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.