Sunday, January 25, 2009

Coupon Queen

Vons can bite my butt. They took away my double coupons. I know the past year was a tough one, economically, for everyone. And I'm sure most companies had to tighten their belts where they could, including supermarket chains. But my coupons now have the same value elsewhere.

So, I started going elsewhere. I now grocery shop at Stater Brothers.

Vons did me a favor. Several items that I buy on a weekly basis are cheaper at Stater Brothers than they are at Vons, such as the MorningStar frozen veggie products. And every week, too. I don't have to wait for items to go on sale. Juicy Juice is cheaper there, and so is Don Francisco's coffee!

Vons can bite my butt, again, and then use its teeth to scrape off any crusty residue from my cheeks and save it as snack for later. Or they can plastic wrap it in their deli and resell it at a jacked-up, non-double-coupon price - those bastards!

Not that I'm bitter . . . well, not as much as I used to be.

The coupons I used at Stater Brothers this morning saved me almost five dollars. I went to Fresh & Easy after that and redeemed a six dollar coupon there after spending the required minimum of $30.00. I had a 10%-off-entire-purchase coupon for Petco, where I saved an additional eight dollars on kibble, canned dog food, soft & chewy dog treats, and hamster bedding.

For dinner tonight, Domestic Partner and I went to Marie Callender's because we had a dinner coupon - buy one dinner entree and get a second entree of equal or lesser value for free (when you also buy two beverages).

That's a total savings of almost thirty dollars in one weekend's shopping (for two people and assorted animals).

This afternoon, on facebook, a friend told me about and a second friend confirmed it.

Take that, you blasted economy! You too, Vons.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Personal Perfection

About twenty years ago, I came out to my parents and the world did not cave in. But I did start seeing a Christian therapist at Pacific Christian College shortly after that. During our discussions about the conflict of homosexuality and Christianity, he pointed out that I had 'perfectionist tendencies.'

What? Me? Hell no. I mean, no way!

I had dropped out of UCLA at the end of my freshman year. I was working at Disneyland and going to dance class at night. If I were truly a perfectionist, I would be able to stay in school and work and take dance class regularly.

I had thought.

The therapist used my messy bedroom as an example. I had told him that I can't truly clean my bedroom unless I have a block of at least seven hours to do it completely.

That example has stayed in my mind for the past two decades. It's helped me to realize that, for any overwhelming project, sometimes it is enough to just do a little bit each day. Not that my bedroom stayed consistently clean after that, not until I met neat-nik Domestic Partner, anyway. And not that he would agree, that I am clean enough.

What is enough? I still struggle today with feeling that I fall short of my own perfectionist ideals. If I were perfect, I would have both time and energy to exercise everyday. Ideally, I would blog every day and also write a little bit more of the first novel every day. In a perfect world, I would exercise and write on top of going to work for that paycheck thang and spend time with friends and family, and still feel that I was giving enough time and attention to Domestic Partner and the various pets and the house cleaning.

If I were truly perfect, I would be able to volunteer and join Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America, and be a reading tutor, and take on more choreography projects, etc.

In a perfect world, I would sleep fewer hours and get more accomplished.

My life is not complicated. I do not feel overwhelmed. Lately, though, it has been easier to just channel surf from the couch and consume even more vast quantities of chocolate. Oh, and log onto facebook several times a day.

I am beyond glad that President Obama has been inaugurated. Finally. And I am inspired by his election into office. What I need is yet another swift kick in the pants. But for now, I am relishing the feeling of renewed commitment President Obama has been giving the public.

I actually like feeling that I am ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work.

What is your personal perfection?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Japanese Lesson

“How come your penis is so big?”

This was asked by my school friend, Tetsuya, in Japan, when we were bathing together at his house. We were both nine years old.

I had become pretty fluent in Japanese by the fourth grade, but I still didn’t know enough to explain circumcision in America. I gave it my best shot.

“Well, they cut it when you’re first born, so it’s just more ‘out there,’ you know, than yours. They do it in America, anyway, to newborn baby boys.”

Tetsuya was horrified. “They do not! You’re lying!” He even went to ask his mom (tattle on me, was more like it). She confirmed what I had said, with kind of an embarrassed smile on her face.

He was still horrified.

Now that I’m older, I realize male circumcision would sound just as horrifying to the Japanese as female circumcision sounds to us as Americans.

If you ever have the occasion to use the term ‘big penis’ in Japanese, say okii chin-chin (oh-kee cheen cheen) and see how impressed your listening audience will be!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Abracadabra - Disappear!

I didn't want to be mean to them. But, like with my first prostitute, neither did I want to encourage them. It was obvious that the trio of ladies were Jehovah's Witnesses, dressed in nice church clothing and carrying pamphlets. I was in a hurry to make it to a dentist appointment three blocks away, and the ladies walked into our cul-de-sac just as I was leaving out the front door.

"Excuse me, sir, I know you're in a hurry" the first nicely dressed lady said to me.

"I'm sorry," I said, "I have a ten o'clock appointment to get to."

She extended one of her pamphlets to me. "If you could just take this with you . . . "

I stopped. "Would you be willing to read literature in support of homosexuality and gay marriage?" I asked her.

Domestic Partner and I don't actually have literature of any sort, for any cause. Not that she knew that.

"No" she said, looking rather sad.

"Well, I guess I won't be reading yours either, then."

I told some of my coworkers about this exchange at work, later.

"Scare 'em off with magic!" Andrea said.


"Yeah," she explained, "apparently, they think magic acts are of the devil, and if you tell them you're a magician, even the kind that entertains kids at birthday parties, they'll leave you alone."

Wow. Really? Hmmm. Maybe instead of some pro-gay literature, I can keep props for a simple magic trick or two at the ready near our front door.

Hey, Rocky! Watch me pull a rabbit outta my ass!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Dangerously Sexy Diva

She was 21 when I first met her. Terra was one of the performers I met in rehearsals, in Los Angeles, for a theme park job in Japan. She was from Montreal, Canada, so when she rode in the passenger seat of my Geo Metro, I made sure to slow down from my usual L.A. pace while driving on the freeways.

She was still terrified from the way I drove.

Terra was tall, with the enviable lithe figure achieved from years of dance training, combined with youth. She had beautifully fair skin and long, dark brown locks. She had a kind of retro beauty that made her seem more mature than her actual age, an intelligent and sophisticated beauty that was reminiscent of a young Anne Bancroft.

Terra could look sexy in a way that was almost dangerous, if you didn't know her. We typed her right away.

"Oh!" the other dancers exclaimed. "You're perfect for the musical 'Chicago,' as one of the merry murderesses in the ensemble."

She was. Terra was physically fit and a triple-threat (dancer, singer, and actress) who was talented as hell. And she had that dangerous sexiness that made her ideal casting for the famous Fosse musical.

We underestimated her.

After our gig in Japan, Terra was cast in a Paris, France production of 'Chicago' as the lead, Velma Kelly. Being from Montreal, Terra was a triple-threat who was also fluent in French - she was a quadruple-threat, and she was tailor-made for this specific role in this specific production.

Terra's portrayal of Velma impressed the casting directors so much, she ended up performing the role in English, on Broadway. Her time on the Great White Way extended into a national tour of 'Chicago,' which eventually brought her back to Los Angeles. I had the privilege of seeing my friend perform the role of Velma at the Pantages Theatre.

Terra is not a celebrity. She is not a name that audiences know from film or television. But in the opening number for the show, "All That Jazz," when she arose center stage on her mini elevator-platform, frozen in a classic Fosse pose, the audience applauded madly as if she were celebrity royalty. It was a thrilling moment for me, and it was thrilling to watch her perform such a physically demanding role - a role that has had more than three decades built up in audience expectations.

Terra's performance did not disappoint. I couldn't wait to tell her about the murmurs of approval I overheard in the audience.

How lucky am I to live in the greater Los Angeles area? When it comes to theater, we may not have much in bragging rights compared to New York, but we get a fair share.
This past fall, Terra was back in L.A. performing the title role of 'Kiss of the Spider Woman.' As Aurora, Terra was yet again able to showcase her triple-threat abilities and that dangerous sexiness that is uniquely her own.

And she is back in L.A. this month, too. I get to see her play Velma again, when a touring production of 'Chicago' makes a whirlwind weekend stop at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.

And I feel so lucky! Why? All I ever wanted out of life was to be able to perform as a one of the chorus boys surrounding a fierce diva. It's as simple as that. I may no longer be dancing, and my performing career never even approached close to the level and prestige that Terra's did. But I still have groupie tendencies for a goddess of entertainment - it is the natural plight of most gay men to want to worship and admire a diva or two.

I admire Terra's long and amazing career. It's been fourteen years since I first met her. By now, I feel we are lifelong friends, and I am definitely her lifelong fan.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Retrospective, or So Far

1. When I was 1, my crib was in the house's one bedroom, and my parents slept on futon mattresses in the tiny living room.
2. When I was 2, my baby brother was born and he shared the bedroom with me.
3. When I was 3, our family moved to Japan, and I first learned to speak Japanese from watching cartoons.
4. I attended nursery school when I was 4, back in the states, where our daily snack was two Wheat Thins and a Dixie Cup of tomato juice.
5. When I was 5, a girl in kindergarten gave me a ring to wear. I loved it. I lost it almost immediately and I have regretted it ever since.
6. I still wore a Mickey Mouse watch when I was 6. I was jealous of my brother's Teeter-Totter watch, which had a real see-saw under the plastic face to mark the seconds.
7. Our family moved to Saudi Arabia when I was 7, where I attended an American elementary school.
8. When I was 8, I read "Charlotte's Web" for the first time and identified with Fern because she was also 8.
9. By the time I was 9, we had moved to Japan, where they had really good art and science classes at the Japanese elementary school.
10. When I was 10, I was happy that we had moved back to California, where the (public) schools were easier.
11. I wanted desperately to be a Mouseketeer on the All New Mickey Mouse Club, when I was 11.
12. I had entered puberty barely after turning 12, and before entering the seventh grade.
13. I was the King of Disco at age 13, at the after-school dances, which were even better than ABC's Afterschool Specials.
14. When I was 14, I had my first proper girlfriend, Erin. We "went around" for a full sixteen weeks!
15. The Gogo's were the Best Band Ever when I was 15.
16. When I was 16, I started wearing bandanna headbands, a la Olivia Newton-John during her Let's Get Physical era, in order to better express my rugged individuality.
17. I had segued to wearing berets by age 17, and I loved dancing in teen clubs.
18. When I was 18, I played Roger in "Grease" and Stephen/Jesus in "Godspell."
19. When I was 19, I dropped out of UCLA and came out of the closet when I started working at Disneyland. I hated being 19.
20. I had moved out of my parents' house by the time I turned 20. I could no longer stand the tension that my dropping out of school had caused.
21. When I was 21, my first car was a Vespa scooter.
22. When I was 22, I had my heart severely broken for the first time. I came out to my parents and started Christian therapy.
23. At 23, I landed my first performing job as a dancer-singer, at Tibbie's Music Hall.
24. I danced for Disney during the day and performed in a dinner theater revue at night, when I was 24, and saved up enough to go to Hawaii for the first time.
25. When I was 25, I lived with four other roommates from Disney in a five-bedroom house, and we each paid $200.00 a month for our own room.
26. I went away on my first cruise ship job when I was 26.
27. When I was 27, I went from dancing on cruise ships to staying home and dancing in the Snoopy show at Knott's Berry Farm.
28. When I was 28, I thought my dance career was over and I enrolled in the local junior college. Shortly after the semester started, I booked six great dance gigs, one right after the other.
29. I went to work in Japan for the first time, at age 29, and had my heart severely broken for the second time.
30. Back home in Los Angeles, at age 30, I met Domestic Partner.
31. I was a cheerleader for Disney Sports - Mighty Ducks hockey and Angels baseball - when I was 31.
32. I was 32 when I worked on my last cruise ship job.
33. I was 33 when I went to work in Japan for the second time, heart all mended.
34. When I was 34 I bleached my hair platinum blond and pierced my ears. I called the look "Mid-life Crisis #1."
35. When I was 35, I went back to work at Knott's Berry Farm, my aunt died of liver cancer, I buzzed my hair off, and my sister got married.
36. When I was 36, I swallowed my pride and went back to waiting tables. I didn't perform at all, that year.
37. I was still waiting tables and still taking class at city college, when I was 37. I also booked two good shows that year.
38. When I was 38, I finally transferred my procrastinatin' butt to a university.
39. When I was 39, I was devastated by the loss of my little baby boy when we had to put our beloved and elderly pug down.
40. When I was 40, I got "my first real job" with the Los Angeles Recording School, working in the admissions department.
41. When I was 41, I started blogging, and I started making some excellent blogger friends.
42. At age 42 I revel in the joy of riding a new scooter and driving a new car.

43. When I am 43 . . . ??

We'll see!