, showers and such then lead us into a small glassed cubicle to deliver his final sales pitch. When we asked about family plans, I think it finally dawned on him that we were no, in fact, brothers. He also caught on that my name wasn't "George" after CM and I both pointed to it on the computer screen. I still surprises me that my constant corrections throughout his talk never sunk in. No matter, CM registered for a month-to-month plan, and I should be getting three months free from dues.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Friday, August 10, 2007

Un pranzo e un automobile
A co-worker drove me to the credit union to pick up my new car. I'd forgotten just how much paperwork was involved, and unfortunately, made her sit through the entire process as I promised her lunch for not only taking me to get the car but also for picking me up earlier in the day after dropping off the rental. My hand hurt from all the signing, but I am now the proud owner of a 2007 Honda Civic LX, atomic metallic blue with gray interior. The front end is much shorter than I'm used to, and I kept looking for the wind-up key when the dealer showed me the engine. Very sleek and comfortable inside; dozens of compartments and outlets, including ones specifically for a cell phone AND and iPod; too much trunk space; and that new-car smell. Mmmmmm....
In the evening I drove to Fullerton for a rehearsal dinner at Angelo's and Vinci's Ristorante. I lucked out by not having to attend the actual rehearsal (since I'm not in the wedding party), but being the groom's brother, I still had to make an appearance at the dinner. I arrived 10 minutes early and managed a quick look around the main room: a full-sized creche near the ceiling surrounding by prints of La Giaconda, stuffed trapeze artists in various stages of flight, the partially-masked Phantom of the Opera, cherubs, harlequins, reindeer and other kitschy items covering the dark red ceiling. The walls were painted a mottled beige to give the impression of aged marble, and stray vines of plastic grapes twirled around columns toward the ceiling. I elected to sit outside to wait for the rest of the party.

Which showed 40 minutes later. Dinner was to begin at 7:30pm, but the rehearsal lasted much longer than expected due to many, many, many other weddings waiting to rehearse so the others trickled in beginning at 8pm. I hadn't seen most of the groomsmen since high school, and they hadn't changed all that much, but I think were surprised to see me. Even the Best Man's wife didn't recognize me -- and I was at their wedding all those years ago -- staring for about a minute until everything clicked into place. Somehow, everyone knew about my car troubles and asked to see my new wheels before going in. So, of course, I gloated and gushed about the shiny blue Honda. I followed the group upstairs to the private balcony, where we feasted on lasagna, chicken cacciatore, antipasto salad, and a rich chocolate/vanilla marble cake with butter frosting created by the bride and topped with the best bride-groom figurine I've ever seen: the bride, in full gown, drags a semi-drunken groom by the shirt collar across the top of the cake.

I wonder if that's a sign of things to come for my Brother....

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Quickies

  • I started the last Harry Potter novel on Saturday. And finished it before going to bed Sunday night. A great conclusion to the series. Very satisfying.
  • We saw The Bourne Ultimatum. Finally! A three-quel that's actually good!! Great chase sequences, tons of action and suspense.
  • Tomorrow, I pick up my new car. Atomic Metallic Blue with gray interiors. I just love the smell of new car in the morning....
  • My Dad's doing well. His colonoscopy is schedule for the end of this month, but the doctor may begin radiation treatments before then. I get the impression that he's dreading the colonoscopic invasion more than the radiation. And having recently undergone the colon check myself, I don't blame him.
  • Rehearsal dinner tomorrow night for my brother's wedding. The actual event takes place on Saturday so I won't be blogging much until after the ceremony and the reception.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

It's Only a Game, conclusion

“Jake, what are you doing?”

Jake opened his eyes, realizing just how tight he’d squeezed them. When that thing aimed for Mark, he instinctively shoved his friend out of the way, forcing him to the ground, waiting for the tremendous blast. He blinked a few times and saw himself reflected in Mark’s eyes.

“I told you that we should just be friends.”

Jake scrambled to his feet. “Oh…No! Um, sorry, I thought…” He hoisted Mark to his feet.

“Thought what?”

“That thing in the closet was—“ Jake turned to the closet. Nothing in his closet but a few empty hangers and a pile of wrinkled shirts and shoes spilling onto the bedroom floor. His room appeared just as it was before he started playing the game: no gaping hole in the computer monitor, no bits of broken glass smashed into the carpet.

Mark sidestepped the shoes and clothes, peering into the closet. “There’s nothing in there, Jake.” He stepped back, stumbling over a shoe. “You might try doing laundry once in a while.”

Jake barely heard him as he ran to the kitchen. Wall phone still hanging by the sink. Table with the chairs haphazardly gathered around it and an empty pizza box on top where the smoldering pile was minutes before. He jumped onto the counter to peer into the living room. Like the kitchen, the room had returned to its previous, semi-clean state, showing no signs of the destruction. He slowly walked back to the bedroom, mumbling an attempt to figure out what happened.

Mark sat in front of the computer, removing a disk from the open tray. He tossed it to Jake. “That, my friend, was probably causing all your problems. Too big a program and very little free space on your system for it. The re-partitioning is running so once it’s done, you can get back to the game.”

Jake stared, not at the disk but at the illustration on its topside. The thing with cartoon weapon drawn and ready, waiting for the chance to rid the world of invaders. Just slip the disk into the tray, click on the icon, and….

Jake bent the disk, scratching a line across his palm as it broke in half.

a work of fiction © G.A. Carter, 2007 (word count: 372 words)

Thursday, August 02, 2007

"The most valuable things in life are not measured in monetary terms. The really important things are not houses and lands, stocks and bonds, automobiles and real estate, but friendships, trust, confidence, empathy, mercy, love and faith." ~ Bertrand Russell

I stopped by the body shop where my car is being stored until the insurance takes ownership, to gather the few personal objects still inside: a Thomas Guide specially made as a leave-behind for my company; random coins from the change tray; receipts and other minor papers in the glove compartment. The man at the front office told me to meet him outside behind the gates and disappeared through a door. I had to leave the way I came in, then walk around back to the garage/service area where he waited for me, seated inside a golf cart. I found that a bit odd but sat beside him, and we zipped across the lot.

Very few cars, all in seemingly good condition aside from a visible layer of dirt, were parked in the large main lot. We rounded a corner, and I felt like an archaeologist en route to a major dig in Egypt, passing by relics of once respectable vehicles now reduced to empty shells. Hoods accordianed back to the dashboards from forceful impacts, crushing the engines into nothingness. License plates dangling like loose teeth from the many mangled grills. Headlights smashed to empty eye sockets. And in amongst them, I spotted my car.

To better assess the collision damage, the mechanics removed both the hood which had buckled and the passenger door. The fender covering the right front tire had disintegrated leaving a gaping view of the wheel well. Anything that remained intact had been pushed back into the firewall surrounding the engine. The flat tire bent at an awkard angle, probably meaning the strut or the axle had been badly damamged. The lower corner of the bent windshield was circular smash, as if someone tossed a brick at the glass without enough force to shatter it.

I found it hard to believe that almost two weeks ago I sat behind the steering wheel, stunned but thankful that the seatbelt prevented me from slamming into the windshield. A good car, the first major purchase fully on my own, now labeled as undrivable and rusting in a graveyard. I opened the driver's door and grabbed the Thomas Guide from the back seat, the loose change, emptied the glove compartment shoving the receipts and smaller papers into any open pocket. I popped the trunk and stared at the empty interior, hiding my face because I thought I was going to cry. I adjusted the forms and booklets and invoices in my hands, then slowly walked back to the golf cart.


Quote found on The Quotations Page.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

It's a Sunshine Day
We caught a "twilite" screening of Sunshine on Sunday. (This particular theater doesn't offer the traditional matinée pricing, instead offering a single showing around dusk -- hence the "twilite" -- at a reduced price. Very bizarre.) To offer a brief rundown of the story, the Sun is on the verge of dying so a crew of 8 scientists aboard the Icarus 2 cart a huge device toward the Sun with the hopes of re-igniting it. As they approach their target, sensors locate the Icarus 1, which all assumed had not made it. Most of the crew decides to go after the extra payload of the Icarus one, believing that having a backup device would double their chances of success. They dock and 4 crew members begin examining the ship, only to discover the remains of the first crew. Then, the Icarus 2 is somehow released from its lock on the Icarus 1, and the crew members find a risky way back to their ship. Once back on the Icarus 2, tensions fly in the claustrophobic confines of the ship as something unknown is trying to stop their efforts at re-igniting the Sun.

Danny Boyle delivered a suspenseful sci-fi film with a great international cast, including Michelle Yeoh, Cillian Murphy, Chris Evans, Cliff Curtis and Benedict Wong, as the flight-exhausted and touchy crew. Alex Garland's script provided unique and unexpected twists. The art direction and cinematography were simply stunning, as were the special effects with regards to the Sun and the spaceships.

Sunshine is definitely worth checking out.