28 June 2008

Doctor Who 4.12: The Stolen Earth (part 2 of 3)

Picking up moments after Turn Left, where Donna's revelation that she met Rose Tyler and told her to remember two words, Bad Wolf, the Doctor and Donna arrive on Earth. But all, it seems, is right. But moments later, the Earth and 26 other planets are transported to an unknown area of space. Realizing he needs help, he takes Donna to the Shadow Proclamation (first mentioned in Rose), a universal police force manned by the Judoon. As the Doctor begins to unravel several perplexing ideas that have run through the entire fourth season -like bees vanishing from the planet (mentioned in Partners in Crime, Planet of the Ood, The Unicorn and the Wasp and Left Turn),- he trails some radiation signals to a rift in time near the Medusa Cascade (Last of the Time Lords). But there the trail ends, and the Doctor cannot find the path to Earth.

Meanwhile, on Earth former companions Martha Jones, Captain Jack Harkness and Sarah Jane Smith, along with Torchwood members Gwen Cooper and Inato Jones and Sarah's adopted son Luke are confronted by the Daleks. As Earth is subdued, each of the them realizes they must contact the Doctor, but they know nothing of Rose Tyler's arrival.

Also around is former disgraced PM Harriet Jones, who uses an unknown, untraceable sub-wave signal to contact former Doctor companions, and through the use of Martha's phone, try to reach the Doctor. While this proves successful, and the Doctor discovers what is happening on Earth, he also finds his old enemy, Davros, creator's of the Daleks, is behind this all.

The Doctor breaks communication after learning how Davros survived the Time War and how he created these new Daleks from his own flesh and blood. The TARDIS lands on Earth so he can reunite with his friends. Rose and Jack teleport to the Doctor's location, with Rose arriving first. They start to run to meet each other, but a lone Dalek manages to shoot the Doctor before Jack teleports in and destroys it. Rose, Jack, and Donna race the Doctor back to the TARDIS, but both Jack and Rose recognize the signs that the Doctor is about to regenerate. The episode ends in a cliffhanger as the Doctor's body begins to regenerate, while Gwen, Ianto, and Sarah Jane are facing Daleks bent on exterminating them.


In his swan song as show runner, RTD has written the final three (and probably next week's season ender, making that 4) episodes. Now, while he's proven through the first three seasons to write uneven stories, he seems to have left his best for last. The Stolen Planet brings the revived series full circle, as he ties all the events (and some from TOS) together. It's packed and some roles -like Rose - get shoved away a bit, but it is one the best of the season.

This episode is also the first fully-fledged crossover betweenDoctor Who and its spin-off series Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures with Gwen Cooper, Ianto Jones, Luke Smith and Mr Smith all appearing in the parent program for the first time.

And while Harriet Jones showing he ID does get old, there is a wonderful site gag when she is about to be killed by the Daleks. Apparently even the Daleks are annoyed by it. Then there is the gag with Mr. Smith and Sarah commenting on "theatrics" of his arrival. Pretty funny, if you watched her show.

If indeed the Doctor regenerates in next week's Journey's End, who is the 11th Doctor? Or will RTD pull an old Star Trek: Voyager trick by pushing the magical candy-like reset button? I mean, if only because we all know (maybe) that David Tennant is attached to play the Doctor in this years Christmas special, plus four other specials in 2009 -really, if this is the end of Tennant's run, why skip a year only to return in 2010 with season five?

23 June 2008

Man it was hot

Summer began on Thursday last week, and here in SoCal, it came in like a lion. From Thursday until today, we baked under triple digit heat in the valleys. I spent most of Saturday near the ocean, the first time I've been there since I moved here nearly 3 years ago. The pic above was taken by Adam's mobile phone, and me at the waters edge on Santa Monica beach.

Anyways, we Adam and I hooked up with Michelle and Stephen and headed to Studio City for a movie -King Fu Panda - dinner and long conversation.

But it was hot. After getting out of the movie, you felt the heat of the day. It was like someone had turned on their oven to 500 degrees and left the door open. Waves of heat just poured over you. It was 106 here, but got even hotter in valleys and like 118 in Palm Springs.

Sunday we filmed The Helena Chronicles 1.03, Letter of the Law. It was so fucking hot at the studio, that it made for a very unpleasant day. And it's bound to get worse.

22 June 2008

Doctor Who 4.11: Turn Left (Part One of Three)

With Doctor Who taking a break in 2009 (though four new episode's will be produced and aired in 2009, one airing Christmas this year), it seems the show will go out in a big bang to leave viewers wanting more.

Turn Left marks the second week in a row that show runner Russell Davies has written a taught, well plotted script, the first of the three episode season finale.

While enjoying time on the planet of Shan Shen, which has an ethnic Chinese culture, Donna is offered a free fortune reading. The fortune-teller presses Donna to reveal her past and focuses on a point in her past on modern-day Earth where she was driving to her temporary job at H. C. Clements, despite her mother's wishes to take up a permanent job nearby. As a large beetle climbs onto Donna's back, the teller convinces Donna to change her mind in the past, taking a right at the intersection per her mother's wishes instead of a left.

Thus, we see an alternate version of Donna's life, one far bleaker had she not met and helped the Doctor. Basically, the episode lays out a Dickens style universe were the Doctor died during the Racnoss attack on Earth, as seen in Donna's first episode, The Runaway Bride. From there, the rest of the last two seasons of Who play out differently. Martha Jones and Sarah Jane Smith, along with her companions from The Sarah Jane Adventures ( Luke, Clyde and Maria) were killed during Martha's first adventure, Smith and Jones. We also have mentions of Torchwood and Captain Jack Harkness and, for the first time, mentions of Gwyn and Ianto from that series, who defeat the Sontarans from Posion Sky episode.

Oh, and London was destroyed by the Titanic from Voyage of the Damned.

But through out Donna's alternate universe, one thing is constant: Rose Tyler.

Though Donna never learns her name, Rose knows Donna is the key to all of this, and must convince Donna that history is not right. That the alternate Donna, must die to set the universe, and time itself back to normal.

After everything reverts back, Donna explains all of this Doctor, and tells him two words that Rose spoke to her: Bad Wolf.

Got to hand it to Davies, as he weaves a wonderful, complex story that connects the entire new series, and its two spin-offs (Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures). Once again, Catherine Tate shines as Donna, one of the most compassionate, three-dimensional character created for this, or even the classic, series.

And next week's trailer looks to bring back old companions (Sarah Jane, Martha Jones, Jack Harkness) along with Gywn Cooper and Inato Jones from Torchwood. And Luke from Sarah Jane Adventures and the return of the Daleks.

Plus, it seems, a villan that pops up more than the Master.

19 June 2008

Shelter (2007)

Until the major studios decide to produce a major gay love story, they’ll remain the dominion of the independent circuit. I’ve seen many gay related films -mostly the staple of them, the coming out stories - and have listened to the director/writer/cast commentaries on the DVD’s. One of the many things that comes across is how quickly these films are shot, mostly in three weeks or less. So you hear the director bemoan missed coverage shots, filming in natural light and chasing the sun to complete them; single takes that they wished they could’ve re-done.

Its all about compromise in many of these small budgeted films.

Now most of these stories work, like Eating Out, Beautiful Thing, Edge of Seventeen, Trick, The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green and even to some extent, Another Gay Movie. But to be honest, there are many more that fail to capture the real relationship between the two male leads. It’s about sex, most of the time.

Shelter, written and directed by Jonah Markowitz, does try to correct this and, in my opinion, gives us a truly romantic gay love story without falling into the stereotypes that have befallen other films of this ilk.

Zach (newcomer Trevor Wright) puts his future on hold so that he can work to support his young nephew Cody because his family is fractured, a dead mother, a father who barley survives with some back injury and a sister who seems to make many bad decisions. In his free time, he spends time with his nephew (Jackson Wurth), his friend Gabe (Ross Thomas), his girlfriend Tori (Katie Walder) and riding the waves surfing. When Gabe's older brother Shaun (Brad Rowe) comes back home searching for a cure for writer's block, he and Zach start hanging out, mostly surfing. But their friendship blossoms into love, leaving Zach confused and worried about how people will react. Once the relationship is discovered, Zach is once again put in the position of putting his family first and suffer for it or he must fight for what he wants, as Shaun and Tori want him to do.

What makes this film work is the chemistry between Rowe and Wright. Despite the short, three week shoot, the actors worked well together. On the commentary, writer/director Markowitz mentions he filmed the kisses between the two actors linearly, in hopes of creating a natural flow for Wright’s character of Zach. And while there is sex between the characters, this film is about intimacy and even romance between the two males leads.

Trevor Wright shines as the put-upon young man who seems to be the only adult in his family, even though at times you wonder how much more crap Markowitz will throw Zach’s way. But Wright comes across as believable; a typical young man confused as to his sexuality, his place in the family and what he’ll need to further give up in life to take care of his nephew.

There are also strong performances from Tina Holmes as Zach’s sister, Jeanne. Her character comes across, at times, unappealing. She’s a horrible mother, forcing her younger brother to become a father to her son. Yet, at times, you have sympathy for as well. And Katie Walder is great as Tori, a girl hurt by Zach’s distance even before Shaun’s return, and the only one who realizes sooner than anyone that she knows why.

Among some of the many great scenes in the film comes late, when Gabe visits Zach at his job to talk to him about why he never told him he was gay. Zach tries to change the subject, but Gabe presses him, and only appears to be weired out that Zach is having sex with his older brother. Gabe informs him that nothing changes in their friendship, and I love the fact that here is this straight guy telling his best friend that. It’s a touching scene.

Not a great film, but it sure is a good one. And if more independent films can be made like this, one can hope a major studio will some day produce a grand, epic gay romance without fear of reprisals from conservative groups.

16 June 2008

Last Week, Part 4

Everyone comes out when they feel its the right time. And it's really hard to judge them -as if you should, but it is human nature - when it seems that they hide it longer than they should've.

Now, I have only known him for the 2 1/2 years I've worked on the HF Productions -Hidden Frontier, Odyssey and The Helena Chronicles. As noted in part three, after a great day at Universal Studios and dinner at Planet Hollywood, a few of us discovered a co-worker on our production had outed him self on the HF forums.

I kinda pride myself on having good gaydar. I sometimes can even detect really closeted guys. But I got to tell you, I was a bit surprised when he wrote about it. I never suspected for one minute the Woz was gay. Nope. Sorry, did not see that coming.

He had his reasons for not telling his friends at HF, but I pondered the idea that if there was one place Woz could come out, it was at HF. Most of the crew is gay, along with a few actors on Odyssey and Helena Chronicles.

And while I'm curious at what made him finally say those words, I know its none of my buisness. He's a great person, and I like him. He's smart as a whip, and loves all the straight guy stuff like explosions and movies that make little sense, script wise.

And shock of all shock, he's never seen Steel Magnolias. Oh well, that's another stereotype shot to hell.

So, anyways, got home last Monday from Universal and went online to forums to read what Woz had said. I posted a supporting comment and finally crawled into bed at about 1am. Slept pretty good, and was up at 6 to get ready to go to Disneyland.

At first, it was awkward. Woz was there, and I certainly did not want to make a big deal out of it, but you could tell ow -but some noticed at Universal - that Woz was much more relaxed, as if announcing his gay thing, he had lifted a burden. Which, in a way, he did. Most gay men who do this, usually feel better; the weight of the world type crap, you know.

It was a fun day at Disneyland. There was a feel things that went wrong -tons of standing deciding what ride we were going to do next - and a few high school style issues of who was the cool kids, but overall an entertaining day.

I like Disneyland, and should get a year-round tickets, as I'm less than half-hour away from the place.

So, that was June 3 through the 10th. 7 days of little sleep, some surprises and a week I'll never forget. We finished filming Operation Beta Sheild, started work on Star Trek: Federation One and a few people started some relationships.

Gotta love living here.

15 June 2008

Last Week, Part 3

The behind of us as we started out at Universal
Star Trek: Intrepid leads Nick Cook and his lovely wife Lucy
Andrew and boy stud Will

With Alex stashed in the spare bedroom, I went to bed about 10:30 on Sunday. I told Alex that due to the typical LA traffic, we needed to get up early for the first of two Away Missions. So while it was nice to sleep in my own bed, and I was tired, I still slept fitfully. I was up at 6, but layed in bed until I heard Alex get up and shower.

Scheduled to met the cast and crew from HF and the fans who stayed after the convention at 9am at Universal City Walk, Alex and I got under way a little before 8 am. We ran into some traffic, but we got going in the carpool lane and made pretty good time on the 210 to the 134.

Alex and I eventually got there and met up with Rick. And while it took more than a half-hour plus to get all of us together, we ventured into Universal Studios for a fun day. It had been a way since I was last there, but I didn't mind. We went on the new Simpsons ride, which I liked a lot, though I was not impressed with other rides like Shrek 4D. The studio tour is always interesting and going when all the shows are in hiatus means we see more. They took us by the fire damaged New York Street area, though you could see very little of it, as a fence with green mesh hid most of it.

We traveled down the european streets and the block built for War of the Worlds -the scene where a plane crashes into a suburban block. We traveled done Wisteria Lane, which has been used for many streets in TV history.

Anyways, the day was a blast and as the park began to close at 7 we all headed over to Planet Hollywood for dinner. I called Stephen before he left and he came over to join us for dinner as well (along with Rob and Beo and Heather with baby Jayden).

Things were fine, and it was getting late, so as we headed out, I ran into Rob, Beo, Stephen and Heather talking about something. It turned out, after Stephen pulled it up on his i Phone, one of our crew members had outed himself on the boards. A guy everyone assumed was straight.

So, after that bomb shell, I tried to fin my car. Yep, I lost my car in the car park of Universal Studios. After almost an hour, I found it where I left it, got home and quickly fired up the computer to discover why this crew member had outed himself.

It was surprising, yet not. Tomorrow at Disneyland, I thought, was going to prove interesting.

And sleep that night, would prove to be elusive as the previous night.

To be concluded....

Straight Boys?

Candy Everybody Wants

Book: The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon

Remember in the old Star Trek episode City on the Edge of Forever? Kirk saves Edith Keeler and some how Earth’s timeline is altered. It’s not until Spock discovers that Edith was a sort of lynch pin in time, that she had to die so Earth could go on its normal way. In The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, the Pulitzer-winning author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, the always entertaining Michael Chabon, takes a real historical idea - a-pie-in-the-sky proposal in 1940 to open up the Alaska Territory to European Jews.

While Congress killed the real plan and in the book, a character named Anthony Dimond is the divergence point, Chabon takes on the classic What if scenario and spins a wonderful tale of alternate Jewish history. Added on is a glorious, hilarious Raymond Chandler style detective story.

We are introduced to Meyer Landsman, an alcoholic homicide detective with the Sitka police department, examining the murder of a man named Emmanuel Lasker in the Zamenhof, a fleabag hotel where Landsman also happens to live. Landsman notes how professional the murder looks; the man was shot in the back of the head execution-style, the gunshot silenced by a pillow. Landsman notices syringes, packets of heroin, an open cardboard chess board in mid-game, and a beat-up copy of Siegbert Tarrasch’s book, Three Hundred Chess Games.

From there the novel unfolds like a flower, as Meyer navigates his way through red herrings and his failed marriage with fellow officer Bina, who is no his superior. Chabon takes us down this brilliant alternate history filled with appealing -and not so appealing -characters right out of the golden age of film noir.

A triumph.

Doctor Who 4.10 Midnight

There are some who love Midnight, the tenth episode of Doctor Who’s fourth season, and there are others who’ll hate it. It is a bottle episode, taking place, more or less, on one set. Russell T Davis wrote the story, and while his writing can be uneven, he does create good ideas. But the ideas here, are lifted from The Twilight Zone.

The Doctor and Donna have stopped off for a little R&R. Donna wants to stay and get a suntan, while the Doctor wants to explore the planet. There's a lot of scene-setting about how dangerous it is to go out onto the airless, highly irradiated surface... so we know that something is going to happen, and that the cliched group of people are going to trapped together.

Midnight is not bad, and I’m assuming there is a message in there some place, but the passengers are so badly drawn, you really don’t get to know them, to feel anything for them. Of course, as a guest star on any show, you generally don’t get much into their history, but there are actors who can take these small parts and create someone memorable.

Lesley Sharp as the lonely, just split from her girlfriend, is the only person who shines in this story, as she takes on what was probably the toughest part of the story.

There are attempts to explore some of the Doctor’s fascination with humans, and the potential problems that arise when the humans are cornered, but most of that is lost in endless shouting. Still, as always, David Tennant shines. He proves you can take a somewhat muddled script and still come across as fascinating.

Rose makes another cameo, and in next week’s trailer we see her fully again, as the three-part season finale begins.

14 June 2008

Last Week, Part 2

Excelsior Ball III began on Friday, around 1 pm. Due to the lack of sleep and just having no energy, I did not get to the Raddison until after 4. There I saw some fans who were at the Studio and a few who came on Friday.

Conventions on a whole no longer interest me. I could go into a long, and very winded discussion as to why, but then I would probably piss off a lot of sci fi guys and girls. Just to say, that some of the fans are a bit clingy.

Dinner was at Subway down the street from the hotel, where me, Tobey, Michael, Ryan, Will, Richard, Alex, Andrew, Sharon, and Adam all enjoyed our meal. We headed back to the hotel for some episodes of HF and ODY, and then, eventually, bed.

Two things happened that night, one which I missed, and another I whish I missed. It seems, apparently, later on in the evening a group of people -fans and some cast - got around the piano in the lobby of the hotel and sang half the night away.

Not knowing of this, I went to bed and tried to sleep. Tried, being the word in only the vaguest sense. Alex, whom I shared a room with, snore like he was cutting half the forest in upper Washington state. And since I still have problems sleeping outside of my own bed, I could not get to sleep. I was so tired, yet even with ear plugs, Alex's noise kept me awake most of the night. Sleep came, but only in fits, at around 4 am. I was then up at 7.

So, Saturday came early for me. Stephen and I ventured out to I Hop for breakfast. I enjoy being with Stephen, and we seem to have many things in common. But while I would not mind spending a whole lot more time with him, he seems not to see me in that way.

So, God laughs at me again. I find a guy I'm willing to be open with, who is actually only 5 years younger than me, and he seems only midly interested. Then agian, maybe I'm pushy.

Anywho, Saturday's events went with out a hitch. And after a long day, we all went to Cozeymel's for "dinner with the stars." It was a nice, fun dinner with the fans and cast and crew.

We got back to the hotel at a little after 10, where people went various places. Some headed back to the piano and eventually -with more people - we sang more showtunes and gospel tunes while Beo or Andrew played the piano.

About an hour or so into the singing, a really handsome guy came out of the elevator and saw us. He smiled at the group and I sensed he wanted to join in, but he vanished a few minutes later. Only to turn up a few minutes later with a bottle of vodka.

It turns out this handsome, hot guy was named David, from New Zealand. He was an army guy passing through the LA area on his way to the UK. He saw us having fun and he wanted to join in the games. The vodka he poured around was awful, some kiwi stuff. But, oddly, you could not stop drinking it.

The party in the lobby went on until I could no longer stand up -not from drink, but just tired. Alex had gone up to bed already, and Jason (for member of the USS Angeles series and Hidden Frontier's predecessor) was sleeping on the floor of our hotel room.

As we got ready for bed, Jason and I got a talking about Jason's relationships. He seems to have broken up with his last two boyfriends mainly because he said he felt trust was lost. He was unclear on what that meant, but I gather from his talking that Jason thinks he needs to be successful in life - a career, money and all those things that go with it - before he can really settle down. It's like he wants to be the traditional husband, but in the gay way.

We talked on and on for about two hours, before I realized it was 20 minutes to 4. Sleep was not going to come easily for me again, and I must've only gotten something close to two hours before I got up at 8:15 to shower and grab a bite to eat over at Subway.

The final day of EBIII was slow, as most people -both cast and crew - did not get going until after 12 pm. The convention wrapped at 5 with a heartfelt speech from Rob (who hates getting up in front of people) and dedication plaque Jonathan had made up for Federation One - the next spin-off from Hidden Frontier.

It was there, I learned two things. My name was included on the plaque and Rob had shown the opening credits to Fed One. Apparently, my name is in the opening cast list. I knew I was playing Selek, the Vulcan Admiral, but I did not know it was going to be part of the cast. I thought it was just a "guest star" role.

So, EBIII came to a close. But the week was not over, and as I headed home with Alex (who was to stay over two-nights at my house), I pondered the Away Missions planned for Monday and Tuesday. I also wondered if I was going to get any sleep.

Can we say no way?

To be continued....

13 June 2008

Tila Tequila

Reality twit, and all around reason to have your head examined if you watch this shit, Tila Tequila is taking credit for the legalization of gay marriages here in California.

"It is because of me. I definitely think my show has helped the movement. Before it came out, everyone was still a little apprehensive about it. Then they realized, ‘Wow, everyone is really into this stuff, and it is fine.’ The next thing you know, gay marriage is legal."

Yeah, I got nothing else to say about this.

Well, maybe...who the hell is she and why does anyone care about this train wreck of a person?

Last Week, part 1

On June 3rd, I began a week's vacation from my real job to work on my non-paying part-time job that, as times, can be a full time job.

After a few months of filming Star Trek: Operation Beta Sheild on various weekends (and occasional weekday) with the current cast from Hidden Frontier, the cast from Scotland's fan created series, Star Trek: Intrepid arrived to film their scenes for the feature-length epsiode.

Nick, Lucy, and Bobo (and Alex, though he was not playing his Intrepid character) filmed on Tuesday and Wednesday. Both were very long days, starting at 9 am and ending on Tuesday just before ten and a little after 11 on Wednesday. Thursday turned out to the longest, with filming on various scenes for OBS and our third spin-off, Federation One.

Becky came down from Seattle to film her scenes as Vindenpawl, the leader on Vrijheid. Becky Woods is a brilliant actress, having played three very important (and different) roles during Hidden Frontier's seven season run. Her return as the beguiling leader of Vrijheid who is thrust into the limelight she likes, is a true test for an actress. The fact that she's returning to the LA area next year fill me with happiness.

Anyways, we finished just before midnight. And I was happy it was over. I was tired. During that 72 hour period, I probably slept about 12 hours. I'm a lite sleeper, and never been one of those people who can sleep anywhere they lay their hat, so I more or less cat slept then any actual deep, sound sleeping.

Plus, during those three days, various fans from around the US came to the studio in preparation for the up coming Excelsior Ball III to be held at the LAX Raddison Hotel on the 6, 7 and 8th of June. Some helped out during the shot, Donald and Ryan both handling slating, while Chris ran tape.

Some just sat around the studio's talking to various members most only know from the weekly chats.

Anywho, I got home at 1:05 am on Thursday/Friday and quicky went to sleep. However, sad as it may seem, I was up at 6am. Don't know why -beyond that being the usual time I would get up if I was working on a Friday - but I could not dfall back to sleep.

So, I got up, and sat in front of the computer, checking email, looking at porn and, you know....

I had zero energy for most of the morning, and by the time the housemate got up to go to his adult porn show in LA, I finally decided I better get my ass in gear to actually go to the EB III convention.

I needed a shower, gas and money.

Oh, and more sleep. But sadly, again, the up coming EB III was not going to be hours filled with sleep.

To be continued...

11 June 2008

Universal Fire

Images I took this past Monday when I visited Universal Studios. Click to embiggem them.

10 June 2008

Well, ain't this a bit of a hoot?

I'll be back tomorrow. Tales to tell to come.

01 June 2008

Fire rages through Universal backlot

A massive fire swept through Universal Studios Hollywood today, destroying The Back to the Future Courthouse, and damaging the clock tower from the same movie and the King Kong Exhibit. The fire also destroyed three blocks of the New York City Street facades and the town used by the CBS series The Ghost Whisperer.

Roughly 40,000 to 50,000 videos and reels were in the video vault, but there are duplicates stored in a different location, said Ron Meyer, NBC Universal president and chief operating officer, so nothing irreplaceable was lost. No actual films prints were lost.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, and no initial damage estimates were given.

In 1990, a fire broke out on a Universal lot. During that event, Santa Ana winds were instrumental in the overwhelming damage done to the New York Street facades. That particular blaze was ruled as arson. The 1990 blaze resulted in more than $50 million in damage and required a major undertaking to rebuild each of the sets.

A History Lesson: First Love

How and when it all began is foggy. I really have no memory of my first ten years, and what I do remember I’m not sure they’re real memories or ones “implanted” by relatives. My dad died in July of 1968. I was 5 ½. His death had a major impact on my life and there was no one to talk to then, no counselors and even my mother’s church seemed unsure what to do, though one priest helped my mom cope; after all she had 4 kids to bring up.

Anyway, four doors down from my mom’s was a kid who would become my best friend. But when and how we met is a mystery to me. I only remember the years after my mom married her second husband. But, to say the least, I’ve known this guy for 35 plus years.

It was an odd relationship, really. I think what drew us together was a strict mother. My mom did not let us kids get away with anything, and neither did his mother. So, we became friends.

There is one thing I need to mention here, something even this late in life, I have a hard time talking about. I was born with something called pectus excavatum -or commonly called funnel chest. My sternum, basically, is depressed in a concave shape (see photo on the side). Again, while this can be fixed today, when I was a kid is was risky, life threatening surgery. My parents were unwilling to have it done. And then, as mentioned, my dad died of lung cancer. This disfigurement created a negative self-image for me (and still does today). I still have an unwillingness to be seen without a shirt while swimming, or even in my house when my roommate is home.

Anyway, this kid knew about that and was the only person who accepted me as “normal”. Of course, I was jealous that he could take his shirt off anytime he wanted. I do remember one time that when we played together he had his shirt off and requested that he put one on. I was just terribly self conscious of this and hated being around someone who could something I could not do: walk around shirtless without other people laughing at me (which I do remember, sadly).

Again, I don’t know when it all began, but our relationship took on different meaning when puberty struck. It became very physical.

During our early teens -he’s six months younger than me - his parents divorced. While his dad stayed in Illinois, he moved with his mom to Colorado. I knew I would miss him, badly, but I also could not tell you why. We sent letters back and forth for about two years, before he returned to Illinois to live with his father. Our friendship resumed, as well as our sexual relationship.

By then, while I knew something was different in me. I could not articulate it yet, but when I was with him, I knew I was safe from ridicule and anything else. We spent as much time as we could together, but because we went to different High Schools, we usually only had weekends. And his dad was always around then.

He also was dating girls by now, something I realize now, pissed me off. But he had a new girlfriend almost every week. None were ever serious. Just after High School, he joined the National Guard. During those four years, we spent very little time with each other, and when we did get together, we did nothing sexual.

But we always fell into the same slot, in the respect that we could be apart for a long time, yet within five minutes, it was like no time had ever passed between us. We had become friends, and I had fallen in love.

In our 20's, we drifted apart. He ended up in Southern California (I forget how) doing and studying sports medicine (while he was never a great athlete, he loved sports like football and basketball). One day, in early 1990, he calls out of the blue and asks me if I want to move to LA and work for a movie theater. Apparently, he had been help a district manager of Long Beach through some recovery and this guy had talked my friend up about the movie theater business.

Of course, I said yes. It was sad in some ways. While I was excited about the prospect of moving to California, the real idea was to see if we could re-start our relationship, at least the physical part, cause I knew that on the friendship level, we would be fine.

So, I packed up my things and came west, young man. But instead of coming to LA, we ended up in the Bay Area (long, and boring story on how that happened). Anyway, as soon as I got there, I knew things were only going to be friendship based. While he and I felt comfortable around each other -like being naked - anything else appeared to be off limits.

Then I began to hate him then. The way he walked, the way he talked and what not. Still, while I knew I was gay, I had not verbalized those words to anyone. In the almost two years I lived in the Bay Area and visited San Francisco many times by myself, I never explored my gay life. Ironic and very sad, indeed.

After about a year working and living together, he became dissatisfied with his job and was dying to get back into sports medicine. He quit and moved back to the Midwest, ending up in Milwaukee. I stayed in California for another 6 months and moved back to Chicago. During that time, I had very little contact with him, and over 3 years passed before I would see him again.

It was I who found him, working at a school on the south side of Chicago. I met him for lunch and we talked. I told him I was open about my sexuality, I remember that look in his eyes, as he flashed back to all those times we fooled around with each other. But, I’ve never told anyone about those times (until now, but his name is safely anonymous).

I even told him that.

Anyway, that day our relationship changed. After lunch, we went back to the school where he worked. It suddenly struck me that here, in this high school boys locker room, where he was kneading out teenage boys muscles and helping them through whatever physical therapy they needed that he could be hiding in plain sight, so to speak.

Could he be a closet case, unwilling to come out due to his job or himself? Was this the perfect job then for a guy so unsure of whom he liked?

But those questions remained in the air, never to be answered. Almost four years went by, before I tried to contact him, explaining in a letter my feelings for him went beyond friendship.

That I loved him.

We talked on the phone, and I could hear the disbelief in his voice. He said that he did not have those same feelings and that, as a matter of fact, he was getting married in a years time. I was not being invited, as he basically told me that he could not risk me acting all “queeny” at the wedding.

I realized then, after some 25 years of knowing me, he really did not know me. I would’ve never made a scene, but he felt he could not take that risk.

It’s now well over 10 years since I last saw or spoke with him. I don’t know if he really married, I don’t know what’s happened to him, really. Before I moved back to California in the summer of 2005, I tried to find him, but I could not find him without paying a ton of money. But, I think he’s still somewhere in Chicago.

Is he gay, or was he gay? Was our sexual play just “normal” things guys do before setting the “proper” course?

I don’t have those answers.

The thing is, I still love him. I love him for many reasons, beyond him treating normal as kid, even with this pectus excavatum. Our relationship was always based on the fact that we never bull shitted each other and that we always could fall into the same old grind, like trains on a track, no matter how much water had passed under so many bridges.

Even if he came through my door today, and he said he was gay and wanted a relationship, I would say yes.

But, to be honest, all I wish now is that we just had a friendship.

Doctor Who 4.8 The Silence in the Library (Part 1 of 2)

Since arriving on Doctor Who as a writer, Steven Moffatt has shown what the new Who can do with a well written script and a lot of atmosphere. He as written 6 of the most popular episodes, including The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances two-parter from season one, the brilliant The Girl in the Fireplace from season two, and last season’s near perfect scare-fest, Blink.

Now he has written the two part Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead and continues his streak as the best writer Who has had since the its halcyon days of the early to mid 1970's.

This may be the reason why Moffatt will become the showrunner when Doctor Who resumes a full season of production in 2009 for broadcast in 2010.

The Doctor and Donna arrive in the 51st century at a planet-sized book repository simply called "The Library", summoned by an anonymous request for help on the Doctor's psychic paper. However, they find it completely devoid of humanoid life, though the Library's computers claim over "a million million lifeforms" exist. A Node, an information drone with a donated human face attached for communication, warns them to count the shadows. As they try to search for answers, they meet a team of explorers, led by archeologist Professor River Song, who have come to ascertain the meaning of the Library's final communication, which states that 4,022 people were saved yet none survived. River Song seems to know the Doctor, has a diary with a cover matching the TARDIS, and even possesses a sonic screwdriver. She will only admit that she will know him in his relative future, refusing to admit more for fear of "spoilers". Donna asks Prof. Song if the professor recognizes her name from the Doctor's future, but Prof. Song stays silent on the subject. The Doctor organizes the team to make sure the area is well lit as he explains that the shadows are occupied by the Vashta Nerada, microscopic carnivorous creatures that use shadows to hunt and latch onto their prey.

There is plenty of creepiness here, especially when the computer Node tells the Doctor and Donna to run in a matter-of-fact voice. And while libraries are not scary, at least ones I’ve been in, the show goes out of their way to make all of it creepy, with motes of darkness that apparently hide the Vashta Nerada.

For fans of the 1990's New Adventure novels (between 1989 and the shows return in 2005, novels were published called The New Adventures, featuring, mostly, the Seventh Doctor and Ace. When Ace was written out of the books, a new character was introduced, called Bernice Summerfield), the role Alex Kingston’s plays (who played Elizabeth Corday on ER for seven seasons) resembles Bernice in many ways.

The character, River Song, seems to the know the Doctor from some future timeline. Already we’ve been hinted, in the episode The Planet of the Ood, that the Doctor’s song is ending. And while series star David Tennant will be with the Doctor Who through its 3 specials scheduled to air in place of season five in 2009, no one knows if he’ll stay when the actual season five airs in 2010.

While the Ood episode hinted at the death of the Tenth Doctor, Song knowing him in some future timeline hints at the possibility that Tennant will continue on.