When it was time to have my picture taken with Aisha Tyler, I handed my brand new, still not 100% sure how to use it, digital SLR camera (which also takes HD video) over to Michelle to take the picture. This is what happened next.
Not too much to report this week-end. After work on Friday, I stopped by Karin’s house to drop something off for her and ended up staying for three hours, hanging out, having dinner and, of all things, talking religion… go figure.
I slept late on Saturday and then took my recyclables to the recycling center. I buy way too much Diet Pepsi, so I pay way too much in California Redemption Value (bottle deposits), not to take them in and get my money back. Every few months I load up my car with trash bags full of aluminum cans and plastic bottles and take them in. Yesterday, I got just a few cents shy of $45.00 so I’d say this is a worthwhile exercise.
After I dropped those off, I went to Popeye’s Chicken and Biscuits to get some… well, chicken and biscuits. I was feeling the need for a little comfort food. It helped a bit. I spent the rest of the afternoon just relaxing and hanging out. Watched all the regular television on my DVR. Watched a Netflix DVD, original Doctor Who, the episode where Peter Davison relinquished the role to Colin Baker (not that anybody knows or cares about that), and then I watched Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog. It was pretty good and funny, right up to the end, and then it got a bit weird. Oh well. I even got some recreational reading done. And in spite of all that resting I still managed to stay up way too late last night.
I slept in this morning, but woke up to a very nice voice mail message from Gene who, sadly, returned to San Diego today. I got up and watched last night’s episode of Saturday Night Live, hosted by Maya Rudolph (very funny) while I ate my lunch and then it was time to get ready and head out. Today was Lil’B day and we went to the movies.
I occasionally ask him if there’s anything in particular he’d like to do and he almost always says, “I don’t know”, which comes as a surprise to exactly zero people, I’m sure. But last Monday night, when I was taking him home after dinner, I asked him if he had anything in particular in mind that he’d like to do this week-end and after a moment’s contemplation he told me he wanted to go see Journey 2, The Mysterious Island. This is not a movie I would have opted to go to on my own, but Lil’B rarely expresses a specific desire of any kind so when he does, I like to try to make sure it happens.
I posted this on my Facebook page:
About to watch Journey 2 with my Little Brother… I may have to watch this movie through my fingers!!!
I thought this movie was going to be filled with over-sized creepy crawly things and that my skin would be crawling by the time it was over. There were a couple of instances with enormous centipedes, some massive spiders and a couple bee’s large enough to ride (I’m allergic to bee stings so they always oog me out!) and of course a lizard as big as a house, but all-in-all the movie wasn’t terrible. It actually had a pretty good story that should have been pretty entertaining but it was not as well executed as it could have been. Too bad.
I spent the rest of the evening cleaning up my Twitter account. Deleting people who have either been inactive for a long time, or who do not follow me back and therefore aren’t interactive. Or at least I did until Twitter started having technical difficulties and now here we are!
It’s a long week-end and mercifully I do not have any big plans tomorrow. Officially, it’s not a holiday for me, but my company is kind of weird. We have multiple entities that all co-exist, but the employees are on different payrolls. Since my office building is owned and operated by the Northern California Region which considers Presidents Day to be a holiday, the building is closed, but since I am not a Northern California Region employee and Presidents Day is not a holiday on my payroll, I am required to take the day off and use one of my four float days for it. I don’t really mind though. I used to be a Northern California Region employee and I had the holiday but no float days. Now I have four float days but lost this one holiday. So I choose to look at it, instead, as though I have three float holidays and continue to have Presidents Day off as a paid holiday.
I texted Michelle earlier today to see if she wanted to go see This Means War tomorrow but as it turns out, it’s not a holiday for her. So I guess I should just be grateful. And I am!
A couple of weeks ago, I happened to arrive at Lil’B’s house around the same time that his younger sister’s Big Sister arrived. Neither of us had a hard and fast idea of what we wanted to do with our respective Little’s that day. It was unseasonably warm – I was actually wearing shorts – and so neither of us wanted to be cooped up inside if we didn’t have to be. We ended up taking Lil’B and his brother (10 months older) and sister (16 months younger) to play miniature golf as a group.
Months ago when I took Lil’B there alone, we encountered a small Mexican family that we spent some time talking to because the course was crowded. At one point one of the little boys comment that, “Your son is pretty good.” That was, by no means, the first time I had thought about people thinking Lil’B was my son when we are out together, but as I’ve mentioned before, it’s quite clear we do not share any genes.
The Big Sister is of Mexican decent and seven months pregnant. There we were three Mexican children under twelve years old, a very pregnant Mexican woman and a pasty white guy all playing miniature golf together. I couldn’t help thinking, “people think we’re a couple, I’m the step-dad, and these are her kids.” Obviously, if I were Lil’B’s “father” there would have to be a “step-” in front of it.
I had a first that day. After we completed the course we were on, we went to the “19th hole” to return our balls and clubs and I got a hole in one. Go figure. I received a coupon for one complimentary round of miniature golf, which expires one month from the day we were there. So when it was time to plan the next outing with Lil’B, I was inclined to go miniature golfing again. We both enjoy it and it would be silly to waste a free game.
It was raining like mad yesterday. Without a back up plan, I went out on a limb. I took Lil’B to see Beauty and the Beast, recently re-released in 3-D. I’ll be honest. I wanted to see it and I don’t have anyone else to go with. I wasn’t sure it would be up his alley, but the only other kid-friendly movie out there was The Adventures of Tintin and I really don’t want to see that if I can help it. I told him as we were driving there, that I wasn’t sure how he was going to feel about this movie, but that it was something I really wanted us to see. I told him it came out originally when I was young and that it might be a little dated, but I thought he would enjoy it anyway. He said he was fine with it. When it was over, I asked him what he thought. He nodded and said, “It was cool.” Normally, that question is met with “It was awesome!”, but I’m taking him at his word that “cool” is an honest reaction. I told him I knew it wasn’t really our usual style, but it was still fun.
Watching this movie with Lil’B, was a kind of surreal experience, though, when I realized how long before he was born this movie had come out.
I told him this movie came out “when I was young”, but I didn’t say how young. It was only as we were actually watching the movie, when memories of the first time I saw Beauty and the Beast in theaters came flooding back, that I realized just how young I had been. I saw the movie for the first time, as the beginning of what would turn out to be a tragic failure of a Valentine’s Day date – the only one I’ve ever had. I was sixteen years old. The girl I was dating, Cindy, had all sorts of romantic notions. During the opening number, “Belle”, when the “Gaston Groupies” sing:
“Look there he goes, isn’t he dreamy? Monsieur Gaston, oh he’s so cute!
Be still my heart, I’m hardly breathing. He’s such a tall, dark, strong and handsome brute”
she thought it was “adorably provincial.”
In 1991, Beauty and the Beast was on the cutting edge of animation technology. Everything looked so crisp and clean, the scene when Belle and The Beast dance in the ballroom already looked nearly 3-D and that was before 3-D movies made any sort of resurgence. The characters, at least the human ones, seamed pretty realistic with fairly natural movements. The wisp of hair that is forever falling down into Belle’s eye, struck Cindy as being the coolest thing ever. She saw so much meaning and subtext in this movie that went over my head; to tell the truth, it still goes over my head. But Cindy saw it, and I wanted to see Cindy so I saw it too. (Hey. I was sixteen. Give me a break.)
When the movie was over and Lil’B and I were heading back out into the rain, we had a little math lesson. I told him, “Remember I said I saw this movie when I was young?” he said he did. I told him, “I saw it when I was sixteen years old. How old does that make this movie?” Somehow I hadn’t put it all together before we were in the theater. I didn’t realize that this movie was 20 years old. In fact, strictly speaking, with an original release date of November 22, 1991, it’s older.
“I saw this movie when I was sixteen,” I told him. “In fact, I think I saw it on Valentine’s day.” That statement went right past him, but it stopped me short. It stopped me short because that’s all I said. I didn’t say, “I saw it on Valentine’s Day with my girlfriend”, I just said, “I saw it on Valentine’s Day.” I told myself that I didn’t elaborate because I didn’t want to confuse him, but it continues to nag at me.
Lil’B and I have never discussed my sexual orientation. If he’s even aware of what it means to be gay, he may already have figured it out or assumed it, but we’ve never discussed it and I’ve never confirmed or denied it. If he is aware of it and I told him I went with my girlfriend, maybe that would be confusing to him. Then again, if I said I went with my girlfriend and didn’t explain that I don’t date girls now, that seems dishonest. It continues to nag at me though, because by withholding additional information, I missed an opportunity to open dialogue between us.
When I signed up with Big Brothers and Big Sisters I told the Match Specialist, Jenny, that I’m gay. It was important to me to be honest and not keep a secret from the family I was trying to build trust with. Jenny asked me if I wanted to be open about that with the family and I said I did. In fact, me being gay prevented me from being matched with the first little boy they selected for me. In that instance, Jenny told me about the kid before telling the family I am gay and when it didn’t work out, she felt badly. When she called me about Lil’B, I asked if the mother knew I was gay. She said that she had told Lil’B’s mother right up front because she didn’t want to have another situation like with the previous family. But the mother and I have never talked about it either. I assume she remembers, but I don’t know and I don’t know if she told Lil’B.
When I was matched with Lil’B, he was only seven and I felt like he was too young to have that conversation. Now that it’s been nearly two and a half years, it’s difficult to bring up. Admittedly, I’m concerned how he’ll react. And strangely, I’m afraid of being rejected by a ten year-old.
And just when I thought I had put this fear behind me…
It’s been a very lazy Saturday here in the Riggledo household. I haven’t been to bed before midnight (and usually much later) in more than a month and sitting here at the end of my second week back at work since my most recent vacation, the late nights have taken their toll.
I’m sitting in my living room, in my recliner with my feet up. I’m wearing sweat pants, a t-shirt and a fleece, Old Navy pull over. There’s a throw blanket covering me from just below my chest all the way to my feet and it is an electric blanket which is plugged in and turned to high. My laptop is– well, on my lap and my geriatric cat is curled up in a ball on my shins, sleeping and probably dreaming that the laptop will go away and free his preferred spot for him. For the first time in weeks it is actually 70 degrees in my apartment and, just to be clear, that’s the warmest it’s been. (On a couple of occasions in the last two weeks I’ve actually had to break out the space heater which I never use because it draw so much energy that my electric bills triple when I do, it’s been that cold.)
I am cozy and I do not want to move. I’ve actually fought off sleep a couple of times already today.
It’s been a pretty good week, personally, filled with fun, social interactions, and personal accomplishments. Dinner with Lil’B on Monday; Lunch with K on Tuesday; finally made it to the Library to pick up that book they’ve been holding, on Wednesday; Thursday I had my weekly noontime meeting with the little advisory council for my Emergency Response Team program; and yesterday I had a lovely, long lunch with my friend Chantelé to celebrate her birthday.
It has also been a week of completions. One of the reasons I’ve been up so late and getting so little sleep is because I’ve been working on a baby blanket for a friend of a friend. Michelle asked me if I would make the blanket for someone she knows, and I’m always happy to do it as long as the requester supplies the yarn (that sh-stuffs expensive, yo!) I finished the blanket earlier this week.
I’ve also been at the office late every day this week because I’ve been working on the first round of edits on my manuscript, hereafter called by its name, “The Teacher”. I guess if I’m serious about getting this thing published, I should start treating it like it’s real, and that means, among other things, calling it by its name. I found it easier to do this stage of the editing process, red pen on print out copy, sitting at a proper desk and not stretched out in my recliner. As of about 7:15 last night, I have finished that process and now I have to go through and translate those edits to the soft copy. And I need to get on it because I have eleven days until the first meeting of the writing group I’ve been talking about.
I’m super excited about the group, and also a bit nervous. I won’t know anyone going in and that’s never a pleasant experience for me. Plus many of the people involved are already published authors while I’m just a little blogger/writer with a small audience, a dream, and a not particularly mainstream manuscript. I know it’ll be an excellent, educational experience, if nothing else; it’s just the buildup that I dread.
Tomorrow, I spend the afternoon with Lil’B and I really have no idea what we’re going to do. I think it’s supposed to rain so we’ll be looking for something indoors. Normally, that means movies, but I’m not sure there’s anything for us to see. I’ll figure that out in the morning though. For now, I’m just going to sit back, relax, and watch my Dotor Who (original series, season 21) DVD from Netflix followed by the Rock Hudson movie in my Netflix instant queue that’s about to expire, and then call it a night.
It’ll be lovely. I’m already yawning and it’s only 6:45.
I was going to write a riveting, brilliant, startling revelation of a post, today, about my improved emotional well-being and something that I’ve been giving a lot of though to recently. It was going to be a amazing and you were going to love it.
But now I’m just pissed off and it’s all your fault. Yours and yours and… well, not yours. You didn’t do it.
It’s all this bullshit I’m seeing everywhere I turn about the bills before the house and congress about censorship of the internet. I’m just sick of it.
No! You know what I’m sick of? I’m sick of vigilante activism. That’s what I’m sick of. Occupy this. Black out that. Come on! You want to educate people, then educate people, but this is ridiculous.
Last night I watched a really weird LGBT movie called “The Lost Coast”. The movie was strange, but it had some really good moments in it. Early on one of the characters picks up a photograph in another characters apartment and says, “Is this the lost coast?” I didn’t even know the lost coast was a real place. (Turns out it’s somewhere north of where I live, here in California.) I did what I always do when I don’t know something. I Googled it. This was last night; about 9:00. The first result, as is so often the case, was Wikipedia. So I clicked on the link and the page loaded, and then just as I was starting to read about the lost coast, the screen went black and an annoying message popped up, whining at me about internet censorship and “Imagine a World
Without Free Knowledge”. There was no way to acknowledge the message and move on. Just, “nah-neh-nah-neh-nah-nah. You can’t read my pages.” Last night. It annoyed me, but I found what I wanted to know elsewhere.
Today, as I’m reading through the blogs in my reader, I find post after post about these bills and how wretched and horrible and awful the bills are. Now, I usually open the blogs and read them on people’s sites. I’m not at all sure that reading in Google Reader counts toward people’s page views on their blog stats and while we like to pretend we’re cool and don’t care about such things, we’re lying. We all care. So I like to make sure it counts. (This, by the way, is the reason you have to come to my blog to read the entire post… just in case you were wondering.) Anyway, half of these posts have come through just fine in my reader and I could read the entire thing if I wanted, but when I clicked on the blogs themselves the blogs are blacked out “in protest”. So, I can read teh whole damn post on Google Reader, but I can’t read it on your blogs and show you I’ve been there. Vigilante Activism Fail!!!
It’s not that you wrote blog posts about it. They’re your blogs. You can write what you want. Personally, I’m annoyed by the glut of posts on the subject, but at least by writing about the bills you’re making an effort to educate me. It’s the “blacking out” of the pages “in protest” that’s got me pissed. By the way, I haven’t read any of your anti-sopapilla bill blog posts. I’ve even dropped a couple anti-pita bread bloggers from my line up. Enough is enough!
I sent a link to a particularly funny lolcat to K this afternoon. The lolcats did it right. There’s a screen that pops up in front of the page and tells you to beware the bogey monster and then at the bottom it asks you if you’d like to learn more. You can click a “learn more” button and, imagine that, learn more. Or you can click on the “no thanks” button and get on with your life. K wouldn’t look at the lolcat because she wasn’t willing to click the “no thanks” button. Her loss.
Look. I get it. Censorship is bad. We don’t want these bills to pass and if someone presents me with an unoffensive petition to sign, I’ll sign it. I sent the e-mails to my representatives. I’ve done my part. And the truth is, I don’t really understand what these bills are about. What is internet piracy? How are these bills supposed to make things better? I. Don’t. Know. What I do know is, blacking out or otherwise inconveniencing half of the internet, isn’t serving any purpose. I guarantee you the talking heads in Washington, do not care that I couldn’t look up the lost coast last night. The vast majority of them have not looked for a single website that happened to be part of this ridiculous protest.
IT. DOES. NOT. WORK.
As you might have guessed, I saw The Smurfs with Lil’B this weekend. I love having a “little brother” because it gives me an excuse to go see all the kids movies I want to see anyway, but my friends won’t go to with me, without looking like a pervert or predator. I told Lil’B not to grow up… And then immediately kicked myself because my mother used to say things like that to me all the time and I HATED IT. (Actually, what I told him was never to get older than 12 because then his ticket price goes up.)
The last time I saw Lil’B we talked about what we would do this time around and I mentioned the movies. There are a lot of movies out that look good and that I want to see, but I don’t get to the movies that often. Lil’B has wanted to see Transformers 3, which I saw several weeks ago with Michelle. It was good and I don’t think it would be a problem for him to see it, but there are a few whole sections in the movie (as with so many these days) where they play pretty fast and loose with incidental human life. Many, many innocent bystanders would have been hurt or killed if there was an ounce of reality to the scenes on the screen.
Anyway, he had mentioned that he still wanted to see it and I suggested that we could go on our next outing (this past Sunday) if it was still out. He seemed happy with that. So when I picked him up on Sunday I told him, “You have three choices. We can go see Transformers, The Smurfs or Captain America.” (I was hoping he’d pick Captain America but I’d be happy to see any of the three movies.) Before I even finished saying “Captain America” he was saying “The Smurfs!” He was very excited.
Yay! You really are still a kid! I thought. Which, of course he is. He’s only 9, but I’m aware that we’ll be coming up on a time, very soon, when he will be in that awkward, in between stage, where he’s still a kid, but kind of not. I am, in equal parts, looking forward to and dreading that time.
He watched the movie in his usual position (with his head buried in his Icee cup), but no longer with the seat trying to swallow him alive – when did that stop?- and while he was busy slurping away on his Icee, I was thoroughly engrossed in the movie, laughing at all the lame and corny jokes… Well, almost all of them. When Tim Gunn, playing Henri, a character whose purpose I still don’t understand said to Neil Patrick Harris’s character, “Make it work”, I groaned. And when Smurfette, voiced by Katie Perry, suggested a marketing slogan to NPH, “I kissed a smurf and I liked it?”, my palm may, possibly, have met my forehead. What was kind of fun, for me, was that the mom two seats down from me, seeing the movie with three kids lil’er than Lil’B, and I kept laughing at all the same places. This movie is full of grown up jokes, which is a sign of a well thought out movie. Unfortunately, it also tends to prompt lil voices to ask, “What happened mommy? Mommy, what happened? Mommy? Mommy?”
As I was saying, while Lil’B was buried ears deep in his Icee, I was laughing at all the jokes and puns and visual comedy and so it was all the more gratifying to me, when in the scene when Gargamel, or as Sofia Vergara’s character calls him, “Garbage Smell”, get’s his due, Lil’B actually laughed out loud!
There’s hope for this kid after all!
If I were a smurf
Even smurf for a smurf
I’d smurf outta smurf in the smurf
And smurf on what I smurfed then smurf
Smurf smurf with the smurfs
And smurf after smurfs
I’d smurf it with who I smurfed
And I’d never get smurfed for it.
Cause they’d smurf up for me.
If I were a smurf
I smurf I could undersmurf
How it smurfs to smurf a smurf
I smurf I’d be a better smurf.
I’d smurf to smurf
Cause I smurf how it smurfs
When you smurf the one you smurfed
Cause he’s smurfen you for smurfed
And everysmurf you smurfed got desmurfed
If I were a smurf
I would smurf off my smurf
Tell everysmurf it’s smurfen
So they’d smurf that I was smurfin’ alone
I’d smurf myself smurf
And smurf the smurfs as I smurf
Cause I smurf that smurf’d be smurfful
Smurfin’ for me to smurf smurf (Oh, to smurf smurf)
If I were a smurf
I smurf I would undersmurf
How it smurfs to smurf a smurf
I smurf I’d smurf a smurfer smurf.
I’d smurf to smurf
Cause I smurf how it smurfs
When you smurf the smurf you smurfed (smurfed)
Cause smurf’s smurfen smurf for smurfed (smurfed)
And everysmurf you smurfed got desmurfed
It’s a little too smurf for smurf to smurf back
Smurf its just a mismurf
Smurf I’d smurf you like smurf
If you smurfed I would smurf for you
You smurfed wrong
But you’re just a smurf
You smurf undersmurf
Smurf you don’t undersmurf
Smurf it smurfs to smurf a smurf somesmurf
You’ll smurf you were a better smurf
You don’t smurfen to smurf
You don’t smurf how it smurfs
Until you smurf the smurf you smurfed
Smurf you’ve smurfen smurf for smurfed
And everysmurf you smurfed got desmurfed
But smurf just a smurf
Guess what I did this weekend?