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The Literary Exhibitionist

-- 200 --

Today I post my 200th Daily Lunch Update.

-- 200 --

I have now seen more movies since January 1 than I saw the entire month of January last year. It's easy to catch up when you see four movies in one weekend (even if two of them were re-viewings).

The first one I saw yesterday was Peter Pan, which I enjoyed far more than I was expecting to. Given the plethora of decent reviews, I figured I would like it, but for some reason I was expecting C+ quality at best. Instead I gave it a B+, and only that low because I thought some of the special effects could have been done a little better, and the performances weren't perfect, although they were about as good as could be expected with a cast of mostly children.

Those minor flaws aside, though, the film was strikingly charming, and just made me feel really happy. I have not read the original story, but I have read that this film follows it more closely than any other film ever has (a tad more violent than, say, the Disney version). It was really nice to see a live-action version of the story with an actual boy playing Peter Pan, and a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0838911/">Jeremy Sumpter</a> plays him quite well. The sexual undertones between Peter and Wendy are played up well here in a way it never has in any other movie either, effectively accentuating both the joys and the perils of growing up (given that the two of them are of barely pubescent age).

Both my mom and Sherri have long been totally in love with the story of Peter Pan. Mom, in fact, was asked what she wanted her name to be when she was adopted at a very young age and since she wanted to be a Wendy Bird, she chose Wendy -- which is why her first two names are, legally, Wendy Jean (her parents always called her Jeanni and that's what she still goes by). Sherri took me to a local stage production of it once in Olympia (where I'm pretty sure Peter was yet again played by a woman), it was sometime in the mid-1990s, and she cried and cried, gleefully shouting "I do believe in fairies!" at the appropriate time. (The movie, thankfully, doesn't ask us all to clap -- but there is a sequence in which everyone in the world repeats that phrase.) It's too bad I couldn't see Peter Pan with Sherri when I was in Olympia for Christmas, because I think she would have loved it beyond all compare.

Barely sub-par special effects notwithstanding, much of the imagery in the film is quite beautiful and almost as charming as the story itself. There's a point at which Peter and Wendy are dancing in the air surrounded by fairies leaving countless trails of fairy dust that was a particularly memorable image.

I had no idea until checking imdb.com that Jason Isaacs played both Mr. Darling and Captain Hook, and now I'm even more impressed. He did quite well in both roles. Ludivine Sagnier (Swimming Pool) was also lovely as Tinkerbell.

In any event, trust me on this one: even though it certainly works as a kids' movie (and I could have done without all the little kids yakking away in that theatre), it's not just for kids. I highly recommend it.

The other film Barbara and I saw last night was Robert Altman's The Company, which had several dance sequences that actually made ballet look both interesting and beautiful (which was more than I could say for the Pacific Northwest Ballet, which I tried a season ticket for once and ended up being bored to death). The wonderful dance sequences are the only reason I'd give the film a grade as high as a solid B, given its complete lack of anything resembling a standard story arc: no real drama, no climax, no major hurtles for characters to overcome. It's filmed almost like a "slice in the life" (as Barbara put it) documentary, and when it ended I found myself thinking, Huh? That's it? The performances are decent across the board, but if you're looking for a gripping story, this is not where you'll find it. You'll find a lot of beautiful dancing, though.

The guy who played Neve Campbell's boyfriend, James Franco (Spider Man) -- damn I thought he was cute.

Between the movies Barbara and I went back to my place and Barbara cooked up my angelhair pasta and fettuccine for dinner, along with some salad made of both spinach (hey! I almost forgot -- another vegetable I actually like, at least when raw) and some other lettuce I can't remember. I now have plenty of leftover pasta and plenty of leftover salad. We watched the home video I recorded of Danielle and her and me at Barbara's apartment on Christmas Eve 1999, which I had not watched in quite a long time.

Surrounding all of that, I still managed to write up this week's queen_city and the rough draft of this week's newsletter. I needed to leave a bit blank in the newsletter because, given that we don't officially have either a President or a Vice President on the Board, I figured I should wait to fill up that spot until after tonight's emergency Board meeting (bumping the originally scheduled ADC meeting to next week -- four Monday meetings in a row this week! Boy, this will sure encourage me to stick around after my tern ends ...).

-- 200 --

I keep reading people's posts about how good they're feeling about the chorus and the direction it's going in and blah blah blah. I keep wondering how many of them are just attempting some sort of mind trick on themselves. Sorry to be the downer here, but I'm not feeling that good about it at all.

No, no. I take that back. I am feeling good about the direction the chorus is heading. I am not feeling good about any possible future that I personally have with the chorus. I am beyond disillusioned with it all, regardless of how great the concerts are, how wonderful the singers are, how great the music is, or the surprising amount of money we have in the bank in spite of a lack of any major fund raiser in about two years.

After both my exposure to and my involvement with the Board, I have become utterly convinced that it will not operate functionally for a very, very long time to come. The members of the Board are consistently either overworked or they don't do jack shit; either way, the Board on the whole goes through this cycle every several months or so when more than one of them throws some sort of idiotic temper and proves just how childish adults can really be. I've been on the Board a year and a half and I have witnessed it more than once, not just recently. To say that I'm sick of it is a gross understatement, and to say I don't expect it to change is to state the painfully obvious.

I've been to enough fucking meetings to last a lifetime. I have absolutely no desire to attend any more after my term ends, which means no more newsletter, and probably means no more Matthew singing in the chorus. This chorus has become my life in much the same manner that the Seattle Gay Standard once did, and I've had it. I should never have let it get to this point, but what could I do, once on the Board? I had obligations to fulfill and I still do.

It has been suggested that I keep singing with the chorus next year and "just be a singing member." The problem with that is that people will probably still expect me to do the newsletter, or to organize Pride, or to write the content of the concert program (which I was recently asked to do, and I don't mind I guess, at least not for now), or to write blurbs for the email newsletter to former members, or perhaps even all of the above. I do not want to continue doing any of this stuff -- some of which necessitates my attending meetings whether I am a member of the committee or not.

I also do not think that I could, in good conscience, be a singing member without helping out more than just paying dues -- dues which, I might add, would serve me much better by going to my huge credit card debt. It simply strikes me as better for all of us in the long run if I just quit altogether. Given that I am almost certainly not going to Montreal there is even less of a point. I still feel good about the direction the chorus is going -- I just think it can keep moving in that direction totally independent of my involvement or lack thereof.

I'm really looking forward to actually sitting down and just watching an SLGC concert for the first time in five years anyway.

I'm ready for a major shift in focus in my life, and that cannot be done remotely comfortably if I continue with the chorus after June. I have no doubt that I will be missed, but obviously the chorus will survive without me.

-- 200 --

-- 200 --

200. CC.

-- CC --

It's all coming together now. Or maybe it always was. Even things that unravel are part of that which is coming together.

In bed.

- or -

Only when I'm naked.

-- CC --

I have no idea what it's like to go swimming naked. I wonder what that's like? There was a group of people recently advocating for a nude beach in Washington State and so a bunch of them dipped nude into the Puget Sound just a couple days ago. But those people are obviously crazy.

If I ever went skinny dipping I'd obviously have to be alone. It takes major force of will just to walk around in shorts in front of people. There was that time I actually got into a pair of Mike's shorts to join everyone in the hot tub at Julie's (June 13, to be more specific), and it was indeed kind of hard for me to do. Come to think of it, it would have been the one and only time in all of 2003 that I went around shirtless in front of anyone for any reason.

It irritates me how modest I am, physically. This didn't even happen until after I came out -- which was more than a decade after I had been molested as a child, so the connection there is indirect at best (although certainly related). I went around in shorts all the time as a teenager. I think the difference was that when I came out I had to confront my sexuality in a way I never had before, and I just sort of brought up new mental blocks to replace the old one (the old one being in denial about being gay at all).

I'm inching closer and closer to being able to imagine someone finding me physically desirable. I'm still not quite there. Is it any wonder I'm still a virgin?

What the hell made me think of swimming naked in the first place? I have no idea. This is a weird tangent.

Stream of consciousness. I always loved writing those essays in my high school English classes.

-- CC --

Ah, high school. Good god, as of this June my high school graduation was 10 years ago. I wonder if I'll even get an invitation to a reunion? I don't particularly want one. The McQuilkins are having a family reunion in mid-August (Grandma won't let me forget it), and I think one reunion is good enough for one year. Besides, why would I want to go back and see all those people who treated me like shit for four years?

I'm looking forward to the family reunion, fucked up as my family may be. We haven't had a major family reunion (including aunts, uncles, great aunts, great uncles, and cousins galore) since Grandma and Grandpa's 50th wedding anniversary party in 1997. That was seven years ago! Jesus.

There may be fewer people there this time, though. My cousin Heidi won't make it, because she still lives with that asshole husband of hers in Colorado (or is it Wyoming? I can never keep track) and they never have money for travel (although they did for Uncle Paul's wedding, so I guess you never know). It's seriously doubtful that Christopher will make it, although it sure would be nice. Probably all of the other grandkids will be there, though.

It's always interesting when the eldest grandchild, Troy, is around. He and his wife have five kids (they always planned on six) and they go to a chuch that is much like the fundamentalist one I was born into. They home-school all of their kids, and they never speak to me, so I never speak to them. I think maybe I frighten them. I did speak to Troy once, at the aforementioned party in 1997: I was recording a cassette tape in which I had people offer their well-wishes to Grandma and Grandpa, and I asked him to give his contribution. He was there at Grandpa's birthday party on the 1st and we never spoke to each other then either.

Oh wait, there's one other definite exception: my cousin Andy won't be there, I'm quite sure of that. He's still in jail. He's actually had the chance to get out for some time but he apparently has to have an address before they release him, and he has done nothing to set anything in order. I guess he prefers it in there. I prefer he stay there. He's the reason his son has shaken baby syndrome. It makes my skin crawl just thinking about him.

But since he won't be there, I guess I don't have to. Well, except when I'm around his son, who's legally his father's son (the McQuilkin Way: Braxton is Jennifer's brother and her nephew!). That kid never shuts the fuck up. He never talks either, even though he's three and a half. He just moans loudly, endlessly. I'd call him Rain Boy, but even Rain Man could speak English. I feel bad for the kid, but god damn he's annoying.

-- CC --

You know, my dad is really the only exception to the rule that every one of Grandma and Grandpa's kids have something totally bizarre about themselves or their families. Observe:

Aunt Raenae: She was named after Grandpa, so her real name is Brucilla Raenae. You don't want to call her that unless you want to lose your head.

Uncle Paul: Adopted his grandson, and his wife consistently tries to get Jennifer to regard the boy as her brother even though he's actually her nephew (given the legal papers, he's technically both). (BONUS FACTOID: Uncle Paul's late first wife's family are all convinced that he killed her.)

Uncle Garth: Had a daughter that no one has ever met who was adopted out of the family as a child for some secret reason Mom says is "not her place" to tell me; no one else wants to talk about it either. I didn't even know Shane had a sister until I was a teenager.

Aunt Penny: Married her ex-husband's uncle, so my cousin Tammy has step siblings who are also her dad's cousins.

I'm my own grandpa . . .

And that brings us to Dad, the youngest, who is by comparison by far the most "normal" person in his family. He didn't abuse anyone in his family nor did he divorce any and marry their relatives. He made a hell of a lot of mistakes, but gues what? They're common -- and, dare I say, normal -- mistakes! The weirdest thing about my dad is that his name is Kim. And, you know, hey -- at least it isn't Brucilla.

Thank God he ended up being my dad and none of the others.

-- CC --


Current Mood: calm calm

positive energy please