As you might have noticed, I haven't been very active here on LiveJournal in recent months. That's because I finally grew weary of the proliferation of web presences I had spawned on various blogs, social networks, forums, and what-have you, and decided to focus all my blogging in one place: the new and improved Duck's Nest a.k.a. www.mizducky.com.
Those of you who are technogeekish will notice that this is nothing more nor less than my Typepad blog, now turned into my personal website through the magic of domain name mapping. Turns out you can build a pretty serviceable website in Typepad, and it's much easier to maintain and update than editing one's HTML files and FTPing them up to one's website manually. But I digress ...
Anyway, for at least the time being I'm letting my LiveJournal go completely dormant. So if you'd like to keep up with my misadventures, head on over to mizducky.com and hang out. Cheers!
Well, now I've gone and done it. I auditioned for a community theater production of The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told ... and damn if I didn't land one of the juicier supporting roles. The play will be going up the weekend before San Diego's LGBT Pride weekend, July 11 and 12. I'd love for folks to pencil in that date if there's even the slightest chance you might be in town for the show.
Performing has been a long-postponed dream of mine, and I'm astonished that fate has finally put me in the right place at the right time, in good enough health and in a sufficiently supportive community to finally take a shot at this dream. I should add that the theater group doing this is associated with my hippy-groovy Unitarian Universalist church--figures they'd have the chutzpah to put up a show as gleefully iconoclastic as this. But not only is this congregation supportive of this kind of message, it's also supportive of individuals expressing themselves through such acts of creativity.
When I was reading for the part I eventually got, it just felt so right. I don't want to analyze that feeling any more than that. I want to at least try to stay in the moment.
Heh. The other thing I remember about my long-ago dabblings in amateur theater is its tendency to eat every last moment of one's available free time. I guess I'll have to play that one as it lays.
First off: personally, I'm fine firewise. Nowhere near any of the firelines this time round.
In 2003 my home was at one point five miles from an active fire, and that was pretty damn unnerving--skies all orange and black, air that you could feel messing with your lungs, and the thought that your house was close enough to get it from a cinder on a nice stiff gust of Santa Ana. So this time round, even knowing that I personally was safe, I was on edge for all the people not safe, caught in the path of that unpredictable ... phenomenon.
Calling it a fire is inadequate, somehow. And "force of nature" isn't quite right either--and not only because at least a couple of the blazes were apparently set. One thing's for certain, the damn things do seem to take on a life of their own--and as inevitably as its fellow element water seeks its own level, a wildfire seems to home in on all our habitat's most vulnerable points, both natural and human-created.
And woven in amongst such heavy community happenings, and thus destined to be forever after colored by them in my memories, were several personal events of great meaning and joy.
Deep quality time with a new person in my life ... the beautiful love-in of a woman's retreat I attended just before the firestorms started ... dressing up and hitting the streets to observe that great queer tradition of Halloween masquerade, despite all the fires ... re-owning my clerical self by robing and processing in my new minister's installation last night. So many wildly different facets of my life, all converging on this one stretch of ten days ...
The personal often goes on in spite of, or even in defiance of, the moments when the world gets a little too much like a disaster movie for comfort. And thank Goddess for that.
(And Goddess protect all those threatened by the fires.)
Attention all San Diegan readers: the weekend of June 1st and 2nd features not one, but two different musical events in which I am involved to various degrees, and to which I heartily hope you come as they're both really wicked pissah (as folks say back in Bahston where I spent many happy formative years):
June 1st: Bob Tedde and the rest of the wacky dudes that make up Rockola are at it again with another full-length live performance of a Beatles album with student orchestra and everything. This time it's a 40th anniversary performance of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band," with a second set of other orchestral rock favorites, performed in the august setting of Spreckels Theater. The last time Rockola did up Sgt. Pepper, for the 35th anniversary of its release, it was a killer show, so be sure to check it out. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster; follow this link to get there. (And look for me in the crowd, and perhaps a few other behind-scenes places as well...)
June 2nd: The San Diego Women's Chorus, of which I am a proud member, will be performing a gala show entitled "'Cause They Were Here: 20 Years of Harmony," to celebrate their existence for a full two decades. (And let me tell ya, two decades for a non-profit volunteer queer-affiliated community chorus is something to celebrate!) Even better, they're performing at my church, First UU Church of San Diego. The show will be preceded by a fundraiser auction/opportunity drawing with lots of cool goodies on offer, including a cruise donated by Olivia Cruises! Tickets are available through this link. Come hear me max out with the 1st Alto section!
Somewhere deep in the bowels (word choice deliberate) of the FDA, the Bushies have created an administrative entity known as the Office of Counter-Terrorism and Pediatric Drug Development. Check out the title (top of browser frame) for this page.
The mind reels.
Current Mood: indescribable
Current Music: "A Man in a Purple Dress" -- The Who
Wow, it's been forever since I posted in here, huh? Life has certainly been on the hectic side for me, is why. But at least on the personal front, it's been all good stuff. (I'll get to the bad times referred to in the subject line of this post a little further on--suffice it to say right now that those bad times aren't mine, at least not right now, thank Goddess.)
The good stuff: my gig with the brand-new restaurant recommendation website SanDiego.Eats.It just keeps getting better and better. We're still technically in beta test, but we've had a sort of "soft release" in that the site owner has given his enthusiastic okay for me to post the URL wherever I think I can entice people to go visit. So--consider yourselves enticed! And if you happen to live in the greater San Diego area, consider becoming a member and adding your own restaurant recommendations to the site--we've got six staff writers at work, but we've still got a lot of places to cover.
Another recent good thing: I was invited to host yet another eGullet one-week intensive food blog. That went down the week of March 19 through 25 -- if you'd like to check it out, clickie here.
And my weight loss regimen just keeps boogieing along, despite foodblogs and restaurant writeups and flakey bathroom scales and everything.
Now, as to those bad times: I just witnessed a sad litte drama out my apartment windows. Seems this woman who had apparently slipped her cogs mentally had taken up part-time residence in our apartment complex's parking lot. This had actually been going on for several days, and was mainly odd but harmless enough. It was only today that her odd behavior really escalated--stalking through the main courtyard swearing and yelling and daring passers-by to come take a piece of her, etc. So, inevitably, someone must have broken down and called 911.
To judge by the woman's appearance as well as behavior (youngish, skinny, dressed in good-quality but extremely baggy sweats, driving a car that looked pretty new but was missing plates; rooting around in our dumpster, but in an aimless manner, and talking very animatedly to nobody or anybody), I very much fear that the poor lady is yet another victim of crystal meth--I know of no drug that takes people down so fast that they still have several markers of economic better times (clothes, car) even as their lives start to circle the drain (dumpster diving).
From what I could see, at least the cops seemed to be pretty gentle with her--eventually there were three of them, including a female officer, talking to the woman at great length, and it seemed like they more cajoled her into handcuffs and the back of a patrol car than anything else. Still--the poor thing was hauled away in handcuffs, and her car searched, and I very much fear she's headed for the criminal court system instead of the humanistic help she must really need. Just all very sad ... why, in this ridiculous War On Some Drugs, is so much effort expended on such low-impact substances like cannabis, when the big clear and present danger on the drug front is this awful destructive crap called meth?
Went down to check out the Chinese New Year Festival put on by the San Diego Chinese Center. (New Year's Day was actually last weekend, but I bet they decided to do the festival the weekend after because everyone would have been home with their families on the actual weekend of.)
The Center is near the corner of 3rd and J downtown, in the neighborhood that once used to be San Diego's Chinatown as well as the Stingaree (the red light district). Now that whole area has been gentrified into SD's faux-retro tourist neighborhood, the Gaslamp Quarter. The only remnants of the original Chinatown are a couple of carefully preserved buildings, one of which houses the Chinese Museum; meanwhile, the Chinese business/dining area has relocated to Convoy Street in Kearny Mesa. But every year, the intersection of 3rd and J comes alive with booths, vendors, crowds, performances ... and dragon dances.
To be frank, I've seen bigger festivals. But a festival is a festival--especially when the dragon starts to dance! Gong Xi Fa Cai!
I've had a wonderful bit of serendipity happen to me recently. A couple of weeks ago, I was down in San Diego's South Park neighborhood--not to be confused with Trey Parker's and Matt Stone's "South Park," this is an old neighborhood of cute little restored Craftsman homes and funky shops favored by artsy creative type folks. I happened upon a particularly cute funky shop, given over to world crafts, incense, candles, aromatherapy products, and lots of Laurel Burch stuff. I was just about to enter the shop anyway, when I noticed a sign in the window advertising part-time job openings for both the brick-and-mortar shop and its Internet operations. So I zipped inside, filled out an application form, went on an interview ... and voila! A new part-time job!
The shop is transitioning its name from Triptych to the more memorable The Zen Merchant, and I do invite you to check out either its real-time or Internet versions. Who knows? Maybe I'll be the one to personally wait on you or ship your on-line order!
Meanwhile, I continue to work at my new little side-gig of writing restaurant reviews. The website I'm doing these for has not yet gone live--they're still chasing the last couple of bugs out of the PHP in the site's backend--but I'm actually starting to get paid for this writing! Not a lot, mind you; at this point, it's mostly subsidizing my dining-out adventures. But especially as I was able to get as my review beat the cheap-but-good hole-in-the-wall joints I so love, this is turning into a very good deal as far as I'm concerned.
Other stuff going on: I sang my first concert with the San Diego Women's Chorus the first weekend of December--it went really well. The chorus has several additional "community outreach" gigs throughout December--we've done two already, and have a few more in the next couple of weeks. As a community chorus, the SDWC doesn't necessarily tackle the most technically complex works--but they are gifted with some excellent voices that make a really lovely blend, so it's a musically satisfying experience. Plus the more I get to know these women--and their humorous gay male artistic director--the more I'm grooving on them all. It's definitely a cross-section of the community--the youngest member is 14, the oldest is in her 80s, and they represent every walk of life and a variety of sexual orientations. My kind of mixture!
Oh yeah--I continue to stay majorly busy with the UU church of which I am a member, and things have only gotten busier as we slide into the holidays. The funnest thing I'm looking forward to: taking a role in the Winter Solstice Celebration. First UU Church of San Diego has an extremely active pagan/Wiccan/Earth-centered spirituality contingent, which for the past several years has put on an elaborate Winter Solstice observation that's more of a theatrical production than a ritual, like a full-on pagan version of a Christmas Revels. I'm to play the so-called Blessing Priestess--as people enter the church campus heading toward the Meeting House where the Celebration is to be held, they will pass my throne, where I will greet them and waft sage smudge in their general direction. This should be extremely cool! I've worked out some garb that will be suitably festive while protecting me from freezing my butt in the winter-desert chill--I'll see if I can get some photos.
If only the rest of the world were being as mellow as my little part of it. I was deeply bummed to hear that the wonderful woman who was going to be our church's new associate minister until she was diagnosed with cancer, lost her fight with that disease last last week. I found myself thinking, Damn, Goddess, now that was really unfair--she had so much to offer the world, and should have had a lot more years to live. But she did have beautiful support from a caring family--as deaths go, that was a very peaceful one.
Another member of my circle of church friends, an older gentleman, is not doing very well healthwise either. He has been struggling with creeping vascular dementia for the past couple of years or so, and alas a few weeks ago the dementia took a new leap forward. After a couple of bouts in the hospital, it became apparent that he really couldn't manage at home by himself, so now he's in a nursing home. I am seriously bummed that his insurance or whatever couldn't be persuaded to set him up with home health care--I can't imagine that even the round-the-clock watching he now needs could be more expensive than a nursing home, plus he's made his home into such a beautiful refuge. Plus getting to this nursing home is a bit of a shlep up the traffic-ridden I-15. I hope they'll let him come home with caregivers eventually. In the meantime, people have been taking turns visiting him; I'd have been up there today if my knee hadn't tried to blow out on me yet again.
Oh yeah ... and then there's the current political scene. Goddamn George W. Bush--what a slow learner! Even after the drubbing of the election, crappy poll numbers, and all sorts of experts telling him the Iraq war is an irretrievable mess and we should get the hell out of there, he's *still* talking about "victory" and seeking one more expert to talk to in the hopes he'll be told what he wants to hear. Give it up, Georgie Boy--you're not going to find anyone telling you to stay the course anymore because only you are still willing to ascribe to that delusion. My one hope here is that his continued intransigence will provoke Congress to grow some balls and impeach the idiot. Yeah, I know these are distinctly un-Christmassy thoughts compared to everything else in this post, but I'm still on topic for the peace-on-earth aspect of things.