Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Staycation -- Day Three

Saturday

The final day of our mini-Staycation found us lazing about the apartment then eventually running a few errands -- laundromat to was some blankets and comforters, a bite of breakfast, a little grocery shopping. I read a bit more, finishing Stieg Larsson's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, while Caesar tinkered on the computer. When the digital numbers on the clock blinked 4PM, we gussied ourselves up then headed back to Burbank, to a theater less than a mile from the Walt Disney ticket office from Thursday.

We thought traffic would be just as bad as it was then, so we got on the freeway around 4:30. And less than 45 minutes later, we pulled up in front of the Falcon Theater, though the show wasn't scheduled to start until 8PM. "Want to see where I used to live?" Caesar asked. Yes, he had a life before we met, one of debauchery and unbridled clubbing in the heart of Toluca Lake. His old apartment, in fact, was incredibly close to the Falcon so he took me on a tour of the area, spinning tales about the slumlord who managed his old place and the hole that mysteriously appeared in his closet's ceiling and dumped water all over his belongings.

After killing some time, we stopped for dinner at the Bob's Big Boy across the street from the Falcon. The oldest operating Big Boy, still with a car hop and those wonderful big Boy Combos: two beef patties smothered in red relish. It was the most delicious burger I'd eaten in quite some time. We stayed much longer in the window booth than we needed, hoping to waste more time before the show was to start, but I didn't want to stay cooped up so we strolled around the neighborhood, checking out the shops until we stood in front of the theater's gate. I shrugged my shoulders at Caesar's questioning look, and we stepped inside.

The lobby contained mini-posters from past shows, news clippings, citations from city and county governments, photos of celebrities who've sat in the audience, and a trophy case with their latest addition, an Ovation Award for Best Season of 2009. More guests walked through the doors, and once 7:45 rolled around, we all headed into the theater: a small, 130-seat auditorium, complete with a DJ box set above stage right -- and with an afroed DJ spinning disco classics. We took our seats, dancing along with the music while the theater filled with people. One of the actresses appeared on stage, dressed as a '70s CHP office with hot pants and blond afro, interacting with the audience, looking for newbies to mess with and embarrass. After a short time, she welcomed everyone and hoped we all enjoyed the Troubador Theater Company's production of CHiPs the Musical.

We laughed so hard during the entire show! Lots of improvisation, great musical numbers, the actors occasionally messing up their lines (and rolling with it much to the delight of the audience), a nerf gun fight that was supposed to last 5 minutes but probably kept gong for about 15-20 minutes. The two highlights of the show: one of the actresses getting to caught up in the shenanigans that she loudly snorted not once, but twice while in character; the other happened earlier, after the show had been running for about 15 minutes. A woman arrived late, and we knew this because the usher made a point of shouting "Latecomer!" as he walked her in. The action on stage stopped. A spotlight focused on the poor woman. Everyone on stage and about three quarters of the audience turned to her and started singing You're So Vain. Silly, funny, sometimes raunchy, always entertaining, CHiPs was one of the best nights of theater we've attended in some time.

In fact, we were on such an emotional high after the show that we returned to Bob's Big Boy and shared a hot fudge cake for dessert.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Staycation -- Day Two

Friday

I finally slept in. If you consider 8AM sleeping in. Caesar lounged in bed, watching I Love Lucy reruns until we figured out what to do that day. We decided to do a little shopping in Belmont Shore.

We usually attempt a visit to Belmont Shore on the weekends or during the evening, when parking is at a premium and hoards of people crowd the sidewalks, either window shopping or waiting for hours at this or that restaurant. But not today -- a warm, sunny Friday afternoon. What a joy to walk along the sidewalks without having to sidestep strollers or cyclists or enormous dogs pulling their owners as fast as possible! We stopped by the new Vans store and each walked away with a snazzy pair of shoes: Caesar opted for the old skool style with dark blue colors while I chose the chukka low style with burgundy around the toes and heels and charcoal on the sides. (I don't get the style names, either.) From there, we window shopped our way to Fingerprints to check out some used CDs, then wandered to Lucille's to use a gift card. Nothing like some good barbecue to stop your stomach from rumbling.
After a few hours of rest back at the apartment, we cleaned up then hopped on the freeway to see the national tour of South Pacific at The Ahmanson. South Pacific has always been a show that I've wanted to see, like Show Boat or Flora, The Red Menace, but unfortunately, the movie version was about as close as I'd hoped to get. Thanks to the Lincoln Center's revival, I was finally able to cross that name off my list.

I think we both enjoyed it. The music was incredible. You tend to forget just how many of the songs are part of popular culture until you hear them so hearing I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair and Some Enchanted Evening made the show worthwhile. (Plus, having a 26-piece orchestra performing wasn't too shabby.) The voices and the acting were all fantastic, especially David Pittsinger as the deep-voiced French exile Emile de Becque and Carmen Cusack as Ensign Nellie Forbush. (I personally enjoyed Keala Settle as Bloody Mary. She brought much fun and humor to the part.)

The show itself.... I know it's a part of Broadway history, but as a whole, the show didn't blow me away. I found it pleasant. Nice music, nice acting and singing. They dealt with some heavy subject matter, too, with regards to racism. And I'm glad we saw it, but pleasant is the best word I can think of to describe the show as a whole.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Staycation -- Day One

I haven't been neglecting my posting the past few days. On the contrary....Caesar and I decided to enjoy an extended weekend to celebrate his birthday, and ignoring the computer as much as possible played into that. The title of this post suggests that we stayed closer home rather than drive a long distance or fly somewhere exotic. Which is true for the most part. We didn't exactly stick close to home, but neither did we go farther than 40 miles from Long Beach.

Thursday

I awoke early as usual and spent an hour or two finishing Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter while Caesar slept in. But once he was up, we ran a few errands then headed for our first stop of the afternoon in Burbank, CA.

In a few weeks, we're taking his great nieces and nephews to the El Capitan to see Toy Story 3, but we needed to pay for the tickets in advance because of the large group. Through surprisingly thick traffic for a Thursday afternoon, we made our way to the Walt Disney Studios Group Sales office. We walked in with a cashier's check and the order confirmation, and walked out with all the tickets, a bucket of Disney swag (see pic) and 5 movie posters. And Caesar giddy with excitement about the autographed and numbered Jonas Brothers picture....

From Burbank, we decided to take surface streets to our final destination of the day, a taping of Chelsea Lately. Looking back, surface streets may not have been the best choice considering both the traffic around the Kodak Theater and the construction which forced us to one lane at a few points.

Somehow, we managed to arrive early which turned out to be a good thing. The taping was slated to begin at 3:30PM, and when we walked up to the studio shortly after 2PM, a long line was already stretching along the front of the building. We stood at the end, baking in the sun, while a few members of the paparazzi waited near the exit of the parking lot for someone. (We later learned, when the photographers went nuts, that it was Ashley Greene from the Twilight films.) As the line grew, we watched a few of the comedians who sit on the panel coming and going, and felt bad when everyone cheered for Ross Matthews, but only Caesar and I cheered for Chris Hardwick. (I don't think the twenty-something, non-Web Soup watching crowd knew who he was.)

Finally, close to 3:30PM, they began ushering us into the studio, though we had to remove all forms of metal (keys, watches, etc.) before passing through the metal detector. What a joy to walk and hold up my pants at the same time. You see, my belt had a metal buckle so... Anyway.... Once inside, we sat patiently, listened as Brody Stevens warmed up the crowd and gave us tips on laughing and applauding, then the show began. The entire taping lasted the length of the show, almost thirty minutes from start to finish. The panelists were hysterical -- Chris Hardwick, Heather McDonald and Dov Davidoff -- and during the first commercial break, Cheslea Handler walked through the audience signing copies of her books. (A quick side note: Chelsea has incredibly pretty eyes.) The guest was someone from The Hills, a show that neither Caesar nor I watches, so we had no idea who she was. Besides, we were there for Chelsea and the panelists, and with the exception of one "fag" remark from one of the panelists, the taping turned out to be much fun.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Book Review: Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter by A.E. Moorat
Before the young Queen Victoria can officially take the throne, an attempt is made on her life. The attacker, though, isn't your everyday assassin, unless you consider a succubus a routine threat. Thanks to the quick actions of Maggie Brown and the Protektorate, Victoria survives the threat and learns of a devilish plot to bring an unspeakable evil to the throne. While the news weighs heavy on her conscience, Victoria still has a country to run, a people to protect and leaves the demon-battling to the Protektorate. When the terror hits closer to home with the kidnapping of her beloved Prince Albert, the young Queen takes matters into her own hands, battling zombies and werewolves and the hellish hospital Bethlem -- known by its other name Bedlam -- to bring him to safety.

Okay...

For those history buffs crying foul, you must take this twisting and re-working of the early days of Queen Victoria with a grain (or two) of salt. Because that's part of the fun. Reading as the Queen slices a zombie with a small rotating saw, the gore splattering over her face; as werewolves undertake a tricky quest to kidnap Prince Albert through a garden maze on the grounds of the Palace; as the inmates of Bedlam are loosed upon the Queen by Sir John Conroy. A.E. Moorat doesn't create a parody world but rather weaves a great horror tale that just happens to include the real monarchy and also sheds some light on the class differences of the time, especially with the dark and filthy description of the living conditions at a workhouse.

He does add some levity to the mix, such as with the Bethnal Green Baptist Ladies' Prayer Association taking a night visit to the hospital (Bedlam) and toying with what to call the patients. And his character of Lord Quimby, despicable as he might be, along with his faithful servant Perkins, who happens to have been turned into a zombie by Quimby, also had me laughing.

Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter is a fun read that I couldn't put down once I started, and Anglophiles as well as horror fans will enjoy it equally.



Image from DriveThruhHorror.


Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter
by A.E. Morrat
EOS/HarperCollins (2009)
ISBN: 978-0-06-197601-8
softcover, 374p.

purchased book

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Birthday Weekend That Was

I don't think I've written a weekend recap in quite awhile. Not too surprising when I look back and most weekends consist of watching TV, reading a book, playing Nintendo or going out to eat.

Can you stand so much excitement?

This past weekend, though, warrants a few paragraphs on this here blog. Saturday, we spent much of the day celebrating the 3rd birthday of our friend's twins. We picked up the birthday cake -- a Costco concoction of double chocolate layered with chocolate mousse and decorated with a multi-colored caterpillar (very reminiscent of a Cootie -- and a few bags of ice then headed to Los Cerritos Park for a day with the kids.

The twins' Mom rented a bounce house (with a slide) so while the kids bounced and screamed and slid, we did our best to tape the table cloths to the folding tables before the wind blew them into the surrounding neighborhood. Same with the balloons which almost carried me away and refused to stay put after being knotted around the chair backs and canopy pillars. They continually swung into my face no matter where I moved while I tried to tie them down, and I feared one might pop in my ear.

During all this, the lady from the taco truck busied herself grilling chicken, carne asada and carnitas for our little feast. Once the decorations were in place, we called to the kids and chowed down on some fantastic tacos, rice and beans.

The highlight of the day was watching little Jackie flying her first kite: a pink Barbie flyer. Her Father handed her the ball of string, told her to run. While she ran, he tossed the kite into the air, catching the breeze and quickly soaring upwards. She continued to run, smiling and giggling, and after a few minutes, the kite dipped to the ground. She dashed to it, picked it up and handed it to her Father, telling him to do it again.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Fathers Day


Almost two months after the accident, the brain surgery, the drug-induced, eleven-day coma. Almost two months of re-learning how to walk, to talk, to swallow, to speak. You've come such a long way in those two months, making this the happiest Fathers Day for the whole family. I love you, Dad!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Book Review: The Night Listener by Armistead Maupin
Gabriel Noone is a popular late-night storyteller on the radio, with his hit show Noone at Night playing nationwide. He spends many hours writing and recording stories to tell all his listeners, but lately, his imagination seems to be blocked. His recent breakup with Jess, his partner of 10 years, may have something to do with it, putting up a wall that he can't seem to get through no matter what he tries. To bide his time while waiting for something to happen to the block or with Jess, Noone finally agrees to read one of the galleys from a young author named Pete Lomax.

Something about Pet's tale -- the struggle of a young boy through such physical and sexual abuse that it's amazing he's still alive -- tugs at Noone's mind and heart. It doesn't hurt, either, that Pete's a fan of Noone's radio show. He reaches out to the young boy, speaking with him by phone while Pete waits for more hospital treatments to assist with HIV-related complications, and they form a kind of Father-Son bond. Even his talks with Pete's adoptive mother Donna make him feel as though he's connected with and been accepted into a loving family.

Noone shares his new-found joy with Jess who is happy at first. But when he finally has a chance to speak with Pete on the phone, he asks a simple question of Noone -- has anyone actually met Pete -- that Noone's anger is aroused. How dare Jess doubt his feelings, but that anger slowly turns to suspicion. Noone and Pete have only ever talked by phone; what if Pete's story is made up? Noone's search to uncover the truth forces him to step beyond his comfort zone, to burst through the emotional block he's created since his breakup with Jess, no matter the outcome.

I hesitated at first to read the novel because I enjoyed the film version with Robin Williams and Bobby Cannavale, and my experience with reading books after seeing a film haven't been too good. (I still can't bring myself to read Dune after David Lynch's film version.) But I'm glad I threw caution to the wind and started reading.

Armistead Maupin's novel is the perfect blending of mystery and thriller. With as much communications as we do via phone (and blogs, email, instant messaging, etc.), what if that person we're talking too doesn't exist -- especially if you've invested so much personal time into it? What lengths would we go to discover the truth? Gabriel Noone allows us to take that journey. After learning of Pete's childhood, I felt the happiness right along with Noone as he stepped into a father-figure role, trying to give Pete the love he never had from his own father. And when that relationship is threatened, Noone acts as I would expect any father to do. Even so, Jess' little question put a seed into my own head and while I was reading, I started wondering about Pete. Which in turn lead to my questioning Noone's motives and finally cheering him on when he decides to find out once and for all. I enjoy getting into a novel like that.

The Night Listener is a fine mystery/thriller, with great characters and enough twists and turns to keep you from putting the book down until you're finished. Highly recommended!


The Night Listener
by Armistead Maupin
Perennial/HarperCollins
ISBN: 006093090x
softcover, 338p.

purchased book

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Vacation?? What's That?

Caesar and I haven't enjoyed a nice, long vacation since we traveled to Walt Disney World back in 2008. So I think we're both very deserving of some time away. We've both discussed numerous places including:

New York: My last visit occurred in 1978. I remember climbing the spiral stairs inside the Statue of Liberty, seeing New York City through the windows in her crown. But, alas, I have yet to see a show on Broadway, unlike Caesar.

Madrid, Spain: My cousin frequently crosses the Atlantic to see us. In fact, he and his husband will be here this Summer. It's only proper that we return the favor and take a trip to see them in their natural habitat. And I want to see what their new penthouse apartment looks like since they lived above a police station and a bar when I stayed with them in 2000.

San Francisco: A nice drive up the coast or even a quick flight from Long Beach, this trip would be a lot of fun. Ghiradelli Square, Golden Gate Park, Haight-Ashbury, the Castro, Fisherman's Wharf, Alcatraz, cable cars.

Hawaii: My company owns a house on Oahu, an island to which neither of us has traveled. Just thinking about how nice it would be to relax on a beach somewhere tropical makes me more eager to go.

We finally made a decision, and surprisingly, it's none of the above. Sometime this Fall (or Autumn), we're going to take a trip someplace unusual, where you wouldn't think a nice, West Coast couple would want to go: Hershey, PA. Chocolate, an amusement park, and only a short drive by car to either Philadelphia or Gettysburg. And lots of chocolate.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Baseball

Mikey cupped his hands around his face and pressed against the window. "I can see it, guys!" Mikey shouted over his shoulder. The other boys stood clustered at the bottom of the steps.

"You oughta come down from there, Mikey," the one with the freckles urged.

Mikey pounded across the porch to the front door, rattled the knob a few times. "Dang it!"

The kid with the glasses tried this time. "It's only a baseball, Mikey. We've got plenty around my house. You can have one of those."

"But it's my brother's baseball. He'll kill me if he knew I lost it." Mikey ran back to the window, tried pushing it up with no luck. He tried the door again, ramming his shoulder against the old wood again and again. "Someone help me. I think the door's about to give in."

The other boys stared at the ground, at the trees, at the dried leaves blowing across the grass.

"Don't do that." A small, pale boy stood just behind the others.

"But I've got to get my ball," Mikey pleaded, banging harder against the door.

The small boy quietly walked around the boys, up the steps to Mikey. He placed a hand on his arm. Mikey immediately stopped, blinked a few times at the boy. "You should go home now."

"Okay," Mikey barely said. His feet moved down the first step, the second.

Click

The door hung open about an inch. Quickly, Mikey jumped up the steps, through the door. "Hey guys! Here it--"

The door slammed.

The other boys scrambled up the steps, pounded on the door shouting for Mikey. Freckles thought he saw Mikey running up the stairs, away from something big, something dark. Glasses swore he saw Mikey floating upside down in the middle of the room. And the small, pale boy...he hung his head and slowly dissolved in front of them.

a work of fiction, © G.A. Carter, 2010

Sunday, June 13, 2010

On the Tonys

As a gay man, I'm probably committing the most grievous of sins by saying that I'm not that interested in watching tonight's Tony Awards broadcast. Don't get me wrong: I love musicals almost as much as the next homosexual, but the connection to this year's batch of shows just isn't there. Of all the nominees, I'd been aware of only three prior to tonight: American Idiot, A Little Night Music, and In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play). With such little knowledge of the other nominees, my interest is almost nill.

Tony-nominated shows aren't as readily available to the public as movies, music or television. I don't have enough time or money to hop on a plane for 5-6 hours to see a stage production and then fly all the way back to California. So a show celebrating theater in one small area of one city on the opposite side of the country isn't all that exciting. And chances are, unless the show is a major draw or offers big name stars, we won't be granted a production on the West Coast. (I'm still awaiting a touring production of Billy Elliot.)

I think I'll read instead. Or watch a horror flick on Chiller.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Book Review: The Life and Adventures of Lyle Clemens by John Rechy

One habit of mine when it comes to books is if I find an author that I like, something in the back of my mind flips a switch sending a signal to the rest of my brain that I must find and read every book by that author that I can. Shirley Jackson, Yukio Mishima, Gabriel García Márquez, Stephen King, José Saramago -- those are just a few who've set the switch into motion, and joining their ranks is author John Rechy.

While searching through the shelves of books at a used bookstore, trying in vain to find a copy of Rechy's City of Night, I happened across a paperback of another novel, Rushes. I bought it and within two nights, finished it, enjoying the way the characters interacted, the depiction of the bar and the somewhat hazy, depressed atmosphere. So I set out to find more of his books for my ever-growing bookpile. It was at a Barnes and Noble that I found The Life and Adventures of Lyle Clemens among the other titles on the bargain shelves.
For the first time, I'm at a loss for words to describe the story without giving too much away. As the title says, it's about Lyle Clemens. Actually, Lyle Clemens the Second. The first Lyle Clemens was a handsome cowboy who one night wooed a beauty pageant hopeful named Sylvia Love, got her pregnant and showered her with promises, then skipped town. Lyle grows up with his Mother's sadness lingering around the house and tries whatever he can to make her happy. But he's turning into a handsome young man, the spitting image of Lyle the First, and Sylvia's emotions push her over somewhat over the edge. Lyle decides the best thing to do is to leave Rio Escondido and falls under the greedy eyes of Brother Bud and Sister Sis, the two religious zealots who convince him to work for their "Write a Letter to Jesus" campaign. They take him to the glitter and lights of Southern California, where he meets with a myriad of characters some wonderful and some devilish, some helpful and some blinded by greed. Through all the trials and temptations, Lyle finds the strength to be himself and to stay true to his heart.

My, what I've left out! Rechy includes quite a few sub-stories, all having some kind of effect on Lyle in subtle ways -- from Sylvia's disastrous involvement with the Miss Rio Escondido Beauty Pageant to Lyle's stint with Brother Bud and Sister Sis on their televised letter campaign to a determined aging actress trying to regain the spotlight with the film sequel to Valley of the Dolls. While most of them are fun, they seem to be layered on one after the other, jumping quickly before one tale can finish. As a reader, I'm not given enough of a chance to get into a storyline before all the characters move onto something else. After a while, the stories begin to lose believability and seem more coincidental than necessary.

I hate to say it, but I'm not all that fond of the characters. They come across as over-the-top and one-dimensional, like characters in a telenovela. They're either good or bad, with no grey area in between to allow for growth. Lyle's almost too much of a goody-goody that he seems almost oblivious to negative situations unless they're pointed out to him. I did, however, think it a nice touch to add the character of Enrique Fielding to the mix, since the spiel on the dust jacket mentions that this story is loosely based on The History of Tom Jones by Henry Fielding.

The Life and Adventures of Lyle Clemens is interesting to read, but from what I've read of Rechy's other books, he's offered much better stories and characters.


purchased book

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Micmacs

Caesar and I don't go to the movies as often as we used to. It seems that nothing really grabs us, makes us drop everything because we must get to the theater to see it now! Like Prince of Persia. We both want to see it, but when either of us suggests it, the other turns very non-committal, and we end up watching TV or playing on the computer or sleeping. I can't say for certain why this happens.

Thankfully, Jean-Pierre Jeunet's we found a showing of Jean-Pierre Jeunet's latest film -- Micmacs à tire-larigot -- to lift us from our cinematic slump.
Bazil is an odd man. At an early age, his father was killed when a landmine he was trying to de-activate exploded. Years later, working at a video store, Bazil witnesses a gunfight outside the store, resulting in an accidentally-fired bullet lodging in his brain. He then loses his apartment and his job, finding himself out on the street trying to earn any money he can to get by. An old man named Placard spies him on the streets and takes him to Tire-Larigot, an amazing home hidden beneath a junkyard,where a small group of misfits and outcasts brings him into their family. As a member of the group, he spends his days hunting the city of Paris for knick-knacks, bits of trash that others have thrown away but which can be salvaged, turned into something else. During one such trip, Bazil stops his car between two large buildings. He recognizes their logos from somewhere, does a bit of nosing around and discovers that the companies are the source of all his troubles: one created the landmine which killed his father; the other, the bullet lodged in his brain. He hatches a plan, and with the help of his new family, he sets out to exact revenge of the two companies.

As with all of Jeunet's films -- Amélie and Delicatessen, to name a few -- he creates an astonishing, magical world. Bazil can communicate via Chaplinesque hand gestures. The seemingly frail Petit Pierre amazes the family with his superhuman strength. Billboards around the city seem to show exactly what's happening to Bazil and company at the exact moment it happens. Even Tire-Larigot dazzles with its walls and arches of throwaways and trash to conceal intricate mechanical men and a space that seems more like a home than the apartments in the city above.

The beginning of the film drags a bit, almost too slow. I was wondering what the heck was going on because nothing made any sense. Even after he meets the family in Tire-Larigot, it isn't until Bazil develops his plan of action that the first 10-20 minutes of the film fall into place. But once it does, the film becomes one of the funniest in theaters so far this year. Danny Boon does a fine job as Bazil, but it's the rest of the family that makes the story worth watching. Dominique Pinon as Fracasse who's trying to break into the Guinness Book of World Records; Omar Sy as Remington who gathers facts and compiles them incomprehensible stories; Marie-Julie Baup as Calculette who can look at someone or something and figure out exactly the height, weight, shoe size, distance away, or what have you, within seconds; Julie Ferrier as La Môme Caoutchouc, or Rubber Woman, who bends in unimaginable ways, such as fitting into the bottom half of a refrigerator. Together, they form a tight-knit, hysterical family unit determined to help Bazil in any way they can. They definitely make this film worthwhile.

Micmacs à Tire-Larigot is a funny, clever film that I think everyone will like. Oh, and it is in French so prepare yourself for the subtitles.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Recovery, Pt. 2

Dad's been home for a little over two weeks now, and his recovery seems to be moving at a remarkably fast pace. He scoots about the house with his walker as if he'd always used one. He loves his new recliner that lifts him from a seated to a standing position, and he tells me that it's comfortable enough to sleep in. Which he does almost every night. Physical therapists stop by the house few times a week to guide him through leg and standing exercises, as well as brain activities to get his memory back on track.
>But his memory is a funny thing. We stopped in for a visit yesterday, and after lunch, my Dad talked about what he remembered from the accident. "I stepped up onto the curb and tried lifting my other leg. I started to lose balance and reached out my hand to grab the building but by then, I'd started falling backward. I hit the ground and blacked out for, I don't know, a minute or two, then opened my eyes and there was the car right above me. So I shut my eyes again, and that was it." He didn't remember the paramedics, the surgery, the stay in the hospital, visits from Mom and the rest of the family.

"But you know what's so weird? Those 11 days that I was out, I dreamed. And it was so real! I remember this family that we went on a cruise with, and a hotel that looked more like a furniture store with all these desks and beds in the lobby. The hospital was huge and had so many buildings. One of the restaurants attached to it was so fancy and had a special room attached just for patients, with beds and nurses and whatnot.

"I remember meeting all sorts of people and we did things and went places. And to think none of that really happened."

I suggested that he write all his dream adventures down. He laughed quietly, but I could tell he was thinking about it. Maybe on my next visit, I'll take a journal or notebook for him. I would love to read about what he dreamed.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Five on the 5th

Time again for the Five on the 5th -- five pictures taken today. The subject this time was to be Looking Up or whatever struck my fancy so I decided to share a few pictures from this morning's AIDS Walk along Rainbow Harbor in Long Beach.

A sculpture to honor the tattoo parlors that used to line The Pike area of Long Beach many years ago


Me, or proof that I walked the Walk


The start of the walk


Ships in the harbor


The Ferris Wheel at The Pike

Friday, June 04, 2010

AIDS Walk Long Beach: Just a Few Hours More....
The AIDS Walk begins tomorrow at 9AM!! I'm excited and can't wait to take the early morning 5K stroll around Rainbow Harbor with hundreds of other folks -- and some dogs, too. Thank you to everyone who's donated; I couldn't have surpassed my goal without your help. And, if you still would like to donate, visit My Donation Page.


Thanks!!!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Worms

Contrary to popular belief...okay, perhaps not that popular, I still have my Nintendo DS and play it almost every day (when I'm not reading, watching Lost, or surfing the Internets).
One of my latest DS addictions is a little game called Bookworm. I love any puzzle involving words, from Crosswords to Anacrostics to Word Searches so this little gem of a game fit nicely into my collection. I originally played this game a few years ago online and was pleasantly surprised to find it for the DS. The rules are quite simple: connect tiles to form words of three letters or more. Each tile may only be used once. Using green, gold, sapphire and diamond tiles adds bonus points to the score, as do finding the "Word of the Day" and a three-letter bonus word. But watch out! Finding nothing but three- and four-letter words causes flaming tiles to appear that will burn their way toward the bottom of the tiles. Once a flaming tile reaches the bottom, the game ends.

The DS version includes a few perks of its own. Such as the 16 Word Books. Each book contains a set of twelve words that relate to a specific topic, like Tools or Kitchen or Flowers, and the object is to find all the words in a book sometime during game play. The catch: the books remain locked until you find a word that fits inside it. Quite the challenge, not knowing what I'm looking for.

This version also tracks how many total words I've found, the length of the words, the number of different bonus tiles used, and the number of bonuses earned. I'm much better with the three- and four-letter words, with over 1,500 in each category. Nil on the ten- to twelve-letter words, and a measly 2 eight-letter and 3 nine-letter words.

Perhaps if I spent more than the one or two hours a night playing it, I might fare better.....