Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Rainy Day Memory Of My Dad

Yesterday brought a really big rain storm -- thanks be to God -- to California. We haven't seen one like it in quite a while. And this rainstorm brought back a memory of my dad.

I went to college at San Francisco State University. I was a commuter student -- as most of us were. I lived at home with my family in Redwood City and would drive our Chevy Citation or Chrysler 300 -- whichever one happened to be working -- to school each day. I took the 280, so it was a pretty simple, straightforward, lacking-in-traffic, half an hour drive to get from my house to SF State.

One day in mid-winter, though, a big storm struck -- much like yesterday's. As I was getting ready to leave for school, my dad approached me. "Stay home from school," he said. "The storm is too bad and it's dangerous to drive in it." I replied that I really couldn't stay home from school. I was a biology major and had two 3-hour labs that day. Labs were pretty difficult -- if not impossible -- to make up. I think I also had a test. I explained my predicament to my father and reassured him that I would be fine. After all -- I drove on the 280. No other road was simpler to navigate than the 280, even in the rain.

My father was not satisfied. He announced that he would drive me to school in the Chrysler 300 -- a big bruiser of a safe car. I told him that was really not necessary. I mean, he also had to go to work. And he would have to leave work early to come pick me up again. In San Francisco. He told me that he would rather drive me and pick me up than worry about me. He told me that he was happy to do it and that it was no problem.

And so he did it. He got dressed and drove me to college. He went back home and went to work. Then he left work early and came and picked me up and drove me back home. He did not complain. He actually looked cheerful about the whole thing. We had a nice father-daughter chat in the car.

And that's the kind of father my father was. I kind of took it for granted that all fathers are that way. I have come to see that they aren't. And I feel so blessed. And I hope my father -- up in Heaven -- knows how blessed I feel.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

"Gotham" -- A Middle-Aged Italian Mom's View

(Aside: People should not talk about politics, unless they can do it without getting all mad.)


There have been many reviews about "Gotham."

Here is mine.

Well... It's not really a review. It's just a compilation of some random thoughts I've had about it.

Two episodes of "Gotham" have aired so far, and I have loved both of them.

First of all, I can understand EVERY SINGLE WORD OF THE DIALOGUE. YAY!!! This is rare for me, and I would like to compliment the talented cast and the amazing sound people. It is very rare for me to be able to understand all the dialogue in a show. People can tend to mumble a little and speak rather quickly, which for a pair of young ears is all well and good. But, my middle-aged ears have a rather tough time with it. So, THANK-YOU, "GOTHAM," for not making me feel so old. xoxo <3

Secondly, I can follow the story completely. YAY again!!! This has also been rare for me, with a lot of "modern" drama-type shows. So, thank-you to the writers and editors for not making me feel stupid as I try to understand the story.

These two things may not seem like a big thing to you, but they are HUGE to me. Especially because the dialogue in "Gotham" is worth understanding and the story the show is telling is worth following. Unlike "The Bachelor."

Thirdly, in "Gotham," Ben McKenzie runs with a gun while pretending to be a law enforcement officer. Ben McKenzie excels at running with a gun while pretending to be a law enforcement officer. It is SO much fun to watch. He looks so cool when he runs. Some people like to see Ben do "love scenes." I have actually had hits to my blog by people looking for "Ben McKenzie love scenes." (I have never written about those, by the way.) I, though, would much prefer to see Ben run with a gun. So -- thank-you, Ben and writers and directors.

Closely related to the running with a gun is this: In "Gotham," Ben McKenzie does fight scenes. He also excels at those. Every time I watch one, though, I get kind of tense, thinking about him ramming his head into the concrete pillar on his birthday. I hope the "Gotham" producers are giving Ben time to get enough sleep. You need lots of sleep in order to do fight scenes safely. Especially as you get older.

You can totally tell that a middle-aged Italian mother is writing this, can't you??? ;-)

For you more serious people, here are a few thoughts about "Gotham" that are a little more serious.

The show is beautiful to look at. It is gorgeous. It is a work of art. It looks just like the comic books sprang off the pages and came to life -- the characters, the costumes, the props, the sets, absolutely everything. Even the dialogue is reminiscent of what you would see in the comic books. Some people have poked fun at the dialogue. They have called it "cheesy" and "corny." Nonsense. The dialogue is done in such a manner that it lends to the overall feeling that you are watching a living, breathing comic book. It is brilliant.

The performances are outstanding. Every. Single. One. Of. Them. Yes, I spoke about Ben McKenzie, but ALL the actors are to be commended. They are perfect in their roles. And it doesn't seem as though anybody is being a "prima donna." I get the impression that everybody is working as a team, supporting one other so that each person can give his or her best for the show. And that's why the show is as good as it is.

The story is well-thought-out and expertly crafted. The premiere set the stage in an outstanding manner so that the story can develop organically in all of its multi-layered complexity. I get the feeling that there will be very few, if any, inconsistencies in the plot. The overall story arc seems to be well-integrated into the smaller story-arcs of the individual episodes -- something that is not easy to do. The story is also fascinating. I want to keep watching it. I am curious to see what will happen week after week. That is a rare thing for me.

The show also embraces diversity -- there are many major female characters, there is a lesbian character, there are characters of many different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. This is very cool. And it is especially cool because it is done in a very natural way. When I was younger, whenever a show was even brave enough to embrace diversity, it was often done in an awkward manner. There was almost like this big effort on the part of such a show to announce, "LOOK!!! We have DIVERSITY!!!" With "Gotham," though, the characters just are who they are -- living their lives, doing their jobs, having their relationships, being good or bad or somewhere in-between. This, to me, is a positive thing. It reinforces the fact that we are all human beings, with human needs and hopes and desires.

Thanks for reading my thoughts. I appreciate that you would take the time to do so. And -- hopefully -- I'll see you on Monday. In Gotham. ;-)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Gotham -- Of Heroes And Parental Advisories

As many of you probably know, "Gotham" starts tonight. I am VERY excited about "Gotham". Because of "SouthLAnd". Yes -- all roads lead to "SouthLAnd". You see -- Ben McKenzie, who was one of the lead actors on "SouthLAnd" is playing the lead role of Jim Gordon in "Gotham". And -- as a very dear friend of mine said -- "I will support the "SouthLAnd" actors until the day that I die." Yep.

So, if you don't know, "Gotham" is a "Batman" origin story. It follows the newly-hired Detective Jim Gordon as he tries to deal with the chaos that is Gotham City until he finally can't take it anymore and thinks up Batman. Yes. I believe the whole Batman thing will end up being Jim Gordon's brainchild. Bruce Wayne will be like, "Have you lost your mother f***ing mind, Jim??? You want me to do WHAT??? That's just f***ing crazy." And Jim Gordon will be all like, "You have the money. You have the education. You have a very large basement and a cool old house with mysterious spaces. You have the athletic ability. And I'm just plain tired out from chasing around bad people who like to pretend they're animals and stuff. And Barbara is tired of me never being at home. In fact, I think she's got a little something goin' on the side. Who can blame her? She's never been the same since the time I cracked my skull up against that concrete pillar. (Points at forehead.) Yes. That was years ago and you'd think she'd have gotten over it. But -- nooooooo. So, I think I've got to go home and start gettin' some sexy on with Babs before it's too late." And -- thus -- Bruce Wayne, in a moment of sympathy for his old friend and realizing that his fun afternoons with Barbara had to come to an end at some point, relents and goes to the PLUS SIZE lingerie shop to get some black tights and such.

So... What was the point of this whole thing again?

Oh, yeah.

Parental advisories.

I read a parental advisory for "Gotham" last week. I forget which group posted it. I don't remember the exact wording. But, I'll strive for accuracy.

The parental advisory people said that "Gotham" is not suitable for children. I agree. It probably isn't. To each his or her own, though. I wouldn't have let my kids watch it when they were little.

The parental advisory people also said that "Gotham" wasn't suitable for young teens. I'm a little bit more unsure about that point. I probably would have let my kids watch it as young teens.

The thing the parental advisory said, though, that really made me roll my eyes was something to this effect:  They weren't advising the show for kids or young teens because the hero -- Jim Gordon -- isn't going to win in the end. He's basically going to be a defeated hero. And, apparently, this sort of hero is very bad for children and young teens.

Say what???

First of all, I'm sure he's going to have at least a few little victories along the way. Yes, in the end -- exhausted and suffering from Barbara withdrawals -- he will have to think up Batman. But, that doesn't make him a defeated hero. It just makes him realistic and a little bit humble. I mean, one guy against a whole evil city??? Come on.

Seriously, though, what is a hero? Is a hero somebody who inevitably overcomes his obstacles single-handedly. Who never admits defeat? Who is never actually defeated? -- OR -- Is a real hero somebody who makes mistakes, makes the wrong choices sometimes, goes down some wrong paths, has serious falls (even moral ones), trusts the wrong people occasionally, ends up lost -- maybe even completely lost -- and then has the humility and the moral strength and the fortitude to admit his faults and his failings (at least to himself) and get back up and go on and try to do the right thing.  To me, this second kind of person is a real hero. The first kind of hero -- the unfailing, unerring, inevitably undefeated/undefeatable one is not a real hero. It's easy to be that kind of person. The authentic hero -- to my mind, anyway -- is the one who has to face down his wayward humanity and keep on pushing forward, even when it would be easier to give up and run away. It certainly would be easier for Jim Gordon to give up and run away. But, he doesn't. And that, at the end of the day, is what makes him a real hero. He doesn't run away -- either from himself or from the city that needs him.

So -- perhaps -- Jim Gordon is just the kind of hero our young teens need. Because -- in life -- that's what most of us have to go through. Most of us are not Captain America (bless his heart). Most of us are more like Jim Gordon. We screw up. Badly. We have disappointments -- from others and from ourselves. And we need to learn to rise up those screw-ups and disappointments and stay the course. And there are times when we have to call in our own Batman (a.k.a. bestie). And if my kids were still young teenagers watching "Gotham", this is what we would be talking about.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

My Schubertiade Moment

My beloved dad passed away when my daughter, Bridget, was a sophomore at Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula. We live in San Diego. My parents lived in Redwood City. Santa Paula is in between those two places, so we made arrangements to pick Bridget up en route.

Now, Thomas Aquinas College (TAC) is sort of a sophisticated place. Kind of formal. I am neither sophisticated, nor formal, as you may well have surmised if you have previously read this blog. My daughter is more sophisticated and formal than I, however, which is probably one of the reasons she chose TAC. Every time I went to visit her, though, I kind of blundered around. I always felt like an elephant in the room, so to speak. Though it is a lovely place, it is not my kind of place. And this particular visit went -- typically -- awry for me, but in a more extreme fashion than usual.

Thankfully, the staff and students at TAC -- though tending to conservative formality and impeccable propriety -- are also very polite and forbearing of their visitors. And some of them, I suspect, are my kindred spirits. They just hide it well.

Anyway, the day of our arrival happened to coincide to a school-wide event known as the Schubertiade. It's this fancy type of classical music performance -- basically the polar opposite of a Van Halen concert -- where many of the students perform lovely classical pieces for their teachers and confreres. It is held in the library -- which, at TAC, is a VERY formal building -- and most all of the students attend. If you are a student at TAC, you had better attend the Schubertiade. And if you don't, you had better either be studying or doing your work-study job preparing dinner in the kitchen.

As we pulled up to the school in our minivan, Bridget happily greeted us and led us proudly into the library for this wondrous event. Those of you who know me are laughing very hard right now, thinking of me at such a thing. I have avoided classical music, at basically all costs, throughout my whole life. And my kid -- MY KID, for heaven's sake -- is excitedly pulling me into a Schubertiade. I mean, isn't this supposed to work the other way around?!?! I really don't know what happened. All three of my kids -- ALL THREE OF THEM -- are classical music afficionados, happily PAYING MONEY to go to the symphony.

I have to admit, though, that it was lovely. The performers were all dressed up, playing melodious things on pianos and stringed instruments (no synthesizers or electric guitars here). The student body sat all about the main floor of the library and on all the walkways that rise up from and surround the main floor of the library. Everybody was quite serious and respectful and quiet, as you would expect from properly raised young people. And -- okay -- the music was pretty good, I admit.

Bridget took us upstairs, since the main floor of the library was full. We were sitting on the third floor walkway, which overlooked the musicians below. And then...

It happened.

My elephant in the room moment.

In my purse was a zhu-zhu pet. Remember those? They were all the rage for a while. They were these little battery-powered hamsters that ran around and made a variety of cute noises. I had brought this zhu-zhu pet with me in order to cheer Bridget up because her grandpa had passed away, and she was sad. I didn't realize that it could turn itself on. Well... Maybe it didn't turn itself on, but something in my purse must have bumped up against it. And turned it on. On the third-floor walkway of the library, overlooking the main performance area of the Schubertiade, it started making all of its cute little squeaky, squealy noises inside of my purse. You could hear the little wheels going 'round and 'round. I reached into my purse to turn it off, but I couldn't figure out how. Zhu-zhu pets had something like 15 buttons, most of which were covered with "fur", and I couldn't find the one that would turn the thing off.

Down below me, a handsome young man in a tux sang away beautifully in a foreign language (I'm not sure which one), while a lovely young lady in a pretty dress elegantly accompanied him on a shiny black grand piano. I'm sure they could hear the squeals. I'm quite sure of it. But, they did not flinch. Neither did anybody else. Not really, anyway. Although, I did detect a few sly smiles from my kindred spirits in the audience. I was starting to get a bit desperate, though, so I pushed the elevator button. My goal was to toss it in there when the doors opened. Bridget, seeing what her mother was about to do, and realizing that the situation would only be made worse if the squealing, squeaking zhu-zhu pet were to ride up and down and up and down in the elevator during the amazing vocal performance that was concurrently taking place, grabbed the thing out of my hands and proceeded to hurry it down three flights of stairs and past all of her friends and teachers (to whom she had been so much looking forward to "showing off" her family). She looked so cute, cupping the little toy in her hands, quietly but quickly fleeing the scene. She kind of looked like Cinderella as she ran out of the ball. Now, more of the nice young people were overtly smiling and trying to stifle giggles. None of the faculty or staff looked amused, though. But, they were polite and pretended not to notice anything -- in the true Catholic tradition of charity towards tuition-paying parents.

I did not see anymore of what happened. But, Bridget tells me that when she finally got downstairs, the first door she got to was a fire exit, so she couldn't go out that one without setting off an alarm. She did find an alternate door and took the toy -- still making noise -- outside. I guess one kind faculty member saw her distress and -- thinking that she was holding a real live rodent -- went over to offer his assistance. That was very nice of him. Don't you think?

Anyhow, the Schubertiade continued on and was concluded without any further disruption. Everybody clapped politely and exited. Nobody said anything rude to me, or even acted as though anything unusual had taken place.

Was I embarrassed? Of course. But, over the years, I have learned that I am prone to causing embarrassing situations -- even when striving to the utmost to avoid them. I have found that it is really better for all involved if I just keep my cool.  So, I just laughed. And sent in a donation.

(Hop over here to read Bridget's side of the story)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

What To Do When Your Nude Pics Get Leaked Online

First of all, let me say this. Although I am going to be a bit humorous in this post, I do not take the online leaking of celebrities' nude photos at all lightly. I think they should find the bastard who did it and then prosecute him to the full extent of the law. Why? Because it is illegal. Duh. Beyond that, though, it is an action that shows severe disrespect for the inherent integrity and dignity of a human being. There are probably people who think that if someone would pose for nude photos then she deserves what she gets. I say, "Bullshit." These were private pictures. And to show them to the world without the consent of the subjects is a sign of contempt for women -- and human beings, in general.

So there.


So, what should you do (besides having "The Law" track down the perpetrator) if your nude photos do get leaked to the world?

This is what I would do.

And -- yes -- I have nude photos. Sort of.

Do you remember -- years ago -- when Demi Moore was pregnant and she did that magazine cover where she was kind of naked, but covering up her "vitals" with a drapey sheet thing? She was quite lovely. And I -- being pregnant at the same time -- was quite inspired. So, I re-enacted the pose -- plus some of my own design -- using colorful silk scarf things. My hubs took the pictures, and it was kind of fun. I never showed the pictures to anybody. And I eventually got rid of them, because I didn't look quite as inspiring as Demi, probably because I lacked a professional photographer with professional lighting and professional make-up and hair people and professional air-brush experts. I didn't realize -- in my youth and with my hormonally-influenced brain -- that these professional things would probably make a huge difference in the quality of the final product. So, I was -- in the end -- not very pleased with the pictures. I kept them for a few years, and then threw them away. I also thought about the fact that my poor kids would come upon them when cleaning out my things after I die. That would probably cause them to have to spend their inheritance on counseling, instead of a grand European holiday, and that would be a true bummer. So, I threw the pictures out -- after tearing them up in little pieces first, of course, because I didn't want to traumatize any trash collection people or dumpster divers. When I think about it now, though, I kind of wish I had kept them. I bet I actually looked pretty hot, because I was all of 29 years old and had gained only the recommended amount of pregnancy weight for being 8 months along. Well, not really. I had gained more than that. But, it was all water weight. Really.


When those nude photos were leaked of those lovely celebrities, my mind went immediately to these pictures and how I would feel and what I would do if they got leaked. Because, you know, they still might be out there, somewhere. Because I sent them to the film developing place to get developed. And I realized, even as I brought them to the film developing place, that somebody in that little film developing business might make a copy of my pictures and hold onto them for himself. If he had a thing for 8-months-pregnant women, anyway. Or if he thought there was a chance that I might get rich and famous someday, giving him the opportunity to blackmail me and, thus, to free himself from his crappy film-development job. Because -- you know -- we didn't have much money, so I went to the cheap film development place where the people probably made minimum wage, at best. So, my nekkid pregnancy pictures might -- even now -- be in the hands of some pathetic middle-aged dude, just waiting for his chance to pounce. I mean, even if he didn't try blackmail, he still might want to gain some notoriety for his poor, pathetic self by posting my nude photos online the very day I become Executive Producer of "SouthLAnd -- The Movie" or am chosen by Hillary Clinton to be her running mate in 2016.

So, as you can see, I have had to think about this thing. It is not just some theoretical "what if" proposition for me. It might actually happen. And I have considered -- in the 20+ years since I posed for those pictures -- what I would do if it did happen.

(You may wonder why in the world I would bring that film to get developed at the cheap film developing place. After all, as you may realize, strange men would see those pictures, even if they didn't leak them online. Well -- there was no "online" at the time. The answer -- besides my hormonally-influenced cerebrum -- is that I really didn't care. I am really not that shy. And I had covered up my "vitals" with my colorful silk scarf things. So, there you have it. Judge me if you will. I don't care. I've had 50+ years to learn to cope with my personality, and I have achieved a certain level of self-acceptance. Take me or leave me. At least you know what you're getting.)

Back to what I would do if my "private" photos were leaked.

First of all, I would set "The Law" on the son-of-a-bitch who leaked them.

Secondly, I would hold my head high. I would refuse to be embarrassed. I would consider, instead, who really needed to be embarrassed -- the son-of-a-bitch who leaked the photos and all those who chose to look at them. Those are the people who should be embarrassed. I would also realize that the situation would give me an opportunity -- an opportunity to prove myself to actually be the classy, self-assured broad that I want to be. And can you imagine telling that story as an old lady??? It would be awesome, if you told it well. I would also ask my professional photography friends to put the pictures through their photo-shop device so that I would look like a true bombshell of a pregnant chick. And then "Rolling Stone" would put me on the cover. And not only would I be the VP of the United States of America AND the Executive Producer of "SouthLAnd -- The Movie", I would be offered a permanent position playing the Diner Waitress in "Gotham."

So, there. ;-)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thoughts About Dating

I have not -- thankfully -- had to date in many, many years. But my kids -- and many of their friends -- are at the dating stage of life. Heck. I guess any age could be considered the "dating stage" of life, if you are single. Anyway, watching and listening to my kids and their friends has caused me to think a bit about dating -- even if I don't have to do it, myself. Most of these thoughts have been arrived at by comparing and contrasting my own (and my friends') dating experiences of yesteryear with what I see going on nowadays.

So, here we go.

(Please note: I am not actually professionally qualified to give dating advice, so proceed at your own risk.)

First of all, don't make too big a deal about dating. Dating is really not that big a deal. Some people seem to think that if you agree to go on a date with somebody that it means you are willing to consider marrying that person. Or sleeping with him/her. Or making out. Or that you have decided that you actually like that person.


It does not mean ANY of those things. It can, if you want it to. But, you don't have to want it to; and that is perfectly fine.

All going out on a date needs to mean is that somebody who is maybe a little bit intrigued by you wants to go and do something with you -- like have lunch or dinner or coffee or go for a hike or a walk in the park or catch a movie. And all it means for you to accept this offer of a date is that you are at least a little bit intrigued by the person who asked you. And you should feel safe being with that person. I don't mean that you shouldn't feel nervous and jittery before your date -- that is PERFECTLY NORMAL and nothing to be worried about. But, you should feel safe -- like, maybe, the person shouldn't be involved in criminal activity or investment banking. I guess it's not always possible to know if a person is involved in criminal activity, but that's why you should proceed with caution and use common sense.

I will give you a couple of examples, using myself.

I was ALWAYS nervous before first dates. I used to get butterflies. And -- sometimes -- these nerves would cause me to act kind of stupid on the date. Even when I went on a first date with the guy I married, he basically had to tell me to stop talking because I was so anxious that I just kept up a running monologue. Thankfully, I did not choose to take offense at him. I could have chosen to, but I decided not to, because he had a cool car. Yes, that was basically it. The cool car is the reason that my three kids are alive today.  So, as you see, feeling all jittery on a first date is not something to be worried about.

On the other hand, I did -- at times -- use questionable judgment about guys. Like the time I got a crush on the butcher at Lucky Market because my mother used to take so dang long to pick out her meat. I mean, the meat she chose was always first-rate, but it took her, like, half an hour to choose the ground beef and the chuck roast. So, there was nothing better for me to do -- as a teenager -- than flirt with the cute butcher through the glass partition. After many weeks of flirting, the cute butcher asked me to have lunch with him, as his break was starting while my mother was choosing the chicken. So, I said, "Okay." I'm not sure why my mother allowed me to take off with the butcher, but she did. She was cool like that. Anyway, we drove in his old car (with the passenger door that was duct-taped on) to the local park. He didn't bring any food, and I didn't have any. So much for lunch. So we talked. And he told me all about laying in bed with his girlfriend and how mad his mom was when she found them. Quite intriguing, really. Then he drove me home. End of butcher crush. BUT -- it was a good learning experience for me. And -- I guess -- who can you trust not to rape and murder you, if not the local butcher?

As you can see, I sometimes used good sense when dating. And sometimes not. I would advise that you should always use good sense, what with all the crazy people out there, nowadays. The thing is, though, that in neither of these cases did I make a big f-ing deal about going on these dates. I liked the first guy because he was cute and had a cool car. I liked the second guy because he was cute and I was bored. The thing is, in neither case did I have any ideas about marrying them or having sex with them or making out with them. (Okay -- maybe the third thing.) I was just intrigued. And that was enough. And I think it should be for you, too.

And why should it be enough?

First of all, it helps you keep things in perspective and not get all crushed beyond repair if somebody you are dating decides he/she doesn't want to date you, anymore. It. Is. Just. Dating. Nobody is committed. Frankly, you're not even committed if you're engaged. So, feel free to date. Just use some common sense. And don't expect too much, too fast. And if things don't work out, you are free to go find another hot, intriguing person. And that can be fun. And exciting.

Secondly, dating people helps you learn lots of stuff. About yourself. About other people. About life. About what you really want in life. And sometimes you learn the most from situations that go sideways on you.

Thirdly, if you don't take any chances and date people, how will you have good stories to tell your kids? The best thing -- in the aftermath of a less-than-ideal relationship -- is all the stories your mom and dad can tell you about their own dating experiences. Because it gives hope to your kids that life does, in fact, go on.

Now -- of course -- there is the big ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM. Pssst. I will tell you what it is. It is *sex*. People worry a lot about it. Parents worry a lot about it. Like, what if your kid goes out on dates and has some? Well... There are many approaches to this. Some parents don't let their kids date, at all, until they are second-semester juniors in college and are expected to go husband-hunting and/or wife-shopping. Some parents arm their kids with birth control pills and condoms. A lot of parents just cross their fingers and close their eyes and hope for the best. Some parents display their gun collection. All of these are viable alternatives, I suppose.

But, I kind of like what my parents and their friends did. Within a month of getting my first boyfriend, my parents had a party at our house with all the relatives and close family friends. One of the close family friends -- an older Italian broad, full of earthy wisdom -- came over to my new boyfriend and I, stood up in the most erect and formidable fashion possible, raised her hand in the air with her finger pointed to the sky, and loudly announced, "IT ONLY TAKES TEN MINUTES. TEN MINUTES!!!" "It" -- of course -- meaning losing your heads and having sex and getting pregnant. This announcement made quite an impression on me. I never once forgot it, during all of my dating tenure. And it kept me out of A LOT of trouble.

Seriously, though, if you don't want your kids having risky sex, TALK to them about it. Talk to them about situations and what might happen and how to be smart. I'm not saying to make them feel all guilt-ridden if they want to make out a little bit. I'm just saying to teach them appropriate boundaries so that they stay safe. And set situations up so that they stay safe. Like -- for example -- make sure that the only sofa in the house which is appropriate for making out is located in a room that must be traversed by anybody going from one place in the house to another. And then make sure that there are always lots of people in the house who need to go traversing.

I don't know if any of this has actually been helpful, or not. Maybe it has amused you. Or not. Whatever.  But, this is the thing. I see WAY too many young people who are afraid to date. Who get all awkward about it. Because they make too big a deal about what it means. All it really means is that you are interested in a particular person, attracted to a particular person, and you want to spend some time together. Maybe spending a little time together will lead to something more. Maybe it won't. And nobody should feel pressured, either way. Just treat each other with respect. And be honest with each other about what you want for your lives. And don't get all offended if somebody decides you aren't right for them. And don't feel guilty for deciding that somebody is not right for you. And be safe. Because -- remember -- IT ONLY TAKES TEN MINUTES. So, have a little fun. But, not too much fun. And only on the family room sofa when the whole family is at home. ;-)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

How To Really Survive An Apocalypse... not by buying guns and gold and hoarding supplies and running off to the middle of nowhere to build yourself a bunker in the ground.

In my opinion, anyway.

So... What to do? What to do?

Because a lot of people these days are quite frightened. There is Ebola and all the conflict in the Middle East and the Culture Wars and climate change and free birth control and various right- and left-wing conspiracy theories springing up like weeds after a rain. There are a lot of crazy "religious" ideas taking off, too, linking a variety of bad happenings with "God's wrath." And all of these scary things -- both real and imaginary -- cause much anxiety among good folks. And then the good folks can start to act a little bit paranoid, at times. They start speaking of an "apocalypse." And they get defensive, and start doing things like buying guns and gold coins and hoarding supplies and running off to the middle of nowhere to build bunkers in the ground in order to survive this apocalypse.

I think that's kind of screwed up, though.

First of all, when people get all paranoid, they start acting with poor judgment in both their interactions with others and in how they view the events in their lives and in the world. They make poor decisions. And -- worst of all -- they start treating their fellow human beings with disdain. For example, not an insignificant number of people who consider themselves "God-fearing" blame the conflicts in the Middle East and various natural disasters on the "homosexual agenda" and abortion rights. This leads them to treat LGBT people and pro-choice people very poorly -- in word and in deed. It causes us, as a society, to be unable to work with each other and to reach reasonable compromises concerning our differing views about things. There are people who have turned the Ebola outbreak in Africa into a tool for attacking illegal immigrants from Central and South America. So, you see, instead of rationally solving the Ebola problem, we turn it into fuel for the fire in our domestic policy fights. And this gets nothing done. In fact, it's worse than getting nothing done. It takes us ass-backwards.

In my view, then, if there is some kind of apocalyptic event -- something that ends society as we know it -- it's not going to be caused by Ebola or LGBT people or pro-choice people or immigrants or people who want to limit carbon emissions or Putin. It's going to be us -- human beings -- acting like irrational idiots in a time of true need and turning a bad situation into a catastrophic one.

We need to look at the real and actual problems.

We need to treat people who disagree with us -- even on important issues -- with respect.

We need to stop indulging in conspiracy theories involving Facebook and get a grip on reality.

We need to be rational.

And -- most of all -- if there is some sort of huge make-it-or-break-it crisis that humanity has to face -- we have to be kind to each other. We have to be charitable. We have to love. We have to stop running away from each other and isolating ourselves. We have to be there for each other. We have to reach out to each other -- whatever our ideological differences may be -- and see our common humanity and take care of each other. We have to put The Other before ourselves. I think this is what Jesus meant when he said to "love thy neighbor." Because whenever he illustrated in his stories what a "neighbor" is, he always used examples of people who wouldn't naturally get along. That is who your neighbor is, you know? Your neighbor is the person with whom you wouldn't naturally get along.

And this, in my opinion, is the only way we will ever survive (or avert) an apocalypse. By ceasing to act like paranoid, foolish, irrational enemies and begin to act like the brothers and sisters that we're supposed to be.

"Live together. Die alone."


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Making A Major Purchase...

...and other thoughts about the spending of money.

There are lots of very good things written about financial prudence -- emergency funds, college funds, retirement accounts, mortgages, and various types of debt. And it is quite important, to my mind, to have financial prudence -- to live within your means and save a bit. My dad always taught us that you should save something from every paycheck, and this is excellent advice, as it accomplishes more than just ensuring that you build a savings account for emergencies and future needs. Saving a little bit from each paycheck helps you to control your spending, to think more about where your money is going, as you are not permitting yourself to spend everything you make (or more than what you make). Spending something less than you earn and saving the rest helps you to establish good financial habits for the long run. Living below your means and accumulating savings also provides for those times when you must make a major purchase. And those times do come.

And that's what I'm going to talk about today -- those times when you do need to make a major purchase. I'm not going to speak about major repair costs today -- as when something breaks and needs to be fixed on your car or in your house. What I'm going to address are those times when you need to buy something new or "new to you" -- such as a car or a washer/dryer or a refrigerator/freezer or a dishwasher or a new suit and shoes for a job interview or a cell phone or a computer or a TV. And -- let's not kid ourselves -- most people these days consider a cell phone and a computer and a TV to be "necessities." 

I am not, however, going to speak about finding good deals and making wise choices about affordable brands. I am not going to address the decision about whether or not you actually need to buy any of these things. I am going to assume that you have saved the money to make a purchase without using credit. Except -- perhaps -- for the car purchase. People oftentimes take out car loans in a very responsible manner. I am going to assume that you have been prudent in your budgeting and in your decision to actually go ahead with a purchase.

What am I going to speak about then? I am going to give some thought to the ATTITUDE with which you make your purchase. And I'm talking mostly to those people who really are quite frugal and agonize about spending money, even if they really have plenty of the green stuff. Yes, there are -- indeed -- those people among us. And it is to them that I am talking today.

The right attitude about making a big purchase -- which, necessarily, involves plopping down a good deal of $$$ -- is something I also learned from my dad. My dad never made a lot of money. We never had a lot of money. But, he had a very healthy attitude about money. He used to say, "If you can fix it with money, it's not a problem." And when something expensive needed to be purchased, he made it into a fun time. Yes -- a fun time. For example, if shopping needed to be done for a car or a carpet or a new dishwasher, there would be a rather celebratory atmosphere surrounding the whole thing. He didn't mope and drag himself down to the store and resentfully plop down the cash and come immediately home with a resigned, yet depressed, attitude. What did he do? He often included the whole family (or at least my mother) in the purchase. He would wake up in an excited mood, talking about the thing we were going to buy. We might all pile into the car and head to the store, all three of us kids providing our "helpful input" during the selection and purchase process. My dad allowed this because he was Italian (and Italians are quite forbearing of children) and he thought it would make us smart. (I bet we enamored ourselves to a lot of salespeople. Ha!) After the purchase was made, we might go to lunch or to get an ice cream cone or stop at the market to buy something special for supper. And then we would all gather around the newly purchased item at home, admiring it and talking about how much fun we were going to have with it or how useful it was going to be. It was always a grand time, with my dad never, ever letting on that buying this thing was any type of financial strain. Even though I know it was. I knew it at the time, too, because my parents were always quite open about our financial situation. Because they thought it would make us smart. My mom and dad often made things inconvenient for themselves by including us kids, because they thought it was an important part of our education.

These days, most people are financially stressed. In my opinion, a lot of this stress could be relieved by appropriate public policy. Unfortunately, that is probably not going to happen any time soon. So, what do we do in the meantime? Wring our hands and fret? That's a waste of this wonderful gift called life. So, what I do is look to my dad, who really didn't have an easy time of it during the turbulent 60's and 70's. Did things get to him? Yes, they did. But, I always saw that -- when the rubber hit the road and money needed to be spent -- he made the decision to turn the proverbial lemons into the proverbial lemonade. And he also had this attitude when deciding to make a purchase here and there that wasn't exactly a "necessity" -- such as the color TV he bought when I was in the 7th grade or the dinner at the nice restaurant for the out-of-town relatives. When he made the choice to make a significant purchase, he did consider it carefully. He was prudent. But, when he decided to go ahead with it, he turned it into a joy and some of the happiest of my childhood memories -- and some of the best preparation for my own adult life. Thanks, Dad. And may you be resting in peace. <3

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Writing Erotica... not something I have ever done.

But still -- true to form -- I have opinions about it.

And I can imagine writing about it. As in, I can imagine the things I would write. If I did, in fact, write erotica. Which I do not. At this point, anyway.

I have read some erotica, though, here and there, throughout my life. And most of it, in my opinion, is pretty boring. And sort of predictable. And often gross. Although, admittedly, these things are matters of taste. And I am just talking about my own.

So, after much consideration, here are my thoughts about that literary genre known as "erotica."

First of all, it should be a bit subtle. A lot of erotica is not subtle. It's like, "He marched over to her and yanked her hair back by her ponytail and shoved his tongue down her throat while simultaneously taking off his pants. And she yielded to his irresistible irresistibleness."

It's true, isn't it!?!? It's just like that a lot of the time! And I mean -- really!?!? REALLY!?!? Because that is just lame. And not at all erotic.

Where is the subtlety? Things that are erotic -- or sexy, if you will -- have a bit of subtlety to them. A bit of mystery. Things that are erotic should be enticing. And enticing things don't come at you all at once. They build slowly, gaining your attention a little bit at a time, until -- finally -- your full attention is held.

Erotica should also be about more than just the physical. Sexually attractive things encompass not just the body, but the intellect and the spirit. They appeal to the wit, to the sense of humor. They might make you laugh. I guess what I am saying is that erotica should appeal to the whole of a person, to all the aspects of what make a human being human. Yes, there is physical attraction; but, there is much more. And not only does foreplay include the successful unhinging of a bra strap, but a funny face and a giggle, as well. Or the sharing of a sorrow. What is erotic is the feeling that a person understands at least something of the deepest parts of you, and beholds and embraces those parts.

Keeping this in mind, erotica does not necessarily have to include full-on sex, at least not in a way which comes prematurely in the story. That which is truly sexy, truly erotic, has to do with the touch, the gaze. This big old rush by writers of erotica to get to the orgasm -- putting the orgasm on a pedestal -- robs this genre of a lot of what could be interesting about it. And it should be interesting, meaning that the story surrounding and involving the characters should be given at least as much thought -- if not more -- than "the act" itself. Most erotica that I have encountered in my lifetime does give this sense of "let's hurry up and get to it." There might be a little bit of story involved, but it is clearly not carefully crafted. Its importance is marginalized. And this, to my mind, undermines most of what could actually be erotic about most erotic literature. The characters, their individual stories, their story together -- these things are incredibly vital to a believable and compelling sexual dynamic. 

I read an article once about how reading erotica influenced young people's ideas about how "real-life" sex should be. An anecdote that made me laugh -- and also made me think -- was related by a young woman. She said that she came to realize that she didn't have to behave like some sort of gymnast in bed -- transitioning from one position and "activity" to another, in an effort to keep herself and her partner "entertained." She said that it dawned on her, as she had sex one time, that it was infinitely more pleasurable to just lie still and relax and enjoy her partner. She found that she was much more gratified and pleasured by having sex in this more "restful" way. She realized that she actually became more aroused. Yes, I laughed, because the way she related the story was kind of cute. But, it also made me a little bit sad, because a lot of people are getting at least some of their ideas about how to have sex by reading erotic literature.

Of course, some people will say that we should just "stamp out" erotic literature. But, that's not going to happen. There has always been erotica, and there always will be. But, maybe, more of it should encompass what is real, what is human, what is truly engrossing in human sexuality and the whole of human relationships, rather than insulting us with cheesy, thoughtless, hastily slapped together, very mechanical, and fairly dull attempts to cheaply titillate.


Monday, July 14, 2014

White Space

I should probably not read blogs when I am tired, which is what I've been doing lately. I should probably not write when I am tired, which is what I have been doing lately.

Oh, well.

I was going to write about writing erotica. I have not actually written erotica, but I have some thoughts about writing it -- were I to do that -- which I wanted to express here. Maybe I will do that in my next post. If I ever did actually write erotica, I would probably do it in some other forum, under a pseudonym. So, if you would want to read my erotica -- should it ever materialize -- you will have to let me know and I will tell you where to find it. I think it would be quite good, and not lame. Most erotica is pretty lame, these days. I think my mom would have been excellent at writing erotica.


Instead of writing about erotica, I am going to write about a mom thing. The other day, I was reading the blog of a homeschooling mother of several children. Her kids have been busy with a variety of activities during these long, hot summer days, so she has had a lot of time alone. She writes: "....the house is mostly empty and I'm understanding how people who send their kids to school and work from home (Writing erotica, perhaps? JUST KIDDING! She did not say that. I am just being a wise-ass.) are able to accomplish so much. The rhythm definitely offers a great deal of white space."

Maybe I was in an overly sensitive mood when I read that statement. But, that statement seemed to me to be just a little bit judgmental and just a tad ignorant. It's kind of like this mother has allowed herself to feel inferior to these other mothers who send their kids to school and work from home and seem to get so much more accomplished than she does. And then she tells herself that she doesn't have to feel inferior about not getting as much accomplished, because these other women are sending their kids away every day. And -- it seems to be implied -- that she is patting herself on the back because she doesn't send her kids away. She goes to the trouble of keeping them with her, which is -- in her mind -- inherently superior.

It could very well be that this mother did not mean to be at all judgmental in what she said. Here is the thing, though: WHY DOES SHE EVEN HAVE TO SPEAK ABOUT THESE OTHER MOTHERS, who send their kids to school and work from home, AT ALL?  She doesn't. She could just say that her kids are off at wonderful summer activities, which means she has lots of wonderful time to herself to get many things done. No comparison needs to be made to any other mothers. No mention needs to be made of any other mothers and their choices and their lives. Because these other mothers -- the ones who send their kids away to school and rejoice when summer vacation is over -- love their kids every bit as much as the homeschooling mothers. And they also feel plenty stressed out -- even with all their "white space."

Now, I have gone to school and taught school and sent my kids to school and homeschooled. And -- yes -- there is more "white space" when the kids go to school. But, let me tell you, the hours between 5:30 and 7:30 AM and 3:00 and bedtime are no picnic. Those hours are much, much, much harder when you send your kids to school than when you homeschool. As a homeschool mom, you get a lot of flexibility as to how school is done by your children. You can load up certain days with more assignments and lighten things up on other days, according to what else is happening in your life and your children's lives. You don't have bring junior home from soccer practice late in the evening and make sure the math assignment gets finished. You don't have your long weekend -- during which you are taking your family on a long-anticipated camping trip -- surprisingly usurped by a project that the teacher sends home at the last minute because she decides that you have all this time since it's a long weekend. You don't have to spend every Thursday night with your teary little girl, making sure she is ready for the dreaded weekly spelling test. You don't have to rush around in the morning finding missing shoes and trying to get that kid who just doesn't like breakfast to eat breakfast and then helping him clean up when he barfs because he really doesn't like breakfast. You don't have to cope with make-up work when your child is out sick for a week with the flu. SENDING YOUR KIDS TO SCHOOL IS DAMN STRESSFUL, in ways that homeschooling is not. Homeschooling my kids was WAAAAAY easier than sending them to school, even though I didn't have much precious "white space."

Of course, you could say that I am being all judgmental here. And you would be right. The thing is, though, that it is possible to think about and speak about and write about our life choices without bringing up other people and their life choices and making comparisons. We can just say, "This is what I decided to do and this is how it's working out for me." And we can realize that we really don't know what goes on in other people's homes and in other people's hearts.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

How To Meet A Celebrity...

...without being self-conscious.

Again, I am writing about something that I really know so much about.


Although, I have met a few "celebrities" over the years. Some of them were just celebrities in their own minds. Or to their own "elite" group of groupies. But, no matter. A celebrity is a celebrity, no matter the size of his fanbase.

What really qualifies me to speak on this subject is the fact that I met Captain Satellite when I was about 4 and 1/2 years old. Now -- don't be rolling your eyes. Stay with me here.

Do any of you remember Captain Satellite? He had a kids' show when I was a very little girl. I adored his show and I adored him. And, one fine day, he made an appearance at our local McDonald's. My dad found out about it and brought me to meet him. I was SO excited! I had never been so excited in my whole and entire 4 and 1/2 years of life. And when I got to the front of the line, there were a couple of things that were painfully obvious. First -- he didn't look like he did on TV. He had on no make-up and his hair wasn't styled and he wasn't in his "uniform" and he wasn't handsome AT ALL. In fact, he was fairly homely. Isn't that mean? I'm sorry to be mean, but it's true. And it frightened me. Second -- it was quite clear that he was NOT AT ALL comfortable meeting all these little kids. He didn't know what to do or say. There was no script and no director. Now, of course, at 4 and 1/2 years old, I didn't have any concept of scripts or directors; but, I could tell that he was at a total loss as to how to behave. And this made me feel quite bad, really. I didn't know how to take it. Was it me he didn't like, or was he just some sort of poser? I wasn't quite sure. All I know is that I never felt quite the same way about Captain Satellite or his TV show again.

Being the kind of little kid I was, it took me several weeks to process this whole experience. I have never been the type to be able to let go of traumatic experiences easily. I need to sort them out in my head first. And I came to the conclusion -- even at my very young age -- that there must be some sort of very vast difference between a fictional character and the person who plays him. I somehow understood -- even at that very young age -- that an actor (or any other famous person) is just a person, after all. And you shouldn't expect any more from him than you would expect from any other human being on the face of the planet.

As the years went by, my little hypothesis about actors and other celebrities was pretty much confirmed -- at least in my mind. I have met some well-known speakers. I have met some Blue Angels and other "hot-shot" military types. When I worked at a credit union, I met a few cops and firefighters who could -- basically -- cause the whole loan department (which was composed entirely of females, excepting one lone male) to swoon in their cubicles. And I have met some "creative types" here in California. Some of these people have been very friendly and outgoing -- the kind of people who have the gift of putting others at ease and making conversation. But, some have not. And those who have not haven't been bad people; they have just been kind of shy and awkward themselves. Okay, once in a while, there has been an snot in the crowd. An ego. Somebody who doesn't want to have anything to do with anybody, except for the gal who is 36-24-36 with long legs and a thigh gap. There are those kinds of people. And you shouldn't really give a shit if you run into one of those. Their problem is their own. Don't let them make you feel bad. But usually, the "celebrity" who is not good at "meeting and greeting" is just a person who does not have an outgoing personality. This can -- admittedly -- be very hard on fans. But, not a whole lot can be done about it. A lot of slack needs to be cut all-around.

I think about it this way. I was involved in music as a young person, as were my sisters. My youngest sister was also heavily involved in drama. She participated in much theater as a teen. Therefore, I was exposed to a lot of "drama kids" when I was a teenager and young adult. And it is these "drama kids" who grow up -- if they are extremely driven and hard-working and a little bit lucky -- to be the Hollywood celebrities we see around us. And even though they might be rich and famous, they are still the "drama kids". And do you know what "drama kids" are like? I'll tell you (while trying not to over-generalize). They are a little bit quirky. A tad eccentric. They live their lives "off the beaten path". Some of them are outgoing, but a lot of them are rather introverted. This doesn't mean they don't like people. They do. And they absolutely adore a good "after-party". But, they tend to be most comfortable with their besties and other "drama kids". They are not entirely comfortable having to interact one-on-one with a vast crowd of strangers. Or even one stranger. They have these wonderful imaginations, which allow them to do the work that they do. But, this often means that they live a lot of their life "in their heads", if you will. So, they can be a bit shy -- especially among people they don't know -- because they haven't necessarily spent a great deal of time developing the kinds of social skills that would make them immensely popular and great with strangers. Yes, they can get up in front of a crowd and put on an amazing performance. They can love and play to the reactions of an audience. During a performance, though, an actor is exercising his creativity -- playing a character, being that character. This is a completely different thing than having to actually interact with somebody on a personal level. These are two completely different skill sets. So, somebody who can give the impression -- onstage or onscreen -- of being friendly and outgoing and demonstrative can really be quite the opposite in real life.

So, I guess the point that I am trying to make with all this gibber-gabber is that these people everyone gets so intimidated by are just the "drama kids" you remember from high school or college. Really. Okay -- so, maybe they're the "cream of the crop", and they have been professionally waxed and highlighted and tweezed and exercised to flawless perfection by a team of experts. But, they're still the "drama kids". And without their team of experts, they'd probably look at least fairly regular after a month, or so.  Therefore, if you get to meet one, don't be all intimidated. They are no better than you. They are just human beings. Often human beings who are a little bit shy, and perhaps even anxious because of all the judging they are subjected to in our society. Therefore, try to put your celebrity at ease. Try not to hyperventilate. Just smile and extend your hand and express your admiration/gratitude for their work politely and in a calm voice. Then, use your best judgment as to how long to linger and whether or not to ask for a selfie. Maybe treat it like a dance, and let the celebrity take the lead. But, for heaven's sake, don't feel like you're meeting some kind of god. Because you're not. It's just that drama kid who used to day-dream his way through geometry class. And then worked his freakin' ass off after high school chasing the dream. God bless him.

P.S. -- When I say "him", I also mean "her". But, I hate doing the him/her thing and most of my readers are female and get more intimidated by male celebrities. ;-)

Friday, July 11, 2014

A Little Bit Of "Gotham" Fan Fiction

(I know. "Gotham" hasn't even come out yet. So, it's kinda silly to write fan fiction. But, I'm kinda tired and I've missed writing lately and I enjoy being creative and Miss Pinelou keeps posting pictures taken by people in NYC who are happening across the shooting of that much-anticipated show. So, I just felt like writing some fan fiction.)

Protagonist: Annie. Middle-aged widow and mom of two young adult children who have graduated from college and gone on to greener pastures. Long-time resident of Gotham City. Diner waitress.


Two o'clock in the morning, iPhone screen says. Hmmm... If I can afford this iPhone, why am I living in this rather questionable apartment building? Well, it's clean. No cockroaches, anyway. Simple and clean. And Roy -- my late husband's best friend -- he does give me a good deal on the rent. A little bit of a discount, for friendship's sake. Not a huge discount, mind you. But -- ha! -- enough to pay for this iPhone. And he doesn't expect anything in return, if you know what I mean. Not that any guy in his right mind would. In fact, most guys would probably pay me to keep my clothes on. Oh, well. Maybe I'm being too hard on myself. After all, when I take that pretty, but neglected, negligee out of the back of my bottom dresser drawer every once in a while and put it on, what looks back at me from the full-length mirror isn't so bad, I guess. Not for a fifty-year-old, anyway. It's a lovely negligee. And a lovely mirror. My husband -- God rest him -- enjoyed surrounding me with loveliness, even though he really couldn't afford it, not on his sergeant's salary.

Yes. My husband was a cop. And that's what killed him. No. He wasn't killed on the job. He wasn't shot or stabbed or beaten or run over by a "bad guy." So, how was he killed by his work? Heart attack. A heart attack brought on by what he saw happening in this city. There has been an evil growing -- growing for a long time now. Barely discernible at first, it now penetrates and is choking the life out of all that was good about this once beautiful place.  And it was such a beautiful place -- for a family, to be a cop, to be a wife and mom. My husband saw the evil from the beginning. He tried to warn people -- the other cops, our pastor, our friends. But, they just laughed at him. Called him paranoid. But, he was perceptive and he was right. And by the time others noticed what he had been seeing for a long while, it was too late. And it broke his heart.

It made me angry, really. I was angry with him for dying, for leaving me and our daughters. Our bright, beautiful daughters. I felt like he loved the city more than he loved us. Why couldn't we have just left, moved away? It would have been hard, but not impossible. He was stubborn, though. He felt a duty to the city. And the city took him from me, from our kids. It made me so angry. I'm okay now, though. Because -- in the end -- I understood. We weren't raised here, in this city. But, it did become our home. We somehow came to belong to it and it to us. After all, I'm still here, aren't I? Here in this rather questionable apartment that I moved into after selling my house. My daughters had already gone away to college when they lost their father, and our neighborhood was becoming less-than-safe. So, I sold the house. It was a good move. It was paid for and I made a decent profit. I think it's a rental now.

Yes, I really could move away. Between the money I made selling the house and my husband's life insurance and pension, I really could move away. But, I stay. Like my beloved stayed. So, how can I be angry with him?

You might think I'm rolling in dough, but I'm not. My house wasn't worth that much -- not in this housing market, in this deteriorating city. I've invested the money, though, along with the life insurance, in relatively "safe" investments. Have you checked the returns on "safe" investments lately? And the pension and social security payments are modest, as my husband was young when he died. So, I work. I'm a diner waitress. It's only part-time, but it's adequate for now, and I like it. And it, too, was a lucky break -- a gift bestowed on me by the manager, who was a buddy of my husband. Cops love diners, and my husband frequented this one for years. So, when he died, Johnny offered me the job. He knew I needed one. And -- frankly -- I think I'm pretty good at it. I enjoy the banter and wielding that coffee-pot. Those who make the coffee rule the world, when you think about it.

Another reason I love my job is it gives me the opportunity to keep my finger on the pulse of this city. A never-ending stream of cops comes into and out of that diner, along with every other kind of character this city holds. And though that pulse has been weakening for some time, as the evil my husband warned about years and years ago continues to grow, seemingly unabated, I heard something the other day that gives me a bit of hope. It seems there's a new kid coming to town. A relatively young man named Jim Gordon has just been hired as a detective. Actually, he's not technically a "new kid." He grew up here, apparently, although we've never met. And I'm hearing he's a good man, a strong man. Some of the cops I know -- the ones not really worthy of the badge -- they're a little nervous about Jim Gordon. Although, they try to hide it with bravado and dark humor about "putting him in his place." But, the good cops I know -- and those are few and far between -- are actually excited about the guy. Apparently, some of them knew him growing up. Or knew of him. There seems to be something about this guy, something a little out-of-the-ordinary, something a little inspiring. We'll see. I've learned by now not to get my hopes up about so-called "good news" in this city.

And I think about my husband, my Tommy. He was good, too. He was strong. He was special. And the evil in this city just chewed him up and spit him out. So, God help this Jim Gordon, if what I'm hearing about him is even halfway true. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

"...a simple, flawed human being. He's strong...

...and smart and tough, but he's going to make the wrong decisions and trust the wrong people. And he has no out -- he can't put on a cape and fly off."

This is how Ben McKenzie describes his character -- Detective Jim Gordon -- of the upcoming TV show "Gotham" in an interview for "Entertainment Weekly".

Years ago, when I was a young woman, this statement wouldn't have struck me as anything particularly insightful or terribly brilliant. But now that I am older -- a 51-year-old mom with three young adult kids -- it strikes me as both insightful and brilliant. And it is also strangely comforting to my menopausal heart.


Because, when I was a young woman, I liked to think of myself as strong and smart and tough. Lots of people told me I was those things. I was a little bit proud of it, I guess, when I think about it now. And maybe I was those things, to some degree, anyway. And when I started having kids, at the ripe old age of 25, I wanted to be all of those things for them. I wanted to be the best mom. And I had this idea that because I was strong and smart and tough that I somehow wouldn't blow it, at all. I remember sitting in my hospital bed, with my first little baby in my arms, and not wanting any harm to ever touch her. I was afraid. I was afraid of all the crap in the world. And I resolved -- as I sat there looking at her little face and feeling the weight of her against me -- that I would use all of my strength and smarts and toughness to somehow get her to adulthood unscathed.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

As a mom, I have made many wrong decisions and trusted many of the wrong people. And I have really beaten myself up for these mistakes, especially when I see how they have hurt my kids. I have been tempted to cynicism. I have been tempted to trust no more. There have been times when I have been plagued by self-doubt when there is an important decision I have to make.

And when I read the statement that Ben McKenzie made, regarding Jim Gordon, that he is a "simple, flawed human being," while at the same time being "strong and smart and tough," I realized what I have been missing. I have failed to authentically accept my human weakness -- especially in regards to my role as a mother. Maybe I am -- and maybe I am not -- strong and smart and tough. I don't know, really. But, even if I am, my human frailty is going to enter into the equation. And I will inevitably make decisions that are wrong and trust people I shouldn't.

So, as I sat in that hospital bed with that new baby all those years ago, I grasped onto a completely erroneous notion -- a notion that I have never fully relinquished. Maybe it's finally time to get real. Maybe it's time to finally make peace with myself about this, because I want to live my life with confidence and joy, even with the knowledge that I am going to screw certain things up. I'm going to make the wrong calls, and not have the option of putting on a cape and flying off. And maybe this is really okay.

So, I would like to thank you, Ben, for the advice that you probably didn't even know you were giving.

Can't wait for "Gotham"!!!

P.S. -- The "EW" interview also states that the first scene Ben shot for "Gotham" involves him driving a 1970's-era Chrysler. This is a very cool thing for me, as my family owned a 1970's-era Chrysler. It had this BIG OLE' HONKIN' engine, and was ABSOLUTELY AWESOME for peeling out from stop signs in my hometown. A teenage girl's dream car, if you will. I wonder if Detective Gordon gets to peel out from stop signs in his Chrysler. It would be a shame if he doesn't. ;-) 

Friday, May 23, 2014

My Heart Is Sad...

I am seeing something a lot lately.  Actually, I have seen it for quite a while, but I think it's getting out-of-hand.

It am seeing LGBT individuals -- specifically those who are in a relationship or civil union or same-sex marriage -- getting fired from their jobs in Catholic institutions.

This phenomenon started out quite a while ago.  As I understood it, it mostly had to do with people in same-sex relationships not being allowed to teach theology in certain high schools, colleges, and universities.  The reasoning was that, if a person teaches Catholic THEOLOGY, their lives should be consistent with that theology.  I could kind of see this both ways.  I understood the position of the Catholic institutions.  On the other hand, I thought (and still think) that it is possible to know, understand, and teach something without actually agreeing with it or living it.

At the time, though, it was explained to me that there were many Catholic schools who were teaching things AS actual Catholic theology that were not actual Catholic theology.  This is a difficulty.  Students should learn the actual stuff before they all start disagreeing with it.  And I was led to believe that not hiring people in same-sex relationships to teach Catholic theology kind of went along with this idea of returning authenticity to the teaching of Catholicism in Catholic schools.  Again, I did not agree with that line of reasoning entirely, but it also didn't bother me a whole lot.  I had other fish to fry and I trusted the Powers-That-Be.

Now, though, I have to say that I think things are getting JUST A LITTLE BIT OUT OF CONTROL, especially since the legalization of gay marriage in many states.  Teachers in same-sex marriages (and other same-sex relationships) are being fired not just from positions of teaching Catholic theology, but they are being dismissed from all other types of teaching/administrative positions, as well.  And they are being fired, not just from schools, but from other types of Catholic institutions -- like parish choirs and food banks.  Sometimes, it is not even they who are making a "big announcement" about their marriages, but "busybodies" who happen to overhear (can we say "eavesdrop" on?) private conversations are ratting them out.  In my opinion, it is these eavesdroppers who should get the smack-down.  Being a "tattle-tale" was always discouraged during my upbringing.  It is just low-class and uncharitable.  In another instance, the marital status of a certain individual was mentioned in a newspaper article about her job running a Catholic charitable endeavor.  She never even made an issue of it.  You could say she was being respectful of the theology of the Church by never making an issue of her marriage.  She never got in anybody's face with it.  (Gay people are constantly being accused of "getting in people's faces" with their relationships.)  And yet, because the newspaper mentioned her marital status, she got fired.  That sucks.

I know what I am saying could be argued round and round and round, with never an end in sight.  But, it just seems to me that the Church is starting to look like it is on a witch hunt.

As for me, if I were poor, I wouldn't mind getting my food from a married lesbian lady.  And if I were to sing in a choir, I wouldn't mind being conducted by a married gay man.  And if I had kids in a school, I would be happy for them to have the opportunity to learn from a married gay person, not only the subject matter, but how to get along with a variety of people.  I would want them to learn that people in same-sex marriages should not be demonized or stigmatized or marginalized.  And, truthfully, if you are never around people who are in same-sex marriages and if you are always being told how evil same-sex marriage is, it might be rather natural to come to demonize -- or at least marginalize -- the people in that kind of relationship.  In order to see a "person" instead of an "issue," maybe you need to be around the person. 

Remember.  Pope Francis said that we "must not marginalize these people."  And if you fire them from every single position in every single Catholic institution, what do you call that, if not "marginalization"?  Yes, there are many who disagree with me on this.  There are many who think that not marginalizing gay people only has to do with employment in the secular arena.  There are people who think that not marginalizing gay people in the Church community means only allowing them to participate as "run-of-the-mill" parishioners, not as leaders of such things as choirs or lectors.  I disagree.  I think setting up those kinds of barriers is a type of unnecessary marginalization.  It also leads to the self-identified "good" Catholics coming to have a rather superior view of themselves in relation to the "not-so-good" Catholics.  And that is not good for anybody.

I know this is a very complicated issue for many people.  I know the "apologists" could knock all my "arguments" on their backside with all of their intellectual "reasoning." But, when I look at all these people getting fired and I look at the rather snobbish, unyielding attitude of those doing the "ratting out" and the firing, it just makes my heart cry.  It just does not seem right.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Homeschool Mom "Uniform" -- A New Twist

I was a homeschool mom for 13 years.  It was quite a bit of fun.  The only reason I stopped was because my youngest graduated from high school.  And no, I don't homeschool college.  Don't laugh, y'all.  There are some people who do.  But, that is not me.

Anyhow, for those of you who are (perhaps blissfully) unaware, there is a homeschool mom "uniform."  It's kind of a stereotype.  But, it's kind of true. 

And it is this:
     1. Denim Skirt -- midcalf or longer, non-form-fitting, often with an elastic waist.
     2. T-Shirt -- rather loose-fitting, often inscribed with a Catholic or Irish dance logo.
     3. Birkenstocks.

I do not mean to be poking fun at anybody here.  This is just the way it is.  Yes, it is a broad generalization.  A rather fair broad generalization, in my opinion.  And now somebody is going to call the ACLU on me.  ;-)

To tell you the truth, though, this "uniform" is rather practical.  It is well-suited for the, often simultaneous, tasks that homeschool moms must accomplish -- daily Mass, Latin lessons, nursing babies, cleaning up after toddlers, driving all over the county in a 12-seater van in order to properly socialize and enrich the kids, and cooking large vats of homegrown foods.  It can easily be worn both with or without a bra.  It is good for early pregnancy, post-partum, and menopause.  It doesn't matter what type of panties you put on under it.  You can even put shorts on under it, for those pick-up games of soccer your kids might talk you into.  It is also not very sexy, which can be a boon when you have seven children under the age of 10.  And it is complimented by all types of hairstyles -- long, short, and braids.

Anyway, upon looking at myself in the mirror today, I realized that I am wearing the homeschool mom "uniform," albeit with a little bit of a twist.  Perhaps it can be looked upon as the "uniform" for us retired homeschool moms.  Familiar enough to be comfortable, but also a bit edgy.  And non-comformist.  ALL homeschool moms are non-conformist.  That should be pretty clear when you read the paragraph above.  (And when you read the paragraph above, it should also be pretty clear that homeschool moms are NOT women to be messed with.  They are basically the same as femi-nazis, but with a slightly different worldview.)

So, I present to you -- the retired homeschool mom "uniform":
     1. Jersey Maxi Skirt -- from The Gap, rather form-fitting, navy blue and white striped, with a waistline that sits slightly below the navel.
     2. Harley Davidson t-shirt -- black, hip-length, a bit figure-hugging (but, not tight), emblazoned in gold lettering with the Harley-Davidson logo and various decorative designs.
     3. Nike flip-flops -- black, with gel soles. So comfy!
     4. A few (subtle) purple highlights in my brown hair.

A rather smooth fashion transition, don't you think, for us non-conformist, menopausal, retired, homeschool mom broads?  I think so.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Being A "Shit Disturber"

Yesterday, I commented on how my mom used to tell me that I was a "shit disturber."  She said this to me very, very often as I was growing up -- probably from the time I was about 7 or 8 years old.  This used to upset me a great deal.  I didn't mean to be a "shit disturber."  I just tended to say things that got people all riled up.

It has taken me a very long time to accept the fact that I am a "shit disturber."  I have often tried to hide it.  I have often been very ashamed of it.  I used to consider it one of my big sinful failings.  But then, I wondered -- what if it is actually a gift, this being a shit disturber?  What if it is one of my purposes in life?  That sounds rather delusional, I know.  And it probably is.  Jesus did say, after all, "Blessed are the peacemakers."  Although, what if what He actually said was in fact "cheesemakers"?

But -- for good or for ill -- the fact is that I am, indeed, a "shit disturber."  And -- often -- it is all pretty unintentional.  But, I have also been trying to use this rather problematic aspect of my personality in a more intentional manner.  I have been deploying it -- more often than not -- knowing full well what I am doing.

Why, you may wonder, do I do this?

Because, sometimes, I see things that really piss me off.  And I just feel the need to throw some grease onto the fire.  It is just this very visceral need.

Now, do I think I am correct in my opinions all the time while I am launching these grenades?

NO.  I often have very detailed debates with myself about my own opinions.  I know "my side" is not the only side.  I know that my perspective is only my perspective.

But, I've seen and experienced a lot of crap.  I've seen and experienced injustice.  I hear stuff that just makes me roll my eyes.  And I know many people -- young and old and in-between -- who just don't fit into the neat little molds that others would have them fit into.  I know many people -- young and old and in-between -- who have suffered from the (often unwitting) ignorance and narrow-mindedness of (often well-intentioned) people.  And I know that I have often been the unwitting, well-intentioned person who has caused suffering to those who don't fit into my version of how things "should" be.

I also have seen many, many people -- young and old and in-between -- get told about how "God's will" works by those who are quite sincere.  In fact, I have been the "victim" of some of these people myself.  So have my kids.  And their friends.  But -- many times, anyway -- the people explaining "God's will" really don't have the knowledge or authority to do so.  It can get a little prideful.  And it can be VERY, VERY difficult for the "victims" of these well-meaning "mentors," who seem to be so holy and faithful themselves.  Because the "victims" -- if they disagree with the "mentors" -- not only feel that they are, perhaps, disappointing a friend, but that they are disappointing God, even sinning.

This is the thing.  God's will is complicated.  EXTRAORDINARILY complicated.  It involves God (of course) and a person.  A person with a past and a present.  A person with experiences that are not your experiences.  A person with hidden crosses.  A person with a unique psychological make-up.  A person with a FREE WILL and an INDIVIDUAL CONSCIENCE -- things that are not to be messed with by anybody else, even those who consider themselves "faithful."

And to tell somebody that if something is God's will that it WILL happen?  I don't know.  I think that's a very simplistic, human way of looking at something that is of God.  After all, people are not puppets and God is not a puppet master.  And you know what the Bible says -- "God's ways are so far above our ways and God's thoughts above our thoughts..."  Also, to say this to a young, immature, impressionable person could just really be asking for A LOT of trouble.  And this I know.  I have seen it.  Repeatedly. 

Maybe I'm just disturbing the shit here.  I don't know.  I just hate to see people -- especially young people -- end up rather disullusioned about God, not because of anything God has done, but because of what His people have done in His name.


Friday, May 9, 2014

Speaking Of My Navigational Skills...

...or lack thereof.

Yesterday, Bridget and I went to LA.  We had a most wonderful time! First, we went to a Young Storytellers Foundation show at an elementary school.  The Young Storytellers Foundation is my most favorite thing in this whole world.  Afterwards, we went to a place called The Grove.  There is no point in going to The Grove to try to identify celebrities, because everyone there is a celebrity.  Pretty much, anyway.  So, the best thing is just to try to blend in and not look awkward and out-of-place.  Bridget had helped me to find a good outfit in which to disguise myself.  It seemed to work.  I did not attract any undue negative attention and everyone was very friendly and welcoming.  Bridget and I had a lovely dinner at The Grove (where she was much admired by the handsome young waiter person, who is probably an actor).  We also looked at the wonderful dancing fountain and shopped in some of the amazing stores.  Let me tell you -- Nordstrom at The Grove is NOT the same store as Nordstrom in Escondido.  I really wanted this pair of shoes I saw at Nordstrom.  They were a pair of ballet flats with a kitty cat face on them.  And the eyes of the kitty cat were jewels.  It was pretty much the most awesome pair of shoes, EVER.  But, they cost something like $500.  So, I did not buy them.  But, someday, I might.  If I have enough to drink at the trendy restaurant.


Back to my navigational "skills".

Usually, when I go to LA, I take the Toll Road.  The Toll Road connects the 5 to the 405, and it is a very nice way of avoiding a bunch of traffic.  The Toll Road that connects the 5 to the 405, as you are going north from San Diego, is something like the 73.  I'm a little unsure right now.  On this particular trip, though, we stayed on the 5, because we weren't getting on the 405.  We were going right from the 5 to the 10. 

On the way home, we went a slightly different way back to the 5.  After we left The Grove, we got on the 101.  We were taking that back to the 5.  As we were driving along, I saw a sign that said "Toll Road".  But, it was the 133 (or something like that), not the 73.  Unaware that there is more than one Toll Road, I figured that maybe it had a different number to go south, versus to go north.  So, I asked Bridget if I should get on it.  Quite taken aback, she replied (in a very alarmed tone of voice), "No!  We'll end up WAY east of where we want to be.  Why are you even thinking that?!?!"  I patiently explained my thinking that perhaps the same Toll Road was numbered differently for going in different directions.  It turns out that there is more than one Toll Road in Southern California.  You learn something new every day, eh? 

Bridget will now NEVER, EVER let me drive to LA alone.

Oh well, at least there are many, many cute waiters (a.k.a. actors) in LA by whom she can be admired.

Which brings up another thing.  Whenever I go anywhere with Bridget -- which I do often, because (for reasons of visual problems) she doesn't drive -- she is checked out by hot guys.  Sometimes, I am checked out by guys, too.  But, they're usually over 60 and not all that hot.  Occasionally, though, I am checked out by a hot young guy who seems to be into "cougars".  Too bad for those guys, though.  They need to move on to the proverbial "greener pastures", for I am not of the feline variety.  Anyway, when Bridget is checked out by these hot guys, I am not quite sure what to do with my eyes.  Where do I look?  At the ceiling?  At the ground?  Do I pretend I don't notice?  Do I give the hot guys dirty looks?  That seems mean.  Do I just let them know -- in a nonchalant way -- that I do notice, but that I am cool about it, as long as they are gentlemanly.  Poor Bridget.  She could have all kinds of boyfriends if she didn't have to take her mum with her everywhere.  She is a good sport, though, and the whole thing seems to amuse her.  Besides, I did buy her one awesome steak at The Grove.  And also an awesome designer t-shirt (which was -- in a manner of speaking -- on sale).

So, here's to our next adventure to LA.  Unless, of course, we end up in Vegas. :p

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Teeny Tiny Little Rant :p

There is something I have noticed over the years.

Now, this isn't to pick on anybody or point to anybody in particular.

It's just something I have noticed.

And I think it isn't fair.

When you listen to the radio or peruse various reading materials or go online, you will often see things about marriage.  You will often see things about Christian women in marriage.  And often, there are Christian women speaking out or asking questions about difficulties that arise in their marriages.

And -- it seems to me -- that 9 times out of 10, the advice dispensed is contingent upon the idea that it is, somehow, the Christian women's fault that they are having marital difficulties. 

These at-fault women are too demanding of their poor, overworked husbands.

The unreasonable women expect their poor, overworked husbands to help them --  with the kids, around the house, in the yard, with errands.

The not-Christian-enough women want their poor, overworked husbands to have a conversation with them in the evening.

The high-need women want their poor, overworked husbands to do fun things with them on the weekends.

The mean women sometimes don't feel like having sex with their poor, overworked husbands.  And sometimes the mean women do want to have sex with their poor, overworked husbands.  The women's sex drives seem to cause problems for their poor, overworked husbands, in either case.

And these not-faithful-to-God-enough women go to radio talk show hosts and reading materials and the Internet to try to get some advice about how to make their marriages happier.  They present their problems -- as they experience them -- and sincerely seek help.

And -- 9 out of 10 times -- they are told that it is their fault. 

They are told that their husbands work so very hard for them and their children, to provide for them.  They are told that they should be patient and comforting and align their own sexual needs and desires to those of their poor, overworked husbands.  They are told that they are home all day, without the demands of demanding bosses and demanding co-workers.  They are told that they have the freedom to do what they want with their days, while their husbands slave away for the family at stressful jobs.  They are told that God will smile upon them and their husbands will be nice to them if they just quit being demanding and just be good mommies and homemakers.  They are told that of course their husbands are going to avoid coming home and be unhelpful and -- I have heard this -- have affairs if they don't learn to be soft, gentle, understanding wives with clean, orderly homes, readily aligning themselves to their husbands sexual appetite (or lack thereof).  They are told that if they would just be "good enough" in their own role as mother and homemaker that their marital problems will improve.  They are told to take responsibility for their unhappiness as wives, because it is, essentially, their own fault.

Yes.  This is what I hear/read 9 out of 10 times when I come across women talking about marital difficulties on the radio, in print, and online.

And I'm not saying that women shouldn't try to be good to their husbands.  Of course they should.  But, baby, it is a two-way street.  And it isn't all the women's fault.  And I am sick of hearing that it is.


Being a wife and mom is hard, too.  It is a LOT of work.  It is a 24/7 job.  And women get tired and stressed and overworked just like men do.  And there are no sick days.  And there is no vacation time.  And there is no HR department that you can complain to if somebody screams and cries and throws a tantrum at you while you are on the job.  There is, basically, no relief.  And no adult conversation.  And no lunches out or in the cafeteria.  And no exercise room.


Dear Marital Advice People (Especially You Christian Ones) -- Stop Blaming It All On The Ladies -- Because That Is Complete And Utter Nonsense -- Best Regards, Marla :)

(And no.  This is not a veiled complaint about my hubby.  I wouldn't do that.)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A Kickstarter "SouthLAnd" Movie Pitch Video

First of all, I would like to apologize.  I know I keep going on and on and on about this "SouthLAnd" movie.  And that would be one thing if I actually had any credentials in the movie-making field.  As it is, though, I'm probably driving you all nuts.  So sorry. :(

Anyway, this should be my last post on the subject.  I don't really think I can do anymore from here in my bedroom.  Then I'll go back to posting about my other "fields of expertise" -- religion and politics.  Oh, yeah -- and mom stuff.  And tales from the "hippie era".

So, as promised the other day, here are some ideas for -->

A KICKSTARTER PITCH VIDEO (a.k.a. the video that will get the fans to open their wallets):

I have noticed, over the years, that people are very reluctant to open their wallets.  For anything.  Even for stuff they believe in.  A lot of this is very legitimate.  People don't generally have much disposable income, especially these days.  But, some of the problem is that they are not sufficiently inspired.  They need a little fire lit under their rear ends.  How do we ignite that conflagration?

To me, there are four ingredients to this recipe:

     1.  The Product/Story:  The fans have to be confident that the "SouthLAnd" movie will make all their dreams come true -- their dreams for the overall story and their dreams for the characters.  Maybe this is a slight exaggeration, but I think it's basically accurate.  I am not much of a Bible quoter -- because I am a Catholic and everybody knows that we Catholics don't know our Bible quotes -- but there is one I would like to mention here.  It is Jeremiah 29:11-13 -- "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  I think this quote goes to the core of our human nature, to the core of our hearts.  It encompasses what we desire for ourselves and those we care about.  It sums up our hope for humanity.  And, frankly, it addresses what I think many, many people want to see in a story.  We are willing to go through ups and downs and ups and downs with the characters.  We are willing to see them flail and suffer and fall.  But, if they are characters we care about, we hope to end the story with at least a little hope for their futures, for their proverbial salvation, if you will.  I think, then, that any Kickstarter pitch video should address this hope of the fans.  At least, I think it is the hope of the fans, based on what I've experienced.  Nobody wants to see Cooper dead or Ben dooming himself to a life of existential despair.  (Just my two cents here.  But, I think it could help to bring in the $$$.)

     2.  Passion:  The pitch video has to express very clearly the passion possessed by those who will ultimately create it.  A good example of the type of passion I am speaking of is expressed in the Kickstarter pitch video of Scout Tufankjian, creator of The Armenian Diaspora Project.  She is an absolutely delightful woman, whose pitch video just wants to make you empty your bank account and mail her a great big check.  Go watch it and you will see what I mean.  But, save a little money for the "SouthLAnd" movie, okay?

     3.  Achievability:  The goal of the Kickstarter campaign -- the amount of money to be raised -- must be actually achievable.  We need to study our numbers (in terms of project budget, show ratings, potential number of donors, donor demographics) in order to come up with a goal (in dollar terms) that is actually doable.  And the fan-base being counted upon to donate needs to be convinced (not in a con-artist type of way, of course; but, in an honest way) that the goal is attainable.  I hate asking people, who are already probably struggling to make ends meet and fund their 401k's, to commit to making a donation if the campaign is going to end up failing.  That's just too much of an emotional roller-coaster ride for anybody to take in this post-economic-crash world, especially if those people are fans who just love "SouthLAnd" the way many of us do.

     4.  Name/Brand Recognition:  The individuals actually on-camera in the Kickstarter pitch video need to be identified closely with the show.  The executive producers/creators and lead actors come to mind here, of course.  Other possibilities are people who wrote and directed particularly memorable episodes. 

Thank-you again for your utmost patience and kind attention.  It's just that it really gets to me when I see how excited the fans become every time there is an interview or article mentioning the possibility of a "SouthLAnd" movie.  I would really love to see it happen, and I'm willing to do whatever I can to help it along.  Except go on Facebook.  I hate Facebook. 

I'll send this along to the usual suspects.

So, here's to a "SouthLAnd" movie!  And here's to it happening before Ben McKenzie gets too old to leap from rooftop to rooftop.  ;-)