Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Moment of Zen

This picture was taken in Chicago in 1986 when they attempted to make the Guinness World record books for most balloons released at once. And while it is not the most environmentally friendly...

fuck it is beautiful 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Inspiration Monday

I saw this painting hanging over our table during brunch on our honeymoon trip. It's lighter and brighter than it looks in this picture and reminded me how much art has not been a part of my life recently. One of the things I took from the tripis how   much actual art matters to me; almost as much as books and music. Most of my pictures from the trip were of paintings and statues and murals and fountains--it's inspiring me to look into getting back into those activities during my real life and not just while out of town.

Also reminded me whether or not I should do NaNoWriMo-a decision must be made.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Book Whore: The Days of Anna Madrigal

The Days of Anna Madrigal by Armistead Maupin

Okay--it's hard to do a book review on someone who's work is so spoilery and plot twisty as the works of Maupin--and I really wouldn't want to ruin the final book in the 'Tales Of The City' series but I also dont feel like I should give a pass on this one because it really needs to be called out.

WTF did the fans do to you Maupin?

So the book is primarily told in  flashback about the early life of Anna Madrigal--things that we have learned throughout the series are expanded on and explored like where her name came from, her relationship with Mother Mucca as well as something that is very unique... Maupin uses the story to try and explain how if feels to be transgender, what the difference is between transgender and gay, and he does a really good job to his credit.

But he also spends a lot of time in this book attempting to wrap up all the other characters as well: not just his favorites like Brian and Michael but also the new characters like Shawna and Jake as well as a surprising return of a previous character. Once again, I have no complaints about these choices and was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed some of the decisions.

And there are calls backs to previous characters who have long passed--some well loved and some shortly woven through out the story. Which makes sense in the final book in a series, to try and respect the fans, the characters and give both a long and touching good-bye.

And then there is the rest of the book and where the problem lies:

Mary Ann Singleton--as well as Dede and D'or.

Mary Ann is the main character of the series from the first paragraph--we survive a lot with her through these books... Then Maupin decided at some point in the series that he didnt like the character anymore so he basically made her into a horrible person to justify getting rid of her and her story. It was something that didnt ring true with the fans and he later addressed with the previous book--creating a great story for her, redeeming her into the character we knew but also spending the time to bridge the gap between the two different personas. It was the last book that made fans happy and marked a return to his greatest skill and most loved characters.

And she is not remotely in this book--outside of two scenes--which only read as something done to placate the audience than any desire to revisit or finish off the character. Now that only feels like a slight to the fan base--but he then finishes the job by making some really terrible and odd digs at the character in the story through other characters.

But at least she gets some space in the book--unlike Dede and D'or who both get made fun and insulted by the writing without ever even getting a final appearance in the story. Now before you think this is some kind of Misery/disgruntled fan thing, it is actually symbolic of a larger problem that Maupin seems to have had as the series progressed.

He doesnt seem to like his female characters very much--and slowly insults or tears down each of them as the series progressed. There are many examples of this throughout the story: the illogical demonizing of Mary Ann, the dismissal of Mona and her terrible reappearance before her final exit, the handing of Dede as a character and the exclusion of her as a main character, the fact the all the females are at some point dropped out of the novels for odd reasons then are brought back after the fans cried foul. And it takes away from the magic of the series to see them made to be flakes, snobs, bitches or harpies.

I actually wish the series had ended after book three.

It is just a shame that something so special and such a huge part of gay literature, San Francisco lore and the world of serial novelization has been so broken down and died such an ungraceful death.

So is the last book worth reading? If you are into transgender issues then most certainly--if you are into Anna alone as a character then very much so--if you want solid endings for Brian and Michael then that too... But for this reader the need to attack half of the series characters just feels so odd and unneeded--and makes me sad that Maupin felt forced to write about things he didnt want to, He should have just done another different series.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thursday Truths

You Save The Last Piece of Chocolate.

I haven't felt much like writing--not because I don't miss it or need it but because I have been tired and busy and I had to put something away for awhile. Between some changes in my job--good changes and learning new skills that can be used elsewhere when I am ready to go--and my first wedding anniversary coming up... I just felt like I need to focus on those things and get then done right.

The thing is, I think some times when I do take a break from here that it feels like it is not important to me--when what I have learned over time is that this is something I dont want to do half assed. I dont do it for viewers or numbers or any other things; I do it cause I love to put my feelings down to clarify them for myself, to try and share things I love with people who care enough to wait for me to put them out there. I hold off on coming here until I can do it properly--it's like waiting until I finish all my chores and then I get my dessert.

I don't know if that makes any sense--I guess it only matters that I am back here cause I have the time and heart and love to give. It can best be summed as such:

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Today's Jam

Say Say Say by Michael Jackson and Paul McCarthy

So I have been able to write recently--trying to wrap up a season of my show as we're filming a new one AKA hell on earth... And the working out, non-smoking and general life have been making me more tired than usual... But things are perking up--trips to be had, shows to be locked and a general positive vibe about life...

And when I'm finishing up notes on a season I can rock out at my desk... And until I do that I always forget I have the weirdest itunes collection ever--which leads to happy discoveries like this!

What a classic--I miss videos

Monday, September 29, 2014

Inspiration Monday

Phil Donahue

So growing up in the 80s with divorced parents--I spent a lot of time with the TV... It's where I came to love soap operas (RIP Santa Barbara), informericals and "Inside Addition" AKA Bill O'Reilly's trash TV show before his even worst TV show airing now.

But the other thing I watched a lot of was talk shows--Ricki Lake, early Oprah Winfrey, Sarah Jessie Raphael--shows about extreme subjects and celebrity self-promotion. It is where I first saw Joan Collins and feel in love, where I saw families crazier than my own and how my weight struggle wasn't just something I was fighting. And while it wasn't always the best way to learn things--it was an unsentimental education of sorts.

And then there was Donahue--Phil Donahue is the father of the daytime talker in it's purest form. He would debate the issues of the day--whether it was child abuse in the Catholic church, opposing the first Gulf War or the basic issues that came between liberals and conservatives. He had many famous guests on his show--Ralph Nader was a constant guest, Ayn Rand shared her life philosophy as well as various actors, novelists and singers from all over the spectrum. The show was considered the first national platform for hip hop for the majority of mainstream America.

It's hard to pin down one place where Donahue took us to that wasn't something to discuss--whether it was Marilyn Mason in the 90s talking about goth rock, meeting Ryan White and learning about his struggle as a child who contracted AIDS in a era of ignorance, from political figures such as Louis Farrakhan to Bill Clinton, to racism and Holocaust deniers. His show was heartfelt in it's need to understand the world, to share and education through bringing people together. I honestly believe I learned more about the world, different points of view and the importance of interpersonal communication through his show than anywhere else. It's a shame that is show went off the air before his time and he is someone who is missed in this world of tabloid journalism.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thursday Truths

Smoke Gets Out of Your Eyes

As of today it has been two weeks since I started the long process of quitting smoking--I know I have tried this before but this time I decided that I needed more help than a patch and half-assed motivation. Since I finally had health insurance, I decided to go the prescription route which scared me at first because of all the possible side effects--and I'm not going to say it has been easy.

It Was This Or Committing Murder At My Office

When they tell you a drug can mess with your emotions-make you more aggressive, sad, or just plain off--they are not screwing around. I spent the first few days on my medication feeling crazy, but still knowing I wasn't crazy, which is the only thing that kept me from going crazy. I guessed that as long as I knew it was the drugs then the over-the-top, melodramatic emotions, and overly pronounced sighs were fine. And for the most part people couldn't even tell the difference even as I kept reminding myself that this wasn't really me but the drugs talking inside of my brain.

It's All An Illusion--So I Got This

Once I got my mood swings in check--seriously is this what PMS is like?--I started to spend a portion of my time meditating and repeating my mantra of "I am a non-smoker, I am a non-smoker". I'm not sure if it is working though I have kind of forgotten about cigarettes which is a good thing because that has always been the hardest thing. But I'm not going to say it has been easy, part of this all revolves around self examination--which I have never really struggled with--but also with self esteem and self worth which are really my worst problem areas but I seem to be doing well--so far.

And I have--because I am sadistic--been spending time exposing myself to my social and emotion triggers when it comes to smoking. I still talk with my co-workers Kenny and Jenna if they are outside smoking post coffee, I have been watching early seasons of "Sex And The City" with all the "Carrie smokes" as well as heading to places where I always smoked like bar patios and parking lots. I hoping that by doing all of this I can train myself to associate these people, places and things with other ideas and thoughts other than cigarettes. It seems the key with successful  quitting is rebranding yourself, reshuffling your brain and reorganizing your actions--all things I feel like I can do with time and a full court press,

I mean if Carrie Bradshaw can quit then so can I--cause that bitch was crazy 

I think--besides you know, quitting--the best thing I can do in this situation is to try and learn some patience, work on how I handle stress and social anxiety, and perhaps put away my need for an escape crutch. I also have to learn to say I'm sorry to the people who are being effected by this change--my moods are sharper and sometimes more cutting which I am not proud of. But if I can do this then it will be something to be truly proud of--a commitment to not only my self but all of those who love me and want to keep me around. I have to realize that is more important than anything else--which is the hardest lesson of all.