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Tuesday, October 1st, 2002
11:08 am - Just a blurb, but I thought it was funny...
Five Secrets to Romantic Happiness:

1. It is important to find a man who works around the house, cooks and cleans and who has a job.

2. It is important to find a man who makes you laugh.

3. It is important to find a man who is dependable and doesn't lie.

4. It is important to find a man who's good in bed and who loves to have sex with you.

5. It is vitally important that these four men never meet.



Things are finally settling back into a routine again...and just as they do, we get a big holiday weekend here in Oz. It is also Sleaze Ball weekend, so it will be long. It will be messy. And there will be no withdrawals. Sleaze is one of my favourite weekends, here in Sydney...and most folks get right into the spirit of the thing. Good on 'em.

I also took on some interview work for the University of New South Wales. I get to conduct three-hour interviews with the participants of a sexual health study, which has proven in some cases to be lots of very interesting fun.

One of my friends commented "Okay...so let me get this straight. You have this great job doing what you love, a fantastic husband, a cute dog, and you get to live in Sydney, Australia. AND NOW, someone is going to pay you to talk about sex with other gay men? I just don't understand. How? How do you do it?"

Just luck, I s'pose. Neener, neener.

current mood: lucky

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Wednesday, September 25th, 2002
5:52 pm - Jiggity Jig...
Home again, home again...

Well, inasmuch as I enjoyed my holiday...I also was really glad to get back home.

I loved some parts of London, but was a bit disappointed in others. The London Aquarium is astoundingly bad...mislabeled animals, injured and dying fish on display, empty or derelict exhibits...just not what you'd expect from one of the largest cities (and public Aquariums) in the world. Also...the changing of the guard at the Palace was a total sellout. I hate to be a whingeing American...but I expected pomp. I expected circumstance. I expected a Regal Display of British Military Culture and Tradition Unmatched by Anything in the Western World™.

What I got was pop music for 20 minutes while half-a-dozen horses did poo on the street.

No, really. The "changing of the guard" happened in the background of the whole spectacle. Up by the gates, where us common folk had to stand and peer in, they set up a brass band on a small stage, and played 76 Trombones and Hooray for Hollywood while the Royal Horseflesh evacuated their collective bowels. It wasn't what I expected from the Queen's Royal Guard On Display for the Public.

The rest of London and England...the history, the architecture, Stonehenge, Avebury, the countryside (we went driving into the Cotswold's for a day), Greenwich and the family were all great. The trip was fun...just not exactly what I expected.

Flying on Concorde was a blast, and very fun. No one "famous" was on my flight, except for some obviously French supermodel (I had no idea who she was, but everyone else seemed to). Norris bought the key chain that has a little replica of the plane on it. You can only buy it if you're on the plane itself, and it cost more money than a beer in Hong Kong. But hey...flying on that plane has been a dream of his for ages. Every picture of him on it shows his eyes, about *this* big...happy as a kid with Jell-0.

Atlanta was fun, and a little sad. I realized that even though you can go back, you can never go home. Things had changed, although it still remains my second favourite city in the world. It was also good to go out and see all my old friends. Oddly enough (through some astute planning and a little luck) I either met up with or ran into all of my ex-boyfriends (we all still get along really well.) Both of my previous primary boyfriends had remodeled the houses we'd bought together, and both made the same joke about "doing it to finally exorcise the Jack demons."

My laugh was genuine, but a bit hollow the second time I'd heard it.

Seeing my nephews (see previous entry) was a great thrill. I normally don't like children (they tend to be tough and gamey when not cooked just so...), but these two take the proverbial cake. You can see why from the photos. I took them presents, like any good Gay Uncle should.

Finally, I got to meet my publisher at Intrepid Media, along with the rest of the staff. You know that old theory, the one about all writers being a lazy bunch of drunks who do nothing but party until the wee hours and then womanize in the worst way?

Well...it's true. Thank Jeebus I'm gay, or I'd be the biggest cliche' of them all...Our third Anniversary press conference and party went until 6am the next morning. It was both impressive and very messy. I love my job.

Now...go back to the beginning of this entry. I meant what I said in that second line, and it just dawned on me 'why'. I just went to Hong Kong, London, New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and back home again...and I was glad to be home. I saw ancient stone artifacts from our cultural prehistory, the Crown Jewels, my most beloved nephews, Buckingham Palace (inside and out), all of my closest friends, some of the most priceless artwork in the world, and I flew on Concorde at twice the speed of sound...yet I was looking forward to being home when I got here.

How good does your life have to be, to make you feel like that?

Please, don't ever let me take it for granted.

current mood: grateful and happy

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Sunday, September 22nd, 2002
11:17 am - Update on the way...
...but meanwhile:

Can anyone deny that these two guys are the cutest things ever?




Brad, me, and Jordan (what a ham). Man...it was really good to see them again.

current mood: missing them

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Tuesday, September 17th, 2002
8:41 pm - I'm home.


And I've discovered that "home" is Sydney. I sure am glad to be back.

Oh...and Intrepid Media's Third Anniversary was last weekend in Chapel Hill, NC. There are some incriminating photos here, along with my latest column. Please go read it: Intrepid Media

More later, when I've gotten some sleep.

I missed you guys.

current mood: exhausted, in every way

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Saturday, August 31st, 2002
9:10 am - Trip Update Nummah One


Hi. I got my "hands" on an internet connection, so I'm going to do a quick update. Forgive any spelling errors, because I hate typing on a laptop keyboard. My fingers are just too big for these tiny things. [insert sexual innuendo here]

We left on Thursday morning, Sydney time, and headed for the airport. A last-minute problem with the kennel that savoy was staying in meant that I had to talk our housesitter into taking care of her while we're away. He really likes her, so I didn't have to talk too hard to convince him...but it was stressfull to find out (the day before we left for two weeks) that the dog suddenly had no place to stay. All's well that ends well, however...so no complaints. I'm sure she'll be happier staying at home, anyway.

All of our flights so far have gone off without a hitch. The leg from Sydney to Hong Kong was uneventful, and Norris and I chatted about our trip plans and watched a couple of movies. I will say that watching Panic Room, which has some very claustrophobic moments in it, while buckled into your seat in an airplane cabin at 30,000 feet does add some very interesting psychological side-effects to watching the movie. When it was over, I realized that I was cutting off the circulation in Norris' hand. He looked at me as the credits rolled and said "Damn. That was hard work." I agree.

Hong Kong was smelly, crowded, and amazing. Smelly was my first impression as I got off the plane...hot and humid was my next. It was about 34C, and you could cut the air with a knife. I guess the smell shouldn't have surprised me, considering how many millions of people are crammed into that city...and I do mean crammed. Westerners just wouldn't understand unless they'd been there. Every block near the airport was wall-to-wall apartment buildings, each reaching 50-60-70 stories into the sky, with between 50 and 100 apartments, tiny apartments, per floor. I'd never encountered such crowding, and now I have a better understanding of why many people who are raised in Asian cultures so often seem to have no concept of "personal space."

We only had about 7 hours to spend in Hong Kong, so we took a train into the city to the Peninsula Hotel. There is a bar in that hotel above the restaurant, on the 28th floor. Felix, as the bar is known, looks out over the water towards the main business district of Hong Kong, and is famous for the view. We'd heard about the place from a friend in Sydney who used to live in HK, so we decided to spend our "layover" time there over a couple of drinks and soak up the city from above.

The bar was tiny, much smaller than I'd imagined it would be...but the view was amazing. The entire Hong Kong skyline stretched out before us, crawling with neon signs and flickering traffic. The water was littered with cruise ships and barges, all vying for space along the waterfront. I couldn't believe how many vehicles and people were scrambling around in front of us in that window...it was like having the world's busiest ant farm right in your lap. I could have sat there and sipped beer and watched it for days, except for the fact that the beers were $75 dollars (Hong Kong) apiece. I stopped myself at three and we headed back to the airport to catch our next plane.

The next leg of our trip was 13 hours from Hong Kong to London, which (since I'd been up for almost 20 hours) I spent the first part of sleeping. This means that I missed the steak and lobster dinner (No loss, really. Even the food in first class tastes like shit at that altitude) but was awake in time to watch the news and have breakfast. We arrived in London at 5am, rested and awake. Of course, it was raining...but warm. Norris's brother had his driver pick us up at the airport and take us to his house to unpack and freshen up. (He was in Copenhagen for the day on business.) He has a fantastic house just north of the city, and today (Saturday) is having a barbecue for us. We also got to meet the new nephew, who is also named Jack. He's only a week old, and looks like he's not quite done yet.

He is, however, a pooping machine. I've never seen so much stuff come out of an animal so small. How do they do it?

So, today is going to be a family day. Tonight we've arranged with friends to go out to some clubs, and then spend the day tomorrow socializing and finding "the next party." Next week we've got plans to drive out to the country and see things, like Stonehenge, before heading back into the city to do the touristy stuff, like ride the London Eye, visit the Palace and Museums, and maybe go to the zoo or aquarium. I'll keep you posted when I can.

Have I mentioned lately that I really, really love my life?

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Thursday, August 29th, 2002
7:22 am - Parting Shot


Me:[in manner of petulant child] "But I don't wanna leave the Southern Hemisphere!!!"

Norris: "You'll do as you're told. Now get up."


Jeebus, I love that man.

current mood: excited

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Wednesday, August 28th, 2002
3:17 pm - Anticipation, Apprehension, and Anxiety


The first emotion, anticipation, is easy to explain and expected at a time like this. After all, I'm going to see Hong Kong for the first time, London for the first time, my new nephew for the first time, fly on Concorde my first (and probably only) time, meet my publisher for the first time in person, and see my family for the first time since I really acclimated myself to a foreign culture. I'm anticipating all of those things because they're all new. New things are hard to come by in this world, and I have a particular fondness for "new things" and "first times."

Apprehension and anxiety are harder to justify. I'm not a fan of airplanes, but I love to travel. That bit usually balances out...but not anymore. I haven't travelled since Sept 11, last year...mainly because I was supposed to travel the week of Sept 11, and subsequently cancelled my plans for various reasons. Now (even though I have nothing to hide), I find myself unjustifiably anxious at the idea of getting pulled aside by security, searched, and questioned. See, I have a really bad problem with authority and with beaurocracy. I always seem to be the person with the problem that no one has ever dealt with before. I'm usually the problem child. I also tend to be a bit smartmouthed when I get nervous or ticked off. My wit becomes a bit of a rapier at those times...and as we all know, airport security never had a good sense of humour at the best of times. These days it's bound to be non-existent. I'm sure that as soon as someone asks to see my passport, I'll make some facial tic or gesture that sets off the scanners, and next thing you know I'll be in the back briefing room getting a cavity search by Olga, the cold-fingered German woman who just got passed over for a promotion because the bun in her hair wasn't tight enough.

You're beginning to see why my mind is a scary place, aren't you? These reasons are why I'm not looking forward to parts of my trip.

Starting tomorrow morning, I'll have 18 days to do the following less-than-pleasant things:

-go through customs seven (ack!) times
-go through airport security eight times
-take off eight times
-land (hopefully) the same number of times
-eat 10 airplane meals
-make 4 rather close connections (one of which involves not just changing planes...but changing airports in New York

I also am having some concerns about seeing my family for the first time since I've been assimilated by the Australians. Mom's first words usually are designed to completely demoralize me, thus sending me back 20 years to my childhood and allowing her to remain in control. She's very good at it.

Me: "Mom! I can't believe how good you look! I've missed you!"

Mom: "What in the hell have you done to your hair? And when did you grow that stuff on your chin? Have you been sick? You look thin."

Me: [totally prepared for all of this with a fixed smile on my face] "Thanks, Mom! I brought you a present!"

Mom: "I hope you kept the receipt. What's that noise?"

Me: "I don't know. I can't hear anything over that grinding sound my teeth are making."

Everyone that knows me thinks I make this stuff up. Norris has been home with me before though, so he knows I'm not. I'm glad he's going to be holding my hand on the plane.

Now...I just have to decide what intimidates me more: The dozens of steely faced security guards, x-ray machines, metal detectors, military personnel, and all their guns I'm going to have to face (I don't like guns)...

...or my mother.

It's a tough call.

current mood: see subject line

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Monday, August 26th, 2002
10:23 am - New Arrival


I have a new nephew.

They named him Jack.


He's going to hate me, because I'll be the reason he gets called "Little Jack" for the rest of his life.

current mood: happy dance

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Thursday, August 22nd, 2002
10:32 am - Gratitude


I am grateful for the folks I know and have met through this medium.

I am grateful for my husband, my dog, my house, and my life.

I am grateful for popcorn with parmesan cheese.

I am grateful for the chance to start my trip (in one week! ack!) and see family and friends.

I am grateful for the job I have, and for the ones I'll soon have.

I am grateful for my love of the written word.

I am grateful for good sex, good health, and good times.

I am grateful for my sweet Dead Baby Monkey.

I love my life.

...and there's always more.

current mood: take a guess

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Thursday, August 15th, 2002
2:27 pm - Ugh.


Okay...so last weekend was glorious. The daytime weather was warm and sunny (remember...it's still winter here) enough to sit outdoors shirtless and soak up some rays while recovering from the nighttime activities. It was wonderful, amazing, and totally taken advantage of.

Which is why I spent Tuesday, Wednesday, and today with one of the nastiest colds I've had in ages.

My brain can hardly function well enough to post this. I'm stuck with such innovative ideas as "I like pie" and "Naptime is good." I'm foregoing any witty commentary until such time as my sinuses are no longer trying to crawl through my brain and into my chest.

I seem to be on the mend today (compared to yesterday, at least)...so I hope that I'm well for gargy and gadge's visits this weekend. Somebody else can handle the planning, but I'll gladly participate in any get-togethers. I'm actually afraid that getting jeb, gargy, and myself into the same room is going to cause some kind of inter-dimensional disturbance...but I'm willing to risk it.

There won't be a drop of alcohol left in Sydney after this weekend, I'm betting. Hey..there's an idea. Whiskey is good for colds, innit?

current mood: is 'phlegmy' a word?

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Tuesday, August 6th, 2002
3:57 pm - An "Internet Free" Weekend...


Since it was a long weekend (Monday was a holiday for some folks here in Sydney), Norris and I decided to "play tourist" and do some things around the city that we've neglected to do. You know how it is...when you live somewhere, you don't always take advantage of all of the things around you. You tend to think "Oh, but I live here...I can do that anytime!" and then you put it off for another week. It's like the folks who live next door to Disneyland, but have never been there. It becomes part of the natural scenery, and you kind of forget about it.

Anyway...we spent the entire weekend just walking around and doing stuff like that. No playing on the computer for me for the whole weekend...not even for work or email. It was hard at first, but overall a nice break.

Side Note: If the IMAX movie about the International Space Station comes to an IMAX in your area...go see it!! It is well worth the price of admission, and it is done in really well executed 3-D. (They use the polarized method, not the "two colour" method.) It is accurate, well shot, and fun to watch. The 3-D is so good that I actually got a bit of vertigo during a couple of the space walk scenes, and had to look away and settle myself. Good stuff.

We also went to see the new installation at the Natural History Museum that features some Chinese dinosaur fossils. These are some of the largest fossils known to exist anywhere in the world, and the presentation is very well done. The walls are draped in red velvet, the lighting is very yellow and warm, and there are grumbles, trills, and roars playing in the huge display hall that put you very much in mind of the sounds a large group of very large animals would be making as they prowled the Chinese countryside. There are also some great displays of plant and egg fossils, too.

Here's one of the main room (the right side only) with an idea to how the display looked:




This is the entrance to the exhibit...these two sauropods flanked you as you walked into the place, but were the smallest two sauropods on display:




Here Norris tries to look casual as a distant relative of T. Rex looms overhead:




Now...this next fossil is one of the most famous fossils ever discovered. It is the first fossil ever found that distinctly shows feathers around the body of the animal that died, thereby giving evidence to the theory that birds arose from dinosaurs. This is an Archaeopteryx fossil, a photograph of which is the reason I got interested in paleontology when I was a kid. There have only been a handful of these fossils ever found...but a photograph of this particular fossil was included in one of my science books as an elementary school student. I never figured I'd ever get to see it in person, and I'm not sure why it affected me so much to see it in person...but it did. I stood looking at it for ages...explaining to Norris that I'd seen this very fossil in books when I was a child. I took a bunch of photos of it, and this is the best one:




This next one is the skull of one of those big sauropods from the first photo:




This little fellow was called Psitticasaurus, and it was only about the same size as savoy:




At this point, we started getting a bit punchy. We had consumed a couple of coffees before going to the museum, and I was taking some cold medicine for my sinuses...so things got a bit out of hand when Norris got the camera:




Later, in the Hall of Skellingtons, I got my revenge:




He is really going to kill me when he reads this and sees that photo.

What was really nice was the fact that we spent the day together...wandering from coffee shop, to museum, to lunch, to the IMAX theatre, and then back home. We spent the same kinda day together that we would if we were on vacation...it was just about doing things for "us" and having fun. It really makes me look forward to our holiday coming up in September. I really love that man...and he's so much fun to travel and do things with. He appreciates the "different things" that we do when we have days like we had this weekend. You can't teach, buy, or coach that out of someone...they just have to "have it."

And he does.

current mood: recharged and content

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Thursday, August 1st, 2002
8:37 pm - Clarification


A long time ago...in another lifetime, on another continent....

Nah. Too melodramatic.

Let's start over....

Back when I was living in Charlotte, NC...I managed a chain of pet stores. I had always been a hobbyist, and I've always kept fish. From there, I went on to help establish and run an import/export company that bought and sold aquatic livestock...including fish, amphibians, plants, and invertebrates like snails, clams, and corals. During this time I became enamored with a certain species of marine angelfish. They were beautiful, mysterious fish that were born one colour, and then changed as they grew (as many angelfish seem to do.) I attempted (with some measure of success) to spawn and rear these fish, in an effort to reduce the number that were being harvested from the wild. Our company used many such sources for various types and species of fish, all in an effort to steer the aquarium industry in a more ecologically friendly direction. It wasn't easy, but it was a fun challenge.



Navarchus majesticus, in the old classification. Euxiphipops navarchus is what they are called now.

Ain't she grand?


In case you were wondering where the name came from.

current mood: aquatic

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Wednesday, July 31st, 2002
5:50 pm - Amazing. I Am At A Loss For Words...


I just spent the most amazing afternoon.

There have been a trio of Right Whales that had wandered into the mouth of Sydney Harbour yesterday. With all the boat traffic and noise, I figured they would be back out to sea in a few hours. Like I said, that was yesterday. I was wrong.

On the radio this afternoon, they announced that the whales were further up in the Harbour...and had passed under the bridge. This was amazing, as the bridge is at a very narrow juncture in the harbour...and these were huge animals. Two of the whales were adults, and Right Whales can get pretty damn big. So I took a chance, hopped into a cab, and headed over to the other side of the Harbour. Sure enough, over on the other side at Blue's Point Tower (actually a bit West of that), I ended up climbing the navigation tower and taking the photos at the end of this entry. The whales had been much closer to shore...but somehow I forgot to get the camera out until they were over across the waterway from me.

If you'd been there, you'd understand.

Now...let me just say these two things:

1. I love whales and dolphins. I get some kind of weird energy vibe from them...and I get all strange. I don't claim to be some New Age guru that has some "special connection" with the cetaceans of the world, nor do I think that there is some special connection between any people and the animals themselves. As a matter of fact, I think that most of that kind of stuff is pretty silly. They're simply some relatively smart mammals that have adapted to an aquatic environment in a rather graceful way. The end.

2. I don't express most deep emotions very well or very openly. Sure...I laugh out loud...and I am willing to yell, scream, or dance with delight, and in public. However...I don't often let my deeper, more personal emotions express themselves. I don't care how beautiful the wedding, how sad the movie, or how tragic the news item...my response usually happens internally. I'm butch like that. (Okay...you in the back row....stop laughing. Now.)


Today, perched precariously halfway up a navigation tower with a backpack on my back, a digital camera over my shoulder, and six other Aussie blokes who were brave enough to climb up with me...I cried with joy, right out loud. And I didn't care.

I was a laughing, sniveling, weeping mess. We all were. (Well...most of us. One guy kept looking the other way and loudly blowing his nose...but wouldn't actually shed a tear. In my opinion, he didn't know what he was missing.) Personally, I take a bit of pride in the fact that I had snot running down my face, caused by a joy I've not felt at any other time in my life.

These three whales cruised up against the seawall, blowing and rolling in the water like they owned the place. They were huge. Mammoth. Gigantic...I dunno. They don't make words that apply. They didn't seem to be one bit impressed or bothered by the dozens of boats that had gathered (at a safe distance) to watch. They rolled in the water, basking in the sun...they slapped their great flukes lazily in the wakes of the police boats that surrounded them...they rose up, headfirst, and looked out over the water at all the commotion they'd caused...and they seemed happy. They seemed to smile.

D'ya get that? They were happy, and they didn't care what we were doing.

Don't ask me how I know they were happy...I just do. They were so damn content to just rest in the Harbour, blowing and splashing, lolling back and forth between Darling Harbour and Circular Quay...even with half a dozen ferries, a hand full of police boats, two dozen sailboats, a smattering of kayaks, and Wildlife Services hovering about. Even the helicopters overhead didn't seem to bug them, even though they buzzed by regularly, taking pictures for the evening news. As the afternoon wore on, a few water taxis began to realize the opportunity they had, and began taking folks out for a closer look (I'm sure at an inflated price).

Didn't matter. The whales (the two adults being dubbed Merrick and Rosso, after two local radio personalities) just waved the occasional flipper at the boats, and went about the business of being happy...and it was soooooooooo infectious. I couldn't help myself...I forgot all about my camera, and just laughed along with them. I laughed, and clapped my fellow tower-climbers on the backs, and we swapped binoculars so that we could see better. It was fantastic. There were literally hundreds of folks gathered on the foreshore, all leaning out to see them...and not a frown in the bunch. Everyone was laughing, smiling, and talking like they were old friends. A woman with two children asked me for help lifting them up to see over the crowd...and I couldn't believe it. Now, I'm not the most friendly looking person. I'm a bit intimidating, especially to a single mum with two little girls under the age of 10...yet she asked me to pick them up and hold them, so they could see. And they laughed and hugged my neck, and thanked me for helping them up high, where they could see. It was definitely an experience I don't normally have. I normally avoid children...but this was different.

It was amazing...everyone just became equal...we were all in awe of the animals before us. And we were happy.

I can't type anymore...I feel like I'm almost doing a disservice to the experience. It was that wonderful.

Instead, here are the picture I managed to snap when I finally remembered that I had the camera. Enjoy them...even though they don't show very much. The whales had moved across to the other side of the waterway, and then they headed back towards the head of the Harbour, out of sight.

Remember...I was standing within half a kilometer of the financial and geographical center of the entire Southern Hemisphere. Sydney is a thriving city of over 4 million people, all crowded up against the Sydney Harbour. And yet...here were three endangered Right Whales, arguably some of the most beautiful and rare animals in the world...swimming equidistance between the American Express Building and one of the richest suburbs in this entire half of the world, under the Harbour Bridge, and 50 meters from the Sydney Opera House.

Click here for the photos...one is too large, and would screw up your friend's page.Collapse )

current mood: enrapt

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Tuesday, July 30th, 2002
9:12 pm - OH. MY. JEEBUS.


gargy just got interviewed on national television by Gretel Killeen. He was articulate, funny, and self-effacing.

Not to mention cute as shit.

I hate him so much right now, the lucky bastard.

What a way to get your first impression (aside from voice) of a fellow LiveJournaler. On national television, talking with one of your favourite pop icons. I think I need to go change my pants, now.

current mood: stunned

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8:59 pm - HOLY SHIT!!!

I just saw gargy on Channel Ten. He's sitting just inches away from Gretel Killeen, and he was almost the first thing they showed when the show started.

I am so jealous, right now.

current mood: green

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9:53 am - Because monkeys are always funny...

I yoinked this from hetrez, but I'm posting it mostly for Brooke (marieofroumania).

"Tiny, phosphorescent monkeys were shimmying up his spine..."


That is all. Carrion.

current mood: amused

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Monday, July 29th, 2002
12:55 pm - Globetrotting


Coming soon, to a country near you...it's navarchus!

The plans for my round-the-world trip are finalized, the flights are scheduled, and the hotels are booked. I'm officially getting excited, now.

On August 29 (Sydney time), I'll be leaving for London (via Hong Kong). The stop in Hong Kong will only be for a few hours (eight, I think), but Norris and I are going to get out of the airport and go do a quick bit of sightseeing. It won't be a real sightseeing visit, but it will count as a red-and-orange dot on our wall map. The "key" to that map goes something like this: If the dot is red, then I've been there. If it is orange, then Norris has visited. We do "half-n-half" coloured dots for places we go together. Our agreement about the "half-n-half" coloured dots is that we don't get to claim credit for visiting a city unless we have had a full sit-down meal in that city or we've had sex in that city. In other words, a two hour layover in the airport doesn't count as a dot, but if we spend the night or stay long enough to go out into the surrounding area and have a good meal (or a good shag), then we've earned our dot.

Antarctica might prove to be a bit of a challenge, should we ever decide to go there. But I digress.

After Hong Kong, we'll be in London until September 6. Norris' sister is having a baby in a couple of weeks, so we'll be there just in time to give the new parents a bit of distraction. Aside from the happy couple, Norris also has a brother who lives in London, and we'll be staying at his house during our visit. We both also have friends and ex boyfriends who live there, so we have a lot of catching up to do. It will also be my first time in London, and I'm really looking forward to doing all the "funny American tourist" kind of stuff, like Big Ben and the London Eye, seeing the Crown Jewels and the Palace, and maybe popping 'round to Prince William's place for a quick chat. (Hey, a boy can have his dreams, can't he?)

I'll leave London and head for New York City on the Concorde. Now...this part of the trip is genuinely freaking me out. I never thought (especially after the crash a while back) that I would ever have a chance at flying on the Concorde. I didn't know until recently that it has been a dream of Norris' most of his life...to fly from London to New York on the Concorde, a la Patsy and Edina. I've already got my lines ready...

Norris: "...La Croix, Harrod's, Harvey Nick's, Joseph, Vivian Westwood...did we miss anyone? No? ...Okay. I'm done with London, now."

Jack: "It's very tiring, spending all this time in shops."

Norris: "Yes. Whatever shall we do next?"

Jack: "Let's pop over to New York for dinner. There's a Concorde leaving in a little over an hour."

Norris: "Oh, yes! Let's!"

And off we go. I'm really looking forward to going on that part of the trip (even though I am not a fan of flying).

We're just stopping overnight in New York, then off to Atlanta to visit more friends, and more ex-boyfriends. We'll be there until September 11, and then we fly to North Carolina to visit my family. I'll be in Wilson, North Carolina until September 15, then we'll head back to Sydney, via Los Angeles (a brief stopover of only a couple of hours).

Now...If I could just get my passport back from the American Consulate (a very long story), I'd feel a whole lot better about this trip.

current mood: Globe-trotterly

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Friday, July 26th, 2002
5:34 pm - Knock me over with a feather...


Sometimes, LiveJournal will really "slap you upside da' head," as they used to say in my old stomping grounds.

What I mean to say is that I read a lot of journals sometimes. Actually, I've not bought a book in several weeks (first time in my life I've gone more than a couple of days), because when I think "I need or want to read" I usually either sit down here at my desk or grab the laptop and sit out back in the sun. LiveJournal seems to have a never ending supply of comedy, pathos, and drama for me to peruse. With the newer features (like the "friendfriend" feature and the "regional" feature), you don't have to hit "random" over and over again hoping for something that you can relate to. You know that you can find a good journal with a couple of clicks and a careful eye.

It's that "careful eye" thing that has got me spun out at the moment. Here's the thing: I suddenly, randomly found a reference to myself. Specifically to me, as a journaler, as navarchus. It was made by someone out there in the tens (hundreds?) of thousands of folks who journal here at LJ, and I just happened to find it by accident.

Totally blew me away. It was a moment of epiphany that I wasn't expecting (always the most powerful, I think). A moment of "Whoa. I can't believe it."

All I can say is "Thank goodness it was complimentary." It made that much of an impression on me. It was a glowing, friendly comment about me that wasn't meant for me to read...which made it that much more confronting. I couldn't even bring myself to leave a comment on the entry, because it felt like I was prying or eavesdropping. I am aware that my journal (which I've mentioned at the magazine I work for, and amongst many of the other venues where my writing appears) is read by a fairly large group of people, most of which probably aren't even members of LiveJournal. But somehow just randomly finding myself mentioned in the journal of a twenty-something married mom in the midwestern United States just sent me into a spin.

I should probably pay attention to these things. My reaction to this must mean something...but I don't know what.

How truly invigorating.

current mood: bitch-slapped (huh? No icon?)

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1:59 pm - Surfacing for air...



Yeah, I'm still here. Just very busy. (And thanks to those of you who emailed to check up on me.)

The last week has been mostly work. I'm going to see a play tonight, called Fit to be Tied. It is billed in the paper as a "gay, coming of age story with a bit of spirituality thrown in" and billed in an email I got as "the story of a young guy who ties up an angel in his loft, then won't let him go." The cover art of both promotional items shows a very muscular and handsome young man, shirtless from the waist up, sporting angle wings and a leather harness. His arms are bound tightly by his sides, and he's looking out at the viewer with much the same expression you see from monkeys in the zoo...a "get me the hell out of this cage" look.

In other words, I have no idea what the play is really about. But it's local theatre, and it needs our support. If it's bad, at least it promises to have cute, half naked angels in it. How can I lose?

Norris was in New Zealand for 4 days earlier this week, so I'm planning on having a nice, quiet weekend at home. (That usually means that it will turn into a wild party weekend, but at least my intentions are good.) The house is clean, the dog is clean, and the yard is in good shape. I got my column in early, and don't have any pressing deadlines at the moment.

I get to relax for a couple of days. Yay, me.

current mood: beginning to relax

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Thursday, July 18th, 2002
10:05 am - My Toybox


(inspired by thornsilvertree, with great thanks...)

I grew up in the "Inbetween Time" of our world. Back when toys were just starting to evolve from blocks, and metal matchbox cars, and spinning tops. Just before everything became electronic games and motorized models.

From birth to about the age of 4, most of my toys were wooden or metal. There were a few plastic ones thrown in, but the practice of making everything out of durable, cleanable, sanitary and brightly coloured plastic wasn't the norm. (Remember, it was over three decades ago.) My alphabet blocks were made of wood, I had cars and trains, simple ones, that were made of wood. The wheels were sometimes plastic, but the axles were metal. They would probably be deemed unsanitary and unsafe by even the most lenient safety codes in effect today.

I had a gyroscope, made of metal with a hard rubber wheel built into it. I can't begin to tell you how much fun I would have with that thing, even though it took almost 10 minutes to thread the twine onto the axle and wind it up. I'd sit in the hallway (the only place I was allowed to play with it) on the cold, shiny hardwood floor with my legs crossed, concentrating intensely as I tried to thread the frayed twine through the tiny hole in the center of that thing. Then (with my tongue sticking out of the side of my mouth...a habit I continue to this day) I'd carefully wind the cord around and around the central post, careful to keep it in a single layer. Then I'd prop it up on one end, look at it carefully, and then pull as fast as I could. Watching this metal and rubber gyroscope dance and lean, defying gravity for almost 2 minutes, would hold my attention completely. Sometimes I'd attempt to unbalance it with a finger or a pencil, only to watch it leap and bounce away from me, trying to right itself again. This would often send it careening into the floorboards, leaving a tiny nick in the paint. By the time I was six, the hall floorboards had been repainted numerous times. I don't ever remember my parents complaining about this, and I'm sure it was the reason that I was only allowed to play with it in the hallway.

I also had a fascination with rubber animals. I had rubber snakes and frogs, rubber rats, tiny plastic farm animals...you name it. Stuffed animals didn't hold much of an interest for me, but rather the more lifelike, realistic ones caught my eye. They were often made out of some vulcanized material that left a funny smell on your hands long after you'd put them back in the big wooden toybox. I remember a rubber alligator that my grandfather brought me from the Everglades as my favourite. I liked it because it was about 2 feet long (HUGE!) and had great white rubber snaggle teeth that looked far more vicious than they were, and was hollow inside starting with the mouth. He would stomp around my rubber menagerie (with my help), roaring loudly and devouring as many of the other animals as I could stuff down his throat. He was the King of the Toybox.

He still lives in my toychest back in the States, along with a few other childhood items that my Mom can't seem to part with. Some pictures I drew (now yellowing and brittle), a few rubber animals, my first dog's collar (which I used to cry over at night, when I thought no one could hear me), the gyroscope, something called a "flip-flap" that I got at a craft fair, a broken Etch-A-Sketch, a coonskin cap, a tortoise shell I found in the woods, bags of marbles and stones, thousands of little green army men (the ones that didn't vanish into the treacherous sandbox out behind the house), a magnifying glass, a box of feathers...I'm sure there's more, but I can't think of it all right now. It all lives in my Mom's house now, in an ancient wooden chest with iron hinges...my old toybox. The place where all the toys had to go when I was done playing. The place where they live now, since I'm done playing.

Some days I really wish I could get back to that age again. I want my biggest concerns to be what time Davey Langley is coming over, so we can play "dinosaurs" or climb that huge pine tree at the back of the yard. I want my toybox to hold excitement every time I open it...and not nostalgia.

I want to be that young again.



current mood: homesick and nostalgic

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