the orange revelations of cosmic ikahana

a world view of a corner


I've always been more comfortable being an observer than being observed. I've spent most of my adult life being some form or other of an audience member. This isn't to suggest I'm reserved - I can be very out-going, although I find almost all socializing exhausting, even when it is a positive experience. I need a lot of down time.

It is interesting now that I've become the one that puts myself out there to be observed. I find it really rewarding, but at the same time it is, just like the socializing above, exhausting. I guess everything exhausts me. Life exhausts me.

It also fuels me and energizes me - I just need that resting period.

I need that time to observe.

The Gay Uncle Time
I've become a bit of a broken record I'm afraid. Since starting comedy a few years ago, my life has really gone down some unexpected twists and turns, but it is all I seem to ever talk about. I'm endlessly self-promoting - so much that I get tired of hearing myself.

I fell into hosting a show really early on after the Drag Queen Brunch I used to open for closed. I revamped it and made it an evening variety show - Comedy, Drag, Sideshow, Burlesque, Music, whatever I could get. Last year I stopped doing it so I could focus on just doing comedy. Most folks get up on stage far more often than I do - Open Mics and shows. I started late when I have a full time job, a family, a home, pets and a need to get a lot of rest and I don't have a lot of energy. I wasn't even sure I was going to do any comedy, then I get a monthly gig right off the bat and that kept me going in the beginning. Then I was eager to improve and see what I could do. I think I've improved. I still have a long way to go (IF I stick to it) but I seem to be moving forward.

I brought back my show for a benefit a few months ago, to raise money for a cat shelter. I had SO much fun. Organizing it (the producing side) was exhausting, just as I remembered. But hosting and watching the show - glorious. I decided I would start doing it quarterly. Around the same time I started to get offered some other really interesting (one time) gigs. I'm all about getting interesting gigs. Until the end of the year, this will be the busiest I've been doing shows.

And then I was approached about doing a new monthly show - this was within 24 hours of a really horrible day when I had decided I was going to quit doing comedy and pull out of all the shows. I have those days. I haven't done it yet. So I have a day like that and 24 hours later I'm going to start doing a second show. The first one will be in September. I don't really think I've been this excited about doing a show since I started. It is an idea I had tossing around in my head for a few months - thinking it would be more of a storytelling or sketch type thing I would just do at a few shows when I could. Now, it is part of my new show. Monthly. I plan on combining storytelling with some art work (I haven't really done art work in decades, although that is what I studied in school) and focusing on the things in life that I love dearly and that separate me from so many young folks. I'm now at the age when I get "I don't know who that is?" or "Never heard of that?" half the time I try to engage with someone, and I find myself (quietly, to myself) thinking "They don't know what they missed" when I hear young folks talk about the things that excite them. I'm old. I'm going to celebrate it. I'm turning it into a show.

It is a really small, very funky and intimate place to have shows - in a basement of a bar downtown. The perfect place to try something new.

I'll have folks joining me to do stand-up and storytelling and a few other things. They won't all stick to the "theme", but that's okay. I'll be doing little interviews with them after their sets and I'll be the common thread.

Yesterday the postcards I ordered (I used one of those "design them yourself" sites) came in the mail. I love 'em.


The back of the card.

Creek Time
I spend as much time as possible, this time of year, sitting out by the creek that runs in front of our house. We have a bench, a chair and a tree stump we use as a table. Our home is fairly modest by most standards, but we feel so fortunate to have the running water to sit by whenever we want. It is surrounded by short concrete walls and growing green things. Pure serenity.

Especially on Sundays when the New York Times comes to our doorstep, I go outside with the paper, a stack of books, a cup of coffee, my phone and and my iPod. I don't like using the phone for music - I use it for photographs. I don't always listen to music, the water sounds are usually enough, but sometimes I add it on top - often Jazz like Coltrane or something folkie and earthy or sometimes ambient music or whatever feels right. I almost always have three to six or sometimes more books going at any given time. I also have a book I use to write in jokes or ideas for when I perform. That is usually by my side as well.

My life certainly has had 'phases' for lack of a better word that I can think back on and remember certain sights and sounds and places and people. If there are chapters after this phase, I am certain my fondest memories will be of the creek and my time spent outside near it, blissfully.

Let's Do It Again
Looks like it has been two years - TWO YEARS - since I last visited here. Lately there have been a number of Facebook posts mourning the loss (ours, it didn't actually happen since it is still here) of Live Journal. Really, there hasn't been anything to replace the Glory Days when I used to post here (using just "ikahana" as my user name).

A lot has changed since my first time here and I think just as much has changed in the last two years. The world is speeding up.

I like the social part of social networking - getting to know other folks, sharing interests and exploring new ones, reading about the day to day lives of people on the other side of the planet or on the other side of town.

I'm going to try this again. I'm going to dust off another blog I have as well. I'll still use the evil twin sisters of Facebook and Twitter, but I'm going to try to limit those for specific uses. Let's try this again. Wish me luck.

Like the song says - Everything Old Is New Again
Antique Selfie

State of the Union
Man, I don't know if relationships are natural. I've been in them almost all of my adult life. Certainly I'm drawn to them in some way. But I don't know that they are the way we are supposed to live.

I'm trying to stay focused on life, but the day to day stuff is exhausting enough. Get up, shower, get to work, work, get home, take care of the animals, do dishes, laundry, eat, get ready for bed. Where is the time to draw and write? How do I get my act together to go out and try to get some Open Mics? What happens to sad, old dogs who are left alone?

I am still certain that 2012 is going to be the year of BIG and POSITIVE changes. I think there will be a few unexpected surprises in there too. But I just want to get this whole time thing figured out. Get time back. My time.

Hey Live Journal People! I'm back! I guess if you are reading this you figured that out. Sorry for stating the obvious. I'm good at that.

Life is crazy, but for the most part good. Had a little surgery to wrap up the year - nothing serious, just another hernia dealio. Kept me indoors in a recliner with vicodin and time to think way too much. Pretty much healed up now. I think I have another couple of weeks before I can lift more than 10 pounds, so I'm looking for a muscular, dark-haired, tattooed, barely dressed "helper" to help out. ;-)

I'm busting ass trying to get the comedy thing off the ground. Got a gig opening at the Morning Glory Drag Queen Brunch at the Skylark Cafe in West Seattle. Did a show a couple of days ago and we sold the place OUT! I've been invited back for next month's brunch - so tell everyone you've ever met that Saturday, February 11th at noon they need to be at the Skylark to see Jeffrey Robert and some beautiful Queens entertain you during your pancake time.

Here is the show - PLEASE share and share and share with anyone who might be interested.

And I'm available for more work!

Trying to get the writing and artwork off the ground too. This is going to be MY YEAR! I've already made that decision. Just turned 53 and I'm not going to wait for folks to come knock on my door because that just wasn't working out. I'm done waiting for the perfect moment to getting the comedy/writing/art career going. Perfect moment is NOW! I am starting to sound like Oprah, so I should end now before I start giving away cars.

I've been busy. Some of you have heard me mention some of these things elsewhere, so apologies for being redundant. And repeating myself. And saying the same thing twice.

I signed up to take a Stand-Up Comedy class. It is a one week deal taught through the local Experimental College. I've fantasized about doing something like this for decades - just never had the actual nerve to try it. Well, I did. Took the class and a lot of Ativan that week. I've had to do a lot of speaking in front of decent sized groups for some time now, and I rarely get nervous. For some reason, this took me way back to my ultra-anxiety ridden days of being in the front of a room full of people - High School and college days. But I did it. And it was AMAZING. The last class is actually a performance that is put on in one of the local comedy clubs. We sold the place out. I went on last. Easily one of the best HIGHS of my life.

We were told that if we were to continue on after the class, and I wasn't sure if I wanted it to be a one shot or possibly do more, that we would be looking at struggling to get unpaid three minute open mic gigs, that we would be driving three and four hours to find places to perform. That after years of polishing up our stuff, we might land a 15 minute spot in a club that pays fifty bucks. It was a tad soul crushing.

As it turns out, there is a local monthly Drag Queen Brunch held at a restaurant/club a mile down the street from where we live. We went to it the other morning. Long story shortish, I'll be doing a ten minute opening at it starting in January! It will be a small audience - much smaller than the one above. BUT, I get to continue on with the dream. I'm prepared, I think, to bomb. We were told over and over and over again that bombing is just a part of doing Stand-Up. I'll report back when that happens.

I have also been giving Spanish another go. After a lifetime of trying to learn it, and a period in my life where I sort of kind of spoke it, I am back to learning the basics. It is harder than ever, but I've never wanted to learn it more. I have a tutor (from Peru), Rosetta Stone, and a ton of books (my first partner whom I was with for nine years, until his death, was Spanish speaking and taught the language in High School). As it turns out, we are going to be GRANDPARENTS in March! And our grandson - we already know - will be bilingual as is his Mom. Her family is from Mexico.

Our son just signed up to be part of the EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) for the Army Reserves. Terrifying for us, and never in a million years what I thought a son of ours would end up doing, but we are proud of him and think this will be a life-changing experience. It will also get him tons of BadAss Cred from his peers.

Bought a Santa suit too. Thought about renting myself out on craigslist. As it turns out, I'm scheduled for surgery (hernia - second time) on the 22nd, so that will cut right into the PRIME Santa weekend. Oh well. I still plan on participating in Santarchy next weekend - putting on the suit and hitting the bars. Might not help with our endless bills as was the original intent behind getting the suit, but might get a few lap dances from the boys.

Don't give up on me yet - I'll be returning here ASAP. Like, really soon. Life just got distracting.

Until then, a cute picture of Kerouac - our newest family member.

See you real soon!

I've been feeling like I'm barely hanging on. Lots of dramas, changes, stuff - but beyond that is just this feeling of not connecting to the world. Might be my way of checking out when things get crazy, might be age, probably due to cutting back on certain medications, certainly my physical health hasn't helped.

Nothing exciting about listening to a poor me, whining son of a bitch. Can't stand the creatures myself. Don't want to be one.

I'm not all of the time. I've done some creative, fun life affirming things. Been sticking with voice lessons and doing some planning for a few things in the future.

But I'm just exhausted, really. My head hits the pillow and I feel like I'm floating in the universe - alone, confused.

I'll cheer up a bit and get back to life. Not many choices. Don't believe in an afterlife so I'm not going to cash in just yet. But I need to get a grip.

Writer's Block Question
What is something you would never want to change about yourself?

In spite of the fact that I have a list as long as Chile of things I would love to change about myself, it is good to shift the perspective and think of things I like about myself. In fact, just this morning I was lamenting a certain lack of acknowledgment from others about some of my more interesting and unique characteristics. It should be noted that needing acknowledgment from others is something I see as a human trait - not just a quirk of mine, but I wouldn't mind taking it down a notch or two.

I wouldn't want to change the color of my eyes. Physically speaking, it is about the only feature of mine that I'm at peace with. Always wanted to be shorter, to have rich, black hair, to have one of those muscular gymnast bodies and porn star features, and to have perfect teeth and a square nose. Someone didn't read my order form. But my eyes - well, I like having blue eyes and getting compliments on them. I'm okay with having gone bald. I wish I hadn't, but I don't like to fuss in the bathroom (bathrooms are for reading and long baths PERIOD), and I'm glad I just shave the head now and then and don't have to add "product" (a modern word I despise) and comb and curl and wave or whatever one does.

I think I'm pretty damn interesting. In fact, I'm one of the most interesting folks I know. I have a truly wide variety of interests, tastes, moods, and experiences. I like trash TV, Italian neorealism, trees, cactus, nachos, sushi, 70's porn, opera, jazz, blues, tamales, Mexico, hiking, birds, dogs, chickens, coyotes, wolves, experimental music and film and art, Picasso, old advertisements, Boston, Miami, Tucson, gnomes, caves, Bessie Smith, John Cage, history, Scrabble, Jean Genet, politics, socialism, museum cafes, coffee culture, food culture, wrestling, boxing, low riders, documentaries, folk festivals, noises, psychedelic music and art, and about six billion other things that immediately flood my mind. I try NOT to describe myself via what I "don't like" or "am not a fan" of, and I try to say "I guess I haven't given it enough of a try" or "tell me why you find that interesting" or "I'd be opening to experiencing it" more than I say "that isn't my scene" (celery and sex with children and animals being a couple of the exceptions to this).

Yet, still, I'm opinionated and I like that about myself as well. I hope it never comes from just being dismissive but comes from experience and deep thought. I think it does. I like that I have opinions.

I like that I value kindness above money and that I enjoy being around kids and not just adults and that I love animals (yet I'm okay with eating them). I like that I have experienced the gay culture of the 70's and the Seattle culture of the early 90's and that childhood I had in the 60's when things seemed so much simpler and safer and easy. I like that I had a family that exposed me to nature and animals, I liked that I grew up with pets and camping trips.

I like my almost encyclopedic knowledge of music and films, as rusty as it is getting.

I LOVE being gay - love it. Some folks hate it and I feel sorry for them. I wish I was a better artist and I wish I did it more and I wish I made a living at it, but I love that I am one, that I am a creative person and think in creative ways. I love my job and my husband, and son, and nephews and feel very fortunate that they are in my life (most of the time). I like that I love to be alone. I love that I connect with our dogs that I worship.

I think I'm an okay guy. I just wish I had that porn star body, but then I'd be so busy I wouldn't have time to read.


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