Stan’s Obligatory Blog

Happy Halloween

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7/25/2009

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.

7/21/2009

“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.

7/5/2009

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.
cycling

7/1/2009

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.

6/19/2009

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.

6/18/2009

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.

6/14/2009

40 years later…

Filed under: — stan @ 8:50 pm

This afternoon’s adventure was a trip to the Gay Pride Parade and Festival in West Hollywood. This summer marks 40 years since the Stonewall riots, which are regarded as having started the modern gay rights movement. One of my friends did the web site for Christopher Street West, so she had VIP passes for us, along with about a dozen others in her business partner’s entourage.

I was a perfect day for a parade. I got there a bit late, but still saw quite a bit of it. There was a bus with older gay people touting “Gray Pride”. There were also cheerleaders doing stunts. A fire engine was the float for Mickey’s, which recently reopened after a fire. Hence the “flaming gay bar” banner. There was also a big contingent from the Tom of Finland Foundation.

After the parade, we stopped in to Millions of Milkshakes before going in to the festival. There was the pervasive thump of dance music everywhere, and it was very crowded. We walked around the festival for a bit, and I even ran into a few people I know there. Then I had to leave early to get home to pick up Lucinda.

It was a very fun afternoon adventure.

6/6/2009

I got a new mailbox!

Filed under: — stan @ 7:45 pm


Today I went down to Long Beach to the Queen Mary for the Ink ‘n’ Iron show. This just keeps getting bigger and bigger every year.

I got there earlier than I have the last few years, which made parking easier. I went inside and commenced wandering around. I saw a lot of familiar faces, and got to visit with old friends. And I even got a new mailbox. There was one booth that was selling mailboxes hand-painted with hot-rod flames. And he had a box-type one, so I just had to get it.

It was a very fun afternoon, even though I had to leave early to go home to pick up Lucinda. And nothing beats a new hot-rod mailbox.

5/25/2009

Echo Mountain

Filed under: — stan @ 10:53 pm

Today I took Lucinda and her friend Alisha hiking. We went up Echo Mountain above Altadena. This is a very nice local hike, about 2.7 miles each way, with nice views and some interesting ruins at the top. We’d last done this hike two years ago.

We started out from the top of Lake Ave and headed on up the trail. After a while, the girls started to complain about being tired, but I convinced them to soldier on. We stopped for lunch at the two-mile marker. When we got close to the top, Lucinda started running. And when we reached the top, they were both very happy to have made it.

We poked around the ruins of the Echo Mountain House, and the girls tried out the Echo Phone. They were very entertained by the echoes coming back across the canyon.

It was a fun afternoon adventure.

5/16/2009

Saturday Night Weird

Filed under: — stan @ 11:58 pm

On Saturday night, Shari and I went over to Hollywood. The occasion was a party and book signing at Antebellum Gallery for my friend Elayne’s new book, The Piercing Bible. I’ve known Elayne for more than 20 years now, and seeing her is always a treat.

The art on display at the gallery was an odd mix of old Bettie Page bondage pictures, clown paintings, and photos of amputees. And the crowd that turned out was equally entertaining. I saw a number of people who I hadn’t seen in many years. I also got to introduce Shari to my friends Nina Hartley and Ernest Greene. That was some fun.

It was a very fun evening. And as a piece of trivia: I’ve known Elayne since 1987, but she’s never actually stuck a needle through me. The one time I had an appointment to get pierced by her, she called in sick and so Jim Ward did it instead.

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