Friday, May 30, 2008

I'm So Glad We Had This Time Together

Harvey Korman has passed away. He was 81.

I was just thinking of him, earlier this week, as I always do whenever I see a flagpole.

He had been asked in an interview, once, if he used Viagra.

"No," he replied. "That would be like putting a new flagpole in front of a condemned building."

Thank you for literally decades of laughter, Mr. Korman.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Gotta Go-Gotta Go-Gotta Go Right Now

I used to wet the bed.

It tapered off as I got older, but I was still wetting the bed now and then by the time I was 10-years-old.

As much as I've complained about my parents making me feel inferior about other things, usually school grades, I have to give them full credit for never once making me feel bad during all my years of bed-wetting.

My youngest brother was also a bed-wetter, beyond the age of ten, into his junior high school years, I think. I had already moved out of my parents' house by the time he was 11-years-old. It was during that time my parents bought a device with an alarm to try to help my brother. The alarm would go off when the sensors, placed underneath the bed sheets, would get wet.

I don't think it ended up helping my brother, but bed-wetting wasn't too much of a problem for him, either. He managed to keep dry all night whenever spending the night at a friend's house or when he went away to church camp.

I like to consume vast amounts of liquid. It hydrates the skin, it helps digestion, and it curbs appetite. Ideally, I'll have two cups of water when I first wake up, to chase down my multi-vitamin. Then I'll have a serving of milk, half regular and half chocolate soy. Then I'll have my morning coffee to wake up. That's six cups of liquid before my day even starts.

That's only on days off, though, when I can stay close to a bathroom. I've had to cut down to four cups of liquid in the morning since I've started working full time. I'll have water or milk, but not both, before having coffee. My scooter ride into work takes about thirty-five minutes. I've learned the hard way that I can last for that half hour or so on four cups but not six.

I'll drink water and tea after dinner, and before bedtime, too. I will get up two or three times in the middle of the night, usually. How long will I have that ability, though? How many years do I have left before I have to either decrease my liquid intake or start wearing Depends? Or both?

My scooter is in the shop this week, waiting for a new tire to be delivered so it can replace the flat. It takes ninety minutes or more for me to get to work by bus and train. That's not including the walking time to the bus stop and from the train station. I wait until I get to my desk to start pounding H2O and coffee.
While my scooter has been in the shop, I have not been drinking any liquid at home in the four hours between waking up and arriving at work.

No way am I taking any chances!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Vocabulary Lesson

I used to work for an entertainment company on weekends, dancing at parties in Beverly Hills. In addition to performing choreographed numbers, our main duty was to ask guests of the party to dance with us, to get them up on the dance floor and help get the party going. Easy-cheesy work, good pay, and usually we were served the same food as the guests.

"Bloussant your shirt," Chris told me one night as we were backstage getting dressed for the conga number. Chris was our choreographer, director, and stage manager for these party gigs.

"What?" I asked him. I had my shiny, yellow conga shirt rammed ruler-straight down the front of my pants.

"Bloussant your shirt," he repeated.

"What?" I asked again.

"Pull your f#@*ing shirt out a little!"

Oh. That I understood.

I think about that moment and laugh every time I see the commercial for the breast enlargement product with the same name.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Are We There Yet? Are We There Yet?

Holy crap!

Univeral Studios just opened up a new Simpsons Ride, both in Orlando, Florida, and here in California.

I just love when anything 2D and cartoony is brought to three dimensional life (such as the new Speed Racer movie)!

For more info about the Simpsons Ride go here.


This past weekend I drove out to Palm Desert to see a dinner theater revue. There were reasons not to go, including the fact that I do not own a car, right now, and a round trip of over two hundred miles is not something I wanted to do on my scooter.

Domestic Partner kindly allowed me to borrow his car for the evening, which I was grateful for because there were reasons to go, too. The first reason: the show was performed right in my Aunt Pat's retirement community. She loves live theater as much as I do, and even volunteers as an usher at a local theatre. Aunt Pat and I will spend small fortunes on each other for good seats when a national tour comes through Los Angeles.

This was not traditional dinner theater in the sense that the audience watches a performance of a play or well known musical. This was a cabaret type performance, or a musical revue, in which the singers and dancers are also the serving staff. It is a specific style of dinner theater that the Young Americans had done for many years, a while back, here in Southern California.

The second reason: it is also the same style of dinner theater that I had done at Tibbie's Music Hall in Huntington Beach. It was my first paid gig as a performer, shortly after being fired from Disneyland almost twenty years ago. So, I was anxious to relive some good memories by attending this performance.

My main reason for wanting to go, I must confess, was that the entire production was directed and put together by an ex-boyfriend, Mr. Heartbreaker. I had worked with Mr. Heartbreaker in Japan and discovered that he has an absolute gift for arranging music, both instrumentally and vocally. During our brief time together as a couple, it was sheer joy to be in one of his vocal groups and sing four part and even six part harmonies. His talent and genius made me fall harder for him than I already had.

This was the guy I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. As long as there was music--and with him, that was practically guaranteed--I felt that we would always be happy together. We were together for only a short amount of time, much shorter than I would have liked. After leaving Japan, he continued on with his music, as did my feelings for him.

So, I was anxious to attend this show. A small, permanent part of me will always carry the torch for Mr. Heartbreaker, for the rest of my life, even if we are not meant to be together. It only took about a decade or so for me to accept that fact and learn to live with it, peacefully.

Domestic Partner knows about Mr. Heartbreaker. I give Domestic Partner extra points for being secure enough to let me borrow his car for the purpose of seeing an ex-boyfriend's show.

Typically, I felt I understood all of the sad love songs more acutely after being dumped by Mr. Heartbreaker all those years ago. I made a two hour mix tape for him, then, full of all the torch songs that expressed my sadness and continuing yearning for him. I ended up not giving the tape to him. Instead, I crushed it under my heaviest work boots, attempting to symbolically pulverize the lingering heartache away.

I couldn't even stay friends with Mr. Heartbreaker, at first. It hurt too much every time I saw him with someone new. It was a few months after parting ways with him that I met Domestic Partner. It was Domestic Partner that helped me to truly move on, and I will always be grateful to him for that.

A dozen years later, the same torch songs still make me think of Mr. Heartbreaker. Fortunately, I can think of him in a more peaceful way, now. One of the saddest parts of my life is over and done, and I am immensely relieved. I can only pray that I will never feel that heartbroken again.

The show was good. It was full of upbeat numbers and the energy of the youthful, talented performers. It took me back to my own dinner theater days as I had anticipated. I was not disappointed. The show also included some of the very same songs that make me think of Mr. Heartbreaker: 'On My Own'(Les Miserables), 'For Good' (Wicked), and 'Touch Me in the Morning' (Diana Ross):

"We don't have tomorrow
But we had yesterday . . . Let's just be glad for the time together."

From the darkness of the audience, I watched Mr. Heartbreaker playing the keyboard among the other musicians while the sad love songs were being sung, admiring and adoring him as much as I had when I first met him. These were his musical arrangements and vocal harmonies I was hearing once again. It was his choreography and staging we were all watching.

"You son of a bitch," the Gwen Verdon-esque character says to the Bob Fosse-esque character in the film, "All That Jazz," after watching a workshop rehearsal of his genius choreography. Despite being divorced from him, and despite his former mistreatment of her, she still loves him, mostly because he is amazingly talented.

Mr. Heartbreaker is not a son of a bitch, much as I may have wanted to think of him that way at one time. But he is amazingly talented, and that small, permanent part of me will always love him as I had told him so many years ago.

I still fantasize about the could've-beens, now and then.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Celebrity Ching-Chong

Deb was my idol. For years she was the darling of East West Players, "the nation's premier Asian American theatre organization" in Los Angeles. So, imagine my thrill when such a well-established performer accepted me under her sisterly wing in my first production with the 99-seat theater, more than a decade ago. She is also half-Japanese, like me, so we had an almost immediate bond.

We had both been cast in "Cabaret" at EWP, a production with a few gender-bending elements. Deb had been cast as the MC and I was one of two boys cast as Kit Kat girls. In our mutual delight of each other we were like gremlins hopped up on Pixie Stix every night, both on stage and off. One of her most frequent sayings was, "I just love us," usually said after a fit of giggles.

The director of the show, Mr. David Galligan, had recruited some of the Cabaret cast members for one of his annual AIDS benefits, P.A.W.S. (Pets Are Wonderful Support).
Dressed in a gorilla costume, I was paired up with Charlotte Rae, AKA Mrs. Garrett, for her solo number. Mr. Galligan introduced us to Miss Rae in rehearsal, explaining that we were some of the cast members from the show he was directing at East West Players.

"David," she gently chided, "why didn't you cast me in that show? I could play . . . "

She didn't finish her sentence. Instead, she used her index fingers to pull up the corners of her eyes. She stopped when she noticed the silent stare of daggers coming from Deb.

"I can't believe it," Deb said out in the hallway, later. "I just got ching-chonged by Mrs. Garrett!"

I just love her. Deb, that is.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Put a Hat On!

I had taken more than five years of Spanish in school, from the eighth grade to my first year in college.

I learned more Spanish--actual Spanish used in real conversations--when waiting tables for so many years, from my Spanish speaking coworkers.

"Por favor, mantenga sus piernas cerradas," which means 'Please keep your legs closed.' You never know when that's going to come in handy.

Today, I learned that the Spanish slang for condom is "sombrero."

Well, it looks like a little hat, at first, when you put it on, before rolling it all the way down.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Forward and Back, Once Again

Dance floor diva and Aussie pop tart, Kylie Minogue is 40 this year. So are a few of my friends, including Tedd, Eddie, and Noël.

Was there something in the water, back in 1967?

I just realized, recently, that these people are the same age as Marty McFly, from the "Back to the Future" films. They were 17-years-old when Marty was seventeen, back in '85, and they will turn 47-years-old just like Marty became when he visited his future self, in the year 2015.

I am endlessly fascinated by the "Back to the Future" trilogy, especially the first two installments. After seeing the first film, I wished that I could also go back in time, just like Marty, to befriend my father as a young man in order to improve his self-esteem and thus, ensure a better present for both myself and him. I'm sure many others felt the same way, which may partially explain the original and enduring popularity of the trilogy.

Of course, sometimes it's useless to ponder 'what if?' But what if I had been able to visit my father when he was a teenager and help him develop more self-confidence? What if I had been able to help him have more courage to pursue his dreams and achieve his goals? Would that have resulted in a more financially stable life for him and our family, thirty years later? Would my father have been less stressed out when I was an adolescent? Would our family have been more emotionally stable and less dysfunctional?

Like I said, some things are useless to ponder, maybe even pointless. But it doesn't stop me from thinking about it. The point of the films, or my interpretation, at least, is that you can't--or shouldn't--change the past. Even if we were given a chance to physically alter history, there are consequences, usually too risky. But that's only half of the point. The film's optimistic message is that your future is whatever you want it to be, whether you're seventeen or forty-seven or somewhere in between.

Instead of wishing that we could go back in time to change things for the better, we should focus on the present and realize that today is that chance to improve our lives. What do you want to do today, specifically, to end up where and how you want to be a year from now? How about a decade from now? Thirty years from now?!

I must confess to being the kind of person who tends to linger in his own reminiscing, to the point of languishing, even. I am fortunate to have a lot of good memories, despite wanting often to comfort my inner child and past self/selves. It is difficult to reverse the process and reach out to my Future Self. I try to reach out to him and have him comfort my present self, too. I need him to help me make smart choices and decisions today so that I can eventually end up where he is, which I hope is a great place. It is an effective way for me to choose to live positively, optimistically, and with purpose.

Who am I, five years from now, when I turn 47? Who am I when I'm 60-years-old, and when I'm 77-years-old, like Marty's parents in the year 2015? Future Self seems vague and fuzzy in my mind's eye, sometimes, but I try to run to him with courage and eagerness. The important thing to remember is that we are given a second chance, on a daily basis, to have some say in who we become and how our lives turn out.

Both Marty and his father, George McFly, said, "You can accomplish anything, if you just put your mind to it."

And I certainly hope I live long enough to meet/become Future Self.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Furby Freak

I thought I had all of the Furbies. Apparently, I do not. The above photos include only some of the Furbies that I do not have.


I have enough. The bookshelves in our home office are lined with more than two hundred unopened Furbies, most of which are regular adult Furbies. The collection also includes Furby babies, Shelbies (a clam-like interactive Friend of Furby), Japanese speaking Furbies, a Spanish speaking Furby, a few 2006 new & improved Furbies, and a couple of Furby knock-offs from Asia. I even have the Gizmo Furby, a result of the settlement made after the Furby makers were sued for creating a toy that closely resembled the mogwai of the film "Gremlins."

And the Gizmo one is sooo cute! Especially his voice.

I don't know that I would have started collecting Furbies so feverishly had I known that Hasbro and Tiger Electronics were going to release such an overwhelming amount of different Furbies. At first, I was delighted when the first Furbies came out in '98. There were six different patterns of fur, in basic shades of black, white, and grey. The fur patterns of the second generation of Furbies branched out to natural animal prints, including tiger stripes and dalmatian spots. I was a little frightened when the fourth generation came out. They looked a little evil, with their fluorescent bright hues and black-lined eyes, kind of like Chucky from "Child's Play."

"They're evil little killing machines," my coworkers told me in 1999. "Y2K is going to trigger their murder programs and you're going to end up a big bloody, pulpy schmear in your bed on January 1st."

I was working in Japan that year and making decent money at my theme park gig, there, so I spent a small fortune on Furbies (plus an additional, smaller fortune to get them shipped back home). I panicked at the thought of all Furbies being sold out by the time I returned to Los Angeles.

Back home, my roommates dismissed them as 3D Tamagotchi's (remember those?!).

"Why do you collect them?" people ask. "Why do you buy them, and what are you going to do with them?"

We'll see. I may end up carting them around to toy conventions, two or three decades from now, and see if they increase in value. And if they don't, *shrug*, I've had a lot of fun collecting them.

Why do I buy them? They remind me of a children's book that I had read in the early seventies--the title, I cannot remember for the life of me. In the story, a loner child had found a fuzzy little creature with big ears. And it could talk. He was small enough to fit in her pocket or ride on her shoulder, so he was able to go everywhere with her. She had an instant friend and a constant companion. She never had to feel alone again.

The Furbies remind me of that story, and of the fuzzy, friendly creature. I would've loved a little pocket friend like that when I was in second or third grade. Now that I'm an adult, I wonder if the fuzzy creature represented 'inner child' to me, even at such a young age. I don't think I could have articulated it, back then, but I knew that the tiny creature who could talk was something to cherish and love and protect and nurture. Maybe my fascination for the story was a result of yearnings for the actual child I was, then, and not inner child.


Even as I am typing this, my Furbies are all staring from sixteen bookshelves, some of them looking right at me, and all of them with open smiles. I'm not sure why it makes me feel happy to look at all the different Furbies with all of their many different colors and patterns. It's almost like getting a direct hit of endorphins when I look at them. Like people, they are all basically the same and yet at the same time, each one is unique.

I never tire of looking at them.

Each Furby has the same basic design, but each one is different. Some of them are wearing hats or crowns. The wizard Furby has a purple cape with yellow stars and a matching peaked hat (he's the Harry Potter Furby). There's a presidential candidate Furby in a tie and blazer, a jester Furby with the appropriate hat and collar, and an angel Furby with a halo and a pair of wings. There are holiday Furbies, including a Halloween witch Furby, a Santa Furby, and a reindeer Furby. There are even two different Furbies for Y2K.

Obviously, they did not burst forth from their unopened packages to kill me in my sleep, as my coworkers had predicted. On our office shelves they remain, in full view, and not in storage.

To see the entire collection of all the Furbies, click here!