Sunday, November 30, 2008


I love riding my scooter. It can be a time of joy and praise. It can even be a time of quiet meditation. Usually, I sing to myself while riding on the 10 freeway, to work and back. Sometimes I pray. Sometimes, I simply pray that more animals are placed in loving and protective homes so that we'll see fewer of them on the freeway.

Maybe it's a measure of how good my life is, but I become very sad when I see a dead dog or cat on the freeway, even the ones that are still in one piece and look as if they're sleeping peacefully. I try to focus on the fact that their pain and fear are already over.

And I pray that the end came as swiftly as possible for them.

When I see objects on the road that I'm quickly approaching, I'll pray, "Please don't be dog, please don't be a dog." I'm always relieved and grateful whenever it turns out to be an old jacket, or some tire tread, or a rumpled blanket.

Last month, I saw a dog resting on the shoulder of the carpool lane. It was obviously still alive. It was also four or five lanes across from the nearest freeway exit. I immediately pulled over into a safe parking spot for my small bike. I couldn't believe that no other vehicles were pulling over after seeing the dog. I couldn't just continue on my way to work and leave a live animal to risk its life. I couldn't just not worry about the poor creature.

Risky as I knew it was, I walked over to the dog carefully, hugging the shoulder. The poor thing was resting against the wall of a merging ramp and I wanted to make sure not to scare it right into oncoming traffic. The dog was not happy to see me. It ran further up the shoulder and tried to hop the small wall, over into the Metro Link train tracks.

One of its hind legs was bleeding, not a lot, but obviously the dog had been hit. I was glad that the injury probably - ironically - kept the dog from jumping over into the tracks.

I saw that the dog was wearing a collar with license tags. It looked healthy, so it was probably some one's pet that had gotten lost. I got close enough to hold out a fist for the dog to sniff, but it snapped at me. The dog was probably in pain, and very frightened. I didn't blame it for snapping.

A tow truck pulled up close to where my scooter was parked. A bus in the carpool lane slowed down, and the lady bus driver told me that she had called for the police to come and help. Thank God for mobile phones! (I had mine - why didn't I think to dial 911?)

The police arrived almost immediately. After swerving back and forth to slow and stop traffic, they parked in the middle of the freeway. They brought out one of those metal poles with a wire noose, which the dog let them slip onto its neck without a struggle.

I was beyond relieved that the dog was taken safely off of the freeway, no matter where it may have ended up. At least the dog would not have to suffer a painful and fearful death. Still, I was crying when I got back onto my scooter, and safely back into the car pool lane.

The poor dog was so damn vulnerable, and it made me feel vulnerable.

Whenever I see a dead animal on the freeway, I think, That could be me. I am that animal, small and vulnerable on my scooter. Or I could be.

When I was about seven or eight, I actually spent time feeling sorry for homeless dogs and cats. When I was older, my mother said it was probably because I felt emotionally abandoned by my father, even though he was always present, physically.

I am that animal. I didn't feel loved and protected enough from my father's anger and his emotional damage while growing up.

And that's probably why I adopt dogs from a rescue group or shelter. It's why we took in a four week kitten, last year, that had been abandoned on our roof. It's why I'll take in hamsters when our cat brings them to us, half alive, and give them a plastic home from Petco instead of turning them loose again in our backyard.

And it's why I stopped on the side of the freeway for a dog that was still alive, foolish as it may be to leave my vehicle and walk so close to traffic.

Fortunately, that had happened on Veteran's Day-Monday. Traffic was much lighter than usual. Had it not been a holiday, I probably would have driven by another dead dog. It took me almost the rest of the week to stop feeling so shaky and vulnerable. I wasn't able to blog about it right away.

Thanks to Mike Valentino for inspiring this post with one of his own.

Monday, November 24, 2008


I am blocked, once again, from "social networking sites" at work.

I don't mind having to actually work at my desk, but it sure is inconvenient, the way it interferes with the constant and regular maintenance necessary for keeping up with y'all on cyberspace.

For any negligence you might feel, even the slightest, I humbly apologize. Please don't feel slighted.

This is why I'm too permissive whenever I work with children - because I'm compensating for those with overactive control issues.

I'll catch up with you this holiday weekend (I can't stay up that late on school nights).

I have much upon much for which to be thankful. I hope you do, as well!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Faux Paparazzi

Prince had asked that I go into more detail about what exactly the Faux Paparazzi gigs are all about. Since I am perpetually panting with lust for that man, I am more than willing to oblige.

Did you read that, Prince? I am more than willing.

Fun Friend Ben had been after me for months to join him and our other former coworkers from Disneyland on these weekend gigs.

"C'mon!" he had wheedled. "It's easy money, and you'll get to see everyone from the good old days (the 80's)."

"What is it we have to do?" I asked.

"We pose as fake members of the press while guests are entering a party, walking across the red carpet. We flash cameras in their faces and act like tabloid reporters, asking rude and pushy questions. In general, we just have to act like a bunch of crazed loons. It's a blast!"

Usually the parties are at Sony Studios, in Culver City (who knew?). I wasn't very good, my first time. I've never been what you would call 'skilled' with improvisation, so I wasn't surprised. But I got better, especially when I started acting like a tabloid photographer from Japan, with a horribly thick accent.

"Hi! Heh-roh! Peek-sha, pu-ree-zu. Onegaishimasu! You so fay-muss-oo een Juh-pan! Hai! Arigato!"

I stole my idea from Lorena, who holds a microphone and interviews approaching guests entirely in Spanish. She plays a Telemundo reporter.

I may not be very good at improv', but I can hold my own when renaming the party guests as they enter, for any celebrities they may even vaguely resemble.

"Look! There she is! It's Mindy Cohn! Is it true that you and the other cast members of 'The Facts of Life' don't get along?"

"Look! It's Rue McClanahan! Is it true that you and the other cast members of 'The Golden Girls' really don't get along?"

"It's Delta Burke! It's Delta Burke! Is it true that you and the other cast members of 'Designing Women' swap husbands?"

"Tina Yothers! Tina Yothers!"

Okay, so I can only reference sitcoms of the 80's off the top of my head, which is just fine since most of the guests are usually around my age or older.

For only about an hour's work, not including driving time, on a weekend night, it's been yet another supplemental resource for building up my trip-to-England fund. And a fun one, at that!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What Am I Doing?

I'm ganking the idea for this post from a recent one by Master Gomolvilas (he makes me call him that when I'm down on my knees, begging to have my way with him). And I'm ganking the word 'gank' from Golfwidow.

1.) I have been teaching children's dance again, this year, at my friend's church where he is the choir director. Mostly, I like it. Lately, though, it has deteriorated into more of a babysitting gig. I'm not much of a disciplinarian, and I don't find it all that necessary to try to control kids who are simply acting their age. Plus, I always get to clock out at the end of the hour's rehearsal.

2.) I have been subbing for the bass section leader at another church at which my same friend used to be the choir director.

3.) I have been doing Faux Paparazzi gigs on the weekends with friends that I used to work with at Disneyland. What is Faux Paparazzi? You may well ask! We pose as goofy press characters on the red carpet as guests are entering a party. We flash cameras in their faces, stick mics under their noses, and ask them to confirm the rumors: "Is it true that you're dating all three Jonas Brothers at the same time?"

4.) We are babysitting Otis the Pug, again, for two weeks. He is a very energetic 2-year-old puggy and absolutely adorable. He gets walked twice a day while he is with us. At night he snuggles into bed with Domestic Partner and me and our two old lady pugs.

I have also been looking at the minute amount of blood in tissues after blowing my nose - blood that is always a symptom of my allergies kicking in during dry and windy weather. With the recent fires in southern California and all that people have lost, I choose not complain about it, or even worry about it.

Sadly, I have been neglecting my writing for the first Young Adult novel, Scooter Boy. I sheepishly submitted two incomplete chapters to my writers group for this week's meeting.

And that's the worst it gets this month in Peter's Plastic Bubble World (so far).

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Happy Ending

From the journal of Peter Varvel, August 5, 1987:

Kind of psychologically revealing, huh? The preceding story . . . nah. The friends that I've shown it to are worried about me, as if it's my way of reaching out for help. I'm fine. I've already made the conscious decision not to commit suicide, mostly because I'm such a coward about pain.

No, I think the tragic ending to the story symbolizes my anger and frustration that has been building up again, lately. I think I made the ending abrupt because I have been feeling like I'm going to do something rash, something hasty, I'm going so crazy.

I think I've been under spiritual attack, lately. So many guys around me look so good. And I'm craving physical contact. Is it because I'm trying to get closer to God?

Dear Friends and Faithful Readers of 2008,

Thanks for the responses and comments. And for your concern. I am okay! More than okay. I am alive and well, still, twenty-one years later, and very happy. Sometimes I feel like I am the Luckiest Guy in the World! I have much to be thankful for (click here), on a daily basis.

I'd like to point out that because I did get into a safe place, emotionally - eventually - it has been safe to dig up some of the pain from the past and exploit it for your reading pleasure.

I am currently living my happily-ever-after, and trying to remember not to take it for granted.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Story of The Boy, Part the Last

(part one and part two are before this post)

One night The Boy went to visit the Older Man because he wanted to stay friends with him. Unexpectedly, the Older Man told The Boy about his new boyfriend. The new boyfriend was young, tall, and muscular.

The Boy was envious of the Older Man's new boyfriend. He was angry at himself for feeling envious. When The Boy hugged the Older Man goodbye the Older Man held The Boy for a few minutes, like he did when they were still going out the year before. The Boy felt that the Older Man still wanted to go out with him, in case things did not work out with his new boyfriend.

The Boy still wanted to go out with the Older Man, too. He would have waited an eternity for the Older Man. But he knew that if he went out with the Older Man again, it would not be long before he would have to stop the relationship because God did not like it.

The Boy felt trapped in a vicious circle. If he went out with boys he felt he should go out with girls, instead. If he went out with girls he felt he should be by himself. If he was by himself he got lonely for boys. The grass was always greener in the other yard.

The Boy truly felt he was stuck in the middle: If he went out with boys he could not stay with God; if he tried to stay with God he felt he was being untrue to his natural, unchosen feelings.

After much torment, tears, loneliness, frustration, guilt, and disappointment he decided that there was no solution to his life's problem.

So he ended his life.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Story of The Boy, Part 2

(read part 1 here)

The Boy had an Angel for a friend. The Angel had long, golden hair. In the summer The Angel came to work in The Park, too.

Most of the time when The Angel worked in the park, she wore short, dark hair. That summer The Boy and The Angel became close friends because they were in The Park together so much. Many times they were both in a parade!

The more The Boy got to know The Angel, the more he fell in love with her. This helped him to forget about wanting to kiss boys. The Boy told The Angel that he loved her. She accepted his feelings but she did not return them. The Boy was not hurt. He like God and she liked God. They had a beautiful friendship. It was a beautiful summer.

The Boy thought that if he could be with The Angel always he could forget about wanting to kiss boys forever.

But The Angel had to leave. She went to live at a school that liked God. She could not come to The Park anymore.

It was a lonely, rainy winter. Once or twice he went out with one of the Other Boys, but only for a little bit.

Once in the winter, The Boy went out with a girl. He almost kissed her but then he lost his nerve. He did not go out with her again.

When it was summer again The Boy met a Friendly Girl. She had long, almost-golden hair. She almost resembled The Angel. The Boy and the Friendly Girl went out a few times. They had fun together and The Boy even kissed the Friendly Girl. It was actually pleasant. He wasn't grossed out like he thought he would be. But it still wasn't as nice as kissing a boy.

The Boy could not go out with the Friendly Girl anymore. It wasn't enough. He wasn't in love with her.

To be continued

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Story of The Boy, Part 1

From the journal of Peter Varvel, August, 1987:

Once upon a time, there was The Boy.

The Boy wanted to kiss other boys, but he heard people say it was bad. He heard people say God said it was bad. The Boy's mother and father liked God and he realized that they, too, must think it was bad.

The Boy liked God, also, so he did not kiss other boys. He did not tell anyone that he wanted to.

One day, The Boy went to The Park. He was in a parade! In the parade were Other Boys who wanted to kiss boys. The Boy soon found out that Other Boys who wanted to kiss boys were all over The Park! The Other Boys did not say that it was bad for boys to kiss boys. So, The Boy went out with some of the Other Boys and he kissed them. And he was happy.

But only for a little bit.

The Boy soon found out that most of the Other Boys did not like God. Or they said that they did but they did not show it. The Boy began to feel guilty. He became confused. Soon, he felt he was developing an ulcer.

During this time The Boy went out with an Older Man. He did not kiss the Older Man that much but he fell in love with him very quickly. The Older Man took care of The Boy's emotional needs. The Older Man was decent, responsible, and funny. But he did not like God. Like many of the Other Boys, he did not hate God, but he did not like God, either. So, The Boy finally had to leave his beloved Older Man,

Soon, The Boy finally became disgusted enough with the Other Boys, since they did not like God, and he decided not to go out with them anymore.

To be continued

Friday, November 7, 2008

This One's for You, Kevin!

Thanks to Prince for providing such a great icon!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Mixed Emotions

I am beyond thrilled about the 2008 election results, and feeling hopeful and optimistic about our country's future, as well as the entire world's.

However, because Proposition 8 passed, I feel like boycotting all legally recognized weddings and marriages, especially here in California.

I'm sorry if that sounds bitter, whiny, and petty, but if some people are not going to be supportive of me and my rights, why should I feel obligated to do the same for them?

As far as gay rights are concerned, there has been tremendous and significant progress in my own lifetime. It is encouraging, and I am confident that we will continue to make further progress before my life is over.

This is not over.

Monday, November 3, 2008

On Dancer!

"In the 80's" Lilia was my supervisor at Disneyland. She even attended my audition for the Character department. I remember telling her, in the small group interview, about my desire to perform versus my parents' desire for me to go to college.

"Ah, yes, the age-old story," she had replied.

One of my favorite memories of Lilia was when she caught me breaking the rules. I was working as Tummi Gummi Bear during a rather slow day in Fantasyland. I decided to hop into a fenced-in area of grass and dance around to the beautiful music coming from the nearby Snow White stage show.

After a well-executed turn (I thought) in the big blue bear suit, I saw Lilia standing with her arms crossed in front of her, trying not to laugh. My instinctive reaction was to jump away in fright, as if Lilia herself was the Evil Queen from the famous fairy tale, and flee to the far end of the enclosure. I didn't know, until someone told me later, that in my hasty retreat I had mowed down a child that had climbed into the fenced-in area after me.

That was exactly why we weren't supposed to hop fences while working.

I think I got written up, a sort of documentation of being slapped on the hand.

I also remember Lilia's response when I expressed surprise at being cast as one of the dancing reindeer in the park's Christmas stage show - I was a few inches short of the regular height requirement for those particular costumes.

"Apparently, they were willing to make an exception for someone who could dance up a storm," Lilia explained.

That was more than twenty years ago, and I have never forgotten that compliment or how good it made me feel.

I may be a couple of decades late, but thanks, Lilia!