Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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Yet another Disneyland trip

Filed under: — stan @ 7:18 am

On Thursday, I took a vacation day to take Lucinda and her friend Claire to Disneyland. I’d promised her I’d take her one more time before school starts. It was very hot, which made for a sweaty day, but it also kept a lot of other people away. So the lines were very short.

The highlight of the day had to be when Claire and I convinced Lucinda to try Gadget’s Go Coaster in Toon Town. The last two times we were there, I rode it with Claire while Lucinda sat on a rock and watched us. She was pretty apprehensive about it, but at the end of the run, before the train even stopped, she said, “That was so much fun! Let’s do it again!” So we ended up riding it three times in a row.

We were there from 11:00AM until nearly 7:00PM. Then we went for the obligatory dinner at the Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney before heading home. I like to make a point of ending our days there, since the pictures from there have provided me a good measure of my progress in surviving the sturm und drang of the ongoing divorce process.

And yes, it was a very fun day.


Tattoo Hollywood

Filed under: — stan @ 11:00 pm

Saturday afternoon, I went over to Hollywood for the big Tattoo Hollywood convention put on by BMEzine. I figured that because it was BME, it would be a good convention. And I also figured that a lot of people I know would be there.

When I walked in the door, I immediately saw The Lizardman. We’d never met in person before, I’ve known him from rec.arts.bodyart back in the days when he was a grad student, and before he embarked on his show business career.

I had a fun time schmoozing around and taking pictures. I met up with several other people who I’ve known online for years but never met in meatspace before. Late in the afternoon, Leslie came by, fresh off the plane from being out of town for the last few days. So I got to introduce her around, and she even has instant cachet in the tattoo scene, since she worked on the Modern Primitives book back in the ’80s.

It was a very fun afternoon and evening. Pictures are in the usual place.


Animal safari

Filed under: — stan @ 10:58 pm

This past weekend I took Lucinda down to San Diego. The plan was to visit Grandpa, and also to go to the Wild Animal Park. We went down on Sunday afternoon. When we got there, we picked up Grandpa and headed down to La Jolla Cove. I’d seen the seals there the last time I was in San Diego, and I knew Lucinda would like seeing them, too.

When we got there, there we no seals. There were people on the beach, and the seals were all out in the water. They were just sort of bobbing in the waves and waiting for the people to leave. Whenever one would make a move to come up on the beach, a bunch of people with cameras would run over toward it. And of course, the seal would get scared off. Rule #1 of wildlife photography is: You get better pictures when you don’t scare the animal away.

After the seals, we headed down to Balboa Park for dinner at Prado. As always, it was great, even if my friend Laura isn’t the manager there any more.

Since we hadn’t really seen the seals, I promised Lucinda that we could go back there in the morning. And we did. They were all snoozing on the beach. Lucinda enjoyed seeing them, and I got some good seal photos. As always, my camera rocks.

After seeing the seals, we had breakfast and headed up to the Wild Animal Park. We went on the tram ride around to see the African animals. Then we went and saw some of the other exhibits. We signed up for the ‘Photo Safari’ tour in the afternoon. This is the one where you ride in a stake-bed truck out into the Africa exhibit, and you can hand-feed a giraffe. I knew that Lucinda would like this. And it was fun. We all got to feed the giraffe, and also get licked by the big giraffe tongue. After that, we saw some more exhibits and the bird show before heading home. It was a nice weekend.

More photos are here.


Cirque Berzerk again

Filed under: — stan @ 11:51 pm

cirque berserk
Last month, I went to see Cirque Berzerk. I liked it a lot, and I told Lucinda about it. And after hearing about it, she wanted to see it. Since the show had been extended into August, we had a chance, and we went tonight.

She thought that the crowd was pretty amusing. A lot like the crowds she’s seen when she went to tattoo conventions with me. And the show was great fun. She said that her favorite was the trampoline act, but that she liked all the acrobatics. It was a fun little evening, even if it did make for kind of a late night for us.


Bring on the guinea pigs!

Filed under: — stan @ 5:24 pm

On Saturday afternoon, I took Lucinda and her friend to see “G-Force” at the El Capitan in Hollywood. We’ve been seeing previews for this movie for a while, and they were pretty excited to see it. The tickets for the El Capitan were a bit more than at the regular theater, but they included a visit to the “G-Force Experience” attraction across the street. This made it more than worth the extra price for the tickets. The movie was very entertaining, even if I just couldn’t shake the idea that Agent Darwin looked just like a slightly furrier John McCain.

The “G-Force Experience” included life-sized games for the kids to play, set dressings from the movie, an obstacle course for the kids (and parents) to run through, and a show. It was great fun, and we had a very nice afternoon there.


“And you may say to yourself, My God! What have I done?”

Filed under: — stan @ 10:08 pm

And you may ask yourself
What is that beautiful house?
And you may ask yourself
Where does that highway go to?
And you may ask yourself
Am I right? Am I wrong?
And you may say to yourself
My God! What have I done?

Everyone who knows me remembers that I spent quite literally years ranting about how much I hated living in Texas. So it comes as a great surprise, and I think it very deeply weird to find that the 1,476 days I spent living there have turned out to be the single best thing that ever happened to me. So this weekend, I made what amounted to a spiritual pilgrimage back to Austin for the 16th anniversary party for the social club I started* when I was living there. It’s my association with that group and my notoriety for starting it that came back into my life last year and turned everything around. Amid all the sturm und drang of the divorce, it made me a minor celebrity in some circles, and it led to many, many good things happening in my life. Hence the pilgrimage.

I flew out on JetBlue just like last year, and it was a very pleasant trip. Leslie was planning on accompanying me, but her father had a stroke just a few days before the trip, so she had to cancel. There was an empty seat next to me on the flights both ways. But even though I was traveling alone, I still had a good time.

When I got to Austin, I could feel the heat through the airplane window. I’d heard that it had been exceptionally hot and dry there recently, and it was over 100 degrees when I arrived. My friend Paul came to the airport to pick me up, and we went to the hotel where the event was being held. After getting installed in the hotel, we headed down to Pok-E-Jo’s BBQ for dinner. I’d announced a “Founders’ Dinner” for Friday night. This was not an official part of the event, but I thought it would be nice to see some of the ‘old-timers’ to start things off. Only about three people said that they were coming, so I thought it was going to be a small turnout, but when we got there, there was a long table full of people. I got my usual brisket sandwich and fried okra. And all was right with the world.

The official start of the event was a social and mixer held at the Chain Drive, which is the local gay leather bar near downtown Austin. There was a good crowd there, which was nice. The place also had a broken air conditioner, which was not so nice. July in Texas is a very bad time to have the AC break down. Still, it was a very fun time. I got my official event registration packet, T-shirt, and a new pin for my vest. I saw lots of old friends, and made several new ones. It was good fun.

Saturday was the main event. The hotel monitors showed the day’s events, which included four rooms with seminars that ran from 10:00AM to 5:00PM, a vendors area in the ballroom, and a buffet luncheon. At the luncheon, I got to get up and speak to the group for a few minutes. I told them about how seeing the event they’d put on made me feel like George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life”. It’s just so good to see something I created doing well and doing good things for the community. Then I introduced the keynote speaker, who is an old friend, and he gave a very entertaining and interesting talk.

At the end of the afternoon events, they tallied the results of the silent auction. I bid on and won a couple of items, including a mummified alligator claw on a stick. I have no idea what to use it for, if anything. I just thought it was so deliciously weird that I had to bid on it.

The main event Saturday night was a party, held at an old-style Texas dance hall out in the country. On the way out there, we went to the dinner for the presenters and other VIPs at the Catfish Parlour. Fried food all the way. Then it was out to the party. I didn’t plan on doing anything at the party, aside from just milling about schmoozing and holding court. I saw even more old friends from many years ago, and it was just great seeing everyone enjoying themselves there.

On Sunday morning, I had breakfast with my old college friend Mike. We traded stories of our adventures since last year. His included trips to San Francisco, New York, and London. Apparently his bicycle shop had a very good year last year. Something to do with gas being $4 a gallon or some such. Go figure.

Sunday’s event was a picnic at Recreation Plantation out in the country, near Dripping Springs. The directions to get there included going several miles down some very narrow country roads before turning off onto a dirt driveway that turned out to be over a mile long. To say it was secluded just doesn’t do it justice. It was in a little hollow by a creek, surrounded by low limestone hills. Sounds we made there would echo off the hills, which was actually a nice effect. Fortunately, the heat wave sort of broke on Sunday, so it was not too brutally hot. Also, they had a pool there, so I spent the latter part of the afternoon in the water. It was a very nice time.

After the picnic, I bummed a ride back to town to my friend Leona’s house. I had dinner there and told Leona and John about the adventures of the weekend and the past year.

I stayed over Sunday night in order to not have to leave the picnic early on Sunday, and also to have time to visit with my friend Stu on Monday. He picked me up at the hotel and we went to the Yellow Rose. Austin has the best topless bars I’ve seen anywhere, and I learned a lot about how that business works back in 1992-93 when Cathy worked there. So I like to go back there whenever I get the chance.

After Stu dropped me off at the airport, I got some food to take on the plane, as well as a souvenir for Lucinda. Walking around the airport and seeing all the Texas tchotchkes in the gift shops, I saw lots of things for Keep Austin Weird. I like to think that I’ve done my part in that. I felt so incredibly fortunate to have had the experience of being there and contributing to the community.

Overall, it was a Most Excellent Weekend.

* I could have made a link to it here, but I’m not going to, since it’s sort of NSFW. If you really want to find it, it’s not hard. The Google is your friend.


You must remember this…

Filed under: — stan @ 11:48 pm

You must remember this
A kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh.
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by.

And when two lovers woo
They still say, “I love you.”
On that you can rely
No matter what the future brings
As time goes by.

Today’s bike ride was another cultural history grave tour. Today we went to pay respects to Dooley Wilson, who is remembered best as Sam the piano man in “Casablanca“. Since one of the themes of that story is that of great unrequited love, it’s something that I and almost everyone else can certainly relate to.

It was a perfect day for riding. It promised to get hot later in the day, but it never did get very hot. So it was very nice.

We rode directly to downtown Los Angeles and then all the way through to the south end of downtown before turning west on Washington Blvd to get to the Angelus Rosedale Cemetery. We found Dooley’s grave near the entrance. I brought a shot glass along so as to be able to down some shots of Gatorade while reflecting on Wilson’s role as a cultural touchstone for our generation.

After leaving the cemetery, we rode north to Larchmont, where we stopped at Noah’s Bagels. Then we continued on north through Hollywood to Franklin Ave, where we turned east. Then I got a flat. So Jon took the obligatory picture before we continued on. The rest of the route was the most direct way home, up Eagle Rock Blvd and then across on Yosemite and then up the Colorado St hill into Pasadena.

It was a very nice ride.

40 miles.


Good thing we ate beforehand…

Filed under: — stan @ 10:53 pm

food, inc
Tonight, Leslie and I went to see “Food, Inc“. This is the new documentary about the American food system, how it works, what’s in it, who controls it, and all those unsavory details. Think, “Super Size Me” meets “The Corporation“. Yick. Fortunately, I’d made us a nice home-cooked dinner before we went, since this film has a way of killing one’s appetite. Still, it was a good film, and definitely worth seeing.


Cirque Berzerk

Filed under: — stan @ 11:46 pm

cirque berserk
Friday night’s adventure was a trip to Cirque Berzerk at Los Angeles State Historic Park. The tent was set up in the middle of a dusty field, which seemed quite appropriate, since the Cirque grew out of an act at Burning Man some years ago.

The show itself was great fun. It sort of defies description, and about the closest I could come is to say that it’s sort of like a mash-up of “Cabaret” with a circus acrobatics show, performed by the Transylvanians from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”. They had a live band and singers on a high platform at one end of the stage. They made a big deal about some seats being better than others, but even the far back row was only about 50 feet from the stage. The tent just wasn’t all that big.

There was a small fenced-in area outside the tent with a bar and a stage. The sign said that drinks were not allowed outside the fenced area, but they had a fenced corridor to the tent, so people could bring drinks into the show. The show itself was about an hour and a half, with a 20-minute intermission. There was a band playing in the outdoor bar area after the first show. They said that cameras were not allowed in the show, but I saw a lot of people at least attempting to take pictures. It was pretty dark in the tent, so I doubt that the pictures would have been very good.

It was very weird, and tremendously entertaining. Certainly worth the trip.


Disneyland to start the summer

Filed under: — stan @ 11:26 pm

It’s the day after the last day of school. What are you going to do?

I’m going to Disneyland!

I took Lucinda and her friend Claire to Disneyland today to start their summer vacation. We did the whole bit, starting with California Adventure, then lunch, and then the rest of the day at Disneyland. We were there for about eight hours, and we rode a lot of rides. And the girls had a good time.

At the end of the day, we were all tired. We had dinner at the Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney before heading home. It was a very nice day.

As always, all the pictures from the day are in Lucinda’s photo album.

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