California and Beyond.

Hard to believe it’s been two months since I last posted in here, but when you write all day, one finds that you either don’t have the time or mental energy to do it for yourself. I’m a better narrative than technical writer, but I need to stay in practice, especially if I ever plan to get my own writing projects off the ground.

So what have I been up to of late? I gave up my second job. After my hospital scare last fall, I needed some extra money to pad out my finances, so one job led to two, and while everything is not perfect, I am now back to one. It was a good move for me. Working anywhere for 8-16 hours a day 7 days a week is surprisingly not as much fun as you’d think. But it’s over, and now I get to re-experience what “weekends” are actually like again. It truly is the little things in life.

My regular (and now only) job sent me to Lake Tahoe a few weeks ago to cover a charity event at Shakespeare Ranch. Pictures don’t do the place justice, as it’s unlike any other place I’ve seen in Nevada. For starters, it’s actually green up there, something of which I actually had doubts of existing in this state.

Shakespeare Rock.

Shakespeare Rock.

The charity raises money for Alzheimer’s disease, and while it was a lovely event, I need to rewind a bit.

Getting there was typical for my adventure set.

A co-worker and I went as a team, and while it started out fairly normal, by the time we landed in Los Angeles for our stopover, it was anything but. LAX airport is a dump. There. I said it. And I mean it, for that matter. Our terminal looked like it was out of some third world country, and to access it, we had to take a shuttle that literally had us racing alongside planes, and stopping at intersections for them. By the time we got to the terminal, we looked around for precisely thirty seconds, turned to each other, simultaneously said “Nope” to each other, and immediately hopped back on the shuttle to visit the bar and avoid staying there any longer than we had to.

When it came time to go, they shuttled us on this tiny plane that looked like it had been shipped out of the Warner Bros. prop archives fresh out of Casablanca. As we walked to the loading door, I stopped by co-worker before we got on: “If that plane leaves the ground and you’re not with him, you’ll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.” The door opened. “Here’s looking at you kid”, I quipped. I looked again at the plane. “I hope this thing can actually fly”, I muttered as I got on the tiny craft. I also half expected that the pilot would eject us over Mayapore, India, where we would be unexpectedly be dropped off and have to slide down a mountain in a giant raft before being asked to retrieve the neighboring village’s Sankara stones.

I watch a lot of movies, by the way.

But back at Lake Tahoe, the grounds were beautiful, and the people were nice. We got to watch the rodeo as we did social media updates, and there was a lot of cowboy flinging involved by angry bulls and horses.

This lady here could shoot pistols while riding a horse. That made her pretty badass.

This lady here could shoot pistols while riding a horse. That made her pretty badass.

I also got to see Reno. Not so much there, from the limited time we had, but I did get to see the arch.

Reno's arch.

Reno’s arch.

If there’s more to see in Reno, we didn’t get to see it. We did go to a casino where I had an absolutely awful Bloody Mary. Seriously, who makes a clear Bloody Mary? Sacrilege!

The next morning, we decided to go to Tahoe City on the California side of the lake. I love small lake/beach towns, so exploring the sights, and taking in the fresh air (and real trees) was a much needed break before we started the second day of the event.

Everything went well, Michael Bolton performed for the evening’s entertainment, and as the event closed down for the evening, I actually got to chat with Michael for a moment, where we got into a nice discussion about our appreciation of Ray Charles. And this also happened at the last second:

Bolton and I (Not from Office Space or Game of Thrones).

Bolton and I (Not from Office Space or Game of Thrones).

The following morning was brutal as we had to be up at 5:00 A.M. to catch a 6:00 A.M. flight. Added to this was a birthday party to attend right after I landed. Despite my best efforts, I sort of short circuited, began to hallucinate from lack of sleep, and had to call the day.

As the next few weeks passed, I ended my second job, then back to California with Jen, where we went to Disneyland. I can’t believe it’s been a year and a half since my last visit, which is an obscenely long time for me. Still, it was the 60th anniversary, and we had fun.

Following the footsteps.

Following the footsteps.

Two days of theme parkery was a lot of fun, but I was taken aback on how expensive the park is. It’s no longer the jaunty day trip that I knew from my California days. It’s more of a planned vacation event, which makes me a little sad. Disney needs to settle down on their price hikes.

Still, you can’t beat the view….

60 years....

60 years….

Or the Paint the Night parade, which basically merges Disney with art cars from Burning Man.

What a funny girl, that Belle....

What a funny girl, that Belle….

On the following Sunday, we marked off another bucket list item: The Gentle Barn. It’s an animal sanctuary that takes in abused, neglected, abandoned, and overworked animals, emotionally and physically heals them, then just lets them hang out and simply… be animals. Some of the stories are so sad, like this little blind pig named Sydney:

Sydney the Pig.

Sydney the Pig.

He had a pretty rough life and was given up on, but he was just casually bumbling around nudging his tray in case more food was there. There were all sorts of animals, and human and animal alike were in the same spot just interacting together. It was admittedly moving.

It takes all kinds.

It takes all kinds.

Besides, where else are you going to be able to hug a cow?

Buttercup.

Buttercup.

This has been an interesting summer for me. Outside of my car breaking down and the struggle to get it running again, two full jobs and the struggle to get it down to just one, trying to plan a wedding, trying to plan my birthday gathering next month, trying to remain sane through everything, I can’t help but feel that I’ve learned a lot. Mostly about the things I’ve seen and experienced, and what I want to be. What really matters to me. Where my purpose lies. I’ve had some opportunities to reconnect with parts of my earlier days, in projects I can’t discuss just quite yet, and something of a settling within myself, and there has been some internal struggle along the way. Fear of compromising my dreams, mostly. But mostly… mostly is just comes down to the want to try and be a good man, until I won’t have to simply try anymore and will simply be. Stepping outside the routine is good, if only for a little while, and especially with a few new adventures under my belt.

It’s nice to be reminded that I have a few good stories left in me.

2013 Ends.

On New Year’s Eve, I find myself sitting down in front of my computer writing. However, this is one of the rare times I’ve been able to do so for myself.

I did manage a few adventures since my last writing, including getting back into the Downtown scene. The new Container Park opened up, and will undoubtedly be another place for me to spend a weeknight once my schedule gets under control again.

Just like Burning Man.

Just like Burning Man.

Thanksgiving came and went, in my own signature way….

Googly eyes makes everything funny.

Googly eyes makes everything funny.

And work outside of writing non-stop has been just as busy. I’ve entered back into the “museum” field, having joined up with the Neon Museum. To be honest, I missed the museum life, and the new place has been treating me very, very well. I actually have felt rejuvenated after my last run in this line of work, so in hoping for a promising future, I look forward to becoming more settled in this new role. I did the American Country Awards, where I stood in for Trace Adkins.

Another show under my belt.

Another show under my belt.

He told me to lay off the steroids.

There were other social obligations during the course of the month. Another trip to Disneyland:

With the Pumpkin King.

With the Pumpkin King.

Santa Rampage:

Gabezilla.

Gabezilla.

And various other acting, Burner, museum, and friend gatherings that popped up throughout the month. I had to carefully schedule my days to fit everything and everyone in. I started feeling like I was more playing Tetris.

It wasn’t all work and play this month. A dear friend of mine, Tom Deishley, was killed this month. Someone broke into his home and took his life.

Tom and I in 2008.

Tom and I in 2008.

Tom worked as General Motog the Klingon in Star Trek: The Experience. I was fortunate enough to stay friends with him once the Experience closed. In character, he was gruff and honorable. As a friend, he was kind and inspirational. I greatly respected him, and was devastated when I read the news of his passing.

At the wake, family and friends came together to remember Tom. A lot of the Experience actors were there, as well as others from the many facets of Tom’s life. It was bittersweet seeing so many familiar faces together again, but it reminded me what I loved the most about the Experience: It wasn’t the costumes, or the various alien species, of the food or drink (though the Warp Core Breach remains high up there), or the souvenirs, or the rides….

It was the people.

It was the people that kept me coming back, made me feel welcome, and made STTE one of my favorite places to stay. It too became a family. One that even passed around a Warp Core Breach for good measure as we laughed, cried, and remembered. What I loved the most about the Experience then still goes on now, and will never truly go away.

The official Star Trek site did a lovely tribute of Tom.

And so Christmas came. And it was a weird one.

Perhaps as weird as this.  Who can say?

Perhaps as weird as this. Who can say?

From a carsick Frodo, to a broken out of box Wii U (got it fixed), the whole experience, coupled with a rush-rush-rush feeling that didn’t allow any real enjoyment for holiday left me wondering if this year was going to be a bust. But the day did regain control, and I ended up having a relaxing holiday.

Which leads me to now. At the end of another year. 2013 has been a year of great loss and reclamation. I lost my best friend this year. I’ve had to reevaluate friendships. And career decisions. I got some things restored to default. And to somehow try and find an ordinary life within a never-ending influx of work for the past three months.

And now it’s time for change.

I thought about that even as the Doctor Who Christmas Special came to an end, and the Eleventh Doctor made this little speech:

“But times change and so must I. We all change when you think about it, we’re all different people, all through our lives, and that’s okay, that’s good you gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be. I will not forget one line of this, not one day, I swear.”

I’ve worn so many titles in my life. Held so many faces. I’ve lost a number of inspirational souls this year. I’ve been disappointed by others. I found a little furry friend that helped me heal. And I’ve stopped for a moment to take stock of who stood by my side when I needed someone there. But now at the end the 2013, I am ready to let go of some things that have held me back so that I can face 2014 as a new man. Still very much the same at the core, but a little more of a “factory settings” version of me… with a few all-new perspectives.

But I’ll never forget the parts from this year that have made me who I am….

Farewell, my friend.

Farewell, my friend.

I’m Still Here!

Contrary to what may be popular belief, I haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth. Nay, I’ve been busier than ever these days. Which is why I wanted to take a moment and write now before work sweeps me away again.

Mostly, it’s been writing assignments and booze pourings taking up all my free time, and as a freelancer, it’s the continuous hustle to keep that almighty dollar in my wallet. That’s not to say that I haven’t has a little fun.

For starters, I went to Disneyland for my friend Sam’s birthday. He, his friend Traci and I spent two days in California going over to Huntington Beach, then to Disneyland proper and California Adventure.

On the beach....

On the beach….

Whee....

Whee….

Photo blasted on Star Tours.

Photo blasted on Star Tours.

I take sudden, multi-level drops well.

I take sudden, multi-level drops well.

We got up at 6:30 in the morning, and didn’t end until 1:00 the next morning…. Then drove back right after. It was a bit of a painful drive, but it was also a fantastic day of clearing through almost every ride, tiki bars, and a lot of high-spirited hijinks. The higher the jink, the more I approved.

But it was mostly back to work. I did a gaming expo convention where my main role was to pour booze for convention goers that came into our area. The event itself was okay, as it was basically a free bar for customers, and I got to sample more than a few fair shares of some pretty tasty food in the surrounding area.

All of this led into my birthday. As far as birthdays go, this one was pretty decent.

Little man.  Big eating.

Little man. Big eating.


I had a great birthday dinner, a lot of well wishings and visits from friend, no police boats….

I even got this as a gift from Jen:

Adventure Time!

Adventure Time!

Is that not greatness? Now I just have to find a wall to put that on.

And then I got sick.

A few days after, fortunately. That grand plague that seems to be sweeping the nation and affecting my friends and family everywhere. My sniffling, sneezing, snuffling miasma of head phlegm and wickedness took me down for a few days, yet I really couldn’t take a break. I ended up doing another booze pouring at the local Air Force Base, which was well into the midst of our current idiotic government shutdown. But booze waits for no budget or healthcare resolve, and one of my greater acting roles was placed in front of me: Pretend I was wanting to be other places besides curled into my bed with some tissue, knockout level cough syrup, and my 3DS. Still, I had to check out what they have for a shopping center. Who knew Gamestops were on military bases?

The rest of the weekend continued with me providing counseling to this stranger at an Applebee’s that had just broken up with his girlfriend. I felt like crap, but I couldn’t just sit there and let the man cry into his drink all by himself. He warmed to the idea of someone actually taking the time to talk to him, though management acted like he was a problem, and kept wanting him to leave. I’ve seen obnoxious drunks. This guy just wanted a friendly ear, and I couldn’t begrudge him that.

The following Sunday, I agreed to take my friend Brenda to a wedding at Floyd Lamb Park. While I wasn’t going to the ceremony, I decided to stay and check the place out. It was originally a divorce ranch for people to stay at as Nevada only had a six week minimum to stay married before they could annul their nuptials. The place itself was really nice, what with the lakes and big trees and old buildings. And I even got to crash the wedding reception. Far funnier as I was coming off of my cold still, and since I hadn’t planned to stay, I didn’t really clean up, with my Florida beach bar T-shirt, unshaven face, and sandals. I looked more ready for a day of sandcastles and rum drinks than the celebration of one’s union. The bride and groom were remarkable sports, and I wished them well on their happy day as I got more than a few once over glances at my casual appearance. In my defense, their buffet was excellent.

Despite my need to write, I also had Gina and Alex stop by for the weekend, and I even ended up back in Laughlin again for a brief visit. Not a bad little place. I’ve heard they do inner-tube regatta there, and that sounds marvelously fun.

Otherwise, it’s been writing and celebrating birthdays. It’s been everywhere from back out to Pahrump, where some drunk old woman tried to get me to molest her (to which I more than politely declined) to the Las Vegas Burlesque Festival, showcasing a three hour run of boobs and other assorted talents.

So that’s been life these days, and I expect the next few days to remain just as hectic. Either I am really busy, or work just dries up for weeks at a time. In any case, I suppose I should trade one form of writing for another.