Tuesday, August 30, 2005


I was fortunate to have known both sets of grandparents and a set of great-grandparents into my early adulthood. My very favorite grandparent was my dad's mother, Leah. She was born on this day in 1903 in Denver, Colorado. In July 1918, her mother died, leaving her to care for her older brother and their father. She and Uncle Jake followed their father to Los Angeles in 1923. She married my grandfather, Frank, in 1935, and they had two children together.

Whenever things got too dramatic at home or stressful in school when I was a kid, I'd ask to spend the weekend with Grandma and Grandpa "Camper" -- they owned a truck with a camper, and that is how I differentiated them from my mother's parents: Grandma and Grandpa "Gypsy," who owned a poodle by that name. Anyway, Grandma was just about the best pal a kid could have. She was always happy to help me draw animals, trees, cars -- all the stuff I liked to draw. When she wanted a little time alone, she'd set me loose in the kitchen to play with their dachshunds, Bootsie and Tinker. And at night, there'd be hot chocolate (in winter) or some other fun snack in summer.

When she died suddenly in 1984, I was so completely shocked; I didn't cry a tear until her funeral -- at which I sobbed harder than I ever had before or have since.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Enter: Katrina

The Mississippi River at New Orleans, 2004

Friday, August 26, 2005


How's this for a name? Edwin Flavel Kortright Farrington. Pretty posh, huh? My maternal grandmother's father (known as "Flavel" by his family) was born in Colon (uh, and that's pronounced like Ko-LOHN, not . . . you know, the other way), Panama in 1890. Actually, Panama was still part of Colombia at that time. Anyway, his parents were well-off; his father was involved in the shipping business in the Caribbean, and his mother was descended from French Huguenots who had settled and become socially and politically prominent on the West Indian island of Montserrat.

Daphne Silvera, my great-grandmother, was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1896, the daughter of Theodore, who was the son of a wealthy Jamaican family of Jewish heritage, and Deborah, a woman born on St. Thomas in the (then) Danish Virgin Islands, and whose family were prominent in the Jewish community on the island.

Anyway, these two crazy kids -- Flav and Daph -- were married in Colon on August 26, 1914. They lived in Panama for several years before moving to the United States in 1924. Great-grandma died in 1984, just three months shy of their 70th wedding anniversary, and great-grandpa died a year later.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


PTDC -- the Paul Taylor Dance Company -- is a company of accomplished young dancers performing the magnificent work of choreographer Paul Taylor. Based in New York City (where I had the pleasure of seeing them perform earlier this year), they tour nationally -- and sometimes internationally -- each year. I've seen them several times in San Francisco and here in the L.A. area.

They performed two strikingly beautiful pieces at the Hollywood Bowl tonight: Musical Offering and the emotionally charged Promethean Fire. Both are set to pieces by Bach, and each utilize the entire company in brilliant fashion.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Bruges, Belgium, April 19, 1998

My love of photography developed (uh...sorry about the pun, heh) around 1983, when I received a Minolta 35mm camera from my parents. When I was in kindergarten, my beloved teacher, Mrs. Lonsdale, encouraged my artistic abilities (I loved to draw). As a grew older, though, I became more and more critical of my talents, and I pretty much gave up drawing and painting during junior high school. Reading became a much more satisfying way of escaping the rigors of school -- which I absolutely hated.

It was after moving away from home at age eighteen that photography became a regular hobby. And once I started traveling? Out of control. I tried compiling a Top Ten list of favorite photos but, damn, it was like choosing a favorite child. So, what I think I'll do is divide them up into regions or cities, etc., and present Best Of... posts. That way, I can include a lot more of my work.

Monday, August 22, 2005


Twenty years ago today, I met my friend Stu (and a few others with whom I've since lost contact) at L.A. Valley College. Despite being "out" to my family and having met a few gay folks by that time, it was with some trepidation that I first walked into the all-purpose room on campus where the GLSA (Gay & Lesbian Student Association) conducted their meetings each Tuesday and Thursday. But I fit right in immediately, and I was a member of the group each semester until I left a few mathematics units short of graduation in 1989.

Stu and his partner, Mike, live about 90 minutes outside L.A. in the desert community of Palm Springs, where I took this photo of Stu in 1995.

Sunday, August 21, 2005


A very low-key Sunday.

My morning consisted entirely of watching A Room With A View on DVD with the audio commentary on -- excellent, by the way. What a tremendous cast, gorgeous production design and cinematography.

I finally showered at, like, two o'clock and made my way downtown around 5 p.m. to meet my friend David for dinner and, later, gelato.

Right now, I'm enjoying a nice little IM convo with my friend Dan in South Carolina. He's yummier than key lime pie on a warm summer's day.

Saturday, August 20, 2005


Had a little scare involving my grandfather the other evening.

My sister phoned to tell me he had been taken to the hospital after a fall at my grandparent's home. (He's doing okay, though, and is flirting with nurses. Heh.) Grandpa is eight-nine and Grandma is almost eighty-eight, and they've lived in the same house for over sixty-five years. But they're both getting more and more frail -- both physically and, alas, mentally.

One of my two uncles has been very reluctant to place them in an assisted-care facility -- or even to hire a nurse -- but hopefully this will help convince him it's time to place them in an environment where they won't inadvertently hurt themselves.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Where have you been?

This groovy map is courtesy of this nifty site. The other maps they provide (USA, Europe, and Canada) are neat to fiddle with too. This fancy map below displays where in the world I've been since 1991 (23 countries, or, according to the site's calculations, 10% of the planet):

An October trip to Brazil and Argentina will add some color to South America, and in September of 2006, Australia will get the red treatment too.

Don't let the fact that all of China is red (well, aside from it being "Red" China, heh) fool you: I've only been to Hong Kong, but there isn't a separate category for HK. And Japan, while I do want to spend some extended time there, is only really included because I spent approximately five hours at Narita Airport during layovers on my way two/from Hong Kong in November 2004. Hey, I contributed to the Japanese economy by eating a meal there, so I think that counts. Sorta. Heh.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Happy Birthday, Patrick!

Monday, August 15, 2005


As much reading as I do, almost all of it is non-fiction. I can devour a travel guidebook on, say, Mozambique, with as much gusto as an airline passenger on a long-haul flight might work over something from John Grisham.

If I were stranded on a desert island, I'd hope to have three books there with me:

Dark Star Safari, by Paul Theroux. Overland from Cairo to Cape Town with my favorite curmudgeon. The harrowing route is one I can't imagine trekking myself, but it makes for a fascinating read from the comfort of one's armchair.

Italian Days, by Barbara Grizutti Harrison. A gentle and sophisticated book. Possibly the travel memoir to read prior to a first (or tenth) trip to Italy.

Riding the Red Rooster, by Paul Theroux. Absorbing account of a journey through China by train. Theroux's numerous encounters with Chinese bureaucracy and his frequent attempts to ditch the guide thrust upon him make for a compelling read.

It'd be tough to leave behind a few essays by Jan Morris. The folks who publish the Travelers' Tales series of books do a fine job collecting absorbing essays on countries and cities -- I'm particularly fond of their title on India. Ooh, and I'd hope to discover a story or two by Tim Cahill stashed in my backpack.

Sunday, August 14, 2005


The gelato here is fucking fantastic. My favorite flavors? Mint chocolate chip and wild cherry.

The absolute best cup of gelato I have ever enjoyed was served to me at a gelateria in Florence in 1997. Carrying a cup to go out onto via dei Tavolini, I slid a spoonful of the creamy confection into my mouth and . . . came to a halt as the berry flavor worked itself over my tongue.

"Ahh...mmm...ooh," I cooed (approximately).

And gelato and I have lived happily ever after.

Saturday, August 13, 2005


Okay, I give up.

No, not on the blogging thing.

After drafting my first regular entry the other night, a piece on why I refuse to own a cell phone, I decided that sort of commentary just wasn't me. It read as...forced. A little too precious. And, frankly, it struck me as derivative of other bloggers I have read and admired of late. So, no more of that.

I'll stick with what I like to gab about most: travel, photography, and cute guys.

Oh, I feel much better now.

So, yeah, cute guys. Dozens of them were cavorting around the home and splashing about in the pool of my friends Steve and Jerry up in the Hollywood Hills. Steve hosts a homolicious pool party each August. To miss it is simply not an option.

Two of the cutest dudes were Jerry, Steve's boyfriend, and his friend John. John is the hunk up there on the left. Jerry is the stud on the right. A bonus? The two comely dudes seen just over John's shoulder, eyeing the camera.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Vous etes ici

Let's see if this sort of thing works for me.