And We're Back

Back from the beach. Glad we flew instead of the two and half day drive.

This year’s beach trip included a small surprise to my parents. I’ve had a
tattoo now for about 9 months or so and they finally got to see it (left shoulder
– solar icon). I feel sort of childish about the whole thing. It’s the same
thing I did with my nipple ring last year. I feel like it comes off as a defiant
act or something when really I just didn’t want to have to tell them and hear
the silence that I did something out of line or potentially permanent. Permanence
is the whole point of a tattoo. It’s a design I’d had in mind for at least five
years so I thought I was pretty sure I wanted it. I’ve always wanted one and
though now it appears trendier than it originally did, I’m still glad I got
one. It didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would. I’d gone to Jade Dragon which
is where I got the nipple piercing. Showed the guy the design, he copied it
onto special paper, sprayed the site and then overlaid the tracing paper, pressed
hard and voila – color by numbers on my shoulder. He loaded up the ink and proceeded
to engrave my skin. I have no qualms at al about the hygiene at Jade Dragon.
Evidently the owner is the guy that pioneered the use of disposable needles
and they use a brand new set of inks and needles and gloves with each new customer.
I did choose a design with lots of black so as soon as he was done tracing it
I thought – oh hell, now he has to fill all of that in. Part of me was also
scared that I’d have some sort of allergic reaction or something to the ink
– but that was not to be. It was such a dull pain it really didn’t hurt as much
as I thought it would. I guess there’s no appropriate way for me to have told
mom and dad about it since there’s really no way they’d agree with it or advocate
it. I just didn’t want it to come off as some sort of ‘I’m grown up now’ act
– some sort of rebellion. I love it and always get compliments on it. I’d held
off for so long because I still thought I’d some day get hired for modeling
gigs and such and I’d have to get a whole new set of headshots and whatnot.
But I went for it. People will say – but what about when you’re old? It’ll look
all wrinkly and saggy… well, most of me will by then anyway. And I waited
long enough to get one that it’ll look good for awhile. I do want to get a second
one… I’m thinking a dragon but I can’t decide what kind… Chinese or Celtic
or Arthurian… that or the eye of Ra, an ankh or the symbol for the Tao. I
also thought of a circular labyrinth design like you see in medieval churches.

The beach was pretty sedate this year – as it was last year. Heather seemed
pensive and stuck mostly to reading books – I think she’s nervous about striking
it out on her own with the masage business. Ron had an okay time but felt cooped
up by the end of the trip. There was the requisite amount of bickering as well.

I read House of Leaves on Heather’s recommendation. It’s a dense novel
with a four layer narrative written in the sense of a body of research concerning
a film called The Navidson Report. It’s a film that chronicles a family
that finds out that their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.
And one day a dark hallway appears, impossibly, on an outside wall. The husband
and his buddies go to investigate and some people don’t escape at all. The novel
is backed up with two layers of footnotes annotating hundreds of citations to
articles and research that may or may not exist. I thought it was such a clever
idea – to write around a story as well as writing into it. I thought the resolution
was a little disappointing but still a creepy read.

Recent viewings:

The Japanese movie The Eye.
A blind woman gets cornea implants and starts seeing weird things. Sort of
Sixth Sense-ish. Good suspense.

The Hulk.
Overlong but angst-bathed and deeply human. The CG was fantastic and there
was real humanity to the characters. Gollum’s schizo breakdown in The
Two Towers
still remains the apogee. But edit that first hour down
a bit!

Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
I finally rented this one. The guy at the video store said that it wasn’t
really that gory but it was the screaming that got under your skin. Except
for one wonderful shock-surprise I thought it was alright. I understand why
it’s important in the evolution of the slasher genre but still wanted more.
The ending was pretty damned strange. For the rest of the night Ron would
echo Sally’s screaming with a slight bent on Yoko Ono.

of the Rings (part 1)
We watched this at the beach. I hadn’t seen it in a while and it is really
just a masterfully made movie. Those tracking shots into Sauramon’s Uruk-Hai
lair are just fantastic. And the cave troll sequence – I could watch that
a dozen times and still not get bored. I think that that is what impresses
me the most with the combat in films lately is the sheer complexity of keeping
track of who is where and what they’re doing. It’s like when you’re trying
to block out a big stage number and you have to traffic 2 dozen people on
stage and the only way to start is to start.

. So damned talky. It seems to me that the first film is
one story unit and that the second and third movies are supposed to be another
unit. The middle film doesn’t stand on it’s own. And yes – all the usual Empire
Strikes Back
arguments but Godfather II was not supposed to be
a middle film and so it had all the weight of it’s original (plus, Godfather
was such a desperate attempt for Coppola to rescue him company out
of bankruptcy). We watched the first movie at the beach and I was reminded
of how surprising all of those effects were – and even more so to be placed
into such an intellectually informed framework

Addams Family Values.
This is still one of the funniest movies ever made. Ron and I did a jigsaw
puzzle while Heather and I quoted the movie.

  • “Is that your bathing suit?” “Is that your overbite?”
  • “I’ll play the victim!” “I’ll your life.”
  • “I was a ballerina! GRACEFUL! DELICATE!”
  • “You have enslaved Fester and placed him under some sort of strange sexual
    spell. All that I can forgive. But Debbie?” “What?” “Pastels?” “GET OUT!”
  • “Get out of the way! MOVE IT!”
  • “Sorry Debbie, no Mercedes this year – we have to set an example.”

the Friedmans
A documentary of one family’s crisis in dealing with sexual abuse. Along with
the footage captured by the documentary team there is also home movies and
painfully frank videos made by one of the sons as the family disintegrates
in the media spotlight and the trial of the father for pedophilia approaches.
Truly heartbreaking.

The Unveiling.
Ron and I were hoping for a titillating near-pornographic movie. Instead we
were treated to a great documentary about stripping and the invention of burlesque
in the 1930s. I hadn’t really considered that stripping is one of the few
truly American artforms (along with tap dancing and Jazz/blues). The movie
follows veteran strippers telling the story of how stripping began by accident
and then slowly was divorced from class and taste as the economics of showmanship
grew out of hand. There’s a gaggle of 80s year old gals in boas and sequins
and they are a little saggy and old but they can still shake it with pride.
This is all contrasted with a black mother’s career in stripping that leads
to her working mostly at a black lesbian strip club (yes, Virginia!). The
best moments for her are when she is stripping at a lesbian birthday party
and she realizes that she’s the only femme one and the ‘studs left their girlfriends
at home.’ She’s also a very straight-laced woman – not the pathetic drugs
and whoring story you’d expect from the stripper underground. Also they follow
an Israeli-American male stripper who is sexy but works too damned hard. That
is the biggest difference it seems. The women strippers make it look easy
– and they’re cooperative… while the male strippers are all effort and competitive.
Ron wants to install a pole in his studio apartment after seeing some of the
acrobatics one gal can do. I’ve noticed that also with audiences at strip
clubs. Male audiences are quiet and ashamed and women are all party. I’ll
never forget a hot night at the Sugar Shack where Jim and I (doing time in
a winter Christmas play) and his two sexpot gal friends got a lap dance. Something
so sexy about two girls getting sharing a lap dance. The film made me want
to open up a strip club. I liked the lesbians of color bar – the stripping
was so agressive – like a raunchy rap video. And of course I think that if
I can’t get a temp job this week then I should start stripping. Though I worry
about my stretchmarked hairy ass in a thong. EEK. Maybe I could be the emcee
at a strip club. That’d be fun. Ron could command more as a stripper because
of his ethnic angle. Though I could be the Naughty Mensan.

Ron absolutely loves this movie. I think he likens me to the geeky repressed
musical composer (God, he’s such a weenie!) and himself to the horned up go-go
boy. (Why do I always have to be the repressed one?) Ron watched this movie
(along with Charlie’s Angels and Bring It On) at least once
a week. It is a very sweet comedy about two guys in search of a place to hook-up
but they’re attempts are constantly derailed and they realize they want more
than just sex. Plus, there is a quite remarkable monologue in the middle of
the story by a drag queen that is filmed in just two cuts and is so funny.
Again, Ron and I quote it alot:

  • “He said ‘It’s big. It’s beautiful. And you’re gonna love it.’ And so
    I said… (sigh) okay.”
  • “You ever get cum in your eye Gabriel? IT BURNS.”
  • “I was just coming home from the ‘festivities.’” This one really makes
    me laugh because my dad is fond of saying that a social gathering that is
    painful cheery is ‘festive’… he says it with such derision.
  • “So there I am, lying there naked with an eyeful of cum and I think (bitter
    sullen laugh, then deadpan) oh no.” “But am I bitter? Absolutely.”

I can’t wait for my kids so see this film.

  • “At 12 o’clock what happens?” “Um… I get a time-out?” “No! The Scream
    Floor gets…” “Painted?”

And Roz is just the best.

I think some of the most creative people in the world are working at Pixar.
Every movie they make is so full of love for their art and virtuosity. You
can tell they had fun making it. Just like you can tell the Lord of the
team was truly passionate about Tolkein’s world.

I still need to get my DVD player repaired. Evidently, I didn’t get the service
plan because I have such faith in Sony. But come to find that it breaks down
and this is a known problem. Alan (also a Best Buy employee) says it’s probably
the laser and will take $30 to fix. I want to get it fixed soon… I want to
treat Ron to Twin Peaks. I also want to watch Oz, The Sopranos
and (I guess it’s required) Sex in the City. Best Buy did have my MiniDisc
player service plan on file so I need to take that in and get it repaired –
the battery compartment clasp is broken. Hopefully they’re replace it with a
brand new MiniDisc player that can also play MP3s.

Going to a temp job interview tomorrow so I hope to be working by the end
of the week. I really don’t do well with lots of free time. It makes it too
easy to not do anything. And with Ron in the same situation – it’s a feedback
loop of over-leisure and not getting up until 10:30 am (horror!). Once the weather
turns to shit I might get a part time weekend job to help clear away some debt.

Ron says that my family isn’t into experiencing things. That we’re all intellectual.
I guess I can’t disagree. He always mentions bungee jumping in this lecture.
I guess I see the risks my family has taken has more long term ones. The struggle
to have one parent stay at home and raise the kids while the other one works
and living off a public school teacher’s salary. Raising two bookish kids in
a state that doesn’t really value smarts. Taking the kids to a weaving commune
each summer and learning the ancient arts of textiles. Sometimes I wonder if
risk-takers would harness their adrenaline to actually do something productive
for someone else. I feel like I’m taking a huge risk dumping my corporate gig
to start my own career. But I guess since physical endangerment isn’t involved
that it doesn’t count.

Ron and I can get married
in Canada
! I loved how the courts are open all weekend in Toronto (where
the Pride celebration was in full swing). I expect legislation to come down
the pike that says that the United States doesn’t have to honor same-sex civil
marriages from Canada. I feel that the biggest issue in getting people to think
sensibly about the whole issue is that when you ask staunch Christians if same
sex couples shoudl marry they immediately think of ‘in the church.’ They place
no division between a civil marriage and the religious ceremony.

A woman fell onto the brown line and got killed Thursday. 77 year old housekeeper.

I am so pumped about West Nile, SARS and now… Encephalitis B!

The cookie consumption at the beach was at a fevered pitch. And Ron turned
me on to Chunky Monkey ice cream. It’s the banana flavor that really does it
for me. I’m back on the low-carb horse though. Bought all my vegggie-tables
and chicken and turkey and cottage cheese.

Went rollerblading yesterday. I still get so nervous because I can’t stop
effectively. The hardest part for he is trying to bend my knees but I can’t
bend my ankles. Ron is a frigging Misha
on skates though. I need to practice on the trail along the lake during off
hours – I get nervous I’m gonna take somebody down with me if I fall.

Saw Keith and Andrew on the trail yesterday. We notice that Andrew always
gravitates to Ron and Keith to me. I think Ron wants to have some sort of orgy.
They both had purses with them. Or ‘European

Illinois outlawed ephedra-based supplements. I think that this is sort of
kooky. The guy that died from this was an obese football player that was already
hooched up and practicing in the football field during a heatwave. Of couse
you’re going to stroke out. I expect this to domino through other states as

Ron’s sleeping with his eyes partially open again. That totally creeps me

Need to collate all of my to-do lists. I’ve learned that sometimes list making
is my substitute for taking action. That and cleaning. I could clean my apartment
until the cows come home – it’s a good distractor – like TV or (gasp!) broadband.

I have an absolutely fantastic blockbuster idea for a play. But I don’t know
how to do it yet. I’m simmering. I want to see how long I can keep it a secret
to myself.

And now a transcript of the opening sequence of Judge

  1. “I did it to save you.”
  2. “Who threw first punch?” “He did.” “He did.”
  3. “There’s gonna be hell to pay.” “Whatever!” “You want me come off
    this bench?”
  4. “You need to get clear about this thing – right now.”
  5. “Don’t get me testifying in here today!”

Ah, Glenda – you dispense justice with such elegance and charm. I’m serious.
I love it. The other day she actually yelled at a plaintiff, “Kim! SHUT UP!”
Ron and I are giddy. It’s our 24 replacement. For now.

I realize that probably the next step for me professionally is to start networking
with the local chambers of commerce. That and I’ve made a draft of a website
just focusing specificlaly on creativity coaching. And I should make one for
my other target market as well.

Karen comes in in a week. I can’t wait to see her.

Ron’s sister had a baby. The first grandchild. He’s an uncle. Does that make
me the aunt? She had to have a c-section because her frame was too small to
deliver without complications. I think it is so cool that his mom tracked down
his sister’s nanny growing up so the baby will be raised by the same nanny that
raised his mother. 7 pounds, 2 ounces.

I wonder if I could make some money designing webcam sites for narcissistic

The only real color I got at the beach was the drive down. I burned my left
shoulder – the truck driver sun tan. I did love the big-ass umbrellas we rented.
They were big enough for two people to lounge under. Dad and mom had the usual
‘you packed too much stuff’ tiff. You’d think after 30-some years they’d have
that ironed out. That’s why I think they should fly next time – it will put
the kibosh on any overpacking. Ron didn’t get a chance to wear his sarong, though.
The best story was when mom and dad and Heather stayed at a hotel in Dothan,
Alabama on the way down and mom and Heather got chemical burns from an over-chlorinated
hot tub. It bleached their bathing suits too!






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