Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas 2008

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Airfare from San Diego, through Denver, to Kansas City: $464.00

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Travel time from Kansas City to Peoria by minivan: 6 hours.


Helping my brother chip ice off sidewalks and driveways while my niece and nephew try out her new sled and enjoying the smell of wood fires: priceless.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Obama: “Fags Under the Bus.”

Before the campaign started, before the primaries and everything, I thought that Bill Clinton had acted like a bad boyfriend to gay people, giving us two bad black eyes with the Defense of Marriage Act and Don't Ask, Don't Tell. And I was afraid the next Democratic Preident would turn out to be just as bad; saying just enough to get our votes and money and then turning on us when push came to shove. Imagine my horror when the current President-Elect didn't even wait until he was in office, didn't wait until sacrificing the homosexuals was the best compromise, as Clinton claimed with DOMA and DADT. No. Obama has decided to “reach across the aisle” and give a national stage to one of the most vocal of homophobes, this just after the passing of Propoition 8 left us more vulnerable than ever. And his gesture has been like a big green light to other homophobic Democrats to proceed with their anti-civil rights agenda. Even before taking office Obama has back-handed us across the face to add a big bruise to our two black eyes.

And we're expected to go crawling back to him because he's so much better than Republicans on gay rights? Forget it! I'm shedding my internal homophobia. I'm no longer begging for the approval of Mommie and Daddy Dearest in the form of Hillary and Barack and whoever else is supposed to be looking out for my best interest. In 2012 my vote and my support will be for the most viable third party candidate out there. I hope that enough people do the same to siphon off any margin of victory for the Democrats. The country has not done well under the Reagan/Bush era, but it hasn't come completely apart. Hopefully they'll get scared enough to do more than pay enough lip service to get our vote; they'll actually come to us and beg for our support and protect our rights as they're constitutionally bound to do.

No longer will I vote for someone who has, as my roommate said, “thrown us under the bus as soon as they need some traction.”

In 2012 I'm walking.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Out of the past.


Recently an ex-boyfriend from college surprised me when he tracked me down on facebook. I've been a bad correspondent and I love reconnecting with friends I'd lost track of. It's like finding a part of myself I thought I'd lost a long the way.

So this is me, circa 1985 (like an antique!). Thanks, Steven, for the photo and the renewed friendship.

It's like my younger self peeking out of the past and laughing at me.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Halloween

I'm a bad blogger, posting Halloween pics over a month late. But here’s the crew at work on October 31st. We are:

From left: Back row: Sarah Palin (Cristy), Rocker Dude (Billy), Captain Morgan (Zane), Medieval Lady (Ana), Hippie chick (Rosa), Cowboy (Tim), 1930s pilot (Doug).
Front row: Harry Potter (Amanda), baseball player (Lauryn), Mail woman (Michelle).

After we took the picture Cristy mentioned that she should have been over on the right, but I pointed out that she would have had to be so far to the right that we never would’ve gotten her in the picture.

And I’m a bad fag; all I did was slap a hat on my head. I didn’t even bother to dig out the cowboy boots.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Book Review: 10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do to Find Real Love

10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do to Find Real Love 10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do to Find Real Love by Joe Kort


My review


An excellent book! Kort discusses all the big and small ways we're affected by homophobia and how it can leave parts of our personalities shut down and how to reassert our inner kings, warriors, lovers, and magicians. He also illustrates the main stages of adult relationships, what to expect and how to work through them. He explains that after the first bloom of euhporia wears off there is a power struggle, but if you're willing to work through that and face your own issues then you can fully enjoy an adult romantic relationship. Kort advises that it's in a relationship that we're held accountable and presented with the issues we need to work on and it's relationships that provide the best opportunity to grow as a person. So much for my recent desire to sit on the sidelines.

He also makes the observation that each of us is at the same level of evolution as those we date. As much of a wound as this is to my pride I have to agree that, intellectually, it makes sense. No more taking comfort in feeling superior to all those immature ex's. Let's have a big Homer Simpson “D’oh” on that one!


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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Proud of My People


I’m still glowing with pride at how well the international Marriage Equality Protest went on Saturday, especially my 25,000 San Diego peeps who made ours one of the biggest. Now, I can take no actual credit for any of it. I didn't even make the sign I carried. All I did was show up. But that was all I needed to do, better minds than mine did the rest.

And the way they did it is being called a paradigm shift in gay activism. Without going through any of the national gay organizations, the protest was put together through websites and online word of mouth. For a complete explanation of what happened and what it means read Rex Wockner’s excellent post by clicking here.

Since Saturday I’ve been thinking of all the gay people who lived and worked in neighborhoods full of Yes on 8 signs and people who supported it. I heard some of their stories and they were feeling truly beat up by the experience. I pray that Saturday they felt a big weight lift off of their shoulders when folks across the country, in towns big and small, even across the border in Canada, in all kinds of weather, all got out to show their support at the same time.

My new hero is kccat in Cleveland who roped her husband into making signs and going to the protest with her. Click here to read her story and see pictures of them bundled up in full-on winter parkas with hoods and umbrellas to protect them from the freezing rain. Not gay. Not Californian. Bad weather. Out there anyway!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Public Service Announcement: Recognizing a Stroke

This email was forwarded at work and I thought it worth sharing:

RECOGNIZING A STROKE:

Remember The 1st Three Letters.... S.T.R.

S * Ask the individual to SMILE.
T * Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently) (i.e. It is sunny out today)
R * Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

New Sign of a Stroke: Stick out Your Tongue. Ask the person to stick out their tongue. If the tongue is crooked, if it goes to one side or the other , that is also an indication of a stroke.

If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call 911 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

March for Marriage Equality


Just before 10am on this bright, clear, warm Saturday morning I met Brian, Christian, and Scott (left to right in the top picutre) at 6th and University in Hillcrest where we joined all the people moving towards 6th & Upas and the start of the March for Marriage Equality. The crowd gathered in Balboa Park while we waited for the start. There I also saw Allan and Terry (2nd pic). Kermit the Frog also came to show his support. Carol shows her pride and her dimple. The bottom photo shows some of the crowd and their signs.

Protest across the country all happened at the same time; so while we were gathering from Seattle to San Diego at 10am on the West Coast, in New York City they were marching at 1pm Eastern Time.

Since the election I have been amazed and heartened by the human and geographic diversity of the outrage against Prop 8. Straight allies have been very loud in their support and were very much a part of the march today. And also across the country and around the world people have been strongly affected by what happened in California. It helps to heal the hurt to know that we’re not alone in this; folks everywhere are appalled by the hate and the lies. They know we’re all connected, we’re all one, and we all deserve the right to control our lives.









The top picture is looking back up 6th Avenue. Balboa Park is on the right. Chris, Christian, and Carol enjoy marching and protection from the strong sun. The bottom picture is looking down 6th as the march enters downtown.


The crowd was estimated to be 20,000 - 25,000, which is huge in a town that rarely turns out to protest in large numbers. I only saw 3-4 people carrying Yes on 8 signs; I thought “is that all you got!” One of the marchers started to get into a heated exchange with a counter-protester and 2 of the volunteers tackled him and encouraged him to march on. The protest remained peaceful throughout. The volunteers were excellent and the police did a great job keeping everyone safe.

While walking along I thought of the part in the New Testament where Jesus is asked to tell the crowd to be quiet and He responds: “if every voice were stilled the rocks and stones themselves would start to sing.”





When we arrived at the County Building we found some shade to rest in. Chris (red t-shirt) massaged Christian’s feet. Journalist Rex Wocker ( a link to his excellent blog is over on the right) surveys the crowd from the top of a truck. The woman speaking is the attorney who successfully argued the case for marriage equality in front of the California Supreme Court.



























Monday, November 10, 2008

Thoughts on 8

This week I received an email from my dear friend Steve in Virginia asking: “How awful is it to feel the weight of voters on gay marriage?”

I responded: “My feelings about the passing of Prop 8 in California are still developing and fluctuate daily, sometimes hourly; much like the 4 stages of dying. I don’t think I’m to acceptance yet. Going to bed election night the exits polls were so promising. How could this happen? I know Virginia has been much worse, but this was the first one I experienced first hand and I don’t like it at all. It’s as if the teacher finally gave our homework an A+, but out in the schoolyard the bullies grabbed it out of our hand, tore it up and knocked us to the ground. And after election night they’ve kept kicking us while we’re down and crying to the teacher when we expressed normal anger. The hate flying around since the election has been horrible. Bastards!”

To that I would add: Deepak Chopra wrote; “...all people are doing the best they can from their own level of conciousness.” I understand that. I get that. I agree with that. But come on people; some of you aren't even trying!

This issue illuminates the double-edged sword that is America’s legacy of religious freedom. Our favorite thing to do with our hard won freedom is to oppress others even worse. The Pilgrims did not flee religious persecution in England in order to establish a free and open society in the new world; they came here to set up their own brand of persecution.

A good thing that has happened since election night is the uproar of outrage at how people could have voted for 8. Among all the voices 2 stood out for me: Jake in Chicago wrote in his blog of his very personal experience with marriage inequality. And Keith Olbermann's direct address to those who voted yes on 8 conveys his human experience best.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Book Review: Eragon

Eragon (Inheritance, Book 1) Eragon by Christopher Paolini


My review


rating: 4 of 5 stars
I enjoyed this book very much. I haven't seen the movie yet so I've been looking forward to reading this for a while. The story is mostly well thought out and well told. The characters are three dimensional and engaging as is the fictional world the author creates for them; although he kind of has them wondering all over the place a bit. As my friend Dan pointed out, it’ similar to Harry Potter and other science fantasy books, even Star Wars and The Wizard of Oz, where the main character is an orphan being raised by an uncle and discovers a special talent and power that changes their life.

In this case 16 year old Eragon lives with his uncle and cousin and is out hunting in the forest when an unusual stone appears nearby through magic. This sets off a series of events leading to a quest. Along the way Eragon learns more about the wider world and meets a Dragon, a Dragon Rider, an Elf, a Witch, battles a Shade and meets a wide range of other creatures and characters.

To my mind two things about the writing could have been a little better. First, some things happen a little abruptly. It may be that I’m used to JRR Tolkien or Mercedes Lackey where events and emotions are anticipated and analyzed after; in the case of Ms. Lackey, it’s done too much. The other thing that could have been better is that it’s a little over written. The author seemed to go a little out of his way to use unusual words. He didn’t use extra long words or obscure words, but it seemed apparent that his thesarus was nearby. Perhaps the teenage science fiction geeks this book is aimed at like that, but lately I prefer it when things are kept simple and the story is allowed to shine through. This book is the first in a trilogy; authors naturally refine their writing as they go along so I’m looking forward to the next two books.


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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Freeway


What the two previous peaceful, pastoral photos didn't show is that between the Driver Building and the First Presbyterian Church is 10 lanes of noisy, smelly freeway; Interstate 5. Freeways are horrible dangerous things that should be covered over where ever possible. Funds from gas tax should be diverted from building additional lanes and put into mass transit. Maybe if we weren't spending $10 million a day fighting a war we shouldn't be in we could afford to do some cool stuff like that; along with educate and feed and care for our children.

Gee. Was that a rant? Who's writing this blog? I'm starting to sound like my roommate.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

First Presbyterian Church


This picture was taken from the parking garage attached to our office building looking northwest back at the spot where I was standing yesterday when I took the picture of our building. Besides this beautiful church they have schools and other buildings taking up a whole city block.


- Yesterday during lunch I walked up 5th to Laurel to visit my bank. Bankers Hill is a nice residential neighborhood but it's kind of a no-man's-land between downtown and Hillcrest for restaurants and shops. I asked the teller where to go for lunch and she recommended the deli inside the liquor store across the street. It was a very nice, popular deli and I got a really nice salad and Sobe to drink.

While I was waiting in line to pay a commercial came over the radio in support of Proposition 8, to ban gay marriage in California. I don't have a TV and the Smooth Jazz radio station I listen to doesn't play political commercials so this was the first one I'd heard. I couldn't catch all the details but I could hear complaints about things that will be mandatory if it doesn't pass and how awful it's been in Massechusetts since gay marriage became legal there and how the children will be exposed to horrible things and I got so upset because it's all LIES! Nothing new will be mandatory; nothing horrible has happened in Massechusetts since gay marriage became legal there; and the only thing horrible the children will be exposed to is listening to conservatives spout hate. I don't understand why they so enjoy creating what they are calling a “culture war” that divides us further when they should be looking for ways for us to come together. Even though gay people aren't participating in their “culture war”, yesterday I certainly felt like a victim of it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New Digs: The Driver Building


The company I work for moved 2 weeks ago. It was a month long, painful, exhausting process and the dust is just beginning to settle. They'd been in the previous space over 10 years but could no longer justify paying for a lot of square feet that wasn't producing new revenue. We're still in downtown but not in the middle of all the action like we were. Before there was a YMCA, a Pure Fitnes, and a Navy workout facility all within spitting distance. I'm going to miss seeing all the guys jogging by during lunch.

The new neighborhood is still a little bit in transition; no Starbucks in the buidling, or even within sight, but there is a really nice coffee shop/cafe down the street and an incredible Persian restaurant in the next block. No 7-Eleven across the street but there is a liquor store 2 blocks up and the owner is real nice.

Even though we have less square feet, we still take up the entire 6th floor. And the building is half way up Bankers Hill giving us great views in all directions. From my desk I can see San Diego Bay and the airport.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Thousand Splendid Suns

A Thousand Splendid Suns / هزار خورشید تابان A Thousand Splendid Suns / هزار خورشید تابان by Khaled Hosseini


My review


rating: 4 of 5 stars
For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to read this book cover to cover all in one night and go to work with almost no sleep. Part of what caused that was remembering how harrowing Hosseini's first book, “The Kite Runner”, was and needing to know that these wonderful characters make it through and survive. In many ways this book reminded me of Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple”: women discover they have no rights, no power, and all of their options are horrible, so they choose their best chance for survival. Eventually they outlast and escape their tormentors, heal themselves, and return to heal their families and their culture. Again his storytelling shines a clear light on his characters and events and illuminates parts of the human experience that have been allowed to cower in the corner too long.


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The Path to Love

  rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is my favorite Deepak Chopra book so far.  Even though the main focus is to help couples heal, sustain, or take their love to the next level, the book is every bit as helpful to a single person because each of us must foster a relationship with, and learn to love, our own true Self in order to see Love in another person. Deepak Chopra takes us through many spiritual traditions and quotes a wide variety of poets and writers to give a deep, profound knowledge of the concept of love and how to live in this world but not of it, to see love in all people and all things, and to know that reality is love, all else is illusion.  Near the end he includes many love affirmations that he wrote while writing this book which are very illuminating to contemplate; and he encourages us to write our own as a way to strenthen our connection with our spirit and God.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams (based on Creating Affluence) The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams by Deepak Chopra


My review


In the introduction Deepak Chopra points out that the title could really be The Seven Spiritual Laws of Life. I got the impression that while the title is true, it was slanted to grab the eye of those of us wanting to find out how we missed out on material abundance. Throughout the book, though, Deepak Chopra stresses that embacing one’s spiritual side and understanding how the mystical universe works will bring abundance in all areas, material wealth being a by product. Throughout the book he explains everything in very down-to-earth language and at the end of every chapter there's a summary that's also a list of things to contemplate and practice to help know your spiritual side better.

My favorite part is where he relates how he told his children, from the age of 4 on, not to worry about grades or college or even making a living, but to find out what their unique talents were and how they could best serve humanity. And with that as their focus they ended up getting the best grades and into the best colleges and being financially self-sufficient at the same time.


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The Kite Runner The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini


My review


rating: 5 of 5 stars
What amazing storytelling! The author doesn't spending anytime analyzing situations; he just lets events speak for themselves. The whole effect is as if looking through stained glass at a beautifully told story. The book is so devastating; at several points I gasped out loud at things I didn't see coming. The ending is poignant and hopeful. Throughout the book I appreciated the personal point of view brought to events in the middle east. At about 2/3rds through I just stayed up all night and read through the next day. I've got A Thousand Splendid Suns but I'm reading other books in between until I'm ready for another rollercoaster. A beautiful book.


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Momma Mia!


It was 2 or 3 weeks ago on a Friday; I’d just gotten home from work and stretched out on the couch for a nap only to get a phone call from Skip wanting to know if I’d like to go see Momma Mia! He was being super nice because, as I found out later, he knew nothing about the film, only that it was currently the only movie on my A list. No longer in need of a nap I quickly fired up the laptop and found a place and time that we liked. Since I’m currently using a bus/trolley pass to get to work I decided to do something different and hurried out the door to catch the bus a block a way for a short ride down the hill to the trolley stop and a fast, fun ride to Mission Valley.

The movie, Momma Mia!, is like a Shakespeare play. And I mean that in a good way. If you’ve only been bored by Shakespeare, then you haven’t seen it done well. I’ve been lucky enough to see it performed by masterful actors who made the language seem everyday natural and were able to convey the meaning until we were rolling in the aisles at the comedy, crying at the tragedy, and wondering at the poignancy and the beauty of it all. And besides, Shakespeare’s plays are more like musicals than plays; the language is so gorgeous and the moments so crazy, or crazy beautiful, they’re more like musical numbers than spoken word in anyone else’s hands.

And Momma Mia! has all the bawdy, slapstick, ridiculous comedy and poignant illustration of the human condition found in Shakespeare’s best. The writers took songs by ABBA and tweaked the lyrics just enough so the characters can tell their story organically through the songs. For their part the actors treat the material as if it were Shakespeare, which it deserves, just instead of iambic pentameter or a Danish accent, they sing.

If you’re a Serious Music Queen with a Well Trained Ear you might catch a few jarring notes; the singing is really good, not flawless, but who cares when they’re having this much fun. Meryl Streep is just fabulous, totally committed to the role, hysterical (“I haven’t slept with hundreds of men”) with a nice, lilting voice she uses well, especially in The Winner Takes It All where she gets the screen to herself backlit by the sun setting over the Mediteranean. Pierce Brosnan, it turns out, has a nice rock voice, kind of like Kris Kristofferson. And it’s terrific to finally see Christine Baranski in a role that allows her to show everything she has; eating up the screen and the song and the moves in Does Your Mother Know on the beach with a chorus of male dancers.

All those georgeous guys dancing on the beach with their shirts off and the Mediteranean sun glistening off their muscles; I just got depressed.

While watching the movie it occurred to me that it’s the quintessential Baby Boomer musical; middle aged people who, after 20 years of just trying to make it through the day, look back at their youth and mistakes and take a chance to reclaim their passion, their sexuality, their dreams, and their loves. It gives us hope once again that anything is possible.

The plot is taken from the 1968 film Buono Sera, Mrs. Campbell starring Gina Lollobrigida as an Italian lady who entertained 3 American GIs in quick succession during WWII. Now, 20 years later they; Phil Silvers, Peter Lawford, and Telly Savalas are coming back for a reunion, bringing their wives: Janet Margolin, Lee Grant, and Shelley Winters. In this case the men each know about the daughter but not about each other and the daughter is clueless. Mrs. Campbell tries to keep everyone from knowing the whole story. And, by the way, she has quite the handsome Italian boyfriend in the movie, but I couldn't find out who the actor was. It’s a very fun comedy worth searching for on Netflix or TCM.

I had dinner with my dear friends Dan and Peter last weekend. We saw the stage production of Momma Mia! together a couple of years ago when it was here in San Diego. We’ve each seen the movie, but we’d all like to see it again. Hopefully, a group of us are going to get together next weekend. I can’t wait.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Dark Knight



About a month ago (I’m behind on my blogging) my roommate, Keith, and I went to see the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight. While researching tickets online I found out that some of the movie was shot in IMAX, which lead me to look for tickets at an IMAX theater. There’s only one in San Diego and only the very early and the very late showings had tickets available: this was the 2nd weekend the movie was out. Then I checked for tickets at the Irvine Spectrum, a very nice out-door mall up in Orange County. It’s a much larger theater and I was able to get tickets for the next day.

So on a Sunday afternoon we piled into my car for the trip up to Orange County. It was overcast, but otherwise pleasant, so naturally I wanted to drive with the top down. Being a nice guy, Keith consented, but I felt bad when we got there because after and hour and a half in the car with the top down, he was quite sunburnt. I was spared because I wore a visor I keep stowed under my seat. I’d offered Keith a hat I keep handy for passengers, but he doesn’t like to wear them.

When we got there the mall was crowded, but not jammed packed. And I felt liked we’d arrived there for a special event because everyone was dressed really well. No one was in formal clothes, but if they wore a t-shirt or a sleeveless shirt it was clean, pressed, and looked new. The women all had cute tops or skirts and the cutest open-toed sandals and pedicures imaginable. I wouldn’t comment on it, except that in a large, crowded mall it was the case for every last person, except maybe the two interlopers from San Diego. I know Orange County has gained a reputation for pretentiousness and maybe they are, but in an age where no one dresses up to get on an airplane anymore, it was nice to be in a place where everyone was dressed well and looking their best.

The movie was really good, not great, and somewhat uneven. There were several scenes where they’re jumping off buildings that were shot in IMAX. They were fun scenes where the floor seemed to fall out from under you and suddenly you’re flying hundreds of feet above the ground. But not so fun for Keith who gets vertigo easily and had to turn away. The plot seems to bump along from one crisis to another without very good explanations as to what’s happening. While Christian Bale is handsome and every scene of the movie is gorgeous, the only thing really interesting to watch is The Joker. Heath Ledger is mesmorizing. To my mind he can act better strung up by his heels than anyone else standing up. Maggie Gyllenhaal added a nice spark and Michael Caine was terrific, but it was Heath Ledger who pored so much life into his character that he clearly stole the show.

Worth the price of the show: Heath Ledger as The Joker in bad nurse drag. Hilarious.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

In Search of Balance and My Lost Waistline

Monday I emailed the administrator of my class that I needed time to take care of some personal business, but that I hoped to rejoin the class when they start the 3rd module in November. She was nice and sympathetic but couldn't promise anything. They have a long waiting list.

The truth is I couldn't force myself to do it any more. The late hours 3 nights a week followed by getting up early for work everyday left me jet-lagged; all I accomplished on the weekends was to catch up on sleep. And I'd developed a phobia to the projects we had to present to the class. I told myself many times to just concentrate on doing my best and to enjoy learning all this cool stuff, but to show my poor work to a large group of artists and graphic designers proved too daunting. When I couldn't make any progress on a project this weekend, I decided to face the truth and give up my seat to someone who could devote more to it.

Thinking of the terrific friends I'd made and miss, I could cry.

Step 1 to find a new equilibrium is to concentrate on the basics; eat well, sleep well, and exercise. About two years ago I had a nice start on wash-board abs; now I'm wearing pants 2 inches larger and some days those are snug. Monday I rode my bicycle again around Fiesta Island and along the San Diego River to where it joins the Pacific Ocean. Tonight I threw my Rollerblades in the car and drove to the same area.

For me, rollerblading is a meditation and best done alone. Friends have suggested it as a fun activity to do together, but I've never encouraged it. I don't want to cause someone to feel bad if my long legs get me going pretty fast, nor do I like to stop and rest: I'm built for endurance. And I don't want to embarrass myself by falling flat on my face when crossing rough pavement, due to my high center of gravity.

Tonight I explored the wide, paved path along the east side of Mission Bay. It's a beautiful, slightly winding path with the shore and beaches on one side and playgrounds and picnic areas on the other. Lots of other folks were out enjoying the evening as well.

As I went along I loved watching how they interacted with each other. One older gentleman put his arm protectively around his wife as I passed. A teenage boy watched the activity on the sidewalk as two younger girls got a drink from the fountain behind him. He seemed all relaxed and at ease but those 2 girls were totally protected: what a good older brother.

And I love the racial diversity that makes it necessary to print ballots in 129 different languages in San Diego. I saw Latin, Asian, Indian, African-American, white, and combinations I couldn't identify; all beautiful.

The only person I had a problem with was a middle-aged white guy, also on Rollerblades; obviously out trying to re-claim his lost youth from some mid-life crises. Give it up dude, I thought. But then I thought again and realized I'm probably the same age, if not older.

Skate on, my brother!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Where is an Island not an Island ?

. . . in San Diego.

When I first moved to San Diego in 2001 I quickly learned that Coronado Island, on which sits the lovely town of Coronado and is home to the Hotel Del Coronado, is not really an island but is connected to the mainland by a thin, lovely ribbon of sand called the Silver Strand. Likewise Harbor Island and Shelter Island are man made peninsulas almost surrounded by water with just enough land for a multi-lane road to connect them to the mainland. Despite knowing this, whenever someone mentioned Fiesta Island in Mission Bay I always pictured an actual island requiring a boat to access. Silly me.

Driving home from work today, with the top down and enjoying the nice afternoon, I felt energetic enough for something active and fun, but what to do? I finally decided to get out on my bicycle, which I haven't done for quite a long time. I used to do lots of cycling and I have all the stuff; helmet, gloves, padded shorts, shoes, and a really nice Trek road bike that I haven't been on much since last summer.

The challenge about where I live is that any bicycle ride from home must either go east—which is a horrible ride through lots of traffic and not scenic neighborhoods—or down: I'm surrounded by steep descents. Going out is fun, but the return trip is a challenge. They'd be hard enough starting fresh but are just mean after a long ride when you’re tired; although the scenery is nice (kind of like a couple of ex-boyfriends; gorgeous, but requiring lots of effort).

I decided to follow the main bike route through Mission Hills down into Mission Valley and resign myself to walking part way back. At the bottom of Presidio Hill I turned left towards Point Loma, to follow some roads I'd explored earlier this year in the car going towards Mission Bay Park, to connect up to some bike paths I found last summer. I turned right on Pacific Coast Highway, which had a nice designated bike path on it. Approaching the bridge over the San Diego River I noticed signs pointing to a bike path going towards Ocean Beach: note to self for further exploration another day. At the entrance to the park I wanted to go left to get to a bike path I knew, but instead of turning across a whole lot of traffic I followed a couple of other cyclist straight across, intending to double back.

Once out of traffic, however, I saw signs and a short, narrow road with water on each side going towards—Fiesta Island. Who knew! My nose led me to a 1-lane, one-way road going around an approximately 2-square mile “island” dedicated to summer fun: on the right sandy parking/boat-access/beach sloped directly to the water; on the left, between breaks in a high, man made dune, a wide, flat area that looked like a big beach volleyball court. Along one side a large RV park was full of folks starting their weekend; out in the water die-hards were playing on their wave runners in the fading light. So this is Fiesta Island. I'm so coming back here.

Coming off the Island, turning right, still feeling good, still some energy in the legs, still following my nose, I turned right again onto a bike path that paralleled a newly landscaped, paved walk along the bay: note to self, come back with the Rollerblades. I followed this path almost to Sea World, then crossed over to a path I'm familiar with and headed back towards home.

The only way to get from Old Town to Mission Hills is up. And even though the hill probably wouldn't raise the pulse of Lance Armstrong, I got off the bike and walked. But it's a lovely walk by nice homes with a terrific view halfway up across the 5 to Point Loma, Mission Bay, and on to the ocean. When I got home I had to pee like a race horse.

What a great ride! I had such a nice time. I went 12 miles. Along the way I saw some great scenery, found more places to explore, saw a Hunk, got a wave and a big smile from a Pretty Girl, saw Spiderman, and made it back home feeling like I could have gone a couple more miles.

I'm kicking myself for not taking my small camera with me. I'm sorry I have no pictures to share. Anyone know of a good, small video camera that can be strapped to a helmet?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Swift 3-D

In the Interactive video

Media Class I'm taking we've started to learn a 3-D imaging program and we created this easy animation of objects flying around each other. It's a long way from Pixar, but it's very fun to do.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

New Blog


Over to the right, in the Links section, there's a new link to a new blog I started for the company I work for; AVRP’s Blog. It'll be an online newsletter for us to highlight new people coming in, long time members of the firm that are going on to new things, and some of the amazing buildings and interiors that the talented members of the firm create.

A few weeks ago I did a 6 page newsletter for the firm and everyone seemed to like it, but we needed some way to get the word out faster and to more people. This will give the marketing department a place to refer people and it'll save paper and money over a printed newsletter. Our ultimate goal is to get the actual website updated so we can do this as part of AVRP.com, but until then a blog is a good alternative.

So for more information on who I work with and what we do, check it out and let me know what you think.
Remember Me? Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella

My review


This was the 2nd time I read this book. I'd woken from a nap and needed something light and easy to read. This is a very fun and funny book with charming characters you'll enjoy getting to know. And along the way it asks some good questions about love and friendship and success. The author doesn't take herself or her characthers too seriously, she just keeps it light and fun.

Heroine Lexi Smart has a loser boyfriend and not a great job, but she loves her tiny flat and going out with her three best friends; until one night she slips and falls, hitting her head. She wakes up in the hospital 3 years later and everything's changed: she's a successfule business woman with an incredibly rich, handsome husband. As she tries to fit into her Cinderella life, she learns that happily every after ain't necessarily so. This book is a well written, entertaining read; especially for those times when you need a little something, but not too much.

View all my reviews.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sex and the City Sex and the City by Candace Bushnell

My review


I haven't seen the movie yet, but it's on my A list. I had the First Season on DVD in my hands at the store, but decided to put it back and be a smarter consumer and watch in on Netflix. I've seen many of the episodes, but not all.

The book that inspired it all is not fabulous the way the TV series is fabulously written, acted, and produced. I thought the TV series was way better than almost any other series out there, but the book, compared to other books, not so much. The book is good, but the material probably worked better as a series of columns.

While the TV series is driven by an ensemble group of characters that you get to know and care about; the book talks about various situations people find themselves in. Candace Bushnell takes the topic and puts it in a room on a stool with one light overhead exposing it for your review. She doesn't making any judgements: she just reports the situation, brings it to light, and lets you make up your mind about it yourself.

This is a great book for a light summer read at the beach or the park; perfect for a plane. But be warned: if you're a stickler for good sentence structure and well used colons and semi-colons; there's one each in the whole book. She tries to create a conversational tone using only commas and periods, leaving sentence fragments scattered about like so many cigarette butts.

View all my reviews.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Fatherly Advice


This is a picture of my father at about 12 or 13 years old with his brothers, baby sister, mother, and, we think, his maternal grandfather. My Dad is second oldest and second from the right. The husband of one of my cousins had this photo and gave copies to everyone at my father's funeral 2 years ago. I love old photos and we all enjoyed marveling at how easy it was to tell which boy had turned into which uncle.

This morning I was thinking about the only real advice about growing up he gave me. We'd been on some outing together and were back at his house. Before I got out of his car to get into my own car to drive home he said, “You know, you're getting to the age where you need to start trimming your nose hairs.”

I said, “Thanks Dad” and got out of the car.

While driving home I remebered that my father gave my older brothers fairly nice electric shavers when they were old enough to need them. I taught myself to shave using my mother's shaver. At Boy Scout Camp that summer one of the Scoutmasters loaned me a disposable razor and encouraged me to use it. And it was my mother, not my father, who told me about love and sex.

When I got home I looked in the mirror and thought; no tips on sex, no advice about love, didn't even teach me how to shave, the man may be largely inadequate as a father, but he's right about one thing. So I looked for the smallest pair of scissors I could find.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Wisdom


"You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions." - Naguib Mahfouz

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day Movie


Yesterday afternoon Skip and I went to see "Ironman" at the Fashion Valley Mall movieplex. We both liked it a lot; well written, really well acted. Not only were Robert Downey Jr. and Gyweneth Paltrow great, but a bald Jeff Bridges was a nice suprise.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Also Currently Reading...


Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens. His last novel; I didn't know it existed until a few weeks ago.

"Externally, it was a narrow lopsided wooden jumble of corpulent windows heaped one upon another as you might heap as many toppling oranges, with a crazy wooden verandah impending over the water; indeed the whole house, inclusive of the complaining flag-staff on the roof, impended over the water, but seemed to have got into the condition of a faint-hearted diver who has paused so long on the brink that he will never go in at all."

Now that's a sentence!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Iron Mountain 04.26.08



Even though my alarms went off dutifully at 5:30 and 5:45, I didn't actually wake up until 6:10, which was bad because I was supposed to be out the door at 6:15 to pick up Skip, stop at Starbuck's and make it to the trail head by 7:00.

Fortunately Skip's friend, Alice, and her friends Mark(green t-shirt) and Szymon(big smile), waited patiently and we got under way shortly after 7:30.


Iron Mountain is a great hike; not far out of town, short & long options, amazing 360 degree views at the top. What a great way to start the weekend!
(Double click on any image to enlarge it)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Currently Reading ...


I'm not going through it very quickly because the class I'm taking is kicking my butt, but what I have read has given me much to think about. And that's a good thing. Deepak Chopra makes it an easy read but gives you a lot to contemplate.

Favorite quote so far:

"You must find the place inside yourself where nothing is impossible."

I looked and looked and for the life of me I could never find that place. So I decided to build it from scratch.

Second favorite quote:

"'In everything do to others as you would have them do to you.' (Matthew 7:9-12)
If you contemplate the Golden Rule, it turns out to be an injunction to live by grace rather than by what you think other people deserve."

Usually, when we think of the Golden Rule, we think in terms of a proactive situation; we treat someone nice so they'll be nice to us in return. But Deepak Chopra is looking at it from a reactive situation; someone has just been thoughtless/rude/mean to us and in our anger we want to give them what they deserve, or at the very least turn away, but Grace requires us to be nice, as if they'd been nice. This goes back to treating people as they ought to be, rather than as they are.

I apologize to my non-Christian friends for quoting scripture at you. I'm trying to be more spiritual than religious. Despite the fact that many have used Scripture to beat us up and leave us to die tied to a fence, there is some spiritual wisdom in scripture. And that's Deepak Chopra's intent in writing this book; to look beyond Jesus "the man" whose factual history has been all but lost and to bypass Jesus "the arbitrator of rules" who has been kidnapped by the conservative false prophets, and look at the spriritual, mystical leader he was trying to be all along.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

New Blog Feature: Call Me for Free !


Over to the right you'll notice a blue button that says "Call Me". Just double click on it, enter your name and phone number, click the "call me" button, and pick up your phone. The computer will put a call through from your phone to my phone at no charge. No long distance fees!

And I'll be able to post voice mails to my blog, so if you've got some news to share or want to leave me a festive message on; say, oh I don't know, My Birthday in 30 days (3/27); go for it!

"He who gives when he is asked has waited too long." - Seneca

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Truth

For an example of some amazing writing check out: http://www.bigassbelle.blogspot.com/. Her most recent entry "kayla" just wrecked me. Her previous post "roe, wade and me" is a valid view point worth considering. And she won an award for a post in April called "piano music". She tells the truth like we all should but none of us do.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day




"Love is often nothing but a favorable exchange between two people who get the most of what they can expect, considering their value on the personality market." - Erich Fromm

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Fun with PhotoShop






I've started an Interactive Media class through the San Diego Community College Continuing Education program. And first thing we're diving into PhotoShop in great detail. During class last week we took the top 4 images and manipulated them every which way but loose until we have something completely new. Our instructor really knows her stuff, which is good, although she's often challenging to keep up with. She likes to add many layers to create an image with lots of depth. But she's very encouraging and the other 60+ students are all amazing, bright, talented, super nice people to share 3 evenings a week with.