"I am at a loss to conceive how a man should permit himself to write anything that would be truly disgraceful to a woman, or why a woman should be censured for writing anything that would be proper and becoming for a man."

17 February 2015

21 Things I Still Need to Remind Myself of... Even Past Thirty

Life is a learning process. Anyone who doesn't think this, who believes there's some magical age or point you reach where you know everything and have absorbed and retained all the knowledge you're capable of, is certifiable.
However, as you get older, you do tend to think there are certain aspects of life you should know about, that are ingrained in your being, and there are even ones you do know but seem to need reminders of on an annoyingly frequent basis.
These are some of mine...

1. You can just toast/eat half a bagel.

2. Few things will teach you as much about human nature than observing how others treat people in the service industry... and Shakespeare. That man knew people.

3. They stopped making your favorite journal five years ago. Accept it and stop hoarding other notebooks to fill that hole. WRITE. DOODLE. CREATE.

4. You are never going to regret having a pen or pencil with you -- unless it stains your clothes. So make sure you buy sturdy pens and handbags you love.

5. Making food for the week, writing, cleaning, yoga, and goal planning do not make a Lazy Sunday.

6. Lazy is not being present in your own life, and that of your loved ones.

7. Writers write. They also dance, cook, clean, sing, doodle, binge watch shows, play games, and sleep -- to avoid writing. And they live.

8. Unless it's crafted by scumbags or spreading hate/violence, never be ashamed of the music you love. If others judge you harshly on this, blast some goddamn Taylor Swift in their face and Shake It Off.

9. One day, your primary source of income will come from doing something you love. Until then, you do not have to hate your job. If you hate it and it's killing your soul -- quit. The universe will not let you become homeless.
Also, if your coworkers aren't foodies, leave. Leave now.

10. People who are angry often want you to be angry, too. Misery loves company. Avoid temptation, slap on a smile, and laugh when they get angrier that you haven't absorbed their vitriol.

11. Your favorite shows and movies will change over time. So when you get a new fav, immerse yourself in it. Memorize it. Cherish it. And don't be sad when it's time to move on.
This goes for friends, too.

12. Your sexuality and relationship history/goals are an important aspect of yourself. They are not your whole self. If you are being made to think they are, blast some Edith Piaf at those fuckers, drape yourself in a fabulous dressing gown, and float away.

13. Say "fuck." Go ahead. Do it. Did anyone die? Did you get slapped? If the answer to both questions is no, say "fuck" as much as you fucking want.

14. There is nothing better for your body and soul (or more rare), than a great fitting, comfortable pair of cute shoes. Don't be afraid to buy two pairs when you stumble on this miracle.

15. Read more. No matter what you read, or in what format, keep reading. It is never a waste of time. If you give something a chance and don't like it, grab something else. Just read.

16. If a trip to The Huntington won't cure it, a trip to Disneyland will (unless you're trying to cure the measles -- vaccinate, damnit).
A message brought to those of you considering a membership or pass to your favorite places. Just do it. Get one. And don't wait for the 'best time' to go. Just go. Go when you need to, and leave when you're done, and return as much as you can.

17. Keep learning. Cooking, art, music, history, religions, languages, people. Learning any of these doesn't have to cost anything, so find the time.

18. Dishes, laundry, and basic household cleaning are a part of life. Unless you're a billionaire. Employ whatever methods necessary to do these things -- and reward yourself for doing them for as long as you need to.

19. Yoga. Just fucking do it. Don't worry about fat-burning hot yoga, or if you'll ever be able to do inversions, or that you have to modify poses due to injuries. Just let go and practice the damn yoga.

Life Goal: to be Nina Dobrev

20. You made it this long not being someone entirely dependent on caffeine, or alcohol, or cigarettes, or drugs. Keep up that streak.

21. Step away from the screen. Computers, TV, phone, tablet -- whatever. Get up. Don't look at that temptress for at least 15 minutes. Walk around. Stretch. Snack. Make tea. Dance. Sing. Keep your eyes and mind on the tactile, the full body, the present. Breathe deep. Then return to the screen if you must, but always take breaks. Take breaks to live, work, play, cook, eat, drink, be merry, and dance.

09 February 2015

An open letter to Tom Hiddleston, on this, his 34th birthday...

You sir, are a gentleman and a marvel. Granted, I don’t know you personally, but from everything I’ve seen, neither of these terms is at all hyperbolic. There is not an interview, press tour, or red carpet segment I have seen where you are not engaged in the moment, and often prove yourself witty, charming, generous, and intelligent in a span of minutes. These flashes of your personality are snippets of a whole, greater individual that most people will likely never have the chance to know -- to see the moments where you are frustrated, grumpy, exhausted, melancholy, elated, surprised, boisterous, passionate, and the entire spectrum of human emotion coming from the being that is naturally you. However, what you have shown through the glimpses into yourself, there is a spirit there which speaks of a bright, energetic, intellectual optimist with a compassionate nature.
Celebrity culture being what it is today, there is hardly a person who ascends into the ‘A-list’ who is exempt from having cameras shoved in their faces during ordinary, mundane times (often after a long day of work or travel). These cameras can come from paparazzi seeking a paycheck, an eager fan wanting a selfie, a flustered admirer wanting to congratulate you on your success and thank you for your talents in the most verbally obtuse way possible, or any number of other reasons (for crying out loud, Robert Downey Jr. posted an ‘article’ about himself today with the headline “RDJ holds receipt in mouth while carrying three bags” -- because this is information apparently we all need to know, according to the Daily Mail). However, the end message seems to be the same: once you reach a certain level of fame, your life is no longer entirely your own. There’s some unwritten notice some people receive that you are obliged to always be ‘on,’ always be available, cheerful, grateful for the attention, capable of satisfying anything from one person’s request to a throng of people queued up, all expecting individual attention. This type of expectation from others can lead to a lot of disappointment on the part of people who think they are owed your attention, and on their terms. It is regretful the number of people who act unkindly, or untoward, in these circumstances when their expectations and/or demands are not met.
We’re not all like that.
Some people out there still have a respect for individual privacy that may lead us to never interacting with our most admired individuals and celebrities. Not because we don’t crave that interaction, but because we don’t believe in forcing it on you -- because we understand your choice to interact with others should be on your terms, not ours.
Should the opportunity ever present itself, few things would be as fulfilling to me as being able to sit down over coffee or a meal and chat with you about any number of subjects (admittedly, there’d probably be a fair amount of blathering about Loki and Shakespeare). Much like the proverbial ‘if you could have dinner with any person, living or dead’ question, anything more than this encounter would be icing on an exceptionally decadent cake. Even this I recognize as a pipe dream, despite my personal connections and career aspirations, because the universe doesn’t always rotate us in the same spheres as those we most admire.
Thus, it seemed appropriate to give a little shout out of my appreciation, and rather than just a tweet or a fan letter, to just jot down a little blog -- it’s just my style.
My personal hope is that you continue creating quality work that you love, embracing the better aspects that the life you have made for yourself offers, and understand (as I’m sure you do) that not everyone is watching and paying attention to you because you’re an incredibly attractive man who presents an openness and charm generally lacking in most of today’s celebrities. Your engaging, genuine charm is one facet of a fascinating individual, and hopefully one that you’ll continue to share, when it’s appropriate for you.

Also, have a fantastic birthday!

It's a gif-world, and we're all just living in it. I couldn't help myself.

PS -- I never mentioned it above, but thank you for sharing your incredible talent with the world, and for taking all the chances necessary to dive into the modern world of acting and filmmaking. There wouldn’t be such a broad swath of opportunities to get glimpses into your life if it weren’t for your drive to succeed and some damn fine acting.

03 February 2015

Spitballed Shower Ideas -- Iron Man Edition

I don’t pretend to be a comics expert. Honestly, my qualifier for such a term to bestow on anyone, with any subject, would put most ‘experts’ into the ‘I guess I know some stuff’ category. I’m definitely a novice with comics, particularly with immersing myself in the world. Too many alternate universes and reboots and timelines to keep track of, and really only a handful of characters I’ve found genuinely intriguing for more than an arc or two.
** Deadpool being a notable exception. Every damn thing I’ve read with him I love. I love freaking everything about that warped little psycho mercenary. **

Yet I do like that comics reinvent themselves to change with the times. My own brief reading encounters with the Young Avengers, and second-generation Bat brats, have highlighted some of these changes. These comics brought out more diversity and opened up older characters to a new generation by giving them faces closer to their own in age, looks, and interests (even if none of us will grow to be master sorcerers or the next supreme archer assassin).
Still, some notable longtime heroes are markedly without successors or pupils.
Granted, do you really want a younger version of Logan? Oh, the angst. Let’s not.
However, it occurred to me how odd it is that there’s no real successor yet for Tony Stark and Iron Man. In the age of the millennial, it seems more plausible than ever to have some cocky nineteen year old genius-billionaire-playboy-philanthropist running around. Some kid whose father is a European businessman (from Amsterdam or something) and mother is a push-to-over-achieve Asian woman (Indian or Japanese, possibly). A kid raised on worldwide culture in the age of the internet, who used his not insignificant allowance growing up to fund well-digging and Unicef missions in Africa. Who understands the value of giving back when you’re loaded, but still carries all the arrogance of a spoiled, rich, teenage genius. He blogs about social responsibility and takes selfies with the Jolie-Pitt clan, and funds medical research while absorbing information all the while. He creates and patents new desert irrigation systems, and works with NASA and Russian scientists on the concept of terraforming other planets. He also plays golf and polo, owns an animal sanctuary, and trains falcons.
Yet he’s stuck in permanent brat mode. He’s brilliant, but incredibly arrogant and narcissistic. He secretly admires the Avengers and what they do, but would never admit it because it might finally break the cracks in his logic -- that in order to be successful you have to be ruthless, and in order to be a hero you have to be selfless. He can’t marry the idea of being a genius billionaire and a hero.
Then, at some energy conference or whatever, he meets Tony Stark. He’s too full of himself to see Tony as a role model, but genius recognizes genius. They basically get into a philanthropic pissing contest, as Tony tries to impart on the kid how difficult it is to truly keep fighting the good fight for causes you claim to believe in if you never get your hands dirty -- literally. He challenges the kid to actually go to some of the villages he’s helped, and then to those he hasn’t. To visit hospitals where his research and funds have reached, and then military care centers where they haven’t. To literally walk a mile, or leagues, through areas untouched by technology and modernity as they both know it.
At this last the kid relents, curious and challenging. He’ll do it, if Tony does, too. They’ll organize a trip, on foot, through a section of rural Asia. The first one to cave and ask to find a real city with a nice hotel has to give a million dollars each to Unicef, cancer and AIDS research, a military veterans and family fund, and the space program. Tony grudgingly agrees.
They do make it a few weeks into the journey, learning a lot about each other, and life outside the bustle of the new millennium, and true charity. Of course Tony caves first, and the kid gives him hell for it. But once they’re settled in some swanky hotel in, like, Dubai, the kid admits he almost begged off the whole thing on day two and pledges to give money to the agreed causes as well. He then asks Tony what he plans to do when he can’t be Iron Man anymore. The out of the blue question floors Tony, and he barely has time to answer when he gets an emergency call. He takes the kid with him to Stark Tower and has him sit in on the meeting. Some crisis, need help, blah blah. Once everyone else is out of the room, Tony looks at the kid.
“You really want to know what I’m going to do when I can’t do this anymore?”
Tony takes off his wrist cuff and slaps it on the kid. “Find someone new to do it.”
Tony lets him in the suit for that mission, knowing it should be an easy one, and keeping control of the suit from Stark Tower virtually -- kind of like a driving instructor in a practice car. The kid is still shaky, but shows promise. He comes back wanting more, and Tony says no.
“Not until you’ve had that ego broken a few times, kid. You need to lose, and lose big, as yourself, before you lose in that suit, with that title. Get your heart broken. Go actually dig some of those wells, or build some of those third-world hospitals. Understand what it is you fight for when you put on the suit, what you represent, and what it costs when you fail. I’ll call you back from time to time, check in on you, get you some practice rounds, but you don’t get to be Iron Man until you fuck everything up and rebuild it from the start.”
“Is that really what you did?”
“Yup. And don’t think that one experience of it kept me from doing it again. Even geniuses can be idiots, and the more arrogant you are, the harder your fall will be. Still, sometimes you need to run before you walk, and if your face slams into the ground, you pick yourself up and learn how to fly.”

Wouldn’t that be cool?

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