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San Francisco, CA, United States

Saturday, February 21, 2009

No One Mourns The Wicked

"Are people born wicked or do they have wickedness thrust upon them?"

That's a really good question asked in the opening scene. I ask myself: 1) Who I am? 2) Am I on the path I'm supposed to be on? 3) Is my life predetermined?

"And of course, the minute she was born, she was, well, different."

I knew I was different when I was 4 years old. My mom would take me along to drop Ernesto off at school. Every time we walked passed a certain teacher, my mom would say to me "stop acting silly". I knew being different would cause problems for me. I hid my true identity from everyone. I became extremely good at hiding who I was, my feelings, and especially the things I was doing the past few years. Exposing the real me to everyone, I realize I still have my family and friends.

The next two months I'll have plenty of time to reflect on what's really important in life. I can either wallow in self pity or use this time constructively to help myself, family and friends, and those less fortunate.

"Now at last, there's joy throughout the land. And goodness knows, we know what goodness is."

As I keep myself focused on the good things life has to offer, I'll have the ability to discover every treasure, every wonder, and every joy the world has to offer. If I can concentrate always on the present, I'll be a happy person. I will discover who I am all over again. Life is the moment we're living right now.

"So you see, it couldn't have been easy."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Happy Birthday Scott!

Today is Scott's 35th birthday! Doesn't he look great? Well, he could probably use a tan in the picture to the left. Sun, Scotty, not shade!

Last night, I took Derrick to see Wicked. It was his first time and wants to see it again. Teal Wicks did an amazing job. She is getting stronger and more confident as she continues to grow in the role of Elphaba. Kendra Kassabaum, Glinda, seemed a little off, but was still spectacular. Deedee Magno Hall, Nessarose, continues to deliver amazing performances. Carol Kane and David Garrison delivered another great performance. As for Nicolas Dromard, I still like his acting but his vocals aren't up to par for the role of Fiyero. I was disappointed with "As Long As You're Mine". Eddy Rioseco performance as Boq is starting to grow on me. As for the hat toss in the cornfield, Dan was right. It's part of the performance I haven't noticed till a few weeks ago.

I was pretty disappointed in the crowd. This is the first time in 10 performances I have seen, no one applauded when Glinda or Elphaba appeared on stage. It didn't stop me from applauding for them. My next scheduled time to see Wicked is on April 1. Since I have a lot of free time the next couple of months, I'm sure I'll see it a few more times.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentines Weekend

Tuesday, I'm seeing Wicked with Derrick. Rob (lower right) bought tickets for us to see it on April 1, 2009.

Valentines was a lot of fun. Joe and I went into the Castro to participate in Drag Queen Bingo. At our table sat Shane, Miguel, and Michael. I was the only one at the table to win a bingo game for a grand prize of $20, however, admission was $20 so I broke even. We had a great time laughing playing bingo that at the end of the night my voice was almost gone. The drag queen who was emceeing or the "ball caller" kept us entertained all night. At one point when there was a glitch with the bingo machine, an auction was held to see another drag queen do a push up. I ended up with the winning bid of $25 but also included a cup cake. As the drag queen did the push ups, she was also eating the cup cake every time she went down.

On Sunday night, Kip, Joe, Keith, and myself saw John Cameron Mitchell (left) do a live performance along side his famous movie "Hedwig and the Angry Inch". It was great seeing him in person commenting on various parts of the movie. At the end of the movie, I ran into Scott (second time this weekend) and Nick.

Even though Valentine's Day has the capacity to make single people feel left out, I truly enjoyed the weekend with my friends. Hanging out with friends, laughing together, and feeling alive again is priceless.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Rainy Day Emerald City

It's finally raining! It may not be enough to end the drought that has plagued the area for the past couple of years. We need all the rain we can get. Just try to stay dry or you may end up melting. Since the rain usually brings thoughts of sunny places, I'm posting a couple of pics that I took during past vacations. Enjoy!

I would love to sit in one of those chairs again. The picture was taken in Yelapa, Mexico, south of Puerto Vallarta. The picture to the right was taken in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam. I like to call it the walk way to the unknown.

This picture was taken at a Bloc Party Concert outside of Geneva, Switzerland. This beautiful trellis was picture perfect, in Barcelona, Spain. Traveling to other countries, seeing how people live, and enjoying different foods and cultures is what I love doing most. Maybe my next trip will be by broom, balloon, or bubble.

Friday, February 13, 2009

More Dancing Through Life

"Skimming the surface, gliding where turf is smooth. Life's more painless, when you're brainless."

Lately, I haven't had to do much thinking. Doing what I'm told to do, showing up at places where I'm supposed to, and do what's expected of me.

This past December, a couple of friends of mine went sky diving for the first time. Joe (down below next to Rande), Rande (right), Teddy and myself did a tandem jump at an altitude of 13,000 feet. What rush of adrenaline! I wasn't scared as I got into the plane or did the jump. Thought for sure that I would have a heart attack on the way down, but it didn't happen.
As we parachuted down, I kept looking straight ahead at the horizon. I knew that if I looked down, it wouldn't have been pretty for the cleaners. When I looked up towards the sky, I knew I was missing a lifetime experience. At one point, the tandem instructor released a couple of hooks and it felt as though I were being ejected, but I didn't separate from him. The landing was smooth, just fell on my butt.

"Swaying and sweeping, and always keeping cool. Life is fraught less, when you're thoughtless. Those who don't try, never look foolish."

In doing the jump, I've learned a few things about myself. 1) If I don't try different things, I'm selling myself short and missing out on some memorable life experiences 2) Staying focused on the task at hand will ensure a smooth landing 3) I can't do it alone, someone always has to have my back.

Dancing Through Life

"But I say 'Why invite stress in?' Stop studying strife, and learn to live in the unexamined life"

I'm excited for the long weekend, Friday the 13th (this happens to be my 13th post), Valentine's Day, and President's Day. Of course, I'm taking my friend Derrick (blue stripped shirt next to Mary Lynn and her boyfriend Aaron) to see Wicked on Tuesday. It's his first time seeing it and he seems pretty excited about it. Kip is back for the long weekend, primarily for IGB Weekend (lions, tigers, and bears, oh my!). He's also using this time to find a place to live because he's moving back in March. We've been friends for close to 15 years and I'm glad he's coming home.

I'm having breakfast with Scott on Saturday, it'll be the 4th weekend in a row that I haven't flaked on him, well at least not yet. Saturday night, there's a Valentines Ball in the Castro that I might go to, stag of course. I'm extremely excited about Sunday night. My friend Joe and I are going to the Victoria Theater in the Mission because John Cameron Mitchell is performing live along with his movie "Hedwig and the Angry Inch". No plans for Monday yet.

"And the strange thing your life could end up changing, while your dancing through life"

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Thank Goodness

"Cause getting your dreams, it's strange but it seems a little, well, complicated. There's a kind of a sort of cost, there's a couple of things get lost."

The last few years weren't the best for me. My mom passed away, a friend committed suicide, and my judgment was clouded. I've learned I have the capability to achieve a life that has eluded me the past few years. I've had a pretty hectic schedule the past few months and it doesn't seem to be letting up anytime soon. I am feeling lost at times.

Manifesting what we may have always wanted, finding ourselves feeling as if we have no purpose, desire, or interest in anything, feeling completely alone with absolutely no connections, anger and resentment at the past, stuck in old relationships, being extremely busy wrapping up so we can move forward, setting things up for the new, or feelings of bliss, excitement and having the beginning experiences of new connections and an amazing new beginning of freedom and joy. emergingearthangels.com

"There are bridges you cross you didn't know you crossed until you crossed"

Am I starting to resent all I have to do or am I feeling nostalgic? Do I want to stay here or move on to something else? Is it disconnection with those around me or am I being complacent? I definitely don't want to go back to the lifestyle that has encompassed me the past few years.

"And if that joy, that thrill doesn't thrill you like you think it will, still"

So I'm letting go of past experiences but keeping them close to remind me of what did or didn't work so I can experience new and better ones. Each part of me must fit in with the new path I am on without disruption in order for me to achieve my goals.

"Because happy is what happens when all your dreams come true, well isn't it?"

Am I finally getting everything I wanted? If so, is it enough? Has the new me arrived or am I still waiting? I know that as I continue to navigate through life, creating new paths, meeting new friends, the old me continues the process of departing.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Weekend after Opening Night

I'm enjoying living life in the city. My friend Kip, from L.A., stayed with me over the weekend. Hanging out and helping him get re-acquainted with the city, renewed my appreciation for the city and good friends. On Saturday morning, I had breakfast with my friend Scott (pictured with Tim Tam). As we finished breakfast, another friend David walked by. Running into friends, even if it's for a brief moment, are life's unexpected joys. Sunday night I had dinner with my sisters, Lee and Mercy.

It's awesome how the city is embracing Wicked. City Hall, the Ferry Building, War Memorial Building and a few others, were glowing green. Almost everyone I've talked with is excited about seeing the show but can't find decent seats till May. I haven't tried the lottery yet, but will in the near future. Dan (right) has won the lottery 3 out of 5 tries, at least the ones he told me about but I suspect the number to be a lot higher.

"I'll wake up my body and make up for lost time."

I've been going to the gym 3 times a week, trying to eat as healthy as I can, and reading books (currently re-reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo). I realize I can't make up for time lost but I can ensure I'll at least have a healthy mind and body.

"And if it turns out it's over too fast, I'll make every last moment last."

Sometimes, it's moments we remember the rest of our lifetime.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Opening Night Review

This is the 9th time I've seen the show and it continues to amaze me. Kendra Kassebaum, Glinda, delivered a great performance, especially "Thank Goodness". I think that Teal Wicks will continue to get stronger after each and every performance she does. Teal brings a different, more complex and darker side to Elphaba that I haven't seen in other performers. Although she could have performed better in "The Wizard and I" and "Defying Gravity", she definitely made up for it in "No Good Deed" which was powerful. I loved "For Good".

Deedee Magno Hall was spectacular as Nessarose. This is the second time I've seen her perform and she consistently delivers the goods. Nicolas Dromard acting, Fiyero, was pretty impressive. I'll reserve judgment on his vocals till I see him one more time. Eddy Rioseco, Boq, was okay, especially his short solo in "Dancing Through Life", but "March of the Witch Hunters" was a disappointment. Carol Kane and David Garrison delivered great performances.

In the beginning it seemed like there were some issues with sound and lighting cues. The biggest blooper was during "Thank Goodness" when the sign "Congratulotions" didn't drop on cue while the whole ensemble was looking up. During the cornfield fight, Kendra accidentally grabbed Teal's hat during the fight and threw it to her as she was leaving, which Teal caught. Since this is the second time I've noticed that, I'm not sure if it's on purpose or accident. I'll keep you posted.

I sat in the rear Mezzanine, row L, seat 105, cost $99.00 plus taxes and surcharges for a total of $119.00, with my friend Dottie. It was her first time seeing it and she definitely wants to see it again. Sitting in the Mezzanine I've noticed two things that I've haven't seen before: 1) During the scene "One Short Day" I noticed the backdrop had machinery parts rotating and 2) Whenever Elphaba was casting spells, the lighting on her was kaleidoscope.

The next time I see the show is February 17th, but I might try for the lottery seats next week.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Wizard and I

"Once I'm with the Wizard, my whole life will change. Cuz once you're with the Wizard, no one thinks you're strange! No father is not proud of you, no sister acts ashamed, and all of Oz has to love you when by the Wizard, you're acclaimed"

I can't believe tomorrow is opening night for Wicked. Last year when it was announced it would come back to the San Francisco for an open-ended run, I thought, finally, it's returning home to the city where it belongs.

Seeing the title character of Elphaba as she truly is, not like the portrayal in The Wizard of Oz, one can marvel at the different layers and beauty of who she really is. Having different layers myself, I slowly peel them off one by one as I get to know people. Sometimes the layers stay on and sometimes they completely come off. Being friends with others is work, hard work. Hard work of trying not to let friends see the real me because I used to think they wouldn't like me. As Elphaba discovers with her weird quirk and green skin, it's something that sets her apart from the others. Looking and feeling different than others, she is neglected by her father. Finding where she belongs is a life long quest, as it has been for me.

Trying to care what others think about me has it's disadvantage. It's not what they thought, but what I projected what they thought, that used to stop me from being myself. It's finding a balance to be who I am and my perception of what others think, that is defining who I am today. Knowing my family and friends have my best interests at heart, I'll listen to them when they say I'm traveling down the wrong path of life.

"He'll say to me, I see truly who you are, a girl I can rely. And that's how we'll begin, the Wizard and I."

I've learned that it doesn't matter what people think, it's that they are still in my life. It's what they say to me, to let me know they love me, to support me during tough times, share in my joy of life, and tell me when I'm about to make a big mistake. That's the beauty of life when you're loved by others.

"Unlimited, my future is unlimited."

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

For Good

"I've heard it said, that people come into our lives for a reason, bringing something we must learn and we are led to those who help us most to grow, if we let them, and we help them in return."

This is what life is really all about. People coming in and out of our lives at times to help us learn lessons that life has to teach us and to help each other grow. Sometimes they're with us our entire lives or just short periods of time. Other times, there are people we try to help or who try to help us, but can't help, so we have to let each other go to find our own way.

"It well may be that we will never meet again in this lifetime so let me say before we part so much of me is made of what I learned from you you'll be with me like a hand print on my heart and now whatever way our stories end I know you have re-written mine by being my friend..."

I know the people who have endured the past few years with me are my true friends. These are the ones who have been on a roller coaster ride that has been very bumpy with lots of highs and lows. I'm truly grateful for their friendship and I hope I can a better friend as well as a person as a result of these relationships. The past few months, I've been meeting new people, some who have become friends and others who have come into my life for a reason and are still looking for others on their journey.

I know I'll see my mom again whom I truly miss.

"Who can say if I've been changed for the better, but because I knew you, I have been changed for the better".

Every person I've met along my life's journey has in many ways changed who I am as a person, whether it was good or bad, it's who I am today. Every day, I am learning something new or all over again, whether it's about myself or some else, and how I am reacting differently or not. Hopefully, my past and present experiences are helping me prepare for a brighter future, with or without those who's lives I've impacted or impacted me.

"And just to clear the air, I ask forgiveness for the things you blame me for, but then I guess there's blame to share, and none of it seems to matter anymore".

Every thing is temporary, ever changeable by how we act or react in situations, with family and friends, work, health, finances, and life. It's what we do with our time in the Emerald City. Just look at the people you surround yourself with in your life and you'll realize you're looking at yourself.

"Because I knew you, I have been changed for good".

p.s. I'm seeing the opening night of Wicked on February 6, 2009 in San Francisco, the city where it started and belongs, the Emerald City.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

One Short Day

Every time I listen to the music from the show, I find myself relating to it more and more. The latest being "One Short Day". I live in "the Emerald City", it's a place where I belong, I wanna be in this hoi ploy. I haven't enjoyed the city in the past few years as I did when I first moved here 15 years ago. Growing up in Vallejo (30 miles northeast, off Highway 80), I've loved the city ever since I was a little boy. I felt I could make my life and make my way in the Emerald City, if only I had the chance. I don't want to blow that chance again.

Seeing the city through different eyes, I can really appreciate the beauty and diversity of the city. The different neighborhoods, rolling hills, fog, fantastic restaurants and buildings that are as tall as redwood trees, a hundred strong. To have a life time of fun is what the city is all about even though if it's for one short day. So now that I've been here, I need to let my friends that I'm still here, enjoying life yet again.

"Where so many roam to, we'll call it home to, and then just like now we can say we're just two friends, two good friends, two best friends, sharing one wonderful, one short life, together".

I'm just glad to be back for good.

Monday, February 2, 2009

My life compared to Wicked

Most people have identified with the lead character of Elphaba. She looks and feels different than most. She wants to fit in but can't because of the way society views her. Even her own family tries to distance themselves from her. She has a big heart, wants someone to love, and have someone love her. She's misunderstood and vilified as an outcast. She meets the one person whom she has idolized her entire life, someone who will accept her for as she is, not wanting to change her but love her unconditionally. She finds out he is a phony. Elphaba discovers herself, her true self. She is the one with the power, the power to make a difference.

In a way, my life has been like that. As I'm sure most of you can relate to, trying to fit in a society that doesn't understand you. My life lately has been resembling the song "Defying Gravity". There are times when I fly off the handle at situations and other times when I can handle it without groveling. There are things that people expect of me and for the most part, I do what is expected of me. Sometimes I'm through with playing by the rules of someone else's game. But those rules are intended to keep me safe so I'll keep playing by them until I'm capable of living life on my own healthy terms.

Somethings I cannot change but until I try I'll never know. So lately I've been trying to live a new life without certain things that have held me down the past few years. Knowing that I'm unlimited without those certain things, I know I can be the greatest person I can. There is no fight I cannot win without my friends and family. Believe me, kicking bad habits is a daily on-going fight for me. Everyone deserves to fly on a natural high.

In a sense, it's my life coming of age. Knowing what's important in my life (family, friends, health, work) and enjoying being in the moment. Because sometimes all we have are precious moments.