Saturday, December 29, 2007

Dead Ringer for Love

Not a dramatic new development, well, except to me. For some time, maybe a few years, I have been insisting that Cher did a duet with Meatloaf, and the urgency of my insistence has been compounded by how much my Mom likes Meatloaf's songs (well, the two she's heard). I was sure that at some point I had the CD in my hand and saw "Cher and Meatloaf." This certainty hath often been met with blank looks of "no, that was Beavis and Butthead and Cher."

But no, tonight I found and downloaded the song "Dead Ringer for Love," from Meatloaf's Dead Ringer CD.

My memory is, once again, vindicated. Don't question me! Haha.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Previously Stated, Posted Later

Just for fun, and since you'll see if first if I post it now, here are the actual cards for the last three years. You can see how I snatched the body from last year's Hard Candy Christmas card for Saint Nicolas' "official" body template. It was fun modifying that costume back to the original state and making the Stealth Suit. This year's was actually the easiest in many ways since the bagginess ensured the fit could be...baggier. Haha. I contend this is a sight you wouldn't be terribly surprised to see on Venice Beach, after all!

Now scroll down and see this year's card.

Saint Nicolas 2007

Every year Saint Nicolas, well my version of him, appears in a different outfit on my official Christmas card. For the first two years I just handed the cards out by hand, and I think only my close family got the 2005 version. But last year, during the Hard Candy Christmas Power Christmas, I made them in time to mail them out all across the country. A dangerous precedent to set. But, I managed to get the card made and sent out just before the strep business, so almost everyone I intended to get one got one except for a few notable slip ups or people whose addresses didn't get to me in time, or my roomie in Canada, because I didn't get them made and sent in time to go that far North.

Anyhow, this post is the official internet debut of this year's card, which I decided on last year, and had mostly done last year because it was fun, and only this year, with the introduction of the paper doll idea, did it fully gel.

This year I collected four different outfits for Saint Nicolas, from his standard attire to the Stealth Suit to Hard Candy Christmas to this year's debut outfit West Coast Christmas. So, here you go, for those who didn't get a card because I don't know you or didn't make it out in time or didn't have an address. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Hard Ricola Christmas

Hey there. You remember me from last year, Mr. Hard Candy Christmas? At that time I was determined to push myself through a bad October and November and, since my family had decided to celebrate Christmas for Jr., I threw myself into the newly anticipated Holiday season with a gusto those who saw my apartment will remember well. In the immortal words of Dolly Parton, from the Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, I'd be fine and dandy. It worked pretty well.

Well, flash forward a year, here I am in Venice, California, about to spend this Christmas alone, and praying that the sweat dripping off of my forehead is the damn fever from my strep throat breaking, and not just because the heat in this house distributes unevenly in the grotto. Yeah, that's right, strep throat. I blissfully awoke yesterday to the strain of a burning/cutting sensation in my right jaw and throat. In truth, I knew what it was, but, I told myself it couldn't be. It could. It was.

After a night of crystalline lattice dreamworks--honestly that's how the first full night's sleep works for me, lattices and endless mazes of light all night long--I decided I had to get this seen about, strep can be dangerous, and, I didn't want the second night features, in which the lattice dreams, confusing though they are, turn into blades, buzz saws and other such items, cutting into my jaw and arising from the bed. I'm not kidding. I had this last January and that's how it went.

But, and this is new, I'm here in Venice and I don't know a damn thing about the medical works. Where do I go? A quick iPhone search revealed any number of therapies from acupuncture to holistic healing to alcohol and drug treatment. Yeah, well, I can' risk it, strep's a bacteria and it has certain policies it adheres to, and as much as I believe acupuncture can help in certain situations, I need these strep buggers dead.

So I go online and research, and find a place that looks doable, attached to a hospital, no less. They even advertised "you'll feel better knowing you're just a 10 second wheelchair ride to the greatest hospital ever." I'm exaggerating about the greatest part, not about the wheelchair bit.

Anyhow this place was in Marina del Rey, and for some reason I can't explain, I like Marina del Rey, even though I haven't been there much. So I'm thinking this will do. But I'm also thorough in my research, so I got the yellow pages and did a few searches. And I wound up at a place a few yards away from the other one, but still in Marina del Rey, in fact facing the Marina. Not that I cared, it wasn't about the scenery, it was about ensuring my health. Also this place had the best ad. Or the biggest. I don't know. They had a downloadable patient form so I printed it, filled it out, and took a 5 minute drive to the Marina.

I expect to be there 6 or 7 hours of course, like Midland, but it was only about 2. They were friendly, even jovial. The aide took my blood pressure and then came to do a strep test swab, explaining to me that two double lines is positive for strep, like a pregnancy test, but I wouldn't know about that, but two double lines is positive for pregnancy. Yeah. So I'm thinking, should I be nervous about possibly being the first male to become pregnant? And who's the daddy/mommy?

Anyhow, back to waiting, until a slender Asian comes in, she's the doctor, and I swear she was so friendly that I was, at last, at ease in a doctor's office. Despite the fact that my throat felt like shards of glass were sifting about.

She looks at the test, checks my heart and lungs (A-OK) then feels my lymph nodes and I swear she winced with pain for me. Then she explained the whole say AAAHHH procedure (these people were awesome, seriously, so attentive) but we never got to the AAAHHH. She backed out into the hall to escape the towering inferno that was my tonsils. I'm kidding, but, I think she was across the room. It was that apparent.

She's pretty convinced it's strep throat, the test was positive to boot, so she tells me about antibiotics and I ask if I can just get a shot. She looks a bit taken aback, tells me that the shot doesn't increase recovery time, but I was thinking it sure would save the whole get to the pharmacy wait in line wait for it to be filled be extra sick while I have to wait syndrome. So, yeah, a little pain in the arse for a lot of time saved, I'm cool with that, I'm a tough guy after all.

So, another aide, or a nurse, comes and apologetically administers the shot. She tells me this is how she'd have gone about it as well, the shot instead of drugs, still apologizing for the imminent pain, then after we get everything situated she jabs it in and yep, it's a doozy, but I survive. She still apologizes, tells me to hold on to the cotton, and generally makes me feel really good. All these people were so nice. That or they somehow called my Mom and she told them what a big baby I can be.

I saunter back into the waiting room to pay, a little bit of limping because it was sore, my upper buttockal area, and the aide says "yay it was positive" and I say "yes I'm pregnant" and she laughed and then apologized about being happy that it was positive, but meant was glad a determination could be made and treatment pursued. I doubt she would have phrased it thusly, but we all know I'm verbose, so I just did.

Then I paid and drove home and drank some juices, forgetting that OJ is bad for strep since it digs into the pulpy flesh with citrus power. And it was raining when I left. I got to pay $6.00 to park of course. Then I crawled in bed and sort of slept, throat still hurting, but happy that the penicillin creatures were inside me gobbling away at the evil strep.

Which is great, because Christmas will be here soon, and everyone's gone. I'll be alone as I, for some brilliant reason, thought it would be equally brilliant to stay here for the Holidays. Yay brilliant me.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Other Updates

So I spent my Friday night working on a few more website updates. Finally got animations of Hallowed Eve and her other incarnations up on the website, story and info still to follow. Maybe my Saturday night. Haha. I am a wild man.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Holiday Updates

Well, not updates on my life per se, other than the fact that I finally got a good computer desk, and it has allowed me to get off my butt and update my website and work on some holiday treats for my friends.

Anyhow, check out Saint Nicolas online now. It is December, after all. ;)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

And did he really go see the Spice Girls Reunion?

The answer to that question is, yes, oh yes.

So, Friday night, December 7th, I went with Eric to the Staples Center and did indeed witness the Spice Girls Reunion tour. Now, my first film in Los Angeles was an esoteric, subtitled, French film, by gosh, so it seems appropriate that my first official concert in LA was a bit (just a little bit!) of cheesecakery.

Don't judge me.

The fact is, it was a lot of fun, a LOT of fun. The costumes and stage were great, very exciting, the dancers were great, and frankly, the Spice Girls put on one helluva show. It was like a great big sing along actually--you couldn't really hear much by way of singing with the continuous howls of approval from the audience, oh what am I saying, there were screams, thunderous screams if that's possible. But as I say, big sing along, because 99.99% of the audience was singing along with each and every song, every verse, on time and mostly in key. Probably one of the largest audience participation things ever. At least, that I've ever been to.

As I also said, the costumes were lovely, and the ladies were lovely, and so in character. It was a bit (okay, a LOT) theatrical, and, well, here are some pics from the evening, for a better visual understanding.

Here are all 5 ladies, dazzling in their gold designer outfits, coming up from the stage floor in front of their respective screens. The screens moved about during the concert and displayed many different things, starting first with "computer scans" of each Spice girl and ending with, well, you'll see.

Here's Ginger's (Geri's) solo number (one of them). She was splendid in a Union Jack sequined mini dress, with the Union Jack flags being waved beside her. Not sure why, but "PORTY" appears on the monitor here, it's obviously the truncated "SPORTY" and perhaps she had just left the stage or was about to leave. Look at Geri's rockin' pose there, though. I wish I had taken my Union Jack (sequined) tank top to wear, but I left it back in Midland.Here's Posh, Eric's favorite I think, considering the number of pictures he took of her. She wore a pissed off supermodel look most of the time, I'm guessing it's in her Posh character, she's just ALMOST above all this. ;) She told David she loved him, so maybe he was around somewhere. I'm not really into that drama much, though, pish Posh. ;)

Here are the girls in their final outfits, near the end of everything. They emerged from robes to these individualized and colorful outfits. Almost like the United Colors of Benetton, and, it definitely worked for the evening's nostalgia trip.

Finally, well, this one just says it all, so the perfect end:

One more important, BIG thing...yesterday was also Madeleine's 4th Birthday! It's the first birthday of hers that I have missed, so I'm considering the Spice Celebration as part of her birthday as well--after all, she's the definition of Girl Power!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Muscle Beach on Venice Beach

There's a long history of Muscle Beach here along the coast. Without going into much detail, since frankly I don't know that much about it, I can report that the old Muscle Beach is near the Santa Monica Pier; just before you get to the Pier proper there are rings and bars, balance beams, all kinds of stuff to be gymnastic or just fit. But the new muscle beach, with an actual gym you can join, is on the Venice Boardwalk, at about the far southern end of it, before you reach the fantastic beach homes that culminate in Washington Avenue, at which point you are near the Venice Pier but in Marina del Rey. Whew.

Anyhow, add me to this mix, because there are sets of public rings, a balance beam, a rope, and bars behind the gym. I go there to do my Rocky Balboa style chin ups. A lot of them. I've found it's one of the best exercises for working everything upper body, and it gives me a good feeling when I'm done.

For the past few times I have been there, a homeless man (I assume he is homeless, he's always there and everyone knows him among the local homeless) has also been sitting on some concrete benches nearby. In this way, as he speaks to those around him, I know some aspects of his life. Apparently he keeps getting ticketed or arrested, then sent to hospitals. I don't know if this is due to mental illness or alcohol consumption.

Today I learned that someone had taken many of his things, including a blanket. I'm not sure if it was the police or some thief. I did notice a police officer going through a homeless person's cart today. I wonder if this is necessary, some real reason, or do they harass them, because, homelessness is unsightly. I mean, we all knew about homelessness in the 80s. It was a big issue, along with starving Ethiopians. There was a visibility.

Seems to be gone, that visibility. I confess, I come from a town where it's not really seen, as in , they're not on the streets as they are here. Of course, the land that spawned (sort of supposedly) W couldn't have that.

But the problem is clear here. Still exists. Sometimes I feel as if perhaps neglect pushed all the homeless to the West Coast. Most of them do seem to be mentally ill. So what's the story? So many lost stories. I don't know what to do, but, they need to be remembered.

Back to my particular homeless man's he may or may not have noticed me the other times I've been doing my chin ups, but, clearly today he did. I had finished working out and was getting my shirt and boots. They were off because, well, I did move here partly to run around shirtless, and, I had been walking along the shores edge because it was a beautiful day, and hadn't put my boots back on.

The homeless man looked at me and asked if I was from Texas. I didn't freak out. I didn't act haughty. I did wonder a bit if he'd heard me talking on the phone or something, but otherwise I had no idea how he knew, so I just asked, "how'd you know?" He said "the boots." Then he looked at his flip flops and said "this is Venice Beach," motioning as if to say I needed some flip flops. Then he proceeded to tell me I needed some sun, too white, and by this time his homeless compatriots were chuckling and adding to it. "Get naked and get some sun." But I did get a nice compliment, as he said "you've got the build [for Venice Beach], just get some sun."

I just had to shake my head and laugh. In a funny sort of way, it made my day.

I hope he's okay tonight.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

December Rain

Actually it was November 3oth. I woke up yesterday morning (it's the first of December) to the sound of, or what I thought was the sound of, rain. I guess I wasn't expecting it to be so, but yes, indeed it was raining. It rained all morning and into the afternoon before it quit, though the clouds lingered all day.

So, while I like sunshine, I have to admit, if it's going to be cloudy, I like the rain. Cloudiness without rain seems like a promise unfulfilled, but when it rains, I know productive things will happen with the earth. Not that the birds of paradise, roses, bougainvilleas, and other tropical flowers are not in full force already. But I know they appreciate the rain, and it has been so dry around here, and given the wildfires, the rain's definitely a good thing.

However, it is not good for driving in, because, it seems the folks around here go a bit crazy driving in the rain. Oh, who am I kidding, the drivers here are mostly horrible any time. You either have to just push the gas and go, aggressively though not violently, or risk getting lost in a sea of indecision, counter-decision, and the like. Then there are the pedestrians and bikers.

But I attempted a venture in the rain. I was going to find some new places. It worked, marginally. I found a new place, but decided to go elsewhere, to get some groceries. Visibility was not the best, and I was honked at for yielding to pedestrians in the crosswalk (hello, they always have the right of way, because flesh can't stand up to metal and engine). I wound up at a pretty nice Albertson's off of Washington, and found enough stuff to last me a few days if the rains continued.

Of course, they stopped, and the sun's out today. There's some other non weather related drama, but, it will pass. Otherwise I'm pessimistically optimistic about things. Or maybe optimistically pessimistic.

Oh yes, went to see The Diving Bell and the Butterfly last night. My first film in LA was subtitled and French, and it was very moving, I have to say. The theater setting was interesting too. Some just out of his teens (if not still in them) kid stands up at the front to welcome you to a movie he knows nothing about, and remind you of theater etiquette (cell phones, etc.). But he wasn't totally convincing in the part, a little wet behind the ears. Mildly amusing.

I think I have plans for later today, but I don't know for sure.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

10, 405, 101, 135, not 5, then 5, part 3

Okay, last installment, I promise. It's not like this is a Flash Gordon serial or something, no one's particularly on the edge of his or her seat waiting for me to...pee. Haha.

It was sleep on Monday night then, to get rid of my icky feelings, and apparently I was cranky, speaking to Eric on the phone that night, so I definitely needed the sleep. Next day I woke up, still tired but a little more refreshed, and decided to go have lunch with Eric in Glendale. Now, that's a drive, but not much more than going to Odessa, for example. But it did require a little knowledge of highways and connections and best ways to go, which Eric supplied me with, and, along with the GPS Penelope Cruise, I managed to make it to the Glendale Galleria quite easily, and in fact, it was a really beautiful drive. As noted way back in part one, Eden got to have some highway time, and it was good for her. She handled it splendidly, and we didn't have to stop much at all for traffic.

So I waited for Eric's lunchtime by looking at stuff in the Glendale Galleria. They had a macy's where I could get in trouble buying Christmas presents for certain people. And a store called MetroPark where I found a $230 or so jacket that I really wanted and in fact, still really do.

But I didn't buy anything. Eric and I went to a Peruvian place for lunch, he being of Peruvian descent, and, because I've been having bad luck with restaurants and what I order, I let him order for me, so I ended up with a meat and potatoes combination, with rice, and an Inca Cola. It was all very good, the beef was excellent quality and I liked the spices. At first I wasn't sure about the meat/potato combo, but, it was yummy. Yummy is a fun work.

So we drove back to the Galleria and I was supposed to get the stuff I brought for Eric but I misunderstood and didn't do it, so we said goodbye and off I went to find Eden in the parking garage. But I have an innate sense of parking garage direction, which I tapped long ago when I worked near Christmas-time at the Fossil store in the Dallas Galleria, and I think I had to park in downtown Dallas (far from the Galleria) but, when the day was done, I managed to find Nemo, my truck at the time. So yesterday I found Eden far more easily than I first thought I would.

I exited the parking garage and was going to reverse engineer, as it were, the directions Eric gave me. But, I went, counter intuitively, in the wrong direction to start, and, decided to let Penelope get me home. Well, Penelope loves to take me through downtown LA, which is almost always a mess. So, we did that, and now I understand why I followed Eric's directions getting there, because downtown is always congested, and it has those fun left, right, right, left, left, left, quick right, quick left, right, quick left exit things going for it. Or, against it. Still, I made it back to Lincoln boulevard, and, in a move that perhaps proves I'm ready to be in LA at last, was texting, checking on an address, entering the new destination in Penelope and yes, driving, and not killing pedestrians. Hooray!

The point of that was to get myself to IKEA, which was my original Tuesday destination, though it was really just an excuse to visit with Eric. Still, I decided, since I was adventuring, to go to IKEA. Penelope got me there just fine, though at first she tried to turn me back to Burbank, until I got the exact address for Carson's IKEA, which is technically closer to the house on Venice, though Burbank's IKEA was probably closer to the place where I entered the address into Penelope. Anyhow, if this is confusing, trust me, yeah it is. Even more so when I explain that Daniel's stern voice, the British personality of Penelope, also ably assisted me in finally getting to IKEA in Carson, although this involved taking the 405 San Diego freeway which is, apparently, always congested and especially at around 4:00 pm when all this was transpiring.

But, I made it to IKEA and was in Wonderland. Claire had warned me to go to IKEA with a plan. She was right. It was way too overwhelming. I got really excited because I could outfit a room with really cool, modern stuff, and for not that much, and be really happy. I could even make this garage room work for me. But, there was too much to process, and I'm still not sure what's going on with living arrangements in the near but not immediate future. So, I just made some mental notes (excellent Christmas present ideas) and wandered about dazed.

And then there was a Target right beside the IKEA! A beautiful Target full of the wonderful and well arranged Target things beloved by me and others! AH! So I bought a new pillow, king size (it was on my list) and a pillow case for it (I'll be damned if pillow cases don't cost more than the pillows!) and that was all. I ate dinner at chili's because, for all the talk of loving new and different things, the fact is sometimes it's nice to be in a relatively familiar place. And at chili's I know I can get a good burger at a decent price, which I did, and it was nice. That doesn't mean I want only chains wherever I go, but I won't pretend that it's not good to go somewhere that makes you feel like you are somewhere you've been before. Not deja vu, but, well, I guess it makes me feel safer, especially since, right now, I'm dealing with this feeling of vulnerability.

After dinner (mushroom Swiss burger) I drove back home to the Venice house, stopping first at Ralph's (grocery store out there) to pick up a couple of items, and when I parked, I patted Eden for doing such a great job (yes, I talk to my car). Traffic was not bad at all on the way back, and I would have made it even without Penelope, which is the eventual goal, of course. It's not unlike driving in Dallas here, the stretches are just a bit longer. So, I will adjust.

Thus my Tuesday was filled with a lot of new things, which probably seem not that new in retrospect, but, this moving thing is definitely not the easiest thing I've done in my life, so, I take the small, medium and large victories.

Oh and, the title of these three posts? Well, the first four numbers are the highways/interstates I took that got me to Glendale (don't take the 5). Then, I took 5 to 10 to craziness on the way back. Easy enough.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

10, 405, 101, 135, not 5, then 5, part 2

Alright so where was I...Monday boarding the plane for Las Vegas. So this plane arrives from somewhere, probably Love Field in Dallas. I forget that this happens when you travel later and not from an originating flight, so, there are not a lot of seats to choose from. However, I find a window seat, right next to the engine, forcing a rather large man to get into the aisle so I can take the seat.

I like window seats. I don't mind the engine. I like to see the mechanical stuff in contrast to the land below (though for this flight it was mostly clouds, then dark). I also love to read all the little warnings and instructions that are stenciled onto the plane. "STAND CLEAR OF EXHAUST" (hmmm...seems obvious but go figure) or "OSCILLATE THE BUSSARD COLLECTOR TO ACHIEVE NOMINAL VARIANCE." I made that one up, but if I remember I'll put it on my designs for the sINjets (see League of Super Saints index).

So I was saying, I didn't have any real problem with this seat. Plus I thought, yeah, I'd get to have space. I wasn't in a talkative mood this flight. I did so well on the way Home to Midland, talking to strangers, even starting up a conversation with the lady in the Vegas airport, so I felt excused from the general company of humanity.

But no. Just as the Flight Attendant is about to close the plane door, a rather large, swarthy, inked, and extremely sweaty man lunges into the plane. He barely made it. And ran a lot. And was dripping with sweat. Guess where he sat? Yeah. In the empty space I was planning on enjoying. He filled the space with great gusto as well. But, not his fault, that he was sweaty. I guess, I mean, I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt as to why he was so late.

Anyhow, 2 hours and 20 minutes later, with him coughing all the while, we land in Vegas. The flight was a bit bumpy, I hadn't eaten, and my stomach didn't really know much of what was going on with me. In Las Vegas the guy beside me deplaned. I knew better than to expect my space to remain unoccupied. The further you get from Midland to Los Angeles, the fuller any given plane will be on a stop. I didn't have to deplane at all, and contemplated going to the restroom, but thought, well, I can make it for the 40 minute LA flight. Bad idea.

Meanwhile a lady had lost her purse, so we all spent time looking for it. "Is that your bag?" this helpful woman asks regarding my computer case, as if yes, I were indeed sitting there, trapped in the aluminum tube of an airplane, and in broad planelight was holding this woman's purse under foot, as if I could get away with it. Boris and Natasha I am not. "Yes" I answer, and start looking in my vicinity for the lost purse. They found it somewhere, I think someone else had accidentally picked it up or something. There's no good end to the story because my involvement with it ended early on, since I had not stolen the purse and so wickedly stowed it right under my feet and thus everyone else's nose, so to speak.

I may be exaggerating a bit. I don't know if the "helpful" woman (dark black hair, shoulder length bob, glasses, very white, red lipstick, yellow sweater) really thought my bag was the bag (it's a leather computer case, not a purse, by the way) or not. But I'm thinking now that I thought then that it was true. Because I was in a bit of a bad mood. Also I needed to go pee. Yeah...did I say I made a bad choice on the not going to the bathroom then thing? Wait, wait, don't get ahead of me, I did NOT pee in my pants. Yikes, nothing of the sort. I was just uncomfortable for the remainder of the flight.

Now, no one except we few, we happy (?) boarded from Midland going to LA few, was on the plane at this point. Lots of space. Then the Vegas folks begin to board. Please, let someone cool sit by me, someone attractive even, because I'm shallow that way. But, as the folks filtered in, well, some passengers were, I have to be honest and just say it, in desperate need of some deodorant. The offending party or parties were also very close to me. My stomach turned (no there is no vomit in this tale, it wasn't that bad) but between my bladder and my stomach let's just say it was a very long 40 minute flight. Luckily the fresh air from the vent helped things, but, not much.

I have to pause here and say when I got to LA, and I did get here, because here I am, I started to wonder if I was smelling myself. After all, I had been using some Axe body deodorant, and it doesn't always last long, but it was all I had at Mom and Dad's house. But no, I didn't smell it on the first leg of the flight, and otherwise what I smelled on me was APOLLO, the particular flavor of Axe body spray. (It makes me as sexy as the god Apollo, don't you know.)

Also of note on the flight was this Asian man and his blonde, flowerdy haired girlfriend. They had to sit separately on the plane, and this caused much alarm for them (she was loud and a bit obnoxious). When we were in the air he actually went to the bathroom and she followed suit. They went in together right under the flight attendant's nose, and I thought wow, they're joining the mile high club. But he promptly exited, and then stood at the front of the cabin where you're not supposed to stand because FAA restrictions prevent any passengers from congregating at the front of the plane (protect and survive). But the flight attendant caught this and told him about the rule, and then announced it to the whole plane.

So...he stepped a couple of steps back and waited there, still too close to the flight deck in my opinion. But when his girlfriend came out (ok, I assume that's what she was, I don't know for sure) then he went back into the restroom while she went back to occupy his seat. So I have no idea what they were truly up to, but I suspect drugs were involved. Perhaps I should have alerted the flight attendants, but, if I'm no Boris and Natasha, I am also no Inspector Clousseau.

So, after the longest, smelliest, drug/sex infested(est) (conjecture) 40 minute flight of my life (so far) we landed at LAX, my bladder full and acting very much like those animated bladder type things we see on TV, for bladder control medicines. Stomach was still turning. Of course, at LAX, when you land, it takes another bit of time to drive to the gate where you need to be. It's the whole, 1 hour, gate to gate thing the Captain tells you about early on in the flight, when you still think it might have been wise to save going to the bathroom until you were on the ground. (Again, a mistake!) But at least on the ground you know you will get somewhere at LAX, and that there are restrooms, so I just stared back at the lines of planes, all at different levels, headed for the same runway. It's an amazing thing, all the planes stacked and scurrying to get out of the way for the next plane that's landing in the exact same spot.

Eventually we found our gate. Then of course, deplaning is another thing, waiting for everyone to squeeze out, and getting one last whiff of the body odor from...wherever. But hooray, when I was able to walk I felt a little better, and found the first restroom, and the first available stall, and peed for like, 30 minutes, because of course after I waited to pee so long, I could no longer pee all at once. The human body is an amazing and totally confounding thing.

After that 30 minutes I then called my Mom to tell her I was on the ground, and proceeded to find a taxi. I found one, and told him where to go, and he said "how do I get there?" Lucky for him I wasn't a newbie from Texas just off the plane, but, had 2 weeks worth of LA time under my belt buckle. So I told him to how to get me home, and updated him along the way, and told him where to turn, and where to stop. I also still tipped him, even though I put way too much thought into the whole process of paying someone else to use my limited knowledge of the streets to get me back to Venice, CA.

But he dropped me off and I got home and ate some oatmeal when my stomach settled down. Then before too long I went to bed and crashed (bad word choice, but I'm on the ground).

Looks like I better cut this off and save the rest for part 3. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

10, 405, 101, 135, not 5, then 5, part 1

If you've ever been to Los Angeles, you'll likely be able to decode the stuff on my title. Today was a day of exploration. I finally took my baby girl, Eden, out on the highway. She hasn't been out of city stop and go traffic since she moved here. Every day I look at her and apologize. It's just that I want to keep her safe. Since I often feel vulnerable here, I think she must feel that way, too. But she's a car, she's meant to stretch her legs on the the open road. She's a muscle car, in fact, and just driving a few blocks to the grocery store, or a few miles down the regular roads, is not her life. So, today I took her to Glendale (by and around Pasadena) and then down to Carson, finally, to the IKEA.

More on all that later, but, I really need to go back to Thanksgiving week and my return here, which is home but not yet Home, and as noted earlier, I'm working on that bit.

Anyhow, so Thanksgiving was, overall, really good this year. I got to meet up with almost everyone I wanted to see, though didn't get to see a few for various reasons, mostly the weather. Yes, it snowed Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Luckily not Monday, or else my flight might have been affected. This fact was good for me, not so good for my niece and nephews who go to school. Had it been icy/snowy, they wouldn't have gone to school, but, alas they did. I remember those days and why snow was so much "fun" then, yay, unexpected day off from school. But these days I can't say I'm in love with it, and the cold, hanging around for that long.

Still, Thanksgiving was great with my family, even if dinner out on Tuesday night was a production beyond the usual. For you see, a certain nephew, who will remain nameless, but had a bird themed cake, apparently threw a bit of a fit which involved, much to his surprise, punching his hand through the window at his house. We are all over it, and thankfully he was not hurt except for a minor scratch, but it did result in a late arrival for that part of my family, and otherwise a bit of a sober tone in all the kids. But it was great to see them, and Bram has now earned the name Fist Through Glass. I think it was all over a pair of Wrangler jeans, too.

The rest of the Holiday passed with the usual stuffing, both the edible kind and the fact that we all stuffed ourselves. Every Thanksgiving very nearly centers around my Nene's stuffing recipe anyhow. It's a perfect cornbread dressing, and I get to taste test for accuracy every year, well, since Nene died. No taste test was needed with her, she just knew how it should be. When she left us, we worried about Thanksgiving dressing without her, but, Mom picked up pretty quick and my judgement is usually pretty sound. The only potential wobble this year was salt, I kept tasting it and telling Mom it needed salt, odd for me because I do not usually request salt on things. Turns out the chicken broth was the low sodium variety, so there was the missing salt and the explanation. In any event it turned out perfectly. We were at the table eating and Madeleine didn't want any of the dressing and gravy. I turned to her and said "you don't want any stuffing, it's your recipe?" I say this because my sister, my Mom, and indeed, most of us in the family, are convinced Madeleine is Nene sent right back down to us.

I have to pause for a moment and note that Figaro, my Chewbacca, that mass of black curls and eternally youthful energy, standard poodle, died over a year ago just before Thanksgiving. Truth be told, he kept me in Midland longer. I knew I could never leave him behind, and couldn't take him with me to make him get accustomed to a new place. We all miss him so much, but he had the best life ever, example to me, as Dolly would sing, that "you better get to livin'" (and when is her new album out?).

I met up with Earl and Rice on Wednesday at Starbucks, so we had a chance to talk then. The following Friday I met up with the entire Starbucks gang. I got to see Sarah's sketchbook, brimming with new stuff since October, and always stunning. David, Keith, Becky and I talked about avocados. I will leave it at that because we were reprimanded (mostly David and I) for laughing and being merry. I had gone without a shot of David, Keith and Becky for two whole weeks, and I don't know when I will be back to have fun with them again. Hell, everyone knows if you get me around caffeine and David, I will laugh my arse off and then some. Thank goodness he wasn't drinking (oh wait, that was later, at Jorge's, and we got in trouble).

I am not exactly in the easiest place in my life right now. Granted I have saved some money so I can find my footing better than most, but I know very few people here and even fewer of those would I trust when in need. I'm 1,200 miles from everything I've known and loved, so, know what, I can be a little selfish and ask for help from the people back home who Love me (big L). All I'm saying is that the embrace of laughter works better than wallowing in despair. It's taken me a long time to learn that, but, it helps just to say that I will be fine and dandy, so I'm holding fast to my "Hard Candy Christmas" theme from last year and yes, I made two count 'em two references to Dolly Parton.

The snow kept me from seeing Deborah and Ester, because Odessa is much further away when you are not sure the roads will permit you to pass. I am sad about that, but, we will catch up sometime. Deborah promises she has a Southwest freebie ticket (frequent flyer miles) that's reserved for visiting me here in LA, so, she better know that I'm holding her to it. Ester I get to talk to online often enough, if she's not idle, and it's too bad she can't control herself on the webcam. Haha. ;) I don't actually know if she reads this or not, but I love to tease her.

Despite not seeing those friends, the Holiday break still energized me. I got to see Amy at Barnes and Noble twice, once with Meghan, and since David and Keith and Dan were there, they all got to to meet each other, finally, because it seems I can never connect Amy with my other circle of friends. But it worked this time and we had a great conversation and everyone liked everyone else. I also got to see Amy on Sunday, so that was great. I teased her about her Devil hoodie and also about being in LA. She's my favorite person to talk to on the phone when I'm on the beach because I tell her "you hear that, it's the ocean" and she usually responds "I was pretending it was something else." I do this because Amy lived in LA for 6 months or more (now I forget what she said) and also because, in my heart, I really wish she was here to be part of my LA experience, because we get along together so well.'s possible that I'm being sappy but I don't care.

I even ran into Misty at Barnes and Noble as well. Seems we always run into each other there, so it was nice, nice, in a good nice way. Everything sort of changes and stays the same all at once.

Now on Monday I left at 5:30 PM, which was not the best planning, because now I realize if I leave so late in the day, the day's pretty much just spent waiting. But it was waiting with Mom, so, treasured waiting. I love my whole family so deeply, but, Mom is closest to me because she's one of the main reasons I react to beautiful things as I do. So, it's really hard to watch her drive off in Rowdy, the big red Ford truck, as I walk into the air terminal. But, it's easier than having her sit there in the terminal and progressively get more nervous about my departure, making me more nervous.

Also in the Monday mix, Dad and Simon got back from the ranch having found themselves snowed in on Sunday. They produced a videotape which documents the weather and the nature of their being stuck, so, I guess they are off the hook. Dad comes home whispering to Mom "when does he leave" "does he know he can come back if he's not happy" and such things, which, in that whispered way, makes me know I'm well loved, even if he and I don't always, or often, see eye to eye.

Thus went the Monday, slow and fast waiting. Mom dropped me off at about 4:00 and I made my way through security...I think the guy asked me if it was okay if he tested my laptop, while I was thinking, why is he asking me, it's his job, I can't really say no, can I? Haha.

Anyhow, so I sat at the desolate gate, because Midland's airport is much like Midland, lots of space and mildly empty. Eventually it filled up and, around 5:00 or so, we lined up to get on the plane. I'll end this post with that, and Part 2 will continue the flight and the return.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Home and Home

I have been in Midland for the Holidays. Home in Midland. Tomorrow I fly home to LA, and I haven't quite reconciled the two homes. But I feel energized, and ready to continue building my life elsewhere. I even think I might accidentally have a good start on this new life thing.

Knock on wood.

I'm on the iphone so it limits my eloquence if you will, so bear with me. I've learned some stuff about myself and when I can sit and process I will share. In the meantime, it has, overall been a great Thanksgiving. I'm always thankful for my family, and the friends I have here now. They make it hard to leave even as they'd all kick my arse if I stayed!

Anyhow...back in LA at 7:30 tomorrow. Check later for further thoughts.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Cross Post Stitching and a Tease

Well, here's another video in Ricë's great new start on YouTube. While I miss the uncontrollable laughter, this one's a little more concise, quite helpful, and we get a guest star, a very svelte, trim guest star he is, too.

Also, I'm thinking about a new idea for a contest. It won't require any drawing, sketching, photo bucketing, or any such thing. It would require just typing or writing some thoughts, and the assumption that you know a little bit about the League of Super Saints.

But I don't know if I want to do it or not. So I'm just teasing here to see what happens.

Catching Up

So, yesterday the weather took a cloudy, chilly turn, no sun, but, all in all I dealt with it pretty well. Probably because, after four days of glorious sun and warmth, I do remember how beautiful it is here. The ocean just stuns me every time.

Now I'm waiting for someone to arrive and we're going out for a bit, so I thought I would upload some overdue photos, which I have promised (likely) more than a month ago. Since I'm playing hard and fast with linear time anyhow, just pretend they're all exactly where they should be temporally, in a specific post.

First up is the birthday cake I decorated for Bram this year (pre-Halloween). Bram was supposed to be an Edgar Allen Poe type, dark and mysterious baby, (it was my concept for him) but when he met the world it was with the lightest blond hair of all the kiddos, and blue eyes. Never mind, there is a demon that waits within the fair haired child. For that reason, and since his birthday is so close to Halloween, we do scary themes for him, and this year's choice was based on Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds.

Here's what I did with the theme, cake wise:

The next photos are from my room before I left for California. I took a couple of quick shots of the "mess" (little bits of cut out paper, dolls, etc.) from the Genesis of Darwin 665's paper doll form. That's Isaac, a Living Dead Doll scarecrow, sitting in the decorator's chair (which I found in miniature, but would love to have full sized) and watching over things.

At last I get around to posting the fantastic Love Gun Becky made for me, the one I mentioned with the extra blue heart for bluebird to give away to someone. I brought this with me to LA and it's on the platform bed right beside me as I sleep, with Binky (ah! have to get some shots of Binky!) and other items close to my heart.

The hearts fit down in the barrel. Not only is it such a cool thing, I mean, it's knitted, I just love the play on expectations, but Becky personalized it for me and it really has extra deep meaning for me for that reason.
Finally, here's my LA pal Benny, asleep on the bed in my room. He's such a sweetie and really smart. Rachel (his mom, my roommate) puts him out in the morning and if I'm a lazy bum and still in bed he wanders over to the garage door, where he always hangs out apparently, basking in the sun, but now he knows to whine a bit at me, and make me feel bad for not opening the garage door and letting him in.

There he is, just snoozing away.
So, just some photo catch up before I head out on the town.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sometimes it's a Smile

General update: the weather is gorgeous. I went for lunch and then decided to hit the beach again yesterday. While I'm working on finding my niche, I might as well, since I can, take advantage of the beauty around me. So I went to the water's edge (that's a song right?) and the waves were active, and I wound up walking from Venice Beach to the Santa Monica Pier, where I dawdled about some and did a little exercise, checked out the Pier. I still haven't been on the Pacific Wheel yet. I'm hoping for the right moment. Maybe at night.

I got more than my fair share of exercise no doubt. After all, when you walk one way, you typically (unless you get a cab, $$$) have to walk the other way. But there's so much to see. People on one side, ocean waves with people in the water (sometimes) on the other (the water is mighty chilly, but it was warm, and I'd probably dive in the water myself, so they're not insane, unless I'm insane, which is possible).

Now, because Claire (fabulous roommate from Calgary) said something about men in Speedos, and not wanting to see that, now I have to report back to her on my Speedo Spying. Yesterday the number was three. One guy was wearing a red Speedo and it looked like he could pull it off at least, in shape, but he was smoking a cigarette. Go figure. That was on the way to the Pier. On the way back, there was a guy, probably German, maybe Italian, who didn't need to be wearing a Speedo, as his belly was overhanging into Arizona. Finally there was a purple Speedo, and this guy had long curly Romance novel cover type hair, and I thought he must have been Greek or Italian (note how I'm trying to blame it on the Europeans) but he didn't sound foreign when he was talking to his family. His Speedo was ill fitting, baggy. So I figure the rule is, if you're gonna try to pull off the look, and maybe you can, make sure you get one that fits well at least.

That's the Speedo report. Haha.

Later I went to Staples. I was going to walk, as I've been doing, because it's really not a far walk, but after the Santa Monica Pier jog, and because it was close to dinner, I drove. Which, in a sense, probably takes longer than walking but expends less energy. So I waited in line for the employees to get what I needed from the back and then waited for a person to check me out. This gorgeous black woman with dreadlocks emerged, manager type, and kind of gruffly looked at me, saying "were you being helped" and I told her the guy said to wait here for check out, then I smiled and I think I twinkled my blue eyes, because that can be affective and effective here, and she shot back a great smile. It wasn't a big deal, but, it made my night, because, in this city that never sleeps (haha, I think that's New York, and the start of a movie, but I'm stealing it) you have to give and grab back the little moments like that.

I'm working on something else, too, but I don't want to say anything and possibly jinx it. Because I'm superstitious that way.

Now, because it made me laugh so much, and made me miss her, too, I'm going to post this little YouTube ditty for your pleasure:

A horse is a horse, of course, of course,
And no one can talk to a horse of course
That is, of course, unless the horse is the famous Mr. Ed.

Go right to the source and ask the horse
He'll give you the answer that you'll endorse.
He's always on a steady course.
Talk to Mr. Ed.

People yakkity yak a streak and waste your time of day
But Mister Ed will never speak unless he has something to say.

A horse is a horse, of course, of course,
And this one'll talk 'til his voice is hoarse.
You never heard of a talking horse?

Well listen to this. I am Mister Ed.

("Mister Ed" by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston)

Folks, that's the fabulous Rice (two dots over the e, can't do it on my laptop for some reason) teaching you how to heat-set, and cracking herself up, and if you're like me, it's cracking you up, too. The voice, James Earl Jones-esque behind the camera, is the Ever Gorgeous Earl, who is perhaps the only person on the planet who could film this woman doing this and not crack up with laughter, and that, gang, is LOVE!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Day One

Yes, you read that right. Start it all over. Wind the clocks backward (who winds clocks much these days?), back up the sun, reverse the Earth (a la Superman, the first movie), turn back your odometers, take the moon back a few cycles, capture some extra sunsets in reverse and let the flowers have a few more days of newness, today is my first day in California.

Don't get confused, I'm not the ambassador of quantumly physical infinite parallel universe hopping. I'm not Dr. Who. I'm just starting it over today because I want to.

You see, I'm going to be completely honest. Despite meeting some cool new people who have shown me kindness (I have always depended on...let's not go there) I have to say that, until today, I have been regretting the decision to move here. It's not like that's a great secret, something I kept hidden on the blog. You don't even have to read between the lines. You can read the lines and see I wasn't doing cartwheels.

(Confession: in between looking at jobs, apartments and trying to find places to network in life and online, I was also scoping out the scene in Austin. Preparing a get away from my get away. Because the rule is, still is, should this feeling wane with the crescent moon, my happiness.)

So yeah. Now, what about today? Because today was friggin' gorgeous. The sun came out in its full glory and poured upon sand and sea. For my past beach encounters I've been sadly looking at my old lover blanketed in a chill of clouds. She looked forlorn. She was in a Thomas Hardy novel, the one I've been trying to live for too damn long.

But today, not a cloud in the sky, and the ocean mist only barely there as it should be. Today I went walking to a spot and had brunch, with myself and unconsumed by the self-ness of it. Then I went outside of my head and talked to a woman and her small daughter at a table near me (large portions started the conversation). She asked what I did and I said I was an artist and just moved here. And believe it or not, I gave her a moo card! (Note to self: order more, and make sure plenty are in your wallet.) But it doesn't matter if she never sees that card again or if she tossed it in the gutter, I gave it to her.

Now, for the socially adept, you may think what a goofball I am, and yes, I am a goofball, though charming, but still, it's a minor triumph. I am not known for stepping outside of my box, and my box is, trust me, a very tight fit (don't go there David). So yeah, good.

And then I went to the beach and saw the Pacific in her glory. I went and did my Rocky Balboa style "I don't need a gym" workout (next challenge: joining a gym). Then I took my shirt off! Yes! The reason I came here, not the only reason, but a good one, to wander around shirtless as much as possible. I walked along the surf and sand, where the freezing water lapped at my feet and made me catch my breath. This! This! (I'm motioning to the sand, the water, the blueness, the sun reflecting off the water, the people in the water, the--I think--Asians in Speedos, probably not needing to be in Speedos, the kids building sand castles, the surfer/boarder laying face down in the wet sand--resting I guess, he was alive though--all these things are why I moved here.)

So I walked up and down the surf, investigating the ephemeral sandbars, which I hadn't seen before. Shirtless, jeans legs rolled up, shades on, cool and warm, the sunshine on my shoulders making me happy, and the cool breeze keeping it from oppression.

Welcome to LA, Gabriel.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Just for it rained.

No joke. The sun didn't come out until about 4:30, and then was just barely a slip between clouds as it was setting. Yes indeed, moisture did rain forth from the heavens.

Today I went out though, I walked to meet someone for coffee then when had lunch. He's a theologian (graduate degree in theology) I met online, Damian, who is very intelligent and articulate. We talked so long that he got a ticket (they keep track on Sundays, because LA is godless so the police can't go to any Churches because they haven't got 'em, godless liberals in LA). We then went to lunch and talked more. I guess for anyone who knows about my strict, only white underwear wearing, women stay silent don't cut your hair or wear pants, don't go to the movies, one bread one cup o' grape juice church, you might imagine that I would have a lot to talk about with someone who has degrees in theology. You would be right. However, I can't really detail the conversations because they would be esoteric in the realm of my personal religion, and Rice's warned me about that, plus it might make her run away screaming, and make her head explode. I've done that before and Earl has to clean it up. Or up it has to clean. Or whatever.

After lunch, I went to Santa Monica with Kevin, who is also intelligent and what we call a "stand up guy." I looked at bikes, then we looked at books, comic book stores and a few other places. We were on the promenade in Santa Monica, so I stayed out of the clothes stores even though the Diesel store was right there beckoning me. I have plenty of clothes for now...well, except for hoodies. I need more freaking hoodies! Luckily they're a dime a dozen on Venice Beach.

Where was I...yeah, after we went for sushi, but the place we wound up was charging $32.50 for the sampler tray thingie, a bit overpriced, and I wanted a spicy tuna roll anyhow, and I'm not fond enough of sushi to pay THAT much, at least not yet, and everyone seems to think it's a bit overpriced at that price, so I ordered seared scallops and damn, they were good. As was the asparagus to go along with them (this reminds me I need to email Deborah).

So, then Kevin dropped by here for a bit, chatted about football with Rachel and friends, then I showed him the Saint stuff (paper dolls, packaged) and his mind started firing off some connections.

So, it's a start. And even if it rained today, well, it was a good day.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Dali Suite or, For the Love of Canada

For the record, the sun came out again today, so, I think it's in the clear for now, the sun thing. Of course it has the whole "might not come out tomorrow" thing. This ain't Annie, after all.

Today after a groggy start I went with Claire, one of my new roommates, to see a Salvador Dali exhibit, "Dali: Painting and Film." It most definitely must have been the most LA art thing I could have gone to in my first art excursion. I have a love/hate thing going with Dali anyhow, but, let's face it, he's a rock star of the art world. Put his name on a billboard, and people will come to the show, no doubt. They'll flock to see the chaotic rumblings of a sexually charged earthquake, psychoshowings and so forth and so on. It's hard to take Dali out of the commercial context I'm familiar with, as in, when I worked framing prints and every college dude came in to buy a Dali poster for his wall. Either the Narcissus one or the whole Dog/Vase thing.

But there were a couple of smaller postcard type paintings, which, of his output, I prefer, and find them to be the more truly accurate at capturing the whole dreamscape psychobabble unconscious phootey-tootey, as opposed to the universal phootey tooteyness of god, per Wendy.

Following that we ate a late lunch at a Vegan place, where I had a Paninio Tuscaninio (all very special sounding) that approximated mostly barbeque. I don't think that was exactly what it was suppposed to do, I think it was supposed to taste like Italian meat stuff, but for me it was BBQ. Funny enough, since it was all vegetable, but did a really good job masquerading as meat. Undoubtedly this masquerade was so meat missing vegans could fill the void without any guilt. I also had an overpriced IZZE soda.

Yeah, that's another thing, and no it's not like I didn't realize it before now, but, yeah, everything's over priced. Over priced, and often tacky, I say remembering the sights in the stores outside the window as we rolled down Melrose. Anybody remember Melrose Place? Haha. Maybe I need Heather Locklear to come and rescue this show.

Enough, enough. That's the day so far. I'm not going out tonight, I'm still apparently not ready or just don't want to. I'm meeting a couple of people tomorrow--I hope. So far I'm learning you can't count on too many people here.

Except Canadians like Claire. She is awesome and I love Canadians!

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Move to LA

Ever so shortly after all the Halloween crazy fun-ness, it was time for my departure, which tinged All Hallow's Eve with just a little bit of melancholy. Ok, well, David made me cry a few times, I'm man enough to admit.

Halloween night was more fun, though, and was like the really good punch served with the cake, because we don't want too much icing. The kids came out to the house and Mom had created yet another fabulous home made carnival for them. I mean really a carnival, with the dart/balloon thing, bobbing for pickles (witches nose), beanie ghoul toss, a few other things and even a cake walk. The cake walk was the biggest hit, and lasted the longest. I was in control of music and played, what else, but the official 2007 Gabriel Lewis Halloween mix. Eventually I was forced to tell the cake walkers "get your prize, no drama, get back in the circle" or something like it, as there was too much drama about prize picking to be sure. But it was fun.

Mom reminded me that last year Figaro was walking the cake walk with everyone else. It's such a good memory, but I still miss my Chewbacca so much. I can only imagine him in LA on the beach, romping around like the puppy he stayed for his whole life.

(Figaro was my black standard poodle, best dog ever, who I always told, in Virginia Woolfe/Orlando fashion, "never grow old." The truth is he really didn't, but he died less than a year ago, his body was just finally outpaced by his youthful spirit and mind.)

Anyhow...I have tons of memories and they're always so clear, but I need to get back on track.

Carnival over, I went to meet up with the gang at Carino's. Earl, Rice, David, Keith, Becky and this time Lynn from Starbucks came for the final outing with Gabriel. We had a blast of course, Brian the Flying Hawaiian, Manila Ice himself, was our waiter, so it was appropriate. David and Lynn, both coming from the same mold, made us laugh. When it was time for goodbye, though not goodbye, Rice stoically said "he'll be back, his family lives here and they love him" and mentioned "airplanes." And, she's right, I've already booked my Thanksgiving flight, but still, yeah.

I went home and slept. Next day I started getting things ready. I spent time with the family, hugged the kids who came by after school to say (not) goodbye but you know, goodbye, to me. Then I met Becky and Sarah at Barnes and Noble, after I washed Eden, so I spent some time with Sarah and got to say a proper (not) goodbye. Then Amy came up with Jade, so I got to see her and say goodbye.

Then I went home and we started packing Eden. She was stuffed for the first time in her life, suitcases, hats, jackets, my computer. I had to lay the back seats down to make room for everything, but we made it happen. She was ready. After all, moving to California is what Eden was born to do. Now, it doesn't mean she has to stay there, here rather, but she was made to make the journey.

Ok...bedtime for now and I'm running out of juice. More on this tomorrow.

Now it's tomorrow. I'm basically lollygagging about. It's hard to get started as the sun is still being held hostage by the clouds or the sea mist or whatever it is. Last night my roommates turned on the heater. I didn't think this was supposed to happen here. Years and years of sunny Los Angeles based television and cinema...lies, all lies. I mis-named my blog.

Pardon the Emo moment.

Back to the adventure...Eden was packed and I slept well that night. I spent the better part of a month getting my room in order as much as possible, and was quite happy with it. It's important for me to know everything is arranged well and that my room back home exists in a state of happiness.

So I got up about 6:30, which was the old usual for working as a laborer in the days that were not so long ago but seem so long ago. I dressed and ate breakfast, loaded the last remnants, hugged my Dad and my Mom, and hit the road. Mom tells me "you know how to get on I-20" and of course I said "yes" but I missed that exit. Very funny. And had to loop back to I-20. Silly me, I was arguing with Penelope Cruise and her personality Daniel (what I named the satellite navigator) and it happened.

But I was off. Odessa's not so pretty from I-20. The drive wasn't bad, some beautiful scenery all the way through. I arrived in Phoenix about 6:30 or so, and got stuck in traffic two miles from my hotel. Once I finished with traffic, turns out the hotel was barely accessible due to construction, so I detoured myself and finally found the entrance. I'm gonna have to say I'm not a big Phoenix fan. Looks like it's growing too fast for itself. There were five or six cranes working on high rises downtown. Lots of trendy lofts, and, joy for me, an outdoor concert that reverberated through the hotel windows. Never mind paper thin walls. I won't stay there again, and, Phoenix isn't too high up on my places to go list.

Still, I managed to sleep OK, and headed off about 8:30. This was a spectacular drive, the mountains are just so lovely, with lots of sun. I made good time and hit no traffic until around West Covina, where it became bumper to bumper. Even when the bottleneck cleared up there was pretty heavy traffic until downtown LA, where Daniel told me to go, even against my own intuition, and of course once ensnared there it wasn't so fun. So far I can say no one on the road here is too polite. Even when it would help traffic, they just won't let you in a lane, no space, so you pretty much have to make the space for yourself if you're forced into one of those "left exit" "right exit" "left exit" "south exit" thingys. Which I was.

But I finally arrived at the house here in Venice. I unloaded Eden and began thinking of how I could get the garage room in order. The fact is it's a bit gloomy, with no storage space. (Yes, I've already been to Target in Culver City to help alleviate this problem.) There's a clothes rack with (now) mostly my stuff, and on the end a few of Vanessa's clothes still hanging around (pardon, I had to pun) so it looks like I cross dress occasionally. I had to buy hangers and organize my clothes from no sleeve to long sleeve, color coded though not separately from sold to stripe to pattern because I don't have enough colors to make that look organized, and I've already run this by David and we're both ok with it.

I did go down to the Venice Pier my first day here, when the sun was shining, and took this picture to send to my sister and the family. Sunset on the Pacific. I ate Thai food, salmon and shrimp with a coconut curry sauce and some jasmine rice. It was very good.

Yeah, so, here I am. I haven't done much, and I'm sure to get in a great deal of trouble if I don't get my ass in gear and work it off soon (not hustling, art related work my ass off stuff). But so far I'll be quite honest and say I'm not extremely impressed. I put a down payment on sunshine and shirtless weather, and so far I'm getting gloom and chill.

I have to give it time, though. I know only about 6 people here, and not many of those I'd count on for anything. So, it's not like I can run around with the crowd here, since there's not one, as the six I know are spread thin. Still, I'll make my niche. But honestly, if it turns out I'm not happy here I'm gone. And right now I'm not thrilled, except when I'm by the ocean which is still so beautiful, but I'm giving it time, time time. It was just a week ago that I headed out, though it seems longer now. Ultimately though there's no reason to pursue a dream if it's making you feel bad. I'm lucky, I have time and no ties (as in wife and kids) so, I can figure out where I need to be. The only thing I have to prove is to myself, and the proof I need is that I can find the somewhere I belong and be happy.

Yeah. (And what do you know, it looks like the sun might come out today, I see patches of blue sky!)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Big Halloween Post, Part 3 (and final); or, The True and Goodly Picture of the Rocky Horror Picture Show

Final installment, finally! By the way, no, the sun is NOT out and am I happy about it? No. Can I do anything about it? No.

Where did I leave on the Halloween subject? I think I had everything down to Earl and Ricë’s house, her laughing until she couldn’t eat, pretending to be askeered of my ghost cowboy lips (whilst shortly after admonishing all Halloween participants if they were not something ghoulish or day of deadish, and heaven fofend if they were sexy-ish). David with his flight suit and helmet. Keith with his blond Johnny Depp pirateishness. Earl refusing to have any makeup come near his person. Before Night Falls with Javier Bardem, paused on the television, and according to reports not watched that night, possibly to due significant laughter.

Anyhow, Ricë filled David’s flight suit pockets with numerous things not usually found in flight suit pockets: chopsticks, some rubbery lip thing which was just slightly left of icky, a wooden animal and of all things a meat thermometer. Presumably this was to allow all manner of conversations to occur, with a spontaneous eruption whenever David pulled an item out of his…pocket. Get your minds out of the gutter.

We did then assemble, David Keith and I, at the Bar (that’s its name, yessir) along with a gaggle of Universitarians. This is a term I created for Universalist Unitarians, or Unitarian Universalists, precisely because I really cannot remember their exact title, and it’s long anyhow. They had been there a little before us, and many of the ladies were sort of drunkish. We laughed for a bit, and indeed David began producing items out of his pockets, much to the delight of all. And much to the delight of all, the meat thermometer was a big tit…er…hit.

Sorry, I’d never use that term but really it was a great pun. You see, it has been reported that David svengalied the women into placing the meat thermometer between their breast cleavage and declaring themselves “medium well” or “broiled beef” or “set oven,” all phrases gleaned from the thermometer itself. And David definitely could Svengali many, many people, he is that charming, so I don’t deny the possibility. But the fact is these UU women know how to party, and all David had to do was pull out the meat thermometer (yikes, it sounds so very dirty) and they were all over it (it doesn’t get any cleaner).

Having said that I was deemed “tender lamb.” It’s largely because I’m so shy and innocent. :)

So post The Bar we headed to the Yucca theatre in glorious downtown Midland to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show. First up was the costume contest. We cheered loudly for the Universitarians, and generally managed to get those we wanted to win in the winners circle. Alas many of the flock seemed to be in the bathroom when Keith went up there, and only David and I were left to cheer and though we were loud, and even joined by the (mostly) cool people below, he did not make it to the final round.

I’d also like to point out that there was a sexy female contest but no sexy male contest. Ahem. So I had to stay seated.

Then the movie started and one of the UU Ladies whose name I’m protecting proceeded to uhhh…have a lot of fun. At some point she said something which just made me laugh in the high, unstoppable laugh which David refers to as my being broken, so he uttered “M____________ broke Gabriel!” It was then that a lady in her prom dress (that’s the story so it’s true to me) looked back and said “could you be quiet, seriously.”

Now, it’s well known that I’m not always the loudest in a crowd, being so shy and all, but that when I begin to unwind I will have fun and there’s no reason to think I should stop. I was taken aback. Apparently this creature in front of me thought she had arrived, despite the props bag, at a nice sit down showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, perhaps followed by a discussion of the postmodern and gender identification implications of said film. Oh, wait, not the latter, because I don’t think she’d understand what the hell postmodern and gender identification meant.

But she somehow did get the impression that I and I assume those around me should shut up and watch Tim Curry run around in a corset and fishnets. Oh wait, she didn’t make it there. You see, despite the fact that most of her entourage was cool and even dressed up, she didn’t have a clue. I also doubt she realized she was sitting behind the party hard Universitarians, who, in a protective move that fills me with glee, started making more noise in her specific direction, and pummeled her with bubbles (even before it was time for the bubbles in the movie).

Her boyfriend, who was well and ghouly clad, took her to the front to do the Time Warp again, where she stood, arms crossed, like a petulant Shirley Temple who got dropped off the Good Ship Lollipop in the middle of Amsterdam’s Red light district. Or at least Odessa’s red light district.

After we had all time warped, what happened? The dear little miss made her entire entourage leave. It was about three tables of people. Now, you know, I have to say, trying not to be horribly sexist, those were some hen pecked men.

(Perhaps not surprisingly, M_________ had asked the guy in makeup and a pink shirt, with fake breasts under it, if he was gay, to which he said no, to which she said “well you look gay,” to which he was a little freaked out, in his buzz cut and red lipstick. Not that she henpecked him, but, she did unsettle him.)

Okay, so, when they left I have to admit some of the energy left with them. But we still had fun. Occasionally I yelled out “Tim Curry is a hot bitch” which managed to shock David. It was fun and un-Midlandy. Let’s face it, prom night girl wouldn’t have made it through much more of the film even if it had been a regular, dignified screening.

So that’s the night, mostly. I got to talk with the UU ladies who are all very nice, we weighed in on our meat thermometer readings, I got to crack David up, we briefly tortured a future Woman of the Junior League, and we even had popcorn, which, as the popcorn Nazi told us, was for eating, not throwing.

(The Popcorn Nazi himself looked like a barber shop quartet reject, or else a street organist whose monkey was even too cool for his owner, so said monkey left for a job in the animal testing sector, hey at least it was more thrilling. I bet he (the Popcorn Nazi) spends all of Summer Mummers thinking “just wait until Rocky Horror comes around, then I’ll get them, slimy popcorn oiled bastards!”)

But, thanks to his officious orders, there was no slimy popcorn oiled bastard-dom. Just the cap, the decorative icing on the frosting as I referred to it earlier, on one of, if not the best, Halloweens ever.

Here comes the Sun

Yes, I finally found the old header image, lurking under the links category on my (various) website files. So the sun is gonna shine anymore, and even did today, here in LA, which I thought it was always supposed to do, but apparently not, but today it was shining. In fact, I couldn't see the street names because it was shining. Catch 22.

I promise PROMISE there's a little bit more Halloween stuff coming, then I'll empty my brain of its travel contents and I'll muse about being here and the insulated world of my head.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Big Halloween Post, Part 2

Yes, I'm in California. More on that later. I have some lingering Halloween stuff to commit to this sphere of influence. I can't find my old banner so I have to leave up this one until I find it (on my old computer, I'm wireless on the laptop right now).

Anyhow...Halloween 2007 was great. Well, we mostly celebrated on the Saturday before, as the kids actually had a Halloween Carnival at their school. Not just a Fall Festival mind you, but a "scary" carnival. Even though it was sort of halfway done, it nonetheless was a step in a positive (positively EVIL mwah-ha-ha) direction for Midland.

I knew the day would be a riot when the kids arrived in their spectacular costumes, all made by my sister this year. The theme was Ghoul School. Madeleine was a cheerleader witch, Bram was a cool kid Werewolf, Paladin was a nerd vampire, and Armanae was a demon bad girl. (Simon was out of town with his Granpa.) Of course, my sister was Ms. Stein, the Frankensteinesque headmistress, replete with her Wal-Mart ironwood ruler.

We loaded up and went to school, and the kids and Chan got lots of compliments on the outfits. Then we went to eat at Texas Roadhouse. Everyone was staring, of course, but not in a fun sort of way (well some) but most seemed like "why the hell are they dressed like that?" Seems odd since most people celebrate Halloween, often that is, on the weekend before if it falls on a non workable day of the week. But I guess that's just Midland.

Now I'm in LA. ;)

Onward and forward...we went to Cheddar's later that night, again in costume, and this time I had a see through spider web shirt on, with a cowboy hat. Seems as though the kids and Chan still got the odd stares, even odder I thought since it was at least NIGHT now on the Saturday before Halloween. Oh well. I spent the night drawing my favorites from the Nightmare Before Christmas on available napkins, with crayons, but the funniest part of the evening came when Bram was taken aback by my see through shirt. Apparently he asked my Mom if I was going to wear that out in public to which she responded he already is. ;). All that fun made it the Best Halloween ever (even if officially before Halloween).

We had a good dinner and then I left to catch up with David and Keith at Earl and Rice's, just to put a little more icing on the perfect Halloween cake. We proceeded to make Rice laugh so much that she couldn't finish her dinner, but she'd rather laugh than eat, as she says, so our job was well done. Keith had some make up and made me into a ghost cowboy, which I would have been earlier but no one had any make up so I couldn't wear it to Cheddar's. Actually I was going to be a vampire cowboy, but no teeth to be found.

After the make up session and much primping by the Pirate (hehe) we went to the Bar and to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Much fun was had, I lost my voice yelling, and oh the things you will hear when I'm not so sleepy eyed from two days of driving! Not only that, I still have the beginning of this adventure, the dream three years in the making, to detail.

Oh yeah, and before I forget, pictures!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Big Halloween Post, Part I

So, Saturday was a great day Halloween wise. I'll post more on it later, but for right now I'm going to finally post the winners for this year's Halloween contest. As noted, it was a fun experience for me, and there were many of the outfits I'd like to transform into Eve's wardrobe, but time and reality forced me to make a decision. So, here are Hallowed Eve's outfits for the 2007 Halloween season:

The first Halloween constume was designed by my middlest nephew Paladin, and in fact the title of this variation is Paladin Eve. It's hard to say exactly what drew me to the two outfits I chose, except that generally both challenged my perception of a character I had created. Paladin's original design was stunning in visual appeal, as I've already noted, recalling the great age of Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, with a nod to the Charlton comic era as well (a dash of Blue Beetle here, some New Gods, a sprinkle of Black Orchid, some Nightshade) but ultimately arriving at a totally original design. The pumpkin drones were my embellishment on the theme, as is the Jack-O-Lantern (inspired by this year's other winner coming up next). Since I dropped the story requirement, I realized I could make up my own. So, on the surface, this Eve comes from the future, sending her cybernetic pumpkin drones out to destroy, seemingly in an indiscriminate manner, priests. The spirals on Paladin Eve's torso and legs represent one soul murdered, sort of like her medals of "honor." That's the front story, but, I guess you'll have to stay tuned for the back story. (Interestingly, even Darwin 665 knows of this legend, but what more he knows, who knows?)

Which brings us, inversely, to an Eve from the past, with the following winner:

This is Keith's winning design, which I've titled Moulin Scourge. She's a combination Louis XIV and Moulin Rouge stunner, replete with her revealing undercarriage (which I don't know how to spell, some French term I never learned), a detail that, along with the wig covering Eve's pumpkin head, put this one over the top for me and resulted in the outfits's selection. Keith provided a few details for Moulin Scourge, namely that she disables her adversaries with an array of coloured wig powders. I extended the concept to make Eve a protector and restorer of Doll Souls, indicated by the tiny doll skulls at her feet. According to legend the souls inhabit the wig powder until they are unleased on offending priests. What is the deal with Eve and priests? Time will tell, but this vision of Eve arrives from the past, a fitting bookend for Paladin Eve. Feared from the courts of Versailles to the streets of Victorian England, and even in the French Quarter of New Orleans, this scourge is one being best left un-encountered. Oh and one more thing...why does this Eve carry and revere a rag doll of Infidels Inc.'s Jack? Further, why does Paladin Eve still have the doll, sealed in a cybernetic pumpkin container, far into the future? Does even Jack know the reason?

Stay tuned, true believers. (Ok, I promise, no Pow! Biff! or Sock!) ;

Now, to sum up this year's contest, both of the winners this year made me think outside the box, well outside what I had envisioned for Eve, and when I reflect on this, I realize that was a big part of this sort of experiment for me. Plus they were so intricate as to drive me insane during the creative process, and of course, I love that sort of artistic torture. In the end, the devil's in the details.

Also, here's the template if you want to play with printing the dolls yourself. I don't know how the scale will work, because I don't know how the blog deals with that, but in the real world everything works, trust me I've spent hours refining the ideas, so I hope they work somehow here.

One more thing...Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Halloween Contest

Well here goes...I have two winners for the Halloween contest, and in fact, the images are finished and I'm getting them ready for display. But for now I'm posting all the entries. Thanks to everyone who entered my contest. I spent a lot of time working on the finished images, but it was a fun and informative process. I don't usually look outside of myself for inspiration this way, so it's been a great exploration for me. The outfits are fabulous and, I have no doubt, given more time, many of them will make their way into Eve's wardrobe. So, in no particular order...

Donna sends this sunset image of Hallowed Eve with the following explanation:

She steals the souls of all children that don't believe in goblins and the light from their life force omits an eerie glow that is often mistaken for the setting sun on a late October Eve.

Cool stuff!

Amy sent this stormy night picture of Hallowed Eve with a great description of the costume and Eve:

Hallowed Eve is best known as the spirit of vengeance! Luring men that have done the crime but not the time with her sexy outfit, and taking their souls for all eternity! You probably are wondering, “Where does she put all those souls she takes”, and “How does she find these so called forgotten criminals”? Well, they all get banished into her wicked ring, and when her nails start to glow as bright as the moon you know there’s trouble brewing in the air because the only reason that would happen is when a criminal is near by! As souls scream from the wicked ring, she counts how many she has. Once she has collected 31 unforgotten souls she will be notified. You probably are thinking, “Who notifies her”? Well, not who but what! Her ring counts each soul, and once 31 souls have been accounted for the wicked ring sends a burst of electricity up her arm, up into her neck until it reaches the side of her head, and her name magically appears! The scary thing is Hallowed Eve has done this so many times that she doesn't even need to look if her name is there; she can just feel it coming…. The good thing is that once she has collected 31 unforgotten souls she cannot collect any more but don't rejoice just yet! She will come back again next year, and she always first finds the ones that got away last time!!

Thanks for the great image Amy, and for writing down your concept for the costume!

Which leads me to confess that not many people sent stories like that. Or stories. I guess I could get all judgy and be annoyed, but I won't. What'd I expect from crazy creative people? I can't expect them to follow all the rules. In fact, I guess I was counting on it not happening, at least for some folks.

Next up is Sarah's outfit for Eve. No story, so, we'll have to make one up on our own. Eve's done up in garden style and looks ready to chow down on something...soon to be gory!

Becky gave me this image of Stepford Eve...and told me this is what happens to bad demons, they are consigned to Stepford existences. Can't you just hear the vacuum in the background?

My sister, Chantel, gave me a few images with no stories, so we'll have to make them up as well.

First off is a Black Widow ensemble:

Followed by a skull and crossbones ensemble:

Then a signature fairy costume!

Bram, my youngest nephew, sent in a few ideas, starting with this batty number:

Bram also sent this image, with lots of clarifying notes including "capri pants." Again, we can make up the story for this one.

One more from Bram, with Rainbow colors:

My youngest niece Madeleine sends this short skirted outfit for Eve, with the explanation that "I'm not scared of Uncle's contest." ;)

Armanae, my oldest niece, sent this colorful ensemble, with the notation "she shoots color from the tips of her nails":

My Mom gave me this vine inspired image of Eve wrapped up in the pumpkin patch:

Followed by this tendril ensemble with the note "A curse on my creator's mother, may she never draw again!" or something wry like that. Maybe I did get my wry sense of humor directly from her:

And finally she gave me her black and white Katy Keene Pumkin Queen Dress:

Keith gave me a Mermaid vision for one of his submissions. Funny when people say they don't know how to draw then they do something fabulous like this:

This outfit goes with Keith's first drawing (posted later), postulating Eve as a cross dresser in Louis XIV (or thereabout) style:

This is Keith's first submission...a sort of Louis XIV and Moulin Rouge combination:

This outfit comes to us via Paladin, one of my (three) nephews, technically the one in the middle. I think Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko would be quite proud of this vision for Eve! Paladin isn't even old enough to know who those artists are, but he definitely has the feel down perfectly in my opinion.

So those are all the entries I received and could open...I had one email with an image that wouldn't load, and I tried to find out what it was to no avail.

Now...honestly it's a real pain to post this many photos on blogger! Yikes! But it's done and soon I will post the winners for this year. Stay tuned!