Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gutting it out.

This evening, on my way out the door to get some more ink for my printer and supplies for my final Journalism 102 project, I stopped to check my mail.

I'm a big fan of the proverbial "snail mail," especially when it's from a friend.  Otherwise, it's just filled with the prerequisite bills, junk mail and ads.  Along with tonight's wonderful buffet of bad ads came a letter for my ex from "Jared, the Galleria of Jewelry."  Oh yeah.  It stared me directly in the face.

Ok, for those of you who may be new or for those who know this but can't remember, my ex bought jewelry for the Bassett Hound Faced Bitch (his mistress) at Jared's.  Yeah, while I was begging for replacements for underwear with holes in them or maybe a new sweater so I wouldn't freeze my ass off in winter, my ex was paying top dollar for her to have an array of new jewelry.  From $250 necklaces, $300 for a ring and so forth, she was being given jewelry while I was having to beg for the most mundane of necessities.  New socks aren't too much to ask for, are they?  While I was being told no to getting new socks, she was wearing new jewelry provided by my ex without even a second thought to me.  Trust me, after I found the jewelry receipts I asked him point blank, "Did I even cross your mind as you were doing this?"  He replied with one word.  "No."

Before he left, I was suspicious when the ads from Jared's started arriving, but I figured those showed up because my ex was on some marketing list that Jared's bought so they could do some direct mail advertising.  No.  I find out later through a stack of receipts that he had been buying her quite the bit of jewelry.

After he left, the ads from Jared's just kept coming.  I yelled, I cried and I begged him to get those to stop showing up in my mailbox because every time I saw one, it was another slap in the mouth.  I told him to write, call or do SOMETHING to make it stop, but alas, he did nothing.  (And this is surprising, why?)

It's ok to hate him.  I do and it's just one amongst many horrible things that man did over ten years.  But, I've moved on, I've done great things and he's the last thing on my mind usually.  To be honest, a day spent where I don't think of him is a happy one.

But, looking in the mailbox tonight, what do I find?  Another ad "letter" from Jared's.  I stood at my mailbox looking at it, once more having the knife shoved into my gut and maliciously twisted.  It was at that point that I said out loud, "I've had enough of this shit."  Oh, let me tell you, I saw red.  I ranted, "I don't get screwed over any more, thank you very much, and I'll be damned if I allow some dickless wonder who ran off with a detestable tramp to shit on another single one of my days."  I had officially "had it." I decided right then and there it was high time I went on the offensive.

Being that I was on my way to Office Depot for some supplies and Jared's is in the same shopping center, I threw the mail into my passenger seat and hit the gas.  If that loathsome, lying, cheating, worthless son-of-a-bitch wasn't going to take care of it and put an end to it, I was.  I sat in my car, a million thoughts running through my head about how I'd feel walking into that store where that bastard had brought his little hussy to spend our rent money, what I was going to say, how I was going to say it and most of all, how I was going to put an end to the endless stream of gut-wrenching reminding I've taken about what my sad sack of crap ex has done to me.

At the corner nearing the store, some bonehead decided to cut me off.  Oh, that fella picked the WRONG night to mess with me.  I laid on my horn and went ballistic.  I've had enough of getting crapped on!

So, ad letter in hand, I parked the car in front of the store and walked up to the door I had dreaded passing every single day since I found out about the screwing I took.  I grabbed the handle, walked in and sat with my jaw open over the fact that my ex not once thought of me when walking through that same door.  I started to feel sick, but it was a defining moment, it was one of two choices, I either went back to my car and cried or I would gut it out and put a stop to it.

I gutted it out.  I walked into the store to be met by a nice young salesman named Andrew and politely asked for the manager.  The manager was busy, but since Andrew was the assistant manager, he'd have to do.  I put the letter on the counter and said, "Hi, I just got this out of my mailbox, but see, there's a problem."  He said, "It's not your address?"  I said, "No, it is my address and on the front of the letter IS my ex-husband's name.  The only problem is that he never bought me jewelry from your store.  He bought jewelry for his MISTRESS from your store.  While I was begging for new socks so I could throw out ones with holes, he was buying that woman jewelry from your store."  The young man's face went ashen.  "I said, that's right.  Every single time your ad comes to my house, it's a reminder of what that son of a gun did to me.  Now I know this isn't your fault, but I really would like it if you could do something to make it stop."  Andrew grabbed the ad letter off the counter and went straight to his computer.  He recited all of my ex's contact information and even his cellphone number.  My gut hit the floor.  I said, "Yes, that's him, but he's packed up and moved to Kentucky, so he won't be buying any more jewelry from you here.  Please, can you do something."  He said, "I've made sure that there is no more mail being sent to your address from us."  I thanked him and left.

I got into the car, shaken from what I had just done.  The tears were starting to come up, but it was then I realized something.  I put a stop to something that the ex had done.  I gutted it out and I came out on the other side.  I started the engine of the car, put it into reverse and sped away from the store, proud of myself that I confronted the problem and fixed it.

I then went over to Office Depot, got the stuff I needed and took myself to dinner.

I gutted it out and I'm proud of myself.  One more thing off the radar that I won't have to think about again.

But let me tell you, if another single piece of mail comes to my house from Jared, The Galleria of Jewelry, someone's going to get it shoved clean up their butt.

Today, Seether's "Rise Above This" seems appropriate.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I'm a Junior!

Today at school was a wonderful thing.  I went to my 102 lecture to get the study guide for my final exam, then I stopped by Prof H.'s office to ask a few more questions that I had forgotten about during class.  Prof H. is a class act.  He not only helped me but he gave me some crucial insight into what I needed to be thinking of as far as my final project goes.

Well, sufficed to say, I didn't get published this semester, much to my dismay, but it was my own fault.  I didn't step on it quick enough to make the semester's final edition of the Rebel Yell.  They'd already put it to bed, so I missed my chance.  Oh well.  Lots of opportunities to come I guess.  But, I did get to talk to the director of the campus radio station and I now have in my hot little hands an e-mail address for the student program manager. Now all I have to do is pitch what kind of show I want to do.  (I'm keeping it a secret for now, so don't ask.)

Then it was off to the journalism school's academic advising office.  Up to now, I didn't know how many credits I needed to become a junior.  Well, the magic number is 60 and your favorite Sophomore is now at 66.  Yep, I'm a junior!  Exciting, huh?  Along with getting my junior status, I also got to get my waiver signed to get into, get this, Journalism 261 and 475.  261 is Introduction to Integrated Marketing Communications and 475 is Ad Copywriting!  AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!  I'm SO excited for spring!  I've got two to-die-for classes!  The other two for spring are a social science class called "Personal Growth," and just imagine the blog posts that are going to come from THAT class...and a history class to fulfill my undergrad requirement.  In total this spring, 13 credit hours.  My lucky number.

So, on the way home, listening to the Nickelback song, "Far Away," to which I usually think about KP when I hear it, I actually thought about it this time in terms of self-love.  (Sorry KP, no disrespect intended.)  Now what is so poignant about this moment is that simply, I missed myself for a long time.  We all remember the days of me not knowing which end was up, constantly worried about what other people said and thought of me. Well, as I was driving, I realized something.  Who gives a damn what anyone else thinks?  This is MY life.  Not anyone else's.  This is my life where I sleep alone, I eat most meals alone, I play my video game with my fantastic guildies for social time and to get down to the nitty-gritty, outside of a 90K a year job, I don't want for much.   This goes back to the summer where I had written about how much I needed to engage my life and not just sit and watch as it passed by.  I've written so many times about "picking yourself up by the bootstraps and keep on walking," but until today, I really didn't grasp WHY we do things like that.

Survival skills are second nature to me.  I know how to survive, but I don't really know how to live.  It was in the car this afternoon that I realized the reason I didn't know how live was because I have always stupidly concerned myself with the acceptance and approval of others, only to be met with disappointment, anger and frustration.  Ok, let's go brass tacks.  I have spent my life, up to now, being the square peg trying to fit myself into a round hole because all of the other pegs in the box around me were round and I was giving in to the notion of actually "fitting in," when in truth, there are tons of square pegs out there.  It was when I thought of another axiom, "The cream always rises to the top," that I finally figured it out.  I'm the cream that's still swimming lower down in the milk jug, I'm just now starting to rise to the top, that's why I haven't really found any friends here in town to spend time with.  Another axiom, "Everything always finds its' own level" came to mind as well.   But one overall thought hit me, "I'm not done yet."  Truth told, not by a long shot.  It was then I realized that there is nothing wrong with me, I know who I am, I just haven't found my place in the sun yet.

Jeez, you know, you'd think by 39 I'd have this figured out already.  I'm a late bloomer.  That's got to be it.

But there's something else I thought of too, it doesn't matter if we're 19 or 99, we're always learning, we're always growing and it's all a part of the human experience.

For those of you who are curious, the name of the blog is NOT changing.  It's a branding thing.  Besides, even though I'm a junior now, I'll always be a wise fool, that's why it's called The Eternal Sophomore.

And this one is for me:  Nickelback's "Far Away."  Finally feeling my feet digging into the dirt and gaining traction feels good, I missed me.  I was far away from this point in my life for far too long.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Trees, Lights and family traditions.

I just got a call.  It was Nan telling me that we're doing Mom's Christmas Tree tomorrow.  I'm due at Mom's at noon because as is tradition, I've been handed the job of doing the lights on the tree.

For my immediate family, our tree always got decorated on Thanksgiving day, after all the food and dishes had been put away, we'd start right to work on our tree because we'd have a few weeks to enjoy it until our pilgrimage down to my grandparents house for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  But, the job of decorating the tree has never been taken lightly, so to produce a high-quality tree, the job is always handed down to a young person to handle the job and give the folks who had done it in the past a rest.

Now, let's set the way back clock for about 40 years ago. Mom somehow inherited the huge job of decorating  the Christmas tree at my grandparents house from Aunt Sissy.  Who Aunt Sissy inherited the job from, I'll never know.  One day Mom just stepped up to the task and when Aunt Sissy walked in and saw Mom decorating the tree, she said, "Thank goodness, someone's taken the job," and Mom became our family's chief tree decorator, a job that lasted until I was 11, when my grandfather moved from the house on Pate Lane (yes, my family had a road named after it, besides, it was the only house on the road) to his new house in town.

As I remember, there was always a morning where my grandfather would go out with a couple of other family members and cut down the tree himself.  Yep, that's right, it was a live, sap-filled cedar tree that sat in the great room of my grandparents house, and there Mom stood in front of it with strings of lights (and remember this was a while back, so the lights weren't the high-tech fancy ones we have today).  Now, in her job as tree decorator, the biggest hurdle of all time was the daunting task of putting the lights on a 7-foot tall cedar tree that fit in the room with only an 8-foot-tall ceiling.  Thinking back, I have no earthly idea how Mom got the lights in the top of the tree, but I'm guessing there was either a ladder or a tall chair involved, but nonetheless, those lights got up there and oh, she always did such an amazing job with the difficult lights she had to deal with.  I really never saw her decorate the tree because us little folks were always kept out of the "big room" during the holidays before Christmas morning.  We'd go and peek in there, but it kind of went without saying that you didn't go in there, besides all of the action at my grandparents was always in the kitchen, so it kept us distracted over what was going on in the "Christmas Room."

But looking back, I can remember Daddy and one of my uncles always struggling to get that tree in the door, but I can only imagine Mom standing on a chair reaching up into the tree putting the lights on, getting her hands covered in sap and humming a Christmas carol or two while she was working.

I also remember the decorations she had to work with.  Oh lordy, you want to talk ewww?  Yeah, she had to deal with those cloth ornaments that were basically a Styrofoam ball covered in a weird sort of synthetic, plastic-y string on them that if they snagged on anything, from the tree to a calloused finger, it would pull apart.  When I think about them, my skin kind of crawls, but much less to say, Mom made it work and she made it work beautifully.  There were a few glass balls that she'd put on the tree, but mostly a lot of the ornaments were either those Styrofoam balls from hell or they were ones that us littleun's made for our grandparents.  

After all the decorations would go on, then came the garlands and the icicles, those little pieces of stringy tinsel that you place on the branches.  Yep, there was a lot of stuff that went on that tree.  As I recall, the trees themselves weren't ever that great, but when Mom got done decorating it, it might as well have been the tree in New York's Rockefeller Center.  It just turned out that good. 

Another family tradition was "The Candy Box."  This neat little invention came by way of my Aunt Sissy as well.  See, Uncle Bill owned a pharmacy so they'd save up pill bottle boxes and they'd become our candy boxes.  You want to talk having your eyes bulge out of your sockets?  Try this one...

The candy box structure was rather unique.  If you would cross-section the foot tall by about a foot-and-a-half wide box, it would look like this:

  1. Unwrapped goodies, such as small toys, Barbie clothes, or a coloring book or crayons.
  2. Fruit, consisting of a couple of apples, oranges and a banana or two (no doubt this was Mom's doing).
  3. Candy.  Lots of candy.  Individually wrapped peppermints, butterscotch, mini-Snickers, mini-Almond Joy, mini-Mounds, rolls of Lifesavers, individually wrapped Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Hershey's kisses, mini-Hershey's Chocolate bars...Gods, there was so much in there, I can't even remember it all...but think about it this way, if there was an individually wrapped type of candy, it was in there.  SO much candy it makes my teeth hurt just thinking about it.
  4. Nuts 
  5. and a small piece of aluminum foil at the bottom.
Now if you imagine it in just the way my little list is written out, you'll get a really good idea what those candy boxes were like.  Seriously, that numbered list and how the item about the candy is written out, no joke, that's how much candy was in that box.

I mean these things were HUGE!  Imagine a 6-year-old, 50 pound Sheri walking in to see that on Christmas morning.  As a child I remember my eyes bulging out of their sockets when I saw that.  A couple of times I even found stuffed animals on top of my candy box.

Now, how the candy boxes were constructed, I have no idea.  All I remember is my mother taking me out to the mobile home (that Uncle David had brought out to my grandparents house to put us up for the week), and putting me to bed around 8 p.m.  This is apparently when the "elves" being my parents plus the rest of Dad's family would get together and do the boxes.

Ok, now's the time to explain to you how big my family is.  In my family you have to talk in Star Trek's "Borg" designations.  Remember Seven of Nine?  If you do, you're with the program.

Dad is Fourth of Five.  That's right, he's got three older sisters and one younger brother.  Putting us all together, including my grandparents, it totaled 22 people in one house.  Go ahead, give the "Oh Sh*t" that inevitably comes with me telling people how large my family is. I have nine cousins.  NINE.  So imagine my grandmother's long kitchen table covered in boxes, foil, bags upon bags of candy, fruit and nuts.  I remember my parents coming in long past midnight after they had finished visiting and laughing putting together the boxes.  After the boxes were finished, everyone went home, only to return the next morning at 7 a.m. 

Christmas morning was always amazing.  It was when we'd be treated to breakfast made by my grandfather and my Aunts.  Aunt Bonnie's AWESOME scrambled eggs, my grandfather's special orange juice that was always SO amazing, sausage, bacon, toast, sweet rolls, anything we wanted, and it was laid out in this huge spread.  We ate our fill and if we finished before everyone else, we were watched closely because NO ONE got into the big room filled with Christmas presents until it was time.  The adults literally assigned a door monitor for the room.  If we little people got too close to the door, we were immediately herded back in with everyone else in the kitchen.  There was no such thing as peeking.  You didn't have a chance to peek because when you were a little person, you were tasked with working the room and saying good morning to all of your aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents.

22 people under one roof for Christmas...phew! To me, that's a lot.  After we'd all had breakfast and the dishes were washed, we'd be lined up for the big moment, the opening of the big room for presents.

The tree my mother so carefully decorated sure did get a workout because beneath it's branches was modern-day consumerism gone wild.  There were presents extending from the base of the tree to easily four to five feet in front of it.  Wrapping paper of every color and description covered boxes from tiny to huge.  So many presents it was a wonder all of us fit into the room as well.

The big room on Christmas morning was divided by family.  My sister and I, along with my parents were nearest the door.  Then around the room went my Aunt Bonnie and Uncle David with their sons, Aunt Ray and Uncle Chester with their son and daughter, then Aunt Betty and Uncle Lonnie with their three if they were in town for Christmas, then came Aunt Sissy and Uncle Bill with their son, then ultimately my grandparents.

The first thing we always saw were our candy boxes.  With our name written on them, we could find our basic seating assignment and we all flopped down in front of our "loot section." Wrapping paper flew off of presents, loot was held up for display and inspection, and it was a good solid two to three hours we went through everything.  At this point, just describing it, I can only imagine how exhausted all of the adults were.  After looting and pillaging, we were sent to the showers to get pressed and dressed for Christmas Dinner.

Now imagine all of my aunts and my Mom in the kitchen on Christmas Day.  For my family, there was no such thing as "eating out" on Christmas, that just wasn't done, so you had my grandmother (when she could still walk) along with my four aunts, Mom, my cousins Anne and Ginger, and Nan all helping out.  My grandmother's kitchen was the size of my current apartment's living room and kitchen.  Still, with all those people in it, I just remember it being very cramped and every piece of counter space was at a premium.  So that meant little people like my cousin Mark and I were basically banished or told to keep from under foot while they made dinner. 

When dinner was finally served, it was a spread unlike anything I've seen before or since.  As we've gone over, there were 22 people in the house, so the "Big 12" consisting of the parents and our grandparents were at the "Big Table" in the dining room and the children all sat in the kitchen.  My cousins Sam and Mike were the eldest so they kind of acted as our ranch hands keeping all of us in check and behaving so the adults could eat in peace.

If you can imagine the holiday food, it was on those tables.  Turkey, ham, stuffing, giblet gravy, regular gravy, sweet potatoes, green rice, green beans, baked beans, oh holy lordy, if I try to describe it all, we'll be here until next week, but sufficed to say, there was SO MUCH FOOD.  After our mom's would come in, help us help our plates, the entire house became the sounds of chewing and conversation.  Down at the end of the kitchen table would be Ginger, Nan, Drew, Mark and I.  Being the two youngest in our massive brood, Mark and I were a pair of Christmas Day clowns.  We sat there stuffing our faces and inevitably, someone would have helped our plate to some black olives.  Mark and I sat at the end of the table cackling our heads off with black olives stuffed onto the tips of our fingers.  We'd be laughing, playing "See Food" and sitting there eating the olives off of our fingers.  I remember all of the bigger kids rolling their eyes and laughing at us, but we'd always have a hoot of a time.

And it all goes back to the one simple act...Mom up on a chair or ladder putting lights up on the Christmas tree.

Now, it's my job to do the lights and effectively kick off the Christmas season.  Truth be told, I'm now my family's official tree decorator.  I just hope I can hold up the tradition to it's fullest.  A beautiful tree decorated at the beginning of the holidays really does set up for the following three weeks of holiday cheer.

So for all of you decorating your trees, remember, every poke, sap covered finger and broken ornament has a reason for doing just as it did, it's there to make a memory, ones that will last a lifetime.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

What I'm Thankful For.

It's that time of year where we all get together with family and/or loved ones and remember what we're thankful for.  It's been a rough year to say the least since last Thanksgiving, with some great moments mixed in so I can say that it really wasn't so bad.

The first thing I'm thankful for is my family, real and virtual.  I'm surrounded with amazing people that without their influence, I'd be in rougher shape than I am now.  So I'm grateful for them.

I'm grateful for KP.  The man is just that amazing.  He's one of my best pals and between him and Chance, they're my pair of saviors.  As the line in Eat, Pray, Love goes, "You don't need a protector, you need a champion," and KP and Chance are my champions. (That's why they're honored with being on my recurring characters list.) Without those two, my daily life would be drab and boring.  However, I can't speak highly enough of KP.  Two years and he's still front and center taking care of me in unexpected ways.

I'm grateful for Chance.  Outside of being my little brother, he's my pal who's always keeping me on the straight and narrow, and who also seems to have an unending supply of duct tape to tape up my ever-broken heart.

I'm grateful for my sweet, kind-hearted Guild Master Jim.  He always says that I place him and a few others way too high up on pedestals, but I disagree.  Jim's my favorite brother because he keeps me in focus and reminds me when I get out of whack that I shouldn't take things so very seriously.  He's died countless times in WoW so that I could learn and he's always been super supportive and patient.  He's been a nurturing influence that I don't think I'd be doing so well without his influence.  Jim always seems to throw out the big, fluffy pillow for me to land on when I trip and fall on my face.  Thanks Jim.

I'm grateful for my "tenderheart in a tough-guy suit" raid leader Jason.  He taught me that you can't make chicken salad out of chicken sh*t and that sometimes you have to be tough to help everyone get where they want to go.

I'm grateful for my pal Chris, the world's tallest gnome warlock.  He always checks on me and he's always watching out for me.  Soulstones aside, he's always an uplifting influence and he always makes me smile because I know he cares.

I'm grateful for Raj.  He's always been so supportive, kind, sweet and is always ready to give me some sort of positive wisdom.  Raj has the perfect name, he's a real prince.

I'm grateful for my team of healers, Ed, Les, Paul, Sonya, Colt, and Sean who have unwaveringly supported me while I learned how to do healing assignments.

I'm grateful for Heidi, Isaiah, Lola and Lucy who are such a beautiful family.  They are an every day source of hope and joy.

I'm grateful for Dave who always reminds me to follow my heart.

I'm grateful for Jeff, April and little Conrad, Steph, Steve and little Seth along with all of my sweet guild-born nephews and nieces.  I'm always grateful when I see pictures of the beautiful children who I unknowingly went through their gestation with them...I love my guild babies!

I'm grateful for Dana (Auntie Mystdee), Trisha (Auntie Kooky), Tae, Soosi, June, Susan (Neems), Suzanne (Auntie Essjay), Susan (Auntie SueSue), Doc, Daddy Stung, Mama Kitte,  KayKay and Mikey, Gail, Mej and her family, Busch, GentleFire, Laura, Soede, Ariel, Rhonda, Kate, Holly, Jeff, Jon, Anthony, Alhon, Al (Mr. Temple of Alhamnat), Narym, Dalken and even Moose.  Without them, I wouldn't have the wonderful family values that come from being a part of a world that is solely about spirit and the collective love you have for a special place in the world.  I'm especially grateful to all of them for supporting my artistic work, on the three dimensional model, on the air and on the page.

I'm grateful for my pal Natalee who has been nothing but supportive of my writing and who has always been there to help me say just the right thing.

I'm grateful for my pal Luibi who always makes sure I don't look like an old lady and who reminds me constantly that life isn't just all about video games, it's about the human experience.

I'm grateful for Kai, TJ and Drewbie, my three favorite young people in the world for putting up with me even when I tell them to stop fighting and I'm giving them the "Guilt Look of Doom."  I'm grateful that they always are so sweet and are all trying hard to be good.

I'm grateful for my real life aunts and uncles who show me every day that love with another person for a lifetime is possible.

I'm grateful for Ryan and Caitlynd, who are always putting up with me checking on them and who love me no matter what.

I'm grateful for Nan, she's shown me what strength looks like and that I'm not as screwed up as I thought I was.  She is always there for me to give me the big sis pep talk when I run into a huge pothole.  Most of all, I'm grateful that she's fighting the good fight against cancer and is winning (even if she may not feel like it sometimes).

I'm grateful for Mom and Dad.  They put me on this rock and they've tried so hard to guide me through this little adventure called "life."  My parents are really amazing people.

I'm grateful for Carl, he's a great real life big brother and I'm grateful every day he takes care of Nan so well and makes her happy.

I'm grateful for Sara, Yvette, David and Martie who made me realize this year I did have some good moments in childhood.

I'm grateful for Carol, Gene, Buddy and Diana for giving me the gift of stories at a very young age.

I'm grateful to have had such an extraordinary grandmother who's legacy was making me into a storyteller.  Through her influence over my entire family, she keeps teaching me even though she isn't here to see it firsthand.

I'm grateful for Doc T, Doc L, Doc Fish and Prof H, my fave profs at school who support my efforts to keep writing and aspiring to great things.

I'm grateful for Becky and Mirna, my two fave classmates who have helped me keep a young viewpoint and stay in touch with my inner 18-year-old.

I'm grateful for Winnie who is patient with me while I'm learning to be a chinese pretzel.

I'm grateful for all of the people in my life and for all of the experiences I've stubbed my toe on, scorched myself with, but ultimately learned from.

But I'm grateful for the roof over my head, the computer I work at and all of the little things I have every day that make life easier and allow me to have a grand adventure.

I'm grateful for the big blue sky I can look up at and realize I'm not alone.  I'm grateful for what I have and I'm not in a hurry to forget all of the wonderful gifts that my life has given me.

Most of all, I'm grateful for all of you, my faithful readers who have always been here for me.  Y'all rock.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Turning another page.

In all the times I've sat here writing, I've always tried to glean some kind of wisdom through the experiences I've had.  Yesterday was no different.

I have to admit, I did cry a little.  Only because to have two men who held me at a crossroads both do identical things, well, it's like I always say, if you don't like the paths you're given, you cut your own.  I think that's smart.

Well, last night, I needed a movie to cheer me up.  After spending some quality time with a friend that I've neglected because of my own fears (thanks for being you KP).  I just needed a film to pick me up after he reminded me in his own way that every time something happens, it's up to me to build a bridge and get over it, and I'm the only one that's got the building tools in hand to build it then walk over it onto a better path.

So, thanks to iTunes, I finally got to see Eat, Pray, Love.  

Let's just say I was due.  Like I've said before, you can only hear the message life is trying to give you when you reach the point that you're ready to hear it.  I realized, watching the film, that life always starts over again, you can always turn the page and find a new adventure just by opening yourself up to the next great experience.

It's like that line from Myst IV, "It's as if a door inside me has closed despite all I've done to keep it open. But in a way, maybe that's good. [...] Endings are just another form of beginning, I guess, and the harder an end is to face, the more hope we bring with us to the next beginning."

You know, I could get cheated on 50 times, but it still doesn't diminish the hope that resides inside me and the fact that I've got a lot of great things inside that is just waiting for the right person to see.  Building the bridge isn't easy though because it's built on a lot of revisiting all of the things that have gone wrong and how we've coped with them along the way.  Each time something goes bad, it becomes a nail or a board in the bridge that you labor with all your heart to build, then walk over it to move on.

But, onto my experience watching Eat, Pray, Love.

I was curled up in my chair in front of the computer and right at the point where Julia Robert's character of Liz is arguing with the Italian landlady about the amount of water in the tub, when a fairly large spider decided it was going to run along the wall in front of me.  I quickly hit pause on iTunes, ran into my kitchen and grabbed my can of roach and spider killer.  You know me, I'm arachnophobic as all get out, hell, I'm arthropodophobic...if it's got a jointed body and jointed legs and has more than four legs, I'm up on the furniture screaming.  Well, last night, I would have been damned if some stupid insect was going to keep me from seeing a film I so desperately had wanted to see for so long.  So, losing track of the bugger, I sprayed a couple of walls and baseboards hoping it would do it, then curled back up in my chair, anxiously watching more of the walls for the spider than I was of the movie on the screen, but I was listening.

It wasn't until Julia made it to Bali when the spider reared it's head again, descending from the makeshift table made from a wooden stool next to my desk by a thin piece of web.  I squealed, ran around the coffee table, away from the spider to grab the can again and that son of a gun decided to take cover beneath my environmental studies book as if to say..."Look!  If you kill me you're hurting the environment."  I rolled my eyes and promptly grabbed one of my cherry red Doc Marten combat boots and sent him to the land of two dimensions.  No spiders in my house thank you very much.

It was at that point that I sat back down and resumed the film that Javier Bardem came in.  So, now up to this point, I had watched Julia's character go through the carb-fest in Italy, the ashram in India and now she's with a hottie in Bali.  Ok, I was down with this because there were so many parts along the way in the film that were just screaming out to me, "Hey! Pay attention!"  I can't even give examples because there were so many, I lost count because of the poignancy of each message.  I'm going to have to watch the film again and take notes because it was such an incredible journey the woman made, and it's no small wonder that Oprah picked the book the film was based on to be one of her book club selections.  I was reminded of so many of my friends that I love so much, those I've helped and most of all, those who have helped me.

But it also reminded me of one thing, I have a pal who's stuck with me through thick and thin, who's put up with my mountain of bull and my moments of neglecting everything around me but myself.  I owe him a lot.  He's been my ashram where I've gone to ponder the reasons for everything, he's been my medicine man and most of all, he's just been my shoulder to lean on.  I guess we all need people in our lives like that and to Kathy, Dana, Tae, Natalee, Tammy, Nan and the rest of you who took time to comfort me after yesterday's ordeal, I have to say thanks.  I'm so very lucky to have people like you with me on the journey.  We've seen a lot together.  So, it's just on to turning the page, it's on to grabbing up the hammer and placing another nail in the bridge that gets me over things.

However, you'll have to excuse me, I owe someone a handwritten letter.  He's a guy who reminds me so much of Javier Bardem's character because he tears up when he hugs his kids.

Have a great day everyone!  To reinforce my lesson of the day, I give you a song from Eat, Pray, Love, Eddie Vedder's song "Better Days."

Monday, November 22, 2010

As quickly as good things come along...

They go just as fast.

I'm now zero for two.  I have the world's worst batting average when it comes to men.

As it is Monday, it's my day for 102 and well, it was a short day, just a current events quiz (which I knew none of the answers to...Prof H., dude, you write some obscure questions man...).

After the quiz Prof. H. let us out of class early and wished us all Happy Thanksgiving.  Yay, a day out of class early, I'm all for that.

Well, on the way home, since I hadn't heard from Taz in a few days, I figured "Hey, why not, let's drive over to his house, maybe I'll catch him outside painting, I'll stay for just a minute, long enough to grace me with a smile then come home."

Yeah, I caught him alright.

I knew driving over there was a bad idea.  Something about it just didn't bode well, but I did it anyway, dismissing the all too familiar feeling that I was getting the short end of the stick.  You know, I should just stick with my gut instincts, they've never let me down once.

As I drove up to the house, I looked and saw that his garage door was open and the tail lights to his fancy little sports car were on.  I thought, "Hey!  Great timing!"  No, not so great timing.

Taz hopped out of the car, amazingly agile for someone who supposedly has a banged up knee, and waved at me as I sat in my car on the street. I looked at him and said, "Hi!  I just thought I'd stop by for a sec so you could grace me with a smile and I'll be on my way."

A feminine voice asked Taz, "Who's that?"  He then looked at me and said, "I'm busy."

Then with a very pained look on his face, he turned away, answering the woman in the car, "That was Sheri," then he pushed the button to close his garage door.

I knew it wasn't a great idea to go over there...but now I also know why there was a reason I did.  At least I know why the phone hasn't rang in the last week.

The funny thing is, I'm not even crying.  I'm just numb right now.  I'm not surprised, but at the same time, I can feel the tears stinging in the back of my eyes wanting to come out, but they're just going, "Nope."

As I sped away from Taz's in shock, I called Chance.  He's my backstop in times like this and he only said one thing...

"At least you won't be sitting next to a hospital bed when we're all leveling in Cataclysm."

Yep.  Chance has it right, there's always a bright side.

So, as the garage door closed, so did the chapter on Taz and my adventures in dating for the time being.  Much less to say, I deleted his number out of my phone, and if he dares to call, I'm just not answering.   It would take a really big show of something for me to even look in his direction again and he'd have to work his ass off seriously to even begin to see an ounce of clemency.  I'll give him one point though, at least he didn't get too involved with me again.  I just wish he would have been more up front with what he was doing.

Zero for two!  Damn!

Just when I thought things were finally headed in the right direction...BOOM.  Another pothole.  Now I really do feel like he's Mr. Big from Sex and the City.  He's just that one guy who things just can't quite seem to work out with.

So, if you'll excuse me, I've got the spring semester to plan for, a test in Environmental Studies to take and somehow I've got to find a way to dry off after ANOTHER scorching hot cup of coffee has been dumped in my lap.  It hurts, but it's nothing I can't recover from.


Everyone who knows me knows about my fascination with Lewis Carroll and his stories about Alice in Wonderland.  I love the fact that he takes the world and turns it on it's head, comes up with nonsense names for nonsense creatures, and how much he inspires me to just let go and enjoy a trip down the rabbit hole.

As a kid, I loved the Disney animated movie of Alice.  She was lost in the woods and being confused by all of the nonsense in her head.  The Cheshire Cat, who proudly sits as a stuffed version on my hope chest, smiles at me with his knowing grin.  I remember one morning when I was 18, I woke up nose to nose with the Cheshire Cat and I had a close-up view of those big yellow eyes.  Much less to say, I woke up a bit freaked out opening my eyes to that, but it made me laugh after I woke up enough to realize what I was looking at.  Somehow, he seems so wise, just sitting and grinning the days away.

Another part I love about the animated version of Alice is the Momeraths.  Now anyone in my life worth their salt knows about me and my beloved momeraths.  I'll never forget the first time I saw them...Alice was in Tulgey Wood lost because a broom headed and tailed dog had swept the path from in front and behind her.  She sat crying on a bench singing, "I Give Myself Very Good Advice," but after she dried her tears, she saw this:

Don't step on the momeraths.  Did you see what they did?  They hopped out of the ground and led Alice back onto the path.  After that, it took me a while but I realized I was one of those little guys, helping people get back onto the path again.  I need to make myself a shirt that says, "I'm a Momerath."  I just love those little guys and they inspired me to draw one.

Yep, and it's my logo for when I work as a graphic artist.  I've got so many freehand drawings of these little cuties, from surfer 'raths, teen 'raths and femme 'raths on down.  I've drawn so many unique 'raths that I find they're what I doodle when my hands are bored.  I give each one character and movement and I love them all, because one day they just might team up and put ME back on the path.

Tonight, I was kind of late getting into WoW because, believe it or not, I was actually watching the Tim Burton version of Alice.  It was the first time I saw it.  Problem is, I came in half way, so I've still not seen the whole thing.  So I'm waiting until Tuesday to take it in in its' entirety.  But, I have to say my heart was stolen seeing the white queen's army being chess pieces versus the queen of hearts having her army of cards.

To hear the voice of Christopher Lee come out of the Jabberwock put my jaw on the ground, with Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter and Alan Rickman's voice coming out of the caterpillar, it just blew me away.  I was so tickled when I saw Tweedle's Dee and Dum along with the Bandersnatch and rest of the characters I adore so much.  Crispin Glover (ooh is he a weird one) playing the Knave with his gangly body was trippy to say the least.  But there they all were, beautiful, odd and funny, each not making a lick of sense in the nonsensical world that I love about Alice.

When I finally got into WoW, I made my apologies for being late by saying, "Sorry, got caught up by a deck of cards, some chess pieces and a bandersnatch."  Watching Rel run in front of me in her sometimes nonsensical fantasy world really did make me feel like I had tumbled down the rabbit hole.  How I do love the world that Lewis Carroll created in my head... 

So, while I was raiding, I took some time to grab a tune to enjoy that seems to fit me to a "T."  So while I sat working on the Heroic Lich King fight in 10-man, I got to enjoy some Avril Lavigne...

Here, have a listen...

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Big smile all, just like the Cheshire Cat...it's a big world...and though it may be filled with nonsense at times...

It's up to all of us to find the path, get on it and live.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

New Hottie of the Day!

We've had quite the few shake-ups in the last several posts and well, I think it's time to lighten the mood a bit.

I spent another Saturday night at home.  Not my favorite thing in the world to do, but it's just not on the schedule to go out this weekend.  Thanksgiving is coming up, followed by the holidays, and it just doesn't feel right to get dressed up and go out.

So, after an evening of WoW, where I got rather fed up and frustrated by the fact that everyone thinks it's ok to put me on follow so they can go out and go drinking while I tow their toon around...not happy with being a doormat and I'm gonna start being a real bitch about it really soon to people who try treating me that way.  So  I logged out thoroughly ticked and spent some time watching television...

Am I glad I did!  Now we've got something "up" to talk about.  Ok gals, it's time to dip into the well again for another hottie of the day!

Now as #7 was Eddie Izzard, this latest addition to the hotties list will come in as #8.   And when you see who it is, you will probably think my choices are a bit odd, but this newest hottie comes by way of the film I saw playing on plain old HBO, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans.

Ok, so we know that I have a penchant for cuties, and pretty soon I'm sure you will all figure out that eyes are a huge thing for me along with my interest in some other features of the male form such as their back, legs and butts.  Hey, it's true, there are some things that a guy just has to have to catch my attention and great eyes are right at the top of the list for me.

Also, I have a real 'thing' for long hair.  I always have.  Add scruff to the chin and a dangerous look along with a great set of expressive eyes and you've got a qualifier for the hotties list.

Ok, I've strung you guys along long enough, tonight's addition is:

Michael Sheen

Now, if this bearded hottie looks familiar, it's because he was in the film Frost/Nixon.  Usually Michael Sheen doesn't float my boat, let's face it, he's got that Brit Geeky thing going on.  But, have him in long hair all buffed up and shirtless in a long leather overcoat over leather pants and a pair of kick-ass boots, oy veh, yeah...that's melting my butter in a huge way.  So, for his portrayal of the character of Lucien in Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, Michael gets a spot on the list.  Oy, HOT!

See what I mean, you can take the biggest geek in the world, put him in the gym for several months, put scruff on his chin, grow out his hair and give him a dangerous look and you've got yourself a hottie!

So for all you gals out there aching for a tad bit of beefcake, I suggest Mr. Sheen in that sometimes gory, to the point of over-the-top, film about Weres.  He'll definitely make you lick your chops.  He's definitely taken a couple of plays out of the Kenyon playbook for that role.  It doesn't hurt that he's coming up in Tron: Legacy either.

So go ahead gals, do a sexy howl with me...after all, he gets the #8 spot for playing a werewolf...


Let's give you a tune from the movie to put the cherry on the cake.  King Black Acid's "Let's Burn."

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Death by PR

I was just surfing CNN.com for my daily bit of news and found out that a Hollywood publicist had been shot and killed on Monday Night/Early Tuesday Morning.

My jaw is still hanging on the desk because to be perfectly honest, this news scares the shit out of me.  It's my goal to get into the Ad/PR business, so if they're getting shot, I want to know why.

Who would want to shoot a publicist?  Think about it, PR people are pretty innocuous folks for the most part.  You don't see a PR person get fame and fortune like a movie star would because they're the ones behind the scenes that make it all happen and PR people are also the ones who make sure that stars get noticed.  Without PR people we wouldn't have half of the stars we have today.

So who would want to shoot someone that makes people look good without taking anything for themselves besides a little bit of a commission on how well the film or project goes?  I mean, without PR people in Hollywood, stars would constantly risk saying the wrong thing, even to the point of some of them blatantly demonstrating their complete lack of common sense, but, mix in a PR person and they sound like a Nobel laureate.  You know how I always say, "Make your words kind, gentle and tasteful, for one day, you may be forced to eat them?"  Well, a good PR person does that for their clients.  They take not-so-great moments and turn them into opportunities.  They take the gaffs that come out of their client's mouths and turn them into marvelous, witty quotes we repeat for decades.  That is what is being in PR.

Here's PR in action: One woman I know, Mandy, used to work for the Chippendales.  That's right, those buff studs who take off their clothes night after night for screaming female audiences.  Mandy, not the beefcake boys, wrote the dancer's bios that you see in the souvenir program.  I remember her saying, "Oh yes, I was really going to get something worth printing out of their mouths...[laughs]...'yeah, I'm Rodrigo and I like to work out and tan,' yeah that will put the girls in the seats, NOT.  So what do you do?  You write it for them.  Instead of Rodrigo being at the gym and tanning, no, the program reads that he likes moonlit walks by the ocean, giving women flowers and cuddling next to a roaring fire.  That way the girls don't see what a dipshit he is and how he could care less about romance..."  I kid you not.  That's PR in action.  Now when girls look at 'Rodrigo' and see his bio in the program, they think of a fantasy guy, not some self-centered, muscle-bound meathead.

Without Mandy's bit of PR there, you know how many fans the Chippendales would have?  Not as many as they do.  Women go to those shows for the fantasy, a hot guy who melts their butter and makes them forget about the asshole they have at home watching football, farting and belching, and who's idea of romance is to let her be on top every once in a while.  Instead of her burping hubby on the couch, women who see the Chippendales get the illusion of romance.  It works and it sells tickets to the shows.  Trust me when I say, you don't get into Ad/PR without understanding that you're being paid to create an image for people that they'll respond to and slap down their money to buy that particular product or service.

So, back to the PR lady shot dead in her Mercedes on the way back from a film premiere.  What could she have possibly done to deserve that?  Every single article that I've seen regarding Ronnie Chasen says that she was a top-notch person who everyone loved.  For chrissakes, six competing studios are all chipping in together to joint-host a memorial service in her honor.  OK, if you don't have the respect of your peers and competitors, you don't get memorial services thrown for you like that.

But it still hits me pretty hard.  That woman, who spent her life making everyone else look good, got shot in the chest five times on her way home from work on a quiet street in Beverly Hills.  I'm going to be sticking to the news story like mad.  I want to know why someone would want to kill her.

My eyes are wide watching the story as it unfolds.

For more details, check out the LA TimesVariety and the Huffington Post.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Tuesday night, after my last post, I figured I should look at the statistics of my blog.  I was quite surprised.

What I found was a world full of Sophomores, from Japan, Russia, all over Europe and of course here in the United States, with quite a few others reading along for the ride.  For those of you who come and check on me every once in a while, I have to say thanks.  After seeing how many people are reading along, I turned off the lamp next to my desk, stood up, hit the button to turn off the computer monitor, then went into my bedroom, grabbed Teddy and let him know how grateful I was for all of you, because now I don't feel so alone on the journey.  So, thanks for being here for me.

I was almost tempted to make t-shirts to sell on CaféPress for all of you, but I had second thoughts after I saw another late night movie courtesy of iTunes, and believe it or not, it was Sex and the City 2.

My only problem with the whole SATC thing is that well, I have a problem with Sarah Jessica Parker's character of Carrie.  Now, right out of the gate, you should know that I never saw the second SATC film in the theaters because of the movie poster, which I won't post here, but sufficed to say, my ex had just left with the Bassett and her name just happens to be Carrie.  When I saw large posters plastered up all over town promoting the film with the phrase, "Carrie On," well, still an overwhelming feeling of nausea tends to creep up on me because Carrie sure did carry on, and she carried off with my husband.  Yeah, it didn't make the second film featuring the girls from NYC very appealing.  To see two hours plus enslaved to the selfish whims of a chick named Carrie really made me want to put a metaphorical gun to my head and pull the imaginary trigger.  It was something I could have definitely gone without for the rest of my life.

Now, almost 20 months later, I figured I was due for a comedy and by the way my mother had spoken about it, the film had potential.  To be honest, I never watched Sex and the City for the character of Carrie.  I've always found the character of Carrie to be flaccid, over-indulged and overwhelmingly self-centered.  Every time the story got deep about Carrie, I always flipped channels, waited a few minutes then switched back to see the story I really wanted to see.  Put bluntly, I watched for Samantha.  Samantha is one of my heroes because she's not afraid to be independent or shy about her sex drive.  As Rosalind Russell said in the film Auntie Mame, "Live, Live, Live.  Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death."  Well, as far as Samantha goes, she steps up to the table and fills her plate and you know what, that's not a bad thing at all.  So, armed with 7-up and crackers to ease my queasy stomach, I flipped on iTunes and hit the button to rent the movie.

When the film started out, I was laughing almost from the start.  Stanford and Anthony's wedding complete with Liza Minnelli and swans set me up to relax and enjoy the two hour plus "extravaganza".  Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) this time around was relaxed, funny and really engaged in what was happening around her, very much the opposite of the emotional detachment she always had from her family in the past.  In this SATC, Miranda came in on top, she was a real standout and she gave life to the very hokey storyline.  To tell the truth, just like her arranging the camel ride and lunch in the film, she also saved the film by a landslide.

By the time the girls reached their destination, Abu Dhabi, the film would have gone completely south if it weren't for Miranda.  She saved the day so many times, I lost count.  Samantha and her menopause dramas got old quickly, and Charlotte's strait-laced fake shocks were just lost on me.  Then there was Carrie, selfish, self-absorbed, and driving poor Mr. Big nuts.  It was at that point that I just lost interest in the rest of the film because it became more about their surroundings than it was about the characters.

But it was early on in the film that I realized Taz is my Mr. Big. (Funny thing, I just realized both of their pseudonyms are three letters...I so did not plan that.) He's the guy who outside of his outstanding attribute...(yep, I went there...girls, just smile and nod...just go with it like the gals in SATC do)...he's the guy that I've waited 10 years to have an amazing relationship with, someone I've loved practically forever trying to see if he's going to meet me halfway.  It was then that the scene came up where Carrie is bitching at Big that she wants to go out and "have some "sparkle" in their relationship".  Watching her have my words come out of her mouth made me want to curl up into a ball and die.  I felt like a real horse's ass arguing with Taz when all he wants is some simple peace and quiet until he gets his knee fixed and there I am bitching at him that I just have to go out.  What happened to the patience that I brag I have?   When did I become a selfish, self-absorbed bonehead?  Well, one thing I can say for myself, I don't dress like Carrie, some of her get-ups are just awful, I don't care what the trends are.

But it really doesn't matter how I dress, the gut check is there, I need to be more patient with MY Mr. Big.  What's worse of it all, in the same scene, there's Mr. Big (channeling Taz almost word for word) telling Carrie that he's seen the world and that he's gone out and that he didn't need to go out to be happy.   Back into the hole I went.  I felt even smaller.

See, that's why I love movies so much.  Movies are one of those things that can slap you around and make you realize what you're doing.  Yeah, I'm going to have to apologize to him later today.  The last couple of calls between Taz and I have been rather tense and not our regular garden variety verbal jousts, but two people walking on eggshells around each other.  Remember I said, if one even senses they hurt the other, they go into retreat?  Yeah, it's been that way for the last week.

Something has got to give here.  When did I become Carrie from Sex and the City?  You know a long time ago, right when the show first came out, someone actually told me I had a Sarah Jessica Parker vibe, and right now, 10 years later, I get what they were saying.  I need to make myself a t-shirt that says, "Selfish" on it really, really big because it's taken me forever to get how selfish I can be sometimes.

But even though she's selfish, Carrie always seems to figure everything out and discover the error in her ways.  Maybe it'll work like that for me too, I just don't want to go through life making stupid mistakes and regretting everything only to have to play catch-up and apologize.  Maybe someday I'll get it right.

And maybe, just like a scene cut straight from the movie, we'll get to hear the voice-over...

"And finally the day came, Mr. Taz got his leg all fixed up.  Through it all, even though life sometimes gives us ups and downs, sometimes it's just worth the wait."

So today, our song for the day comes from the music featured in the film.  Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fascinated By Virtual Worlds

From the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary:


noun \ˌfa-sə-ˈnā-shən\
a : the quality or power of fascinatingb : something fascinating
: the state of being fascinated : the state of feeling an intense interest in something

I remember my first fascination with online worlds, and no, it wasn't the first moment I stepped into UruLive to take control of my first "digital representation of my corporeal self."  It actually sprang from a hot, humid afternoon in 1982 when my sister took me to the movies to sit and wonder at a film called Tron.

That's right.  For me, my fascination with technology, computers, and eventually with immersive online worlds came from watching Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, Cindy Morgan and Dan Shor zipping across the screen in Light Cycles, Solar Sailers, Tanks and Recognizers.  The idea that Kevin Flynn could be brought into the machine, not just sit in front of the screen, totally enthralled me to the point where I was ready to sign up for the next blast from that funky laser in the Encom building.  It's ok, you can laugh, because while it is a ridiculous thought to consider a little 11-year-old girl sitting in front of her Apple IIe with a green CRT and wishing she could pilot a light cycle, it only took about 21 more years until I finally sat behind my first avatar.  While it wasn't a trip to Tron's world, it was a step in the proper direction.

Amongst the hoorah of the first persistent online worlds, with me running, jumping and climbing the daunting puzzles of the Myst Universe, Tron haunted me still, and during the days of UruLive there was also a set of films coming to the fore that echoed Kevin Flynn's trip into the computer, and you guessed it, it would be the physically jacked in world of The Matrix.  There we saw Neo being unplugged and replugged into the computer and into digital simulations.  I mean, who can forget the scene in the dojo with the whole point being that it's your mind that is controlling it all and it didn't solely rely on your physical strength to be able to master your environment?

The idea of being plugged into a machine is nothing new, in the 50's architects had their pens and drafting tables busily constructing future cities.  Case in point is one that I worked at eventually, EPCOT Center at Disneyworld, where every day I passed beneath the giant geodesic sphere of Spaceship Earth and was reminded of all of the technology that would eventually be a part of every day life.  I looked up constantly and wondered when I was going to be able to sign up for a trip into a computer world, where money meant nothing and that true power could be attained through the mind and the limits of the imagination.  Which brings us back to my little control dramas and how I have lived most of my life trying to overcome abuse.

It is no small wonder why I am an online world junkie.  Every day I can "plug in" to Relyimah in WoW, Sh'aeri in Uru or even back in the days of There.com, I could plug into that simulation too.  Each avatar has certain things that when you look at them, you see me.  Rel bears the claw mark tattoos down her face that mark her as a feral fighter even though her main job at the moment is to help and to heal others.  Sound familiar?  In Uru, my avatar bears a striking resemblance to me in real life, down to the red hair and not so toned physique with my square glasses perched on my nose.  Shaeri in There.com was a triumph though.  She wore my real life horned rim glasses, my jeans, even down to the gold chain belt, she had a plethora of clothing that I made myself in which she even wore the Ralph Lauren tweed jacket and Ann Taylor Loft brown wool pants that hang in my closet down to my multi-colored brown high-heeled leather mules.

What was so fascinating about the There.com experience is that I actually took wireframes of 3D models and skinned them, just as a digital artist at ILM takes and puts lifelike skin on a dinosaur. I put clothing textures onto the wireframes and turned them into things I wore and used.  It was like looking in my closet and the things I wanted in my closet and all I had to do was turn on the computer, use my imagination and make it.  One to two weeks later, after it went through the submissions process, I could put on what I made, making the world that much more immersive.

I'm fascinated on a daily basis on what I can do with Rel.  She's beautiful, even though she does have blue hair...she resonates with me so strongly because she is the bear that I wake up as in the morning, she's the slick feline form that I strike when I go out, she's the healing tree of life that symbolizes my life mantra of sharing love every day and at every opportunity.  The most striking thing about Rel to me, is one of her druid shapeshifting abilities...she can run at top speed off of a cliff, skydive for a moment, then I can shift her form into that of a bird.  She can fly on her own, she needs no safety net, no secondary means of flying, she just turns into a bird and flies on her merry way.  Oy, what I wouldn't give to be able to do that!  I wonder sometimes what it would be like to be her for a day.  She's me everyday, but for some reason, I'd like to know what it's like to sit in her skin instead of me just piloting her.  I am quite positive I'd be quite scared trying to take on enormous skeletons, spiders...(oy, Blizzard really needs to give the spiders a rest), enormous orcs, fire-breathing dogs (oh wait, been there done that, my sister's Dobermans already have that covered).  But the point is that I'm only a spectator when it comes to Rel.  I'm not actually doing the fighting, I press buttons for that.  Rel's the one that has died thousands upon thousands of times trying to beat overwhelming odds, I haven't.  She risks her neck so I can have fun.  Someone remind me, I need to get my little toon something cute just for the fact that for over three years she's been my source of fun and hasn't complained one iota that she's died countless times.  LOL.

Wait, peculiar thought there...Rel's the one that has died thousands upon thousands of times trying to beat overwhelming odds, I haven't.  I've gone through a lot in my life and I've still not died from it even though at times I thought I might have.  Something to think on there...

But getting back onto topic, another part is Uru.  Now, with Uru being a non-violent world, I think I could live quite happily in the underground city of D'ni.  It's just blood, sweat and tears as you travel through books, explore different worlds and work to restore a civilization that has gone the way of the Dodo but has some damn neat little attributes and groovy things worth saving and restoring.  I like the restorative factor of Uru, it's the whole process of rebuilding which of course resonates with me again for reasons we all are aware of.

It all goes back to that humid day in 1982 where that little, awkward 11-year-old was trying to figure out how to be happy and who had a sister that was nice enough to take her to the movies.

Where's that funky laser in the Encom building?  It sits in my living room and it's called my home computer.

By the way, in December we'll be seeing that funky laser again on the big screen and you better believe I'll be one of the first in line to get my ticket for Tron: Legacy.

Here's the trailer if you've not seen it:

Followed by a second thought.  For those of you who know me, you know my favorite music genre is Electronica.  Small wonder huh?  Well, for those of you into the genre like I am...Daft Punk has taken on the job of scoring the new film and here's the vid for a song from the movie called "Derezzed."  Enjoy.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Pit of Despair

I love The Princess Bride.  It's a great film and it's the only way I can really start this post with some good humor intact.

The last several days have been met by what seems like an endless stream of emotionally crippling crap.  My anxiety is back with a vengeance and my PTSD has decided to rear its' ugly head again.

I was driving home from the grocery store this evening and for some reason, out of nowhere, I remembered the day the ex called me to pick him up from the hotel he was just having sex with his mistress at.  Of course, I didn't know exactly what happened that evening until much later, but the thought of the fact I actually got put through that sent my anxiety through the roof.  I realized that had I known what he was doing, I would have politely said, "Take a cab," followed by a set of extremely demeaning words.  But, remembering it while driving gave me one hell of a panic attack and I'm just glad I had a shred of control, otherwise I would have plowed into a telephone pole.  It was ugly, and still is...I'm still not feeling right.  Have I ever told y'all how much I hate having anxiety?  It sucks.

Speaking of things that suck, let's go back a step to last night.  It seems that outside of our usual verbal jousting, things have taken a steady turn for the worse with Taz.  It's not even healthy arguing anymore, it's just fighting, which is not productive in the least.  The conversation turned to one where I really felt like I was a convenience again.  Taz had the wisdom to tell me that he's been alone for the last 10 years.  Well no shit, where did he think I was for the last 10 years, Club Med?  UM NO.  I was in a loveless marriage with a man who lived to neglect me, so personally, it was the definite equivalent of living alone.  I don't think Taz really GETS how alone I was.  He doesn't get it and no matter how I try to explain it, it just ends up going south.  Then, let's tack on the knee problems and so forth and it's just miserable.


I'm lucky to have my pal Chance.  If you've not heard me say it before, I'll say it again.  I'm grateful for Chance.  The phone call with Taz ended up in tears.  I told Chance about everything and he clonked me over the head again with, "Why not just go enjoy your freedom?"  As usual, that young man is wiser than his years. I'd like to have girlfriends to go out with, but I just don't have any.  The closest I get is the 18-year-olds I go to school with, which turns into more mommying than it does going out with a set of gal-pals.

This morning when I woke up, I made a conscious decision.  10 years ago I was at a crossroads, and in my naiveté, I thought you only had the option to take one of the two roads you were presented with.  Now, 10 years later, I know better.  When you don't like the paths presented to you, you cut your own.  I like that thought.

But, when you're driving down the road and out of nowhere jumps all sorts of garbage heaped on you by your past, it's like Wesley in the Pit of Despair...you don't know how you're going to get out of it because it seems like a black hole sucking you down with no way to do anything about it.  I'm convinced when you're going through this crap of marriages/relationships going down the toilet you actually hold out hope to see if the Tidy Bowl man is going to come along and throw you a life preserver as you swirl helplessly in the water.

Friday, November 12, 2010


I can't believe I just sat through watching a news clip from Fox News.  I need to have my head examined to check for brain damage.  I should have considered the source of the content and shut it off right away.  Let me be straight, you couldn't catch me dead promoting Fox News.

I've spent the last semester going through News Reporting and Writing.  That's the 102 I've been referring to since September.  In the class I've learned that when you put together a news story it's the w/w/w/w/w/h, and that's it.  No embellishment, no personal views.  You're there to tell people the TRUTH, which is comprised of the bare bones facts.  No more, no less.  It's a part of Journalism Ethics.  If you're caught in a single factual error, your credibility goes down the toilet.

Every single time I've watched Fox News, it has always been agenda driven which is the EXACT opposite of good journalism.  They've sensationalized things, they've absolutely gone out of their way to paint anything that's not right wing as radical and completely unacceptable.

Now, what got me onto this little rant was a story from WoW Insider talking about how California wants to impose more strict content regulations on video games.


Let me say that again...They're trying to impose more strict content regulations on
v-i-d-e-o  g-a-m-e-s.  
Does anyone else smell something amiss here?

Cali first teed off on smokers.  Fine, it's a valid argument.  People who don't smoke shouldn't have to be exposed to second hand smoke.  I'm fine with that.  Chance tells me that in Washington they're actually thinking about outlawing smoking in your own home.  Ok, that's officially too far.  No law will EVER tell me what I can or can't do in my own home when what I'm doing isn't anyone else's business but my own.

Now, beware the right wing nut jobs are back!  This time, it's video games... friggin' video games.  Operative word here is GAME.  At the bottom of the WoW Insider article there is a link to a story about a debacle surrounding the game Mass Effect.  I watched the video clip with the story and could NOT believe my eyes and ears.  Here were two uppity and ignorant women who DON'T game trying to say that video games are horrible for kids.  I'm sorry, but weren't we (Gen X) the generation who grew up on video games?  Weren't we the ones putting hundreds of quarters into machines in arcades all over the country blowing things up and eating ghosts?  Yes, I will go the fact that the games of my generation were very tame and Pollyanna compared to the realism that we see on our computer screens or televisions via our game consoles today.  However, these two dim-witted Fox News commentators are sitting there ADMITTING they'd never played Mass Effect, but still they sat in the seat of judgement criticizing a 30 second portion of a 30 hour long video game because it had a hint of a boob and a bare alien backside.

Oh my holy hell, kids see far worse on cable TV!  They can open up a Cosmo or Vogue magazine that their mother buys and see more than that!  How about PG and PG-13 movies? Oh, let's throw one more log on the fire...a Victoria's Secret catalog has more skin than that video game shows.  But there, on Fox News you've got two women with absolutely no clue about the video game genre, much less any sort of connect with reality, going off about a HINT of a boob.  My word.  What did they think their child was staring at when they were breast feeding?  DUH!  Oh what am I saying, these are rich republicans, I forgot, they don't breast feed their children, their nannies take care of their kids.

This gets me back to a fundamental point I've been hollering about along with lots of video game scholars out there...unless you play the game, don't speak on it or criticize it because you have not one clue of what you're talking about.  I know all of nothing about nuclear physics...do you hear ME even begin to broach the subject?  Hell no, because I've got not one clue about it and I'm not going to sit and sound like a moron, I've got far too much self-respect for that.

But here goes Cali again butting their noses into something they shouldn't be touching with a ten foot pole.

Parents...let me say that again...PARENTS are supposed to be responsible for their children, NOT the government, not teachers and most certainly not a group of ignorant people who have not one clue about today's video game culture.

As the writer of the article on WoW Insider so eloquently states:

"Movies are submitted to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) for a rating; the body deliberates and stamps the movie with whatever rating it deems appropriate. Video games work in a similar way. The self-regulation comes from the fact that most movie theaters won't screen movies that aren't rated by the MPAA, just as most stores won't stock video games without an ESRB rating. Ta-daa, you have self-regulation without the need for the state or federal government to step in and tell you how to do your business."

What bothers me the most about all this is that these are games we're talking about.  Games that challenge minds on a daily basis, whether it's strategic thinking, puzzle solving (read: problem solving), mathematics, or a multitude of other life skills.  And two twits on Fox News are more concerned over a hint of a boob in a game that doesn't even lead you there unless you make the choices that take you there.

All this falls back to the question of why aren't parents playing the game with their kids?  Why are they allowing a computer or video game console do more parenting than they are?

I'll be very real with you...I grew up in the MTV generation...day after day I was pounded by images of Madonna in her white dress and "Boy Toy" belt buckle singing "Like a Virgin," but it did NOT in any way supersede the rules of the house.  When Mom said "turn it off," I turned it off.  Hell, my mother spent hours upon HOURS in my bedroom playing Pac-Man on my Atari 2600 while we were waiting for dinner to finish cooking.  She knew EXACTLY what I played and what I watched.  She's even seen me play WoW!   And I never have heard her say word one against video games and she's from a generation that is now the ruling class of conservatives.  However, I had a Mom who was engaged in being a mom even though she worked as well.  She may not get points for style or technique, but the woman tried and was a very active part of our lives.  Kids these days would be so lucky to have my mom because at least she tried the games I played and now she listens as I tell her about the games I play now.

But the whole thing boils down to this...since when do we let hypocrites tell us what we should be thinking?  When did we allow ourselves to become so passive that people like these so-called "journalists" on Fox News think it's ok fill us with fear and hatred and impose their "moral" standards on us?  When did we lose the ability to make up our own minds as to what is and isn't good for us?

What the Fox News folks fail to realize is that there are a portion of us out there who still have our own free will perfectly intact and that we're immune to the hypocritical nonsense that spews from their mouths.

They're not gamers, but they think it's ok to judge video games and ignorantly assume that what they're saying should be taken as the gospel.  How hypocritical can they get?

No one has ever proved video games cause violence in the real world.  But let me tell you, had I been in the room with those two boneheads on Fox News, I would have gotten violent, if not just to silence ignorance.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Middle Revisited

I finally did it.

I woke up in the middle of the bed.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The $200 Post.

On Monday, John Katsilometes, a web journalist for the Las Vegas Sun was our guest lecturer in 102.

I have to give it to Prof H.  He really knows everyone in town when it comes to being in Ad/PR and Journalism. Johnny Kats, as he's known, is a blogger.  He writes about all sorts of stuff on the social scene in Las Vegas.

But, at first when I looked at Kats, I saw my ex.  That's right, over a lean frame sat a bagged out button down shirt with the cuffs rolled up a few times with a very "interesting" tie, dress pants and of course the signature horn rims that grace the nose of my ex as well.  Having to look at a man who dresses just like my ex got me freaked out right away.  I sat there taking notes in my notebook about the guy so that I could tell you how exactly freaked I was about it because, sans cystic acne scars, Kats looked almost identical to my ex and it threw me into a fit of anxiety.  I sat clicking my pen and trying desperately not to have a panic attack.  I reminded myself to breathe in and out and just let it go.

After a few minutes, my heart rate slowed down as he got onto the topic of blogs and he asked us if any of us were bloggers.  My hand immediately shot up and Prof H. took special time to make sure he pointed me out.  (Thanks Prof H.  You're awesome.)  A few other students raised their hands as well and Kats went about asking us what the title of our blogs were.  When I told him the name of mine, he stopped and said, "That's a great title."  I smiled.  Look at me Ma, a pro journalist thinks my blog has a great title, look out!

Anyway, he followed up by asking what I wrote about.  When I said the word "recovery" his eyes grew bigger as if he thought I was going to say drug addiction or something else.  When I told him it was recovering from a bad marriage, he told me there are some folks who are putting together website for women to share their experiences about recovering from exactly what I've been writing about for the last 19 months, just without the video games, movies and school.  After class, he gave me the website address, I thanked him and made my way home.

After I got home, I took a look at the site that he told me about, and it's one of those things where I don't think the folks who put together that site don't look at recovery as a very personal journey.  When it comes to break-ups and relationships, that's as personal as it gets, so right off the bat, I think they've missed the boat.  The site is very much like Cosmo, full of little teasers, but really no practical things to help.  It's all varnish and no "meat," all prompting the reader towards their workshop.  Now get ready, because here it comes.  What really killed me is that they're offering a six week long course for $200 to help you get through the rough patch.  Are they serious?  $200 for someone to blow sunshine up your ass and tell you you're going to feel UP about the screwing you just took?  I shook my head.

When you go through a break up, the last thing you want to do is spend $200 to feel UP about getting screwed over and that's IF you have $200 to spend after the asshole leaves you high and dry.  I know one woman who, after her very wealthy husband bailed on her, had all of $67 to her name.  Oh yes, she's got the $200 to shell out on a six week course to feel better about her marriage going south...Riiiight.

The first six weeks post break-up are hell, followed by the next six months just trying to get your head screwed back on straight.  If you go straight into a workshop about break-ups right after you've just been trounced, you're asking for severe emotional trauma.  I remember after the ex left, my family trying to analyze and go over what happened to me.  I didn't want to go over it again!  It was all I thought about anyway!  I sat staring at the ceiling over so many sleepless nights asking myself "What did I do wrong?" "What did I do right?" "How was I going to recover?"  To have my wounds opened up in front of a pack of strangers is NOT what I would have volunteered for.  Especially when you see on the webpage for the service that, "oh, by the way, you'll be with other great single ladies!"  I ask you, why the hell would you want to be around anyone when your face looks like a punching bag because you've been crying so hard?  Do they know your ex?  Do they know the exact circumstances of what he did to you?  Hell NO.  So basically you're putting yourself in a room with other women who are toting their own baggage and the gods forbid, you get those gals who don't like carrying their own baggage, so they make others carry it for them.  Either way, I'm thinking it's not such a great idea.

Having your marriage go belly up is like having a death in the family because let's face it, if your spouse has truly departed, you're sleeping alone in a bed you shared for years with your partner, on top of having to clean his crap out of the closet along with 10 years worth of clutter.  So as you try to bring yourself to clean out his stuff, you can't help but grieve because let's face it, with every piece you pack up, you're faced with all of the memories of your relationship.  You have to cope with the fact that the person you promised to be with 'till death do you part' has decided to bail out early and you're faced with the fact that the relationship you worked so hard to keep alive has died and gone the way of the Dodo.

Grieving is a very personal process and much to the opposite of what this "break-up site" promises, that you'll have tons of support from people who understand what you're going through.  What they're not getting is that while support is great, you have to recover on your own because you only find self-worth when you realize that you're the only one who can pick yourself up by your bootstraps, stand up, be counted and keep on walking.  No one can tell you how, no one can teach it to you, it comes from deep inside and only when you're ready for it.  I rolled my eyes at the promises that site makes, "that you'll feel better in just six weeks."  Anyone who's been through a bad break-up knows it's far from the truth because you could go to a workshop every week for the next 50 years, and it will do you no good until you're ready to get going again.  Trust me, I speak from experience, when you're to the point that you accept what's happened to you, you don't want to hear anything about your old relationship.  You don't want to think about it, you want to put it behind you and move forward, not revisit and make yourself sick over it.

$200 to feel better after a break-up.  Wow.  I guess they forgot the word "break" in there because if your heart is broken, the black hole you find yourself in will suck every last bit of positive energy out of you.  My favorite line on that site is "you'll learn to heal constructively, for good."  Lordy, that's like the promises that come with a very expensive vat of wrinkle cream that after you buy it, then take it home and apply it, you realize it doesn't do squat.  I'm all for the constructive part, but really it's up to each and every person who goes through a break up whether they're going to take it to a positive place or not and it doesn't take $200 to figure out that little nugget of common sense.

Y'all have gone on a long journey with me.  19 months, 28 pounds, the adventures of becoming a trash bag connoisseur, endless trips to the dumpster, cleaning out closets, the tale of the three foot long wooden fork and spoon, bouncing through potholes and trying in vain to dry off after having a scalding cup of coffee dropped into my lap.  Then on to moving into my own place and finally being able to laugh as "The Bassettmobile" rudely cut me off while driving down the street.  You've been with me as I've been finding what out what passions drive me, then the realization that my dreams are just a step away, all I have to do is move forward towards it.  We've learned together that life is filled with such wonderful people, from friends in online worlds, to the ones I've met when I finally dried my tears and picked myself up to a point I'm ready to go outside and face the world again.

I figure everyone carries baggage from any experience they have and break ups are no different.  The whole point you have to figure out is that no one in your future should pay for the mistakes you or someone else made in the past.  It's your life, you have to take responsibility for it and put one foot in front of the other, making sure the mistakes you made are ones that you'll do your darndest not to make again, all the while staying positive and sharing love with everyone along the way.

$200.  Wow, I should start charging admission for all the neat little stories I've told about recovering from a relationship gone south.  The thing is, I've been recovering, for the most part, independently.  I didn't need other women to tell me where I needed to go or what I needed to do.  It wasn't but a week after the ex left that I was trying to get myself into school, fighting tooth and nail with the admissions department the whole way.  I had no one nearby to cry on or hold me while I wailed.  My online family was the first to hear about the debacle, and my aunties all stepped up and comforted me, but it was actually a bunch of men who got me through it all and not a single one of them were here with me in the flesh.  What does that say?  Breaking up is not just a woman thing, and it's not just a man thing.  We all have friends and it doesn't matter what sex they are if they're being encouraging along the way.  Lord knows, without KP, Chance, Jim, Jason, Stephen and my other comrades in WoW, I wouldn't have made it through those first couple of months because they talked to me, listened to me vent, encouraged me, kept me distracted and my mind off where my ex had gone to live and they left me alone while I did the necessary mental legwork of being able to handle the situation on my own without severe anxiety.  I won't lie.  My marriage disintegrating still bothers me, only for the sole reason that I got myself into a jam that could have been easily avoided on a multitude of fronts.

I'm still stuck on the $200 thing.  I guess it's because helping people shouldn't be something you charge for.  It's like when I talk about how it's important to have nutritional value and that being a friend doesn't require repayment.

You know, in all, the day was pretty traumatic.  I had to look at a guy who looked like my ex, then hear all about a group of women profiteering over break-ups.  You know, to me, it's like the whole Diet Water fad.  How in the hell can water be "diet".  It's got zero calories to begin with!  Common sense, it's not all that common, is it?

I guess the whole thing can be summed up in one word, desperation.  And as the line from the 1990's film Singles goes..."Desperation, it's the world's worst cologne."  Brass tacks is, you've got to be pretty desperate to spend $200 for the illusion of feeling better when the truth is that you'll only feel better by taking it day by day, remembering to breathe in and out, taking stock on your part in what's happened, learning that it takes two to tango and relationships are a two-way street, both partners have to give and work hard at it or it just doesn't fly.  But when you find yourself at the bottom, it's only your blood, sweat and tears that's going to dig yourself out of the hole you've found yourself in.  It's also knowing one simple truth:  it takes time to heal, and as each day passes, you'll hurt less and less. You just have to believe in yourself and keep moving forward because you're someone who's full of nutritional value and worth being around.

I sure wish someone would send me $200.  LOL!  I've got enough here to prove you don't need to spend a dime to help yourself feel better after a breakup.  All it takes is lots of heart, the ability to find the nutritional value around you and just be able to look up at the sky and consider yourself lucky for what you have.

$200.  I'm sorry, I just can't help but laugh.  People will do almost anything to make a buck these days, won't they?

But, hey, at least my blog has a great title, right?