Archive for the ‘Life in LA’ Category

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Dog days

January 5, 2009

SUNDAY
4 January 2009

Today was a busy day at the animal rescue.  We have these GREAT kids who volunteer with the group.  They walk the dogs one at a time, they sit in the pens and play with the dogs, and they’re able to help answer questions.  They’re probably all between 11 and 13, and it’s encouraging to see them giving up their time to help out.

Unbelievably, Debbie the Doberman (10 weeks old) remains unadopted.

debbiedobie

She is all feet, and her head hasn’t quite grown into her body yet.  She’s bigger now than when I took this picture, but her adorable-ness is also growing exponentially.

It is a little heart-breaking when people surrender their dogs.  This weekend alone, someone turned over their 7 year-old pug named Tyler.  How do you give up a dog you’ve had 7 years?  Another family gave up their three shitzus, two of whom are 10 and one (the father of the other two) who is 14.  They are healthy, gentle, kind, loving and suuuuuper soft.  Like alpaca fur.

Obviously, I don’t have the full details of these surrender situations, and I can’t know what these families are going through.  The dogs know something is up, though.  The looks on their faces … ouch.  “Where’s that dude who fed me for 7 years?  Where’s my cozy little bed next to armchair?  What’s happening here?  Did I do something wrong?”

I’m still a little tentative interviewing prospective pet guardians.  You’re literally putting a dog’s life into someone else’s hands.  Since most of the animals at Good Dog were rescued from a kill shelter, this is their second chance at life.  I want to make sure I get it right.  A few more interviews and I’ll be much more confident about things.

To end this on a happier note, my ex John sent me this fantastic video clip that I’m trying to tell everyone about.  It is actually a beautiful, touching story about a friendship between two animals that chokes me up every time I watch.  Check out the video clip here.

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New work begins

January 2, 2009

OK, y’all.  We’ll try this again.  I’m doing my best to write the current entries, as well as rewrite and post ALL of my previous missing entries dating back to November.  My GOAL is to post one new entry here on the top page each day, and I’ll work on posting the make-up entries ASAP, several at a time.  I DO have entries and stories for the past month or more, believe me!  But it is a new year, so I thought it would be good to begin posting current entries again.  Then, when I post the back entries for Nov/Dec, it’ll be kindof like the Star Wars prequels or something.  Well, those weren’t universally loved, so maybe that’s not a great analogy.  Anyway, HAPPY NEW YEAR and thanks for reading!

FRIDAY
2 January 2009

Today was my first day working for Good Dog!  It was really foggy today, so Jocelyn and Chance – the couple that runs the rescue – called to tell me they’d opted not to set up for adoptions given the timing and the weather.

I was already on my way to Spot – the pet boutique in Beverly Hills they’ve partnered with for adoptions – when I got the call, so they asked if I’d go walk one of the adopted pups who had been returned that morning.  So sad.  His name is Bo and he’s a beagle/hound mix:

bo

Such a handsome guy.  I took this picture before Christmas.  Bo is the litter-mate of Diddley, the dog who has chosen me as his next guardian.  That situation is gonna take some figurin’ out.  And if Diddley truly is my pup, a name change is definitely in order.

Anyway, it seems Bo was causing a ruckus with this family’s other beagle.  Traumatic for both dogs, and definitely for the family that had to return him.  Ugh.  Adoption returns are never fun for anyone.  Bo will find the right family soon enough.

Anyway, a few of the younger volunteers, Natalie and Tatiana, had shown up, so Chance decided to go ahead and set up shop anyway.  There were no adoptions today, but I think an application or two were filed.  Tomorrow a litter of SEVEN Newfie pups that are eight weeks old are showing up.  That will be cuteness beyond all get out.

After the store closed and everything was packed up, Chance, Jocelyn and I had a pow-wow at Taco Plus to talk about a fundraiser they have coming up, and to figure out some other ways I can use my writing/producing skills to help them.  Good meeting, plus I love riding in their minivan with their 7 dogs!

Tomorrow we start earlier and go later, so it’ll really be a full day.  I’ll get a much better feel for what a typical day is like with Good Dog.  I’m so grateful Chance and Jocelyn have hired me on.  Clearly, they could smell my dog-loving freakishness from 10 miles away!

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Another blackout: Days 85-97

November 10, 2008

Oy.  I’ve lapsed again.  Yes, life is busy and has thrown some curve balls.  To catch up briefly:

Halloween in West Hollywood was an intersting sight.  A quarter of a million people on Santa Monica Boulevard – and not just the gays either, oh no.  Gays, straighties and everyone in between.  There was enough body glitter in use to blanket a small town.  I’m still trying to decipher what someone wearing a doily, suspenders and a strategically placed tube sock is supposed to be, but whatever.  People were there with their families and everyone was having a rip-snorting hedonistic time.  Truth be told, though, my tolerance threshold for drunkenness en masse is pretty low, so about 45 minutes there and I was good to go.

Then of course, there was election night.  An exciting night, but dang, I was glad when that was over.  I was suffering from SERIOUS election fatigue.  The election of Barack Obama is bittersweet for many in California, however, since it was tempered with the passage of Proposition 8.

Apparently, married gays and lesbians have the ability to unravel the fabric of American society, or better yet – destroy the sanctity of marriage as God deemed it so WORLDWIDE.  Well, shit!  When I was in my 7-year relationship a while back, I really wish I knew we wielded that much power while doing unthinkable, aberrant homo stuff like laundry, watching TV or picking up our dog’s crap in the back yard.  Dang!  Missed opportunities.  Apparently, we could have RULED THE WORLD!

So ladies and gentlemen… drum roll please… California’s Proposition 8 will mark the first time in California history that the Constitution has been amended to rescind rights, rather than to grant them.  Yay California voters.  Another first.  “As California goes, so goes the nation,” I heard it said.  Eek.

Maybe during the next election, the same group that sponsored and passed this proposition will rescind my voting rights too, or maybe my right to employment opportunities.  What’s to stop them, really?  They managed to get this one through.  Think it seems far fetched?  I’m not so sure, and I’d bet money (if I had any) that someone is already pondering the argument – someone who, is all likelihood, is a latent, self-hating queer bigger than all the ‘mos in California combined.  You know it!  (Exhibit A:  Larry Craig, right?)

Rocker and uber-lesbian Melissa Etheridge had this to say in an article, which I thought was pretty frackin’ brazilliant:

Okay. So Prop 8 passed. Alright, I get it. 51% of you think that I am a second class citizen. Alright then. So my wife, uh I mean, roommate? Girlfriend? Special lady friend? You are gonna have to help me here because I am not sure what to call her now. Anyways, she and I are not allowed the same right under the state constitution as any other citizen. Okay, so I am taking that to mean I do not have to pay my state taxes because I am not a full citizen. I mean that would just be wrong, to make someone pay taxes and not give them the same rights, sounds sort of like that taxation without representation thing from the history books.

You can read her entire article by clicking this link.

These things take time, though.  Most of the gays I’ve conferred with agree it IS odd that  chickens and other animals – um, the ones eventually slaughtered for food – were given more rights, while the GLBT community had some of theirs removed.  Great.  As long as the chickens on death row are comfy and cozy.  Anyway, it’s kindof a big deal here in California, though, and the gays are refusing to lay down and take it, and by that I mean passage of the amendment, not… oh nevermind.

In other news, I moved back to my cousin Yvonne and her husband Ed’s house in West Hills.  I am grateful they took me back in.  It’s lovely to get a reprieve from worrying about homelessness.  I have until December to get a place, so if you KNOW anyone…  Don’t forget, though:  I’m very powerful…

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Day 82: The USPSWTF

October 31, 2008

MONDAY
27 October 2008

Dear God, what a day.  With so many phone calls, emails, names, numbers, ideas, people, places & things oozing out of my brain, I half-expected to find a word jumble on my pillow this morning.  I knew a lot of my energy today would be trying to wrap what is left of my mind around all of the information downloaded to me over the weekend.  I managed to be pretty successful though, and got through a lot!  I’m not sure I will continue to be as productive, but I’ll sure try.  After all, with no housing at the moment and still seeking gainful employment, I DO have some basic needs to which I must tend.  Food and shelter, anyone?

This was the day, however, when I decided it was time for my own mailing address.  I can’t keep imposing on Darrell to meet me every 3 or 4 days with my mail.  That ain’t right.  I went online to determine what I needed to take to the post office so the process there would be quick and painless.  Lo and behold, I discovered you can now apply and pay for the PO box online, so it simply becomes a matter of taking the application into the post office (along with two forms of ID), getting your keys and voila!  You’re off and running.  Fantastic!

I arrived at the West Hollywood post office with everything in perfect order.  FINALLY!  In another 10 minutes, I could cross this off my list.  Woo-hoo!  The wait in line wasn’t all that long.  The clerk was friendly and reviewed my application to make sure everything was correct.  I handed over my two forms of ID – my shiny new California driver’s license and my U.S. Passport.  It was about 10 seconds later when I think I heard an audible SCREEEEEEEECH as the PO box application process came to an abrupt halt.  “I can only accept one of those as a form of ID,” the clerk informed me.  “The other needs to be a secondary form… a voter registration card, a lease agreement, a work ID.”

HUH??!!  I admit, I didn’t think she was serious at first.  I told her that online at usps.com, there was a page indicating the acceptable forms of ID, and that these were both on the list.  “I know, but the website is wrong.”  OK, then… “Do you have a mortgage statement or a rental agreement with you?”  Of course!  I always carry any and all housing documents on my person, just for special occasions like these.

“What about a corporate ID?  A work ID with your photo?” she asked next.  This was confounding to me – the idea that a corporate photo ID would trump my U.S. passport, even if I worked at, say, Chuck E. Cheese.  Or Eastern Onion.  Or Raging Stallion Studios (imagine THAT company’s holiday party).  In this circumstance, these IDs have more power than my government-issued passport.  Last time I checked, it was the same government that owned the very building I was standing in, and employed the clerk I was speaking with.  I can travel to China wearing a bath towel and a jockstrap as long as I have my driver’s license and passport, but I can’t rent a 3″x5″ post office box in West Hollywood with them.  Can I get a “WTF?!”  Incidentally, I would not be surprised if someone actually HAS walked into that post office in a bath towel and jockstrap at some point.  Remember, we’re in West Hollywood.

“So…” I posited, “with these two forms of government-issued ID, both of which are acceptable as indicated right here on line 5 of my USPS PO box application…” – I pointed to the document for emphasis – “…you still can’t help me?”

“I can’t,” she said.

I took a deep, cleansing breath and tried to go to my happy place.  “Is it just me, or is it completely ridiculous that the information on your website and on this application in front of you doesn’t match what you’re telling me?”  To be clear, I wasn’t mad at her or bitchy with her.  I was matter-of-fact.  She’s just doing her job and giving me the facts as she knows them.  I simply wanted to make sure I wasn’t off my rocker.

“No I hear you, and I get it,” she said.  “Welcome to the United States Post Office, sir.”  Well, that’s reassuring. If I’m not mistaken, this is the same organization that will be delivering my election ballot to the county registrar in the next few days.  Wonderful.

She handed me another list – dated April 2004, FYI – of acceptable forms of secondary ID, and told me if came back today with another one of them, I could go directly to her window without waiting in line again. The only other item I had on the list was my voter registration card back at Darrell’s, buried God-knows-where in one of the boxes I cart from place to place.  I did manage to find it, went back to the post office, and of course, she was on her coffee break.  Internal heavy sigh #1.

Another clerk helped me set up the box and gave me my keys.  I asked to buy some ‘forever’ stamps, and was told she didn’t have those.  More blank staring from me.  “You can buy them in the vending machine outside.  It takes credit cards.”  Internal heavy sigh #2.  If I thought an audible heavy sigh would have gotten me something, I would’ve gone for it.

I did manage to find a helpful manager outside by the vending machine, and told her about the past hour-and-a-half of my life with the USPS.  She said the website changed about a month ago, and they’ve been dealing with situations like mine ever since.  I also pointed out that this conversation was probably happening in every post office, in every state, every single day.  Like the clerk before, she empathized with my frustration, threw up her hands and said, “Welcome to the United States Post Office, sir.”

Is this their slogan now?  Did I miss an advertising campaign?  “Welcome to the United States Post Office” inflected with the tone “We totally suck.”  Time for a new ad agency, wouldn’t you say?

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Day 78: It’s my birthday [snap] It’s my birthday [snap]

October 24, 2008

THURSDAY
23 October 2008

I’ve never been a huge, “WOO-HOO!!!  It’s my birthday!!  Let’s PAAARRRR-TAAAAAY!!” kind of person.  More often than not, I tend to use the day to take a few deep breaths and reflect about my life in the past year, and what the next 12 months may bring.  Given the recent changes in my life in so many areas, and with a renewed sense that ANYTHING could happen at this point, there was definitely a lot to ponder!

The last week has been busy and pretty emotional – and I haven’t blogged about every single detail.  Some things are just incredibly mundane (“Trimmed my nose hair today!”) or too personal (“Shaved my ****** today!”).  Anyway, the whirlwind of it all caught up with me and I found myself in an incredibly relaxed and Zen state for most of the day.  It’s what I believe every day should feel like, no matter how busy it gets or what the world throws my way.

Doug came over and the plan was to go for a hike in Runyon Canyon Park.  We ended up chatting a little too long, and eventually realized by the time we’d get to the park, it would be dark already.  Instead, we decided to grab some good take-out and bring it back to the house to eat outside on the terrace.  For the first time in my recollection, I could clearly see all the way past Century City to the ocean.  That’s how clear the air was tonight.

As for dinner and the rest of the evening… well… as I say on my “About Me” page, some things are best left unblogged.  This is one of those days that’s just for me.  Suffice it to say, it was a perfect evening all around:  70 degrees, gentle breeze, quiet, stars, candles, wine, good food, even better company and a very special birthday evening I won’t soon forget.  Would that we should all be so lucky to have days like this every day…

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Day 76: Meanwhile, back at the manse…

October 24, 2008

TUESDAY
21 October 2008

Ed and I packed up his SUV this morning – got the bike in there and everything – and he drove me into West Hollywood to Darrell’s house. Aaah, it is lovely to be back at the manse, if only for a short time.

Darrell is having his kitchen counters replaced, so everything’s kinda spread out all over the place.  The silverware is in the pantry, the dishes are in the living room and the closest running water is in the bathroom sink in the hallway around the corner.  The small island in the kitchen is the only place to set dishes, keys or anything else.  It will make for some creative meal prep and clean-up, to be sure.

His new tenant Christoph has also moved into the studio apartment in the lowest level of the house.  This is the cool kind of dude Darrell is:  he essentially told Christoph he can do whatever he wants to the place, aside from any kind of major demolition.  At this point, I can hear Christoph hammering away on what sounds like major construction, and Darrell offered him the use of any unused paint in the garage.  Christoph is keeping the whole project under wraps until it’s complete.  Having seen the ‘before’ version of the apartment, even I’m curious to see what the transformation will look like.

I thought Darrell was leaving tonight for Fort Lauderdale, but he told me it’s actually tomorrow night.  I’m sure he told me the correct date and I just flip-flopped it in my own mind.  Grr.  With that, I felt bad I’d made plans to hang out with another friend tonight, kinda like, “Hey, thanks for the invite to stay here again for free.  I’m all moved in downstairs, so see you later!  Hugz!”  I’m not sure if Darrell had plans for the night or what, but had I not messed up the days in my mind, it would’ve been cool to hang out and catch up.  As I’ve said before, Darrell is very logical & left-brained, whereas I’m the right-brained “ooo, colors, shapes and esoteric things” type, so I like hearing his perspective on my job hunt and my other misadventures thus far.

Darrell was kind enough to drive me down the hill for a business meeting.  My Dreamworks Animation contact had put me in touch with a colleague of his who works at Activision.  I think went pretty well… he was as gracious and generous with his time and feedback as the majority of industry people I’ve met in LA have been.  We chatted a long time, and I was grateful he seemed genuinely interested in learning about why I was here, what I was trying to accomplish in LA and how he might be able to help me move forward.  I left the meeting totally charged, again feeling grateful that these are the types of industry people I am fortunate to keep meeting!

I had dinner with my friend Doug, and for dessert we visited Greenblatt’s Deli, which felt like it was plucked from New York City and dropped down right on Sunset Boulevard.  After a big ol’ piece of chocolate cake – yeah… that healthy food plan I was starting… what happened to that?  – it was time to head home for bed.  Busy day… moving, meeting, cake with enough sugar to induce a diabetic coma, etc… pretty tired at this point.  More tomorrow.

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Day 72: Five hours of emails

October 18, 2008

FRIDAY
17 October 2008

Yes, that was the bulk of my work day.   I was completing more follow-ups to the Networking Event I attended this week, and then some.  My eyes started to blur after a while.   I’m not a huge fan of sending OR receiving mass emails and impersonal correspondence, so I try to avoid it as much as possible, though I’d be lying if I said I didn’t send out big emails on occasion.

I MAY have cut and pasted a line here and there, but for the most part I typed each one separately, even if some of the verbiage was the same.  It didn’t take long for a few responses to trickle back in, but it was Friday afternoon, so I imagine I’ll get more responses when next week arrives.

As exhausted as I was, THIS MOVIE TRAILER tooooooooooootally made my day.  I hope the link works.  I was laughing so hard I was crying.  People at the coffee shop were staring and pointing, which is fine.  I find laughing out loud healthy and therapeutic.  Let ’em stare with their closed minds and humorless lives!  People who know me understand why this clip affected me as such.  I CAN’T WAIT FOR THIS MOVIE!!  I tried to figure out how to embed the trailer directly into the blog, but it wasn’t working.  I’m decisively non-technical in this respect.  If any blog gurus reading want to enlighten me, I’m willing to learn.

I debated whether I should take the subway into Hollywood to catch a movie, or begin the long bus ride back to West Hills… maybe read a bit before bed.  It was Friday night, though, right?  So of course… I wound up reading.  One of these days, my wild and crazy lifestyle is going to catch up with me.