California Blue
Roy Orbison

Welcome to my blog, updated whenever something of interest happens in my life (for the most part). Complete with pictures and video, you're sure to have a great time (although I can't promise you that). Anyway, thanks for visiting!

(pictures expandable by clicking)


The Return To California
March 16, 2007

Wow. I'm back. I'm alive. Praise God. There were days of battles, days of hardships, days of pain ... and then there were days of peace, days of ease, and days of joy and mirth. What a trip. What an adventure.

Oh, BTW, if you don't like my music, feel free to hit stop (thanks for waiting for my permission). California Blue by Roy Orbison has been a longtime favorite of mine (and my dad's), and it was just too perfect to pass up for this entry. And honestly, if you don't like it, you're just plain weird. ;-)

Anyway, all seems to have gone well regarding the surgery. Now is the waiting game. According to the doctor, the nerve should fuse with the vocal cord within 3-4 months. Thankfully, he injected the vocal cord with radiance again, so my voice is a little better than what it was before the surgery. All I know is ... I don't want to go back to a hospital ever again. Don't get me wrong. The nurses were extremely nice, the beds comfortable for the most part ... but it's empty. It isn't home. You can hear people moaning just outside the curtains next to you, playing their irritating music on their IPods (yes, each patient gets their own television and IPod), and you just can't sleep at all.

Had my laughs too, though. I overheard a guy a few curtains down ordering the works ... Spanish rice, chicken, a Pepsi, etc. I was thinking, "That guy's nuts. Who in the world could possibly eat that much while feeling so bad?" Then, about an hour later, I overheard him say, "Nurse, I'm sorry. I threw up." I felt like yelling, "Go figure, buddy!" I didn't think that would make for peace in the room, though. Could potentially start a handicapped riot with people throwing their IVs and using their water bags as grenades and their hospital beds as barricades ... that might have been fun, actually.

Also, when I first got to the hospital and lay down, the nurse came up to me and goes, "I don't trust doctors. You just do what feels good to you." I was like, "Ok." Then, a little later, she told me to visualize being on the beach and feeling the sun and everything, which actually is a very good thing to do, but it then hit me that this gal was likely some kind of new ager. She then really started to freak me out when she looked at me and said, "Are you a musician?" I was shocked. I never consider myself a musician, but I had to tell her that I took lessons for a decade and so forth. I was like, "How did you know?" She just goes, "I could sense it about you." I was freaked. I mean, I was even wearing one of those completely unattractive shower caps, so it's not like she could visibly have like been able to detect something.

I have to confess that immediately after the surgery when I regained consciousness, I literally wanted to die. I was nautious, I couldn't breathe, my chest hurt, my neck hurt, I was sweating and yet extremely cold ... just had to rely on God's grace alone, which I know is something I always should do. He was good, as always, and pulled me through.

Anyway, as I always say, a picture's worth a thousand words, so I'll shut my mouth now and get to them. I've got quite a few here. Enough to keep you bored for a long while.

First, here is the latest craziness from Nathan and I. :-) Now it's up and running, and you can also see the lesser quality version here on YouTube. For best quality, click the bottom link. We originally had in the script a fake explanation for the scar on my neck, but we just totally forgot about it. Oh well. And this is more of an "interview-style" movie, so is a little slower in parts, but it also has its livelier moments. Whatever the case, as always, we had a fun time putting it together, and we hope it brings you a few laughs. :-)

And here we go ...

A video montage of the trip, all to the lovely tunes of Barry Manilow (oh please, Jordan).

All packed and ready to go! I later came to the realization, however, that I probably would need more than just my toothbrush.

Then, again, I came to the sad realization that my guitar would just have to stay.

And what trip would be complete without bringing five wigs along? lol, after going through my luggage, I wonder what type of questions airport security would ask me during my interrogation, and what plausible explanations I could give them. "Honest, I'm just an actor. Here, let me put on this blonde wig and sunglasses and I'll do Austin Crowe for you..."

I had never been to Denver before. All I could think was, "Wow."

Something just wasn't right with that guy behind me.

And something just wasn't right with this guy in black. I mean, what's up with wearing black pants, a black jacket, black sunglasses while inside an airport, all the while sporting sideburns, poofy hair, and a goatee. Although, now that I think about it, this guy's pretty stinking cool.

Home! Well ... what still feels like home, for some crazy reason. Ahh ... California suburbia, complete with cookie-cutter houses sporting tan rooftops, swimming pools, and 20 ft. x 20 ft. spacious backyards.

You have to be pretty smart to know how to really use a smartecarte.

Vintage Orange County, where everyone, and I mean everyone, drives new expensive cars, regardless of whether they can actually afford it.

Hey Jer Tiss, good ol' Mother's Market! Love this place.

The one thing I don't miss about CA.

All righty, here's the first picture from that get-together with my cousins I talked about in my last entry. To the right sits mom, then my aunt Lynn, then David's (the special effects artist's) wife , Devanee, then Lorraine, my aunt's twin sister, and then ... umm ... I don't remember her name. She's not a relative.

My cousin Jonathan's daughter, Annie Sue, shakes her dog's paw. His name's Jack, and he's one of the sweetest, softest dogs I've ever seen ... or felt.

My pretty momma with baby Daniel and Jack.

David (right), Daniel and I chat while watching a UCLA game (they're brothers). Got to talk to David quite a bit about Pirates of the Caribbean III and The Book of Being. He basically worked on the ships you'll see in the distance throughout the film. They're incredibly detailed, despite the fact that you'll only see them from somewhat far away. The deadline is March 30 for them to get it all done. He says they'll make it.

My cousin Steven (third brother out of four) lays alongside Jack. Tell me that dog isn't cute.

Ok, check this out. This is like David's cell phone .. but like it does all this other stuff. Do any of my ENTP techies know exactly what it is? But anyway, we were talking about our film, and he goes, "Oh, I have it in my DVD player at home, and I can access and play it with this." So he pushes a few buttons, and there, on his cell phone, The Book of Being starts to play! What in the world!? I had no idea a person could control their DVD player miles away from home using a cell phone. I am so retro. Oh, by the way, that scene on the screen is from the narration where it's showing the sword of Prince Arnion from the book.

Had the delightful opportunity to visit our old church, Warner Avenue, on Sunday. Here Kyle Stevens and Aaron Orman play a lovely trumpet ensemble of ... I think it was Nearer Still Nearer. So sorry I wasn't able to stay for the rest of the day, guys. I had thrown-up the previous night (I think it was a combination of traveling, eating El Polo Loco, and being nervous about the upcoming surgery), and I spent the rest of the day after church in bed. Thankful I got to see you all for at least a little while.

And here we have the infamous hospital patient just hours after surgery. I had been given a decent amount of Codeine, which lessens the pain, but also makes you feel a little happier, so I was slightly delirious when this picture was taken. "Drinks on me, everyone. Smoke if you got em." ;-) Just moments earlier I received a surprise visit from Mr. Daher, who thoughtfully brought me that soft little dog and the Get Well balloon. Thank you SO much for stopping by. Lifted my spirits.

And here I am back in bed at my uncle's house. No pain killers at this point, and I wasn't feeling too well. Hard to eat, hard to breathe, and just hard to keep my spirits up. The anesthesia may have had something to do with it. Behold the slash across my neck. Let's take a closer look ...

Pretty gruesome, huh? It's wet because of the anti-biotic gel I have on it ... that's not like, you know, Jordan juice or anything (ewww!). Again, I pray that I don't ever have to undergo something like this again. It may be that I'm just a wimp, but it was tough.

My dear fellow INFP grandmother stops by for a visit. She's 88 years old, but is just as lively and vibrant as ever. She exercises every morning by dancing to jazz and the Gaither Brothers. Hey, whatever works!

Off to the Dahers! I walk into Nathan's room to find the noble garments of Asthenes still proudly hanging.

The next morning we sit down to a beautiful breakfast of fresh fruit, turkey bacon, and pancakes on the Daher's lovely patio next to their newly installed running creek there in the background.

The fear of the paparazzi ... the Kyle Shields, Brad Steele glare.

One of many wonderful meals out on the town. Here Mr. Daher holds his cute little granddaughter, Beverly.

Beverly smiles for the camera, held by Abram, her papa (Nathan's brother).

A few leftovers?

Sporting my patented snob smile. I'm so good at it. Sometimes I wonder if it's actually because ... nah.

While at church with the Dahers I again meet up with 88-year old Walter! Such a kind, funny, classy guy. Both he and I are German, and together ignore the Nazi slurs that the Dahers sometimes tease us with. After all, let us not forget such notables as Martin Luther and Dietrich Bonhoffer, amen?

After church, we headed off to Los Angeles to visit the La Brea tar pits. For the 11 or so days while with the Dahers, I often sported that leopard handkerchief-type cloth around my neck to protect it from the sun. On this day we were joking that I looked French (and also something else that I won't mention).

That's one big mammoth.

I was trying to think, if I had a little daughter someday, what I would tell her when she saw a display like this. "Oh no, Suzie, the kitty is just playing tag with that bear ... type ... koala on steroids thing." And no, I'm not partial to Suzie.

Wouldn't want to meet one of these things on an open plain while barefoot wearing a tuxedo and holding a bouquet of flowers dipped in mammoth's blood ... yeah.

Jamesy, Nathan's sister, meditates deeply upon the grandeur of such a magnificent vulture.

Conflicting poses while watching a museum film. I think Nathan was going for the deeply interested look, while I was going for the deeply ... idiotic look.

Just a few of the many wolf skulls that have been found in the pits. That's pretty ... pitiful (oh that's good).

Ok, what deranged archaeologist could possibly find this in the dirt? I mean give me a break. I mean really. I mean c'mon. I've seen a lot of things in my day, but ... I mean somebody help me calm down here.

One of the pits. Pretty nasty stuff. Wouldn't wish it upon my worst enemy (and you know who you are).

Nice smirk, Nate. :-)

Umm ... there was this like new age congo drum group playing in the background, so we're like ... dancing I guess. That's pretty pathetic.

Nathan on the giant sloth. Myself on the giant sloth. We're so cool.

A classy shot of downtown Los Angeles on our way back.

Time for some miniature golf! It's a beautiful day and the world is our oyster, personified by my obnoxious kiss at the camera.

This shot went in for a hole in one. It's a tragedy I didn't get it on video. Fortunately, Nathan got video of one of my hole in ones, and you have the privilege of seeing it on the Back To California video at the top of the page.

I drop the shades to see if it goes in .. which, in all humility, I'm sure it did.

Trying out one of those fun photograph things where they put fake hair on your head. I accidentally selected "woman" instead of "man," so the results weren't too pretty ... literally.

If this doesn't scare you, nothing will.

No, I'm not competitive. Why do you ask?

Scenic San Diego at night.

Movie night! Got our popcorn, our Virgil's cherry cream soda, and the extended version of The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe.

With Nathan's killer projector, who needs a theater? Here Lucy cautiously peers around the lamppost.

"Uhhh ... what are you guys doing?" You'll find out soon enough.