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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Aaaah!

Ever since my job ended last week I’ve been lazy, not couch potato lazy but lazy in the “I’ll only do what I want when I want and nothing else” way, which is contrary to how I usually am. Most days I have a “to do” list that sits prominently beside my computer forcing me to do it do it do it now, no matter what “it” is.

But sometimes you just have to say “fuck it,” and that’s what I did.

So what did I do?

I read about past-life regressions, fantasizing that in a previous lifetime I might have been Benjamin Franklin, Dr. Doolittle, Henry VIII, Willy Wonka, Cleopatra, or Lassie.

I jogged 1.2 miles per day, not an inch more or less.

I listened to Joe Cocker, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Patti Smith, and Janis Joplin, with some Jakob Dylan, Savage Garden, Maximo Park, and Leonard Cohen shuffled in between.

I did laundry, both darks and whites, and remembered to clean the lint tray in the dryer.

I went to the gym almost daily to bend and stretch and sweat like a pig.

I went to a friend’s wedding and had a blast. (The curse of the dreaded weddings seems to have passed.)

I ate cupcakes and muffins and chocolate covered pretzels.

I thought about riding my bike, and didn’t.

I cooked real food.

I meditated. (Okay, napped... a lot)

And now I feel like a perfect aaaaah!

I’m refreshed and ready for whatever is next in my so-called life.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Here Comes the Bride

I don’t like weddings. I think they’re overblown, over-rated, and have lost their meaning amidst all the pomp and over-spending and debt that people endure in order to make their wedding day absolutely perfect.

Confession: I get a thrill out of bridezillas. I love watching those reality shows about the out-of-control brides who, in their quest for the fairy tale wedding, become the biggest bitches of all time. They’re funnier than anything at the cineplex.

Why oh why does a bride need a dozen bridesmaids?

Why oh why do people think it’s cute when little children are ring bearers and flower girls?

Why oh why do people insist on having silly pop songs played at their ceremonies? (“Endless Love,” Wind Beneath My Wings,” “I Finally Found Someone,” “We’ve Only Just Begun,” and the list goes on... and on... and on.)

If white symbolizes virginity then are all these brides really virgins? I think not.


Years ago I went to a wedding where the Bride and Groom arrived on a yacht. The guests gathered on the pier as the ship came in. It was like that scene from “Titanic.” I thought it was very funny, though I seemed to be in the minority. The other guests were crying tears of joy.

Their arrival was only the beginning of a wedding to top all weddings. There were two bands, ice sculptures, a cocktail hour with a food buffet that could feed a small nation, a multi-course dinner that can only be described as a food orgy, a dessert extravaganza that satisfied even the fussiest sweet tooth, and gifts for the guests.

My date and I felt like we had been to the carnival. We came home with desserts, a bottle of whiskey (for the men) and a plastic flower arrangement (for the women).

What happened to that happy couple after they vowed “till death do us part”? She desperately wanted to have a baby; he refused. She was the perfect wife, always there to take care of her man. He ended up having numerous “not-so-discreet” affairs (and a child with one of his girlfriends). After years of a miserable marriage she finally came to her senses and divorced the lying cheater. Not a happy ending.

Aah, but their wedding was a hoot.

I wonder what they think about when they’re both home alone on a Saturday night drinking a little too much wine and getting sentimental. Do they look at their wedding pictures, if they still have them, and smile or do they cringe at the cruel joke their wedding turned out to be?

Why am I talking about weddings? I have one to go to this weekend.

I’m hoping this one has a happy ending, and an open bar.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ole Flat Foot Is Jogging

For the past few weeks I’ve been jogging after work. It’s not because I love to jog, but because I’m in a constant battle, a full out war, with gravity. I fear waking up some morning with a huge potbelly and sagging man boobs. The kind of man boobs no loose fitting shirt could possibly hide. The kind of man boobs that people point at and laugh. The kind of man boobs that could breast-feed a small island nation.

Laugh if you want, but it could happen… and to you too.

I’m starting slow, a little over a mile a day, with the hope of increasing to two or three miles in a relatively short period of time.

So if you’re sitting in front of the TV watching the latest reality show and you feel the earth move, don’t fret, it’s only me and my man boobs jogging down the street.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Stolen Generations

Thank goodness for NetFlix. Without it I would certainly never have the opportunity to see some wonderful films that unfortunately passed me by when they were originally released in the theaters.

This weekend I watched “Rabbit-Proof Fence,” from 2002.

I chose this filmed from reading the NetFlix synopsis that says it is based on true events about the Australian aboriginal integration program of the 1930s, referred to today as the stolen generations, and a vague memory of it receiving critical acclaim.

The film opens with the following title cards:

Western Australia 1931

For 100 years the Aboriginal Peoples have resisted the invasion of their lands by white settlers.

Now, a special law, the Aborigines Act, controls their lives in every detail.

Mr. A. O. Neville, the Chief Protector of Aborigines, is the legal guardian of every Aborigine in the State of Western Australia.

He has the power "to remove any half-caste child" from their family, from anywhere within the state.


What follows is the true story of half-caste Molly Craig (beautifully played by Everlyn Sampi; herself a daughter of a half-caste) who’s forcibly taken from her family, along with her younger sister and cousin, and brought to a government camp where children were “mainstreamed” and taught to be servants. The intent of the program is for the “half-castes,” the part white/part aboriginal children, to eventually eliminate the “aboriginal blood” in future generations and to look and act more white.

Molly and her sister and cousin escape and walk the 1,500 miles through the Australian outback to their home and family. It’s an astounding story of strength, determination, and cultural identity. Rabbit-Proof fence refers to the fence built by the government to keep rabbits from invading settlements. It is this fence that Molly used to guide her way back home.

The final scene of the film is the real life Molly Craig, now an elderly woman, walking with a walking stick. It’s a powerful image.

“Rabbit-Proof Fence” is based on the book “Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence” by Doris Pilkington, the daughter of Molly Craig.

The egregious behavior of the Australian government is similar to that of the American government who forced Native Americans to “mainstream” into white culture. The scars of these programs still linger today, and will continue for a long time to come.

Stolen generations indeed.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

JenniferJennyJen

Have you ever met someone who’s so angry at the world they make life miserable for everyone around them?

I have and unfortunately I have to see her everyday at work. Luckily this job ends in two weeks and after that I hopefully will never have to see her sad face or hear her irritating voice ever again.

Before last Friday I never cared for her nor did I trust her, but I was able to tolerate being in the same room with her. But last Friday afternoon she had an office meltdown stomping her rather large flat feet like a child and spewing venom like a rattlesnake that hasn’t had a bite in weeks.

What could have caused this unnecessary outburst? Let me explain…

At the end of a film production a crew list is sent out to everyone on crew. It includes everyone’s name, telephone, and position. I was in charge of this list and worked diligently to get it done. I didn’t know she didn’t want to be on it, nor did I know that her name is not Jennifer (she’s called Jenny or Jen most of the time). So… with all good intentions I added her to the list with the name Jennifer.

I emailed it to the crew and handed a copy to everyone still in the office. Within seconds she came after me wanting to know if it was sent out. I told her it was. That’s when her fangs came out and the drama began. She yelled that her name is not Jennifer but Jenny and that she didn’t want to be on the list. I was baffled by her hysteria. I apologized for writing Jennifer instead of Jenny, but she didn’t want to hear it. Bitch was on a tirade!

She went on and on and then announced that it was her 40th birthday and no one cares and no one did anything for her. She stormed away, packed up her laptop, and left.

(As a little aside, two days earlier it was my birthday and everyone gave me a delicious carrot cake and sang me “Happy Birthday.” Was she jealous?)

If the office staff knew it was her birthday we would have done something, but the fact is we didn’t know.

Over the weekend I tried rationalizing her bad behavior but couldn’t. I apologized for the name mishap and she refused to listen. What else did she want?

Her birthday weekend obviously didn’t go well because on Monday she was still on a rage, still as mean a snake. When I did have to deal with her she immediately started yelling "fuck you" loud enough for everyone to hear. She said it not once, not twice, but many times like a broken record. Someone needs to wash her mouth out with soap and teach her some manners. It’s really quite sad that she lashes out at people without taking a good look in the mirror. Maybe she’s afraid of what she’d see?

Or maybe her therapist needs to adjust her meds?

Insanity walks a very thin wire and I think she’s fallen and can’t get up.

Oh, and one last thing. In the midst of her “Fuck you” rants she informed me that her real name isn’t Jennifer, Jenny, or Jen; it’s Jacqueline. Whatever.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Boise 1955

My theatre streak continued this past weekend with the world premiere of “Boise U.S.A.” at the Matrix Theatre in Los Angeles.

Inspired by true events “Boise U.S.A” is the story of a city’s attempt in 1955 to eliminate homosexuality, a McCarthy era witch-hunt that divided families and community.
The first act opens on a November 1955 morning when the good-living, God-fearing folks of Boise awake to find their pristine community has been tarnished by the arrest of three men for “lewd and lascivious conduct.” What follows is a widespread effort by the homophobic Mayor to rid the town of all deviant men, the homosexuals. His efforts destroy families, instill fear, and create a town-wide near hysteria.

In the second act the prosecution’s case breaks down and the truth comes out. Unfortunately the damage has been done and lives will never be the same. It’s only by his own son’s suicide that the mayor realizes his campaign of hatred needs to end. What’s so sad is that a community rallied around their Mayor and believed him wholeheartedly.

One of the best, and most powerful scenes is when prisoner Joe Moore (wonderfully played by Kris Kamm) is about to be released and his wife (the intense Melissa Kite) visits him to discuss life after prison. He confesses that he does have homosexual feelings and has previously loved in man. She walks out saying she could easily have lived a life together without knowing the truth. That one sentence sums up the 1950s mentality.

Playwright Gene Franklin Smith has created a wonderful piece that is thought provoking and emotional, and challenges us to confront the fears that can provoke us to deny people their right to be who they are.

Director Arturo Castillo’s scene changes are a bit distracting and clunky, and the pacing tends to be slow especially during the first act, but as the tensions in the second act build Castillo gets the most out of the performances and everything comes together nicely for a powerful final scene.

“Boise U.S.A.” is worth the price of the ticket and I do recommend seeing it.